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