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Claude Cartaginese

Obama to Russia: We Surrender!

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Posted on September 18 2009 1:25 am
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On Sept. 17, 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland. In 1968 they invaded the Czech Republic (then part of Czechoslovakia).  In both countries (as well as in most of the other countries in Eastern Europe that fell under Soviet domination), the Russians imposed brutal Marxist dictatorships. When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, many of those countries finally got an opportunity to taste freedom for the first time in decades.

In the Czech Republic, and especially in Poland—which endured 70 years of communist repression—this new-found freedom allowed those countries to dismantle the police-state apparatus (which is necessary for the existence of every Marxist state) that the Russians had imposed, and to move closer to the West, all the while keeping a wary eye on the Russians. Russia’s brutal invasion of the Republic of Georgia last year was a reminder to them that Russian aspirations of regional domination are still very much alive.

After the 9/11 Islamic terror attacks, the administration of George W. Bush courted the region determinedly, recognizing that America’s security and Europe’s stability required a strong, safe Eastern Europe that could be relied upon as an ally in the war on terror. The Eastern Europeans proved their commitment by becoming, in some instances, more reliable than the French or other Western European nations. In fact, Eastern European nations were some of the most enthusiastic contributors of troops in the war on terror, fighting alongside U.S. forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the United States was forging these alliances, the Russians were busy forging alliances of their own. Aside from their traditional surrogates, such as Cuba and North Korea, they have found common ground with countries such as Venezuela and Iran. When Iran embarked on its program to acquire nuclear weapons, it was Russia that provided the technology to enable it to do so. It was Russia which built Iran’s nuclear reactors, and it is Russia that is providing Iran with the fuel to run those reactors.

President Bush not only recognized the danger that a nuclear-armed Iran, backed by Russia, would have on the stability of both Europe and the Middle East, he also recognized that Iranian missiles could now threaten the very security of the United States.

Bush agreed to set up a missile defense system, components of which would be placed in both Poland and the Czech Republic. The system was designed to protect the U.S. and its allies against potential aggression from Iran, intercepting any long-range missiles launched from that country.

Alas, it was not to be.

Bowing to pressure from Russia, which vowed to take “retaliatory steps” if the missile defense system was implemented, the administration of President Barack Obama has decided, as reported by Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! program, to:

abandon the Bush administration’s so-called “missile-defense” system in Eastern Europe…The move marks one of the Obama administration’s sharpest reversals of a major Bush administration foreign policy to date.

This is a colossal blunder. A unilateral retreat without a quid pro quo is no way to deal with the Russians, as Ronald Reagan so aptly demonstrated. When rumors of Obama’s plan to drop the defense system surfaced last month, Heritage Foundation scholar Nile Gardner wrote that doing so would:

represent an appalling surrender to Russian demands, and the shameful appeasement of an increasingly aggressive regime that is openly flexing its muscle in an effort to intimidate ex-members of the Warsaw Pact.

Gardner added that:

Such a move would significantly weaken America’s ability to combat the growing threat posed by Iran’s ballistic missile program, and would hand a major propaganda victory to the Russians

The East Europeans know a slight when they see one.

Lech Walesa, the former Solidarity leader and Polish ex-president who understands the Russian threat first-hand, said:

I can see what kind of policy the Obama administration is pursuing toward this part of Europe. The way we are being approached needs to change

Former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose government signed treaties with the Bush administration to build the system, said:

The Americans are not interested in this territory as they were before. It’s bad news for the Czech Republic

Poland’s National Security Office said that the change was a:

defeat primarily of American long-distance thinking about the situation in this part of Europe.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called it shortsighted and harmful to our long-term security interests, adding:

We must not turn our backs on two loyal allies in the war on terror

The Russians, however, love the decision.

Russia, which has offered nothing in return for America’s gesture, called it a “responsible move.”

Bravo, Mr. President.

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