Obama's Russian Disaster

The point of President Barack Obama's much-ballyhooed "reset" of relations with Vladimir Putin's Russia was simple: Get Russia to stop supporting American enemies and use its influence to reduce the threat of nuclear terror being rained down on the West by the world's rogue regimes. 

Obama was ready, willing, and able to betray Russian human rights activists by selling American values down the river in order do get this deal done, and he promptly gave them the cold shoulder. He was even willing to totally ignore Russia's horrific problem of race murder and its invasion of tiny Georgia for imperial conquest.

Last week, Obama learned the wisdom of Ronald Reagan's famous advice on Russia: "Trust, but verify."

Despite Obama's best efforts, including a unilateral withdrawal of the Bush anti-ballistic missile plan for Eastern Europe, Putin traveled to Venezuela, shook hands with a beaming Hugo Chávez, and announced (video here) that Russia would provide Chávez with both a nuclear energy capacity and a rocket program, the same as it has done for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran.

In the last five years, Putin has sold Chávez over $4 billion in weapons, from attack helicopters to assault rifles. In a truly unhinged statement, Putin claimed: "Our goal is to make the world more democratic." By this, Putin meant that undermining American interests and jeopardizing American national security will enhance the power and prestige of his KGB regime in Moscow, something he would like to assert will make the world a better place to live in.

Chávez was less subtle: "The Yankee empire doesn't want us to have one single little plane. We don't really care what Washington thinks."

The same result occurred in regard to Iran. Ignoring Obama, Russia announced that it would go forward not only with finalizing a major nuclear power plant for Iran, but also with providing the rogue state with a missile defense system to ward off an Israeli attack.

So the net result is this: Obama has forsaken the cause of freedom and democracy in Russia and signaled that former Soviet space is now Russia's playground. In return, he has received the makings of a new Cuban missile crisis in our hemisphere and all-out war in the Middle East.

When Obama announced the "reset" with Russia, he sent Hillary Clinton to Moscow with an actual prop "reset" button that used the wrong Russian word. It was a sign of things to come. Bad things.

Make no mistake: The Putin regime stands to benefit enormously from turmoil in Venezuela and Iran. Such disturbances, in addition to undermining American power, serve to unnerve world oil markets, driving up prices. Russia, a leading oil exporter, profits directly from such price increases.

And the hypocrisy coming out of Russia is as breathtaking as the provocation. A wave of terror attacks has swept Russia in recent days. First, two subway stations in downtown Moscow were hit by suicide bombers, causing three dozen fatalities. Then there was another in the city of Kizlyar, in the southern province of Dagestan, with a dozen more killed. Finally, a freight train was blown off the rails, again in Dagestan. Russia has responded, amazingly, by calling for solidarity from Western countries in a united struggle against Islamic fanatics.

But only weeks ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, likened by many analysts to a tarantula, invited Khaled Meshaal, leader of the Hamas terrorist organization, to Moscow. That Russians would have the audacity, while supporting Hamas, Iran, and Venezuela, to ask for Western solidarity on terror bespeaks the same sort of unhinged, oblivious nonsense spewed forth from the Russian government in Soviet times.

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.