At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”To be fair, discussions about needing space or room to maneuver in foreign affairs for domestic political reasons are held all the time. It's practical and not treasonous (layman sense, not legal sense).
The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.
President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.
President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…
President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.
But in terms of the substance here ... well, let's just say there is a reason why the Democrats are perceived as being very, very weak on national security. It's crap like this: effectively promising to give away our missile defense for nothing.
Not only is a policy of giving up our missile defense not in US interests, Obama's statements tip off a plan to lie to the American people that he will not give up missile defense in order to get a second term in which he plans to do exactly that.
By the way, this is a by-product of Senator Richard Lugar's (R-Virginia -- why do they get three senators when Indiana gets only one?) inexcusable START treaty. Where is Indiana's non-resident senator on this?
Where to start? How 'bout Ed Morrissey?
This, to quote our Vice President, is “a big f*****g deal.” What solution does Obama envision that would pay off for Putin so much that the Russians would agree to the “space” necessary by keeping quiet about US plans for its deployment? The only possible answer would be the dismantling of even the smaller missile-defense system to which Obama committed in 2009. And it looks as though Obama has already tipped his hand to the Russians — against whom this particular defense system would be mainly ineffective anyway — in exchange for political assistance to influence the election.Doug Powers:
Obama won’t share these plans with the American people. However, he’ll share them with the Russians, and ask for their help in influencing the election. That should tell American voters all they need to know about this President.
In public, the US and Russia have some disagreements on European missile defense. In private, thanks to a hot mic at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, we know that behind the scenes President Obama is saying to Medvedev and Putin “if you back off this year you can have it your way after I’m re-elected.”Mike McNally:
I don’t know specifically what level of “flexibility” (read: capitulation) Obama has in mind. It’s obviously something that would be domestically unpopular enough to want to avoid publicizing in an election year and instead reserve for a possible second term that would without a doubt make his first term look miserly by comparison.
Obama is implicitly linking his ability to pursue the policies Russia would like him to pursue with regards to missile defense to the requirements of the election campaign – specifically the requirement to “sound tough” on national security issues.Yes, Ted Kennedy was a traitor, among other not-so-nice things.
He’s not saying “give me time because I don’t have time to schedule the necessary meetings and talk to the relevant people.” He’s asking for political wiggle room. And he knows that Putin wouldn’t be minded to “give him space” if there was any risk of Obama pursuing a missile defense policy that was unacceptable to Russia. A nod’s as good as a wink, as we say in Britain.
Everyone understands that politicians seeking election have to pander to their domestic constituencies and allies, but pandering to a foreign nation – and a dangerous strategic rival at that – is an alarming new tactic.
And while it was bad enough that Obama recently recruited a friendly foreign leader to his re-election bid in the shape of British Prime Minister David Cameron, this is surely the first time that an American president has asked the leader of a corrupt, hostile and thuggish nation to tacitly support his campaign.
It wouldn’t, however, be the first time a leading Democrat has sought to cooperate with the Russians for political gain. Ted Kennedy infamously traveled to the Soviet Union with an offer to help its communist rulers deal with Ronald Reagan in return for the Soviets helping the Democrats challenge Reagan in the 1984 election. (More on Teddy’s escapades here and here.)
Of course, Obama has already shown himself eager to bow to Russian concerns over missile defense, abandoning plans to station elements of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. In fact, it’s hard to see what further concessions Obama could make to the Russians with regard to missile defence, short of putting that whole 1962 misunderstanding to one side and letting them stick a few tactical nukes in Cuba.
And we know what Obama got in return for that particular aspect of his much-vaunted “reset” policy: continued Russian hindrance of international action to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, Russian belligerence over the Nato intervention in Libya, and, most recently, Russian obstruction of moves by Western nations to stop the bloodbath in Syria.
The White House and the MSM can spin this all they want (“this is not the kind of year in which we’re going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this”) but it’s a dramatic reminder of Obama’s inclination (and that of Democrats, and the liberal-left in general) to appease nations hostile to the United States, and of the president’s utter inability to demonstrate moral authority when dealing with the nastiest characters on the world stage.
William A. Jacobson:
Notice how the Obama captured when he doesn’t think he is being recorded is so differenct (sic) from campaign Obama. The ”bitter clinger” remarks and the Netanyahu put-down are the most memorable.Scott Johnson:
And there are the hot mic sound bites which the media won’t release, like CBS refusing to release the full audio of Obama’s comments about Paul Ryan, and the LA Times holding back the Khalidi tape.
The most recent hot mic is in many ways the most important, because it demonstrates once again that unrestrained by the need for reelection, Obama is going to go to town.
The man has big plans for us — the kind of plans he won’t be sharing with the American people. Not yet.At least now the GOP is speaking up. Rep. Michael Turner, chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces (not the former San Diego Charger and current Atlanta Falcon), is on it. Mitt Romney has gone on the attack saying "Russia is our 'number one geopolitical foe,'" though as Allahpundit points out, in so doing he kinda bungled it:
Something tells me this next election is a big one. Let’s kill Obama’s “space” program.
An odd line in the course of an otherwise solid attack on Obama’s dumb “hot mic” comment this morning. As you’ll see, he has something specific in mind with the term “foe” and it’s not equivalent to “threat,” but I think most people who see the soundbite version of this clip will understand it that way and come away puzzled. If you gut-check Americans on what our biggest foreign-policy problem is, the answers you’re most likely to get, I’ll bet, are Iran, Pakistan/Al Qaeda, and China. Russia is, as Romney says, frequently a stumbling block to America’s agenda abroad — look no further than Syria — but I think most of the public sees it as a fading power whose primacy of place in U.S. threat assessments was lost after the Cold War. Seems odd for the presumptive GOP nominee to suddenly name them public enemy number one.That kinda left me scratching my head, too. Russia doesn't do anything that China doesn't do, and yet none of our politicians will China our "number one geopolitical foe."
Doesn’t much matter, as the point here is to attack Obama, not Russia, and Romney does a good job of it. Can’t wait for that first Romney/Putin summit, though. Oh well: At least our “number one geopolitical foe” won’t be surprised when European missile defense is suddenly back in vogue.
Nevertheless, Romney is right on the merits, highlighting the importance of getting Obama out of office, which is why Rick Santorum and his insane, unwanted brand of social conservatism should get out of the presidential race before he makes another commercial for Obama.
Meanwhile, Poland understandably is not happy:
This president has sold out Poland once before, to the Russians, on the subject of missile defense. Today’s hot mic comment therefore comes in that context, and is having ripple effects:(Emphasis in original.) I'm thinking Poland might be having flashbacks to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Which should highlight just how despicable Obama's conduct has been concerning Poland.
Obama’s Republican rivals aren’t the only ones alarmed by his hot mic suggestion that missile defense — implicitly, defending Eastern Europe from Russia — could be softened after his re-election. The headline in the largest Polish tabloid, Fakt: “Were they trading Poland? Puzzling Obama talk with Medvedev about the missile shield.”[...]
Poland has no reason to trust this president. Most of our longstanding allies have in fact been treated shabbily by the same man who was caught conspiring with the head of Russians’ corrupt regime.
Mike McNally sums it up nicely:
There are several stories to unpack from the president’s comment. This president was caught recently, in another hot mic comment, denigrating Israel PM Benjamin Netanuahu (sic) with French President Sarkozy. That comment reinforced the strong pre-existing impression that Obama doesn’t much care for Bibi or for Israel. President Obama is known to have a longstanding opposition to nuclear weapons and missile defense. One of the few issues he is known to have weighed in on was the 1980s “nuclear freeze” movement, which opposed President Reagan’s successful drive to bolster Europe’s defenses against the Soviet Union. Nuclear freeze was in fact bankrolled in the US and across the West by the Kremlin, that fact isn’t in dispute. Whether Obama knew that at the time or since has never been established. Obama did create this video in which he promised to essentially disarm the United States, and he didn’t create that video in his college days — it came at the beginning of his run for the presidency. Today’s open mic comment falls right in line with that promise, showing again his ideological consistency from his radical college days to the present.
And then, there is the anti-democratic aspect to the president’s comments. What plans are he formulating, that make his “last election” relevant? What is he planning to do that, if the American people were aware of it, would make him unelectable? That is what he is suggesting to the Russian leader — that this final election for him creates “flexibility” on policy that he does not have now. The American people deserve some answers here.