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Friday, September 18, 2009

Polish, Czech Newspapers: Obama Betrayed Us, Russia Declared Winner: Smart Diplomacy At Its Best

Barack Obama discontinued the plans for a Missile defense shield in eastern Europe. Now, there is a negative backlash against Obama and his decision in the region, especially in Poland and the Czech Republic:

"Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back," the Polish tabloid Fakt declared on its front page.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he was concerned that Obama's new strategy leaves Poland in a dangerous "gray zone" between Western Europe and the old Soviet sphere.

Recent events in the region have rattled nerves throughout central and eastern Europe, a region controlled by Moscow during the Cold War, including the war last summer between Russia and Georgia and ongoing efforts by Russia to regain influence in Ukraine. A Russian cutoff of gas to Ukraine last winter left many Europeans without heat.

Poland was the only country that Obama received such negative press:

An editorial in Hospodarske Novine, a respected pro-business Czech newspaper, said: "an ally we rely on has betrayed us, and exchanged us for its own, better relations with Russia, of which we are rightly afraid."

The move has raised fears in the two nations they are being marginalized by Washington even as a resurgent Russia leaves them longing for added American protection.

I see a theme running through these papers. Obama is seen as a traitor by people in the countries of Eastern Europe. I thought Obama was supposed to be the catalyst for change for the better. Wasn't he supposed to heal all wounds of Bush's "cowboy diplomacy"? Wasn't the world supposed to love us again?

"No Radar. Russia won," the largest Czech daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes, declared in a front-page headline.

It seems our allies see Obama as weak. If they think we're weak, imagine what our enemies think of us as a country because he's our leader.

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