Sometimes it's hard to understand how any person could be as dishonest or as dumb as Joel Pollak is, and there's really nothing better anyone can say about Newsvine users who post his garbage and support it, other than that.
A relatively benign remark by President Obama to current Russian President Dmitri Medvedev was caught on a hot mic yesterday morning and reported by Jake Tapper of ABC News. Obama told Medvedev that the dispute between the United States and Russia over a missile shield for two European countries could be solved, but that he needed more time and hoped to dedicate more time to it after this fall's election.
This dispute is indisputably the fault of the United States and the Bush administration. George W. Bush didn't begin the missile shield program, but he was the first to try to push the shield into Poland and the Czech Republic and into Russia's backyard.
The crisis the Bush administration created was serious enough that Russia, who has long been destroying their nuclear stockpile with the help of the United States, threatened to freshly deploy short range nuclear weapons along their border with NATO countries in direct response to the planned deployment of just ten missiles in Europe. Russia additionally threatened to withdraw from the 1987 Nuclear Forces Treaty, a signature achievement of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, which saw the elimination intermediate range nuclear ballistic and cruise missiles belonging to Russia and the United States.
All of that came in response to new planned weapons deployments in Europe. Imagine if Russia decided to deploy similar weaponry in Cuba – oh wait, they did that once. Remember how the United States reacted to that?
I can't remember how that turned out. It wasn't a big deal, right?
Any change in plans by the current administration would represent nothing more than a change of policy, since no missile shield has ever been deployed outside the United States and even the shield inside this country amounts to no more than a few dozen missiles, nowhere near enough to provide any substantive protection. President Obama believes missiles on board destroyers can be equally as effective as permanent emplacements in Poland and the Czech Republic, but that policy is in flux precisely because of on-going negotiations. Negotiations that idiots like Joel Pollak and most Americans aren't privy to.
Pollak, a cretin writing on Brietbart.com (whose traffic has fallen so far after a suicidal website redesign that broke every outside link to the site, that it now gets fewer page views that this Newsvine column does, which is ironic and appropriate given the kind of sewage that site produces) simply rewrote reality in his screeching, Palin-esque headline: "Obama to Putin: I'll Surrender America After Re-election"
President Obama never said he was going to cave on the overall missile shield program, and this component would not be the part of the shield that's protecting the United States. It's pretty much impossible to "surrender America" by asking Russia for more time to find a mutually acceptable agreement on a missile shield that largely doesn't yet exist that would only protect two foreign countries on the other side of the ocean.
It's what good leaders do when dealing with powerful foreign nations who have significant influence over issues of great importance to the United States all over the world. Finding compromise with Russia on the shield could mean more goodwill on sanctions against Syria, and Iran. Ignoring Russia's complaints and threats could mean losing decades worth of goodwill and could easily result in Russia ignoring the United State's interests and accelerating their arming of Iran, in addition to creating and deploying entire new stockpiles of nuclear weapons aimed at our other allies – an avoidable situation that we'd have directly caused. Not to mention the hundreds if not thousands of other diplomatic issues involved in dozens of countries that Russia works with the U.S. on.
Moreover, it's Russia we're talking about here. Unless Pollak has been stuck in some form of cryogenic suspension since McCarthy's anti-American persecution embarrassment, Russia is a strategic ally of the United States. Not an enemy. Russia has official relations with NATO and contributes soldiers to United Nations peace keeping missions in many different countries. There are Russian troops serving in Afghanistan as part of the collation, training Afghan soldiers.
Perhaps if you take a closer look at the modern far right (which isn't to say the entire conservative ideology here, perhaps more the neo-conservatives) and realize that Russia is considered an enemy simply because they aren't Americans. This isn't a revival of the red scare, it's a logical progression of xenophobia that has instilled the far right with fear of all foreign cultures and people. Hispanics, Muslims, Russians, Asians, you can pretty much go down the list of people that aren't white American men and eventually they'll appear on some GOP shitlist (the list neo-conservative Republicans keep of people that make them shit their pants).
At some point these people need to realize that it's possible for a country to have legitimate interests of its own that conflict with ours, without that country automatically being an enemy, just because of *that*. Even Israel has interests that conflict with the United States and of course Britain does. Conservative leaders need to help the administration find solutions to this problem that benefit both countries while denouncing the blood thirsty blowhards that crap their pants every time a shadow moves.
Russia has security problems and issues with democracy, but so does every country in the world. Including the United States. And like every country in the world, Russia has interests of its own that – cue the horror and mushroom cloud TV ads from 2008 – might conflict with ours when it comes to national security and foreign relations. It's not for another country to see weapons deployments – even missile shields – as a threat to their security when those shields could be used for almost any purpose, and it's not unreasonable for the two countries to work together to peacefully find common ground on issues that effect both of them. Especially when we're talking about conflicts very far away from the United States that only threaten our interests overseas, not our actual lives. It's not surrender to compromise, despite whatever bullshit George W. Bush was selling over the past decade – cowboy up? Grow the fuck up – it is not a sign of weakness and it's certainly not hating America to do something other than using military force every time we have a problem.
There have been countries that have taken that philosophy to heart (Germany, Japan) and the United States shouldn't become one of them. Even though we basically have in the past ten years, how has it worked out for us so far? Are we any better off now than we were before we invaded Iraq and launched secret drone wars in half a dozen countries? Would our allies be safer with a ten-missile-shield if Russia deploys 200 nuclear missiles along their border in response, or even worse off than before?
When people complain that it's impossible now to come to a consensus on important issues, people like Joel Pollak and the people who support his intentional distortions are just one of the many reasons why.