You can probably be forgiven for having missed it — what with all the pulse-pounding excitement of gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey, to say nothing of the World Series — but Russia invaded Poland. Again. This time, no more Mr. Nice Guy.
A barrage of nuclear missiles was fired into the defenseless country from Russia proper, while Russian tanks rolled out of Kaliningrad to seize key ports on the Polish coast and sabotage a major gas pipeline. Reports indicate it made Hitler’s blitzkrieg look like a tea party.
It was “only” war games, of course, but the potential implications are perhaps even more dire than those of the actual Russian tanks that rolled into Georgia last year because of the circumstances under which the “games” took place.
Though the reports only surfaced this week, the invasion actually occurred in September, just as Barack Obama was announcing the unilateral discontinuation of a proposed ballistic missile defense system for Poland. And given Russia’s demonstrated willingness to use military force in Georgia, who can say when the Polish “games” will also become reality?
That’s not all. As Polish parliamentarian Marek Opiola reminded:
It’s an attempt to put us in our place. Don’t forget all this happened on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland.
Meanwhile, Russia simultaneously carried out a real test launch of a nuclear missile from a submarine in the Barents Sea.
As Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation writes:
President Obama biggest non-symbolic mistake came when he sacrificed his ace card, the Bush-era missile defense plan against Iran, which was supposed to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Warsaw and Prague are still fuming about Washington’s lack of reliability, but in the new Obama foreign policy era, adversaries often get kid-glove treatment while allies are taken for granted.
Not only did Russia refuse to reciprocate Obama’s unilateral gesture by supporting sanctions against Iran, it began practicing the use of missiles against a now defenseless Poland. Obama has alienated and panicked all of Eastern Europe while reaping nothing in terms of improved relations with Russia. Instead, he’s convinced the Russians they may do as they please. It’s hard to imagine how Obama’s reckless gambit could have failed more spectacularly.