Appeasement and betrayal

It’s nothing short of a national disgrace:

U.S. Shelves Eastern European Nuclear-Missile Shield

President Barack Obama Thursday shelved a Bush-era plan for an Eastern European missile-defense shield, saying a redesigned defensive system would be cheaper, quicker and more effective against the threat from Iranian missiles.

“After an extensive process, I have approved the unanimous recommendations of my secretary of defense and my joint chiefs of staff to strengthen America’s defenses against ballistic-missile attack,” Mr. Obama said in a morning address.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell Thursday said the decision was made to better protect U.S. forces and allies in Europe from Iranian missile attacks.

The U.S. is basing its move on a determination that Iran’s long-range-missile program hasn’t progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Czech peace activists demonstrated in February in front of the European Parliament in Brussels against the deployment of a U.S. radar base on Czech soil.

The findings are a major reversal from the Bush administration, which pushed aggressively to begin construction of the Eastern European system before leaving office in January.

“Reversal” is putting this nicely. This is an utter, craven appeasement of Moscow, which has never wanted this system installed in its former empire, making ridiculous claims that it somehow threatened Russia. As originally conceived, the radar stations and roughly a score of interceptor missiles were to protect Europe from a growing Iranian threat. They represented no threat to Moscow. In fact, the Bush administration offered to cooperate in a partnership with the Russians on a European missile shield. Russia’s outrage was in fact a cover for their fear of a continuing loss of influence over their former subject peoples in Central and Eastern Europe.

Poland and the Czech Republic saw this in a similar manner. They cooperated with the US over Afghanistan and Iraq (even sending troops to both places) and agreed to the missile-shield proposal. This was done not just out of a sense of interests shared between fellow democracies, not just out of a sense of worry over Iranian ambitions, but out of a very real geopolitical calculation that closer military ties to the world’s remaining superpower would protect them from a resurgent Russian bear. For the last eight years they have stuck their necks out to help us, and now President Obama has made fools of them.

This is a massive, self-inflicted wound for US foreign policy. Putin and his cronies in neo-czarist Russia have stared us down and won. This is a clear signal not only to Poland and the Czech Republic, but to all of the former USSR and Warsaw Pact nations, that the United States of America cannot be counted on in a showdown, that we will, instead, react with appeasement. And they had better, too. It is a message to Moscow that we concede, that their former satrapies are still their playthings, and that the current president lacks the will Ronald Reagan showed when confronting the Soviets in a much more heated crisis in the early 1980s. And, on top of that, it whitewashes the very real near-future threat of nuclear missiles in the hands of millenarian Islamic fanatics.

In the past, I’ve referred to our dealings with Iran as a “1930s watch” as a way to draw a parallel with the foolish years of appeasement that lead up to World War II. Obama’s decision will not make us safer, but it will make the world more dangerous. In his dealings with Russia (and Venezuela, and Cuba, and North Korea, and the Palestinians), President Obama has truly showed he is the heir of Chamberlain, not Churchill.

One other thing: This news comes out on an auspicious date – the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland.

I’ll bet they’re feeling the warm fuzzies in Warsaw, right now.

LINKS: Jonathan Adler; The Weekly Standard ( here, here, here, and here); Fausta; David Riddick; Eric Cantor; Hot Air; Heritage Foundation; the London Times has a scathing analysis of what Obama got in return (hint: nothing). John Bolton calls it preemptive capitulation. Polish reaction. Gird your loins: Vice-President Biden says Iran is not a threat. The Telegraph calls it a total victory for Putin. Clifford May – “Defenseless.” The Republic of Georgia gets the shaft, too. Nancy Pelosi congratulates the Administration. The IAEA (!) makes Obama look like the fool he is. Michael Goldfarb goes on a rant. Tom Donnelly looks at the Czech reaction: “…not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence.” Sister Toldjah calls it scary. She’s right. At Exurban League, the photo says it all.

FINALLY: It’s not as if he didn’t warn us.

EDITED: On 3/27/2012 to replace a broken video link.

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14 Responses to Appeasement and betrayal

  1. Porkchop says:

    Intercepting short and medium range missiles is sketchy, but feasible. Intercepting ICBMs only happens in gamed scenarios. Switching from defending against ICBMs (which Iran does not have) to defending against missiles they do actually have makes sense.

    ABM work is another gigantic pork project, just like the F-22. I know: I’ve worked on it. It is the classic “this is expensive and will take a long time and a lot of money” problem.

    You know what they really need right now? More helicopters.

    Again, just like with F-22, what are you really upset about here? That they didn’t install a radar station and ten missiles in the Czech Republic? Ten missiles isn’t enough to guarantee ONE shoot down, much less provide an effective deterrent. And lets say Iran does have a working missile system: do you really think they’re going to hit EUROPE? Fuck no: they’re going to dump it all on Israel. Check how much Israel is spending on ABM tech.

  2. [...] his recent moves of appeasement toward rivals and enemies from Moscow to Venezuela with his slaps in the face toward allies, this speech is at best a worrisome blueprint for the next three [...]

  3. [...] our allies in Eastern Europe in the back to appease Russia over missile [...]

  4. [...] trip to Moscow this week that the Administration truly got nothing from Moscow in return for backstabbing Eastern Europe over missile defense – nothing, that is, other than a humiliating slap in the [...]

  5. [...] talked about some of Obama’s notable gaffes before: for example stabbing Poland and the Czech Republic in the back over missile defense; backing a stooge of Venezuelan dictator Chavez against the constitutional [...]

  6. [...] This isn’t the only missile-defense program The Harbinger of Hope and Change has shut [...]

  7. [...] it. The only conclusion one can draw from these and other blunders is that we are lead by callow and incompetent (and even delusional) leaders. Their conduct of [...]

  8. [...] US ally tossed under the bus in an act of appeasement. Poland and the Czech Republic were both knifed in the back over missile defense. Israel has been under intense pressure in order to please the Arab states. [...]

  9. [...] US ally tossed under the bus in an act of appeasement. Poland and the Czech Republic were both knifed in the back over missile defense. Israel has been under intense pressure in order to please the Arab states. [...]

  10. [...] It might also be familiar because, as McKittrick points out, the PAC-3 was the missile-defense system to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic — that is, until Obama pulled the rug out from under them to appease Moscow. [...]

  11. [...] defense sites over strenuous Russian objections. At the time I was outraged and called it “appeasement and betrayal,” and my opinions haven’t changed. Barack Obama’s, amateurish, ham-handed, and [...]

  12. [...] the plan” is much too antiseptic a description for what really happened. As I wrote at the time: This is an utter, craven appeasement of Moscow, which has never wanted this system installed in [...]

  13. [...] Obama need the space for? Just what was he discussing regarding missile defense? He’s already scaled back our promising program severely. What more was he discussing with the Russians that would be too hot [...]

  14. [...] history of being the meat on the carving board whenever other great powers deal with Russia; Obama’s 2009 sellout over missile defense was only the most recent example. Now with Obama asking for [...]

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