Streetwise Professor

August 6, 2011

Reset: Another Fail

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 7:36 pm

Some not so random items in the news.

The elfin Medvedev is talking all butch about Georgia, and blaming the US for fomenting the 2008 war.

Russia intensifies a dirty tricks campaign against US diplomats and NGO personnel.

Russian ambassador to NATO and well-known charmer Dmitry Rogozin calls 2 US Senators (Kyl and Kirk) “Cold War monsters” who “eyed him through targeting sights.”  Moreover, Rogozin lied about the substance of the discussion:

Moreover, Rogozin charged that the Senators claimed that the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA), President Obama’s ballistic missile defense plan for the protection of NATO allies and the U.S. homeland, is directed against Russia.

Not so, say senior sources present at the meeting, who told me:

Senator Kyl never said that the missile defense is aimed at Russia, neither did Senator Kirk. The two sides were unable to agree on the definition of the threat from Iran. So, Senator Kyl said that if there is no common definition of a threat, what is the sense of talking about cooperation on missile defense.

This is a far cry from declaring that missile defenses are aimed at Russia. Besides, U.S. defenses cannot hit the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces deployed hundreds of miles east of the proposed locations in Romania and Poland. The minimal number of proposed U.S. interceptors cannot significantly reduce the horrible power of a Russian strategic nuclear strike.

At least Kirk was suitably dismissive:

“You could say that we’re just not that into him,” Kirk said. “In a potential missile combat scenario between NATO and Iran, Russia is thoroughly irrelevant. So Russian concerns about what we do and not do about the Iranian threat are interesting but largely irrelevant.”

Believe me.  There is no better way to p*ss off someone like Rogozin that to say that Russia is irrelevant.  Indeed, you can explain a lot of Russian actions in the past 20 years as pathetic attempts to demonstrate relevance.  Well played, Senator Kirk.   As was this:

Regarding Rogozin’s comment that Kirk and Kyl were “radicals” and “monsters of the Cold War,” Kirk said, “He should probably moderate his caffeine intake.”


Of course, there’s also the prime minister’s “parasite” comment to the Putin Jugend and the constant background wailing about missile defense.

And the reset has produced what, exactly?  Help with Iran?  Not exactly.  Afghanistan?: any logistics help has been paid for in the very same cash that Putin deprecates.  And remind me who is the parasite?  In the Middle East?: Mischief.

Oh, but Bam did get this way cool birthday postage stamp.  Boy do the Russians know how to play President Narcissus.

And it works.  In part because of the narcissism thing, but also because the administration’s trophy case is so embarrassingly bare that it clings to the Reset like a drowning man grasping at straws.  Sayeth Obama:

“Well, first of all, I think it’s important for us to look back over the last two years and see the enormous progress we’ve made. I started talking about reset when I was still a candidate for president, and immediately reached out to President Medvedev as soon as I was elected. And we have been, I think, extraordinarily successful partners in moving towards reset,” Obama said.

Uhm, he might as well have reached out to the pin boy at the retro bowling alley, for Medvedev matters about as much, and at least the pin boy can actually reset something tangible.

And, pace Medvedev’s flexing noted in the first link, when the 98 pound weakling feels free to kick sand in your face, well, that doesn’t scream respect or “extraordinary success.”

And Rogozin’s big public kiss to Obama’s National Security Advisor, in contrast to his carping about Kyl and Kirk suggests that the administration is in full suck-up mode to keep up the appearances of a success:

“Tom Donilon is a veteran U.S. diplomat and politician, who began his career in 1977. I was pleased to meet with this distinguished man in the U.S. establishment. He is a smart, attentive person on whom you can rely in terms [of] preparing important decisions,” he said. “This meeting was the most enjoyable.”

“Most enjoyable.”  Ew.

The administration did impose some restrictions on visas by those implicated in the Magnitsky murder, but only, it appears, to try to derail more aggressive moves in Congress.  Moves (e.g., S1039) that would really hit where it hurts–in the offshore bank account.  (The bill includes asset freeze provisions.)   But the administration’s softer approach is apparently not enough, and Russia threatening “asymmetric” responses as well as tit-for-tat retaliation.

Though “tit-for-tat” is probably not really accurate, as I don’t think all that many American officials are clamoring for visas to go to Russia, whereas restrictions on the ability to travel west are much more painful for many of the targeted Russians.

No, it was inevitable that the Reset would dissolve into farce sooner or later.  It is being kept alive now only because the administration doesn’t want to admit to another failure.  Well, they’ve yet to admit failure on anything, but given the inattention of most Americans to Russia, people don’t have daily reminders of the magnitude of the fail as with matters economic.

And it’s not just me, by the way.  Walter Russell Mead has also labeled the Reset as an Official Fail.  He promises a longer analysis of US-Russian relations soon.  I can’t wait.

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  1. “He should actually be thankful to me for halting our troops at some point,” Mr. Medvedev said.

    His mistake.

    Saakashvili should be tried for war crimes and genocide.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — August 7, 2011 @ 12:57 am

  2. What do you mean bare? What about the Nobel Prize?

    Comment by So? — August 7, 2011 @ 2:11 am

  3. What was that? Putin’s sock puppet playing a macho? Was Medvedev wearing the “commander in chief” jacket again?

    Comment by Ivan — August 7, 2011 @ 2:42 am

  4. I don’t know if the “irrelevant” line was Sen. Kirk’s lucky inspiration but I would like to remind that he used to be a Representative from Illinois 10th district which has quite substantial Russian immigrant population, so he might be aware of some of the Russia-related issues.

    Comment by LL — August 7, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  5. Hey SWP, what’s the statute of limitations on the Russkies going after the bank accounts of Khodorkovsky’s western associates who were ‘on the ground floor’ for his rigged auctions back in the 1990s, or even freezing the ole’ George Soros bank accounts, since they probably can dig up chapter and verse as to how those were used as intel fronts down through the years? As Senor Equis has said many times, the creepy convergence between Soros bankrolling of the Left and his aggressive support for all manner of anti-Russian nationalists along Russia’s periphery is something dare not discussed in the U.S. press. I’m sure Glenn Beck got told to shut the heck up when he started quoting Stanislav Mishin on Fox and that probably contributed in some small way to his departure from Faux News.

    The prospect of any blowback from the actions of D.C.’s faction hellbent on continuing the Cold War forever have long been dismissed at this forum. But things are accelerating in Europe. And the Kremlins succeeded in bailing out the Brits via Iceland and urging Russian tycoons to acquire 10% of the American steel industry while Gaffney, Woolsey and the other Anti-Russia Lobby members’ minds were elsewhere. Ditto for all that Israeli military hardware soon headed to Russia…just wait’ll till the great Italian fire sale. The Anglo-Saxon globalists who thought they had certain privatizations in the bag might find some unexpected Russian-Chinese competition.

    Agree with SO if the Russian military had 10% of the U.S. military’s conventional capability, Misha the Tie Eater would be no more.

    Comment by Mr. X — August 7, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

  6. SUBLIME DEMENTED MANIAC presumbly knows that Rusisan forces killed FAR more civilians during the war with Georgia than Georgian forces did, and engaged in ethnic cleansing while Georgian forces did not, and this is undisputed. Also undisputed is that Russia violated international law by annexing Ossetia and Abkhazia, an act recognized by NOT ONE major nation. Accordingly, if Saakashvili must be prosecuted then so must Medvedev and Putin, right?

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 8, 2011 @ 10:02 am

  7. I wonder what Russians would say if America chose to put Yetlsin on a postage stamp. Would they think they should respect Yeltsin more because the Americans love him?

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 8, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  8. Yeltsin = Obama? He can’t be that bad.

    Comment by So? — August 8, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

  9. The wonders of August for Russia: Since 8/1, the Russian stock market has lost TWENTY PERCENT of its value. Back in freefall, shades of 2008.

    Russia as safe harbor, protected by oil and cash reserves?

    Maybe not.

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 9, 2011 @ 2:15 am

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