Is this a case of the squeakiest wheel getting the grease? Or if you are inclined to be less charitable, did President Obama cave to Russia?
In either case, President Obama chose to abandon the ballistic missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic without seeming to notice the historical significance of his decision, which came on the 70th Anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Poland. Aside from that, the President was quick to draw out the differences between capitulation and appeasement. He said the decision to abandon the missile shield was based on a strategic shift.
“Pentagon officials said the decision to move away from the shield was based on intelligence indicating Iran is focused on developing short- and medium-range missiles rather than the long-range intercontinental missiles originally feared.”
The timing was terrible (literally — Poland and the Czech Republic were only notified just an hour or two ahead of time) and our Eastern European allies are now wondering where exactly do they fit into America’s policy.
Many politicians in the missile shield’s putative host countries – Poland and the Czech Republic – will undoubtedly feel jilted and let down by Washington. Former Soviet bloc countries had already begun to voice concerns that Washington’s vaunted reset of relations with Moscow would come at their expense. For many, this move is likely to be seen as a disappointing confirmation of that.
As for the policy in and of it self, it is nothing more than a continuation of the Democrats Against Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Even if that means it offers Moscow a chance to consider its policies and bullying behavior as a victory over the Obama administration. By taking on a non-confrontational role with Russia, President Obama hopes he can lure Russia into becoming a working partner with the U.S. against Iran and terrorism. Additionally, work closer on policy goals like disarmament. So the possibilities for President Obama, in his eyes, are win-win. But right now it looks more like a very huge gamble, if not a misguided attempt to secure cooperation through appeasement.
As for another important matter the president’s decision does not come without a big opportunity cost that may have a negative effect on the U.S. For starters, how willing will our allies in Central and Eastern Europe be to trust us if they worry about America’s commitment to security and stabilization? Lastly, how much more will President Obama be willing to sacrifice for the sake of Russia?