Obama should take stronger stance on defense

President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap plans for U.S. missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic could have catastrophic implications and reflect a weak foreign policy.

His abrupt decision alienates close allies of the U.S. and also may embolden Russia. Now, small democracies like Poland may fall prey to bellicose, expansionist neighbors like Russia and regimes may go unchecked without a U.S. presence.

This shift in America’s priorities under the Obama administration weakens the security of the nation and its allies and may fortify the resolve of its enemies. Disregarding history, Obama has left allies open for the mere reason of appeasing Russia.

Obama justified his new policy before the U.N. General Assembly. “Alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War no longer apply,” he said.

This unmistakable capitulation to the Russian government was not the worst aspect of this policy switch. Obama decided to leave Poland vulnerable, when this year marks the 70th anniversary of the German invasion during World War II. After the war, the Soviet Union occupied the country for nearly 40 years.

Russia may still be a threat to Poland. Its invasion of Georgia last year shows the days of aggression are far from over. It’s the United States’ obligation to protect its allies by keeping missile defense sites in the area.

This incident is another example of Obama’s appeasing foreign policy. He is not taking a strong enough stance against Iran’s potential nuclear plans and Honduras, where the democratic government has been overthrown. On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported U.S. officials had unannounced meetings with Cuban officials in Havana as well.

Obama watched as Iranian citizens died because they thought an election was stolen from them by a tyrant regime. Not enough action is being taken as Iran builds up its nuclear capacity and continually holds influence in Iraq.

In June, the Honduran military overthrew President Manuel Zelaya for trying to change the constitution. According to Reuters, Obama called the coup “illegal” and said it set a “dangerous precedent.”

Obama watched as Hondurans of all creeds protested their democratic country’s transformation. Instead of siding with them, however, Obama refused aid and diplomatic recognition unless they accepted a want-to-be dictator.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, though an American ally, is frustrated with Obama’s hesitance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S., once a strong force against tyranny, is reducing its influence and may subsequently lose allies. Obama believes that a grand gesture will amass good will from Russia and Iran, despite the threat this may pose to Europe.

Obama seems to be contradicting his own previous stance. During a 2007 campaign speech in Iowa, he said, “I will send once more a message to those yearning faces beyond our shores that says, ‘You matter to us. Your future is our future. And our moment is now.'”

By not taking a stronger stance against foreign threats, Obama is jeopardizing the safety of the U.S. and its democratic allies around the world.

Erik Raymond is a graduate student majoring in liberal arts.