Feeling Disrespected: Poles React to Obama’s Shift on Missile Defense
When the Obama administration recently announced its decision to scrap the Bush-era plan for an anti-missile shield based in Poland and the Czech Republic many Poles were not surprised. It simply confirmed what they had been expecting.
Last fall then-President-elect Obama expressed doubts about the system, and members of the Polish community in the U.S. anticipated that he wouldn’t feel obligated to respect agreements signed in 2008 by the previous administration.
“The US has its own problems now and they do whatever is best for them,” said Grazyna Bulka, east coast director of a Chicago-based shipping company, Polamer Inc. Bulka feared the system would have infuriated Russia, and was relieved to
learn that it had been abandoned.
“Poles love America so much and the U.S. really doesn’t care about us much,” lamented Emilia Sroczynska, a small business owner from Brooklyn, who favors the anti-missile system. “They remember us only when they need us, but they abandon us as soon as they don’t. To me it’s just another disappointment.”
Whether they supported or opposed the Bush plan to place ten ground-based interceptors on Polish soil, many agreed that Obama’s decision to scrap the deal proved that the U.S. considers Poland a second-class ally.
But what truly embittered Poles was the timing of the announcement, widely interpreted either as ignorance or insensitivity to Poland’s history by the Obama administration. (more…)