The President of the United States, Barack Obama has announced on September 17, a major shift in the policy of the US concerning the deployment of anti-ballistic missile defenses in Central and Eastern Europe in order to protect its European allies from a possible Iranian threat. In this article I will argue that this move is a part of a larger strategy of retrenchment, designed to make American power more flexible and adaptable in an international system defined both by symmetrical and asymmetrical threats. The move does not signal by any means a waning of America’s commitment to Europe’s security or for that matter, the security of Central and Eastern Europe. Canceling the deployment of the Ground Based Interceptors in Poland and the X band radar in the Czech Republic does not mean the United States is giving up on creating a national missile defense capability.
A group of Central and Eastern European intellectuals and former chiefs of state have published on July 16 an open letter to the President of the United States of America, voicing their concerns regarding the current state of relations between the countries of this region and the United States. The letter comes after the US-Russia summit and is signed by Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, Emil Constantinescu, Valdas Adamkus, Martin Butora, Matyas Eorsi, Alexandr Vondra and other important figures who have played a part in the recent history of Central and Eastern Europe. In the letter they emphasize the role played by the United States in Central Europe’s (CEE) transition from authoritarianism to democracy, remind Washington of the contribution made by the countries of this region to the American war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, while deploring the fact that the CEE is no longer a priority for US foreign policy. The letter criticizes the new “realist” foreign policy of the Obama Administration concerning Europe and Russia, with the shadow of Yalta looming large in the minds of the signatories.