So the crucial message was delivered.....Star Wars technology will still likely be developed and put into Poland and the Czech Republic, using Iran as the excuse to cover larger US ambitions of surrounding Russia with the technology.
Here is the deal....
* The US has a public relations problem as we lecture Iran and North Korea about the evils of nukes but we have plenty of our own. So to regain some semblance of credibility around the globe the US has to show some movement. This is why Henry Kissinger became a proponent of getting rid of nukes.
* I worked on Jimmy Carter's successful campaign in 1976 largely because he said over and over again that "the nuclear arms race was a disgrace to the human race." Also very commendable. Then as president Mr. Carter proceeded to build the Kings Bay Naval submarine base in St. Marys, Georgia for the Trident II nuclear system.
* So I've been somewhat tempered by promises from politicians over the years. I now listen for the nuances in their language.....things like this from Obama in Prague, "This goal will not be reached quickly -- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence." And it certainly won't be reached in President Obama's lifetime if he insists on moving forward with Star Wars and "missile defense" systems - especially deployed upon Russia and China's doorstep. Let's face the facts here, Obama is not a stupid man. He understands that these space technology systems very well could be show stoppers. With that in mind, then why would he still pursue them?
In the end the question remains how much will really change? Obama is doing an effective job of "changing the tone" and showing "humility" on the world stage as a way of atoning for Bush's more hard-edged bad cowboy talk. But at the same time Obama is skillfully revealing that he has the ability to repackage US empire building policies in a new kinder and gentler way, but still achieving the same results. One Brookings Institution analyst told the Washington Post, "the 'hard edge of policy' in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where unlike some European allies Obama has not signaled a willingness to talk to the armed Islamist group Hamas, the president's policy and goals have not changed much from those of his predecessor."
In words that Mr. Obama would understand, I am keeping my eyes on the bouncing basketball.