The Problem With Having An Adolescent President…

…is that inevitably your policy decisions begin reflecting high school shenanigans. Take the fact that, via Attackerman, we put out a statement on deploying missile defense weaponry to Poland, a highly contentious matter in US-Eastern European-Russian relations, by asserting that we were doing so to protect Poland from Iran and North Korea.

Now obviously, as Ackerman notes, this is just laughably ridiculous on the face of it. Neither North Korea nor Iran have any outstanding tensions or lingering hot-button issues with Poland, and North Korea doesn’t even have missiles capable of reaching Poland. But Russia does on both counts, and they’re adamantly opposed to us moving these weapon systems into the old Soviet bloc. Assuming our government is acting like its being run by people with a semi-basic understanding of the world, it only makes sense that we’d be deploying these systems to defend Poland against possible Russian aggression.

Yglesias calls it insulting our intelligence, but I think it’s actually slightly worse than that. It is, of course, possible that the White House thinks the entire world has the intelligence of George W. Bush and might actually believe this has nothing to do with Russia, but it’s much more likely that the administration recognizes how opposed to this Russia is, and have decided to compensate by pretending that Russia has nothing to do with it or, worse, that Russia matters less than North Korea or Iran. Which is fine, if there’s some benefit attached to it, or even if we’re reasonably certain the technology will work the way it’s supposed to. But all this amounts to is the US spending money to send Poland a defensive weapon system we’re not even sure works well. And in exchange we’re further alienating Russia, pushing them to a position of even greater reluctance to cooperate with us on the sort of geopolitical issues that matter, and maybe even driving them to take even more actions directly opposed to US interests in places like Iran.

It’s sort of like when you were in high school and you went out of your way to pick on the smart kid even though you needed him to do your homework for you to pass Chemistry.