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Tags: Vladimir Putin

Administration Sources to John Kerry:
Give It Up, Man.



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From the final Morning Jolt of the week:

Administration Sources to John Kerry: Give It Up, Man.

When something like this ends up on the front page of the Washington Post, it’s a sign somebody is trying to send a signal to our secretary of state:

When his aides get discouraged about the prospects for Middle East peace, Secretary of State John F. Kerry often bucks them up with a phrase: “Don’t be afraid to be caught trying.”

But as his tireless efforts to broker Israeli-Palestinian negotiations hit bottom Thursday, with Israel’s cancellation of prisoner releases that were considered crucial to keeping the talks alive, there are some around Kerry — including on his senior staff and inside the White House — who believe the time is approaching for him to say, “Enough.”

Kerry risks being seen as trying too hard at the expense of a range of other pressing international issues, and perhaps even his reputation, according to several senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity about sensitive internal and diplomatic matters.

“A point will come where he has to go out and own the failure,” an official said. For now, the official said, Kerry needs to “lower the volume and see how things unfold.”

As I noted, we somehow reached a point in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations where we, the United States, needed to make concessions just to keep them talking. Many have argued, accurately, that no peace deal will ever work if we want it to succeed more than the Israelis and Palestinians do. The primary stumbling block to a negotiated settlement is that a big chunk of the Palestinian population wants Israel to cease to exist, and the Israelis, unsurprisingly, refuse to go along with that. Yes, the Israelis periodically build settlements in places that the Palestinians don’t like, and that always turns into the Middle East version of kicking a hornet’s nest.

Jeffrey Goldberg offers a very kind and generous interpretation of Kerry’s entire grandiose, quixotic effort:

President Barack Obama’s administration, and specifically its secretary of state, deserve credit for maintaining the belief — in a very American, very solutionist sort of way — that the application of logic and good sense and creative thinking could bring about, over time, a two-state solution to the 100-year Arab-Jewish war . . . 

This week, we saw the administration float the idea of releasing Jonathan Pollard, the ex-U.S. Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel, in exchange for some Israeli movement on the peace process. As I wrote on Monday, this was both a dubious idea generally and extremely unlikely to bring about advances in negotiations. If anything, it was a sign of desperation. As Andrew Exum and others have noted, why would the mediator in a dispute make concessions to one of the parties seeking mediation? It’s up to the parties to make concessions to each other. Obama has argued that the U.S. can’t want a peaceful compromise between Israelis and Palestinians more than the parties want it themselves. The Pollard balloon (now punctured, presumably) suggests Kerry wants a negotiated settlement just a bit too much.

Goldberg concludes by asking, “really, how can we blame a man for seeking peace?”

American foreign policy can’t just be based upon noble goals — or idealistic visions, grand dreams, noble ambitions, utopian goals and a serious lust for a Nobel Peace Prize. A secretary of state has to have some judgment on what’s possible, a realistic sense of what our allies, enemies, and states in between want, what they’re willing to accept, and what they’re willing to kill and die for.

To use an example our friends on the Left will appreciate, the Bush administration had very noble goals when it went into Iraq. It had an inspiring vision of a free, democratic, pluralistic, modernized Arab state in the middle of a turbulent region, at peace with its neighbors and providing a role model for the rest of the region. Obviously, things didn’t turn out the way we hoped. Very bright people in the Bush administration misjudged how the various factions within Iraq would respond to life without the brutality of Saddam Hussein.

Foreign leaders’ worldviews, philosophies, perspectives and desires matter a lot.

Which is why it’s a little unnerving to hear President Obama say something like this:

With respect to President Putin’s motivation, I think there’s been a lot of speculation. I’m less interested in motivation and more interested in the facts and the principles that not only the United States but the entire international community are looking to uphold.

If we knew and understood his motivation — perhaps to reverse the humiliation of losing the Cold War, and leave a world-altering legacy of a restored de facto Russian empire, with satellite or client states all over Eastern Europe? — it would be easier to deter him and predict his next moves, wouldn’t it?

Ron Fournier:

Taken at face value, it’s a disturbing response from a world leader who should lie awake at night concerned about the motivation of U.S. adversaries, whose first meeting of every day involves an intelligence briefing on the motivations of global actors . . . 

I take him at his word: He doesn’t care.

First, his handling of leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, China and most recently Russia exposes a lack of empathy and sophistication…

. . . Caring little about the motivation of his rivals seems to be a trait of Obama’s leadership that has hurt him in Congress, where the opposition party is stubbornly opposed to his agenda . . . 

Putin knows his enemies. Obama dismisses his.

A painfully accurate assessment there, that almost everyone in the administration will tune out.

Tags: John Kerry , Barack Obama , Israel , Russia , Vladimir Putin

Why Russia’s Recent Aggression Really Is Our Problem



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The Thursday Morning Jolt features all kinds of ominous news in Eastern Europe, Rand Paul getting a warm reception before an unexpected audience, and then this:

Why Is This Our Problem?

I’m going to take the isolationists and noninterventionists seriously. They ask, why is this our problem? Over at the Washington Post, Georgetown’s Erik Voeten writes:

There is no reason to think that existing borders are somehow morally the right ones or that they are socially or economically efficient…

Who is to say that the people of a small Central American country are necessarily better off with the United States constantly mingling in their affairs than they would have been if the United States had annexed the territory? Or indeed, if the people of Crimea are worse off if they join Russia than they would be with their powerful neighbor constantly prying into their affairs? (Although we would certainly prefer if they could express this themselves in a fair way). It is not right to pretend that an absence of annexation equals an absence of great power interference.

We don’t actually care about the particulars of the borders of foreign states. We’re perfectly fine with two states redrawing the lines of their borders, provided they do it in a manner acceptable to both parties. Russia and Estonia actually recently worked out some disputes about their border at the negotiating table. Nobody in the American government really cared. We don’t care about where the borders are, but we sure as heck care about how the disputes get resolved.

There’s an argument to be made that America has no national interest in whose flag flies over the Crimean peninsula. There’s also an argument to be made that because Ukraine’s government since the end of the Cold War has alternated between corrupt, incompetent pro-Western leaders and corrupt, incompetent pro-Russian leaders, we don’t have a terribly compelling interest in who’s running the show in Kiev.

But we sure as heck have a compelling interest in the behavior of Russia. And when somebody sends over a whole bunch of troops and weapons, with or without masks, claims that territory for themselves and then more or less dares the opposing country to do something about it, that interest ratchets up dramatically. This is how wars start.

Joshua Keating:

In an ideal world, governments might be more open to negotiating border changes along more rational lines, but in the actually existing world, such changes more often than not involve creating disenfranchised minorities (the Ukrainians and Tatars who woke up in a foreign country today) or in the worst cases, war and ethnic cleansing.

Defending the territorial integrity of states as they currently exist may involve a good deal of hypocrisy, but for the most part, governments and international institutions embrace that hypocrisy because the alternative is seen as far worse.

This morning, Senator Marco Rubio pens an op-ed in the Washington Post:

Some have suggested that Crimea is not worth triggering tensions with Russia, given other interests that are more important. While it is best to avoid conflict whenever possible, history shows that illegitimate aggressions that go unchallenged are a virtual guarantee of even more dangerous conflict in the future.

I welcome the fact that Vice President Biden is in the region this week to bring a message of reassurance to our allies and partners. I hope those assurances include a specific and clear response to requests by Georgia and Ukraine for lethal military support from the United States. It is shameful that even as Russia attempts to carve up Ukrainian territory, Ukraine’s request for weapons, intelligence sharing and other assistance has been turned down by the Obama administration.

Of course, most of our serious options remain unused — dramatically expanding our natural-gas and oil exports to Europe, deploying more U.S. naval assets, rescinding the announced Pentagon cuts, shutting down the Russian mission to NATO in Brussels, commencing military exercises with all of our NATO allies, redeploying missile defense interceptors in Europe . . . 

What kind of weapons would be most useful to the Ukrainians and our unnerved Eastern European allies? Anti-tank weapons? Sniper rifles? (Sure would be nice to have some land mines right about now, don’t you think?)

Right now the Air Force’s entire fleet of 350 A-10s is slated be retired in order to save $3.5 billion over five years (some argue the F-35 isn’t an adequate replacement). The Canadians are already talking about buying some of ours. Why not offer them to our Eastern European allies at fire-sale prices?

Any plane that’s good enough against SkyNet is good enough to deter the Red Army.

Tags: Russia , Ukraine , Crimea , Vladimir Putin , Marco Rubio

Putin Redraws Russian Borders; Obama Unveils Bracket Picks



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Perhaps Obama Will Play the Fiddle at Tonight’s Democratic Fundraisers

Today’s Headlines, from Moscow . . . 

In a gilded Kremlin hall used by czars, Vladimir Putin redrew Russia’s borders Tuesday by declaring the Crimean Peninsula part of the motherland — provoking a surge of emotion among Russians who lament the loss of empire and denunciations from Western leaders who called Putin a threat to the world.

From Kiev:

Ukrainians, however, were convinced from Putin’s speech to the Russian Duma that the conflict could not remain cold. Many said they found some of Putin’s phrasing chilling, including his statement that “We’re one nation. Kiev is the mother of all Russian cities.”

They also noted that his proclamation of respect for Ukrainian territorial integrity rings hollow when he has already invaded and taken control of one region, and has an estimated 60,000 troops massing at the shared border.

Vitali Klitschko, the former world heavyweight champion and a leading member of Ukraine’s Parliament, underscored what many Ukrainians are thinking when he addressed the Russian threat, pointedly using the words “when the Russians invade” instead of “if.”

From Simferopol:

A member of a pro-Russian militia group is reported to have been killed in the same gun battle that claimed the life of the Ukrainian soldier earlier. There’s some confusion over how the militia man died and it seems that he may have been killed by his own side rather than shot by resisting Ukrainian forces.

From Sevastopol, an old woman in a pro-Russian crowd, lovingly holding an image of Joseph Stalin:

And from Washington:

President Obama stumps for a minimum wage hike Wednesday by appealing to specific television markets.

The president sits for interviews with stations based in New England, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dallas, Phoenix, and San Diego.

He has asked Congress to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.

Also on Wednesday, Obama will host the screening of a new film about Cesar Chavez, the farm worker who campaigned for labor rights.

Just in case you thought this was a productive use of his time, “The odds that Congress will pass an increase in the U.S. minimum wage before the November elections are so low that even the nation’s lobbyists are largely ignoring it.”

That’s not all Obama has going on today: “President Barack Obama, the nation’s No. 1 college basketball fan, is going to make his picks public on Wednesday.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Ukraine , Vladimir Putin , Crimea

After Denouncing Putin in Classroom, Obama Heads to Fundraisers



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The following is from ABC News… and seems like the sort of thing the media might have given the White House a pass over, a few years ago:

This is awful, awful advance work on the part of the White House. And the contrast with Vladimir Putin today is… not good.

Tonight the president will attend a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in McLean, Virginia. 

Then tomorrow, “President Barack Obama will fly to Boston Wednesday to take part in a series of fundraising events.”

 

Tags: Barack Obama , Vladimir Putin , DSCC

No One Could Have Predicted This! Except Tom Clancy Did.



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From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

The Chaos in Crimea Continues

Hey, guess what Barack Obama was doing back in August of 2005, as Larry O’Connor discovered?

DONETSK, Ukraine – U.S. Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Barack Obama (D-IL) called for the immediate destruction of 15,000 tons of ammunition, 400,000 small arms and light weapons, and 1,000 man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) or shoulder missile launchers that are often sought by terrorists. 

Lugar and Obama toured the Donetsk State Chemical Production Plant, a conventional weapons destruction facility where the U.S. has taken the lead in a three-year NATO program to destroy the weapons. Another 117,000 tons of ammunition and 1.1 million small arms and light weapons are slated for destruction within 12 years. 

Heck, it’s not like Ukraine will need lots of weapons in the next decade, right?

Fast forward nine years…

CNN: “Turning to the troop buildup in the Russian-dominated autonomous region of Crimea, Putin said Ukraine is a brotherly neighbor of Russia — and that the troops there have much in common. He also said Russian forces have not fired a shot since they crossed into Crimea.”

And here’s video of Russian troops firing shots over the head of marching Ukranian Air Force airmen.

Raise your hands if you foresaw Zbigniew Brzezinski calling for deployment of U.S. airborne troops to NATO bases near Ukraine:

Russia’s unilateral and menacing acts mean the West should promptly recognize the current government of Ukraine as legitimate. Uncertainty regarding its legal status could tempt Putin to repeat his Crimean charade. Second, the West should convey — privately at this stage, so as not to humiliate Russia — that the Ukrainian army can count on immediate and direct Western aid so as to enhance its defensive capabilities. There should be no doubt left in Putin’s mind that an attack on Ukraine would precipitate a prolonged and costly engagement, and Ukrainians should not fear that they would be left in the lurch.

Meanwhile, NATO forces, consistent with the organization’s contingency planning, should be put on alert. High readiness for some immediate airlift to Europe of U.S. airborne units would be politically and militarily meaningful. If the West wants to avoid a conflict, there should be no ambiguity in the Kremlin as to what might be preciptated by further adventurist use of force in the middle of Europe.

NATO member countries that border Ukraine are Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Turkey’s on the other side of the Black Sea.

Did you catch this headline from Time magazine’s correspondent in Kiev a week ago? “No, Russia Will Not Intervene in Ukraine.” 

…Meanwhile, Morning Jolt reader Doug points out that no one could have predicted Russia’s move on Ukraine… except Tom Clancy, who died in October:

The last Tom Clancy book, Command Authority, published last year, is all about Russian aggression against its former satellites. Dialogue on p. 70:

Golovko added, “Volodin has his eyes on the Crimea, in Southern Ukraine, and he knows once Ukraine joins NATO, that will be difficult for him to achieve.  The way he sees it, he has to move soon.”

Ryan said, “He is right that there is no treaty between Ukraine and NATO.  And if he does invade, getting Europe on board to fight for the Crimea is a nonstarter.” 

It’s like he’s psychic. The only good news in this revelation is that if Clancy’s right about this, it means he’s right about everything else, and that means the U.S. Navy got their hands on a Russian submarine with a caterpillar drive back in 1984.

UPDATE: Separately from Clancy’s last novel, the author lent his name to a line of computer games. The first Ghost Recon game depicted U.S. special forces secretly going into T’bilisi, Georgia to deal with Russian invasion forces backed by ultra-nationalist hard-liners. The “future date” of the 2001 game was… April 2008. In real life, Russian forces crossed into Georgia a few months later. Ghost Recon also featured Russia taking over… Ukraine. The trailer is below:  

 

Tags: Ukraine , Crimea , Barack Obama , Vladimir Putin , Russia

Relax, Everybody! Obama, Kerry, Putin, and Assad Say Syria’s Fixed!



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The first Morning Jolt of the week features revelations that the U.S. State Department’s management is even worse than you thought, some questions on who really is influential on the right, criticism of Michelle Obama’s “Drink water!” plan, and, of course, Syria:

Relax, Everybody! Obama, Kerry, Putin, and Assad Say Syria’s Fixed!

Today and in the coming days, we’ll see President Obama and his surrogates insisting that the deal on Syria represents one of the greatest foreign-policy accomplishments of his presidency.

And they’re right — but not in the way that they think. In terms of policy, it’s a disaster. Assad is left unpunished, other than turning over weapons he wasn’t supposed to be able to have anyway. His cooperation is not guaranteed, and is in fact unlikely. Assad has gone from comparable to Hitler a few days ago to the only guy who can ensure the chemical weapons get turned over.

But the American people — left, right, and center — spoke clearly on Syria: “We don’t care what happens over there, just don’t get us sucked into another war in the Middle East.” And by acquiescing to a Russian plan designed to fail, Obama avoided war. So politically — really, the only measurement that matters to this administration — he wins. Considering how disastrous the military option appeared, maybe that really is the better choice.

Jeffrey Goldberg, over at Bloomberg:

. . . this limited Western victory might feel like a moral and strategic defeat, for two reasons.

One: Our allies across the Middle East, having seen the U.S. promise to help remove Assad and then not follow through, will further doubt American steadfastness and friendship and will reorient their policies accordingly, with some adverse consequences for the U.S.

Two: This plan probably won’t work. Assad is a lying, murdering terrorist, and lying, murdering terrorists aren’t, generally speaking, reliable partners, except for other lying, murdering terrorists. In any case, disarmament experts say that this process, properly carried out, would take years and years to accomplish, but of course they really don’t know how long this might take because no one has ever tried to locate and secure hundreds of tons of chemical weapons on an active battlefield, particularly one in which Hezbollah and al-Qaeda are vying for supremacy.

But for now, the president has underscored the international norm governing the use of chemical weapons, and he has done what the American people say they wanted — staying out of the conflict. He may not be a clear winner in this drama, like Assad and Putin are, but compared to Congress — in particular its reflexively isolationist, self-destructive Republican caucus — he looks like Churchill.

Sen. John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, points out an inconvenient fact for the Obama administration’s victory lap:

Moscow is not even complying with a commitment to eliminate its own chemical weapons. A State Department assessment in January reported that Russia has provided an “incomplete” list of its chemical agents and weapons to be destroyed. It has also missed deadlines to convert former chemical-weapon production plants. Why would we expect Moscow to help enforce similar restrictions against Syria? . . . 

Based on the experience of the past four years, the Russians, like the Iranians, are well aware that pretending to go along can buy time until the Obama administration becomes distracted with another issue. The U.S. should be prepared for the diplomatic effort on Syria to fall flat and have more effective alternatives ready.

Here’s how the plan is playing on the ground:

Air strikes, shelling and infantry attacks on suburbs of Damascus through yesterday morning offered evidence in support of opinions from both Assad’s Syrian opponents and supporters that he is again taking the fight to rebels after a lull following the August 21 gas attack that provoked the threat of US action.

“It’s a clever proposal from Russia to prevent the attacks,” one Assad supporter said from the port of Tartous, site of a Russian naval base. “Russia will give us new weapons that are better than chemical weapons,” he added. “We are strong enough to save our power and fight the terrorists.”

Rebel fighters have expressed disdain for US President Barack Obama after he backed away from striking over alleged chemical weapons attacks, saying the world does not care about Syria.

“America told the world it would bomb Syria and then, when the time came, it got scared,” said Abdelqaderi Asasheh, operations chief of the Liwa Al Tawhid brigade in Aleppo.

Then again, just in case you’re feeling bad for the rebels . . . 

Al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists in Syria say they are targeting members of the Alawite community in the country, adding that they massacred dozens of Alawites in three Homs villages last week.

On Sunday, the terrorist group claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attacks in which at least 30 Alawites, including several women, children and elderly men, were shot dead in cold blood.

Syria went from a horrific bloodbath that didn’t interest the world, to a horrific bloodbath that included chemical weapons, to a horrific bloodbath that did interest the world . . . and it will soon go back to being a horrific bloodbath that doesn’t interest the world.

It’s like that old Arab proverb: “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.”

Tags: Syria , Barack Obama , Bashir Assad , John Kerry , Vladimir Putin

‘Obama Has Sided With Putin Against Congress.’



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How can Medvedev transmit that Obama will be “more flexible” after the election when the president is already doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding with Congress? Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl on the “Magnitsky bill” — a piece of legislation, authored by Democrats, that aims to restore human rights to the center of U.S.-Russian relations.

This sanction strikes at the heart of the web of corruption around Putin. Moscow’s bureaucratic mafiosi rely heavily on foreign bank accounts; they vacation in France, send their children to U.S. colleges and take refuge in London when they fall from Putin’s favor. The fear and loathing provoked in Moscow by the bill is encapsulated by item No. 3 on Putin’s new priority list: “Work actively on preventing unilateral extraterritorial sanctions by the U.S. against Russian legal entities and individuals.”

Incredibly, Obama has sided with Putin against Congress. His lobbyists have tried repeatedly to block the bill . . .

Hey, remember when everybody laughed at President Bush for claiming he looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his soul?

A naïve president is, indeed, quite troubling for our national security. But what do you call a president who goes into office knowing precisely what kind of leader Vladmir Putin is . . . and who is, to use the headline of Diehl’s column, “still sweet on Putin”?

Tags: Barack Obama , Vladimir Putin

Biden Transmits Our Good Relationship With Russians to NYU



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From Mike Allen’s morning newsletter:

Obama campaign releases excerpts of Vice President Biden foreign-policy speech, at New York University at 10:30 a.m., fifth in the V.P.’s series of speeches framing the race: ”If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it’s pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. . . . Governor Romney is counting on our collective amnesia. But Americans know that we cannot afford to go back to the future. Back to a foreign policy that would have America go it alone . . . and see the world through a Cold War prism that is totally out of touch with our times.”

Does the Obama camp really think that they can win votes against Romney by arguing he’ll be too tough with Putin?

Does the Obama camp really think the American people will be more reassured by the president who has “more flexible” plans for agreements with the Russians, that he can’t reveal until after he’s reelected?

Or is it that they can’t trust Biden with any message on other topics, so they hand him the relatively lower-profile U.S.-Russian relations?

Tags: Barack Obama , Joe Biden , Mitt Romney , Vladimir Putin

Democrats Approvingly Cite Medvedev to Bash Romney



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est assured, Americans! ussian President Dimitri Medvedev assures you have nothing to fear from Obama’s post-reelection flexibility, and you should ignore any carping from the capitalist running dog they call omney!

“I recommend that all US presidential candidates, including the candidate you mention (Romney), do at least two things,” Medvedev told Russian reporters on the sidelines of a nuclear security conference in Seoul.

“That they use their head and consult their reason when they formulate their positions, and that they check the time – it is now 2012, not the mid-1970s,” said the outgoing Russian president in comments broadcast on state television.

Medvedev said Romney’s quip “smelled of Hollywood” because it typecast Moscow as Washington’s main enemy from the Cold War era just like in the popular spy movie thrillers of the time.

“As for ideological cliches, I always get nervous when one side or the other starts using phrases such as ‘enemy number one’ and so on,” Medvedev said.

The Democrats are approvingly tweeting out Medvedev’s comments.

eject calls to feel wariness or skepticism about ussian leadership! emember you can trust the man Medvedev will transmit the message to!

Vladimir Putin, newly elected to a third presidential term (after an interval as prime minister), has made clear he believes Washington has him in its crosshairs.

“Nobody can impose their policy on us,” he proclaimed to a cheering crowd at his victory rally near the Kremlin. “Our people could recognize the provocation from those who want to destroy the country. The Orange scenario will never work here.”

Putin was referring to the 2004 Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, where street protests overturned a pro-Russian, antidemocratic president.

The Russian leader thinks the United States directed the Orange Revolution. He also thinks that Russians protesting rigged elections are paid by the United States.

eject anti-ussian propaganda coming from your own diplomatic corps!

 

In language candid and bald, the cables reveal an assessment of Mr. Putin’s Russia as highly centralized, occasionally brutal and all but irretrievably cynical and corrupt. The Kremlin, by this description, lies at the center of a constellation of official and quasi-official rackets.

Throughout the internal correspondence between the American Embassy and Washington, the American diplomats in Moscow painted a Russia in which public stewardship was barely tended to and history was distorted. The Kremlin displays scant ability or inclination to reform what one cable characterized as a “modern brand of authoritarianism” accepted with resignation by the ruled.

ecall how often and recently ussia’s leaders have made the world a safer, better place!

Mr. Putin, who won a six-year term on Sunday, had said Mrs. Clinton sent a “signal” to demonstrators to begin street actions in Moscow after Russian parliamentary elections in December that observers said were marred by voter fraud. More broadly, the Kremlin asserted a plot in which the United States was financing opposition groups as well as Golos, the only independent election-monitoring organization in Russia, which gathered evidence of irregularities.

In the months since, there have been sharp disagreements over how to handle the violence in Syria, including Russia’s joint veto with China of a Security Council resolution calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Mrs. Clinton recently called those vetoes, at a time when Syrian forces continued to shell civilian neighborhoods, “just despicable.”

emember, the preeminent goal of U.S. foreign policy is to find the flexibility to please the agenda of men like Putin and Medvedev!

Tags: Barack Obama , Dimitri Medvedev , Mitt Romney , Vladimir Putin

Obama to Putin: Wait Until After My Reelection!



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Vladimir Putin is getting assurances about policies to come in Obama’s second term. Are you?

In particular, President Obama appears to be assuring the Russians that if he is reelected, he may be more flexible in negotiating missile defense issues.

SEOUL, South Korea — At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.

The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

One message to the voters at home, an entirely different message to leaders abroad… from a president who declared in 2008 that his true rival in the presidential race was cynicism itself.

Tags: Barack Obama , Missile Defense , Vladimir Putin

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