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September 17, 2009

Obama Betrays Our Allies By Canceling Missile Defense Shield

Barack Obama is turning into Jimmy Carter Part II with frightening speed. It's bad enough that he apologizes to foreign offices for perceived U.S. offenses, that he let's Latin American thugs lecture him without response, admonishes Israel while ignoring Palestinian offenses and that he cuts vital weapons systems like the F-22 Raptor, but in his latest act he has both betrayed key allies and left Europe defenseless all at once. All that and we're barely eight months into his presidency. Not even Carter got this bad so fast.

In case you haven't seen it, here's the story as it appeared in today's Washington Times

President Obama on Thursday said he is scrapping current plans for a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic that was intended to protect against the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, but said he is doing so in order to deploy a more flexible system, possibly in those same countries, that his administration said is an "enhancement."

Mr. Obama, in a statement at the White House, said that his "new approach" will "best address the threat posed by Iran's ongoing ballistic missile defense program."

He and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates emphasized that the new system was based on a determination that the Iranian threat has shifted, for now, away from long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) delivery systems for potential nuclear weapons and toward short- and medium-range missiles.

We'll deal later with why the explanation is a load of bunk, but for now let's make sure we understand the magnitude of the betrayal of our allies.

Poland is right on the doorstep of Russia. The Czech Republic is father away, of course, but still vulnerable. Poland is most vulnerable to direct military assault, and both to economic pressure. Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas. In 2004 Poland received 43% of it's natural gas from Russia, and the Czech Republic, 77%. Last winter Russia cut off shipments of gas to Ukraine, allegedly over contract disputes, but most likely it was more just a show of power by Russia.

A few years ago Russia put a lot of pressure on Poland and the Czech Republic to not accept their parts of the missile defense shield, but they bravely resisted and threw in their lot with the U.S. They did so knowing that they were vulnerable to Russian pressure, but they did it anyway. And now Obama pulls the rug out from under them. They now have the worst of both worlds; no defense against missiles but still having annoyed Russia for having accepted it in the first place.

An Iranian Nuke

For the past few years I've listened to liberals tell us there was no worry because the Iranians had either stopped their nuclear program or were years off. Today we see this from Fox News

A secret report from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog warns that Iran has the ability to make a nuclear bomb and is developing a missile system to carry it -- an assessment that could call into question the Obama administration's claim on Thursday that the biggest threat from Iran comes from its short- and medium-range missiles....

The report, which says Iran is likely to "overcome problems" on developing a delivery system, appears to be the so-called "secret annex" on Iran's nuclear program that Washington has said is being withheld by the IAEA's chief.

But the IAEA pushed back hard against that allegation, saying the charge is baseless.

"With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon program in Iran," the IAEA said in a written statement.

An IAEA spokesman told FOX News that the next formal report on Iran's nuclear capabilities is expected in November. He said the evidence suggesting Iran has a nuclear weapons program has not been verified.

I tried to quote enough to be fair.

Ok, so it's not definitive or verified. And my instinct tells me that they won't have a nuke until next year. And it'll be awhile after than before they have more than one or two, and longer still before they can put them atop missiles.

But maybe not. The simple fact is that we don't know, and seems to me that it is only prudent to assume that they are relatively far along in development.

Missiles in Turkey Not Sufficient

The White House put out a "fact sheet"on their alternative to the canceled missile defense system in Europe, which says in part:

Starting around 2011, this missile defense architecture will feature deployments of increasingly-capable sea- and land-based missile interceptors, primarily upgraded versions of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), and a range of sensors in Europe to defend against the growing ballistic missile threat from Iran. This phased approach develops the capability to augment our current protection of the U.S. homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats, and to offer more effective defenses against more near-term ballistic missile threats. The plan provides for the defense of U.S. deployed forces, their families, and our Allies in Europe sooner and more comprehensively than the previous program, and involves more flexible and survivable systems.

But as Michael Goldfarb points out over at TWS:

The White House has put out a "fact sheet" on their policy of Russian appeasement/missile defense surrender. The fact sheet says that the new approach -- focusing on SM-3 and sea-based systems (presumably in Turkey) -- will "augment our current protection of the U.S. homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats." That is a lie. This system will provide zero, nada, zilch protection to the U.S. homeland, providing only defense against short- and medium-range missiles to Europe.

The fact sheet says this system will protect "our Allies in Europe sooner and more comprehensively than the previous program, and involves more flexible and survivable systems." That is a lie. The system that was being placed in Poland is already operational in Alaska. These new plans will now take years of negotations to implement and will necessarily be less survivable as they will not be underground.

The fact sheet says that "The Czech Republic and Poland, as close, strategic and steadfast Allies of the United States, will be central to our continued consultations with NATO Allies on our defense against the growing ballistic missile threat." That is a lie. The Czechs and Poles get a midnight phone call from the president while Tauscher is already in the air. They were not consulted with and have been given no assurances -- because the president is selling them out.

The fact sheet says, "We also welcome Russian cooperation to bring its missile defense capabilities into a broader defense of our common strategic interests." If that's true, our president is totally clueless about Russian capabilities and intentions -- even Bush, who looked into Putin's soul, was not so delusional as to think U.S. missile defense could be dependent on Russian good will and cooperation. How long til the Russians threaten to throw us out of our "joint" missile defense facilities in order to coerce us into staying out of an attack on Georgia or some other democratic state in their near abroad.

This is a decision based purely on ideology and the good soldiers on the JCS and and at the Pentagon have no choice but to go along for the ride. At least the president ought to be honest about what this means and stop the smears of missile defense.

Yup, what we have here is pure left-wing ideology in action. It is the mindset of Jimmy Carter; screw our friends and talk nice to our enemies. Obama is all set to talk to Iran next month, yet the latter have shown absolutely no inclination that they will even consider giving up their nuclear program. Both Russia and China have said that they are dead set against any more sanctions.

Betraying Friends and Rewarding Enemies and Adversaries

Obama ignored the massive human rights abuses committed by the mullahs in the wake of the last election there, and only spoke out after intense pressure. He's a fool if he thinks that Russia will give us anything in return for this massive U.S. concession. Obama has betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic, two allies, and is being nicey-nice to our enemies and adversaries, Iran and Russia.

So today Iran and Russia are happy, and Poland and the Czech Republic disappointed. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Perhaps the most insightful words, though, were spoken by Mirek Topolanek, who was the Czech prime minister when Prague agreed to co-host the shield, said that Obama's decision to cancel it was

"not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence".

Yes, the future of Czech freedom and indepdence are more in question today than they were yesterday

Posted by Tom at September 17, 2009 9:45 PM

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Comments

Tom,

Read Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' OP-ED piece in the September 20 NYT. The President has acted on his recommendation and that we are trading up w/ respect to systems. It appears to me that no allies were betrayed and no enemies were rewarded.

TLGK

Posted by: The Loop Garoo Kid at September 20, 2009 11:52 AM

How were our allies betrayed by cancelling an expensive missle defense system that we don't even know works Tom?


And Russia was kept at bay by the nuclear deterrent during the Cold War. I have doubts Russia would be attacking now.


I don't mean to sound dovish on Iran because as far as I'm concerned, Tehran should be a parking lot in the desert right now if we really do have proof it was arming and training insurgents to harm Americans and/or interfere in Iraq.


I do look forward to your expanding on this a bit should you decide to do a follow up on this subject. It emcompasses not just Poland and the Czecks, but our involvemnet in the defense of many countries that should be more capable of defending themselves. As well how the war on terror is waged along with what seems to be a "silent" cold war.

As usual, your post is a "must read." Well done again Tom.

Posted by: Truth 101 at September 20, 2009 5:40 PM

Thank you both for stopping by.

In my post I answered most of the questions both of you ask. It makes clear we are not "trading up" and explains how we betrayed out allies.

I did forget two things, though. First, the system Obama canceled would also have protected the U.S. of A. It would have been a mirror of the very same system we now have operational in Alaska to protect against North Korean Missiles. Second, missile defense is like anti-aircraft defense; you set it up in layers. You never count on any one layer to get 100 percent of the aircraft, for example, so you have long-range AA, medium range AA, and close in. We need both the system in Poland/Czech Republic, the short-range boost-phase interceptors in and around Turkey, and short range terminal defense here at home.

I will elaborate on this and more in my next post.

I know this sounds harsh, but I don't think Obama cares about the military defense of the United States or our allies though, but about his leftist ideology, which has always been hostile to missile defense.

Posted by: Tom the Redhunter at September 20, 2009 7:59 PM

I really do not see Poland and Czech Republic way up there on Irans hit list. And the protection for the rest of Europe? Are these not the same NATO allies we grudge for not helping more in Aghanistan?

Posted by: jason at September 22, 2009 8:14 PM

jason, thanks for stopping by and I hope you're still enjoying your world tour.

No one ever said Poland and the Czech Republic were Iranian targets. They're just where the radar and missiles would be. The protection is for all of Europe and the United States. It's to prevent Iran from intimidating us, which they will surely do once they get nuclear armed missiles.

As for their not helping out enough in Afghanistan, yes that is correct. But canceling the missile defense system because of that would be like cutting of your nose to spite your face.

Posted by: Tom the Redhunter at September 22, 2009 8:38 PM

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