Friday, September 18, 2009

Obama Scores Against Stiff Defense

Pres. Obama announced yesterday that he is scrapping the Bushite plan for Missile Defense systems based in the Czech Republic and Poland designed to repel the threat of missile attack from "Iran".

This is the kind of good decision-making that we expected from Obama, and we want to be among the first to hail it. I have been going on about this one for about two years now. Obama's decision extracts an unnecessary thumb from the eye of the Russians, who never really believed that it was anything other than a clumsy effort toward encirclement of them. It may well pay off in some assistance from them with regard to reducing the threat of Iran's developing nuclear weapons.

But that is not, and should not, be the main point. This is elimination of an unnecessary defense system that does not promise to defend anyone from anything anytime soon, if ever. Instead, Obama continues to play the missile defense game, but in a smarter way, with mobile systems, which might be able to defend Israel from Iranian attacks (a much more plausible concern than Iran's attacking Central Europe).

Officially, the Czech and Polish governments will be upset. Their notification of the change may not have been handled in the most diplomatic way. I'll bet that majorities of their citizens (unlike their governments' leadership, which currently tends toward the extreme right) understand and approve of the decision, though.

1 comment:

Chin Shih Tang said...

It turns out that the day of the announcement (Sept. 17) marked the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by the Soviet Union.

This was probably unknown to us in the US; the date we'd know was Sept. 1, 1939, when Germany declared war on Poland. The Soviets just came in to help with the mop-up.

Still, we should show some regard for Polish sensibilities and fears of the Russians (who, it must be pointed out, are not really identical with the Soviets, even if there's a pretty heavy KGB flavor in the Russian government since Yeltsin. I suggest that we move our trip-wire NATO forces a bit forward, into Poland and the Czech Republic, under some sort of excuse. Not "missile defense"--instead it should be some sort of forward training facility, perhaps getting some Polish or Czech forces into Afghanistan?

We can tell the Russians what we're doing, which would probably be O.K., as long as we aren't doing it with Georgia and the Ukraine. Which we better not do.