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Obama Punts Missile Shield, Russians Dance the Kalinka

Posted on Sep 17, 2009
U.S. Navy

A missile interceptor is launched from a Navy guided missile cruiser during a missile defense test. President Obama has ordered the more flexible (and diplomatic) approach of potentially launching interceptors from sea rather than bases on Russia’s doorstep.

Add this to the oft-forgotten list of things progressives can celebrate about the president: Obama’s decision to postpone the deployment of a missile shield in Eastern Europe has possibly averted a new arms race with Russia.

While conservatives greeted the news with hair-pulling, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hailed the decision and pledged to work with the U.S. to reduce nuclear stockpiles.

The thought of Iranian nuclear weapons (the stated and possibly silly reason for this missile shield) is scary, but the United States and Russia’s nukes are (a) real and (b) number in the thousands.  —PS


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has welcomed as “positive” the US decision to shelve controversial missile defence bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Mr Medvedev said there were now “good conditions” for US-Russia talks on tackling missile proliferation.

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By Ray Duray, September 19, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment


Welcome to the discussion. Consider registering. It’s free and no hassle.

I’d love to continue to read your insights. You’ve really nailed the Obama fraud as far as I can tell. smile

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By Folktruther, September 19, 2009 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

Well, you may be right,Ray.  I’m not familiar with the factional dispute.  I know that Zbig still publically wants Georgia and Ukraine in Nato, which everone else, including Scowcroft, has given up on.
Which would support your thesis.

Russian Paul, Yeah, it wss a real policy change.  The Missile Defense was really an attempt to install a first nuc.ear strike capacity.  Under the absurd allegation that it was directed at Iran.  This current stuff appears to just be Obama and Gates covering their asses from the right wingers.

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By constant gina, September 18, 2009 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

once again…no weapons of mass destruction…again..?

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By Carl, September 18, 2009 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The blog at provides a great summary of this.

Sep 17, 2009 - Obama Finally Shows Leadership

President Obama has failed to confront the military-industrial-congressional complex. Some point to his cancellation of the F-22, however, he simply shifted the money saved to the F-35 program that is also built by Lockmart. That changed today, as Obama cancelled Bush administration plans for a missile base in Poland and a radar base in the Czech republic.

There are six reasons this cancellation is a good idea: 1) Iran is not building nuclear weapons, which was just reaffirmed by American intelligence agencies; 2) Iran has no reason to ever fire missiles at Europe; 3) a bankrupt USA cannot afford yet another big project; 4) the Europeans can build their own; 5) it angered the Russians, whose help we need in Afghanistan, if only for rail and airspace access; 6) the system doesn’t work. I explained all this a few months ago: The Generals Have No Clothes

Now the crazies on TV will appear to tell everyone that Obama is soft and has weakened America. Of course he did this by canceling an unneeded “socialist” project so that money can be spent on real national defense.

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By Ray Duray, September 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment


You wrote: Zbig appears to have backed away from CHESSOARD strategy,

While I agree with the rest of your analysis, especially your brilliant comparison to the JFK Turkey missle deal, I take exception to what you say about Zbig backing away from his grand strategy. Nothing could be further from the truth as I see it. The dispute that Zbig had over the Iraq policy was simply internecine conflict between two factions of the elite. The Brzezinski-Armitage-Baker-Scowcroft faction were pushing their Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline while the Bush-Cheney-Chevron-Halliburton faction were more aggressively stealing Iraq’s oil. The goal remains the same, America’s dominance of Eurasia, with the big thinkers suggesting that if America doesn’t make this imperial grab, the nation will become a second rate has-been in the competitive standings.

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By Russian Paul, September 18, 2009 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Well wait a minute. According to Democracy Now:

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the US would deploy
missile interceptors aboard naval ships instead of at bases in Poland and the
Czech Republic.

Gates said this:

“Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either
misinformed or misrepresenting the reality of what we are doing. The security
of Europe has been a vital national interest of the United States for my entire
career. The circumstances, borders and threats may have changed, but that
commitment continues.”

Is this still an improvement in policy? Or is this now like Obama’s decision to
close Guantanamo, yet expand indefinite detention elsewhere? It sounds good
at first, until you realize they’re just reorganizing the same policies elsewhere.

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By Folktruther, September 18, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

Ray Duray, Inherit, Hank, Johannes -  Zbig’s GRAND CHESSBOARD, Ray,  was the Dem counterpart to PNAC of the Gops, possibly the most disastrous strategy in US history.  Zbig, an anti-Russian Pole, mentored Obama at Columbia, before Obama spent a year working at a CIA front organization.  Zbig appears to have backed away from CHESSOARD strategy, although he is still in favor of Nato-izing Russia’s near abroad.  As Johannes says, this is still veery dangerous and hopefully Obama will change this as well.

This withdrawal of a first strike copacity, Hank,  is a real change in policy, disguised by other military changes so Obama won’t be attacked.  It was a quid quo pro for Russia allowing the US overland access for military supplies to Afghanistan. 

the delay, Inherit, was to disguise the deal, just as Kennedy later took nuclear weapons out of Turkey in response for the USSR withdrawing their missiles from Cuba.

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By Hank from Nebraska, September 18, 2009 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

This may not really be much of a shift in policy, just an adjustment responding to several realities, including the need to co-exist with Russia and the likelihood that the Czech Parliament was poised to reject the treaty permitting the U.S. radar installations.  Even more revealing is the news that there are already plans to place the missiles and radar designated for Eastern Europe on new naval ships that can be located off the coast of Poland or anywhere else in the world.  I imagine this actually leaves our criminal military/industrial complex elated: instead of just more missiles and radars, they can build several new multi-billion dollar navy ships too!
Let’s just stay cool for a while until we see the full scope of this decision.  It may not signal any kind of real shift at all.

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By Rodger Lemonde, September 18, 2009 at 7:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How novel, instead of empty wasteful macho bluster use
a rational effective plan.
As we all know, no good deed can go unpunished. As soon
as the tin foil hat crowd finishes pooling their six
brain cells we will hear their ‘mad lib’ statements of

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By LemuelG, September 18, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

There was also an announcement that in place of the cancelled plan there would be help for Israel in expanding it’s own missile-shield, the most interesting part of this was Robert Gates at a press-conference implying these measures were necessary to delay offensive action against Iran by Israel.

Isn’t that news? This paints the cancellation of the Polish-shield as more of a pragmatic move - it couldn’t be implemented quickly enough to deter Israel from attacking Iran so another option had to be found.

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By freeman fromfreelightnow, September 18, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yesterday the news of the demise of the missile shield was actually on top of a few other pieces of news long overdue on addressing the progressive agenda . The baucus bills seeming demise by Rockefeller in the finance committee and Burris whose defection toward the public option brought it one vote short of cloture in the senate .
Feingold ,among others , unveiled legislation revoking telecom immunity thereby reopening FISA and our best chance at accountability for warrant less wiretapping .
Dean said that they now have the votes in both houses to pass a public option , about which I am cautiously optimistic .
And lastly ,bill o’reilly coming out , probably because he believed the public option was off the table , in support of it .

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By Howie Bledsoe, September 18, 2009 at 6:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Go Obama!!! That´s the best news Ive heard in a while!!!  Needlessly provocating a could-be ally to the US, one with huge stockpile of raw energy and an interest in mending severed ties never made alot of sense to me.  plus, we really cant afford another cold war.

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By expat in germany, September 18, 2009 at 3:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks, TG, for that strange and wonderful YouTube clip. I loved it.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 18, 2009 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

It was a stupid, expensive, useless and unnecessarily provocative blunder by the Bush regime.

I only wonder that it took Obama this long. Maybe it was the ideal time to placate the Russians????

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By johannes, September 18, 2009 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

Its much more dangeres wath the US is doing in Georgia, this so called friend of America, is just an CIA agent, working hard with the Israelies to poke and provoco.

We in Europe never have beliefd in this rocket child, its all part of the so called free world sindrome, very free but dead.


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Russian Paul's avatar

By Russian Paul, September 17, 2009 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment

This is excellent news. People have this false idea that he’s been “stepping
in the right direciton” this whole time. This is horseshit. Obama says one thing,
but continues all of Bush’s policies in practice. But THIS is actually a step in the
right direction, thank god.

We should keep an eye on this and make sure he isn’t just saying it and
actually follows through.

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By Ray Duray, September 17, 2009 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Hi LostHills,

You wrote: “Now begin bringing ALL US Military troops home from overseas… That would be change we can believe in…. “

No, that would be Communism.

One of my favorite Lenin essays of all time is this memorable analysis of the Russian-China War written in 1900.

The resonance with today’s world is uncanny, don’t you think?

Remember that the reason the Russian Revolution succeeded in 1917 was that the people we sick of being sent to war and starving. In America, the percentages of people sent to war or forced into starvation are vanishingly small. So it’ll be a while yet before we can “bring the troops home now!”

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By Ray Duray, September 17, 2009 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

Hi Folktruther,

Re: “The best thing Obama has done so far, by far.  Now he needs to move US bases away from China’s shores.”

I’m just curious. Have you read Zbig Brzezinski’s “The Grand Chessboard”? It strikes me that American foreign policy has adhered to a tremendous degree to this Polish aristocrat’s vision of American dominance of Eurasia. He specifically called out for the encirclement of the regional powers in Eurasia, i.e. Russia, China and Iran and that, by God, is exactly what we’ve been engaged in for the past decade.

The news that Obama has declined to antagonize the Russian Bear with the ridiculously incompetent missile infrastructure in Poland-Czech Republic should be viewed as a victory for rationalism since the proposed shield was more of a fantasy than a Sally Rand feather dance. However, we really ought to be on guard regarding the continuing thrust of NATO irritations into the heart of the Caucasus and beyond into the ‘Stans.

I’m still trying to sort out the negotiations between our DoD and the Russians regarding the transiting of our war materiel across the ‘Stans as an alternative supply route into Afghanistan in view of the locals ability to interdict imperialist convoys in the Kyber Pass. I’ve read that the DoD is even negotiating with the Iranians to use the port of Gwadar to re-supply our Af-Pak follies:

This is all very fun to witness, in view of the fact that it is said that the U.S.A.! military are said to have an all-inclusive cost of about $300 per gallon of gasoline to operate their equipment in Helmand province. [Ain’t Capitalism Grand?!?]

In the meantime, the CIA continues to fund Baluchi rebels in the Iranian province that would be transited by supplies shipped via Gwadar.

Oh, what a wicked web we weave.

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By LostHills, September 17, 2009 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

Now begin bringing ALL US Military troops home from overseas, shut down ALL US bases on foreign soil. cut the size of our armed forces by half, and begin negotiating with all nuclear powers for serious nuclear arms cuts that will lead to a nuclear weapons free world within ten years. That would be change we can believe in….

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By Ray Duray, September 17, 2009 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

“Kalina” is definitely an acquired taste.

For a more American audience, I encourage Lefties to consider this version of the Internationale:

The Revolution comes like Thunder

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By Folktruther, September 17, 2009 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

The best thing Obama has done so far, by far.  Now he needs to move US bases away from China’s shores.

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By Lisa, September 17, 2009 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hope this is a positive move in the right direction for our country.

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