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Sending a message to Russia
What the Poland missile-defense deal means for U.S.-Russia relations
 

What happened
The United States and Poland struck a deal to put an American missile defense base in Poland. The revival of the long-stalled plan was the strongest reaction so far to Russia’s military push into Georgia, and Moscow angrily said the agreement could damage relations and put Poland at risk of attack. (The New York Times)

What the commentators said
Russia’s furious response, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial, “is as good an argument as any for why Poland needs it.” Ten missile interceptors won’t deflect “the Russian nuclear stockpile,” but the deal tightens Poland’s ties to NATO and especially the U.S., which is the country’s “only real insurance against a bear attack.”

This a good deal for both Poland and the U.S., said Joshua Keating in Foreign Policy’s Passport blog. Washington’s friendship didn’t help its ally Georgia, but an American troop presence should give Poland greater protection. And the U.S. gets to “demonstrate that it still has friends in the former Eastern bloc.”

“We should never back down in the face of Russian aggression,” said Joe Cirincione in The Huffington Post, but this missile defense deal doesn’t make anybody safer. The system is costly, untested, and designed to repel missiles from Iran, not a military giant such as Russia. So we’re needlessly “stoking Russia’s paranoia,” and that’s “bad policy.”

This deal is “not about the missiles,” said Allahpundit in a Hot Air blog. For the Poles, the important thing was the “mutual commitment” of help in case of trouble, which means it expects more from the U.S. than humanitarian aid, which is all that Georgia is getting, “if their turn comes on the chopping block.”

This won’t be the last of the “dominoes to fall as a result of Russia's continuing military action in Georgia,” said Mark Impomeni in AOL’s Political Machine blog. The U.S. is clearly signaling Russia “that its actions in Georgia have changed the rules of the game. A Cold War mentality is quickly settling in on both sides of the U.S.-Russian divide.”

 

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