Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Obama from Warsaw

I asked a Polish colleague today what the Poles thought about the American decision to drop that missile program. It's hard to know from the American media and blogosphere, since too many of them tell it as they'd like it to be, irrespective as it may be. My interlocutor grew serious.

- The Poles are angry, and feel Putin quashed Obama.
- All of them think that way, or some? You, personally, or most people?
- Most people. And the timing of the announcement - September 17th - couldn't have been worse.

He himself actually could be expected to be more lenient in his judgment, since he's a youngish university professor who teaches technology and is well traveled. A member of the Western and forward-looking part of Polish society. To underline his statement he told me there had been a popular caricature which showed Obama proclaiming "Yes We Can". Underneath the artist added "But we probably won't".


Avigdor said...

Obama's atmospherics are just terrible. The Americans are going to end up fielding a more advanced, flexible missile defense system in Poland, using proven technology. Their actual commitment to the country is growing, as is their investment to contain of Russian ambitions.

It's the same with Israel. Actual strategic cooperation is growing, but Obama's idiotic rhetoric and complete lack of diplomatic sensitivity are feeding the opposite impression.

Bryan said...

For those of us confused by why September 17 would be important to Poles, I took the liberty of looking it up (on Wikipedia, so forgive me if anything is incorrect). Apparently, September 17 is not only the anniversary of when the Solidarity movement that gave birth to post-Communist Poland was founded, but also the anniversary of when the Soviet Union invaded in the beginning of World War Two. Couldn't Obama's advisers have done a little research and figured out that telling Poland that they would drop a missile shield meant to protect them against Russia (*ahem*, Iran) would be a poor idea on the anniversary of the day the USSR invaded Poland?

Yaacov said...

Actually, you would expect that somewhere in the bowels of the decision-making machine of the most powerful nation in the world, there would be people who wouldn't even need to do the research, because they simply know the basics about the things they deal with. You're making a decision with is very important to the Poles, you've got someone on the case who knows all about Poland. For someone like that, knowing about Sept. 17th really isn't rocket science. It's more like bread and butter.

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