- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 17, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration appears close to deciding what to do about a planned missile shield for Europe, which has been a major irritant in relations with Russia.

It seems likely that the White House will opt for a compromise that shelves many of the components that Moscow found objectionable.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, told The Associated Press that the administration was “very very close” to the end of its review. He would not divulge its results.

President Barack Obama faces the dilemma of either setting back the gradual progress toward repairing relations with Russia or disappointing two key NATO allies that agreed to host components of the planned missile defense system.

Administration officials were expected to brief lawmakers and government officials in Poland and the Czech Republic on results of the seven-month review Thursday. That’s the word from an administration official and a congressional aide. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.