Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Real Change in Foreign Policy

For all those who claim that Obama's new foreign policy is all about new atmospherics, it's time to think again. There has been a profound shift - the USA is going to abandon Bush/Cheney's idea of a Eastern-European-based missile defense system, largely in Czech Republic and Poland. The Poles and Czechs are keeping mum for now, awaiting consultation (the leak happened prematurely). My guess is that there is some particularly nice present waiting for them in return for accepting the change. There usually is. Republicans are screaming as if the Cold War were on, forgetting momentarily that they kept saying that missile defense shield wasn't about Russia, but about Iran and North Korea. NATO Sec-Gen Anders Rasmussen spoke favorably of the change in policy.

There is no indiciation that this was done to please Russia, although it will certainly please Russia. It may have been done as part of the START III talks, but again, there is no particular indication of this. It is noteworthy that the Kremlin's response has been muted. For what it's worth, TASS says that President Medvedev is currently earning his keep by playing host to Prince Alois of Liechtenstein. It is also noteworthy that according to TASS, the head of the Duma (a nobody with a big title) said that (my trans.) "On the one hand, it shows a narrower, more objective view of the Iranian situation. On the other hand, it shows a new seriousness about the relationship and strategic dialog between the USA and Russia as the most important factor in global political stabilization. Russia is beginning to understand the Obama administration." The official word, however, is that the Russians are "awaiting confirmation."

I'm delighted because I believe that missile defense system was a financial and political boondoggle designed to reward "new Europe" for its participation in the Iraq War. There appear to be other ways to design the system. And if it does allow the USA and Russia to work together on Iran, that will be a big help.

Some will portray this as a Munich moment, as backing down. It seems to me that, if a trade of some kind was made, it was a good one: trading the illusory for the real. The best safeguard against Iran is not missile defense, but Russian cooperation. The neoconservatives see it exactly the other way around.


Raised By Republicans said...

CNN's version of the story includes a map locating the positions of the main radar and missile launch points of the old Bush-Cheney plan. The radar was going to be near Prague and the ABM launch site was going to be in North Western Poland - between Gdansk and the Polish-German border. I'm not a defense expert but that would certainly seem to be better placement for defending Germany and Scandinavia from Russia than for defending Romania, Bulgaria and Greece from Iran.

Of course the Republicans will be outraged, that's what they do these days. And certain neighborhoods in Chicago and Cleveland will be seething with resentment. But my guess is that most Americans will see this as "inside baseball."

To the extent that this improves relations with Russia and provides a better defense against Iran - kudos to Obama's foreign policy and defense team!

The Law Talking Guy said...

Republicans are saying this is like Munich or Yalta. They obviously know very little about Munich or Yalta. It is, at most, like Kennedy quietely withdrawing (obsolete) missiles from Turkey well after the Cuban Missile Crisis as part of a deal that nonetheless that made the USSR suffer a public defeat in connection with the crisis.

I suggest it is none of these things. It is a simple calculation that the Bush plan to put the missile defense in Czech Republic and Poland was divisive within the European Union, NATO, AND needlessly provocative to Russia - needlessly because it served no US foreign policy purpose other than to reward Poland for its participation in the Iraq conflict.

Raised By Republicans said...

Didn't McCain more or less say the same thing during the Georgia crisis whenever anyone suggested not nuking Russia?

I think you are right about this being an upgrade of a policy. I think it was made possible because the new administration hadn't dug its heels in on the old policy.

Anonymous said...

Law Talking Guy, you don't follow the money.

This missile thing was only another way for the Bushcheneyrove gang to help the merchants of death increase their profits.

As a left left person, I hate to admit it, but I agree with the South Carolina warbler, he does lie.

Except for raising the ban on stem cell research, I haven't seen him doing anything that he in his lawyerly way he "implied" during his election campaign.

Damn, it really pisses me off to agree with a bought and paid for politician. Especially one from South Carolina.

Raised By Republicans said...

Anonymous 11:55 first says that the original ABM plan was just a corrupt scheme for the Bushies to line their pockets. Then s/he rails against Obama for not doing anything meaningful to change things - going so far as to accuse Obama of being a liar.

But it seems to me that if Anonymous 11:55 is correct about the Bush ABM plan (and I'm inclined to think that personal gain may have played at least some part in their policy choices in this instance) and Obama cancelled it, then one has to admit that this at least represents real change for the better. And if Anonymous 11:55 was too quick to judge Obama in this instance, perhaps s/he could reconsider his/her judgement of the President in other areas as well.

rob fletcher said...

I do guess they want us bury alive? Or, what??? We need all the protection we can get due to the hate they have for us and our "Freedom"!!! Help!!!