The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On Obama’s decision to scrap the missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic:

This is all about the U.S. and Russia. What just happened today is that the United States unilaterally abrogated the security agreement with two close East European allies [Poland and the Czech Republic — so close that they had troops in Iraq and Afghanistan that supported us — at the behest and because of the pressure of the Russians.

Now, number one is the timing. Apart from the merits of all this, the idea that we should renounce, on the 70th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland, a security agreement that we had with Poland [because] of Russian objections is scandalously, indescribably amateurish.

Now, on the merits. If There is a secret agreement between us and the Russians that in return for our capitulation on this issue… the Russians, in return, have agreed in an ironclad way to give us strong support on extremely strong sanctions on Iran and to not send antiaircraft missiles into Iran, which the Israelis have said would precipitate an Israeli attack — if all of that has happened, then you could say this is a cynical deal, but perhaps you could support it the way that you would say we derecognized Taiwan in the Nixon days in order to achieve a strategic advantage in having relations with China.

The problem is there is not a shred of evidence of a deal. And if not, what this is is a capitulation to Russia. This is an earthquake in our relations with Eastern Europe and the beginning of their detachment from the American umbrella.

 And it’s the abandonment of serious missile defense.

 It is a huge, huge setback.

On what the missile defense decision means for Eastern Europe:

This is going to be an historic day in the life of Eastern Europe. We have now declared that Eastern Europe — which had assumed that after the Cold War, had joined the West indissolubly and would enjoy its protection — is now in many ways on its own, subject to Russian hegemony and pressure.

And imagine if the Poles and Czechs are upset about this, how the feeling is in Ukraine and Georgia. The Russians announced earlier in the week that if a Georgian ship is found in Abkhazian waters, which was a province of Georgia, it will be seized. So it has annexed part of Georgia and it has escalated the war of words on Ukraine.

On the Baucus health-care plan:

If it doesn’t have tort reform, it is not a serious offer. There is so much money in tort reform, it would relieve the deficits and the subsidies and the hidden taxes.

So Republicans have no obligation to play on a field in which — because of the Democrats being in hock to the trial lawyers — the most important element of this [tort reform] is left out.

The reason the Baucus plan is in trouble and everybody hates it is because in one respect it’s honest. The CBO has declared that it is deficit neutral, so it pays for itself. And the reason it is hated is because in order to achieve that, it has to have all these incredible hidden taxes.

And they’re all hidden because a lot of it ends up in the pockets of insurance companies and ultimately, because of taxes on insurance [companies], in the government.

But it [contains] taxes on the young, on the middle class, on those who don’t want health insurance who will [now] have to pay a fee. It is across the big board, and that’s why it will get savaged.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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