Warsaw seems resigned to the Obama administration reneging on an agreement signed by its predecessor to put a missile defense system in Poland.
Viola Gienger for Bloomberg:
Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said his country is most interested in U.S. pledges in the agreement he signed last year in the face of Russian opposition, including an American garrison with Patriot interceptor missiles. The two sides also agreed to act jointly on military and non-military threats.
“What we would like to be honored is what went along with” the missile-defense system, Sikorski, 46, said in an interview yesterday during a visit to Washington that included a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “We paid quite a political price for the agreement, both in terms of internal politics and in our relations with Russia.”
Sikorski’s stance follows repeated signals from Obama’s national security officials that they might delay or drop the system devised under President George W. Bush. Russia has described the proposed shield as a threat.
Sikorski said Polish leaders aren’t “lobbyists” for the missile-defense system, to be located in Poland and the Czech Republic and intended to ward off potential missile attacks from Iran. “It’s a U.S. project and a U.S. decision,” he said.
FP’s Joshua Keating sees this as giving “Obama a bit of an out on this issue.” It doesn’t sound that way to me at all: Sikorski is stating quite clearly that there’s an agreement in place and that it was one that Poland entered into at “quite a political price.” Just because it’s Obama’s choice doesn’t mean it’s one that Poland is acceding to; it’s merely an unfortunate reality in an unbalanced relationship.
James Joyner is managing editor of the Atlantic Council.