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Historian Bernard Lewis warned a nation can make few mistakes worse than being “harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend.” On September 17th President Barack Obama confirmed lest there had been any doubt, he has taken America there.

On the 70th anniversary to the day of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland Barack Obama stiffed Poland. Couched in doublespeak about strengthening Europe’s missile defense Obama announced he was abandoning America’s commitment to putting an anti-ballistic missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The timing was creepy. The belief system behind the decision and signal it sends to America’s friends and adversaries are chilling.

The Obama administration’s explanations for the move are risible.

It trumpeted “new” intelligence suggesting the Iranian missile threat to the immediate region is greater and more imminent than the long range missile threat and said therefore America will invest in the sea-based theater missile defense system.

Intelligence is imperfect. The US was surprised by North Korea, India, Pakistan and Israel going nuclear.

Iran launched a satellite. The necessary technology is almost identical with that require for an ICBM armed with a nuclear, chemical or conventional payload.

The Administration has said it wants to save money. Who knew? This preposterous rationale comes from an administration that will incur an almost $2 trillion deficit in its first year, with deficits likely to exceed $13 trillion over the next decade. Obama is happy, indeed keen, to expand spending on all fronts except the military.

Obama has always been viscerally against missile defense and, notwithstanding his pledge during the 2008 presidential debates to not permit Iran to go nuclear, never willing to do anything meaningful to stop the mullahs.

Expanding the Aegis system, which is constrained by the number of suitable destroyers, and deploying interceptors in Poland could be done in parallel. The West would be safer for it.

In dealing with a malevolent foe on a path to acquiring nuclear arms such as Iran, it would be better to eliminate or defend against the threat too soon rather than rationalizing procrastinating.

Russia’s contention interceptors in Poland would threaten them was patently absurd. The system was defensive. Moreover, 10 interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic would have been next to useless against Russia’s enormous fleet of missiles. Russia objected to a tangible American military presence in and commitment to defend Eastern Europe.

The putative leader of the Free World Barack Obama believes disarmament and appeasing Freedom’s enemies are the path to peace, love and brotherhood among men. He hopes if the world’s rogues like him America will be safer. To the contrary, to the extent America is overwhelmingly preeminent in arms, steel willed, and feared by them, the world is safer.

The Poles and Czechs have been good American allies. Speaking in San Francisco on August 5th Poland’s foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski reminded his audience that notwithstanding Poland’s not being one hundred percent in sync on the war’s rationale Poland sent troops to Iraq. And alluding to some Western European NATO members’ restrictions on troops committed to Afghanistan said, he who contributes without caveats gives double. Moreover, though it is an infidel capital, it’s hard to imagine Warsaw is on the top of the mullahs’ target list. That said, with a view to staying free, it is in the interest of both Poland and the Czech Republic to encourage America to stay engaged in Eastern Europe.

While Obama’s betrayal stings, he is not the first American leader to give the Eastern Europeans short shrift.

FDR’s willful blindness during WW2 to the nature of Stalin and the Soviet Union, his rolling over at Yalta, and Harry Truman’s acquiescence led to Eastern Europe’s enslavement by the Soviets for almost half a century.

Today Truman is cited by Republicans as a tough Democratic president. Set against Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama, he was a lion, a veritable Churchill. But recall at the end of WW2 the US enjoyed an atomic monopoly, the most powerful air force and navy ever, and accounted for the lion’s share of the world’s economic production.

Obama’s betrayal leaves free countries in mauling reach of the Russian bear in a lurch. If the Russians overran Estonia or seized the Crimea, the most vigorous response from Western Europe might be dispatching French president Nicholas Sarkozy to broker a ceasefire certifying the facts on the ground. Eastern European states now face the prospect of Finlandization or worse.

Obama’s move also heightens the danger elsewhere.

The price for Obama’s preemptive appeasement will be paid worldwide in blood and diminished freedom. While bad actors whether militant Islamist Iranian mullahs, rapacious Russians, Dear Leader Kim Jong Il or Castroite Hugo Chaves bear primary responsibility for their actions, there will also be blood on Obama’s hands. His weakness is provocative and emboldens freedom’s enemies worldwide.

As long as the Prince of Appeasement Barack Obama is in the White House America cannot be relied upon to support freedom and the liberal world order. Worse is to come.

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