Sunday, November 9, 2008

Missile shield or not missile shield?

Much is expected from the President-Elect of the United States. However, setting aside hope and change, there are some very important problems awaiting him on the first day and even before in the field of foreign affairs, which is the President's domain, according to the Constitution.

It would seem, Barack Obama is trying to do what he did during his electoral campaign: be all things to all men (and, maybe, women but we are not too sure about that). Via Environmental Republican we get the curious story of the President-Elect's discussions with the President of Poland (we are talking about a real president here, not the unelected one of the European Commission).

As we know Poland hemmed and ha-ed a bit but signed the missile shield agreement with the United States very swiftly after the invasion of Georgia. Russia, in the shape of Prime Minister Putin President Medvedev, has announced this week that in response to the missile defence shield that is supposed to protect Europe against a possible attack from Iran, short-range missiles will be postioned in the Kaliningrad (formerly Königsberg) enclave. Now we wonder what the new American President will do.

The answer is that it depends on who you listen to.
President-elect Obama has spoken to the president of Poland about relations between the two countries but didn't make a commitment on the multibillion-dollar missile defense program undertaken by the Bush administration, an Obama aide said Saturday.

That contrasts with a statement by Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who said Obama told him the missile defense project would continue.
Great, just great. We now have an American President who thinks he can still go on voting "present" as he did most of the time as Senator or say one thing to his adoring supporters and the media (but I repeat myself) and another to a leader to a friendly country, just as he did with the infamous NAFTA statements.

As Environmental Republican puts it:
Putin is paying attention and he's gauging the make up of the man who will replace Bush. I'm sure he's smiling with Obama's response to this issue. He's rebuilding his military (a sorry military at present) in hopes of becoming the power broker in Eastern Europe, Southwestern Asia, the Northern Pacific and the Arctic. The Bush administrations aim with placing the missile shield in Poland was to assure our ally that we are paying attention plus to force Russia's hand. Obama has
essentially laid all that work to waste by his dithering.

This was not an easy plan for Lech Kaczynski to get his country to accept and he probably spent massive political capital to do so and Obama leaves the man hanging on an issue of great import.

This is no longer a campaign, that's already been won. This is not speaking in front of adoring fans who mindlessly scream "Yes we can" after every sentence. No, this is the real deal where decisions (or none decisions as the case may be) have immediate and far-reaching effect. If Europe finally likes us again as liberals are so happy to point out, it sure seems strange to leave a major European country (and one that suffered first under the Nazis then under the Soviets in recent history) twisting in the wind.
The comments are interesting. Some are clearly ignorant and motivated solely by a growing isolationism; others make pertinent points about Western Europe's role in the world at the moment.

1 comment:

Pat Patterson said...

I wouldn't even claim that this fence straddling could even be termed the equivalent of "Present." The President Elect would have had to have been in the same room as President Kaczynski. This appears to be a version of a conversation overheard via speaker phone while in two different rooms.