For the official record, I have compared Barack Obama to Neville Chamberlain sixteen times in separate articles (seventeen counting this one). British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was ruthless in advancing his domestic policy agenda, but became one of history’s most infamous appeasing weaklings in bowing down to Hitler’s threats and demands. In seeking to avoid war at any cost, he guaranteed the worst war in human history – at least until now.
Prime Minister Chamberlain went to Munich expressing his desire to discuss a peaceful settlement with Germany under terms that included reneging on the British pledge to defend Czechoslovakia. Jan Masaryk, the Czech Minister in London, called on British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax on the eve of the Munich Conference and said, “If you are sacrificing my nation to preserve the peace of the world, I will be the first to applaud you. But if not, God help your souls!”
Britain had betrayed Czechoslovakia for an empty promise that Neville Chamberlain naively believed would bring “peace in our time.” Edouard Daladier took a more realistic view: “The fools,” he said bitterly, acknowledging the cheers of the crowds who believed Chamberlain’s statement. “If only they knew what they are cheering.”
In one of those twists of historic irony that seem so commonplace in accompanying the greatest tragedies in human history, Barack Obama announced his betrayal of the previous American administration’s commitment to Poland and Czechoslovakia on the 70th anniversary of the bitter fruit of the Munich Conference. It was on September 17, 1939 that Stalin’s forces streamed into Poland as a direct result of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasing betrayal and demonstration of weakness.
A Reuters article underscores the highly ironic timing of the Obama betrayal:
For Poland, the timing of the announcement is particularly sensitive. Thursday marked the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland following a pact between Moscow and Nazi Germany, an event seen by Poles as “a stab in the back.”
Is Obama even aware of the historic irony? Probably not. As Jules Crittenden points out, “The Obama administration doesn’t study history. It reimagines it.”
As usual, Obama has altered the facts on the intent of the missile shield. It was – contrary to Obama’s assertion – not merely intended to protect the United States from a ballistic missile attack, but to serve as a bulwark against Russian aggression of eastern European countries (remember the recent Russian invasion of Georgia?).
Mr. Bush had developed a special relationship with Eastern Europe as relations between Washington and Moscow deteriorated. The proposal to deploy parts of the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic were justified on the grounds that they would protect Europe and the eastern coast of the United States against any possible missile attacks from Iran.
But the Polish and Czech governments saw the presence of American military personnel based permanently in their countries as a protection against Russia.
Poland and Czechoslovakia took a big risk trusting the United States instead of coming to terms under the sphere of hostile Russia. And now they are revealed to have been fools for trusting the Americans:
“We have been hearing such things for a while now via different papers, from some conferences and so on,” said Waszczykowski, deputy head of Poland’s National Security Bureau which advises President Lech Kaczynski.
“This would be very bad. Without the shield we would de facto be losing a strategic alliance with Washington,” he said.
Michael Wisniewski, the Poland director of the Europa 21 foundation, expressed how Obama hamstrung the pro-USA movement throughout the entire eastern European region:
After 9/11 Poles expressed solidarity with USA without any hesitation. Despite the fact that we were risking alienation from some of our European partners. And after we joined US-led coalition against terrorism, we were verbally attacked by Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Shroeder – leaders of two major European powers. But our position was clear and firm – we would stay with USA and fight against common enemies – enemies who attacked our ally and the whole free world. No other country had so special status in Poland – almost 80% Poles sympathized with US. Poland is not great military power – but have some influence on the eastern Europe and was a real stronghold of American interests in this region. Whatever Germans, French or other UE countries would do – Poland always stood arm to arm with US.
Now it belongs to the past. It’s not only about this incident, but it was something that created great outrage here. It’s impossible to remain so positive towards US now – people are reacting emotionally. Even most pro-US media and journalists comment, that our close relations with USA was mistake. That we were wrong and we should focus on our closer neighbours – like France or Germany.
The Obama administration announced its betrayal of Poland and Czechoslovakia – and the abandonment of the shared values that had framed their relationship with the United States – with a telephone call. At least it wasn’t done via Twitter.
The Poles and the Czechs have the virtue of not being so stupid and naive as to fall for Obama’s beautiful lies. They are not dancing in the streets over the announcement of their betrayal:
WARSAW, Poland — Poles and Czechs voiced deep concern Friday at President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap a Bush-era missile defense shield planned for their countries.
“Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back,” the Polish tabloid Fakt declared on its front page.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he was concerned that Obama’s new strategy leaves Poland in a dangerous “gray zone” between Western Europe and the old Soviet sphere.
Recent events have rattled nerves throughout central and eastern Europe, a region controlled by Moscow during the Cold War, including the war last summer between Russia and Georgia and ongoing efforts by Russia to regain influence in Ukraine. A Russian cutoff of gas to Ukraine last winter left many Europeans without heat.
The Bush administration’s missile defense plan would have been “a major step in preventing various disturbing trends in our region of the world,” Kaczynski said in a guest editorial in Fakt that also was carried on his presidential Web site.
Neighboring Lithuania, a small Baltic nation that broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991 and is now a NATO member, also expressed regret over Obama’s decision.
Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene said that the shield would have increased security for Lithuania and she hoped missile defense would not be excluded from future talks on NATO security.
“This NATO region cannot be an exception and its defense is not less important compared with others,” she said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he still sees a chance for Poles and Czechs to participate in the redesigned missile defense system. But that did not appear to calm nerves in Warsaw or Prague. [...]
An editorial in Hospodarske Novine, a respected pro-business Czech newspaper, said: “an ally we rely on has betrayed us, and exchanged us for its own, better relations with Russia, of which we are rightly afraid.”
The move has raised fears in the two nations they are being marginalized by Washington even as a resurgent Russia leaves them longing for added American protection.
The Bush administration always said that the planned system — with a radar near Prague and interceptors in northern Poland — was meant as defense against Iran. But Poles and Czechs saw it as protection against Russia, and Moscow too considered a military installation in its backyard to be a threat.
“No Radar. Russia won,” the largest Czech daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes, declared in a front-page headline.
Any nation that has made any kind of a deal with the United States should seriously rethink the trustworthiness of their partner. Because the American promise doesn’t mean a whole lot under this administration.
It appears highly likely that Obama is abandoning a U.S. commitment and betraying Poland and Czechoslovakia in order to get some kind of commitment from Russia to use its leverage to stop Iran’s nuclear program. The only problem is that Russia is even less trustworthy than the new United States has become under Obama.
We’re not going to get squat from Russia that is anything other than a superficial and meaningless exercise.
Jennifer Rubin concludes her piece on Obama’s betryal of Poland and Czechoslovakia with this:
The administration that promised to restore our standing in the world is on quite a roll. Open hostility toward Israel. Bullying Honduras [link]. Reneging on promises to Eastern Europe. A strange policy indeed that dumps on our friends in the vain effort to incur the goodwill of our enemies. And if one is a “realist,” not a fabulist, it should be apparent that this is a losing proposition. We will lose our friends and gain nothing. Weakness and the betrayal of our allies do not ameliorate tensions with our adversaries. We had a Cold War topped off by the Carter administration to prove that. But Obama’s never been very good at history.
In April of last year I wrote this about Democrats and Iran near the end of the piece:
Allow me to guarantee you that a Democratic administration will see a nuclear Iran. Given their policy on Iraq, it becomes an implicit campaign promise. And it will see a nuclearized Middle East. Democrats have spent forty years proving that they are cowards who will not stand by their allies, and their actions will come home to roost.
And here we are: Iran can now make a bomb.
And neither Russia nor Obama are going to do a damn thing to stop it.
Tags: 1939, 70th anniversary, Barack Obama, betrayal, commitment, Czechoslovakia, Czechs, Hitler, Iran, Jukneviciene, Lithuania, missile shield, Munich, NATO, Neville Chamberlain, nuclear, Poland, Poles, Russia, September 17, shield, stab in the back, Stalin, Waszczykowski