Monday, March 9, 2009

Polish President Holds '08 Treaty, Obama to Missile Defense

In a new turn of events in the saga of the planned U.S. Missile Defense shield, CTK (the Czech news service)reports that Polish President Lech Kaczynski said Sunday that he will hold President Obama to honor the 2008 treaty allowing the placing of nuclear anti-missile rockets in Poland. The treaty signed by Condoleeza Rice and her Polish foreign secretary counterpart has not yet been ratified by the Polish Parliament. A similar bill approving the connected radar installation in Czech Republic was also signed, but has yet to pass the lower Czech assembly.

While Central European news reports have described President Obama as "reserved" compared to former President Bush about establishing a Missile Defense Shield in Europe, new developments reveal the continuance of the Robert Gates-obsessed project.

According to CTK, the conservative and Euro-sceptic Lech Kaczynski said that President Obama's recent secret letter to Medvedev to stave off deploying the radar in exchange for political pressure on Iran is "clearly not a friendly gesture" to the Polish government. Kaczynski also noted that since the SOFA (Strategic Operation of Forces Agreement) was signed last summer, the treaty holds precedence no matter who is in power.

Relations between Poland and Russia have been strained since the announcement of their part in Missile Defense in exchange for the United States to pay for modernizing the Polish air force. Russia has responded by threatening to place nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad, putting the area between major nuclear weapon launchers within the 100 mile range.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Polish and Czech citizens last week for their support of a "visionary" project. However, according to recent polls, in both countries public opposition to the Missile Defense Shield is above 65 percent.

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