Republicans and the arms industry in America will, no doubt, be pleased that Obama has decided to commit up to $1bn in new US funding for European defence, but for the more peace-loving amongst us, the news is less than encouraging. Whilst saying that he is "concerned about the security of allies in central and eastern Europe", the president appears to show little understanding of the effect of his actions in Russia, and would do well to remember some relevant history. For example,it would have been better if Obama had actually admitted that NATO is not always blameless, and that some of the blame for the Ukraine problem lies with the west. It was the west who reneged on the promise made to Gorbachev in the various talks which preceded German unity. With West Germany being a member of NATO, and the east a member of the Warsaw Pact, the need for Russian agreement was imperative, and only when Baker, President Bush`s Secretary of State, said that there "would be no extension of NATO`s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east" was Gorbachev persuaded.
Further history studies would also tell the president that an increase in the deployment of US "planners and advisers" by both Eisenhower and Kennedy, led to the inevitable escalation of war in Vietnam in the 1960s, so similar action now in eastern Europe is not necessarily the most prudent.
The duplicity of politicians in foreign policy is something the general public is becoming increasingly aware of, but there can be no excuse for ignoring past mistakes. One of the reasons politicians study history is to learn from it, but the examples of Vietnam and the Cold War seem to be fading from the memory of many Americans; for them and their president it appears remembering history is a thing of the past!