Jul 03 2010

The Poland missile shield is back

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 10:58 pm

On Visit To Poland, Clinton Says Missile Shield ‘Not Directed At Russia’

The United States
and Poland have signed a revised agreement to deploy elements of a missile-defense system in Central Europe, overriding Russia’s objections.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton witnessed the signing of the deal today in the Polish city of Krakow, the second leg of her four-day trip to Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia.

The revamped agreement takes into account changes brought in by U.S. President Barack Obama, who announced in September that Washington would drop the plans of his predecessor, George W. Bush, for a long-range system.

Instead, Obama’s plan envisages a short- and medium-range system to counter Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as a small U.S. base in Poland.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, Clinton said Washington remains deeply committed to Poland’s security and sovereignty.

“Today, by signing an amendment to the ballistic missile-defense agreement, we are reinforcing this commitment. The amendment will allow us to move forward with Polish participation in hosting elements of the phased adaptive approach to missile defense in Europe,” Clinton said. “It will help protect the Polish people and all of Europe — our allies and others — from evolving threats like that posed by Iran.”

Despite the initial dismay sparked in Poland by Obama’s decision to scrap the Bush-era missile plans, Sikorski insisted that his nation actually favors the new approach.

“When President Obama announced the new configuration of this sytem, we did say that we liked the new configuration better, but I think you didn’t believe us,” he said. “Now that we have signed the annex, I hope you do believe us.”

Of course, the Polish government would say nearly anything to get some kind of missile shield in place, and have little choice but to accept whatever Obama will offer. The Polish government knows that the rest of the world knows this. So, in a way, I think the comments just quoted should be read to mean, “Obama reneged, and has now come back half-way, and since this is far as he’s going to go, we’re going to make the best of it and not rock the boat.”

As usual, Obama is more interested in placating opponents (which, realistically, Russia has become) than supporting friends.  One wonders what Obama knows about the actual state of the Iran nuclear weapons program and missile delivery systems that he didn’t know when he canceled the missile defense program planned by Bush.  It’s hard to imagine what else would move him to make this half-concession, given that the American press has given him a complete pass on withdrawing from the Bush/Poland agreements to base missile defense there.