President Obama has decided to pre-announce to the world once-secretAmerican ballistic missile tests and satellite launches.
The Democratic administration's goal is to show a friendlier face toother countries and to coax Russia to do the same.
It's part of a confidence-boosting initiative launched, so to speak,last fall when Obama suddenly abandoned the U.S. missile-defense systemin Eastern Europe that had exercised the Russians, though it was aimedat potential future missiles from Iran.
Obama hoped such a unilateral U.S. forfeiture would encourage Russia toput pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear weapons development. So far nogood on that.
Of course, the point of secret tests by any state in an insecure,suspicious world is to deny advance notice to potential enemies, makingit more difficult if not impossible for them to gain intelligence bymonitoring the tests themselves.
According to George Jahn of the Associated Press, a confidential U.S.note sent to 128 other countries two weeks ago said:
The United States ... will provide pre-launch notification ofcommercial and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)space launches as well as the majority of intercontinental ballistic andsubmarine-launched ballistic missile launches.