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LONDON — “Some experts have doubts about the missile shield concept,” as the more cautious reporters put it. (That example comes from the BBC Web site.) A franker journalist would say that the ballistic missile defense (BMD) system that the Bush administration planned to put into Poland and the Czech Republic, and that President Barack Obama has just canceled, has never worked and shows few signs of ever doing so.

Obama has done the right thing. It saves money that would have been wasted, and it repairs relations with Russia, which was paranoid about the system being so close to its borders. And the cancellation also signals a significant decline in the paranoia in Washington about Iran.

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