To Russia With Love: Obama and the Ruskies

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To Russia With Love: Obama and the Ruskies

Pres­i­dent Obama’s dread­ful poli­cies toward Rus­sia allowed Vladimir Putin to regard the United States as an impo­tent power.

The mis­guided approach started at the begin­ning of Obama’s régime. For exam­ple, he sur­rep­ti­tiously sent a let­ter to the Rus­sians just after tak­ing office, offer­ing to can­cel plans to install a mis­sile defense site in Poland and cor­re­spond­ing radar in the Czech Republic.

Accord­ing to The National Review, these sys­tems would have pro­vided a layer of pro­tec­tion for the United States and its allies from Iran­ian long-​range mis­siles. All Rus­sia had to do for Obama to can­cel the plans was to agree to help pres­sure Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program.

This exchange started the road down the ill-​advised treaty with Iran and showed Rus­sia the weak­ness of Obama because he couldn’t force the Islamic Repub­lic to do his will.

The Obama admin­is­tra­tion ended up can­cel­ing the missile-​defense sys­tem, and the United States to this day remains ill-​equipped to com­bat Iran­ian bal­lis­tic missiles.

Obama also nego­ti­ated a new arms con­trol treaty with the Rus­sians even though Putin and the gang were vio­lat­ing the pre­vi­ous one. It took con­stant con­gres­sional pres­sure to get Obama to admit that Rus­sia had been dis­re­gard­ing the pre­vi­ous agree­ment since he took office.

Fast for­ward to Obama’s state­ment on an open micro­phone telling then – Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Dmitry Medvedev to pass along a mes­sage to then – Prime Min­is­ter Putin. “On all these issues, but par­tic­u­larly mis­sile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s impor­tant for him to give me space…. This is my last elec­tion. After my elec­tion, I have more flex­i­bil­ity,” Obama said.

In other words, Obama promised to do a lot more than any­one in the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion has.

Obama’s response to Russia’s inva­sion of Crimea in March 2014 and Moscow’s sub­se­quent sup­port of pro-​Russian rebels in east­ern Ukraine was eco­nomic sanc­tions. Although the mea­sures had an impact on the Russ­ian econ­omy, they were seen as woe­fully inadequate.

Finally, the United States has become so irrel­e­vant in Syria and Rus­sia so impor­tant that the Obama admin­is­tra­tion didn’t even get an invi­ta­tion to the last con­fer­ence to dis­cuss the civil war.

Only after all these signs of weak­ness did Russ­ian hack­ing occur. But it wasn’t just the DNC. Russ­ian enti­ties hacked pri­vate com­pa­nies, Nas­daq and banks, as well as gov­ern­ment agen­cies, includ­ing the State Depart­ment, the White House and the Pen­ta­gon. The Obama admin­is­tra­tion appar­ently was inca­pable of mount­ing any sig­nif­i­cant defense against the hacking.

An inves­ti­ga­tion into Obama’s dread­ful record of deal­ing with Rus­sia might be use­ful before look­ing at any­thing else.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_95816” align=“aligncenter” width=“150”] Christo­pher Harper teaches media law.[/caption]

President Obama’s dreadful policies toward Russia allowed Vladimir Putin to regard the United States as an impotent power.

The misguided approach started at the beginning of Obama’s regime. For example, he surreptitiously sent a letter to the Russians just after taking office, offering to cancel plans to install a missile defense site in Poland and corresponding radar in the Czech Republic.

According to The National Review, these systems would have provided a layer of protection for the United States and its allies from Iranian long-range missiles. All Russia had to do for Obama to cancel the plans was to agree to help pressure Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program.

This exchange started the road down the ill-advised treaty with Iran and showed Russia the weakness of Obama because he couldn’t force the Islamic Republic to do his will.

The Obama administration ended up canceling the missile-defense system, and the United States to this day remains ill-equipped to combat Iranian ballistic missiles.

Obama also negotiated a new arms control treaty with the Russians even though Putin and the gang were violating the previous one. It took constant congressional pressure to get Obama to admit that Russia had been disregarding the previous agreement since he took office.

Fast forward to Obama’s statement on an open microphone telling then–Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to pass along a message to then–Prime Minister Putin. “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space…. This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility,” Obama said.

In other words, Obama promised to do a lot more than anyone in the current administration has.

Obama’s response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in March 2014 and Moscow’s subsequent support of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine was economic sanctions. Although the measures had an impact on the Russian economy, they were seen as woefully inadequate.

Finally, the United States has become so irrelevant in Syria and Russia so important that the Obama administration didn’t even get an invitation to the last conference to discuss the civil war.

Only after all these signs of weakness did Russian hacking occur. But it wasn’t just the DNC. Russian entities hacked private companies, Nasdaq and banks, as well as government agencies, including the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon. The Obama administration apparently was incapable of mounting any significant defense against the hacking.

An investigation into Obama’s dreadful record of dealing with Russia might be useful before looking at anything else.

 

Christopher Harper teaches media law.