Obama Is Bungling Russia

The tsunami of political devastation known as Barack Obama continues to wreak havoc abroad, both for American interests specifically and the cause of freedom and democracy generally (the two are often, happily, one and the same).

The disastrous consequences are most clearly visible in the case of Vladimir Putin's Russia.

First Obama visited Russia and displayed craven weakness before his KGB counterparts in the Kremlin. He barely even paid lip service to American values, crushing the spirits of Russia's democracy movement leaders, and his unilateral reversal of the Bush missile defense plan for Eastern Europe led only to more posturing and aggression by Russia against its neighbors and demands for more concessions from Obama.

And now, things have gotten even worse.

Obama has given the cold shoulder to Nicholas Sarkozy of France, apparently believing him to be part of the conservative rabble who are beneath his dignity to treat seriously. Panicked and offended at his loss of influence with the USA, Sarkozy has fallen back on the predictable French model: Play the Russia card.

Specifically, Sarkozy has agreed to sell Russia not one but four dangerous "Mistral" class battleships. Russia has only one purpose in mind for these vessels: It wants to use them to seal off the nation of Georgia from the sea, thereby significantly enhancing its ability to browbeat the tiny country back into the Russian "sphere of influence." This comes after Russia's failure in August 2008 to oust the democratically elected government by means of an invasion.

Sarkozy declared that "[w]e have to close ranks, the Russians and the French, because we have the same objectives." Does France plan to join Russia in buzzing American shorelines and military bases with nuclear bombers? Will it next supply Russia with state-of-the-art airplanes to carry out that purpose? Will France join Russia in seeking to repel American vessels that might sail into the Black Sea in support of the Georgian democracy? Does France approve of the Kremlin's "objective" to murder journalists, crush dissent, wipe out political diversity, and destroy freedom and liberty?

Hopefully, France's attitude towards the USA is not yet that hostile. But France must seek, of course, to maximize its influence, and if it sees that Obama has already abandoned American values and will not support French interests, then why shouldn't Sarkozy play the Russia card?

Obama's willingness to abandon his own purported values is genuinely shocking. Russia has a pandemic problem of race murder, yet when Obama visited Moscow, he ignored it. When he met with Russian human rights leaders at the White House recently, they reported that he told them, "Human rights is not the only issue that he has to take into account. Security and trade are also important, and he can't help but try to engage the governments in order to achieve result in these spheres."

Obama is apparently willing to sacrifice American values and his own principles on the altar of his fanciful notion that if he makes enough unilateral concessions to Russia and utters enough amorous phrases, he will transfer Russia's KGB government from pathological haters of America into a band of allies -- one which will, for instance, be willing to pressure Iran into giving up its dangerous nuclear weapons program.

Obama must have been surprised, then, to see Russia announce that it would press forward with its plan to sell S-300 air defense missiles to Iran. These missiles can be used to shoot down any strike force that might seek to neutralize the nuclear threat. Surely Obama was also disappointed to learn that Russia is also dramatically expanding its efforts to supply weapons to American foes in our hemisphere, including the rogue regime in Venezuela. Russia's foreign minister recently completed what the Heritage Foundation has called an "in your face tour" of Latin America.

But there is no sign of any change in Obama's policy. Worse, there is little sign from Republican quarters that conservatives are willing to step up and challenge Obama's actions, even though they are clearly on the comeback trail in light of recent electoral victories.

One would think that the lesson of Chamberlain has stuck by now: Weakness begets only  defeat. Unilateral concessions beget only demands for more of the same. If Republicans do not take immediate action to induce Obama to reverse course, then irreversible damage may be done to American interests where Russia is concerned.

Kim Zigfeld blogs on Russia at La Russophobe and writes the Russia column for Pajamas Media. She can be reached by e-mail at larussophobe@yahoo.com.