Reactions to Obama’s Remarks to Russia’s Medvedev: Predictable but Sad

I cringed somewhat when I heard President Obama tell Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [Vladimir Putin] to give me space … This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”

I thought Obama’s remarks were puzzling, perhaps not very well chosen and, yes, open to criticism and misinterpretation.

But since I do believe that Obama is an American, that he does love his country and that he does have the best interests of America in mind, I did not interpret his remarks as “just wait until I am re-elected and I will sell out my country’s national security interests to Russia.”

I interpreted them as stating the fact that in the politically charged atmosphere of an election year it would be very difficult to achieve breakthroughs on an extremely important and complex issue such as missile defense cooperation in Europe. Nevertheless, I can see how these specific aspects of Obama’s position can be criticized — perhaps rightly so.

But, sadly, I also see how the Obama haters and doubters, those who do think that he is unpatriotic, un-American — even a traitor — and that he pals around with terrorists, would immediately misinterpret his remarks and use them to make a mountain of political hay even while the sun is out.

Voilà Charles Krauthammer.

After calling the White House explanation “rubbish,” Krauthammer goes on to criticize some of the Obama administration’s past national security and foreign relations issues and decisions — which is perfectly OK — and to prejudge the results of ongoing and future discussions and negotiations on missile defense, which is OK, too, but somewhat clairvoyant and arrogant.

But what is not OK, is for Krauthammer to extrapolate, look into his personal crystal ball and suggest that:

• Obama will “offer Putin yet more flexibility as soon as he gets past this election” on “Syria, Iran, Eastern Europe, Georgia, human rights.”

• A reelected Obama will put “pressure” on Israel.

• Obama will induce “anxiety” from Georgia to the Persian Gulf and “nervousness among our most loyal East European friends who, having been left out on a limb by Obama once before, are now wondering what new flexibility Obama will show Putin …”

Krauthammer concludes, that Medvedev’s “I stand with you,” is “[a] nice endorsement from Putin’s puppet, enough to chill friends and allies, democrats and dissidents, all over the world.”

Then there is Michael Reagan invoking his father and suggesting that Obama is getting ready to “kowtow to Putin and his government and give up a missile defense system that’ll benefit the rest of the world;” that Obama is not only “supporting our enemies and dissing our friends,” but also that “Barack Obama believes the United States is the evil empire.”

And finally, there is Newt Gingrich on Fox, saying, “Who else has he said, to the Iranians, to the North Koreans, to a variety of places … let me get reelected and I’ll sell out,” and referring specifically to Russia, “… clearly indicates he’ll sell out on defense systems as soon as he gets reelected.”

Now, none of these gentlemen has called the President of the United States un-American, unpatriotic or a traitor.

However, anyone who supports our enemies and who sells out to our enemies — especially when it comes to our defense systems and our national security — would be all of those. Wouldn’t he or wouldn’t she?


Image: shutterstock.com

  

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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16 Comments

  1. Just ignore these idiots. It was this crowd led us into Iraq with the promise of parades , flowers and chocolate.

  2. … and don’t forget, “dancing in the streets.” It is interesting what Mr. Warmonger #1 (Bolton) had to say about this.

  3. The Republicans mentioned in the essay will always latch on to any little tidbit that could possibly be construed negatively and run with it. Their creative juices positively sizzle. They know exactly what they are doing – making up lies. Unfortunately, too many people will believe them.

  4. I guess I live in another time warp than most people that support BO. I hear stories about the Republicans and all the bad things they are or will do if they get elected from the left along with the tirades from the right as written about above.

    Stated above “But, sadly, I also see how the Obama haters and doubters, those who do think that he is unpatriotic, un-American — even a traitor — and that he pals around with terrorists, would immediately misinterpret his remarks and use them to make a mountain of political hay even while the sun is out.”

    I invite you to join me in my time warp to hear many on the left that think Republicans are unpatriotic, unamerican due to their insistence that entitlements programs be reformed, that they support terrorist since they want no gun laws inacted to place additional controls on gun ownership and make political hay out of comments about entitlement reform from the right.

    This is why the moderates in the Democrat and Republican parties are choosing not to run for so many offices they have held for years. Being a moderate and making sensible decisions supporting both parrties on differnt legislation has isolatied those leaders for the most part. Being on the fringes calling each other terrorist, liars, unamerican, unpatriotic and extremist that are pushing grandma over a clift is were it is at these days. MSNBC and Fox news out front leading the parade of journalist and bloggers developing lies and 1/2 truths that become a national story and mass distributed
    e-mails in less than 24 hours. And for the most part, the majority of Americans who are uninformed beleive these stories and further the problem by spreading that infomation before checking out the whole truth.

    As fo BO and the open mic, not a smart move but other presidents before him have done the same.

  5. What’s so sad? Should “they” instead put a positive spin on the buddy talk?
    I think most of “them” regard this as a harmless bit of BS on Obamama’s part, akin to we must do lunch in sincerity.

    I hope Obama knows that he is not playing with a pussy cat, Putin (who doesn’t have to worry about silly impediments like free elections), is a thug running a thuggish country, and yes they are foes of ours. To think otherwise would be naive and inexperienced, and after three years I don’t think Obama is either.

  6. RP says:

    “I invite you to join me in my time warp to hear many on the left that think Republicans are unpatriotic, unamerican due to their insistence that entitlements programs be reformed, that they support terrorist since they want no gun laws inacted to place additional controls on gun ownership and make political hay out of comments about entitlement reform from the right.”

    Hi RP, thanks for commenting.

    While I have not heard such specific “unpatriotic, un-American” “supporting terrorists” etc. accusations against Republicans from personalities and authors in the league of Gingrich, Krauthammer and Reagan, when it comes to entitlement programs and gun control and ownership, I am sure you can find some, and perhaps will quote some.

    On the other hand you are perfectly correct when you say that you “hear stories about the Republicans and all the bad things they are or will do if they get elected from the left..”

    I believe that is called a Democracy, and just like you are free to quote and disagree with statements from the left, we (Democrats) are free to quote and disagree with statements from the right, and even characterize them, as I have in my post. It is called freedom of speech.

  7. RP

    It is frustrating. I see opportunists like Alan Grayson on the left and Newt Gingrich on the right and wonder why their parties put up with them. I see moderates like Evan Bayh and Olympia Snowe leaving rather than staying to change things and it’s discouraging.

    I see young people opting out in disgust and wonder what the final outcome of the Citizens United decision will be.

    I don’t see it as the same on both sides but I do see it too often on both sides. The taking comments out of context, as happens on both sides, and imputing ulterior motives as Mr. Krauthamer does here are distressing. When anyone lumps all Christians with evangelicals, or all Republicans with the Tea Party agenda, I wince.

    But, until both parties clean house, do something about campaign finance, and impose discipline that’s the way it will be. Unless the general public decides enough is enough and actually speaks out as we do here. I’m not holding my breath and hope you aren’t either.

  8. Ohioan—
    I similarly wince when I see some on the right lump Obama in with the New Black Panther party-
    We are losing the center by engaging in these petty tactics– and I can’t help but think that our partisanship will bring us down a lot faster than any missile from Iran would

  9. buebelle

    I wonder if all the money sloshing aroung gives candidates the freedom to pursue their agenda without worrying about what the voters want. They don’t have to kowtow to anyone but their patrons and the voters have no where else to go. They can quit voting, of course, but that’s hardly an answer.

    It’s such a mess that I don’t know how to straighten it out, but getting the money under control would be a big step. And my hobbyhorse no TV advertising. Something might be done on the local/state level – I guess that’s where it has to start. It’s all very discouraging. And I didn’t win the powerball! Sheesh!

  10. The Ohioan..I agree with everything you have said. You said it in a much more simple way than I tried above. Evan Byah and Olympia Snowe are two very good example of what is wrong with politics today.

    If we had more people commenting like you have instead of all the fringe-nuts like Hannity, Maddow and Ed Shultz, maybe the information floating around on e-mails would be the truth.

    And then maybe people who vote would be more knowledgable of the facts before making their choice.

  11. RP

    Well, I have thought about starting my own blog, since I’m so thoroughly… :-)

    There are a lot of good reporters and commentators out there if anyone wants to see what they have to say. Mostly they don’t. It’s futile to expect people to not watch then parrot the talking points that appeal to them. I pretty much ignore it unless it is backed up with a reputable source.

    I’ve often wondered if the internet might save us from as many outbursts of violence as it causes just because people can vent here. I don’t know the statistics, but would suspect those who do erupt listen to talk radio rather than participate on blogs. It would be interesting to know.

    Knee jerk reactions aren’t pretty in any case and we should eschew them as much as possible.

  12. Ohioan– I have been wondering the same thing. How can you say you live in a democracy if a handful of billionaires decide whose campaign flourishes and who ends up in the dust bin of history?

    It does encourage the worst from each side if they don’t have to worry about appealing to small donors to win.

  13. This is kind of a “dog bites man” story, since the three pundits mentioned will always go overboard against Obama. Krauthammer will occasionally have a thoughtful column but by and large the only time these three men’s opinions are notable is on the rare times they exit the conservative echo chamber.

    On Obama’s comments they weren’t traitorous, unpatriotic or anti-American, but they were dumb and just one more bit of evidence he’s an unqualified career campaigner playing at being president. He’s not a traitor or un-American, he’s just not very good.

  14. Can anyone name ONE politician that CAN’T be more flexible after he is reelected?

    What is ludicrous is Obama is passing this message onto a guy who just won a rigged election in a non-democratic country.

  15. “How can you say you live in a democracy if a handful of billionaires decide whose campaign flourishes and who ends up in the dust bin of history?” – bluebelle

    And yet people do – with straight faces even! (When I think about all the joys associated with denial that I’ve been deprived of…)

  16. First of all, in Obama’s (possible) defense, he may have simply been stalling for time. In addition, he will certainly have more leeway once the presidential election is over since extremists will not be able to sway the voters into thinking that one policy or another is either 1) great or 2) disastrous (as would almost certainly happen in an election).

    The American people do not want another war. This is almost certain. Obama would have more flexibility to start one after the election. He would have a lot LESS capacity to pursue policies that would likely lead to a war right now. Has anyone considered that his claim might have been more of a veiled threat (that he does not want to acknowledge) than a conciliatory statement?

    I mean, really, what ‘weak’ outcome could he not pursue because his base of support would be dismayed? Well, they probably would not let him surrender to a foreign power…but they would likely not object too loudly to reductions in military strength or the scrapping of unwanted (by the Pentagon) and unneeded military hardware. So just what kind of ‘flexibility’ does he really gain after the election?

    Hint: It is NOT the stuff that the Republicans hate–since they are not going to vote for him anyways. The only flexibility he gains is what his voters would DISAPPROVE of, not what they might actually support!

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