Poles, Czechs: US missile defense shift a betrayalBipartisan opposition in U.S. Senate
By Vanessa Gera
Associated PressSep 18,2009
WARSAW, Poland – Poles and Czechs voiced deep concern Friday at President Barack Obama's decision to scrap a Bush-era missile defense shield planned for their countries.
"Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back," the Polish tabloid Fakt declared on its front page.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he was concerned that Obama's new strategy leaves Poland in a dangerous "gray zone" between Western Europe and the old Soviet sphere.
The Bush administration's plan would have been "a major step in preventing various disturbing trends in our region of the world," Kaczynski said in a guest editorial in the daily Fakt and also carried on his presidential Web site.
An editorial in Hospodarske Novine, a respected pro-business Czech newspaper, said: "an ally we rely on has betrayed us, and exchanged us for its own, better relations with Russia, of which we are rightly afraid."
The move has raised fears in the two nations they are being marginalized by Washington even as a resurgent Russia leaves them longing for added American protection.
"No Radar. Russia won," the largest Czech daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes, declared in a front-page headline.
Remember how then candidate Obama said we need not fear his foreign policy views because he had people like Indiana Senator Dick Lugar by his side? Here's what Sen. Lugar had to say about this decision:
Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.), the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the calls to Polish and Czech leaders came “in the middle of the night” and could endanger foreign countries’ support for the U.S. effort in Afghanistan.“To do this kind of action without any more notification than that is certainly not a confidence-builder,” Lugar said.
Heck, Obama couldn't even get Missouri's Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), to go along: “I’m concerned about scrapping it...I think missile defense is a very, very important part of our arsenal.”
Colunmist Ralph Peters sums up the issue:
Obama feeds allies to the BearIt's pretty clear that Obama cares more about appeasing the left and the Russians (which are pretty much the same thing) than he does about building friendship and trust with our allies. And as for his campaign statement about following Dick Lugar's lead on foreign policy, like so much in Obama's world, those were just words. They meant nothing!
By Ralph Peters
New York Post
September 18, 2009
STILL determined to "push the reset button with Russia," President Obama hit the delete key on our allies in Eastern Europe.
Obama's decision to abandon missile defense as we know it, cutting the throats of Poland and the Czech Republic, handed Moscow's hard-liners their biggest win since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russian strongman Vladimir Putin insisted all along that we'd never be permitted to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system in the former Soviet empire. He was right.
And Obama got nothing in return. No Russian commitments on Iran's nuclear program. No sovereignty guarantees for Georgia. No restrictions on arms sales to Venezuela. Not even a bearhug.
The move to kill this program was a White House attempt to toss a bone to the extreme left, which has always hated missile defense. (Why defend ourselves, when we're the enemy?) For that, Obama betrayed the trust of allies who'd done all they could to please us.
The Poles spent enormous political capital to convince their citizens to risk this deployment. They've backed us consistently in NATO and the UN. They sent combat troops to support us in Iraq.
The Czechs also fought our political battles for us, supporting our foreign wars and siding with us in international forums -- angering West European powers.
Now add Poland and the Czech Republic to the list of allies, such as Israel and Honduras, that we've thrown to the wolves. Obama's foreign policy embodies a line from "Animal House": "You [screwed] up -- you trusted us!"
But the worst thing is how this decision's read in Moscow. Putin, Russia's new czar, sees this as a triumph of his will over Obama's weak, retreating US. And he's right.
Thus it came to pass that, 70 years to the day after the Red Army invaded Poland, Warsaw's residents heard the news of this US betrayal and the implicit message that, yes, Eastern Europe still belongs in Moscow's sphere of influence.
If you're a citizen of Ukraine, Georgia or even the NATO-member Baltic states, you must be shuddering. You thought NATO and the US were serious about your right to live in freedom?
Better dig that Latvian-Russian dictionary out of the attic.
The last thing we needed to do was to further encourage Putin to believe he's all-knowing and invincible. But that's just what we've done.
Moscow believes we just signed over a new lease on Eastern Europe. And we didn't even get a tin of caviar. Will the Obama-Putin Act go down in history as the post-modern Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?