This day in Obama foreign policy.September 18 2009 at 2:46 PM
The Nobel Prize winner Lech Walesa unloads on Obama:
"Americans have always cared only about their interests, and all other [countries] have been used for their purposes. This is another example," Mr Wasa told TVN24. "[Poles] need to review our view of America, we must first of all take care of our business," he added.
"I could tell from what I saw, what kind of policies President Obama cultivates," the former president added. "I simply don't like this policy, not because this shield was required [in Poland], but [because of] the way we were treated," he concluded.
I hope and believe
|September 18 2009, 2:54 PM |
that Walesa and others understand the difference between Obama Administration policy and actions and the attitudes and values of mainstream America...
Us as well
|September 18 2009, 3:04 PM |
That not all Venezualans feel as Chavez does, or all Iranians feel as their leaders (I'll pass on trying to spell them) do.......
"It's better these days to be a U.S. adversary than its friend."
|September 18 2009, 3:11 PM |
Obama's Missile Offense
President Obama promised he would win America friends where, under George W. Bush, it had antagonists. The reality is that the U.S. is working hard to create antagonists where it previously had friends.
That's one conclusion to draw from President Obama's decision yesterday to scrap a missile-defense agreement the Bush Administration negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic. Both governments took huge political risksincluding the ire of their former Russian overlordsin order to accommodate the U.S., which wanted the system to defend against a possible Iranian missile attack. Don't expect either government to follow America's lead anytime soon.
"If the Administration approaches us in the future with any request, I would be strongly against it," Jan Vidim, a conservative Czech lawmaker who voted for the system, told the Associated Press.
The White House justifies its decision by claiming to have new intelligence showing that Iran's long-range missile capabilities are not as advanced as previously believed. Instead, it intends to upgrade and deploy currently available missile interceptors that are useful mainly for intercepting short- and medium-range missiles, where, it says, Iranian capability "is developing more rapidly than previously projected."
We're all for deploying interceptors to stop Iranian missiles of every range. But the Administration's argument is difficult to credit, not least because our sources told us as early as February that the Administration was prepared to abandon those siteswhich is to say, well before the allegedly new intelligence became available.
It's also hard to square the intelligence community's sanguine assessment with Iran's successful launch of the solid-fuel Sejil missile in May. With an estimated range of 1,560 miles, the Sejil could deliver a one-ton payload as far as Warsaw. That cannot be comforting when the International Atomic Energy Agency is now saying that Iran has "sufficient information" to build an atomic bomb and will also "overcome problems" involved in its delivery system.
The Administration's likelier motive for scrapping the interceptors is that it hopes to win Russia's vote at the U.N. Security Council for tougher sanctions on Iran. Maybe the Russians have secretly agreed to such a quid pro quo, though publicly they were quick to deny it following yesterday's decision.
And as Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov has noted, Vladimir Putin's Kremlin benefits by keeping the Iranian crisis on a low boil, because the threat of a Middle East crisis drives energy prices up while putting U.S. interests at risk. Russia also likes spooning out dollops of diplomatic help at the U.N. in exchange for material Western concessions. This time, the concession was missile defense. Next time, perhaps, the West can be seduced into trading away the pro-Western government of Georgia, or even Ukraine.
That's hardly an idle fear. It has been the tragic fate of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe to be treated as bargaining chips in the designs of their more powerful neighbors. Their inclusion in NATO and EU was supposed to have buried that history, but Russia's new assertiveness, including its willingness to cut off energy supplies in winter and invade Georgia last year, is reviving powerful fears. Officials in Warsaw surely noticed that President Obama cancelled the missile system 70 years to the day that the Soviet Union invaded Poland as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany.
The U.S. decision also undermines the credibility of the U.S. nuclear defense umbrella. The Bush Administration sought to develop a global defense posture in part to reassure allies that they don't need their own nuclear deterrent, even as rogue regimes seek nuclear arms and the missiles to deliver them. America's Europe reversal tells other countries that they can't rely on the U.S. so it's best to follow the Israeli path and develop their own weapon and defenses. For that matter, this also makes the U.S. East Coast less safe; the ground-based system in Alaska and California covers the East, but barely. The Polish and Czech sites were to provide added protection.
The European switcheroo continues Mr. Obama's trend of courting adversaries while smacking allies. His Administration has sought warmer ties with Iran, Burma, North Korea, Russia and even Venezuela. But it has picked trade fights with Canada and Mexico, sat on trade treaties with Colombia and South Korea, battled Israel over West Bank settlements, ignored Japan in deciding to talk with North Korea, and sanctioned Honduras for its sin of resisting the encroachments of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez.
We're reminded of the rueful quip, by scholar Bernard Lewis, that the problem with becoming friends with the U.S. is that you never know when it will shoot itself in the foot.
Re: "It's better these days to be a U.S. adversary than its friend."
|September 19 2009, 2:19 PM |
As middle east scholar Bernard Lewis warned, during the debate on withdrawal from Iraq, America risks being seen as "harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend."
Payoff to the Political Left
|September 19 2009, 2:12 PM |
The political left is against the missile defense shield; Obama's decision was to appease the left. Expect to see more payoffs to the left in exchange for dropping the public opinion in the health insurance reform efforts.
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