Obama's Big Fail on Resetting Russia

Even knowing that Russia is ruled by a proud KGB who despises the USA, and even knowing that America is led by a shameless liar and coward whose "reset" policy is not worth the paper is was printed on, it is still surprising how relentlessly and aggressively Russia has pursued its anti-American foreign policy in recent days.

Russia stood alone to support mass-murdering Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad while the rest of the world condemned his latest blood orgy.  Russia even went so far as to seek to fan the flames of Arab nationalism across the region.

It invited mass-murdering North Korean dictator  Kim Jong-il for a friendly visit.

It loaned billions to mass-murdering Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez so he could buy even more weapons.

It feted the lunatic dictator of Cuba, mass-murderer Fidel Castro, with verbal laurels worthy of Gandhi or Ronald Reagan.

When the West sought to bar arms shipments to Bahrain over terrorist concerns, Russia leaped immediately into the breach.

And it ratcheted up its foreign policy initiatives to assist the mass-murdering dictator of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Such actions are surprising because of Russia's palpable weakness.  Though Russia's economy is not plagued by debt and has substantial reserves, the Russian stock market recently lost a stunning fifth of its value when the US market took a lesser tumble because Russia's market is fully enslaved by American demand for crude oil.  Russia does not rank in the top 130 nations of the world for life expectancy or in the top 50 for per capita GDP, where Russia is easily bettered by the likes of Lithuania, Poland, and Hungary.  Russia can ill afford its alienating, war-mongering policies, but Putin does not seem to know it.

The Putin regime's aggressive, anti-American actions are perhaps still more surprising because Russia has only recently been confronted by the brutal reality of its total failure in Libya.  There, Russia actively opposed efforts to support the grassroots pro-democracy movement and it now faces the ire of the rebels and total exclusion from the Libyan oil market.

Moreover, Russian foreign policy has been equally disastrous in its near abroad. 

In Georgia, Russian imperialistic aggression has been so soundly rebuffed that not a single major nation of the world has recognized the annexation of Ossetia and Abkhazia, while political support for the Saakashvili government has dramatically increased and it is even more firmly ensconced in power than before the 2008 invasion.

In Ukraine, while Russia thought it had a pro-Moscow president in the election of Victor Yanukovich, in fact the new leader turned on Russia almost immediately, making vigorous moves towards the European Union and accusing Russia of rigging gas deals against Ukraine.  Even worse, he has launched his country on an aggressive program of energy self-sufficiency, one that will soon wipe out Russian influence.

Western attitudes towards Russia have been scathing and blunt.  One commentator, for instance, accuses Russia of having a foreign policy characterized by a "colossal extent of confusion, denial and duplicity" which "does not befit a major power that has privileges and commitments, as a country that holds the veto right at the Security Council and as a country that has a duty to preserve world peace and security."

And that is, of course, correct.  Yet Russia does not appear to have learned anything at all from this repeated frustration and failure when using neo-Soviet anti-American tactics, and does not seem to fear its own weakness and vulnerability. 

And the most important reason why may well be the softness and the weakness of the Obama administration's response to Russian aggression, which has no other name but appeasement.  Feeling no pressure from Washington, Putin apparently believes he is free to continue his anti-American policies without real consequences abroad other than those that the failure of the policy itself generates.  And even when Putin fails to keep anti-American maniacs in power, his efforts to do so roil the petroleum markets, and this inures directly to Russia's benefit.

The strangest feature of the Obama "reset" with Russia is that it was no reset at all.  George W. Bush infamously looked into Putin's eyes, saw his soul, and pronounced him trustworthy.  He then proceeded to turn a blind eye to Putin's long litany of political murders, and even hosted a notorious Chechnya war criminal in the Oval Office.  So if Obama really intended a reset, he would have begun defending the American values that Bush let slide.

But what Obama actually did was to put the reckless Bush policy on steroids, purging every last hint of opposition (Bush had steadfastly insisted on a missile defense system for Eastern Europe, for instance) and sitting down with Putin's puppet president to munch cheeseburgers.  So Obama ought to be condemned by conservatives and liberals alike, and ridden out of Washington on a rail so that a real American president can actually reset American policy, returning it to the proper path laid down by Ronald Reagan.