[Editor’s Note – The video link that we posted is no longer working, so I had to find something to put here about Obama & Eastern Europe so we would have something here, and look at what we just discovered, see the special Editor’s Note below.]
By Krystyna Teller
A controversial move by President Barack Obama has Eastern European states, notably Poland, questioning America’s commitment to stand by them. In a poorly timed statement, Obama announces an end to the missile defense shield plan, initiated by the Bush Administration, on the 70th Anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. For the global Polish population, the timing of this announcement is particularly insensitive, with many of them seeing this as a “stab in the back”.
Adam Andrzejewski, Republican candidate for Governor whose grandparents emigrated from Poland, weighs in on the decision; “Not only are we leaving an ally in the lurch, we left them hanging on the 70th Anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. That’s like releasing an Al Qaeda terrorist on 9-11, and it’s a profound insult to all Poles.”
Illinois, home to the second-largest Polish population outside Warsaw, also produced politicians like Barack Obama and many of his subordinates.
Georgia Joins Growing List of Snubbed U.S. Allies. Washington Post:
Forty-seven world leaders are Barack Obama’s guests in Washington Tuesday at the nuclear security summit. Obama is holding bilateral meetings with just 12 of them. That’s led to some awkward exclusions — and some unfortunate appearances, as well.
One of those left out was Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia, who got a phone call from Obama last week instead of a meeting in Washington. His exclusion must have prompted broad smiles in Moscow, where Saakashvili is considered public enemy no. 1 — a leader whom Russia tried to topple by force in the summer of 2008. After all, Obama met with Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine and a friend of the Kremlin. And he is also meeting with the leaders of two of Georgia’s neighbors — Armenia and Turkey, both of which enjoy excellent relations with Russia.
So is Saakashvili — a democratically elected leader whose ambition is to lead his country into NATO — being snubbed in order to please Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev? The White House would insist no. The summit is about nuclear security; Yanukovych got an appointment because Ukraine agreed to give up 60 tons of highly enriched uranium that it now uses in research reactors. Turkey and Armenia are seeing Obama because the administration hopes to press them to move forward with an agreement on opening borders — a deal that would benefit everyone in the Caucasus.
Still, Saakashvili’s exclusion from the bilateral schedule is striking considering his strong support for U.S. interests, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Georgia sent as many as 2,000 troops from its tiny army to Iraq. It will soon have nearly 1,000 in Afghanistan; 750 are being sent to fight under U.S. command. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke noted last month that Georgia’s per capita troop contribution would be the highest of any country in the world.
Lech Wałęsa talks about missile shield – Warsaw Business Journal:
Former Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lech Wałesa, has spoken out about media reports that the US has scrapped plans to install a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.
“Americans have always cared only about their interests, and all other [countries] have been used for their purposes. This is another example,” Mr Wałęsa told TVN24. “[Poles] need to review our view of America, we must first of all take care of our business,” he added.
“I could tell from what I saw, what kind of policies President Obama cultivates,” the former president added. “I simply don’t like this policy, not because this shield was required [in Poland], but [because of] the way we were treated,” he concluded.
Poles, Czechs: U.S. missile defense shift a betrayal
by Vanessa Gera ASSOCIATED PRESS:
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poles and Czechs voiced deep concern Friday at President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap a Bush-era missile defense shield planned for their countries.
“Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back,” the Polish tabloid Fakt declared on its front page.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he was concerned that Obama’s new strategy leaves Poland in a dangerous “gray zone” between Western Europe and the old Soviet sphere.
Recent events have rattled nerves throughout central and eastern Europe, a region controlled by Moscow during the Cold War, including the war last summer between Russia and Georgia and ongoing efforts by Russia to regain influence in Ukraine. A Russian cutoff of gas to Ukraine last winter left many Europeans without heat.
The Bush administration’s missile defense plan would have been “a major step in preventing various disturbing trends in our region of the world,” Kaczynski said in a guest editorial in Fakt that also was carried on his presidential Web site.
Neighboring Lithuania, a small Baltic nation that broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991 and is now a NATO member, also expressed regret over Obama’s decision.
Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene said that the shield would have increased security for Lithuania and she hoped missile defense would not be excluded from future talks on NATO security.
“This NATO region cannot be an exception and its defense is not less important compared with others,” she said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he still sees a chance for Poles and Czechs to participate in the redesigned missile defense system. But that did not appear to calm nerves in Warsaw or Prague. Kaczynski expressed hopes that the U.S. will now offer Poland other forms of “strategic partnership.”
Later Friday, U.S. ambassador Victor Ashe stressed that “the United States counts Poland among its closest allies and friends.”
“Consultations on the way forward for missile defense will continue between our two governments,” Ashe said in a statement. “The role Poland would play in the new, phased, adapted approach is as crucial now as in the past.”
In Prague, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said he made two concrete proposals to U.S. officials on Thursday in hopes of keeping the U.S.-Czech alliance strong: for the U.S. to establish a branch of West Point for NATO members in Central Europe and to “send a Czech scientist on the U.S. space shuttle to the international space station.”
An editorial in Hospodarske Novine, a respected pro-business Czech newspaper, said: “an ally we rely on has betrayed us, and exchanged us for its own, better relations with Russia, of which we are rightly afraid.”
The move has raised fears in the two nations they are being marginalized by Washington even as a resurgent Russia leaves them longing for added American protection.
The Bush administration always said that the planned system — with a radar near Prague and interceptors in northern Poland — was meant as defense against Iran. But Poles and Czechs saw it as protection against Russia, and Moscow too considered a military installation in its backyard to be a threat.
“No Radar. Russia won,” the largest Czech daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes, declared in a front-page headline.
[Now read this next paragragh very carefully – IUSB Vision Editor]
Obama said the old plan was scrapped in part because the U.S. has concluded that Iran is less focused on developing the kind of long-range missiles for which the system was originally developed, making the building of an expensive new shield unnecessary.
Now the facts have gotten out that the Obama Administration KNEW that wasn’t true….
“With sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could probably develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States by 2015,” says a new 12 page unclassified report prepared by the Department of Defense on the Iran Military Threat.
The report says Iran’s military strategy is designed to defend against external or “hard” threats from the United States and Israel. “Iran’s nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility to develop nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy,” according to the report.
Now what was that about Iran not wanting long range missiles????
LONDON — Iran is said to have been constructing a new rocket launch facility that could later accommodate an intercontinental ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead.
Iran's new launch site is 4 km northeast of the existing facility at Semnan. IHS Jane's imagery by DigitalGlobe
IHS Jane’s reported that Iran was building a launch site with help from North Korea. Jane’s said the launcher was detected by commercial remote-sensing satellites in the Semnan province east of Teheran.
“It [rocket launch facility] contains a gantry tower, which is 13 meters wide, approximately 18-20 meters tall and has a cliff-side flame bucket nearly as high as the tower itself,” Jane’s said on March 5. “It appears midway towards completion.”
This is about as busted as busted gets. Obama lied about his reasoning to strip Eastern Europe of their promised missile shield. It seems that the analysts have been proved correct, that we threw our allies under the bus to show good will to Putin and Russia.
Maybe the administration can claim ignorance from just a few months ago. Of course that is unlikely in the extreme, but assuming that is true, it cannot be ignored that Iran has been test launching longer and longer range missiles for how long now?
The BBC Reports Iranian long range missile tests in Sept 2009, when Obama was saying that Iran “was less focused” on long range missile plans.
BBC – 28 September 2009:
Iran has successfully test-fired some of the longest range missiles in its arsenal, state media say.
The Revolutionary Guards tested the Shahab-3 and Sajjil rockets, which are believed to have ranges of up to 2,000km (1,240 miles), reports said.
The missiles’ range could potentially permit them to reach Israel and US bases in the Gulf, analysts say.
The tests come amid heightened tension with the big international powers over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The BBC link even has a video of the launch. – Editor