Archive for the ‘Poland’ Category

Czech President Says Obama Views “Unknown” On Key Foreign Policy Issues

March 10, 2009

Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Monday that he is seeking a sign from President Obama as to whether the U.S. will uphold its agreement to deploy missile defenses in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Mr. Klaus, an advocate for the deployment, told The Washington Times that he is eager to learn whether Mr. Obama will be as committed to the U.S. defense system as was President George W. Bush.

By Betsy Pisik
The Washington Times

Mr. Obama is due to visit Prague after a summit of major industrial nations in London early next month.

 ASSOCIATED PRESS Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who will meet with President Obama, said, "I hope that will be a good opportunity to understand better his views."

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who will meet with President Obama, said, “I hope that will be a good opportunity to understand better his views.”  Photo: AP

“We’re looking forward to having him in Prague,” Mr. Klaus said. “I hope that will be a good opportunity to understand better his views.”

In New York for an environmental conference, Mr. Klaus said the Obama administration’s position on missile defense is “unknown.”

“I understand all presidents have their domestic priorities, and I understand the economic problems are more important to him now,” the Czech leader said.

Read the rest:

Various Views On Obama Foreign Policy: “Just Like Bush” Or Radical Change?

 North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means”

 White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

 Russia, U.S. Missile Defense Dispute
Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia HaggleRussia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”


Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Mr. Obama and Russia
NYT Editorial: Russia only understands strength….

 Chutzpah: Admire Russia’s Arrogance

Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

Putin Medvedev
Above: Russia’s “power couple.” Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev.


Russia, U.S. Missile Defense Dispute

March 8, 2009
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that the United States and Russia have the opportunity to cooperate on missile defense.

“We believe that Russia and the United States have the opportunity to do joint research and joint development. And even eventually assumingly we can reach such an agreement (on) joint deployment,” Clinton said in Brussels.

From The People’s Daily, China

Clinton’s remarks were the latest in years of argument between Russia and the United States on the latter’s ambition to deploy a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush and his administration planned to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic which it claimed to protect its European allies from missile threat by “rouge state.”

In 2002, the United States started negotiations with Poland on the missile shield issue, without making any significant progress due to their difference.

In January 2007, Washington resumed negotiations with Warsaw and Prague and finalized agreements with the two countries before Bush’s departure from the White House.

The U.S. plan has met strong opposition from Moscow, which insists that the missile shield, if deployed, will undermine Russia’s national security.

In November 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced plans to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad, to counter the U.S. defense shield plan.

On March 3, 2009, Medvedev said that “We have to work together and create a common shield against all threats. The U.S. and Europe would negotiate on that, but it would have to be global and not fragmented around the Russian frontier.”

Barack Obama’s administration has already decided to review the effectiveness of the missile shield and its cost.


Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia HaggleRussia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Mr. Obama and Russia
NYT Editorial: Russia only understands strength….

 Chutzpah: Admire Russia’s Arrogance

Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

Putin Medvedev
Above: Russia’s “power couple.” Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

NYT Urges Obama To “Bail Out” Third World Too

March 5, 2009

Feel good now?  Lost your job?  House foreclosed?  Taxes going up?  Stimulus is in play, universal health care is being discussed, Congressional spending is running riot, stock market tanking downward, GM may go bankrupt and inflation could be around the corner?

Has this got you down?

But actually, in the U.S.A. things aren’t so bad.  In, say, Poland or Ghana, there is a real economic meltdown…..

So the “All The News That’s Fit To Print” New York Times has an editorial today urging Barack Obama to bailout those other guys suffering in the global economic crisis.

Just as Brit PM Gordon Brown pitched to Obama yesterday, we need global solutions to global problems.

Now how many trillion U.S. dollars are we talking do you think?

Presidency of Fear


New York Times editorial:

The economic news is so frighteningly bad here, it has all but squeezed out reports of the turmoil wrecking the developing world. The news there, if possible, is even more frightening. And in a globalized economy there is no insulation for anyone.

The emergency spreading through Eastern Europe has sent currencies plunging in financially stretched nations like Hungary and solid economies like Poland. The crisis threatens political stability along the European Union’s eastern border. The government in Latvia fell last week following protests. Ukraine is on the brink.

Over the weekend, the European Union’s wealthy members rejected calls for a bailout of its poorer members. Collapsing economies in Eastern Europe — including inside the European Union — could bring down the banks in the West that lent to the East.

Such turmoil should serve as a warning about the perils of ignoring the disasters unfolding across the developing world — and the need for a global response.

Poor countries remain the world’s only hope for economic growth this year, but that’s dimming as they are walloped by collapsing exports and the shutdown of foreign finance. Currencies are plunging from Mexico to Malaysia as lenders and investors pull money out to park it in United States Treasury bonds. Pakistan, Iceland, Turkey and El Salvador, along with several Eastern European countries, have already asked the International Monetary Fund for help to pay foreign creditors.

Starved of new credit, companies and consumers across the developing world are struggling desperately to pay loans coming due. And cash-strapped governments in many poorer countries have been unable to implement fiscal stimulus packages or even reduce interest rates for fear of their currencies taking a further hit.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that the crisis will cost developing countries $1 trillion in lost growth. The World Bank warned that it would add more than 50 million people to those living on less than $2 a day across the globe.

As they prepare for the summit of the group of the world’s 20 biggest economies in London on April 2, leaders of industrial nations must quickly work on a plan to provide large-scale financial assistance to avert an economic catastrophe in the developing world.

The International Monetary Fund needs a lot more money. The call by its chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to double its financial war chest to $500 billion is a first step. We welcome Japan’s offer of $100 billion and urge other donors — namely the United States and the European Union — to step up to the plate. More must be done.

The World Bank’s president, Robert Zoellick, has called on developed countries to deposit 0.7 percent of their fiscal stimulus money into a fund to aid the world’s neediest populations. The World Bank and other multinational development banks could use new capital to increase lending to public and private-sector entities in the developing world, which have been shut out of capital markets.

Helping the developing world is within reach, but it will require capital and concessions from rich countries. The United States and Europe should drop their resistance to a vast new issue of special drawing rights — which like newly printed dollars by the Federal Reserve act as the International Monetary Fund’s own currency.

The United States and Europe also must give more voting power to up-and-coming players. China, in particular, has the financial firepower to become an important contributor to the global effort, yet it will expect more say in the fund’s business.

As the credit crunch spreads, the whole world stands in need of economic stimulus. Poor countries, however, have the resources neither to pay for their own fiscal pump-priming nor to recapitalize foundering banks and reignite the lending to their private sectors. They need outside help. For their own sake, developed countries should provide it. Quickly.


Russia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted

March 5, 2009

“Mark my words,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden warned last October. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.”

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Since President Obama’s inauguration, Russia has been testing Mr. Obama and his administration rigorously and continuously.

Russia has been jerking around all of Europe, showing who is boss of the gas and winter heating fuel for NATO which inludes the U.S.

Russia has even managed to withstand a threatened NATO boycott of ties as a direct result of Russia’s invasion of Georgia and South Ossetia last summer.  Today NATO members scrapped their threatened cut off of Russian ties just as Russia threatened to again stop the flow of Russian oil to Europe.

And the New York Times and other media reported that President Obama sent Russian President Medvedev a letter which may have offered to scrap U.S. missile defense plans in Europe in exchange, some believe, for Russian help in stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

Russian leaders are certain to be gloating at the pliability of the Obama Administration and the West.

Despite Joe Biden’s warning last October, the international “testing” of Obama is ongoing — just not as obviously and  publically as Russia tested JFK during the Cuban missile crisis.

It seems that Russian leaders may have matured and become more subtle since the 1960s.  U.S. leaders have not….


Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

March 5, 2009

Russia got another clear signal today to verify its belief that American and the west are weak: NATO decided to renew ties with Russia despite that nation’s summer attack on Georgia and today’s announcement that Russia may again cut off gas supplies to Europe.  Russian power, it seems, is alive and well.

 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”


By Sue Pleming and Ingrid Melander, Reuters

NATO foreign ministers agreed Thursday to resume high-level formal ties with Russia, suspended last year after Moscow‘s military thrust into Georgia.

Russia immediately welcomed the move. “This decision is a step in the right direction,” Russia’s RIA news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced the decision after Lithuania dropped its objections to work resuming within the NATO-Russia Council, the body that directs cooperation between the two sides on security issues.

“The ministers reached agreement to formally resume the NATO-Russia Council including at ministerial level … as soon as possible after the NATO April summit,” said de Hoop Scheffer.”

“Russia is a global player. Not talking to them is not an option,” he added.

Read the rest:

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

March 5, 2009

Prseident Obama and the United States are seen by Russia as “weak” and “naive” according to former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton.

That Russia view of “weakness” extends even beyond the U.S. and includes a view that Europe and Isreal are weak and easily pushed toward achieving Russian goals — without a fight.

Most World Leaders Encouraged By Obama Time; Putin Ready for Disappointment

Bolton said on the Fox News Channel on Thursday (March 4), “The Russia perception of total weakness in the West seems comical to us but is a real thought in Russia with hidden dangers.”

Bolton was responding to news stories that a Russian foreign ministry “expert” predicts that the U.S. will beak up and fragnment into several independent states.

America: You Are Disintegrating, Russian Claims (California Joins China….)

On missile defense Bolton says “Russia is probing to see how the U.S. reacts” to ideas to end American missile defense efforts in Europe and elsewhere.  He called President Obama’s recent letter to Russian president Medvedev an “incredibly foolish thing to do” and a “strange was to conduct game changing diplomacy.

News reports say the Obama letter to Medvedev linked the end of the U.S. mssile defense effort in Poland and the Czech Republic to Russian efforts to end Iran’s nuclear program.

“The Obama Administration has a dangerouse naivete when it speaks about resetting the relationship with Russia,” Bolton said.

Israel says that Iran’s nuclear program poses an “existential threat to Israel.”  I wonder how Israelis feel about having their lives in the hands of Mr. Putin and Medvedev along with President Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Obama…..

Meanwhile Russia continues to bully Europe.

CNN reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has threatened to cut off natural gas supplies to Europe and Ukraine on Saturday if Ukraine fails to pay for its gas deliveries by then.

This will re-start a Russian gas cut off from earlier this winter.

The Putin/Medvedev team also orchestrated last summer’s military raid into South Ossetia and Georgia — an icursion widely believed in Moscow met only bu Western weakness.

Related from CNN:

Obama’s letter, delivered to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in mid-February, “covered a number of topics” of mutual interest to the two countries, “including the issue of missile defense and how it relates to the Iranian threat,” a senior administration official said. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter.

Report on the Obama letter to Medvedev:

Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

US urges Russia to consider missile offer

February 9, 2009

The United States wants to boost cooperation with Russia on short- and medium-range missiles, a senior NATO diplomat said Monday, after Washington signalled a review of its missile shield plans.

“The administration is making a renewed offer, to say we would like to work with Russia on missile defence and we hope that Russia is more willing to discuss that,” the diplomat said, on condition of anonymity.

He said Washington “genuinely wants to work with Russia on missile defence, believes that these threats, particularly the short- and medium-range ones, already exist.”

“We have a common interest with Russia in figuring out how to protect populations against these, we should be exploring how to do that,” he said.

The United States has been negotiating with Poland and the Czech Republic to install 10 missile interceptors, which would not carry explosive warheads, and a radar system on their territories.

The move has angered Russia as it sees the system as a threat to its security, while Washington argues the proposed shield is only directed at “rogue states,” primarily Iran.

Russia had threatened to deploy Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania, both NATO and EU members, if Washington did not halt its shield plans.

Laying out a vision of new US foreign policy Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden sought to reach out to Moscow, in a speech described by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as positive.

Addressing the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Biden said the United States would only press ahead with its missile defence shield project “provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective.”

Nevertheless the NATO diplomat said President Barack Obama‘s administration was not shelving its plans, but that “it’s rather being prudent about the management of an expensive programme.”

“They want to take the time to do a review, to look at the test results, to make a judgement about the level of technological development,” he said.


Many Still Expect Obama To Surrender Missile Defense

February 9, 2009

Iran’s launch last week of a satellite using a homegrown rocket is another reminder of why Europe needs a missile defense — and needs to start building it now. Combine Iran’s improving missile technology with its nuclear aspirations, and it’s a lethal mix. This is especially timely given the debate inside the Obama Administration over whether to walk away from the U.S. promise to provide a defense shield for our European allies.

Wall Street Journal
Iran now joins eight countries with indigenous space-launch capability — an advance that, on the military side, translates into a step forward for its ballistic-missile technology. The threat isn’t immediate, as the satellite was small and lightweight compared to a nuclear warhead, but neither is Europe’s missile defense set to be deployed immediately. The reason to start early is precisely to be prepared, and not to have to scramble, if Iran develops its capability faster and the mullahs aren’t as benign as some think.

That’s why the Bush Administration pushed forward with a Europe-wide missile defense system to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic and built over the next six years. It’s also why every NATO country has endorsed the U.S.-led effort. They have done so twice — first among heads of state in Bucharest in April and again at a meeting of foreign ministers after the U.S. election. NATO also plans to pursue its own missile defenses in conjunction with the Polish and Czech sites.

The question now is whether the Obama Administration will stand by its predecessor’s promise or, as is widely anticipated, suspend the European program. On the campaign trail, Barack Obama suggested missile defense was either ineffective or too expensive, or both. His nominee for the third-ranking position at the Pentagon, Michele Flournoy, has indicated that the deployment plans for Europe will be reviewed. In a speech over the weekend at the annual Munich security conference, Vice President Joseph Biden was ambiguous: “We will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective.”

Suspending the program would have serious consequences. It would send a signal of American weakness to Iran, which the Obama Administration says it wishes to engage….

Read the rest:

[Review & Outlook] 
Photo: AP

Biden Says U.S. Will Pursue Missile Plan Russia Opposes

February 7, 2009

The United States will pursue a missile defense plan that has angered the Kremlin, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Saturday, in a signal that the post-cold-war tensions that have flared recently between Washington and Moscow could continue into the new Obama administration.

The New York Times

Biden Outlines Foreign Policy Agenda

But Mr. Biden did not say whether the administration would move forward with a plan to place the system in Eastern Europe, which had been the core of recent tensions. He also offered conciliatory words, saying, “It is time to press the reset button, and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.”

The highly anticipated speech, seen as the first major outline of the new administration’s relations with the world, came just days after Kyrgyzstan’s president announced a decision to close a United States base there that is crucial to the war in Afghanistan, which Mr. Obama has made his biggest foreign policy priority. The announcement was made in Moscow, and many American officials concluded that the Russians had pressured Kyrgyzstan as part of their campaign to reassert control over former Soviet republics.

It was unclear on Saturday if Mr. Biden’s statements on missile defense were meant to suggest that the Obama administration…

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Russia: Won’t install missiles if no U.S. shield

February 6, 2009

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has made clear Moscow won’t install Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if the United States does not deploy a missile shield in central Europe, Russia’s deputy prime minister said.

The previous U.S. administration of George W. Bush sealed deals last year to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.


The Bush administration said the shield was aimed at protecting Europe from “rogue states,” but Moscow sees it as a threat.

In response, it said it would install a missile system in Russia’s western outpost Kaliningrad, but Ivanov signaled on Friday that Russia was ready to reconsider that if Washington changed its missile shield plans.

President Medvedev from the very start said very clearly and unequivocally that if there are no interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic as was planned by the previous administration, clearly, there will be no Iskanders in Kaliningrad,” Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told a security conference in Munich.

Ivanov said the U.S. missile shield was part of the United States’ strategic infrastructure and was aimed at deterring Russia’s nuclear missile potential.

“At the same time, we are eager to continue talks on that subject and hope it will yield some results,” he said.

Ivanov said Russia was open to a joint assessment of threats and if it was determined that they existed, to pursue a joint approach using Russian technology.

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