Thursday, September 17, 2009

Betrayal with a capital 'B'

Well, like a slow-motion crash, the Obama Administration finally dumped the missile defense system that was to be installed in Poland and the Czech Republic. The reason: we don't need it, because Iran's long-range missile program isn't on track. Instead, we're going to concentrate on short- and medium-range missile defense systems.

This news broke the same day that the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) announced it now believes Iran can build a nuclear weapon and is likely to 'overcome problems' on developing a delivery system.

I don't know whether our technical assessment of the threat is accurate. (Remember how good our intelligence has been on other threats? But I digress.) If the more immediate threat is the shorter-range missiles, then by all means we should protect against them. But to dismiss the other threat strikes me as short-sighted in the extreme.

I also don't know if the Russians will deliver a quid pro quo for this obvious concession. They're unlikely to support sanctions against Iran; as recently as last week Russian prime minister Putin's spokesman said sanctions were out of the question, especially since there were "no grounds to doubt" that Iran's nuclear program was purely peaceful - dazzling mendacity, especially given the IAEA report.

I also have no idea if there's any way to regain the trust of the Poles and Czechs, our good allies in both Iraq and Afghanistan, now we've pulled the rug out from under their feet so unceremoniously (we did, after all, sign agreements with them, for what the word of the United States is worth). In particular, it's a great way to celebrate the anniversary of the Soviet invasion and partition of Poland in 1939.

When we 'betrayed' Poland at Yalta, at least we had the reasonable excuse of not wanting to take on the Red Army which had already occupied Poland. There's absolutely no excuse this time around.

No comments: