September 17, 2009
Posted: 1800 GMT
In a move certainly designed to alleviate Russian concerns, the Obama administration today said it was scrapping plans for a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. It will be replaced by what Barack Obama calls a "missile defense architecture," which doesn't involve physical installations in Eastern Europe.
Moscow was always opposed to the Bush-era plans for missile shields in its own backyard. American military officials now say any decision on whether to use Eastern European countries as a base for missiles will be pushed back to 2015.
This is as much a political move as it is a military one. The United States needs Russia in its efforts to convince Iran to give up nuclear technology. That is a much bigger diplomatic priority for America than keeping Poland and the Czech Republic happy.
Don't forget to take part in our poll below on whether you think it's a good idea to reverse course on the missile defense system.
Later at the IDesk, we'll talk live to the mothers of three hikers detained in Iran for the last two months. Iranian authorities say Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, were arrested on Iranian territory. Their mothers say they were hiking in the Kurdish region of Iraq and would never have intentionally crossed over the border.
The three mothers this morning sent a letter to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pleading for their children's release. They say they've timed the delivery of the later a week before the Iranian leader attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Also today, all the latest on the Yale student murder case, the Islamist insurgent attack on an African Union base in Somalia and the day's other top business, weather and sports stories.
On a lighter note, we'll take a look at some unusual records, on the day the Guinness Book of World Records named a new “world's tallest man.”
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