No one really knows what President Barack Obama really meant when an open mic caught him telling outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" on the issue of ballistic missile defense once the November election had come and gone.
No one knows because the president won't say. The White House downplayed the remark with a bunch of double talk but it's an important question: What's on his mind?
Does he have a secret plan to cast aside more than two decades of U.S. efforts to create a defensive shield against ballistic missiles? He's already pulled out of a deal with Poland and the Czech Republic to locate a forward-based defensive system in those two countries, much to the embarrassment of the United States and the chagrin of our allies. His budget for Fiscal Year 2013 tries to shift funds from missile defenses that are expected to come on line next year to a weapons system that won't be ready for deployment, in the best of all possible worlds, for almost 10 years.
Republicans were quick to pounce on the issue. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the leading candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, called Obama's comment "alarming" and suggested it was another example of the "breathtaking weakness" with which the current president had conducted U.S. foreign and defense policy.
This provoked an angry response from Vice President Joe Biden when he appeared on CBS's Face the Nation. "He just seems to uninformed or stuck in a Cold War mentality," Obama's No. 2 said. "It exposes how little the governor knows about foreign policy."
It is worth noting that Joe Biden served in the U.S. Senate for more than 30 years, eventually becoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As far as the Cold War was concerned, he was also wrong about almost everything, especially during the Reagan years when he and his ilk in the Senate opposed almost ever measure the 40th president put forward in pursuit of ending the Cold War in a way that left America victorious.
Biden and his friends would have preferred the United States continue to prop up the Soviet Union, pursue arms control treaties that would have left America weaker, and done nothing to stop the spread of Communism across the globe. From the Strategic Defense Initiative to aiding anti-Communist governments and guerilla movements around the world, from rebuilding the U.S. military to working with our allies in Europe to keep the Soviet's penned in, Biden was on the wrong side almost all of the time. With a record like his he has a lot of nerve attacking Romney for being naïve as far as foreign policy is concerned. If Biden had gotten his way, there would still be a Soviet Union, there would be no democracy in Eastern Europe—which would still be under the Soviet thumb—and the whole world would be the worse for it.