President-elect Obama is getting a rude welcome to the world of international diplomacy and the wide-reaching effect his decisions will have:
President-elect Obama has spoken to the president of Poland about relations between the two countries but didn't make a commitment on the multibillion-dollar missile defense program undertaken by the Bush administration, an Obama aide said Saturday.So here we are with Obama telling a world leader one thing and the public another, very much like his statements on NAFTA during the election where he slammed the treaty on the campaign trail while simultaneously winking at the Canucks and saying it was just for the consumption of the gullible American electorate.
That contrasts with a statement by Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who said Obama told him the missile defense project would continue.
The U.S. and Poland signed an agreement in August for basing American missiles in Poland as part of a shield against possible missile attacks from Iran.
A missile shield set up so close to its borders has been a sore point with Russia and has served as another dent in its battered relationship with the U.S.
But this is not Canada, this is Russia, the former Soviet Union, the Bear who was our enemy for decades and who will be again soon. Medvedev is the puppet while Putin pulls the strings and Putin is getting a measure of just who Obama is. Russia wants to regain its influence in the region and it starts with Poland, a fierce ally and a nation that dearly needs us to be very clear about our intentions. Instead we get mealy-mouthed rhetoric from Obama.
Putin is paying attention and he's gauging the make up of the man who will replace Bush. I'm sure he's smiling with Obama's response to this issue. He's rebuilding his military (a sorry military at present) in hopes of becoming the power broker in Eastern Europe, Southwestern Asia, the Northern Pacific and the Arctic. The Bush administrations aim with placing the missile shield in Poland was to assure our ally that we are paying attention plus to force Russia's hand. Obama has essentially laid all that work to waste by his dithering.
This was not an easy plan for Lech Kaczynski to get his country to accept and he probably spent massive political capital to do so and Obama leaves the man hanging on an issue of great import.
This is no longer a campaign, that's already been won. This is not speaking in front of adoring fans who mindlessly scream "Yes we can" after every sentence. No, this is the real deal where decisions (or none decisions as the case may be) have immediate and far-reaching effect. If Europe finally likes us again as liberals are so happy to point out, it sure seems strange to leave a major European country (and one that suffered first under the Nazi's then under the Soviets in recent history) twisting in the wind.
A troubling start to say the least.