Which Was It?
Obama has not even been sworn into office yet and already the sparks are flying across the Atlantic.
The BBC reported on November 8 that Polish President Lech Kaczynski said in a statement published on his website that during a phone call with Mr. Obama the president-elect had “emphasised the importance of the strategic partnership of Poland and the U.S. and expressed hope in the continuation of political and military co-operation between our countries.”
“He also said that the missile defence project [Bush's plan to deploy U.S. interceptor missiles in Poland] would continue,” the statement added.
During his campaign Obama had said otherwise.
Then, the same day, the BBC published a second article quoting an Obama spokesperson saying, “U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has not given a commitment to go ahead with plans to build part of a U.S. missile defence system in Poland.”
When asked about the declaration, Obama foreign policy adviser, Denis McDonough said that the president-elect had “a good conversation” with Mr. Kaczynski about the American-Polish alliance and discussed missile defence, but “made no commitment on it”.
“His position is as it was throughout the campaign, that he supports deploying a missile defence system when the technology is proved to be workable,” Mr. McDonough said.
OK, are you just a bit confused? I am.
Someone is speaking with a forked tongue. Is it Polish President Lech Kaczynski who is telling a tall tale? Why would he, after his first conversation with Obama, lie to the world about their talk? That would constitute getting off to a very bad start with the new U.S. president which I would imagine is not something the Polish government would want to do. I would venture to guess Kaczynski was excited about the conversation and wanted to share it with the whole world that Obama had changed his mind on the deployment issue.
On Obama’s part I can imagine he might have figured their conversation was private and “off the record.” But when it suddenly was splashed across the world via the BBC that Obama had changed his position the embarrassment was too much and a denial had to be immediately issued.
So who was telling the fib?
What it indicates to me, if it turns out to be true that Obama had changed his mind, is that the new president cannot be trusted to really buck the military industrial complex.
The deployment of “missile defense” interceptors in Poland and the Star Wars radar in the Czech Republic, aimed at Russia, stand to create a new arms race in Europe. If Obama is willing to take that step then we are in big trouble for sure.
I’d strongly suggest that people who are concerned about this write the Obama transition team immediately and ask for clarification on his position. You can reach them at:
Don’t waste a minute. Letters from outside the U.S. to Obama on this subject are highly encouraged.