I’m writing to applaud the Obama administration in its decision to stand down the long range anti-missile defense deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic. Naturally that pillar of conservatism, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), lambasted the Obama administration for this decision. Playing to its fearful audience in the military-industrial-congressional complex, it pouted that

“The decision is a slap to America’s Polish and Czech allies, who had braved Russian intimidation in agreeing to host the sites.”  WSJ Sept 20, 2009.

Hmmm. Let’s see. The strutting roosters in the Bush Administration put Poland and the Czech Republic in the awkward position of hosting an American/NATO missile base within spitting distance of mother Russia. And who was surprised when Russia pitched a fit over this?  Irrespective of the stated purpose, real or not, the Russians went ape over the possibility of anti-ballistic missile capability being planted near its borders. Could it be that part of Russia’s strategic defenses include ICBM’s?

What tortured logic was used in coming to the decision that a missile base in former eastern-bloc countries would not set back US-Russian relations to 1960’s era levels of tension? Or did the Bush Administration people take this into account or even care?

“That is only one aspect of Mr. Obama’s mistake, however, because the Third Site was only partly about missile defense. No one ever believed that the basing of radars in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptors in Poland was a masterstroke of defensive strategic geometry … ” [italics by Gaussling]

“Rather, a central purpose of missile defense in Europe, on the doorstep of Russia, was alliance building. Its virtue was that it persuaded America’s allies that our common defense included a global ballistic missile defense system. In the near term it was to demonstrate that when it came to the threat posed by Iran, the U.S. and its NATO allies would stand together: Iran—aided and abetted by Russia—would not hold Europe hostage and the NATO powers would confront the threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical Islamic regime. Mr. Obama’s biggest mistake is that, just as the Third Site was meant to build alliances, its cancellation will undermine them.”  WSJ Sept 20, 2009.

I am hearing consistently that the proposed missile shootdown capability is hardly robust or proven effective. So we proposed to put a questionable system on the doorstep of Russia in the hope that the payoff would be better relations with the former eastern bloc states? What if Russia put a similar system in Venezuela or Cuba to protect these states from hostile aggressors? Oops! They tried something like that in Cuba a while back and it went badly.

Notice how the WSJ even admits that the proposed placement of the missiles was less than a master stroke. The fact is that US forces can pound Iranian targets from offshore or other locations if it comes to that.

The WSJ then goes on (below) to tie in strategic questions in Asia, fanning the flames of fear amongst its legions of wealthy and Calvinistic  subscribers. The Iranian issue is a unique European strategic question so the connection with the Chinese power calculus in Asia stretches credulity. The WSJ has chosen to use the issue as a prosthetic with which to assert that this one decision collapses US credibility in general.  US credibility in power projection is afloat 24/7 in the form of the US Naval men-of-war, it’s long range airpower capability, and substantial military intelligence capacity. Nonetheless, the WSJ already extrapolates a US failure to control Asian security.

“The simple reality is that, absent a missile defense that can stop Chinese ballistic missiles, the U.S. will be hard pressed to maintain security commitments in Asia given the advances China has made to its offensive nuclear forces. The U.S. Seventh Fleet, however capable, cannot withstand the kind of nuclear missiles and nuclear-tipped cruise missiles that China could employ against it. And because America lacks adequate conventional military means as well, the U.S. would have to resort to full-scale nuclear war to defend its Asian allies from an attack by China. [italics by Gaussling] While no one would ever envision hostilities rising to this level, no serious policy maker can prefer this state of vulnerability to the kind of stability a robust defensive system provides. And this isn’t even to discuss the threat posed by nuclear weapons in the hands of an unstable, unpredictable regime like Pyongyang.”  WSJ September 20, 2009.

Good lord. What a bunch of cowards.

They’ve already predicted our demise in the Eastern Pacific.  I guess we have to increase military spending.  No wonder we can’t afford to tend to our own sick and infirm citizens. We have to prepare for an inevitable conflict in Asia.  Shit. What was I thinking?