Sorry Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel. While you were struggling and suffering in a desperate struggle against the Evil Empire, Obama was at Columbia decrying the evils of the US war machine. On the level of sensibility you’re already behind. Plus you have the misfortune of being in what neoconservatives billed as New Europe so you’re in the path of The One’s anti-Bush payback.
So you can ask all you want…
Dissident heroes from the age of the Iron Curtain, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel and 20 other Central and Eastern European intellectuals, policymakers and leaders have penned an open letter to President Obama on the perils facing US-NATO relations should he cave to the Russians — and they should know: “Despite the efforts and significant contribution of the new members, NATO today seems weaker than when we joined. In many of our countries it is perceived as less and less relevant – and we feel it. Although we are full members, people question whether NATO would be willing and able to come to our defense in some future crises… We know from our own historical experience the difference between when the United States stood up for its liberal democratic values and when it did not. Our region suffered when the United States succumbed to “realism” at Yalta. And it benefited when the United States used its power to fight for principle. That was critical during the Cold War and in opening the doors of NATO. Had a “realist” view prevailed in the early 1990s, we would not be in NATO today and the idea of a Europe whole, free, and at peace would be a distant dream…
[T]he thorniest issue may well be America’s planned missile-defense installations. Here too, there are different views in the region, including among our publics which are divided. Regardless of the military merits of this scheme and what Washington eventually decides to do, the issue has nevertheless also become — at least in some countries — a symbol of America’s credibility and commitment to the region.
… but this administration doesn’t traffic in outmoded ideas like “fighting for principle” and “liberal democratic values.” No missile shield for you:
“Washington has told Moscow that Russian help in resolving Iran’s nuclear program would make its missile shield plans for Europe unnecessary, a Russian daily said on Monday, citing White House sources. U.S. President Barack Obama made the proposal on Iran in a letter to his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, Kommersant said, referring to unidentified U.S. officials…”
A senior U.S. official confirms that a letter was sent but won’t say what was in it. No surprise that The One’s ready for rapprochement with Russia: As I recall, part of the left’s logic last summer in kinda sorta defending Russian action in Georgia was that the U.S. had forced a confrontational posture on the Kremlin by pursuing missile defense and integrating eastern European countries into NATO. If, unlike me, you take that logic seriously and believe that Vladimir Putin’s ambitions are mainly defensive, it makes sense to de-escalate even at the cost of leaving some of those eastern European countries exposed.
Just for the record, the Russians pocketed Obama’s concession on missile defense and then turned around and denied it was linked to Iran. Smart power!
* Cold War Heroes Walesa & Havel Plead To Obama: Don’t Give Up Missile Defense [Closing Velocity]
* Four Theories Why Obama Is Throwing Britain Under The Bus [MR]
* Russian paper: Obama ready to trade European missile shield for Russian help with Iran? [Hot Air]
* Russia rejects link between missile defence and Iran – Update [Earth Times]
* Super-Smart President Screws Up Putin’s Title Three Times [Video]
* Detente In Our Time – Russia Moves Missiles To NATO’s Border, Obama And EU Prepare To Cave
* Detente In Our Time – Obama Prepares To Sell Out Poland In The Face Of Russian Aggression. Again. (Plus: By The Way, Missile Defense Works)