September 17, 2009
Posted: 1800 GMT


Hello everyone,

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.”

See you on TV!


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Sayan Majumdar   September 17th, 2009 6:54 pm ET

Hala, I will not label it as a 180-degrees turn as United States Defence Secretary Robert Gates has affirmed that United States still had plans to deploy missiles in Eastern Europe in 2015.

Gates said that interceptor missiles would initially be deployed on ships to make it easier to move them from one region to another. What he did not mention is the fact that in addition to flexibility of deployment the interceptor missiles will be capable of destroying hostile ballistic missiles in all three phases of flight.


SensibleAli   September 17th, 2009 7:10 pm ET

Missile defense: Obama offers a much smarter solution – technically and politically. It's good that Europe remains to be protected by the U.S. – Perhaps Bush only bluffed – anyway, now Obama is in a position to trade 'missiles for Iran' with Russia who is a very 'special friend'. – I don't see any rift between the Bush and Obama administrations. They are playing the game of 'bad cop – good cop'.

Sue   September 17th, 2009 7:13 pm ET

Hi there,
Just because Obama didn't get something for taking missle defense off the table, doesn't mean it doesn't help him. It promotes his credibility. He means what he says and that will payoff for him in future endeavors of the murky world of politics.

elnathan   September 17th, 2009 7:20 pm ET

I hope that the pressure to find a suspect in Le's killing will not affect investigations. I hope this is not a false lead.

I hope the Iranians release the three hikers. Ahmedinajad does not need this kind of publicity now. I am positive he will be sensible.

Europe and N.America suffers increasingly from violence resulting from a growing number of dysfunctional youths from dysfunctional families. That's what happens when you disregard the value of family and the erosion of core values. Liberty is not anarchy.

Martin G   September 17th, 2009 8:04 pm ET

We still think,that iran still,remains a grave threat for the safety ,of the United States,and it's allies around the world...So,If this decision actually really increases and improves the security of the USA,and it's allies around the world,then it's a good decision,but,if it only slows down the security engagement plan,then it's a rushed one...

Toon army macedonia...

Joram   September 17th, 2009 8:33 pm ET

It is one of Mr Obama's best decisions thus far if you ask me. The money spent on this Don Quijote mixed with Star Trek idea of the former can be applied elsewhere now plus it will improve the relationship with Russia.

Marek from Czech republic   September 17th, 2009 9:32 pm ET

Many people in Czech republic were against missile defence shield. This military system is unilateral step as preventive wars of former U.S. government. Unilateral politics creates more enemies than friends.

julian   September 18th, 2009 12:08 pm ET

good day,
i do not know if this is the proper site to comment on the food fight in new york report i have seen on cnn this sept 18. i would like to react: your country being the most powerful and influencial has the power to feed the world instead of throwing it away. we hope you can think of something else if you want to entertain yourselves. PEOPLE ARE DYING OF HUNGER. food is a gift from GOD and should not be wasted as such.
thank you, have a nice day

Francisco Porturas   September 18th, 2009 3:35 pm ET

Excellent and laudable decision from President Obama.
This decision will surely minimize the global tension generated by the previous american regime.

We in Ecuador, applaud this magnifecent manifesto.

Kind regards,

Francisco Porturas
Quito, Ecuador

Sam   September 22nd, 2009 7:41 am ET

Obviously It was for Russia! Does anyone REALLY think Otherwise? No matter what people might say on television. Russia is more important than Poles or Czechs re Iran. It is a nuclear power and the largest country, and should be treated with the respect it deserves, nothing more nothing less. The Poles and Czechs should stop being ridicolous and learn to live with their neighbours (even if they are not dieal ones) – unless they can cut out the earth's crust on which their country lies and move it somewhere else. Furthermore let us just see this queasy idea that somehow, when central and eastern europeans foolishly stand up to Russia (militariy mainly but also politically) thay are fighting the battles of the US, or instead of the US. Total Rubbish! Clealry News like the US administration's announcement proves such a point.

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