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.

No comments: