Missile defense was the first topic of discussion at the high-profile meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. Delegates decided to boost funding for a massive system that would intercept threatening missiles in midair over the U.S. and Europe.
The defense system is specifically designed to ward off a potential missile attack from Iran, currently the biggest threat to American and European security. NATO has invited Russia, once considered a missile threat during the Cold War of the 1950s-80s, to join the missile defense plan as a way to "reset" relations.
Afghanistan is expected to be on the agenda for the rest of the NATO summit, since most NATO countries have some troops on the ground there. President Obama is spearheading an effort to shift the focus of the war to training Afghan forces. But, for now, the U.S. is showing that it is committed to Afghanistan for the long term - Americans recently sent heavily armored M-1 Abrams battle tanks to the area for the first time.
"We've agreed to develop missile defense capability that is strong enough to cover all NATO European territory and populations, as well as the United States. This important step forward builds on the new phased adaptive approach to missile defense that I announced for the United States last year." - President Barack Obama
"We believe that it is important for us to listen closely to the government and people of Afghanistan about their concerns and to try to address them. And we also believe that our mission in Afghanistan is making progress." - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
1. Which countries are America’s allies, which are our historical enemies?
2. Where is Europe? How are Europe's security concerns different from those of the U.S.?
3 What are some modern military threats against the United States?
4. Is the U.S. the only country involved in the war in Afghanistan?
1. Why do you think Americans and Europeans are trying to 'reset' relations with Russia? What history do the U.S. and Russia have with each other?
2. Do you think major international meetings like the NATO summit are good places to get things done and achieve agreements between countries? Why or why not?
3. Why do you think the U.S. is bringing tanks into Afghanistan even as it is trying to exit from the war in the long term?
4. How would you resolve the war in Afghanistan?