September 18th, 2009

What a relief! Russia cancels missiles in Kaliningrad! That was a close one!

Whenever I hear a news report about something Senator John McCain says, I generally have two reactions: 1) I feel even more glad than ever that he was not elected President last year; 2) I wonder exactly when it was that he "jumped the shark." I had once considered him to be pretty respectable as Republicans go, back when I considered the respectable Republican to still be an extant species (more on that in some future post). Did he lose it when he decided to run for President? While I can't really stomach watching GOP Presidential primary fights, I did notice how skillfully he brushed aside his main challengers, Douche Mitt Romney and Nutbag Mike Huckabee. But sometime after that, he seemed to just lose his mind and is now basically embarrassing himself every time he speaks publicly about anything.  Take for example his complaints just today about the Obama administration bagging that silly Bush plan to deploy a missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland.

I won't quote the whole thing, but it was a tiring little fusspot of a statement about "security" and "threats" and how if we don't do that thing with the missiles, then we will be crapping on our very important allies...Poland and the Czech Republic. Look, I have nothing against those countries and would love to one day visit both of them, BUT who the hell cares what Poland and the Czech Republic have to say about how the US chooses to deploy its expensive war toys? What are they gonna do? Break off diplomatic relations with us? Even within those countries, it sounds as if it is only their right-wing elements who are mad about it anyway. Also, Poland and the Czech Republic and the rest of those Eastern European ex-Soviet vassal states really don't have a foreign policy or military security future apart from the European Union and NATO anyway. Take Poland, for example. For a couple of centuries, its geopolitical role on Earth was to be a big buffer zone between Russia and Western Europe. Well, those days are over. Now it's part of NATO and the EU, and where and how the US places its missile defenses has got fuck-all to do with what Poland's future will be like.

I am not even going to get started in any detail on the whole preposterous premise of the missile defense plan. But the short version of it is: Iran may one day attack Europe with long range missiles (hmmm...riiiight, cuz that makes sense) so the way to deal with it is to erect an untested, hitherto unbuilt anti-missile system that is as much science fiction as anything right now. Oh and it won't be ready for years and years anyway, even if we do want to go ahead with it. And, for the love of god, the system needs to be housed in Poland and the Czech Republic...for some reason. 

This is the kind of crap that McCain goes on record blasting the Prez about. Of course he's not the only one. I think every GOP lawmaker has had his say on it today. Obviously they have all concluded that they need to oppose Obama no matter what, even though the Pentagon and their whole beloved military-industrial complex seems to think the new plan is better than the old one. Personally, I think the new plan is a big waste of time and money, too, but I have long since quite dreaming that we will ever stop doing dumbass crap like that. And it sounds like the new plan wastes quite a bit less money and might actually WORK should the GOP's  beloved wet dreams of an Iranian missile attack ever actually come to pass.

But whatever anyone thinks of the merits of these missile defense plans, there has been one piece of undeniably good news resulting from Obama's decision to shelve the Bush plan: Russia has backed down from its dire threats to place its own new defensive missile batteries in the Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave which used to be a chunk of German East Prussia and is now sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.  No doubt these new Russian missiles, had they been deployed, would have ratcheted up tensions in the critical Polish-Lithuanian-Russian border area to such a degree that John McCain himself might need to have been sent over there personally to do some righteous and crotchety fist-shaking