Thursday, September 17, 2009

No BMD for Poland/Czech Republic

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the BMD system proposed by Bush (and which never worked very well, to be generous) for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic is about to be dropped. Meanwhile, Russia is deploying more troops in Belarus.

The purpose of deploying the BMD was not because of the unrealistic policy of protecting Europe from Iranian missles. The Bush administration had a amazing capacity for mendacity and apparent self-deception in this regard. Deployment created a footprint in Eastern Europe and backing for those countries on Russia's borders who felt most threatened by Russian expansionism.

It is doubtful that Russia will see this as a concession. They are not stupid. If it is meant to pull Russia away from its support of Iran, the move won't work except perhaps on the margins of cooperation. Under Putin/Medvedev, Russia still operates within a zero-sum approach, so the NATO partners need to consider what will replace the BMD footprint.

Poland in particular is looking for US support to replace what it considers is soft backing from NATO largely due to the increasingly close relationship between Germany and Russia. What will Obama offer in return?

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