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Streetwise Professor

March 29, 2012

Slow Learner? No Learner

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 10:25 pm

Once upon a time, Obama had a great idea.  He would reset relations with Russia.  The linchpin of his strategy was a plan to focus attention on the alleged reformer Medvedev, and to freeze out Putin, whom Obama publicly dissed as a dinosaur:

On the eve of a trip to Moscow, Barack Obama chided Vladimir Putin,Russia‘s prime minister, today for keeping “one foot in the old ways of doing business”. By contrast, he said Putin’s handpicked successor as president understands that cold war behaviour is outdated.

In a White House interview with The Associated Press, the president said he will meet with both Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, on his trip, in hopes they can “move in concert in cooperating with us on some critical issues.”

. . . .

Asked why he intends to meet Putin, Obama said the former president “still has a lot of sway … and I think that it’s important that even as we move forward with President Medvedev that Putin understand that the old cold war approaches to US-Russian relations is outdated — that’s it’s time to move forward in a different direction”.

“I think Medvedev understands that. I think Putin has one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new, and to the extent that we can provide him and the Russian people a clear sense that the US is not seeking an antagonistic relationship but wants cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation, fighting terrorism, energy issues, that we’ll end up having a stronger partner overall in this process,” he said.

Barry and Dmitri became big buddies.  They went out for burgers and everything.

Of course it was all a delusion.  Medvedev was a Potemkin president. No doubt Vladimir and his siloviki pals were doubled over in laughter at Obama’s naiveté and gullibility.

The mask came off in September, when the charade came to an end and Vladimir resumed his rightful place.  Then Vladimir launched into an election campaign during which he fulminated against the United States.  Really, if you followed the campaign, you would have concluded that Vladimir believes that the United States is Russia’s Number One Geopolitical Foe.

And you would have concluded right.

But did the scales fall from Barry’s eyes?  Did he decide that the Reset was based on a faulty premise?  Did he recognize that since a man who by Obama’s own estimation has one foot (three, actually) in the Cold War past, who viscerally hates the US, was going to dominate Russian politics for the foreseeable future, that it was pointless to continue his attempted rapprochement?

Of course not! It’s almost as Barry never noticed.  Barry told Burger Buddy Dmitri-now demoted to Vladimir’s errand boy-to tell Vladimir that after his “last election” he would have flexibility to make a deal that would be to Vladimir’s liking.  Foot in the past? Huh? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Putin’s electoral rhetoric? What rhetoric? Obstructionism in Syria that even his own Secretary of State called “despicable”?  Whatever.

We know Barry is a slow learner.  Actually, he is a no learner.  Exhibit 1: energy.  Exhibit 2: this whole Russian fiasco. BHO is proceeding blithely as if nothing has changed.  Well, nothing has really changed, because Putin was always in charge, but Barry apparently didn’t understand that.  So if Obama was sincere in his earlier statements (I know, I know), he should believe that things have changed-and he should adjust course accordingly.   But apparently not.  He is proceeding with his grandiose Russian schemes that were predicated on exploiting an imagined split in the Russian power structure, even though it is now evident even to the dimmest of the dim that said split never existed. And he is willing to do so by actively concealing his intentions from the American people.

It is bad enough to pursue a policy that is based on a delusion that anyone remotely familiar with Russia should have known to be such.  It is beyond bad to continue to pursue that policy once it has been proven to be based on a delusion. And to do so in such a deceptive way staggers the imagination.

But that’s our Barry.

The NYT is of course utterly clueless on the subject, but even the WaPo, normally in the Obama Tank, can’t swallow this. Neither should anybody else in possession of their sanity.

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15 Comments »

  1. Outstanding commentary. Glad you mentioned the NYT’s cluelessness.

    Comment by Reginald Quill — March 29, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

  2. Had to repeat this one:

    25.Oh yeah and one more thing for Reginald Quills – how many aides current and former to Willard Mitt Romney are or have been on the payroll of a foreign power (Randy Scheunemann, cough cough), compared to Ron Paul?

    But yeah, I’m the unpatriotic one because I don’t like being lectured by a bunch of globalist twits posing as Norwegians and Kiwis.

    Comment by Mr. X — March 28, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

    Comment by Mr. X — March 30, 2012 @ 12:31 am

  3. “Barry and Dmitri became big buddies. They went out for burgers and everything.”

    It’s the burger, stupid…

    In the past, for every great problem in the world, he had a solution of cutting a deal by getting a glass of beer with the opponent/adversary. Time to realize that burgers just don’t cut it… Maybe vodka, but no burgers… ;)

    Comment by MJ — March 30, 2012 @ 12:57 am

  4. [...] – Obama, Medvedev, and Putin, aren’t burger buddies anymore. [...]

    Pingback by FT Alphaville » Further reading — March 30, 2012 @ 1:36 am

  5. What would you have preferred Obama to say?
    At the end of the day Russia cant really harm America, and America cant really do anything to undermine Putin as long as oil is where it is.
    So Obama spouts of some meaningless platitudes, what exactly has he conceded to Putin that someone else hasnt?
    If Putin and his buddies want to replay the Brezhnev era, so be it. Let them waste their oil revenues on new nukes and trying to re-annex Ukraine or whatever while their middle and intellectual class resumes their flight to the West.

    Comment by Dennis — March 30, 2012 @ 3:05 am

  6. “Did he recognize that since a man who by Obama’s own estimation has one foot (three, actually) in the Cold War past, who viscerally hates the US, was going to dominate Russian politics for the foreseeable future, that it was pointless to continue his attempted rapprochement?”

    Putin went along with cancelling the S-300 sale to Iran.

    Putin went along with increased sanctions on Iran.

    Putin agrees with the transit of US supplies across Russia to Afghanistan.

    These are not the actions of a man who “viscerally hates the US”.

    Looks like the Streetwise Professor smears again!

    Comment by wanderer — March 30, 2012 @ 3:27 am

  7. Wanderer, they sold the S-300′s to Iran, they just did it through the back door, at least the Iranians claim they have them now.

    Comment by Andrew — March 30, 2012 @ 3:46 am

  8. I had never thought of Barry’s condition as a self inflicted learning disability, but that is what it is: a narcissism so deep that reality does not interfere with the narrative.

    Comment by sotos — March 30, 2012 @ 7:00 am

  9. Iran obtained less than half of their S-300 order through Belarusian agents, but it seems to be too much trouble after the cancelled sale to get the rest, so they have decided to produce their own “superior” versions.

    IMHO, no reason for RF to cancel the deal or sign on to sanctions other than as a tiny investment in the Israeli relationship- a surprisingly weak (Medvedev) move which will gain nothing.

    Comment by andrewi31 — March 30, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  10. Doesn’t matter wanderer, SWP thinks Putin ordered the TSA to stick their hands down his pants and used his mind control rays to keep Jon ‘the Government Sachs Don’ Corzine walking a free man. Actually if you believe Max Keiser Corzine is just the patsy for JP Morgan garbage derivatives capo de capo Jamie Dimon. And yet despite these criminals having far more of an impact on SWP’s actual finances, life as an American, and even academic speciality and chosen profession, he remains disgustingly absent on those issues, preferring instead to mock other academics with the temerity to actually suggest manipulation in driving crude to $150 a barrel before Obama got elected and then — poof! — driving it back down to what, $50 a barrel in early 2009? No manipulation my ass.

    Furthermore, the idea of the Kremlins cutting deals with the Israelis left or right is the love (or horizontal biznis) that dare not speak its name in D.C. or anywhere in the conservative or libertarian blogosphere. It would be crushing — the Israelis were supposed to be our BFFs, and the Kremlins are mortal enemies. That just CAN’T happen. Israel is the 51st state and Russia is Mordor.

    It’s like creaky old Uncle Sam finding out that he’s not so alpha anymore and his young hot Israeli wife is cuckolding him with a Russian minigarch, to put it in Rossy terms. But seriously, if Israel does have access to bases in Azerbaijan and the Obama Admin is indeed unhappy about that, does anyone seriously think the Kremlins were unaware or did not tacitly approve the quid pro quo, perhaps in return for some crates full of U.S. taxpayer funded Israeli mil hardware? Of course not. But bitching about a few half-junk S-300s the Belarussians probably stripped and that the Russians already sold the codes to the IAF to blind/defeat is so much more gratifying.

    Ok I’m done ranting now.

    Comment by Mr. X — March 31, 2012 @ 12:36 am

  11. DENNIS: Guess you have never heard of Ronald Reagan, huh? Read a little history, you might find it exciting and illuminating.

    Comment by La Russophobe — March 31, 2012 @ 7:22 am

  12. Phobie Reagan’s crew would’ve been embarassed by McFaul. They knew they were bugged and didn’t whine about it.

    Comment by Mr. X — March 31, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  13. La Russophobe,

    So what exactly do you want Obama do compared to Reagan? Increase some tension? Bring the world closer to a nuclear exchange? Ramp up the defense budget even higher? Maybe skip the Winter Olympics in Sochii? Go on television and get into a game of penis measuring with Putin?

    Maybe he should call in the Pope and David Cameron together and they can triple team Putin into democratization somehow?

    I realize there are lots of internet tough guys, ready to set a world aflame with amazing rhetoric and that is neat, I am sure it helps you cope with the world and whatnot, but how about a substantive suggestion?

    Comment by Dennis — April 2, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  14. And regarding Kosovo Andy Dzughashvili, here’s what David P. Goldman, an Orthdox Jew, wrote about the outcome of

    But of course being a Georgian nationalist fanatic necessarily means being blind to Islamism of the real (read: State Dept. sponsored Muslim Brotherhood “activists”) rather than fake (Adam Gadahn) variety.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ID17Ak01.html

    If Serbia and Russia draw a line in the sand over the independence of Kosovo, we may observe the second occasion in history when a Muslim advance on Europe halted on Serbian soil. The first occurred in 1456, three years after the fall of Constantinople, when Sultan Mehmed II was thrown back from the walls of Belgrade, “The White City”, by Hungarian and Serb defenders. The Siege of Belgrade “decided the fate of Christendom”, wrote the then Pope Calixtus III. Not for nothing did J R R Tolkien name his fictional stronghold of Minas Tirith “The White City”.

    While America’s attention is riveted on Iraq, Russia is outraged at the American-backed plan for Kosovo’s independence, proposed by UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari. Kosovo comprised the historic Serbian heartland, Christian Serbs comprise less than a tenth of the present population. Perhaps 200,000 Serbs have left the province since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) made Kosovo a protectorate in 2000.

    The Bill Clinton administration, in this writer’s considered view, provoked NATO’s 1999 bombing war against Serbia with malice of forethought, as a gesture to the Muslim world. The United States in effect was willing to bomb Christians in order to protect Muslims, in this case the Albanian Kosovo majority whom it accused the Serbs of mistreating. That is precisely what the Democrats say. In a January 3 article in the Financial Times, Democratic Senator Joseph Biden contended that Kosovo independence would constitute a “victory for Muslim democracy”, and “a much-need example of US-Muslim partnership”.

    Contrary to American propaganda at the time, no massacres had occurred; the Serbs had shot a few thousand Muslim militants in their efforts to pacify the province. Clinton, then secretary of state Madeleine Albright and UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke deluded themselves that they could cash in the chips earned in Kosovo at the negotiating table in the Middle East. The neo-conservatives cheered the Clinton bombing campaign, believing perhaps that any American show of force was better than no show of force.

    Comment by Mr. X — April 4, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  15. Once again Reginald Quills since you’re tracking my alleged Kremlins sponsored agitprop now…

    1) Why does a government that gets caught shipping guns into Mexico to vicious drug cartels that in some cases literally worship Death (aka Santa Muerte) deserve the benefit of the doubt on which type of ‘rebel’ it will arm in Syria? In other words, how do we know it won’t arm the most viciously Islamist while nice secular Syrians sitting safely in Paris tell you and Senator McCain what ya’ll want to hear?

    2) Why does a government that is capable of humiliating, sexually harassing/assaulting numerous American women, children and elderly deserve the benefit of the doubt when it says Homeland Security is all for our benefit?

    3) Why do you care more about critics of the current system going abroad to all sorts of foreign media (including BBC, NHK, etc, which are not owned or funded by the Kremlins) to state their case than the abuses they seek to highlight with such appearances?

    4) Why have you reserved your attacks for Alex Jones now, when he’s been essentially the same guy for ten years? Could it be that he’s actually getting more mainstream and effective? Is that a comment on Alex Jones or how deep mistrust of ‘the System’ runs? If guys that I thought were howling loons ten years ago are starting to make sense, how discredited does that make your lame Left-Right/Republican/Democrat/Mittens vs Obama paradigm that supposed to keep Tea Partyers and Occupiers at each other’s throats rather than finding common enemies (i.e. the Fed)?

    Again, you can’t argue your way out of a paper bag with Foust or anybody else with credibility, so you’re reduced to circle jerking with SWP and Liberty Lynx. Well in that case have fun kids…

    Comment by Mr. X — April 4, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

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