Biden's Task in Eastern Europe: Reassurance

By F Stephen Larrabee; Christopher Chivvis | The Christian Science Monitor, October 2, 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Biden's Task in Eastern Europe: Reassurance

F Stephen Larrabee; Christopher Chivvis, The Christian Science Monitor

Vice President Joseph Biden's trip to eastern Europe this week provides an important opportunity to reassure Poland, the Czech Republic, and Romania that the US is committed to their security.

This reassurance is needed, especially in the wake of the Obama administration's controversial decision to cancel the deployment of missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic - Although President Obama's decision to scrap the Bush missile plan was the right one from a military and strategic point of view, the public rollout was less than ideal.

Polish and Czech leaders were informed of the decision only at the last second, making them feel like dispensable pawns in a broader US strategic game rather than the valued allies they have long been. This contributed to the misperception that the move was designed to placate Russia, and that eastern European interests would suffer as Washington attempted to reset relations with Moscow.

This perception is false. The decision was prompted by a shift in the nature of the Iranian threat. But it nevertheless damaged the US relationship with the region - a key relationship already in difficulty. Mr. Biden will therefore need to do more than just repair the damage done by the missile defense decision. He will also need to articulate a clear and coherent policy that explains where eastern Europe fits into broader US strategy toward Europe and Eurasia, and how the US commitment to security in central and eastern Europe will benefit, rather than suffer from, the resetting of US-Russian relations.

Public support in eastern Europe for the United States has plunged recently. According to a poll last month by the German Marshall Fund, the populations of Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia are much less enthusiastic about Mr. Obama and the US than are their western European counterparts. In the past, support for the US was much stronger in eastern Europe than in western Europe.

This unease has its roots in three closely related factors:

Russia's political and military resurgence. Having lived for long periods under Russian and Soviet domination, the central and eastern European countries are acutely sensitive to shifts in Russian power. They worry that Moscow's intimidation tactics and use of energy as a tool of foreign policy could result over time in a gradual erosion of their political independence.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Biden's Task in Eastern Europe: Reassurance


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?