Is Russia mad?
his depth in any confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Remember the red “reset” button? It was bad enough as a one-liner,
but for the Obama Administration to actually hand the Russians a button
that they thought said “reset” in Russian but actually said “overcharge”
was the first of many clear signals to Putin that he could mop the
floor with Obama.
It should have come as no surprise. Putin spent his youth learning to
break the bones of enemies of the state, while Obama applied his
talents to sucking the marijuana smoke off the ceilings of his friends’
At the recent G20 summit, Putin and Obama had a falling out,
apparently over Syria. You could see it in the photos taken of the two
of them together.
There was Putin, straight-faced but still righteously angry, and
there was Obama, sullen and avoiding eye contact, as if Putin had just
held him upside down by his ankles and taken his lunch money.
Things have taken a bit of a nasty turn in the U.S.-Russia relations department lately. In fact, it may be downright dangerous.
Despite Obama’s apparent plan to give away our European missile
defenses after the election, as he unwisely told a Russian diplomat over
an open mic, Putin is not willing to give an inch on his support of
Syria, which is at war with a rebel group that the Russian president
oddly enough thinks is having its strings pulled by the White House.
Don’t know where he’d get that notion.
After all, it’s not like Obama declared his support for uprisings in
Africa and the Middle East in his State of the Union speech or other
public events, sometimes even before the uprisings had really gotten
It’s not like he instigated the overthrow of the Libyan government by
pushing our allies into going to war with Moammar Gadhafi or encouraged
the toppling of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
It’s not like White House officials have met repeatedly with envoys
of the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, the overarching power behind
terrorism throughout much of the Islamic world and behind the rebels in
It’s not like the U.S. is backing Turkey’s taking an aggressive
stance toward Syria after that country shot down a Turkish spy plane.
It’s not like Obama allies, such as Saudi Arabia, have been oddly
immune to the Arab Spring uprisings that have turned over the political
order in the Muslim world.
Oh, wait … all those things did happen.
Just to make life extra challenging for King Obama, the Senate and
House are both considering a bill to hold Russian officials accountable
when they are accused of human rights violations.
I can imagine the sheepish Obama trying to explain that to Putin.
Then there was that odd executive order Obama issued recently
declaring a state of national emergency over the processing of Russian
weapons-grade uranium into nuclear fuel. The order claims to be for the
purpose of securing payments to Russia, but its wording sounds like it’s
confiscating Russian property. No one in the mainstream media has
sought to explain that one yet.
On Monday, Putin told a conference of Russian diplomats that the West
is in serious decline and that they should be prepared for a backlash
from the United States.
So the overall situation is unclear, since our officials and our
media are clamming up on the subject. But we can perhaps gauge Putin’s
current mood by the fact that on the Fourth of July, two nuclear-capable
Russian bombers were intercepted some 200 miles off the West Coast, the
second such incident within a month.
Ultimately, the question seems to be how big a fight does Putin want?
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