Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obama, Iran, Missiles, Europe, and "What the heck did they tell him?"

It's in today's news: The (diabolical, according to some) Bush administration's plans to put a (shudder) missile defense system in Europe are being dropped.

Peaceniks1 of America have little reason to cheer, though. President Barack Obama, the 'change' president, is changing the Bush-era missile defense system plans. Not, apparently, scrapping them.
"... The 'new missile defense architecture in Europe ... will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack than the... program' that former President George W. Bush proposed, Obama said.

"Obama said the change of gears was based on an 'updated intelligence assessment' about Iran's ability to hit Europe with missiles.

"The Islamic republic's 'short- and medium-range' missiles pose the most current threat, he said, and 'this new ballistic missile defense will best address' that threat...."
As I've said before, "it's different when you're in charge." (September 27, 2007)

Why I Hope None of My Descendants Become President

I'd have said "kids," but I hope that they're not the last of the people my wife and I have launched. God willing, there will soon be grandchildren - and I tend to look at the long term, in both directions.

It's been a while since I've seen the phrase, "it's good to be king." The idea is that it's pleasant, on the whole, to be at the top of the ladder in terms of authority.

In a way, that can be true: in the short term. Take Saddam Hussein, for example. His lifestyle was lavish, even by American standards. Until two dozen or so nations 'unilaterally' jumped on his throat.

That's a sort of worst-case scenario, of course.

Most American presidents I've seen have aged - sometimes fast - once they got into the Oval Office. Understandably. There's a lot of responsibility that goes along with the perks of having a live-in cook and domestic staff.

Last year, after Barack Obama became President-Elect Obama, a strictly-for-laughs blog came out with a post that included before-and-after photos, and this paragraph:
"...This is after less than a day of briefings and staff meetings where they tell him all the big secrets. Like about the alien plan to invade Earth in February. Like the White House television uses an antenna and won't get H.D. Like Mississippi and Alabama will probably continue to be states. You know, junk like that...."
(Oddly Enough, Reuters)
Oddly Enough's author was (probably) kidding "about the alien plan to invade Earth in February."

Unhappily, not all threats to America - and the rest of the world - are quite that imaginary.

Which is why I rather hope that my descendants do what my forebears have done for generations out of mind: stayed at or below the midpoint of the economic ladder; and well away from positions that would require them to make life-and-death decisions for a nation.

Iran's Been a Threat for Years - What Changed?

What I find a bit unsettling about President Obama's decision is that "updated intelligence assessment" phrase. It's been public knowledge for years that Iran had ballistic and/or cruise missiles that could deliver a warhead to parts of eastern Europe. Nuclear weapons, not yet: but even a conventional warhead could do noticeable damage.

Years from now, the details will probably come out. Meanwhile, I prefer to hope that the president is making the best of what for him is a bad situation: having to provide a viable defense for America's European neighbors; while making it appear that he isn't like the 'diabolical' President Bush.

An alternative explanation for Obama's 'get defenses up fast' approach is that
  • Iran's gotten new technology
  • Enhanced it's existing weapons inventory
  • Decided to fire missiles, ready or not
  • Some combination of the above
- - - And that we've got a limited time in which to keep places like Kiev, Bucharest, Budapest and Belgrade from experiencing instant urban renewal.

Related posts: In the news:
Peaceniks1 Peacenik: ">someone who prefers negotiations to armed conflict in the conduct of foreign relations". (self?) defined at Princeton's WordNet) A peacenik is certainly not one those big, rough, icky (shudder) military types, who make it safe for peaceniks to hold anti-war demonstrations.


robert basler said...

Thanks for linking to my Oddly Enough blog. Please come back often and bring your friends...

Bob Basler

Brian H. Gill said...

robert basler,

I'll do that: generally in another blog. And thank you for finding those odd bits of news.

rob fletcher said...

I do guess they want us bury alive? Or, what??? We need all the protection we can get due to the hate they have for us and our "Freedom"!!! Help!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this is the "change" our allies hoped for. The SM-3 is a good missile system, but to drop the land-based system and go with the sea-borne Aegis exclusively endangers not only Europe but us as well. Very short-sighted!

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.