Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Obama's foreign policy naivete

Putin knows how to deal with a foolish novice punk when he encounters one.

"By contrast, Obama on Tuesday called Russia, a country that's falling apart, a 'great power' and reassured the nondemocratic Putin he'll keep Russia's interests in mind while crafting U.S. policy.

'As I said in Cairo,' the president said, 'given our interdependence, any world order that tries to elevate one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. That is why I have called for a 'reset' in relations between the United States and Russia.'

This implies an equivalency between Russia and the U.S. that simply doesn't exist. Russia comes up short on any measure of civilizational success you might want to use. Indeed, we have elevated a country that has invaded a neighbor, uses energy as a weapon against our democratic allies and refuses to help in our effort to halt Iran's dangerous nuclear program.

Russia is not a 'great' power. It's a Third World nation with First World nuclear weapons. It's in a downward spiral due to its collapsing population, shortening life-spans and shrinking economy. It might not even survive this century as a nation."

Can Obama do ANYTHING competently that the presidential role requires?



  1. "Can Obama do ANYTHING competently that the presidential role requires?"

    Maybe. But he hasn't yet.

  2. The right thing to do with Russia is to treat them with respect. They may be something close to a 'third world country with first world nuclear weapons,' but they can still be a valuable partner, or if mishandled, a dangerous enemy (see all those nukes).

    Clinton patronized Russia and broke promises made as the USSR dissolved. NATO continued to expand, which Russia views with A LOT of suspicion. George W. ignored them.

    Russians believe that for the last 16 years, Moscow has made many concessions to Washington and received nothing in return. There's something to it, as the NATO has crept closer to their borders with no sign of intent to stop. ALL Russia has is its nuclear arsenal.

    You may or may not be aware that during the military outbreak in Georgia last year, which Russia viewed as a proxy war with the US, Russia moved missile launchers to the disputed Georgian province, no war heads, but launcher. The last time anything similar happened would probably be the Cuban Missile crisis. A big deal.

    The policy mistake made by Clinton and Bush was treating Russia as a defeated power. Russia wants to be able to influence its surrounding regions, and it does (see Iran). This will continue, however, if we we're friendly, the influence they wield will more likely be pro-US (see agreement to allow Russian airspace to transport stuff to Afghanistan).

    Obama didn't execute perfectly in Russia. One of his mistakes was the comment that Putin had one foot in the future but one in the past. It's none of his business. But the arms agreement can certainly be viewed as a success.

    If Obama really wants to get things rolling he should guarantee the sovereignty of Ukraine and Georgia, but pledge to halt the expansion of NATO. That will be the clearest way of fostering a relationship similar to that of Gorbachev and Reagan.

  3. My biggest fear is that Putin recognizes Obama for the foreign policy neophyte he is and runs roughshod over him. This can have long-lasting negative implications for any future relations with Russia.
    I'm not sure we're dealing from a position of strength right now, but with Obama subservient to Putin because of his naivete we're in a helluva bad situation.