President caves to the Russians

President Obama cancelled the planned missile shield that we had promised Poland and Czechoslovakia, capitulating to the demands of Vladimir Putin. See Dismay in Europe as Obama ditches missile defence – Times Online .

The decision was relayed to the governments of the Czech Republic and Poland both by Mr Obama himself, in telephone calls last night, and by US officials visiting the region. The President assured both governments that the decision would not compromise their security.

But it clearly prompted some dismay in Central and Eastern Europe, where the Bush plan had been seen as an effective guarantor of US support for the fledgling democracies of the old Soviet empire. It will also send a chill through Russia’s neighbours.

“This is not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence,” said Mirek Topolanek, the former Czech Prime Minister. “It puts us in a position where we are not firmly anchored in terms of partnership, security and alliance, and that’s a certain threat.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that it welcomed reports of the US decision but would wait for official confirmation before making a detailed response. A spokesman said: “Such a development would be in line with the interests of our relations with the United States.”

Ironically, the President made his announcement on the 70th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Pres. Obama is involved in what George Gilder called “the fatuous dream” of disarmament. Shortly after his election he spoke of destroying 80% of America’s nuclear stockpile. Most analysts suspect Obama’s basic commitment to missile defense. In past years he has been quite outspoken against a robust technological development and implementation of missile defense.

    By far the greatest threat to America and the world is the delusive peace now movement. If we don’t resolutely stand up to the jihadists, including especially Iran, these madmen will be emboldened. Paradoxically, the peace now mavens like Obama bid fair to bring destruction on both Israel and the West.

    We ought to have learned in the Thirties before WW II that peace comes more through Churchillian figures like Bush and Netanyahu than through the fatuous, desultory peace efforts of spineless souls like Chamberlain and Obama.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Pres. Obama is involved in what George Gilder called “the fatuous dream” of disarmament. Shortly after his election he spoke of destroying 80% of America’s nuclear stockpile. Most analysts suspect Obama’s basic commitment to missile defense. In past years he has been quite outspoken against a robust technological development and implementation of missile defense.

    By far the greatest threat to America and the world is the delusive peace now movement. If we don’t resolutely stand up to the jihadists, including especially Iran, these madmen will be emboldened. Paradoxically, the peace now mavens like Obama bid fair to bring destruction on both Israel and the West.

    We ought to have learned in the Thirties before WW II that peace comes more through Churchillian figures like Bush and Netanyahu than through the fatuous, desultory peace efforts of spineless souls like Chamberlain and Obama.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m dreading what Obama will do to Israel on Tisha B’Av or Yom Hashoah. Nobody at State told him about this? Horsefeathers. This is the same guy who instinctively supported the wrong guy in Honduras, too.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m dreading what Obama will do to Israel on Tisha B’Av or Yom Hashoah. Nobody at State told him about this? Horsefeathers. This is the same guy who instinctively supported the wrong guy in Honduras, too.

  • Kirk

    Or perhaps, the point here is to sure up US-Russo relations to ensure a better security. Less than 24 hours after the White House made this announcement, NATO is already calling for a joint effort by the US and Russia to build a missile shield to protect the west from emerging, eastern threats (I’m presuming that this means Iran and Pakistan. I’m frankly more concerned with the latter).

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32910142/ns/world_news-europe/

    If anything, the proposed missile shield seems to have do little to protect emerging, soviet bloc democracies. I think the Georgians would make a strong case for this. While I understand and concern and consternation of the part of eastern europeans, at the same time, I don’t see Russian tanks rolling into Prague any time soon. This will be especially true if we can strengthen economic and political ties with Russia, and it becomes more and more in their best interest to stay out of European affairs (see China not invading Taiwan, if you want a practical example of this principle). Obviously, time will tell if this ends of being a winning stragegy, but frankly, I see more benefit from building diplomatic ties than by flexing muscle.

    PS: Love the hyperbole, Peter. I have no doubt that, because of this action, the West will be destroyed.

  • Kirk

    Or perhaps, the point here is to sure up US-Russo relations to ensure a better security. Less than 24 hours after the White House made this announcement, NATO is already calling for a joint effort by the US and Russia to build a missile shield to protect the west from emerging, eastern threats (I’m presuming that this means Iran and Pakistan. I’m frankly more concerned with the latter).

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32910142/ns/world_news-europe/

    If anything, the proposed missile shield seems to have do little to protect emerging, soviet bloc democracies. I think the Georgians would make a strong case for this. While I understand and concern and consternation of the part of eastern europeans, at the same time, I don’t see Russian tanks rolling into Prague any time soon. This will be especially true if we can strengthen economic and political ties with Russia, and it becomes more and more in their best interest to stay out of European affairs (see China not invading Taiwan, if you want a practical example of this principle). Obviously, time will tell if this ends of being a winning stragegy, but frankly, I see more benefit from building diplomatic ties than by flexing muscle.

    PS: Love the hyperbole, Peter. I have no doubt that, because of this action, the West will be destroyed.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce Gee

    For a rather good in-depth analysis of the geopolitics going on regarding this, see Stratfor: http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20090915_misreading_iranian_nuclear_situation?utm_source=GWeeklyS&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=090915&utm_content=readmore

    A couple of things: Gates and the Joint Chiefs are backing Obama on this. That tells me that either a)Obama twisted their arm to go in a very different direction, and as good soldiers following the CIC, they are obeying, or 2)They agree with him that the geopolitics have changed. Apparently the new, more mobile version of the Pole/Czech defense initiatives will be up and running sooner. So which is it?

    The subtext of all of this is of course Russia. By backing down, we please the Russians enormously and at the same time do a U-turn with regard to the hopes we’d been raising for the former satellites of the Soviet world. We seem to be good at this: building hope among powerless people and then turning our backs on them when a new admin comes in. See Iraq, 1993.

    So. Why do we want to please the Russians so much? I suspect a lot has to do with our military engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Bear knows we have no teeth for a fight in Georgia, or Poland.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce Gee

    For a rather good in-depth analysis of the geopolitics going on regarding this, see Stratfor: http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20090915_misreading_iranian_nuclear_situation?utm_source=GWeeklyS&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=090915&utm_content=readmore

    A couple of things: Gates and the Joint Chiefs are backing Obama on this. That tells me that either a)Obama twisted their arm to go in a very different direction, and as good soldiers following the CIC, they are obeying, or 2)They agree with him that the geopolitics have changed. Apparently the new, more mobile version of the Pole/Czech defense initiatives will be up and running sooner. So which is it?

    The subtext of all of this is of course Russia. By backing down, we please the Russians enormously and at the same time do a U-turn with regard to the hopes we’d been raising for the former satellites of the Soviet world. We seem to be good at this: building hope among powerless people and then turning our backs on them when a new admin comes in. See Iraq, 1993.

    So. Why do we want to please the Russians so much? I suspect a lot has to do with our military engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Bear knows we have no teeth for a fight in Georgia, or Poland.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01763924682909630509 Orianna Laun

    Ironic, isn’t it, that after this announcement was made, there was a report on the news indicating that Iran has the ability to make nuclear weapons? Um, maybe we should rethink this?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01763924682909630509 Orianna Laun

    Ironic, isn’t it, that after this announcement was made, there was a report on the news indicating that Iran has the ability to make nuclear weapons? Um, maybe we should rethink this?

  • Cincinnatus

    The post-Soviet republics are just whining because America is finally rethinking its normal course of shouldering the military defense not only of itself, but also of the entire European continent and several other nations to boot. Apparently, such nations might have to defend themselves for a change or even contribute to NATO. I’m rather disappointed that “conservatives” still think a significant portion of our GPD and youth should be dedicated to this completely extraneous task.

    If you want a missile defense shield, start building it in California, because that’s the direction missiles are going to come from if they are ever launched.

  • Cincinnatus

    The post-Soviet republics are just whining because America is finally rethinking its normal course of shouldering the military defense not only of itself, but also of the entire European continent and several other nations to boot. Apparently, such nations might have to defend themselves for a change or even contribute to NATO. I’m rather disappointed that “conservatives” still think a significant portion of our GPD and youth should be dedicated to this completely extraneous task.

    If you want a missile defense shield, start building it in California, because that’s the direction missiles are going to come from if they are ever launched.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Cincinnatus, you’re essentially isolationist position reminds one of that held in the heartland during the Thirties. Back then a combination of pacifists and isolationists led the West into the horror of WW II. It usually pays to fight serious enemies when they are weak.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Cincinnatus, you’re essentially isolationist position reminds one of that held in the heartland during the Thirties. Back then a combination of pacifists and isolationists led the West into the horror of WW II. It usually pays to fight serious enemies when they are weak.

  • Kirk

    @Orianna

    Interestingly enough, I think that this announcement was something to do with Iran being closer to becoming a nuclear state. The Bush missile shield was designed to shoot down Russian ICBM’s, but was significantly less effective against the short to medium range missiles that Iran would have available.

  • Kirk

    @Orianna

    Interestingly enough, I think that this announcement was something to do with Iran being closer to becoming a nuclear state. The Bush missile shield was designed to shoot down Russian ICBM’s, but was significantly less effective against the short to medium range missiles that Iran would have available.

  • Kirk

    Peter, are you suggesting that we should attack Russia?

  • Kirk

    Peter, are you suggesting that we should attack Russia?

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m not essentially isolationist, Peter. The only conclusion I can draw from your comment @7 is that, as Kirk guessed, you wish us to attack Russia, or at the very least, upset them greatly and unnecessarily. The Cold War is over, Russia is a dying nation soon to enter demographic winter, and, arguably, Eastern European states are no longer essential to our security, if they ever were.

    Fortunately, the more “liberal” (i.e., friends of democracy) in Poland et al. finally recognize that foreign troops and weapons quartered on their land is an insult to their sovereignty; perhaps they are even willing to take responsibility for their own defense.

    I insist that my position is not isolationist (though I admittedly have a disposition to that effect): I acknowledge that there are several potential threats (not really actual just yet) to America around the world, in particular China, Iran (less so), and perhaps Pakistan and associated unstable but well-equipped states. Notice that none of these are located anywhere near Europe, and that only one of them is capable of launching ICBMs, which wouldn’t be coming from the direction of Los Angeles rather than Poland.

    In sum, I don’t understand the need to keep an immense armed force mobilized in Europe, nor the need to construct a state-of-the-art missile defense system there, particularly since it so obviously and unilaterally wreaks diplomatic havoc. So the question just arises again: do you want a war with Russia, which would be completely and utterly pointless, or are we mistaken?

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m not essentially isolationist, Peter. The only conclusion I can draw from your comment @7 is that, as Kirk guessed, you wish us to attack Russia, or at the very least, upset them greatly and unnecessarily. The Cold War is over, Russia is a dying nation soon to enter demographic winter, and, arguably, Eastern European states are no longer essential to our security, if they ever were.

    Fortunately, the more “liberal” (i.e., friends of democracy) in Poland et al. finally recognize that foreign troops and weapons quartered on their land is an insult to their sovereignty; perhaps they are even willing to take responsibility for their own defense.

    I insist that my position is not isolationist (though I admittedly have a disposition to that effect): I acknowledge that there are several potential threats (not really actual just yet) to America around the world, in particular China, Iran (less so), and perhaps Pakistan and associated unstable but well-equipped states. Notice that none of these are located anywhere near Europe, and that only one of them is capable of launching ICBMs, which wouldn’t be coming from the direction of Los Angeles rather than Poland.

    In sum, I don’t understand the need to keep an immense armed force mobilized in Europe, nor the need to construct a state-of-the-art missile defense system there, particularly since it so obviously and unilaterally wreaks diplomatic havoc. So the question just arises again: do you want a war with Russia, which would be completely and utterly pointless, or are we mistaken?

  • Cincinnatus

    would* be coming from the direction of Los Angeles…

  • Cincinnatus

    would* be coming from the direction of Los Angeles…

  • Peter Leavitt

    I hardly take the position that we should attack Russia. Rather we should engage in tough minded-negotiations with her.

    One knows from business experience that any entity that negotiates with itself is a probable loser. Israel has found this out from hard experience. If Obama wished to extract concessions from Russia by giving up a missile system that was committed to Eastern Europe, he ought to have driven a hard bargain. It has become obvious that North Korea, Iran, and Russia are playing Obama’s soft power stance like a banjo.

    The most salient clue we have about the feckless Obama is that upon entering the Oval Office he post-haste removed the bust of Churchill, sculpted by Sir Jacob Epstein, that was loaned to the White House by the British after 9/11

  • Peter Leavitt

    I hardly take the position that we should attack Russia. Rather we should engage in tough minded-negotiations with her.

    One knows from business experience that any entity that negotiates with itself is a probable loser. Israel has found this out from hard experience. If Obama wished to extract concessions from Russia by giving up a missile system that was committed to Eastern Europe, he ought to have driven a hard bargain. It has become obvious that North Korea, Iran, and Russia are playing Obama’s soft power stance like a banjo.

    The most salient clue we have about the feckless Obama is that upon entering the Oval Office he post-haste removed the bust of Churchill, sculpted by Sir Jacob Epstein, that was loaned to the White House by the British after 9/11

  • Kirk

    So what, exactly, would we gain from “tough negotiations” with Russia. Getting them out of Georgia is really the only qualitative concession that I can think of. I agree with Cincinatius here: despite, the posturing, Russia’s growning internal problems (corruption, gangs, Chechnya, economy, population decline) really preclude it from seriously external influence, by which I mean significant military action. Tied to our cold war animosity towards our former enemy is, at least in my opinion, an overestimation of their strength.

  • Kirk

    So what, exactly, would we gain from “tough negotiations” with Russia. Getting them out of Georgia is really the only qualitative concession that I can think of. I agree with Cincinatius here: despite, the posturing, Russia’s growning internal problems (corruption, gangs, Chechnya, economy, population decline) really preclude it from seriously external influence, by which I mean significant military action. Tied to our cold war animosity towards our former enemy is, at least in my opinion, an overestimation of their strength.

  • Kirk

    *quantitative concession. Got my terms mixed up.

  • Kirk

    *quantitative concession. Got my terms mixed up.

  • Cincinnatus

    Still at a loss here, Peter. Why do we need to engage in “tough-minded negotiations” with Russia? We have absolutely nothing to gain from a confrontation with Russia (though Georgia might), and he (I’ve personally always considered Russia a “he”) threatens not one of our essential international interests. If you consider America still to be the world’s policeman–and that has certainly done wonders for us–you might argue that we should do something about Chechnya or Georgia, but those incidents have a tenuous connection indeed with a missile shield. My question is why we should bother with Russia at all: have you noticed anything about Russia lately? I can tell you a few winners: Russia boasts a crumbling infrastructure, a high infant mortality rate and declining life expectancy, a literal demographic winter which could decimate its population in a few decades, a population of chronic alcoholics, a crumbling economy, a rusting military, a sham democracy, a more believable threat from terrorism than America has, ethnic conflict, and a host of “republics” which might literally dismember Russia into several dozen parts. Did I miss anything? Russia is a non-threat, and if Europe can’t handle that on its own, then they deserve whatever happens to them. I would frankly be surprised if Russia’s remaining ICBMs can even get off the ground these days.

    Obama’s more diplomatic method can do nothing but good in relation to Russia. His tactics do concern me in relation to NK and Iran, I suppose, but then, your preferred “tough-minded” methods did nothing other than start a pointless but potentially devastating trade war with China over the weekend.

    /wake me up when China invades Japan.

  • Cincinnatus

    Still at a loss here, Peter. Why do we need to engage in “tough-minded negotiations” with Russia? We have absolutely nothing to gain from a confrontation with Russia (though Georgia might), and he (I’ve personally always considered Russia a “he”) threatens not one of our essential international interests. If you consider America still to be the world’s policeman–and that has certainly done wonders for us–you might argue that we should do something about Chechnya or Georgia, but those incidents have a tenuous connection indeed with a missile shield. My question is why we should bother with Russia at all: have you noticed anything about Russia lately? I can tell you a few winners: Russia boasts a crumbling infrastructure, a high infant mortality rate and declining life expectancy, a literal demographic winter which could decimate its population in a few decades, a population of chronic alcoholics, a crumbling economy, a rusting military, a sham democracy, a more believable threat from terrorism than America has, ethnic conflict, and a host of “republics” which might literally dismember Russia into several dozen parts. Did I miss anything? Russia is a non-threat, and if Europe can’t handle that on its own, then they deserve whatever happens to them. I would frankly be surprised if Russia’s remaining ICBMs can even get off the ground these days.

    Obama’s more diplomatic method can do nothing but good in relation to Russia. His tactics do concern me in relation to NK and Iran, I suppose, but then, your preferred “tough-minded” methods did nothing other than start a pointless but potentially devastating trade war with China over the weekend.

    /wake me up when China invades Japan.

  • Peter Leavitt

    While Russia is a declining power, it shows signs of its traditional expansionism and is a member of the U.N. Security Council. Making unilateral concessions to it is rather naive. Eastern Europe suffered for two generations due to Roosevelt’s softness with Stalin.

    Rich Lowry nails this today in a piece, A Masterstroke of Weakness: In international diplomacy, there’s a cringing desperation to Obama, including:

    In July, a group of pro-Western intellectuals and political leaders from Central and Eastern Europe wrote Obama an open letter pleading with the U.S. not to abandon them in a misbegotten romance of a revanchist Russia. They said missile defense had become “a symbol of America’s credibility and commitment to the region.” Obama has now given his answer — return to sender.

  • Peter Leavitt

    While Russia is a declining power, it shows signs of its traditional expansionism and is a member of the U.N. Security Council. Making unilateral concessions to it is rather naive. Eastern Europe suffered for two generations due to Roosevelt’s softness with Stalin.

    Rich Lowry nails this today in a piece, A Masterstroke of Weakness: In international diplomacy, there’s a cringing desperation to Obama, including:

    In July, a group of pro-Western intellectuals and political leaders from Central and Eastern Europe wrote Obama an open letter pleading with the U.S. not to abandon them in a misbegotten romance of a revanchist Russia. They said missile defense had become “a symbol of America’s credibility and commitment to the region.” Obama has now given his answer — return to sender.

  • Cincinnatus

    You’re missing the point: Eastern Europe isn’t the 51st state, and it doesn’t represent any vital American interests. We don’t owe them anything, and quite frankly, we can’t afford it. Russia cannot and will not seek to conquer that region again, anyway: it’s just laboring under a Stalin-esque delusion that anything East of Berlin is a Russian interest. But really, I’m being even more isolationist than Obama: I see little sign that Obama has abandoned Eastern Europe (which I have; “Go democracy” and everything, but they don’t need us any longer), but rather that he has quite rightly determined that a missile shield will do anything but make Eastern Europe safe for democracy. Under which conditions is Russia most likely to attack Europe (it’s wildly unlikely in either case, but just pretend): 1) if we mind our own business, remembering that Russia lacks a credible military ability or willpower to conquer several thriving new democracies, or 2) construct an entirely unnecessary missile system close to Russian soil to defend nations that don’t even matter to us. We would probably not appreciate it if Russia decided to plant missiles in Central America, a region where Russia has about as many credible interests as we do in Eastern Europe (by which I mean none).

    And you can cite your article about pro-Western intellectuals, but polls demonstrate that half of Polish citizens oppose such a missile shield in their territory (compared to 36% who support it):

    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/29851

    I think as Americans we often forget how insulting (and, really, dangerous) it would be if the situation were reversed: for instance, would we appreciate Polish missiles stationed in Ohio?

  • Cincinnatus

    You’re missing the point: Eastern Europe isn’t the 51st state, and it doesn’t represent any vital American interests. We don’t owe them anything, and quite frankly, we can’t afford it. Russia cannot and will not seek to conquer that region again, anyway: it’s just laboring under a Stalin-esque delusion that anything East of Berlin is a Russian interest. But really, I’m being even more isolationist than Obama: I see little sign that Obama has abandoned Eastern Europe (which I have; “Go democracy” and everything, but they don’t need us any longer), but rather that he has quite rightly determined that a missile shield will do anything but make Eastern Europe safe for democracy. Under which conditions is Russia most likely to attack Europe (it’s wildly unlikely in either case, but just pretend): 1) if we mind our own business, remembering that Russia lacks a credible military ability or willpower to conquer several thriving new democracies, or 2) construct an entirely unnecessary missile system close to Russian soil to defend nations that don’t even matter to us. We would probably not appreciate it if Russia decided to plant missiles in Central America, a region where Russia has about as many credible interests as we do in Eastern Europe (by which I mean none).

    And you can cite your article about pro-Western intellectuals, but polls demonstrate that half of Polish citizens oppose such a missile shield in their territory (compared to 36% who support it):

    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/29851

    I think as Americans we often forget how insulting (and, really, dangerous) it would be if the situation were reversed: for instance, would we appreciate Polish missiles stationed in Ohio?

  • Cincinnatus

    I guess the question I’m asking is this: please demonstrate why we have a legitimate interest in confronting Russia about anything right now? If you’re a conservative, “interest” cannot include “protecting any nation that is remotely democratic.” Russia might pretend to be expansionist, but Chechnya adequately demonstrates that Russia can’t even maintain its own frontiers, much less absorb those of other nations.

  • Cincinnatus

    I guess the question I’m asking is this: please demonstrate why we have a legitimate interest in confronting Russia about anything right now? If you’re a conservative, “interest” cannot include “protecting any nation that is remotely democratic.” Russia might pretend to be expansionist, but Chechnya adequately demonstrates that Russia can’t even maintain its own frontiers, much less absorb those of other nations.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce Gee

    We don’t know if the concessions are unilateral, Peter. There are subtexts into subtexts ad infinitum at play here, and even the eloquent Mr. Lowry may not perceive them all.

    This is all a chess match, with everyone looking three or four plays down the path. I’ll agree with Cinncinatus (If he’ll agree that it is, as every good Russian Jew knows, MOTHER Russia!) that we may not be giving up as much as it appears. The cynical take is that Obama is trying to undo what Bush was working for years to accomplish, and his actions a la Chamberlain will inevitably lead to a serious weakening of our geo-political position at best, and a world war at the worst. I have no idea at this time what to believe.

    As I referred to in my first post, the Stratfor position is interesting, and warns that, while Stratfor believes Israel does not think Iran is close to a deliverable nuke, the time right now is ripe for them to preemptively strike Iraq. If that happens, suddenly no one has to think three moves ahead.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce Gee

    We don’t know if the concessions are unilateral, Peter. There are subtexts into subtexts ad infinitum at play here, and even the eloquent Mr. Lowry may not perceive them all.

    This is all a chess match, with everyone looking three or four plays down the path. I’ll agree with Cinncinatus (If he’ll agree that it is, as every good Russian Jew knows, MOTHER Russia!) that we may not be giving up as much as it appears. The cynical take is that Obama is trying to undo what Bush was working for years to accomplish, and his actions a la Chamberlain will inevitably lead to a serious weakening of our geo-political position at best, and a world war at the worst. I have no idea at this time what to believe.

    As I referred to in my first post, the Stratfor position is interesting, and warns that, while Stratfor believes Israel does not think Iran is close to a deliverable nuke, the time right now is ripe for them to preemptively strike Iraq. If that happens, suddenly no one has to think three moves ahead.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce Gee

    I’m sorry, in the penultimate sentence of my last post, I mistakenly wrote “Iraq”. I meant, of course, the desert country to its east.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce Gee

    I’m sorry, in the penultimate sentence of my last post, I mistakenly wrote “Iraq”. I meant, of course, the desert country to its east.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce Gee

    Cinncinatus #15: Rethinking your comments vis a vis Russia: I think when you describe their internal affairs, you are quite frankly describing their internal affairs over the last hundred or so years. I’m not sure I’d underestimate the Russian ability to overcome what has been the norm for them for many generations. They tend to fight very effectively whilst under the influence.

    As a Russian general once said, unwittingly quoting Mark Twain (or was it the other way around?) “As we say in Russia, ‘The rumors of our death are exxagerated.’”

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce Gee

    Cinncinatus #15: Rethinking your comments vis a vis Russia: I think when you describe their internal affairs, you are quite frankly describing their internal affairs over the last hundred or so years. I’m not sure I’d underestimate the Russian ability to overcome what has been the norm for them for many generations. They tend to fight very effectively whilst under the influence.

    As a Russian general once said, unwittingly quoting Mark Twain (or was it the other way around?) “As we say in Russia, ‘The rumors of our death are exxagerated.’”

  • Peter Leavitt

    Actually, Eastern Europe, like Israel, has become a bulwark of democratic capitalism. We rescued this region from the crudities of German and Russian blood and iron in the past and have a vital interest maintaining the nations in the region as political allies and trading partners.

    Though Americans are largely in denial about the reality, we face an axis of autocratic nations including Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Syria, Venezuela, et al who have largely gained control of the U.N. and who through ferocious envy and greed wish to defeat American/Western democratic/capitalistic interests; they are, also, Hell bent on annihilating Israel. They salivate just now at both the potential hugeness of America’s debt load and Obama’s spineless attempt to win hearts and minds through soft power. Underneath it all the Judeo-Christian civilization of the West is in serious jeopardy, externally as well as internally. This is reality not hyperbole.

    Fortunately, so far, our silicon and capital have been a decent match against this axis so far, though another president or two of the Obama ilk could do us in.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Actually, Eastern Europe, like Israel, has become a bulwark of democratic capitalism. We rescued this region from the crudities of German and Russian blood and iron in the past and have a vital interest maintaining the nations in the region as political allies and trading partners.

    Though Americans are largely in denial about the reality, we face an axis of autocratic nations including Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Syria, Venezuela, et al who have largely gained control of the U.N. and who through ferocious envy and greed wish to defeat American/Western democratic/capitalistic interests; they are, also, Hell bent on annihilating Israel. They salivate just now at both the potential hugeness of America’s debt load and Obama’s spineless attempt to win hearts and minds through soft power. Underneath it all the Judeo-Christian civilization of the West is in serious jeopardy, externally as well as internally. This is reality not hyperbole.

    Fortunately, so far, our silicon and capital have been a decent match against this axis so far, though another president or two of the Obama ilk could do us in.

  • Cincinnatus

    a) As far as an alignment of “autocratic” nations inimical to capitalist and/or American interests, I don’t see anything new in your scenario that hasn’t been the case for 100 years.

    b) Israel, as a nation-state, doesn’t matter. Our dedication to proving that it is our “favorite,” at the cost of entirely ruining relations with every nation–including the democratic ones–across the Middle East and Northern Africa–is ridiculous. Guess who was the favorite nation in the Middle East prior to 1960? If you guessed the United States, you are correct. But then we thought it would be a fantastic idea to supply arms to Israel and generally ignore other nations in the region (there used to be Christians in the Middle East, and we used to support missionaries there). As for the autocrats you mention in that region: nearly all of them are the product of either American manipulation (Iraq and Iran are directly our fault) or funding (the Saudi royal family wouldn’t be so royal without our help). Israel is Britain’s problem, anyway. We have nothing to gain by babysitting Israel, and they are more than capable of defending themselves. Ron Paul often speaks of “blowback” due to our foreign entanglements; if he is a tad off on every other issue, he is certainly correct on this one in regards to the Middle East. Essentially all problems in that region can be traced back to American meddling. I doubt more meddling will fix the problem, and if there weren’t oil there, it wouldn’t even be a problem with which we should concern ourselves.

    China is the real threat, but in a less ideological sense: i.e., they will be competing for the resources we need to feed our consumerist culture, not engaging in a mass crusade against all that America represents. Russia? Saudi Arabia? Venezuela? Let’s revisit this in two decades at most and see if your concerns are still extant.

  • Cincinnatus

    a) As far as an alignment of “autocratic” nations inimical to capitalist and/or American interests, I don’t see anything new in your scenario that hasn’t been the case for 100 years.

    b) Israel, as a nation-state, doesn’t matter. Our dedication to proving that it is our “favorite,” at the cost of entirely ruining relations with every nation–including the democratic ones–across the Middle East and Northern Africa–is ridiculous. Guess who was the favorite nation in the Middle East prior to 1960? If you guessed the United States, you are correct. But then we thought it would be a fantastic idea to supply arms to Israel and generally ignore other nations in the region (there used to be Christians in the Middle East, and we used to support missionaries there). As for the autocrats you mention in that region: nearly all of them are the product of either American manipulation (Iraq and Iran are directly our fault) or funding (the Saudi royal family wouldn’t be so royal without our help). Israel is Britain’s problem, anyway. We have nothing to gain by babysitting Israel, and they are more than capable of defending themselves. Ron Paul often speaks of “blowback” due to our foreign entanglements; if he is a tad off on every other issue, he is certainly correct on this one in regards to the Middle East. Essentially all problems in that region can be traced back to American meddling. I doubt more meddling will fix the problem, and if there weren’t oil there, it wouldn’t even be a problem with which we should concern ourselves.

    China is the real threat, but in a less ideological sense: i.e., they will be competing for the resources we need to feed our consumerist culture, not engaging in a mass crusade against all that America represents. Russia? Saudi Arabia? Venezuela? Let’s revisit this in two decades at most and see if your concerns are still extant.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    First of all, if missiles are likely to come from Tahiti, then LA is the right place to build missile defense. If they, however, are coming from North Korea or China, you’d want to put defenses in Washington State, Alaska, and British Columbia. Look up “great circle route” for details.

    And why would we want to protect the Czech Republic and Poland? Very simple; it was the Poles who started the downfall of the Soviets with the Solidarity union, the Czechs that made the Berlin Wall irrelevant by allowing East Germans to pass into Bavaria, and also the Czechs who allowed contraband literature into all of the Warsaw Pact to keep dissent alive there.

    That’s worth a little bit more “thank you” than President Obama gave them–leaving them less defended on the anniversary of the day Stalin marched in. These nations are also our buffer against Russian expansionism. It’s worth defending.

    Of course, acting against our national interests is typical Obama, who seems to favor Daniel Ortega’s Communists over the legitimate Honduran government. The more I see of Obama, the more I believe the comments in his autobiography that the more radical his associates, the better–it held 20 years ago, and it holds now.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    First of all, if missiles are likely to come from Tahiti, then LA is the right place to build missile defense. If they, however, are coming from North Korea or China, you’d want to put defenses in Washington State, Alaska, and British Columbia. Look up “great circle route” for details.

    And why would we want to protect the Czech Republic and Poland? Very simple; it was the Poles who started the downfall of the Soviets with the Solidarity union, the Czechs that made the Berlin Wall irrelevant by allowing East Germans to pass into Bavaria, and also the Czechs who allowed contraband literature into all of the Warsaw Pact to keep dissent alive there.

    That’s worth a little bit more “thank you” than President Obama gave them–leaving them less defended on the anniversary of the day Stalin marched in. These nations are also our buffer against Russian expansionism. It’s worth defending.

    Of course, acting against our national interests is typical Obama, who seems to favor Daniel Ortega’s Communists over the legitimate Honduran government. The more I see of Obama, the more I believe the comments in his autobiography that the more radical his associates, the better–it held 20 years ago, and it holds now.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Jack David, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for combating weapons of mass destruction from 2004-2006 and Melanie Kirkpatrick have a piece, A New Nuclear-Arms Race Obama has undermined America’s credibility. including:

    Call it a shot heard round the world. The Obama Administration’s announcement yesterday that it is abandoning a Bush-era plan for a missile-defense system in Europe is not just about Europe. It also makes Americans more vulnerable and the U.S. a less reliable ally. Moreover, it will likely go down in history as the start of a new nuclear arms race, with increased proliferation and more countries going nuclear.

    It’s often forgotten that the now-dead system, which would have placed interceptor missiles in Poland and a powerful X-band radar in the Czech Republic, was also intended to provide an additional layer of defense for the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. from long-range Iranian missiles. Iran already has numerous short- and medium-range missiles, courtesy of its close collaboration with its North Korean ally. It is working on developing a long-range capability, which Pyongyang already has.

    Maybe, this is a conspiracy by Obama to get rid of those evil Wall Street investment bankers.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Jack David, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for combating weapons of mass destruction from 2004-2006 and Melanie Kirkpatrick have a piece, A New Nuclear-Arms Race Obama has undermined America’s credibility. including:

    Call it a shot heard round the world. The Obama Administration’s announcement yesterday that it is abandoning a Bush-era plan for a missile-defense system in Europe is not just about Europe. It also makes Americans more vulnerable and the U.S. a less reliable ally. Moreover, it will likely go down in history as the start of a new nuclear arms race, with increased proliferation and more countries going nuclear.

    It’s often forgotten that the now-dead system, which would have placed interceptor missiles in Poland and a powerful X-band radar in the Czech Republic, was also intended to provide an additional layer of defense for the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. from long-range Iranian missiles. Iran already has numerous short- and medium-range missiles, courtesy of its close collaboration with its North Korean ally. It is working on developing a long-range capability, which Pyongyang already has.

    Maybe, this is a conspiracy by Obama to get rid of those evil Wall Street investment bankers.

  • Patrick Kyle

    We can debate the merits and demerits of the missile shield, but what totally shocks me is Obama’s announcement of this policy change on the anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Poland.

    It is either a very calculated passive agressive insult to our allies, or shows Obama and his administration to be a bunch of historically ignnorant boobs.

    Maybe he can impress Putin with a basket of CDs and an autographed copy of his book when they meet.

  • Patrick Kyle

    We can debate the merits and demerits of the missile shield, but what totally shocks me is Obama’s announcement of this policy change on the anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Poland.

    It is either a very calculated passive agressive insult to our allies, or shows Obama and his administration to be a bunch of historically ignnorant boobs.

    Maybe he can impress Putin with a basket of CDs and an autographed copy of his book when they meet.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Charles Krauthammer cuts to the essence of this issue:

    This is going to be an historic day in the life of Eastern Europe. We have now declared that Eastern Europe — which had assumed that after the Cold War, had joined the West indissolubly and would enjoy its protection — is now in many ways on its own, subject to Russian hegemony and pressure.

    And imagine if the Poles and Czechs are upset about this, how the feeling is in Ukraine and Georgia. The Russians announced earlier in the week that if a Georgian ship is found in Abkhazian waters, which was a province of Georgia, it will be seized. So it has annexed part of Georgia and it has escalated the war of words on Ukraine.

    I’m headed this evening to Russia for a week of business meetings. I intend to say that my web-moniker is Cincinnatus and that some other ignorant Peter Leavitt is holding forth on the Cranach web-site with dastardly criticisms of the Great Bear.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Charles Krauthammer cuts to the essence of this issue:

    This is going to be an historic day in the life of Eastern Europe. We have now declared that Eastern Europe — which had assumed that after the Cold War, had joined the West indissolubly and would enjoy its protection — is now in many ways on its own, subject to Russian hegemony and pressure.

    And imagine if the Poles and Czechs are upset about this, how the feeling is in Ukraine and Georgia. The Russians announced earlier in the week that if a Georgian ship is found in Abkhazian waters, which was a province of Georgia, it will be seized. So it has annexed part of Georgia and it has escalated the war of words on Ukraine.

    I’m headed this evening to Russia for a week of business meetings. I intend to say that my web-moniker is Cincinnatus and that some other ignorant Peter Leavitt is holding forth on the Cranach web-site with dastardly criticisms of the Great Bear.

  • Cincinnatus

    Huh? I can criticize Russia all you want–and I would, given an appropriate context. But the fact that Russia is terrible at ordering its own house and is desperately but vainly scrambling to maintain a grip on the satellites of its former empire doesn’t mean I think we should invade them, point weapons at them, or even share “tough-minded” words with them. If you fear Russia’s posturing, you clearly haven’t been paying enough attention to what’s actually going on in the world at the moment. (Do I need to keep mentioning China’s name?)

    Now on to the article you cited: Krauthammer is a neoconservative. What this means in the realm of foreign policy is that America has a moral duty to exercise it’s (waning because overused and overextended) military power to defend “democracy” wherever it may be found, usually against a collection of real and imagined enemies which include Russia and the Islamic world. I don’t believe this is a wise course of action, particularly if we assume, like most past Christians, that peace is a worthy goal (and I don’t mean that in a Chamberlain-esque sense). What I find amusing about that article is that a) Krauthammer provides zero rationale for posturing against Russia except that “Eastern Europe thought we would and now we aren’t!” and that b) he thinks there are entire regions of the world that are somehow entitled to American protection simply because they exist, even if they have no tangible connection to American interests. Really? Even if you can provide a reasonable argument for this rather absurd position, we can’t afford it.

    And Bike, since when do we owe Poland anything? Solidarity wouldn’t have happened in the first place if we hadn’t engaged in the Cold War for 50 years previously.

  • Cincinnatus

    Huh? I can criticize Russia all you want–and I would, given an appropriate context. But the fact that Russia is terrible at ordering its own house and is desperately but vainly scrambling to maintain a grip on the satellites of its former empire doesn’t mean I think we should invade them, point weapons at them, or even share “tough-minded” words with them. If you fear Russia’s posturing, you clearly haven’t been paying enough attention to what’s actually going on in the world at the moment. (Do I need to keep mentioning China’s name?)

    Now on to the article you cited: Krauthammer is a neoconservative. What this means in the realm of foreign policy is that America has a moral duty to exercise it’s (waning because overused and overextended) military power to defend “democracy” wherever it may be found, usually against a collection of real and imagined enemies which include Russia and the Islamic world. I don’t believe this is a wise course of action, particularly if we assume, like most past Christians, that peace is a worthy goal (and I don’t mean that in a Chamberlain-esque sense). What I find amusing about that article is that a) Krauthammer provides zero rationale for posturing against Russia except that “Eastern Europe thought we would and now we aren’t!” and that b) he thinks there are entire regions of the world that are somehow entitled to American protection simply because they exist, even if they have no tangible connection to American interests. Really? Even if you can provide a reasonable argument for this rather absurd position, we can’t afford it.

    And Bike, since when do we owe Poland anything? Solidarity wouldn’t have happened in the first place if we hadn’t engaged in the Cold War for 50 years previously.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Christian Soldier

    In just 8 months we have betrayed our allies>>>Honduras-the Czech Republic and Poland….
    Thank you- all- who voted this lot in….and for the years before this lot-the slippery sliders…the LOTE group–Lesser of Two Evils….
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Christian Soldier

    In just 8 months we have betrayed our allies>>>Honduras-the Czech Republic and Poland….
    Thank you- all- who voted this lot in….and for the years before this lot-the slippery sliders…the LOTE group–Lesser of Two Evils….
    C-CS

  • Partizan

    I’m joining the conversation late here, but I’m actually very pleased with Obama’s position on this. It’s the first kind of “change” that I’ve actually seen from him that I think is good for America. We’ve been needlessly provoking Russia for years now and I hope this move greatly improves our relationship.

    But I hope we go further and rework the NATO alliance. Because at it currently stands, we’re not being honest to Eastern Europe. If Russia and a small Eastern European country get into hostilities (Estonia comes to mind here), I can not envision the American people going to war against Russia in order to protect them. I’m sorry, but I can’t see it.

  • Partizan

    I’m joining the conversation late here, but I’m actually very pleased with Obama’s position on this. It’s the first kind of “change” that I’ve actually seen from him that I think is good for America. We’ve been needlessly provoking Russia for years now and I hope this move greatly improves our relationship.

    But I hope we go further and rework the NATO alliance. Because at it currently stands, we’re not being honest to Eastern Europe. If Russia and a small Eastern European country get into hostilities (Estonia comes to mind here), I can not envision the American people going to war against Russia in order to protect them. I’m sorry, but I can’t see it.

  • Carl Vehse

    In his column, “Obama helping Putin restitch Iron Curtain”, Mark Steyn notes:

    Was it only April? There was President Barack Obama, speaking (as is his wont) in Prague, about the Iranian nuclear program and ballistic missile capability, and saluting America’s plucky allies: “The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles,” he declared. “As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven.”

    And Steyn concludes:

    A few years ago, the great scholar Bernard Lewis warned, during the debate on withdrawal from Iraq, that America risked being seen as “harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend.” In Moscow and Tehran, on the one hand, and Warsaw and Prague, on the other, they’re drawing their own conclusions.

  • Carl Vehse

    In his column, “Obama helping Putin restitch Iron Curtain”, Mark Steyn notes:

    Was it only April? There was President Barack Obama, speaking (as is his wont) in Prague, about the Iranian nuclear program and ballistic missile capability, and saluting America’s plucky allies: “The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles,” he declared. “As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven.”

    And Steyn concludes:

    A few years ago, the great scholar Bernard Lewis warned, during the debate on withdrawal from Iraq, that America risked being seen as “harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend.” In Moscow and Tehran, on the one hand, and Warsaw and Prague, on the other, they’re drawing their own conclusions.


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