Russian Behavior is Adrift

In just over two months in office, President Obama has developed an incredibly bad habit - constant criticism of his predecessor. His almost daily cheap shots at President Bush are beneath the office that he holds. Once in office, President Reagan never did this to President Carter, despite having plenty of reason to. President Bush never did this, despite President Clinton fiddling for eight years while Rome burned (ie, Al Qaeda turning itself into an effective international terrorist organization with the means to attack the United States, while Bill Clinton ignored it).

Yesterday, however, this criticism turned from infantile behavior to factually incorrect. During his meeting with Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, President Obama said "What we've seen over the last several year is drift in the US - Russian relationship". The President said this as if the United States and Russia were equally at fault for this "drift".
The facts simply don't support this analysis. It was Russia that invaded a pro-Western democracy. At first, candidate Obama refused to condemn the Russian aggression against its democratic neighbor. It was candidate Obama who draw a moral equivalency between Russian behavior and Georgian behavior. Mr. Obama only became critical of the Russian actions after Sen. McCain made it known that he condemned the Russian invasion.

Next, it was Russia that spent the past two years threatening to cut off the natural gas supplies of its neighbors and our European allies. At a time of increasing energy uncertainty, it does not seem that such threats would have a calming affect on international relations.
Then, this past February, it was Russia that paid a two billion dollar bribe to the government of Kyrgyzstan in order for that government to deny our military the continued use of their airbase at Manas. The denial of the use of this base will significantly hamper our war effort in Afghanistan. This base was critical to our resupply of our troops in Afghanistan.

Of course, it is Russia that refuses to help us with our efforts to end the Iranian nuclear program. In fact,they have been doing just the opposite - helping Iran with its nuclear program. The Russians had been assisting the Iranians with the construction of a now completed, Russian designed, nuclear reactor.

Also, it is Russia that has increased its military activities. The Russians sent war ships to make nice with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The Russians threatened to deploy missiles within range of our NATO allies

For the President to think that he can change Russian behavior by sending his Secretary of State to visit with Russian officials and present them with a prop "reset button" is nothing short of naive. It is not the actions of the United States that have been adrift. It is, one again, the behavior of our old Cold War foe that has caused the strain in our relationship. As the current steward of our history, it would behove Mr. Obama to understand it. Oh well, at least he didn't tell us that he looked into the eyes of Mr. Medvedev and saw his soul.


Anonymous said...

In 1983, Reagan blamed Carter for intelligence policies that led to 250 marines getting killed in Beirut. This after two years in office, not two months.


Anonymous said...

The Obama administration has certainly made it clear that it's foreign policy goal is for the US to be liked rather than safe. The security implications are frightening and his comments to Medvedev simply continue this abdication of responsibility.

Steven L. Baerson said...

Are you trying to excuse bad behavior with other bad behavior? If Reagan did that, it is unfortunate. However, he showed incredible grace when he sent President Carter to Germany as his official envoy to greet the newly freed hostages. That certainly is not playing the blame game.