National Security

Russian 'Reset' Needs a Reset

Barack Obama joined the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, where he's considered little more than a nuisance and a source of endless jokes. Sort of like here.

Sep. 6, 2013

Barack Obama, attempting to drum up support for an ineffectual assault on Syria, joined the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, this week, where he’s considered little more than a nuisance and a source of endless jokes. Sort of like here. Obama launched his “reset” with Russia when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, attempting to use a clever prop, presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a giant “reset” button, only to be told that the Russian word “Peregruzka” printed on the button didn’t translate to “reset” but “overloaded.”

And it’s been all down hill since then.

Unlike George W. Bush, who clearly commanded the respect of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama appears wimpy – and the former KGB agent has taken full advantage of his adversary’s weakness. Indeed, Obama demonstrated to the world prior to his re-election his willingness to subordinate our national interests to those of Russia when he was caught on an open mike assuring then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, “After my election I’ll have more flexibility.”

In regard to Syria, Putin said of Secretary of State John Kerry’s congressional testimony that he “lies openly.” Putin claims – plausibly – that al-Qaida and other Islamist insurgents were actually behind the chemical attacks, endeavoring to bait the U.S. into striking Syria, which will unify Islamists throughout the region. Putin is now threatening to provide Syria with missile defense capabilities if Obama proceeds with an attack.

Of course, the State Department dismissed Putin’s charge, but could Russian intelligence in the region be credible in regard to the rising Islamist threat? Perhaps as credible as the specific intelligence Russia shared with us on the Boston bombers long before their murderous attack at the Boston Marathon – warnings that the U.S. largely ignored.

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