Russia and the U.S. have two large, unresolved issues between them:
One is a U.S. missile defense system based in Europe that is for protection from Iran and any other rogue missile actors in the Mideast. Obama has already caved on that issue once. Although the Bush administration had gained permission from our allies in Eastern Europe to base the system in their territory, Obama, kowtowing to the Russians, scuttled that agreement just after taking office, though it now is back on the drawing board in light of his administration’s inability to stop the Iranian nuclear program despite his campaign boasts that he could do so by employing “vigorous diplomacy.”
The second issue is how to follow up the new START nuclear treaty with further arms reductions. But the Russians insist that the missile shield question be resolved first. The Russians are shrewd negotiators. They know that reducing nuclear arms is one of Obama’s highest priorities. They know he will “give away the store” on other issues in order to get his way on the one closest to his heart.
Indeed, the new START treaty already has slashed our strategic missile forces, even while allowing Russia to deploy more missiles. And Obama now wants to unilaterally cut our arsenal by a further 80 percent — even as Russia, China and lesser nuclear powers (such as Pakistan, North Korea and soon, Iran) are growing theirs. And even as he is purging Pentagon spending on conventional weaponry, like aircraft carriers and the F-22 and F-35 fighters.
And let’s not forget that earlier this month Obama announced he planned to give the Russians detailed technical info about the anti-missile system planned for Eastern Europe. He thinks that will quiet their objections. Fat chance.
And not only is he offering up such classified info, he’s not even asking for reciprocal sharing of such intelligence! Who’s to say that Putin or one of his Kremlin henchmen won’t just hand off that info to their friends in Iran or North Korea?
Obama faces the voters in November, but he implied to current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the summit that he was reasonably confident of being reelected, and indicated that missile defense and arms reduction should be put on the back burner until after the election.
Unaware that his words were being picked up on an open mike, Obama told Medvedev, “On these issues, particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him (incoming President Vladimir Putin) to give me space.”
“Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you,” said Medvedev, sounding like a “Seinfeld” character.
Later in the exchange, Obama said, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”
God forbid — a President Obama who would never again have to answer to voters.
It’s no wonder Putin and Medvedev smile when they see Obama coming. They know an easy mark when they see one.
Meanwhile, American voters should employ some of that “flexibility” Obama referenced and boot him out of the White House this fall.