If you read Winston Churchill's Nobel Prize winning history of the Second World War you'll be constantly struck by how very right Churchill was to oppose giving up leverage over the Soviet Union until they had fulfilled their pledges to allow Poland to have free elections after the war.
At every step along the way President Franklin Roosevelt insisted we had to live up to our agreements to withdraw from occupied German territory. Roosevelt felt that if we showed the Soviets we would live up to the letter of our agreements without conditions they would do the same.
Roosevelt's mistaken in the honor of Soviet leader Josef Stalin was a key factor in enabling the Cold War which lasted for decades, held half of Europe hostage and brought the world to the brink of all out nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame you me!
The West learned their lesson in dealing with the Soviets the hard way. Why is it that Barack Obama seems intent on making that mistake again with the Russians? While we are no longer involved in a cold war with Russia, they remain strategic competitors and they don't exist to do us favors.
So, this news is very troubling:
Obama 'ready to drop shield plans for Russian help on Iran'Clearly no one in Obama land has thought this one through. Russian help to obtain some vague agreement with Iran which they are unlikely to honestly implement is stupid in the extreme.
Novosti: Russian News and Information Agency
March 3, 2009
Washington has told Moscow that Russian help in resolving Iran's nuclear program would make its missile shield plans for Europe unnecessary, a Russian daily said on Monday, citing White House sources.
U.S. President Barack Obama made the proposal on Iran in a letter to his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, Kommersant said, referring to unidentified U.S. officials.
Iran's controversial nuclear program was cited by the U.S. as one of the reasons behind its plans to deploy a missile base in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic. The missile shield has been strongly opposed by Russia, which views it as a threat to its national security. The dispute has strained relations between the former Cold War rivals, already tense over a host of other differences.
The issue is likely to be discussed when Obama and Medvedev meet in London on April 2 on the sidelines of the G20 summit of world leaders to address the financial crisis. Earlier reports said Medvedev had also invited the U.S. leader to visit Russia and the date of Obama's first visit to the largest country in the world could be announced in the British capital.
In an interview on Sunday with Spanish media, Medvedev said he hoped to discuss the issue of missile defense with Obama in London. He also said he hoped the new U.S. administration would display a "more creative approach" to the issue than its predecessors.
"We have received signals from our American colleagues," Medvedev said. "I expect those signals will turn into specific proposals. I hope to discuss the issue, which is extremely important for Europe, with U.S. President Barack Obama."
Worse still to allow Moscow to essentially gain a veto of U.S. defenses with some fancy smoke and mirrors trick.
But that's not the the worst consequence of such a foolhardy policy. The Bush Administration went to extraordinary lengths to cement strong security relationships with Poland and the Czech Republic where components of the missile defense system are scheduled to be built. Leaders in those countries took grave political risks in leading public opinion to permit the deployments of those systems. NATO issued the Bucharest Communique agreeing to the implementation of this plan.
Obama would be throwing away years of patient diplomatic effort based on little more than words and promises. Ask yourself this: do you think that the leaders in Europe who risked their careers and went out on a limb in agreeing to the Bush Administration plan would be likely to agree to revisit the plan once Obama cancels it and the need arises?
With Russia's invasion of Georgia last year a number of the states of Central and Eastern Europe turned even more towards the West and sought closer security ties specifically with the United States. All that is undermined if this complex agreement is scrapped.
Conservatives were told that we should be reassured with Obama's selections for national security personnel. But just like the policy decisions coming from his economic team this plan shows that the adults are not in charge.