Barry and the Tarbaby
The Obama administration's decision to pull the plug on the missile defense plan for Eastern Europe and the Republican response should provide hours of fun for political satirists. Both sides have agreed that the real issue is Iran. Can Iran rain nuclear death on the Poles and Czechs? Perhaps a better question is why Iran would choose the Poles. Perhaps as the newest incarnation of the Third Reich they just have to invade Poland and set up concentration camps.
This morning Don and Roma (on WLS radio Chicago) got the "real story" from John Bolton. You see, the Bush administration did not actually think that Iran currently has ICBMs, but they were anticipating the future. Boy, will we all be sorry when they do attack Warsaw, because it will be too late. Missile defense, he opined sagely in the precise tones and convoluted sentences of the megalomaniac impersonating an intellectual, is not a light switch that can be turned on and off.
Even John Bolton, I suppose, must know that this is a lie. Iran had nothing whatsoever to do with this program. The object—and it is more an object of aggression than defense—was always Russia. The US has been steadily expanding its sphere of influence at the expense of the former Soviet Empire, and under Bush II we were muscling into the Ukraine, Belorus, and Georgia. The Poles, God bless them, always knew, which is why they are so alarmed. As the AP reports this morning, the Polish newspaper Fakt ran a headline on the front page: "Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back."
As Chronicles readers know, we never supported Bush's imperial thrust into Eastern Europe, but once President Obama decided to back out, there were, certainly, a more graceful and less risky approach to selling out our naive and trusting allies. Allies, one might add, who out of gratitude joined the Coalition of the stupid and bought US, not European military hardware. We might have run into technical complications, aggravated by the current economic crisis, while protesting loudly our determination to put the system in place in a timely fashion. Why Obama did not stall he—or rather the advisors telling him what to do—alone knows. One guess is that the Russians have allowed us to transport materiel to Afghanistan, and this is part of the payback. Or—and this is never safe to rule out—they simply do not know what they are doing. This seems to me incredible, since the Bush policy was a multi-faceted attempt to cut off Eastern Europe from Russian influence and incorporate the former satellites, captive nations, and break-away regions into a US-NATO economic and military sphere.
It was an evil policy, in my view, but at least it was a policy. Like so many bad plans—colonizing Africa, invading Iraq, importing slaves—it is simply not possible to reverse course in mid-stream without grave consequences. Back in the 90's I tried to explain to Poles and Czechs why it was not safe to rely on the US, because while one administration might have a plan that includes defense of Poland—or support for Marcos, the Somozas, or the Shah of Iran—some future leader with the inevitable mandate will feel no compunction about selling them out.
So-called democracies are incapable of coherent policies, because they are always at the whim of fleeting majorities or of whatever set of knaves lie, cheat, steal, and kill their way to power. America is not a real democracy or even a republic, but it is a a country run by demagogues who lack both comprehensive vision and the willpower to carry through, albeit with gritted teeth, a strategic plan that has been shaped by earlier demagogues. National security? National interest? Good faith? Forget about it, this is America we're talking about.
Empires are tarbabies. The only way to get loose is to cut off your arms and legs.