The right-wing regimes of the “new Europe” — that is, the post-Soviet governments in eastern Europe that emerged, during the Bush administration, as the staunchest backers of American empire — are yelping over the decision by the Obama administration to cancel Bush-era plans to build a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
For Obama, who was never enthusiastic about the plan, it’s a strong indication that he’s serious about rebuilding relations with Russia. And the decision may have implications for Iran policy, too.
In an article entited: “U.S. to Shelve Nuclear Missile Shield,” the Wall Street Journal reports today:
“The White House will shelve Bush administration plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to people familiar with the matter, a move likely to cheer Moscow and roil the security debate in Europe.
“The U.S. will base its decision on a determination that Iran’s long-range missile program has not progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials. The findings, expected to be completed as early as next week following a 60-day review ordered by President Barack Obama, would be a major reversal from the Bush administration, which pushed aggressively to begin construction of the Eastern European system before leaving office in January…
“But the decision to shelve the defense system is all but certain to raise alarms in Eastern Europe, where officials have expressed concerns that the White House’s effort to ‘reset’ relations with Moscow would come at the expense of U.S. allies in the former Soviet bloc.”
Predictably, the neoconservative Weekly Standard is outraged, calling it a “complete capitulation to Russia’s Vladimir Putin,” and adding:
“The consequences of this action in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine and in other countries that feel vulnerable to Russian power, will be disastrous. It is a major American retreat in the face of Russian bullying. And we will get absolutely nothing for it.”
The Standard does pick up on the link to Iran, saying that: