Thoughts on Central and Eastern Europe from an historian of the region
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The Irony of the US-Polish Missile Defense Agreement
For years the Bush administration rigorously maintained that the plan for a U.S. defense shield base in Poland should not concern Russia, because the base was not intended to threaten Russian missiles, but was to counteract a possible missile launch by Iran. Poles were sufficiently divided on the US plan that negotiations dragged on and on, despite the fact that Poles are generally deeply pro-American. Polish opponents of the plan pointed to two key points: first, the desire not to antagonize Russia unduly; and second, the fact that Poles bear no grudge against Iran. Then came the crisis in the Caucuses, two weeks ago and within days the Polish premier Donald Trusk finalized the missile defense agreement with the U.S. much to the delight of the Bush administration. That agreement only reinforced the view that the missile defense system is in fact seen as a way to challenge Russia, and the rhetoric about Iran merely a fig-leaf, not that such a gap between rhetoric and behavior is anything new for the Bush administration.
I live in Woodside, NY in Western Queens and have been living here happily for two years. By training I am a specialist on Central and Eastern Europe and I also have an occasional blog on international affairs especially Central and Eastern Europe called "Lands Far Away..." If such topics inerest you, you may also want to visit New Books in East European Studies, which I also moderate. The Woodsider Insider, however, is now my main blog. To contact me with suggestions about possible posts you may reach me at email@example.com