This statement from a number of major movement figures attacking the administration’s decision on missile defense is a useful reminder of how bankrupt movement conservative thought is when it comes to matters of national security and foreign policy. Had I set out to write a parody of hysterical conservative reaction to this decision, I would not have been able to come up with anything that compares to the genuine article. The first paragraph sums up their view:
The announcement that the Obama Administration will abandon Missile Defense in Poland and the Czech Republic represents a massive surrender of American Strategic Influence and a betrayal of two of our closest friends in the region. The move also indicates appeasement towards Russia, and a misunderstanding of the seriousness of the potential nuclear capability of Iran.
For starters, you have to enjoy all of the unnecessary capitalization. It isn’t merely missile defense, but Missile Defense that Obama has scrapped. All of the usual tropes are here: surrender, betrayal, appeasement. It doesn’t seem to bother these people that all of this is garbage. Former Polish President Kwasniewski specifically rejected describing this decision as a “betrayal,” and it is laughable that anyone would make such a charge. How can cancelling a system that hasn’t even been built and which at least half of Poland doesn’t want count as a betrayal of Poland? If this move were an attempt at “appeasing” Russia, it might start to rehabilitate the reputation of appeasement. It would mean that foregoing unnecessary provocations can repair frayed international relations, and it implies that critics of the decision would prefer a world in which relations with Russia continue to deteriorate and European security is steadily undermined. Iran’s nuclear capability is neither here nor there. Without a long-range missile program to deliver the nukes that Iran is nowhere near close to having, Iran’s nuclear capability might be real and still pose no threat to European security. The signatories of this statement haven’t a shred of credibility on these issues. Unfortunately, instead of being greeted with embarrassment and disdain by conservatives, this statement represents the common view of much of the American right.