Since Mitt Romney is not taking on any of the difficult situations the U.S. finds itself in around the world — he’s not visiting Afghanistan, for instance — his tour of European countries and Israel is instead focusing on promoting longstanding U.S. alliances. Though he’s already stumbled on his first stop in London, the theme was designed to go something like this: Mitt Romney will restore U.S. alliances spurned by the Obama administration.
One example Romney constantly holds up is the Obama administration’s decision to cancel land-based missile defense systems in Europe and instead focus on ship-borne systems and interceptor radars placed directly in the Middle East. Obama’s spurning “began with the sudden abandonment of friends in Poland and the Czech Republic,” Romney said at his VFW speech this week. “They had courageously agreed to provide sites for our anti-missile systems, only to be told, at the last hour, that the agreement was off.”
But it turns out that the Eastern European allies themselves don’t feel so spurned by President Obama’s decision, and some even support the new plan put in place. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal in Washington on Thursday, Slovakian foreign minister Miroslav Lajcak, who is also a deputy prime minister, said changing missile defense plans was a non-issue for his government:
People have moved on. We are in a different situation now. We are discussing a different project. I see no reason to revisit discussions from three years back.
In fact, this has been a non-issue for quite sometime. The Polish foreign minister said at the time of the new missile defense configuration announcement: “When President Obama announced the new configuration of the system, we did say that we liked the new configuration better, but I think you didn’t believe us.”
Lajcak went on to give the Journal an explicit endorsement of the Obama missile defense plan, lauding its NATO auspices rather than the abandoned Bush administration’s bi-lateral approach with host countries. While Romney said in his speech that Obama was bowing to Russia — whom he considers the U.S.’s “number one geopolitical foe” — Lajcak, in the Journal’s words, said “the U.S. and its European allies must continue to try and explain the defense plan to Russia, which remains skeptical.”