Obama Czechs His Instinct on Missile Shield in Eastern Europe, at Least for Now

by Mike on April 5, 2009

in Europe,International Relations,Politics,Russia,War on Terror

President Obama has announced that the United States will push forward with the planned missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.  However, Obama also reserved the right to change his mind in the event Iran no longer posed a threat.

On the surface, Obama’s decision resembles a welcome departure from the mixed signals sent during the transition.  On the other hand, our two allies should be a little nervous because Obama appears to be using the missile shield as a bargaining chip with the Iranian theocracy. Dangling the prospect of removing a missile system from Iran’s neighborhood as an incentive for them to dismantle its nuclear program may be a legitimate ploy under normal circumstances.  That isn’t the case here.

What Obama either does not understand or chooses to ignore is that Poland and the Czech Republic risked a great deal by agreeing to the installation of a missile defense system in their countries around the same time Russia revived its tradition of aggression in the region.  Abandoning the missile defense system, either now or as a result of  negotiations held in the near future, after the Poles and Czechs openly acted against the wishes of their former masters, would be a slap in the face to our allies.

Obama will be doing the right thing if he follows through on his current rhetoric.  Unfortunately, Obama’s promises always come with an expiration date.  Hopefully this one will expire after he leaves office.

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