Figuring out Obama’s missile defense strategy
For the last eight years, I had to endure about every conceivable conspiracy theory mankind could create about why George Bush took out Saddam Hussein. The most popular, everyone surely remembers, was the oil thing. People just blindly accepted the fact that Iraq was all about oil. Even though, of course, we never got any oil from Iraq. That didn’t matter. Damn the facts, it was all about oil. However, the real fact was, that while campaigning for the presidency, George Bush gave an interview and promised he would “take out” Saddam Hussein. He didn’t mince words. He didn’t garble it. He was clear, very assured. No one listened.
In the last few days, Obama decided to kill our missile defense system in eastern Europe. To say the least, this has not gone over very well with Poland and Czechoslovakia. They stuck their necks out and held out for democracy believing we would protect them. Obama assured them we’re not. Kiss two allies good-bye. So, people started pondering the political logic of why Obama would most likely kiss off any chance of strategic alliances or support from two of the most reliable allies we’ve had in recent years. Well, it did please Russia. Quite a lot actually. They immediately announced the missiles they never could deploy in Eastern Europe would not be deployed any time soon. It pleased Iran I’m sure as they now have an unfettered shot at Israel and Eastern Europe as well. And, I’m gonna bet it pleased the hell out of North Korea, who now will get a shot at selling the missiles we promised Eastern Europe to them. The speculation immediately focused on the Russia impact:
“If the byproduct of it is that the Russians feel a little less paranoid and are now willing to work more effectively with us to deal with threats like ballistic missiles from Iran or nuclear development in Iran, you know, then that’s a bonus.”
But, others felt a little differently:
To Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is on the Senate Armed Services Committee, “This is going to be seen as a capitulation to the Russians, who had no real basis to object to what we were doing. And at the end of the day you empowered the Russians, you made Iran happy and you made the people in Eastern Europe wonder who we are as Americans.”
Some are blaming it all on Robert Gates:
“Russia’s attitude and possible reaction played no part in my recommendation to the president on this issue,” Gates wrote in an essay in The New York Times. He said he would be surprised if Russia likes the replacement European missile defense plan much better.
So, according Gates, and no one else, the missile defense shield is not being gutted, it’s just being replaced by a better plan that should annoy the Russians just as much. That doesn’t seem to jive with what Obama’s saying. Hillary Clinton seems to think it’s even better than the original plan:
She added that criticism of the Obama plan is “not yet connected to the facts. We are not, quote, `shelving’ missile defense. We are deploying missile defense sooner than the Bush administration planned to do so.
OK, so now we’ve got completely contradictory statements. Obama says he’s shelving it, Gates and Clinton say it’s a newer, better missile defense shield. However, so far, those relying on it are mad and those who opposed it are quite pleased. So, someone is clueless.
Well, wait a minute, Hillary goes on to add:
She said a U.S. Patriot antimissile unit will do rotational duty in Poland, and the U.S. will do “close missile defense research and development” with Czech companies.
OH, I see. The revolutionary anti-missile defense shield is now being replaced by Patriot missiles and “research and development”. Yeah buddy, that should make the Czechs feel all warm and fuzzy. Russia fires missiles at Czechoslovakia, they’ll respond in kind with research papers. Who’s side would you put your money on? Me? I’m going with the Russians. Just call it a hunch.
So, quite frankly, Hillary’s lying again. That’s not missile defense. Period. As far as the world is concerned, that makes it Russia 1, Obama 0. Whether Obama likes it or not, we had a commitment to the Poles and Czechs. He reneged.
But, to people like me who take people’s words at face value, this is not the surprise that a lot of the world is making it out to be:
He told us he was going to gut the missile defense system. Some people listened, some obviously didn’t.
He also made several other speeches:
Beyond taking these immediate, urgent steps, it’s time to send a clear message: America seeks a world with no nuclear weapons. As long as nuclear weapons exist, we must retain a strong deterrent. But instead of threatening to kick them out of the G-8, we need to work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair-trigger alert; to dramatically reduce the stockpiles of our nuclear weapons and material; to seek a global ban on the production of fissile material for weapons; and to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate-range missiles so that the agreement is global. By keeping our commitment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we’ll be in a better position to press nations like North Korea and Iran to keep theirs. In particular, it will give us more credibility and leverage in dealing with Iran.
Don’t come whining when he starts gutting our nuclear arsenal in the name of national security.