President Obama has officially announced that the missile shield plan, which was to place 10 missile interceptors in Poland along with a radar system in the Czech Republic, will be scrapped.
Speaking at the White House this morning, the American president said that the decision has come after a thorough review of the proposed missile defence plan, and a unanimous recommendation by his advisors that the plan be dropped. Instead, President Obama is looking into a more extensive system that would “enhance protection of all our NATO allies.” This system is likely to use smaller missiles, and may be located in southern Europe or Turkey.
After months of media speculation the announcement comes as no surprise, especially as news broke this morning that the American president had spoken to the Czech prime minister over the phone last night, and to Polish officials today.
However, the Polish reaction has been generally one of disappointment. In addition to a feeling of being let down by one of its closest allies, the timing of the announcement could not have been worse: today is the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. After all, many Poles felt that the presence of an American military installation on Polish soil would be assurance against any future Russian aggression.
Prime Minister Tusk, however, is hopeful that the Americans will present another offer for Poland. “After today’s conversation with President Obama I am an optimist, despite the U.S.’s resignation from the building of a missile defence shield. The steps [we will take] to increase Polish security will soon be disclosed.”
See also: Missile Shield Muddle
For more, see our full report in the October 2009 issue of the Krakow Post.