Today, President Obama announced that the U.S. was shelving the proposed plan for ground-based interceptors in Poland and the accompanying radar in the Czech Republic. Great timing, Mr. President. After all, today is the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, and according to the New York Times article, the Polish government considered the American troop presence as a concrete assurance of America’s commitment to European security. Given the history, it is not surprising that Poland and most of Eastern Europe is wary of Russia. Therefore, it is decidedly insensitive for President Obama to announce the change in security policy today.
According to the articles linked above, the new plans will be implemented sooner, and will be more effective in countering a threat from Iran that apparently now is more focused on short and medium range missiles. Officially, that is the rationale, however I see a hidden logic in the announcement. Shelving the system based in Poland and the Czech Republic also appeals to the Russian Federation. The need for better relations with Russia is quite evident; the Russians are an important partner in dealing with Iran, and would be instrumental in persuading them to give up their nuclear plans. Cooperation with Russia would also be a boost to the War in Afghanistan and other terrorism-related issues.
Ever since the initial announcement of the plans for basing the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, Russia has complained that the system threatens them. While that did not seem to be completely justified, in diplomacy, as in any debate, one must assuage the concerns of the other side and make concessions in order to receive something that one desires. While the new missile system may be just as effective as the old plan, President Obama should have been a little more sensitive to the history of Russian-Eastern European relations and America’s role in them when making the announcement. Waiting even one more day to address it would have been a much more politically-savvy move in my opinion.
The Timing Failure: The Shift in the Missile Shield Plans by The New Age of Politics, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.