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There is more at stake in this missile defense decision than the protection of Europe from Iran. Also at stake is the very credibility of the NATO security guarantee to its members.

Russia´s bid to shut down these missile defense sites is a power play to split NATO and to frighten Eastern Europe into distancing itself from NATO and the West.

Moscow’s hope is that Poland and the others will deem the Americans to be unreliable, and that accommodating Russia is the only safe path to security. The Obama administration had best remember this before it bargains away both Europe´s protection against Iran and the integrity of NATO.

Kim Holmes, a former assistant secretary of state, is a vice president at the Heritage Foundation (Heritage.org) and author of “Liberty´s Best Hope: American Leadership for the 21st Century” (2008).