EDITORIAL: Just say Nobama

EDITORIAL

Just say Nobama

Well, he’s only a month into his presidency but we have had just about all we can take from Barack Obama.  When the United Nations is a more staunch defender of American values in Russia than the President of the United States, something is very, very wrong.

Last week a group of UN delegates excoriated Russia for its barbaric litany of race murders and attacks on journalists.  Think Obama joined in the expression of justifiable outrage? Think again.

While Vladimir Putin was hosting moral American foe Cuba in Moscow and pressuring Kyrgyzstan to eject the U.S. from a NATO base on it soil, Obama was proclaiming his intention to slow down the installation of missile defense hardware in Eastern Europe and cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal by 80%.  The photograph of Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov grinning from ear to ear at the news which befouled the pages of the Telegraph was truly nauseating.  “We welcome the statements from the new Obama administration that they are ready to enter into talks and complete within a year, in this very confined timeframe, the signing of a new Russian-US treaty on the limitation of strategic attack weapons,” said Ivanov. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also playing phone footsie with the “Other Sergei,” her counterpart Mr. Lavrov, who expressed an equal amount of glee at the proceedings.

Well, as long as the Russians are happy with American foreign policy, what more can anyone ask for?

Let’s be clear: Ronald Reagan destroyed the USSR by forcing it into an arms race it could not compete in, and bankrupting it.  Now, Vladimir Putin wants to rebuild the USSR, and it seems Obama is hellbent on helping out any way he can, regardless of how many dark-skinned people may get lynched in Russia along the way.  The KGB regime of Vladimir Putin smells weakness in the newbie, and is using blitzkrieg tactics in an attempt to overswhelm and subdue him.

Mr. Obama stands on the precipice of history. It won’t take many more blunders to push him over the edge and down onto the craggy rocks where Jimmy Carter lies, torn asunder.

Perhaps Joe Biden, of all people, may save him. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Biden declared:  “We will not agree with Russia on everything.  For example, the United States will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. We will not recognize a sphere of influence. It will remain our view that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances.”  French President Nicolas Sarkozy backed him up: “Let’s be frank about it. There’s more and more distrust between the European Union and Russia.”

Go, Joe, go! And read up a little on Mr. Markelov.

22 responses to “EDITORIAL: Just say Nobama

  1. The Russians have to retire most of their nuclear weapons anyway – the post-Soviet were very badly maintained and there were few new ones in the meantime.

  2. I guess the one consolation is that he can’t possibly be worse on Russia than Bush, who ignored genocide in Chechnya and later, various other outrages in return for token suppport in the “war on terror”; repeatedly referred to Putin as a good man; and, of course, looked into Putin’s “soul” and liked what he saw. In merely committing the US to the pursuit of alternatives to fossil fuels and demanding fuel consumption standards in motor vehicles, Obama has already done more to weaken Russia than Bush ever did.

  3. Adrain, oil prices are the only thing weakening Russia. It’s the Europeans that need to wean off of Russian energy. We don’t get any from Russia.

    Bush/Rice blew it in not consistently and loudly criticizing Russia’s human rights abuses. Remember, high oil prices looked like they were going to filled Putin’s coffers for years when Bush was dealing with them.

    Obama has lots of leverage now with oil prices depressed. He’s a fool if he doesn’t use it and soon. And, that is going to require leaning heavily on the EU to get off their butts and take responsibility for their funding Putin over the year. They are the fly in the ointment.

  4. penny, I am counting much more on Merkel and Sarcozy on pressuring Putin than I would count on Obama. LR stated the reasons; but it’s also Obama’s confidence that he can negotiate anything with anybody. Russia (as well as Iran) will gladly indulge Obama into such negotiations – for four years if necessary!

    Europeans looked into steely Putin’s eye this winter and saw the same letters that McCain saw: K, G, and B. Plus, I trust Merkel to intuitively know what to expect from Russia – along with other new democracies of Eastern Europe.

  5. The Russians agreed to put the Iskanders on hold in Kaliningrad in exchange for us putting the missile shield on hold. In otherwords, the Russians withdrew an idle threat in exchange for us withdrawing an idle threat. The “missile shield” is and always has been a stupid useless waste of money on a technology that does not and never will work.

    As for the UN, the U.S. never joined the UN Human Rights Council when it was formed in 2006. The U.S. did have observer status until the Bush administration withdrew it last year. The U.S. therefore can’t comment in an official way on what the commission says. Doing so would require a change in the U.S. relationship with the Council.

    As the article makes clear, it’s a joke body anyways. African countries that are close to Russia keep their mouths shut. You can be sure most won’t say anything about Zimbabwe.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    You’re off base in a couple of places.

    First, this post doesn’t say, and it hasn’t been reported, that Obama has backed off missile defense. Biden’s statements in Munich have been interpreted to the contrary. This post is talking about nuclear disarmanent, another question. Missile defense is still in play.

    Second, it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference whether missile defense is functional or not. What matters is that Russia must respond, just as it had to respond to star wars, and it can’t afford to. A new arms race will bankrupt Russia without a shot being fired just as it did the USSR. Do you prefer a shooting war?

    Third, what you say sound remarkably like the way JFK was duped into pulling missiles out of Turkey by being threatened in Cuba. If Russia had announced the Kaliningrad missiles first, then what you say might make vague sense. As it is, you’re describing a Russian victory and you seem to be happy about it. That’s disappointing.

  6. Penny – you are correct in that the US consumes very little in terms of Russian energy supplies, but we are still the 400 pound gorilla in the room, and therefore our economic actions in terms of consumption will make a difference. We consume the most oil, so if our consumption goes down, the price will go down with it (and so it did when OUR economy crashed.) China can pick up some of the slack, but then again, we can do something about that – stop buying Chinese goods. The crash has effectively made us do that as well, and now China’s losing 10 million jobs a month.

    Frankly, I think our main foreign policy objective should be to drive the price of oil down to $14 a barrel and keep it there. With the exception of Mugabe, the individuals who constantly cause the US the most problems are able to do so through oil revenues. If we were smart, every cent of the stimulus would go to giving people free rooftop solar panels (did you hear that there’s a plant in Nevada that now produces solar at a price parity with fossil fuels?) and free hybrids to replace their current clunkers (we could then export the cars replaced at a profit to Vladivostok – they love foreign cars there!) Maybe some to build wind and nuclear plants too. And some LNG terminals or a Trans-Saharan pipeline for the Europeans, although part of me feels that they deserve exactly what they’re getting for allowing themselves to fall into the gas monopoly in th efirst place.

    Of course if we were really smart, we’d realize that the stimulus is only going to prolong the recession…

  7. Scott, I agree with you about the US effect on oil prices globally. One caveat though, alternative energy which is really on the margins aren’t going to make us energy independent. Solar and wind are only applicable to a small amount of our geography. Nuclear, you bet, we need more.

    The EU no matter what our effect on ME oil prices is still dependent on Putin. They need to change wise up.

    Felix, in my opinion Obama is Jimmy Carter all over again.

  8. Russia supplies only around 20% of European gas, thats far from a monopoly.

    If Russia really wanted to play politics with energy then it could start selling gas to Europe in the Euro. France at least would be more than willing. Of course moving all finances to European banks first and we will watch the dollor and debt ridden US economy collapse totally. Its in Europes interests to build allies with Europeans, including the Russians putting Europes interests first and reduce any influence the US has.

  9. “Its in Europes interests to build allies with Europeans, including the Russians putting Europes interests first and reduce any influence the US has.”

    US is more European country than Russia.
    US is built by European emigrants. East Slavs were Europeans in Kyiv Russia and Novgorod Republic times, but here came Mongols, which changed Russian mentality, infecting them with cruelty. It’s authoritarian empire from the past, not European state of XXI century.

  10. While Europe as a whole imports about 25% of its gas and oil from Russia, Germany imports about 40% and for many nations in Eastern Europe, the magic number is indeed 100%. Call it a monopoly or not, when Russia shuts off the gas, Europe as a whole shuts off – if there is one fact that the Ukraine-Russia “gas war” proved, it was that. Another fact to consider is that when Europe does have to get tough with Russia, it is usually Britain or France doing the tough talking because they’re the ones that have other options (North Sea deposits in the case of the former, nuclear for the latter.) Germany, usually the leader in these kinds of things, has to stand back because they know how vulnerable they are energy-wise.

    Russia takes dollars for its oil because dollars, even in the crash times, are a worthwhile currency to have. In fact, Russia keeps a combination of Euros and Dollars precisely to weather fluctuations between the two.

  11. I’ve been hearing the idea of solar and wind plant for years , but nothing has materialized over the year…Does anyone knows why we arent putting those stuff on the fast track.

    The only way to stop Russia is through oil.

    U.S needs to take small steps…Right now , all the winds and solar-flair seems to be in the west/mid-west , but the northeast regions consumes most of the oil.

    U.S should first concentrate on getting about 25% of the midwest/west on solar/wind power.

    Then work from there…

    From what im hearing , there’s not enough wind or solar flair in the northeast…..and the technology is not there yet to contain , save and tranfer solar/wind power to other regions where they could use.

    They need to speed up this process and fund the scientist to get it done.

  12. Blaze, here’s an excellent discussion on why mass adaptation of alternatives aren’t going to be that useful:

    http://chizumatic.mee.nu/ghosts_of_my_past

    den Beste has retired his original excellent blog. He’s a physicist and always very thought provoking. The comments are worth reading too.

  13. Blaze,
    For the most part, the wind and solar idea’s are a pipe dream. We have hundred’s of wind mills going up in the northern plains, but it takes hundred’s of wind mills to replace one coal fired plant. As for solar, about the only place for them is the desert southwest, solar panels are not very efficient, and take up lots of space. If we are going to get off oil, we’ll need a lot more than wind and solar. How about Nuclear? The enviro nuts have killed that in the U.S. and it’s a shame. Also, wind and solar does not address our transportation needs, which is where most of our oil is used. Wind only works when the wind blows, and solar only works when the sun is shining, neither are constant.

  14. “While Europe as a whole imports about 25% of its gas and oil from Russia, Germany imports about 40% and for many nations in Eastern Europe, the magic number is indeed 100%. Call it a monopoly or not, when Russia shuts off the gas, Europe as a whole shuts off”

    This is a myth based on propaganda. Only eastern European countries are truly dependant on Russia or Russian supplied gas. Algeria, Eygpt Norway and even Holland etc are all capable of supplying Europe with gas. Russia as off yet is unable to grow its gas transits Europe even if it wanted too even as gas demand in Europe grows.

    http://www.energypolicyblog.com/?p=293

    “Russia takes dollars for its oil because dollars, even in the crash times, are a worthwhile currency to have.”

    Again not totally true. The dollar is considered the central international reserve currency and the Euro is a competative currency. Europe trading in dollars is not good for Europeans.

    As for the US, the largest supplier off US oil is OPEC of which Russia is not part. The single largest country who supplies the US is canada. What leds me to believe this is unlikely is the close ties US politicans and lobby groups have with large oil companies. You could also argue that a reduction in oil and gas to other sources of energy would hurt the US economy. The US dollar has a large dependency on the oil and gas industry.

    to see how a large country can swith to alternative fuels just look at Brazil where the conversion to E20, E22, E25 and now E100 in flexifuel cars have turned Brazil into a net exporter of oil. This plan would be perfect for the US which has large spans of open farmland giving the already struggling farmers alternative income instead of the rich oil kings in the middle east. I also believe in the US for US citizens.

    “US is more European country than Russia.
    US is built by European emigrants. East Slavs were Europeans in Kyiv Russia and Novgorod Republic times, but here came Mongols, which changed Russian mentality, infecting them with cruelty. It’s authoritarian empire from the past, not European state of XXI century.”

    I laughed when I read this. Blaming the mongols for the Russian empire. Maybe you should look at the cruelty of all European empires and imperialists. Britian, Spain, Germany etc.

  15. US Foreign Policy is in a mess. Russians smell blood in the water. What is Biden doing spewing US foreign policy initiatives in Munich? I thought that was Hillary’s job. Biden said he’d take a backseat because he didn’t want to be like Cheney. He’s flying all around the world making an ass of himself.

    In the Middle East, Mitchell is leading the peace talks. Again, where is Hillary?

    I never saw Condi Rice upstaged like this. This is just more evidence that Obama does not have control on things. That means he can’t control his message. Get in for a wild ride.

  16. Well John, Britain has pretty good relationships with the majority of its former imperial possesions, such as India, Pakistan, South Africa, the carribbean states, Canada, NZ, Australia, hell even the USA. Compare this to Russia’s relationships with its former (and current) imperial posessions, and you might see a bit of a difference. The simple fact of the matter is that the Golden Horde had a huge effect on the psychology of the Russian people, particularly their leaders. The Russians only respect two things, power, and force.

  17. Kolchak, agree. The Obama administration needs to organize themselves and shut their mouths until they have a foreign policy plan in place with the State Department controlling it. Are they getting ready to throw Eastern Europe under the bus?:

    http://www.transatlanticpolitics.com/2009/02/09/biden-resets-russia-button-bad-news-for-eastern-europeans/

    Are they throwing Hillary under the bus?

  18. “Britain has pretty good relationships with the majority of its former imperial possesions, such as India, Pakistan, South Africa, the carribbean states, Canada, NZ, Australia, hell even the USA.”

    It always makes me laugh when the British claim this. For example maybe you should ask the native Americans or Aborigines how good their relationship with Britian is. Or maybe ask the Pakistanis jumping over into Afghanistan to blow up British troops about their special relationship.

    As for Russia it too is on good terms no only with most of its former soviet states but is held in high opinion by the public in most of those states. Especially in central asia. Infact the only former soviet states not in good terms with Russia are in eastern europe.

  19. John Evans

    “It always makes me laugh when the British claim this. For example maybe you should ask the native Americans or Aborigines how good their relationship with Britian is.”

    Actually the American Indians mostly fought on the British side during the American Revolution. I also remember one episode many years later: when the US Army defeated the Lakota, some of them fled to Canada.

    Also I’m pretty sure the Aborigines have grievances against Britain AND Australia.

  20. John,
    I am from New Zealand, so I can tell you the poms get on pretty well with the Maori, and also the Aboriginies. Most indigenous groups in former British colonies look to the Crown for protection of their rights under the treaties that were signed (such as the treaty of Waitangi in the case of New Zealand) against the settlers.
    Native americans were treated MUCH better in Canada than in the US, in NZ & Australia the colonists were the ones doing the nasty on the natives, mostly after they got “Internal self government” from Britain. In the case of New Zealand the land wars were quickly terminated when HM Govt withdrew the Imperial troops from the country in protest that they were being used by the local colonial government for what amounted to a land grab against Maori. It was the same in Australia.

    In the case of Pakistan, they also blow up their own government in case you hadn’t noticed. Despite this many Pakistanis travel to work and live in the UK, and the British tourism (both by british born Pakistani’s and European Brits) to Pakistan and India is very large, and there are close cultural ties between the two states. Please do some research on this matter. Of course there are grievances, there always are in any relationship between peoples no matter how good, but in general the relationships are good.

    You can find people from all over the subcontinent all through the British Commonwealth, and we are just as multicultural as the US, with (except for South Africa, I blame the Dutch) a much better record of race relations than either Russia or the USA.

    Russia is NOT on good terms with most of the former Soviet states. Russia has used its invasion of Georgia to send a very clear intimidatory message to former soviet republics.
    Having visited several of these Republics, I can tell you that people there despise the Russians, particularly in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan & Khazakstan. If you consider being on good terms the fact that Russia forments separatisim in, engages in the deliberate destabilisation of, props up the dictatorial governments of some of them, and generally tries to opress the former soviet republics as “being on good terms” then you are pretty sick.

  21. Ah, reliable sources. Where can I sign up for “the Holy Crusade against these devil’s servants”?

    Btw, I thought aim.org was of American Indian Movement and now I’m disappointed.

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