In the morning hours of September 17, 2009, an astonishing story was reported on various news networks around the world. The headline that I came across on CNN was the following: “U.S. scraps missile defense shield plans”. For those of us not familiar with this topic, let me offer a very short background. During the Bush administration, President Bush proposed a plan to install missile defense shields both in Poland and the Czech Republic. These plans for the defense shields were mainly established because the Bush administration recognized “a perceived nuclear threat from Iran” and wanted to establish a means to resolve or at lease minimize this threat.
For the most part, the missile defense shield system at least in the American state of mind would be set up in order to prevent attacks from Iran. At the same time it gained so much support and enthusiasm from citizens of Poland and the Czech Republic and the disdain of the Russian government for completely different reasons. The fact is, as the CNN article rightly points out, as soon as news of the plans came out, Poland and the Czech Republic began to base “much of their future security policy on getting the missile defenses from United States”. And why do you ask would these two countries be so focused and supportive of such a system? The answer is as clear as day and historically supported- they share the same enemy from whom they both fear future attack- Russia.
This is why I am sure that the leaders of both the Czech Republic and Poland must have been devastated when they heard Obama’s news (a Polish spokeswoman stated, “This is catastrophic for Poland”). Now that we’ve got down the major facts of this developing story let us move on to an even more interesting and complicated question: why would the U.S. (and when I say that I mean Obama, since I think that it will soon come out that this was mainly his idea) do this in the first place? As soon as the missile defense shield plan was established, Russia was the first to fiercely oppose it. A missile defense system in their back yard was not something that the Russians wanted to deal with as they probably felt that it would compromise their authority in the region.
While Bush was still in office he did not care what Putin or any other Russian leader felt on the topic, because he knew that strategically and defensively this was a sound idea that would provide more benefits than losses. We were not going to be bullied by Russians into doing what felt comfortable and advantageous for them. Now with the new Obama administration this is no longer the case. America has now become the great appeaser and apologizer. Over the summer during talks with the Russian president Medvedev, Russia kept stressing their intense displeasure with the whole plan that Bush proposed.
Ever since then Obama has been trying to think of ways to get back on Russia’s good aide. And how do you do that? Give up a sound missile defense shield plan that would have given stability and a sense of security and empowerment to countries like Poland and the Czech Republic. The administration tries to explain that their actions are not a way to appease Russians but rather a result of the fact that Obama believes that Iran is no longer a threat. Even journalists and politicians are not completely buying Obama’s logic and say that “Russia may view the move as a diplomatic victory after complaining about the program consistently”. I guess the only thing more laughable and ironic about Obama’s actions is when he decided to introduce the proposal: September 17, 2009. For those of you who may not be history buffs let me remind you that on September 17, 1939 the Soviets invaded Poland, a country that was already fighting a war on one front against the Nazi’s. Son on the anniversary of that tragedy, Poland is yet again in a similar position that it was 70 years ago: being betrayed by its allies because of fears of riling too many feathers in the Russia government, because God knows we can’t afford to lose “friends” (bullies, depending on how you look at it) that are such an important element of how the world will look at us.
So has America become the spunky logically minded country that stands up for its beliefs, stands up to bullies and protects its real friends, or merely a minion who follows the demands of the bully in order to uphold its image of a partner of cooperative efforts, even if these efforts include the enemy? The only picture that comes to mind now is one of Obama and Medvedev sitting around the campfire singing “Kumbaya” while the other campers (Poland, the Czech Republic, logic, decency and a sense of honesty and alliance) are left in the dark woods of international insecurity for wolves to devour.