Obama chose the worst day possible to make this announcement: the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland! Funny how President Bush was accused of tarnishing America world prestige (which he did) where as President Obama just simply aims to destroy America’s credibility (which he just did today).
I was somewhat surprised today to hear President Obama decide to scrap the European Missile Shield in a time when the United States needs to bolster its image and appearance of strength abroad, not weaken it. He wasn’t completely stupid in that he did back another missile system that unfortunately won’t be fully in place (if ever) by 2020, far too late to address Iran’s emerging ballistic technology. It seems President Obama is under operating under the mistaken notion that removing the missile shield program will somehow garner him political support and leverage with Russia and seem more amenable to the Iranians. Unfortunately the exact opposite will happen given the Iranian missile and nuclear programs are dependent upon the Russians.
The backlash has started of course and I agree with most of those opposed to Obama naive plans. John McCain (R-Az) called it “seriously misguided“. Boehner encourages Obama to reconsider. John Kyl (R-Az) has been quite vociferous and direct:
U.S. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl released a statement Thursday morning accusing the administration of caving to Russia.
“The decision announced today by the administration is dangerous and short-sighted,” the Arizona Republican said. “Not only does this decision leave America vulnerable to the growing Iranian long-range missile threat, it also turns back the clock to the days of the Cold War, when Eastern Europe was considered the domain of Russia. This will be a bitter disappointment, indeed, even a warning to the people of Eastern Europe.”
Russia will be happy and likely see it as tacit approval for their ever increasing aggressiveness and hostility towards their former Soviet republics. Likely too they will see this as tacit approval of their continued occupation of Georgian territory and a number of other issues that have strengthened America’s would be opponents.
More important than dropping one missile shield for another is this action will be seen to undermine U.S. influence and support in Eastern Europe who will now wonder if they can trust the United States any longer to stand beside them when a crises arises, especially nations like Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Georgia who will have to wonder if they’ve just been handed over to slaughter to the Russians. How can they trust the Administration after putting so much effort into assisting the United States in its War on Terror only to be effectively abandoned.
Whether Americans like it or not, the majority of the world still operates under the old political notion of “might makes right”. You have the guns and the money, you make the policy. Doing anything that is perceived to weaken your military capabilities or undermine your allies in turn makes you weak in many people’s eyes. Compromise is viewed as weakness. Appeasement is weakness.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” — E. Burke
Others commenting on this issue I thought were interesting:
Re: Obama’s Abandonment Of Missile Shield And New Developments in Iran’s Missile Capabilities :: Iran :: Hyscience
Left In Alabama:: Will Obama’s Cancellation of a Missile Shield Hurt Huntsville?
Bill’s Blog: Shuster Objects to Obama’s Decision to Deny Missile Shield to our East European Allies
Big Lizards:Blog:Entry “Gonna Lay Down My Missile Shield” (<–my favorite so far)
Gates warns of threat from China, Obama cuts missile shield to show he’s serious. « Sword and Sextant