Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Hopey-Ex-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

Let me start with what I wrote in an update to this post where I first noted the rumor that we'd abandon our missile defense plans for Eastern Europe.

Yes, indeed, we did this. I wake up on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland (September 17, 1939) to find we've signed up for our very own Hopey-Ex-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact with Putin's Russia. Is this what "smart diplomacy" is all about? Running away on really significant dates in history? Doesn't anybody in the Obama administration have one of those little "this day in history" doohickies on their desktop to check these things out? Couldn't somebody have told the boss, "Uh, sir, perhaps selling out the Poles on September 17th isn't the best idea." Hmm?

I was pretty shocked when I realized the date.

That first article writes of various lefties happy that we have cancelled the defenses. But other than that predictable reaction, the mood is not good:

Thursday's decision is another sign that "the Americans are not interested in this territory as they were before," said Mirek Topolanek, a former Czech prime minister whose government signed treaties with the United States to set up the shield.

"It's not good," said former Polish president and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.

"I can see what kind of policy the Obama administration is pursuing towards this part of Europe," Walesa said. "The way we are being approached needs to change."

Aleksander Szczyglo, head of Poland's National Security Office, characterized the change as a "defeat primarily of American long-distance thinking about the situation in this part of Europe."

The Poles and other eastern European NATO nations have probably never felt more exposed than they do right now. They thought NATO offered protection from Russia. Now they don't know. They do know that President Obama just isn't that into them, after presenting his new love, the Russians, with that tiny little velvet box (with the reset button).

But not to worry. Don't think there isn't deep strategy behind this. Surely we plan to get something for screwing our friends:

NATO's new chief hailed the move as "a positive step" and a Russian analyst said Obama's decision will increase the chances that Russia will cooperate more closely with the United States in the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Yes, the frightened NATO Europeans are relieved they won't be shamed into fighting over Poland again. And surely Russia will help on Iran, right?

Well, no:

Russia's foreign minister says Moscow firmly opposes any new sanctions against Iran.

Sergey Lavrov says new tougher sanctions would ruin hopes for solving the Iranian nuclear program through talks.

That didn't take long. Although Lavrov spoke before our announcement, surely he already knew we'd kicked aside Poland and the Czechs.

But at least the Poles and Czechs are in NATO. If I was Ukrainian, I'd worry this was a green light to Russia to do what they want to Ukraine.