Supposedly, George W. Bush squandered all the goodwill we got from the world as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Enemies became friends, the uncooperative became helpful, and all was right with the world, until Bush screwed it up. What is forgotten in all of this is that those that opposed us before 9/11 opposed us after it too, with a brief fair-weather friendship in between. Nothing was actually squandered because nothing was actually gained, other than a brief facade that apparently many fell for.
Of course, when places like France started electing people more aligned to the Right, suddenly actual cooperation with the US was back, but this time the Left ignored it. The narrative was already in place. The Iraq war was "unilateral", except for the dozens of other countries helping out. The world hates us now, except that those countries pretty much hated us before, too. Going after terrorists, their enablers, and, oh yeah, a Ba'athist that had continually broken the terms of his cease-fire despite dozens of harshly-worded UN resolutions; that pushed the world away.
News flash; they were never really close enough to us to be pushed. It was all an optical illusion.
But now we have a President who says he wants to mend our fences with the world, and get them to like us again. He's made some speeches that got huge crowds, which is all very nice. But what is he doing to bring people back to loving the US?
WARSAW, Poland – Poles and Czechs voiced deep concern Friday at President Barack Obama's decision to scrap a Bush-era missile defense shield planned for their countries.
"Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back," the Polish tabloid Fakt declared on its front page.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he was concerned that Obama's new strategy leaves Poland in a dangerous "gray zone" between Western Europe and the old Soviet sphere.
Recent events in the region have rattled nerves throughout central and eastern Europe, a region controlled by Moscow during the Cold War, including the war last summer between Russia and Georgia and ongoing efforts by Russia to regain influence in Ukraine. A Russian cutoff of gas to Ukraine last winter left many Europeans without heat.
An editorial in Hospodarske Novine, a respected pro-business Czech newspaper, said: "an ally we rely on has betrayed us, and exchanged us for its own, better relations with Russia, of which we are rightly afraid."
The move has raised fears in the two nations they are being marginalized by Washington even as a resurgent Russia leaves them longing for added American protection.
The Bush administration always said that the planned system — with a radar near Prague and interceptors in northern Poland — was meant as defense against Iran. But Poles and Czechs saw it as protection against Russia, and Moscow too considered a military installation in its backyard to be a threat.
"No Radar. Russia won," the largest Czech daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes, declared in a front-page headline.
Say what you want about Bush, but he went after those with designs on killing us. Obama is supposedly mending fences by ticking off our allies, in order to not offend a nuclear Russia.
Why should Russia be offended at a missile shield in eastern Europe if they really have no designs on it? How is this, as they claim, a security threat or political provocation? How is that an affront, especially when the International Atomic Energy Agency believes that Iran has (not "will have" but "has") the knowledge to make a nuclear bomb, which is arguably the most significant part of the process.
But never mind allies who may need protection from a rogue state, we need to make sure Russia doesn't get its feelings hurt. The replacement?
Obama said the old plan was scrapped in part because the U.S. has concluded that Iran is less focused on developing the kind of long-range missiles for which the system was originally developed, making the building of an expensive new shield unnecessary.
The replacement system is to link smaller radar systems with a network of sensors and missiles that could be deployed at sea or on land. Some of the weaponry and sensors are ready now, and the rest would be developed over the next 10 years.
The Pentagon contemplates a system of perhaps 40 missiles by 2015, at two or three sites across Europe.
Because after all, 10 years is certainly not enough time for Iran to come up with a delivery system for a nuke, right? Right?
And this all begs a couple of questions; if Russia doesn't like the system that was to be implemented, who's to say that they'll like the new one, and will Obama scrap this new idea if the Russians don't like it?
Way to mend those fences.