After refusing to go ahead with the United States’ promised missile defense shield in Europe and replacing it with what President Obama calls “a more flexible” defense system, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk refused to accept phone calls from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
Prime Minister Tusk confirmed the reports of his refusal to take their calls and explained that it was because he wanted to prepare for the ensuing discussion that needed to be had regarding President Obama’s decision to renege on the United States’ previous plans.
Prime Minister Tusk’s breach of diplomatic tradition was in large part due not only to decision to scrap the original missile defense shield but the way in which it was handled. The inexperienced administration should have consulted with Poland as well as other Easter European countries affected by the decision. Diplomatically, they should have been made to at least feel that they had some kind of say in a matter that involved the deployment of American military hardware and service members in their countries.
Furthermore; there should have been discussions with these countries that took them through the decision making process. If the determination to scrap the Bush proposed missile defense shield had any merit and was truly the best way to go, surely a process that involved Poland would have led them to the same conclusion that President Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff came to. At least that would have been the case if it had merit.
Riki Ellison, a missile defense expert and chairman and founder of the Alexandria based Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance does not believe the decision the President made has any merit. In a public statement, Ellison explained that the announcement by the Defense Department regarding changes in the plans for a proposed third European missile defense shield was a dangerous move. According to his statement:
“The withdrawal of the missile defense sites in Europe and introduction of a new missile defense architecture addresses the second and third priorities of missile defense stated today by the JCS and Pentagon of protection for deployed troops and allies but does not address the first stated priority which is the missile defense protection of the United States Homeland. The equal protection of the Eastern United States from long range ballistic missiles from Iran must be addressed as it is not equal to that of the protection provided today for the rest of the country from long range ballistic missiles. The European third site addressed the protection of the Eastern Seaboard of the US Homeland, the new architecture does not.”
In addition to that, as previously reported by POLITICS 24/7, (see post here), Israeli military experts released a report that demonstrates that the advancement of Iran’s own missile program is further ahead than some believe. That report was issued weeks before President Obama confirmed that one reason for his changed scrapping of the European missile shield was in part based on intelligence that led him to believe the U.S. is overestimating the progress that Iran is making in their missile development program.
To add insult to injury, a day after the U.S. announced a scaling back of the missile deterrent program, members of the International Atomic Energy Agency were found to have recently conclude that Iran has “sufficient information” to make a nuclear weapon and has “probably tested” a key component of the program.
The report which contains that conclusion was not made public but it was leaked and in timing that coincided with President Obama‘s decision to scrap plans to deploy missile defense technology in eastern Europe. Both the IAEA assessment and the timing of the leak, have only helped to create an additional lack of confidence in the President’s decision.
Between the report from Israel, the assessment from Erik Ellison, a missile defense expert and the IAEA one can only pray that our President knows what he is doing when it comes to foreign affairs. We have already established his poor, if not inept, handling of domestic and economic policy but we can’t afford having him fail at this. At least not those who live on the eastern seaboard of the United States and remain vulnerable to missile attacks due to the President’s most recent cut in defense.