Monday, September 21, 2009

Poland and the Czech Republic Under the Bus

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s decision to cancel plans to build a missile-defense system in Eastern Europe:

“I am disappointed with the Administration’s decision to cancel plans to develop missile defenses in Eastern Europe. This decision calls into question the security and diplomatic commitments the United States has made to Poland and the Czech Republic, and has the potential to undermine perceived American leadership in Eastern Europe. Given the strong and enduring relationships we have forged with the region’s nations since the end of the Cold War, we should not, I believe, take steps backward in strengthening these ties. Yet I fear the Administration’s decision will do just that, and at a time when Eastern European nations are increasingly wary of renewed Russian adventurism.

“Given the serious and growing threats posed by Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, now is the time when we should look to strengthen our defenses, and those of our allies. Missile defense in Europe has been a key component of this approach. I believe the decision to abandon it unilaterally is seriously misguided.”

On the seventieth anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland, President Obama announced a revision of the missile defense system in Europe, in Poland and the Czech Republic, in particular. From David Frum: "Sept. 17, 2009, is the day that the Obama administration yielded to Russian pressure and canceled the proposed missile defense system based in Poland and the Czech Republic. Today also happens to be the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, when Russia gulped down its share of the territories assigned by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Everyone in Poland remembers that anniversary. Apparently the Obama White House does not."

A disturbing pattern of slapping our friends and hugging our foes seems to be the foreign policy strategy of President Obama and his administration. Obama didn't even have the decency to pick up the telephone and call the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, before making his announcement to scrap the planning and building of the missile defense base in Poland. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, called around midnight but he refused her call. Who would blame him? It was the duty of the President to call his foreign equal in politics. According to Ben Smith in Politico, "A Polish Embassy spokesman noted that Tusk ultimately spoke to Obama, while Clinton spoke to the country's foreign minister.

Protocol matters on the world stage. The Obama administration continues to drop the ball.

Lech Walesa, former Polish President, said, "Americans have always cared only about their interests, and all other countries have been used for their purposes. This is another example. Poles need to review our view of American, we must first all take care of our business." .""I could tell from what I saw, what kind of policies President Obama cultivates. I simply don't like this policy, not because this shield was required in Poland, but because of the way we were treated."

And, from the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolanek, former prime minister, said, "This is not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence. It puts us in a position where we are not firmly anchored in terms of partnership, security and alliance, and that's a certain threat."

Joe Biden downplayed the Iranian threat to the U.S. So, with his track record of usually being on the wrong side of history in American foreign policy, that should speak volumes. You may recall that recently about Russia, Biden said, "They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to withstand the next 15 years, they're in a situation where the world is changing before them and they're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable." While that all may be true, but he said it to a Wall Street Journal reporter just after the diplomatic bum's rush was brought to Russia by Obama and Clinton. Hillary was already off to a rocky start there with her inane "reset" button fiasco. Russian newspapers had a field day with Biden's remarks.

Team Obama has a pattern of turning on our friends - Honduras the latest before this. Some lessons in protocol and friendship are sorely needed.


Tech said...

Doesn't Obama feel stupid now.

Kris, in New England said...

P.BO wouldn't listen to any "lessons"; it would be a waste of time. His arrogance knows no boundaries and clearly - while he speaks constantly about "teachable moments", he himself is immune to them.