jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2009

This doesn't look too good for smartough diplomacy

Could it be possible that he just went into this blind, with no previous quid pro quo agreement with the Russians? Would he set himself up for such a humiliation for nothing? It's hard to believe, but, according to Stratfor, it looks like it's true. What happened to the smartough world charmer whose "face," (Andrew Sullivan dixit) was going to change the world?
If this turns out to be true, then it just fits the same sad-sack pattern of all of Obama's diplomacy so far: "engagement" and appeasement as a tradeoff for rebuffs and humiliation. Maybe world powers don't want to negotiate and engage. Maybe they want to get as much power and wealth as they can, while they can. Maybe negotiation and engagement are just playing into their hands, then.

Stratfor Intelligence Guidance for today says,

Ballistic missile defense (BMD) as a military system had no significance for either Poland or the Czech Republic. It was not designed to defend them. Rather, its presence was a symbol to both countries that the United States was prepared to defend them, because it has a vital strategic asset in their countries. The shock in Poland and Czech Republic is about a symbolic shift from their point of view.
And furthermore,

The timing of the decision is clearly intended to induce Russian cooperation with the United States over Iran. The question is whether there was any prior understanding with Russia regarding this matter. Does the United States have some understanding of a quid pro quo with Russia? The Russian-U.S. tussle over the issue of BMD in Central Europe was never really about BMD. The system never gave Poland anything. It was about the future of U.S.-Polish military cooperation. This is what defines Russia’s view of its relationship with the United States.

It seems like they answered their own question below, “The Russians are letting the United States know they do not see the scrapping of the planned BMD system as a concession” that could get them to cooperate with us on Iran.

clipped from www.stratfor.com

U.S., Russia: Moscow's Response to Washington's Shift in BMD Plans

Russia’s initial response to the United States’ scrapping its plan for ballistic missile defense (BMD) in Poland and the Czech Republic indicates that Russia is not convinced that the change in plans is any sort of concession.

The Russians are letting the United States know they do not see the scrapping of the planned BMD system as a concession — and certainly not something that would spark a concession from Russia, such as Moscow ceasing its support for Tehran. Instead, Russia is linking the BMD move to the deal on Afghanistan. As far as the Russians are concerned, they owe the United States nothing until real concessions are made.

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