Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obama Scraps Eastern Europe Missile Defense On 70th Anniversary of Soviet Invasion Of Poland

Of all available days on the calendar, today is the day the Obama Administration announced its decision to scrap plans to build the Bush era missle defense shield over Europe that was to be installed in Poland and the Czech Republic. On this date in history without a formal declaration of war on 17 September 1939 the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany invaded Poland, less than one month after the Bolsheviks signed the Molitov-Reibbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany. Temporarily freed from mutual suspicion the Nazis and Communists took the mutually advantageous oportunity to invade Poland simultaeneously. Poland fell to the advancing hordes within weeks.

My hunch is the timing of the announcement was no accident. If Obama wanted to send a message to Poland and the Czech Republic, the message was read loud and clear. The Times OnLine UK comments:

President Obama dismayed America's allies in Europe and angered his political opponents at home today when he formally ditched plans to set up a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

"This is not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence," said Mirek Topolanek, the former Czech Prime Minister. "It puts us in a position where we are not firmly anchored in terms of partnership, security and alliance, and that’s a certain threat."

This was the scene in Poland 70 years ago to the day.

Obama's pronouncement today scuttled the anti-missile system that was to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic over the objections of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and China's President Hu Jintao. Obama's decision to 'shelve' the system gives a diplomatic victory to the Russians and Chinese in exchange for a promise by those two countries to 'get tough' with their client state Iran.

In rationalizing his reversal of the Bush policy, President Obama maintained, this new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack. Missle interceptors reportedly initially be placed instead on ships while land-based systems would be deployed at some future date. The plan was sufficiently vague to prompt high praise from the Kremlin. We value the U.S. president's responsible approach toward implementing our agreements, said Russia's Dmitry Medvedev in a televised address.

Here is the President's speech today.

Deployment of the anti-missile system was designed to thwart any long range nuclear attacks by Iran on Europe. Reflecting Administration confidence in the plan Vice-President Joe Biden told CNN reporter Chris Lawrence, I think we are fully capable and secure dealing with any present or future potential Iranian threat. To keep this in quote in context, remember this is the man of whom former President Bush said, If bullshit were currency Joe Biden would be a Billionaire!

Critics of the missile shield claimed that Iran poses no threat to Europe at the present time and that deployment of the system is a waste of money but recent reports show that Iran is close to mounting a nuclear warhead onto a ballistic missile. In a classified document revealed to the Associated Press the IAEA report said Iran has sufficient information to build a bomb and will likely overcome problems in developing a delivery system.

Obama's shift in policy toward Eastern Europe has been eyed nerviously by pro-American governments in the former Soviet Bloc.

The KyivPost observes:

Ex-communist states have already noticed that the unwavering support provided to them by the Bush administration and its tough rhetoric against Russia has been replaced in Washington by a more pragmatic, conciliatory stance.

Not to worry however, I'm sure there is nothing in this development that a well placed speech by President Obama can't handle.

Interesting times indeed.

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