Do we really have to "defend" Poland and the Czechs against Iran?
After the tragic fiasco of the war in Iraq, we may have another bizarre military adventure in the making. The U.S. has asked Poland and the Czech Republic to base defenses against intercontinental ballistic missiles in their countries. The request was explained as a prudent hedge against Iran. We also regard it as a demonstration that European security is linked to our own missile defense system, which is now being deployed in Alaska and California despite serious questions about its capability.
Both interceptor anti-missiles and radar are involved in the proposed project. The concept of radar to track incoming missiles presumably aimed directly at the U.S. appears logical. But a plan to deploy interceptors suggests that Washington actually believes that Iran is a legitimate threat to Poland and the Czech Republic.
That raises the question of the strategic wisdom of those who have proposed the project: either the Pentagon's military professionals or the Bush Administration's civilian national security experts. In either case, it reflects the same kind of unrealistic reasoning that led to the stupidity and incompetence displayed in the Iraq invasion and occupation.
It is inconceivable that Poland and the Czech Republic feel seriously threatened by Iran. It is laughable to think that Iran considers the two as enemy countries. They could be willing to accept the U.S. deployment on their soil, however, simply to underscore their desire to be American allies. But the two countries' parliaments have yet to approve the proposed plan.
Not surprisingly, Russia has furiously objected to still another American military deployment so close to its borders. The project is another example of the Bush Administration's inept diplomatic endeavors that have alienated so many foreign countries. In terms of relations with Russia, the Administration almost seems eager to restore the cold war. This is not to suggest that Russia, under the increasingly autocratic Putin regime, has encouraged warmer relations with the U.S.
Still, deploying missile defenses against Iran in Poland and the Czech Republic makes about as much sense as invading Iraq because of WMDs and 9/11 and turning the country into a major terrorist breeding ground.