Something that’s gone missing in neocon hyperventilating about Barack Obama not wanting to build an expensive-but-useless missile shield system in Eastern Europe, is that Eastern Europeans don’t want us to build a missile shield in Eastern Europe. Here’s Andrew Roberts of Northwestern University breaking it down:
More to the point, the public in both countries has been decidedly lukewarm about the treaty to put it mildly. Below is a graph of Czech public opinion showing that over the past three years, a nearly unchanged two-thirds of the public has been opposed to construction of the radar and an even higher percentage has desired a referendum on the issue (presumably in order to vote against it; the data used to construct the graph are available here.) And this despite considerable government propaganda and public antipathy towards Russia.
I don’t have similar data on Poland, but a poll from August 2008 (when the treaty was signed) showed that 56% of the public opposed the missiles and only 27% supported supported them. Support rose somewhat in October 2008 (after the Russia-Georgia crisis), but a majority still opposed the radar (46% to 41%).
It can’t be much of a betrayal of our Czech and Polish allies to decline to build a radar system that neither the Czech population nor the Russian population wants us to build. The right wants us to at great expensive build a missile shield that doesn’t work, in places it’s not wanted, to protect Western Europe from Iranian missiles that don’t exist, in order to antagonize the Russians. The fact that it would make the Russians happy to kill the system somehow makes it a bad idea to kill the system. The Russians would also be mad if we bombed their naval bases—is it appeasement to decline to do so?