A couple of weeks ago, our Commander-in-Chief decided that the United States would not continue with the previous administration’s plan to place mid-range ballistic defense systems in Poland and Czech Republic. This pull back on previous international defense commitments is part of a greater unilateral $1.4 billion draw down in US ballistic missile defense spending. Apparently, the Obama administration believes that by knowingly making the United States and its allies less safe, Russia will capitulate to our desire for them to support additional severe sanctions on Iran. It seems that, in Obama’s mind, elimination of a defensive capability will somehow compel the developer of an offensive capability to reverse course. In essence this is like saying, “By leaving my door unlocked, I am going to compel you not to rob my house.” By any stretch of the imagination, this is a risky if not logically flawed approach. So, in a vain attempt to seek some comfort by better understanding Obama’s plan, I set out on an Internet-based expedition for answers. What I found, however, punched me right between my optic nerves:
After looking at the above pictures the pain behind my eyes only seemed to intensify. Surely our President would not make such a risky decision on our safety without a sound plan. So with renewed zeal I dug even further trying to find some type of consolation – and found these:
Having now successfully propelled myself into an inverted flaming existential tailspin I panicked. Surely Putin is being political and all these pictures are just for show! Surely the smiles were fake and these rooms were full of animus and enmity. Then I found the most troubling picture of all:
Does this look like two men who want to “sanction” each other? What exactly is Mahmoud doing to our buddy here? Is Putin enjoying it? Can we count on the corrupt, power mad (and clearly sometimes vulnerable) Putin to do the right thing by the US? I cannot say for sure, but I now firmly believe that a handshake (and whatever is happening above) is truly worth a thousand words.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I found one other picture that I am sure succinctly sums up Putin’s feelings about Obama’s plan:
Well, I have heard of pictorial essays before but this takes the cake.
I think it is worthwhile for you to explore Defense Secretary Gates support of the retiring of the defense shield plan. The technology is outmoded (i.e. is not likely to work) and defense can be achieved through other means.
There may be truth in what you say that the Russians cannot be trusted to join us in opposition to Iran but I do not believe we would have taken these steps if it really was putting Poland and Czech Republic at risk,
Thanks for your comments and POV. I am glad you found Head Muscle. I agree that the fixed sites are not all that they are cracked up to be. In my past lives I have worked with both the mobile and the fixed systems and understand that they both have their “quirks.” I believe however, that this is more of a foreign policy issue than a technology issue. The issue isn’t that the ground systems are outdated, but rather that Russia thinks they are important. By giving them up, we have lost an extremely valuable bargaining chip. By giving them up so quickly, we are now forced to bargain with things that matter more to us. Will we give up Eastern European NATO membership next? Maybe they will want us to move our Aegis TBMD ships out of range next….should we?
When and if a pattern begins to emerge of appeasement to Russia, I will be as concerned as you. I must say, while I have not researched it much, the recent movement away from the Dalai Lama to appease China is a bit disconcerting.
Foreign policy is by all accounts an inexact science. It is inconsistent at best. I think, however, that it is not much different than many other types of negotiation. In any deal, both parties come to the table because they each have something that the other wants.
The goal of both sides is to get as much as they can while giving away as little as possible. What concerns me the most (and admittedly I am not privy to the details) is that it appears we have started the negotiation by giving up a key bargaining chip. I have not studied the situation in China either, but if your observations are correct it certainly seems consistent with this administration’s approach.
I think that it will be very telling to see what happens over the next two to three weeks. My take is, if Obama has cut a deal with Russia, he will have to make it public soon in order to claim a political win which he needs very badly. If we hear nothing, and see no marked changes in Iranian or Russian policy I think we will know the answer. Again, I hope I am wrong. A nuclear Iran will be a huge problem and will eventually lead to war.
I agree and interestingly far left liberals have been applying this logic to attack the current health care debate.
Instead of the Democrats coming out of the chute with single payer and then negotiating down to something more palatable to everyone, they start with an immediate concession (the public option) and now they may very well not get that either. I realize this is off-topic from your post, but your characterization of negotiation resonated with me.
Wow, Putin and Mahmoud look like BFFs! Probably didn’t even have to hack their Facebook pages to find this out!
LOL. Now I have to check and see if they really do have Facebook walls.