The Missile-Defense Betrayal

It was not uncommon for a pharaoh to deface the monuments of his predecessors, insert his name in their inscriptions, or impose his likeness on the heads of their statues. The enterprising ruler—whoever he might have been—responsible for introducing this practice debased the respect traditionally accorded to a Pharaoh’s postmortem, opening the door of precedent for successors to usurp his monuments and achievements in turn. Fiddling with the permanence of the past in exchange for artificial boosts to a leader’s legacy tends to be self-defeating.

Today the Obama administration is behaving as if its mandate—conferred by a majority of voters frustrated with the Bush administration—carried sufficient authority not only to break with the past but also to undo it. The new man in the White House is bringing retroactive changes to foreign policy and showing no scruples about reneging on the long-term commitments of his country when they interfere with his own plans. On September 17, President Barack Obama officially announced that he would abandon the Eastern European missile-shield program, thus scrapping the treaties Gorge W. Bush had signed with Poland and the Czech Republic. The decision has drawn expressions of dismay from the governments of both countries.

“Catastrophic for Poland” is how a spokeswoman at the Polish Ministry of Defense described the suspension of the program. Mirek Topolanek, the former Czech prime minister who had gone out on a limb with his own electorate by signing the missile-defense treaty two years ago, interpreted the decision as another sign that “the Americans are not interested in this territory as they were before.” He added ruefully that “this is not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence.” Lech Walesa, the former president of Poland and founder of Solidarity, observed with bitterness: “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.”

Read the rest at Commentary magazine.

P.S. This is my first article for Commentary.

Author: Kejda

Born: Tirana, Albania Residing: New York, NY University of Waterloo, Economics '08

5 thoughts on “The Missile-Defense Betrayal”

  1. Kejda: You are obviously highly intelligent and open-minded enough to change your opinions so I have hope that you will come around on the issues on which we disagree. That said, this article does an excellent job of portraying the missile shield issue as a microcosm for a much bigger problem in modern American politics. Well done. By the way, why would I buy you a coffee if you’re not going to drink it? (Incidentally, that’s one of the many things on which we agree.)

  2. M1,

    On what issues do you hope I turn around? About the coffee, touché. Would that WordPress had an “if you like this post, buy me a cup of tea” widget…

  3. Your posts are thoughtfull and well thought out. Your translation of the Albanian communist videos on youtube are also well done. Bravo!

  4. Hi Kejda
    Deshiroj te jesh mire ti edhe Majkellin. Desha te pysja pse nuk ke shkruar ndonje gje te re tani se fundi dhe e dyta nese ka mundesi te te shtoj tek blogun tim Disssection of Serbian Propaganda. do te kisha deshire qe te me pergjigjeni por besoj se u shkruajne shume njerez dhe se ju duhet te ndani shapin nga sheqeri sic i thone ne Elbasan. Kisha deshire te kisha corespondence elektronike me ju dhe burrin tuaj se me dukeni shume te zgjuar dhe te them vetem nje fakt qe kam ndenjur dy dite pa gjume duke lexuar te gjithe gjerat ne bllogun tend. Gjithashtu kisha dhe deshire te jepja pak keshilla sa i perket serbeve. Nuk mund te gjesh njerez me genjeshtare dhe trilluasa se ata. Kam mbaruar universitetin dhe po mendoj te shkoj per master tani per shkenca politike dhe kam shume deshire te studioj pse keta njerez jane te tille. Nuk e di po per periudhen e Miloshevicit te keshilloj te shpenzosh pak kohe te lexohsh Sabrina P Rament “Under the holy lime tree” megjithese eshte pak e gjate dhe shume terma jane akademike for te jep nje pasqyrwe te plote nga ana psikologjike pse keta nejrez jane ashtu. Kam shume deshire te debatoj dhe te te tregoj anen time mesa kohe I kame ndjekur keta njerez te pakten ne internet. Sa per Jatraas ai i ben uzmetin parase qe merr dhe ka dale me temen qe ne jemi islamista dhe ben PR per Serbine. Besoj se njerez e kane ne vrojtim ate por se ka mbushur akoma kupen.

  5. The Polish got screwed; they went on the record ‘against the Russians’ but America stabbed them in the back. A serious nation such as America must have a continuous foreign policy but pragmatism plays a role too and the situation does change.

    On the other hand, Bush did rush into this and it was more to poke the Russians in the eye in light of Russia’s FP with its neighbors. Bottom line is that US Presidents make mistakes, and we can’t live with them forever because Obama or Bush said so, sometimes we have to cut our loses.

    Make it up to the Polish to the best we can and call it a day.

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