In Defense of Europe

Yesterday in Brussels, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, along with Spanish president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, announced plans for a new ship-based missile-defense system in Spain. The effort will include the deployment of four anti-ballistic-missile-equipped destroyers to the coast of Spain. The broader Obama administration plan also includes placing ground-based systems in Romania, Poland and Turkey. Panetta commented, “This announcement should send a very strong signal that the United States is still continuing to invest in this alliance and that we are committed to our defense relationship with Europe.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner thinks that Europe’s debt crisis poses a “significant risk” to a shaky world economy. Speaking before Congress yesterday, Geithner said Washington is working with the IMF to try to get Europe to develop a stabilization plan for the economy. The EU is meanwhile trying to coordinate a member-state-wide bank-recapitalization effort.

Echoing U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday that the Security Council “abrogated its responsibility” by not passing the Syria resolution. She said that China and Russia, which both vetoed the resolution, would have to do their own explaining to the Syrian people, “and to all others who are fighting for freedom and human rights around the world.”