Monday, July 06, 2009

Putin and Obama - Kindred Spirits?

Instead of keeping our enemies at bay Obama feels the need to rush forth and extend a hand to all kinds of dictators and power lusters. Take the example of what the leader of the free is doing in Honduras. Demanding that elections be honored for man that is a Chavez puppet! Now Obama travels to Russia to meet with another thug - Putin - calling for a "reset" in U.S. - Russian relations. What does that mean? That we should embrace any strongman out there? The way to fight FOR FREEDOM is to deter AGAINST power lusters and the foes of freedom. Or does Obama feel he is meeting with a kindred spirit? Hmmm - after what this President has done to our free market economy one wonders what side of the coin this man is on?

President Barack Obama arrives here today facing a dilemma of his own making. Having called for a "reset" in U.S.-Russian relations, the U.S. side is virtually obliged to make some new overtures. But Russia does not need to be engaged. It needs to be deterred.

The expectations that Mr. Obama has inspired are substantial. Both officials and ordinary citizens in Russia interpret the call for a reset as an admission of U.S. guilt for ignoring Russia's interests. Sergei Rybakov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, said that mutual trust was "lacking over the last several years." It was the task of the U.S. to show its good intentions with "concrete actions" because in Russia, the U.S. is "deeply distrusted."

Accepting the Russian view of reality on the issues that divide the U.S. and Russia, however, would be a grave mistake. Russia aspires to resurrect a version of the Soviet Union in which it projects power and dominates its neighbors. To encourage its ambitions in any way would be to undermine not only U.S. security but, in the long run, the security of Russia as well.

There are three important areas of conflict between the U.S. and Russia: NATO expansion, the U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe and the Russian human rights situation. In each case, any reset should be on the Russian side.

The most urgent issue may be NATO expansion. There are serious indications that Russia is preparing for a second invasion of Georgia. The first Georgian war was accompanied by a burst of patriotism in Russia but didn't achieve its strategic objectives. Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili remains in power and Georgia remains a supply corridor to the West for energy from Central Asia and the Caspian Sea. Many Russian leaders want to finish the job. At a televised forum in December, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was asked about press reports that he had told French president Nicolas Sarkozy that Mr. Saakashvili should be "hung by his ba**s." He replied, "Why only by one part?" (The President's Mission to Moscow by David Satter).

No comments: