The election and the North Korean missile tests give Obama the excuse to do what he wanted to do anyway:
MOSCOW — The United States has effectively canceled the final phase of a Europe-based missile defense system that was fiercely opposed by Russia and cited repeatedly by the Kremlin as a major obstacle to cooperation on nuclear arms reductions and other issues.
Russian officials here have so far declined to comment on the announcement, which was made in Washington on Friday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as part of a plan to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors to counter North Korea. The cancellation of some European-based defenses will allow resources to be shifted to protect against North Korea.
Russian leaders on several occasions used meetings with President Obama to press their complaints about the missile defense program. At one such meeting, in South Korea last March, Mr. Obama was heard on a live microphone telling the outgoing Russian president Dmitri A. Medvedev in a private aside that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on missile defense after the November presidential election in November.
Pentagon officials said that Russia’s longstanding objections played no role in the decision to reconfigure the missile interceptor program, which they said was based on the increased threat from North Korea and on technological difficulties and budget considerations related to the Europe-based program.
Left unmentioned: the clarification that Russian objections played no part in the decision was made during the opening monologue on SNL.