American healthcare aside (“If you like your plan…”), there are some promises that President Obama has kept. Notably, his promise last year to Russia’s Vladimir Putin — accidentally overheard by the entire world , via an open microphone — that once he’d won the 2012 presidential election, he’d have more “flexibility.” He was true to his word. With this September’s Russia-brokered deal over Syria’s chemical weapons, the Obama administration showed flexibility enough to compete with Cirque du Soleil.
Now, just when it seemed that U.S. policy toward Russia could hardly become more flexible without requiring all Americans to dine daily on borscht (or does the Affordable Care Act already include a provision for that?), here comes a story in the New York Times, headlined “A Russian GPS Using U.S. Soil Stirs Spy Fears.”  The gist is that the State Department is gung-ho to allow the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos  (which coordinates with Russian military launches), to install on U.S. turf some half a dozen electronic monitor stations for a Russian Global Positioning System. The Times reports that not everyone in the administration thinks this is a great idea. The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency see this plan as a threat to U.S. security: “They fear that these structures could help Russia spy on the United States and improve the precision of Russian weaponry.”
But does that worry the State Department? Not according to the Times, which goes on to provide the following account of the State Department’s rationale: