Foreign and Defense Policy, Europe and Russia

So much for the Russian reset

Image Credit: White House Photographer Pete Souza, (Public Domain)

Image Credit: White House Photographer Pete Souza, (Public Domain)

Remember when Barack Obama came to office and immediately threw our allies Poland and the Czech Republic under the bus — cancelling our missile defense agreements with them in an effort to “reset” our relations with Russia?

How’s that reset working out for you, Mr. President?

Ok, maybe it was too much to ask for Russia to stop backing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as he slaughters tens of thousands, or to help put pressure on Iran to stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But surely our relations with Russia were “reset” enough that Vladimir Putin would not poke Obama in the eye by granting asylum to fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Apparently not.

So little respect does Putin have for President Obama, that his government did not so much as give the White House advance notice of the decision to give Snowden refugee status.

The White House is so angry that officials are reportedly considering cancelling a planned Moscow Summit with Putin later this year. That is probably making virtue out of necessity. In his June speech in Berlin, Obama made reaching a new agreement with Moscow on nuclear weapons reductions the centerpiece of his address. But there has been little or no progress on an agreement since then, and the odds of there being a treaty signing in Moscow were slim to none.

Now Obama can cancel the summit that was already a disaster in the making, and blame it all on Snowden.

Win-win.

The big test: will Snowden continue leaking from his Russian refuge? A few weeks ago, Putin declared, “If he wants to stay here there is one condition. He must cease his work aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, as strange as it may sound from my lips.”

But even if Snowden suspends his illegal revelations while in Moscow, one wonders what the price of his refugee status will be. It is unclear what Snowden has provided the FSB so far — knowingly or unknowingly, voluntarily or involuntarily. Suffice it to say that any communications Snowden has with journalists and his WikiLeaks handlers will be closely monitored.

Keeping Snowden in Russia is an intelligence bonanza for Russia — one that Putin clearly valued more than his relationship with Barack Obama.

2 thoughts on “So much for the Russian reset

  1. Putin is a political realist. Obama is a dreamer and wimp. Putin sees through Obama’s rhetoric and concludes Obama is nothing more than a gas-bag who really doesn’t believe in most of what he says are core beliefs since Obama isn’t grounded and has no spine. Consequently, Putin toys with Obama like a cat with a mouse. Further, Obama and his team are in over their heads and have no idea how to deal with someone like Putin who respects power, political shrewdness and a man who knows how the world really works. Putin may be perceived as a dictator; but Putin is everything Obama wishes he could be since Obama would like the level of unbridled power that Putin has. The difference however rests in the fact that Putin knows who he is, what he wants, and where he wants to take Russia going forward. Obama hasn’t a clue where he’s going and even if he did, doesn’t have the will or spine to get there. Our country is at great risk politically, economically, culturally and socially as long as Obama is President. Likewise, our country is at risk with low information voters who continue to elect someone with no work experience like Obama. Our media is also problematic since they are nothing less than Obama’s stenographer. We are going to continue to lose global power and standing as long as this President remains in office. God help us.

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