EDITORIAL: Obaby makes a Mess in Moscow

EDITORIAL

Obaby Makes a Mess in Moscow

No sooner had we come out in support of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Russia policy last week, based on his pronouncments setting the foundation for his first state visit to Russia, than he stabbed us in the back.  When we called upon him to carry his diplomacy into real policy initiatives, we never dreamed what we should have done is call upon him to carry his diplomatic rhetoric through to the end of his visit rather than suddenly reversing course and babbling like a goose.  A cowardly, benighted goose.

We hate when that happens.

No matter how you judge him, Obama failed miserably in his first Russian summit, which famously was supposed to “reset” relations with the KGB regime in the Kremlin.

If you think Obama was supposed to “reset” relations by making friends with the KGB regime of Vladimir Putin, he hardly did.  He offended his hosts by making in ill-advised joke about Alaska, he trash-talked Putin before arriving (making it seem as if he wanted to drive a wedge between Putin and his Medvedev sock puppet) and then  repeatedly couldn’t remember Putin’s job title after touching down.  And his speech to the nation, which was seen by few, was applauded by even fewer.  He spent most of his time holed up in his hotel room, offending his hosts who are proud (for lord knows what reason) of their culture and cuisine.

On the other hand, if you think Obama was supposed to achieve the “reset” by reversing the criminally irresponsible policies of the Bush administration, which ignored Russian rollbacks of human rights and democracy and even hosted an infamous war criminal in the White House, you were even more disappointed.  Sure, Obama made a few symbolic gestures like speaking to Novaya Gazeta and the opposition tandem of Nemtsov and Kasparov, but he did not say anything memorably about approving, much less helping, with their life-risking battle to preserve the last vestiges of civil society in Russia.  The Kremlin would have no reason to believe any serious policies could result from Obama’s rhetoric.

Writing on his blog, opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky has called for Obama to impose personal sanctions (for instance, travel bans) on those high-ranking Russian officials who have been most responsible for the rollback of democracy and the persecution of opposition leaders.   Kozlovsky is precisely correct.  And Obama could have offered to help leaders like Kozlovsly safeguard their lives and publish their views (Nemtsov’s brilliant white paper has been banned from Russian bookstores).  At the very least, he could have held a joint press conference with these leaders and praised their courage.  He did not of that, nor did he give any indication that he has any specific policy agenda in mind by which to stand up for American values in Russia.

To say the least, we’re disappointed.  Obama had lunch with Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister who is risking his life to defend democratic values, and he told him he could only speak for five minutes — the same time he gave Communist thug Gennady Zyuganov. That’s an insult, there’s no way around it, and Obama should be ashamed of himself.  We are disgusted.

But then, Barack Obama knows nothing about Russia other than what he is fed by his advisors, so this confused mess was only to be expected. He’s a babe in the woods where Russia, and indeed where foreign policy, is concerned. We gave him the benefit of the doubt, and we paid the price.  He  has some good advisors, like Michael McFaul, but he doesn’t seem to be listening to them very hard.  He appears to have gone out on his own while in Moscow in a very George-Bushlike manner, and failure was predictable after that point. He made a lasting relationship with neither the government nor the opposition, and that implies he will consent to a continuation of the status quo.

All we can do is take consolation from the fact that Obama’s first foray into Russia was less a disaster that that of George Bush, and hope that Obama is capable of learning from his ghastly miscues in terms of future policy.  Meanwhile, we intend to hold his feet to the fire of truth.

29 responses to “EDITORIAL: Obaby makes a Mess in Moscow

  1. Obama in Ghana:

    I’m speaking to you at the end of a long trip. I began in Russia for a summit between two great powers. I traveled to Italy for a meeting of the world’s leading economies. And I’ve come here to Ghana for a simple reason: The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra, as well.

    Putin’s goal was to make Russia a great power again. Reuben F. Johnson and Charles Krauthammer expressed their passionate opinions this week that Russia is no longer a great power – something La Russophobe agrees with. But Obama just confirmed the opposite.

    How do you feel? Bewildered?

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Betrayed.

    It’s doubtful, however, that anyone in Russia (or any Russophile) can take any solace from Obama’s (likely patronizing) diagnosis, since he also met with Garry Kasparov, someone the Kremlin considers a dangerous freak, something George Bush never did.

  2. So, just tallying it up:

    Obama to Putin: ““I am aware of not only the extraordinary work you have done on behalf of the Russian people in your previous role as prime minister — as president — but in your current role as prime minister”

    Obama referring to Putin:

    “He is clear about the interests of the Russian people, but he’s also interested in finding out what the interests of the United States are. And we have found I think an ability to work together extremely effective”

    Sarkozy to Putin at their first G8 encounter:

    “I am sure that the world needs Russia, and I’m not proposing a full-fledged cooperation without Russia! My heart is open, I understand what Russia has gone through”

    Sarkozy to Putin in his first trip to Moscow:

    “Of course, France understands Russia’s determination to return to the international scene and regain its position. Disagreeing with this would be senseless”

    Bush talking about Putin: he “loves his country as much as I love mine”

    So apparently this guy Putin is not the failure that the La Russophobe blog is making him out to be?

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Bush, though loving his country, made a rather big mess of things and had his party entirely booted out of power.

    As for Sarkozy and Putin, Chamberlain said Hitler was great. That doesn’t mean Hitler was great.

    A better measure of Putin’s success would be the number of major world leaders who have recognized his annexation of Abkhazia and Ossetia. Which would be zero.

  3. So, Lisa, what is your point? Americans as Russian dupes, as of the last three administrations including Obama’s, I’ll buy into that.

    Putin by every democracy metric is a failure as is Obama’s misguided perception of that:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124709465087014671.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/09/AR2009070902363.html

    Want to clarify your point again?

  4. probablyabogusname

    La Russophobe–

    Why do you expect Barack Obama to solve Russia’s problems?

    You say Obama “stabbed you in the back” yet he made no agreement with you beforehand.

    A person cannot betray someone unless there is
    an agreement or understanding to precede it.

    Has Obama made any agreement
    with LA RUSSOPHOBE???

    Read the posts from the last few months and anyone can see that LR was ON HER KNEES begging and crawling to Obama, hoping he would
    save Russia.

    Now that LR has been disappointed, LR calls
    him “Obaby”, “backstabber”, and probably a few other things.

    LR has betrayed Obama as the reader can understand that LR was PLEADING (that means begging) to Obama to save Russia.

    Now that LR’s whimsical faith has been shattered,
    LR has become the “backstabber” and many readers can see this– take note of this LR.

    BTW– Barack Obama is President of U.S. and
    not Russia. Please consider that before compiling a political analysis and posting it on the web.

    It looks rather silly when you don’t…….

    And do not throw heavy objects at me.

  5. What is so pathetic and bizarre about Obama is the stale ideology that he brought to Russia, For starters, trying to triangulate Putin and Medvedev was an exercise in ignorance as they are the same entity, gaming whatever fools think otherwise.

    Reagan was never that stupid. Compare ands contrast what happened to Russia once a Western realist called their bluff. The EU is ahead of Obama in understanding Russian fascism.

    Sadly. we are going to have to wait for the next administration for realism to box Russia into the Third World status that they belong.

  6. Why do you expect Barack Obama to solve Russia’s problems?.

    Hello, no one here expecting Obama or any US president or EU president for that matter to solve Russia’s problems. Your comment is naive at best and misses the point.

    Russia is internally incapable of solving their own problems and any US president dumb enough to think otherwise is doomed to fail. Russia deserves from the US perspecive all of the latitude they need to collapse as a failed state.

    And, you’ve entirely missed what Obama is being criticised for. I guess it’s a reading comprehension problem.

    • Penny, well said!

      This administration is just a talking “phrase mongerer” when it comes to diplomacy.
      The real business is in the 1.5 billion dollar investment that Obama is bringing in from US companies. The risks being guaranteed by the US taxpayer, in supporting Putin’s Kremlin.

      Obama has no problem with this since most of the money he spends in “stimulus” goes for social engineering in the US.

      I actually feel, that Obama has contempt for Slavs as being inferior to other whites. Not the first time, I found this oversimplification among some blacks who want to assign hierarchy among whites.

      Obama defies any understanding of the electorate. How could they elect such a “Black Dope”? Obviously Obama seemed more unsteady in the primary debates then other candidates, Usually helpless without the teleprompter. This could be explained in part by Michael Jackson’s in popularity, however being mostly weird. Obama being mostly incompetent.

      The worst is Obama will change the make up of the Supreme Court. That means problems will continue on the domestic scene for generations no matter whom is elected next. Sotomayor, “not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench” as with the Connecticut Firemen whom tested better than blacks. Thankfully this case was overturned by other, real justices.

      Reminder of Damon Wayans and, Mo Money, Mo Money.

      http://www.forbes.com/feeds/reuters/2009/07/06/2009-07-06T122158Z_01_L6246868_RTRIDST_0_OBAMA-RUSSIA-BUSINESS-UPDATE-1.html

  7. LA RUSSOPHOBE:
    “Obaby makes a Mess in Moscow”

    This sounds like an amazing perception. What Obaby’s revealed there in Moscow and Cairo is his ability to communicate to other cultures. He seems to be well aware that all Russia needs at the moment is the proportionate balance of power along its borders.

    There is no strength in pseudo-democratic phrase mongering, he’s got no such misconception. His conception is power without ethics is the road to hell and Russia could the gate for the US to pass through in that directionas as far as Eurasia is concerned. In other words it’s called REAL POLITIK in Bismark style.

    Hopefully Obama is a re-branding of the USA. Let him manifest a different world, this is a step in the right direction.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    It’s offensive that you don’t even read our editorial before spewing out your utter nonsense. Was Obama “communcating” with his joke about Alaska and his comment that Putin was out of touch with the present? Was he commuicating when his speech wasn’t allowed on national TV?

    You’re a thundering igornamus.

  8. LA RUSSOPHOBE

    Not at all. Most Russians take “Alaska” very easy. It’s all long passed and half forgotten. They took it as a joke.

    “Putin was out of touch with the present”

    Most probably he’s still having G.W. Bush’s fruitless handshaking on his mind. Once beaten, twice shy.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    You have absolutely no factual basis whatsoever for either one of this insipid, inane statements. It is rude and offensive that you fail to read our comment guidelines which forbid this sort of gibberish. Cease and decist you imbecile or we will do it for you.

  9. I agree that Obama and liberal’s in general are incompetent when it comes to foriegn policy. But I don’t think BO was out of line by calling Russia a great power. That’s just diplomatic lingo, showing respect where none is deserved. Reagan said similar nicities when visiting. I don’t agree that G.W. Bush’s approach to Russia was ‘criminal’, that term is being used very loosely these days. As much as we would all like a democratic world, the U.S. is incapable of making that happen. We need to encourage democratic values around the world, but we can only go so far diplomatically and militarily.

    • The victims of bombings of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq can’t thank ou enough for “encouraging democratic values around the world”! :-(((

  10. Better than a travel ban on high-ranking Russian officials, Obama would be wise to hunt down and expose just where Putin and his cronies are putting their money overseas which they are.

    Putin is alleged to have as much as $40 billion in personal wealth.

    Bank accounts, real estate, yachts, any assets you can find ought to be publically exposed. It would be helpful to Russians to have the information as they can only surmise how much personal enrichment is taking place. A public list of who owns what might change Russian attitudes real fast.

    You can bet the CIA could find the dirt if they were given the task.

    • Penny, do you want to infringe with bank secrecy? My, it’s BLOODY COMMUNSIM!!!

      • Wrong as usual Eugene, its called rule of law.\
        Though I must admit that Russians such as yourself are unfamiliar with the concept of rule of law.

  11. Good idea Penny,
    But I think that the Sheeple already know, Pootin is robbing them. Just like we know in the U.S. that there is something wrong with the Economic Stimulus Package.

    The only thing to awaken the “Bolshevik” in the Rooshan People, is long ques for Vodka and Sausage. Masses of Morons will surge into the cities. Beating normal people up and saying things like “Lets hang everyone that wears a necktie”. Meanwhile the private jets will be taking off on the runway heading toward “LondonGrad”.

  12. Given the culture of envy that is strongly embedded with Russians if you really wanted to undermine Putin and his siloviki digging up the financial dirt on them would do more than insipidly mouthing support for the handful of liberal opposition and pretending that Medvedev is anything but Putin’s poodle.

    Snooping through and publishing London real estate records would be a good start. A picture is worth a thousand words. Ivan Sixpack just might come out of his coma when he sees the foreign real estate and cars that these jokers own.

  13. Some Russian Humour: (Sure, We ALL can laugh!):
    On one of the Russian-language blog sites, the other day, I started to view a large photo of Obama and his wife walking in some spacious & opulent, probably, Kremlin room. But before I viewed the entire photo, I read the caption: “Obama Meets Medvedev!”. But I did not see Medvedev….untill I scrolled the large-sized photo down to it’s bottom, and there….was a..large…cat, sitting contentidly on the carpet.
    Perhaps (?) the cat’s name was ‘Medvedev’?
    R.D.

    P.S. Message to ‘rts’: if you said anything but your usual mindless Kremlin-propaganda lines, I MIGHT pay you some serious attention. But your frequent moronic INSULTING name-calling and mindless gingoistic pure propaganda, truly, does not favorably impress me. And, I highly suspect……. that you..MIGHT not ..love America!….do you!??? (Don’t force me to go to my back yard, and press the ‘go’ button on my private nuclear-tipped missil….aimed at YOUR house!). Watch out ‘rts’- agent provacatour, you may just be THE cause for nuclear war!
    R.D.

  14. LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:
    “You have absolutely no factual basis whatsoever for either one of this insipid, inane statements. It is rude and offensive that you fail to read our comment guidelines which forbid this sort of gibberish. Cease and decist you imbecile or we will do it for you.”

    My statement #1 – Russians consider Alaska to a state of the United States. Obama cracked a joke on Alaska, the Russians took it easy as a joke. Is this insipid, inane statement of mine?

    My statement #2 Putin and Obama had a meeting and a friendly talk to dispel the shadow of G.W.Bush over the US-Russia relations. Is that rude and offensive, sort of gibberish with no factual basis?

    Let me say it once again, take it as my statement #3 though with no “la russophobe factual basis” – Obama has done the best possible thing in Moscow.

  15. I sat in on a conference call with Nemtsov in which he heaped praise on his meeting with Obama and on Obama’s approach to Russia. I really don’t know where you people get off thinking that you know better than Nemtsov what does and does not work with respects to Russia. Yes, the speech he made was not seen by many, but it will circulate and it will some impact.

    Yes, it would have been nice to see Obama sock Putin in the teeth and call him a tyrant, but diplomacy doesn’t work that way. You can’t always achieve your aims by blowing off steam and fingerwagging. We’ve done a lot of that in recent years and it has achieved absolutely nothing.

    I want to see a more democratic Russia, but getting there means that the U.S. chooses tactics that will make a difference and not choose tactics that are counterproductive simply because they make us feel good.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Your comment is totally demented, as if you are not aware of the basic factual context you are commenting on. Maybe you need to read a bit more. Obama did not fail to knock Putin’s teeth out, he COMPLIMENTED HIM PUBLICLY but did NOT compliment Ryzhkov or Nemtsov. That is repugnant. Period.

    George Bush totally ignored the opposition, so naturally Nemtsov and Ryzhkov are happy with any attention they get. They are beggars who cannot afford to be choosers. They got NOTHING of substance, and FIVE MINUTES to vent to Obama, who also listened to COMMUNIST GENNADY ZYUGANOV. He did not even comment publicly on what they said, much less endorse or promise to support them.

    We have to wonder if you even read what Ryzhkov wrote. It’s fully of the most ridiculously chilidish hyperbole, written by a desperate lonely man with stars in his eyes. In an editorial this week, we’ll fully expose that. If you think there’s any real substance in what he wrote, we have no respect whatsoever for your judgment.

    Frankly, you’re a blind Obama partisan unwilling to accept the possiblity that he could be leading the world astray. That is not a useful perspective where Russia is concerned.

  16. Oh, also Vladimir Ryzhkov of Other Russia also heaped praise on Obama’s performance:

    http://www.moscowtimes.ru/article/1016/42/379421.htm

    Again, why do you people know better than Ryzhkov what works best?

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Please name for us just one specific accomplishment of Mr. Ryzhkov in standing up to Putin. There are none, just a number of relatively banal newspaper articles that are only impressive because they come from a Russia. He’s a non-factor in Russian politics and doesn’t even have a White Paper like Nemtsov’s to his name. The fact that you think he, who has never once been jailed, has some inside track to the best way of deposing Putin is totally farcical.

  17. One last thing, I find it comical to hear people say “Reagan was never so stupid…” with respects to the USSR. I recall very well how much Reagan was ridiculed as naive and just plain stupid for talking to that commie Gorbachev. The same rightwing that lauds Reagan today said that he was losing his mine and failed to recognize that Gorbachev was just “a product of the Soviet system” like all the others. I even recall people saying such things when Yeltsin took over.

    I, for one, am still withholding judgement on Medvedev. For now I think bolstering him and hoping for the best is the only option we have to bring about any positive change in Russia. Time will tell.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    That’s what Chamberlain said about Hitler.

    Ronald Reagan called the USSR an “evil empire” and worked like crazy to destroy it. Your knowledge of history is barbaric.

  18. I, for one, am still withholding judgement on Medvedev.

    Based on what single action that has matched his mouth to deeds? That’s a joke.

    “We’ve” in recent years without results, as I assume you’ve must be referring to Bush, simply let Putin without resounding criticism reverse civil society in Russia. Obama is doing the same, so why would the results be any different?

    And, who is to say that Nemtsov is correct in his opinion? There are among liberal anti-Putin haters some who view him as a gadfly.

    Please, every time Obama is criticized here you’ve shown up with some angry kneejerk defense. Your agenda is showing.

  19. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

  20. My congratulations!

    Claiming you president a loser — you admit, what you country is loser. And you political system, which makes loser a president. :)

    I hope Obama be known to history as an american Gorbachev. :)

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