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Pundits & Editorials

Obama's decision to scrap missile defense in Eastern Europe provokes critical warnings. Plus: Brooks and Robinson delve into race's role in the political debate.

Paul Krugman criticizes Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus' health care legislation plan and insists that it "has to change. What matters now is the direction in which it changes."

President Obama "has the same problem he's had since the start, only magnified," Kimberley A. Strassel senses. "That would be the left wing of his party, which is about to rip up the Baucus bill, making an ugly product grotesque."


Charles Krauthammer outlines three reasons why he is critical of Obama's "relationship with the truth" in terms of health care reform.

Eugene Robinson looks "forward to the day when we can look past race. But before we can do so, we need to look at race and see it clearly. Jimmy Carter did us a favor."

David Brooks counters that the recent backlash at Obama, including the tea-party protests and Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst, are not due to race. "There are other, equally important strains in American history that are far more germane to the current conflicts."


• The Los Angeles Times thinks both Obama and Carter were right in their reaction to Wilson's outburst, "if you allow for hyperbole in Carter's case and political calculation in Obama's."

• The "entire 'debate' over whether opposition to Obama's health-care reform is racist is totally, completely and in every way conceivable an invention of the left," Jonah Goldberg scoffs.

William Schneider thinks Wilson's outburst has compelled "outraged Democrats" to "rally to the cause of health care reform."

• In the campaign finance case before the Supreme Court, Stuart Taylor Jr. "fears" that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito will "aggravate the Court's polarization and give plausibility to charges of conservative judicial activism."


• By "scrapping" a missile defense plan in Poland and the Czech Republic, Obama has, "whether it was his intention or not, conceded to" Russian leaders, the Washington Post warns.

• The New York Times says ending the plan was a "sound strategic decision" but cautions that Obama must press Russia hard on the U.S.-Russian nuclear agreement.

• "Ok, Russia, you should be happy. You won," the Chicago Tribune writes. "Now it's time to reciprocate. Squeeze Iran hard. That should be part of this deal."

• In the Washington Post, David J. Kramer, a former assistant secretary of State responsible for Russia in the Bush administration, says Obama's missile defense decision is a "serious betrayal" to our Polish and Czech allies.

• The Wall Street Journal says the U.S. is alienating itself from its Eastern European allies as well and remarks that the decision "also undermines the credibility of the U.S. nuclear defense umbrella."

• The decision "needs to be explained with care and supported with other adjustments in defence planning," the Financial Times explains. "Otherwise it risks undermining US relations with allies and letting Russia believe that, if pushed, the US will back down."

Philip Stephens wants the administration's strategy toward Iran to replace sanctions with "political and economic incentives" in order to dissuade the country from pursuing a nuclear program.

• In the Times of London, Gen. David Petraeus maintains that the Afghanistan war will "require a sustained, substantial commitment."

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