We don’t need no steenkin’ missile defenses! That’s the message emanating from Eastern Europe.
The proposed “anti-Iranian” missile systems aren’t popular in Poland and the Czech Republic, where they are supposed to be installed.
The Czech prime minister canceled a vote to allow the United States to put a key part of its planned missile defense system in the Central European country, the government announced late Tuesday.
Prime Minister Miroslav Topolanek said he called off the vote for fear his government would lose but added he could still put the two treaties up for a vote in parliament at a later date.
The Czech government temporarily withdrew treaties on hosting a U.S. defense radar from a parliament ratification process on Tuesday in the face of an opposition threat to vote them down.
The decision highlighted the center-right government’s weakness in parliament and may delay the ratification for months or even put it on ice for an unpredictable period.
Meanwhile, the Poles don’t much want them either, by a vote of 53-22:
Fifty-three percent of the Polish respondents to a recent CBOS survey are against plans to install elements of a U.S. anti-missile shield in Poland.
Twenty-two percent of the polled support the idea, Polish news agency PAP reported on Monday, quoting the survey.
And John Bolton is even grumpier than usual, complaining about President Obama’s offer to reconsider the deployment of the missile defense systems if Russia helps eliminate Iran’s nukes. Says Bolton:
The administration’s biggest mistake to date was suggesting that U.S. missile-defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic might go unbuilt if Russia could deliver an Iran without nuclear weapons. … It could well be that the United States gives up the Polish and Czech missile sites while Russia not only doesn’t deliver a nuclear-free Iran but doesn’t even try very hard.
But Carl Levin doesn’t agree:
Senator Carl Levin said simply beginning serious discussions with Russia about missile cooperation would send a powerful signal to Iran and could help repair strained U.S.-Russian relations.
“We have a new opportunity to seek a cooperative approach with Russia on missile defense and we should seize it,” Levin told a conference on missile defense. “The upside potential of such an effort is huge — a geopolitical game changer.”
I’ll take Levin over Bolton.