“Harmless As An Enemy And Treacherous As A Friend”

Bernard Lewis, quoted by Mark Steyn in his column today. Steyn is writing about Obama’s decision to withdraw missile defense from Eastern European allies.

Vladimir Putin is no longer president but he is de facto czar. And he thinks it’s past time to reconstitute the old empire – not formally (yet), but certainly as a sphere of influence from which the Yanks keep their distance. President Obama has just handed the Russians their biggest win since the collapse of the Iron Curtain. Indeed, in some ways it marks the restitching of the Iron Curtain. When the Czechs signed their end of the missile-defense deal in July, they found themselves afflicted by a sudden “technical difficulty” that halved their gas supply from Russia. The Europe Putin foresees will be one not only ever more energy-dependent on Moscow but security-dependent, too – in which every city is within range of missiles from Tehran and other crazies, and is, in effect, under the security umbrella of the new czar. As to whether such a Continent will be amicable to American interests, well, good luck with that, hopeychangers.

Good luck, Europe in general. For decades Europe has been able to neglect its own defense, banking on the protection of the unwavering support of America. At this point, the Royal Navy is a ghost of a ghost of its former self; most of the rest of Europe can muster a heavily armed rowboat between them. Their armies are even worse.

By now, the more sane Europeans must be getting more than a bit worried at what passes for American foreign policy under Obama. Friends abandoned and enemies embraced. At some point, they are going to either have to face the fact that they must build their own defenses or be willing to be Russian vassal states.

I’m not betting on the former.

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3 Responses to “Harmless As An Enemy And Treacherous As A Friend”

  1. Hesz Roland says:

    Gaius, on your analysis, assuming they really killed off the missile defense programme:
    If they really killed it of, then this was a major screw up, especially since most of Central and Eastern Europe well remembers how they were handed to the Soviets after WWII, received never realized promises in the 50s and 60s (which resulted failed revolutions against the Soviet rule), and now, after joining the NATO has been kind of tricked again.
    Can you say they will be more wary of proposals coming from the White House in the future?

    The slighted countries in this case were not France and Germany – who were protected by the US – but Poland and the Czechs who were “protected” by the Soviet Union and was risking the former “protector’s” remaining goodwill by accepting the missile deal from the US.
    I would not bet on any country here returning to the pre-90s vassal state status, we are not exactly keen to return the ‘old ways’.
    Don’t forget that people still remember 1956, 1968 and 1979, and not too kindly either.

    However, what I read is that they plan a different defense set up, which promises “a better, more flexible defense, deployed at more sites and in a shorter time frame” will look like.
    If they live up to their promise, then it could be a better solution than the current one.

    Time will tell.

    Just my thoughts. :)

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