Poles worried by U.S. missile shield move

Sept. 30, 2009 at 10:00 AM

WARSAW, Poland, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Poles are worried that the Obama administration would sacrifice Central Europe to repair its strained relations with Russia, analysts say.

Fears of being swept aside in the ebb and flow of U.S.-Russia superpower politics is resurfacing in Warsaw with the decision by President Barack Obama to drop Bush administration plans to site a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

"It is time now for a mature look, stripped of illusions, at our possibilities and our future," Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told Poland's Rzeczpospolita newspaper last week. "I think today we all know that if we are to look to somebody, we have to look to ourselves."

"Nobody is worried that Russian soldiers will come marching now, but in 10 years, in 20 years?" Zbigniew Lewicki, head of American Studies at Warsaw University, told the Times. "Russia wants to dominate the world as much as possible, and they have not given up on this part of the world. They still think it belongs to them."

The perception is that Russia has managed to shift U.S. policy toward Central Europe, added Witold Waszczykowski, deputy head of Poland's national security bureau.

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