**Posted by Phineas
Yesterday, while writing about the president’s inadvertent moment of transparency during his talks with Russian President Medvedev, in which Obama offered that he could be more flexible regarding missile defense after his reelection, I wondered the following:
Or maybe it’s the interests of others? This should make all those former possessions of the Soviet empire feel real secure.
Turns out we didn’t have to wait long to find out the truth in that. A headline in a major Polish tabloid read (translated)
“Were they trading Poland? Puzzling Obama talk with Medvedev about the missile shield.”
Poland has an unfortunate history of being the meat on the carving board whenever other great powers deal with Russia; Obama’s 2009 sellout over missile defense was only the most recent example. Now with Obama asking for “space” so he can be more flexible later, I don’t blame the Poles nor anyone else in Russia’s “near abroad” for being nervous. I’d be looking for a target on my back, too.
Meanwhile, with yesterday’s “nothing to see here, move along” statements apparently not convincing many people, Obama himself stepped before the cameras (this time knowing the mic was on) to insist he wasn’t hiding anything:
A defensive President Obama said Tuesday he wasn’t guilty of “hiding the ball” when an open microphone caught him pleading with the president of Russia to delay missile shield talks until after this year’s elections.
“The only way I get this stuff done is If I’m consulting with the Pentagon, with Congress, if I’ve got bipartisan support and frankly, the current environment is not conducive to those kinds of thoughtful consultations,” Mr. Obama told reporters at a nuclear security summit here. “This is not a matter of hiding the ball.”
“What I said yesterday … is something that I think everyone in this room understands,” the president said. “Arms control is extraordinarily complex, very technical, and the only way it gets done is if you can consult and build a strong understanding, both between countries and within countries.”
Shorter Obama: “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying ears?”
Like I wrote yesterday, I understand political difficulties in an election year. But consulting Congress and the Pentagon isn’t what Obama was talking about in his tete-a-tete with Medvedev. He was specifically asking for “space” with the promise that he himself could be more flexible next year regarding Kremlin demands, when he would no longer be accountable to the voters. It wasn’t a simple “let’s wait until next year when US politics are calmer to talk about these things,” it was a plea for Russian help for Obama’s reelection effort. As Andrew Malcom of IBD put it, it was “backstage conniving.”
And lest anyone say this is just Right-wing panic over nothing, consider the president’s record with Russia: the embarrassing reset moment; the horrible deal in 2010 in the latest START treaty; the appeasement over missile defense in 2009 at the cost of betraying allies; and the flaccid reaction to Russian arms sales to Hugo Chavez, an avowed American enemy; the willingness to give up British nuclear secrets. I’m sure there are other moments of Smart Power that illustrate the same point: far from having a clear vision of America’s national interests, Obama is intellectually trapped in an outdated worldview that sees a dominant United States as part of the problem, not the best hope for a peaceful, prosperous world. His foreign policy is dangerous because it is dangerously naive.
That’s why critics don’t trust his whispered sidebar conversations with our traditional enemies: a leftist ideology married to alarming naivete is a recipe for disaster.
And that’s one big reason he has to go in November.
UPDATE: It figures. Democrats are just fine with Obama’s whispered words and approvingly cite President Medvedev (!) to bash Mitt Romney. But they’ll scream bloody murder when we question their patriotism because of it.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)