Go look at the screenshot and translation at BuzzFeed. I don’t get it. Why would Poland be nervous about its western allies leaving it under the thumb of a menacing authoritarian neighbor?
If/when O’s reelected (shudder) and gives up eastern European missile defense entirely, I sure hope it’s for something tangible in return — Russian concessions on Syria, maybe — and not another sub-moronic “reset” with Putin. The concession he’ll probably seek, as Heritage’s James Carafano points out, is some sort of reduction in Russia’s nuclear arsenal. The One’s goal is “nuclear zero,” not lots of nukes + lots of defensive measures, so if he has to trade missile defense to shrink the overall global stockpile, hey. I hope it’ll comfort the Poles to know that while there’s nothing stopping Russia from nuking them except the dubious promise of a NATO retaliation if they do, they might not be nuked quite as much.
In the meantime, Romney and Gingrich are making Obama pay:
“This is no time for our president to be pulling his punches with the American people,” Romney said while campaigning in San Diego. “And not telling us what he’s intending to do with regards to our missile defense system, with regards to our military might and with regards to our commitment to Israel … I will make it very clear that the relationship we have around the world is one where America will be strong, that America’s strength and commitment to our friends and allies will be unshakable and unwavering.”
Gingrich called the exchange with Medvedev an “extraordinary moment caught on tape where the president basically said to a Russian leader, ‘Please wait until after the election so I can sell out.’
“If you read what he said, it is the most blatant comment about selling out American defenses I think any American president’s ever made and I don’t see how any American could trust him ever again after that comment,” Gingrich said. “I mean, he thinks it’s in private and he’s saying to the Russians, please quote ‘give me some space’ so I can be re-elected and then I’ll be free to do anything I want to. Well, that just told you how radically left-wing Obama’s going to be in the second term.”
Is that actually true, though? Daniel Drezner points to Reagan, Dubya, and Bush 43 as examples of presidents who actually drifted more towards the center on foreign policy in their second terms than towards their respective bases. The reason is simple: As time wears on and unforeseen developments happen abroad, presidents become more reactive than proactive. They see what’s working and what isn’t in their favored approach and adapt, which means inching away from that approach. O, remember, came into office promising he’d talk to anyone without preconditions, but once he realized he couldn’t charm Iran into giving up nuclear weapons, it was sanctions and Stuxnet and, maybe soon, war. (Another example is him borrowing heavily from, and even expanding on, Bush’s counterterror playbook. You didn’t hear him talk much on the trail in ’08 about drone strikes on American citizens like Awlaki, huh?) The problem is, from his stalling on entitlement reform to cheap populist panders like “the Buffett Rule” to the transparent charade of pretending he’s opposed to gay marriage, every move Obama makes seems calculated to maximize his reelection odds. Whether that’s because his top priority is to protect policy initiatives like ObamaCare from early in his term or if he’s just so ambitious that winning again means more than anything, I honestly don’t know what he’d do if he had a free hand as a lame duck. Would he abandon missile defense? Well … yeah, maybe. Want to chance it?