History Matters: Obama’s Diplomatic Ineptitude

Today the White House briefing room released a press report on American missile architecture in Europe. The portion of the report pertaining to this post reads as follows:

Throughout all four phases, the United States also will be testing and updating a range of approaches for improving our sensors for missile defense.  The new distributed interceptor and sensor architecture also does not require a single, large, fixed European radar that was to be located in the Czech Republic; this approach also uses different interceptor technology than the previous program, removing the need for a single field of 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland.  Therefore, the Secretary of Defense recommended that the United States no longer plan to move forward with that architecture.
The Czech Republic and Poland, as close, strategic and steadfast Allies of the United States, will be central to our continued consultations with NATO Allies on our defense against the growing ballistic missile threat.

I believe that this decision was wise on the part of the Obama administration. The proposed missile defense architecture put considerable strain on U.S.-Russian relations and, being too small to counter Russian barrages and unable to knock down Iranian middle-ranged missiles, would have had little utility in the event of a nuclear conflict. Its purpose was never greater than a show of solidarity between the United States and the peoples of Eastern Europe.

Such shows of solidarity are not worth their billion-dollar price tag.

Given the missile shield’s relative uselessness, it makes sense to scrap it. But, it makes no sense at all to scrap the missile shield the way Obama administration has chosen to do so.

The date of Obama’s announcement (and the writing of this post) is September 17th, 2009. 70 years to this very day, in the morning dawn of September 17th, 1939, the Red Army invaded Poland. The Seven Soviet field armies sent over the Polish border quickly overwhelmed the 20 Polish battalions guarding Poland’s eastern front. The invasion removed Poland from the Second World War; Poles were to live 40 years under Moscow’s rule before they were able to regain full autonomy.

On the 70th anniversary of the day  Russian troops began the subjugation of Poland, the President of the United States tells the Poles that they can no longer count on the United States to help protect them from Russian missile attacks.

This can be called nothing but diplomatic ineptitude. It would have been quite simple for Obama to announce this change in two weeks time. It would have been quite simple for Obama to announce this change in five days time.

Obama did not do this. With the timing of his actions he belittled an ally of America. This is not acceptable behavior for any President, much less one who has humiliated our Eastern European allies before.  Many have claimed that Obama’s ascesion to the Presidency was a return of effective diplomacy. I have yet to see anything of the sort from our young leader.

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