Friday, April 9, 2010
Reinstating the Brezhnev Doctrine
On the night of August 20, 1968, 200,000 Soviet soldiers and some 2,000 tanks crossed the borders of Czechoslovakia. The Czech forces were locked down in their barracks until it was clear they would offer no resistance. It was the end-cap of the Prague Spring, a movement by Czech President, Dubcek to liberalize his country and align it closer with Western Europe. Soviet Premier, Leonid Brezhnev, would have none of it and after talks broke down, he ordered the invasion. The principle applied to justify the assault was the "Brezhnev Doctrine:" the USSR, it said, could invade any Eastern Bloc country that dared to experiment with democracy or capitalism. The Soviets would remain in Czechoslovakia until 1990.
Earlier this week, in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, one of the two successor countries to Czechoslovakia, our boy President reaffirmed the Brezhnev Doctrine in a dangerous capitulation to Soviet, err, Russian demands and signed a new strategic arms limitation treaty with a gleeful Russian president Medvedev. I guess it's appropriate to bow to this newly restored Russian hegemony in Prague - we already pulled the plug on a missile defense shield for them and Poland. So, if the Iranians or anyone else wants to threaten the former "Eastern bloc," it's A-OK with us.
The treaty limits both sides to 700 ICBMs, sub-launched or bomber-launched missiles and a total of 1,550 warheads...BUT, Russia has the option to "opt out" of the treaty if the United States missile defense is showing an efficiency that would impact Russian offensive weapons. Wait - come again? So, if we get better at protecting ourselves, they get to build up their offensive capability? Yup. Oh, but Obama assures us that he believes this will be "peace in our time."
None of this matters under the current administration anyway. He's already scrapped plans for forward missile defense in Eastern Europe - a program designed to thwart the Iranians from threatening Europe. He has essentially gutted the budget for our stateside missile defense, killed the F-22 even as the Russians deploy their knock-off version, he has prohibited the development of any new nuclear weapons and ceased testing programs for our existing stockpile. I just learned that he is also eliminating one of my old favorites, the Tomahawk missile from further production - the ones we used to paint "when you care enough to send the very best" on the side of. Garishly, before even going over to lick Medvedev's boots, he eliminated the unspoken threat that the United States posed to bad guys around the world by declaring that even if you use chemicals or bugs on us, we won't nuke you.
I cannot understand the mindset of this man. Do the lessons of Munich and appeasement mean anything to him? I am not especially worried about the Russians teeing it up with us, but the prospect of a nuclearized Middle East loom large. He is breaking the very sword we might need to keep the peace.