creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Austin Bay
Austin Bay
3 Feb 2016
Japan Takes Hard Line on North Korean Missile Threat

North Korea's nuclear extortion drama, the repeated threat of nuclear attack followed by demands for food and … Read More.

27 Jan 2016
South Sudan's President Undermines Peace Deal

South Sudan's civil war began on the night of December 15, 2013, when a firefight erupted between soldiers … Read More.

20 Jan 2016
Desert Storm 25 Years Later

Twenty-five years ago this week, in the early hours of January 17, 1991, the remarkable Persian Gulf War … Read More.

Barack's Missile Message to Vladimir

Comment

As President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ended a public conference in South Korea (a nation demonstrably threatened by North Korean ballistic missiles), a still-open microphone inadvertently recorded a stunning tete-a-tete. The brief but jaw-dropping act of personal diplomacy yoked U.S. and Russian arguments over missile defense systems, a serious international security issue of long-term geo-strategic consequence, to Obama's short-term domestic political plan to secure his own re-election come November.

The whispered exchange:

Obama: "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it's important for him (Putin) to give me space."

Medvedev: "Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you ..."

Obama: "This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."

Medvedev: "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir."

Accompanying video imagery, of professionally formal faces masking noxious cynicism, is available on the Web.

Obama and his press apologists dismiss "The Missile Message," spinning it as a minor gaffe. Balderdash. Obama and Medvedev are their nations' top diplomats as well as leaders, so the personal diplomatic exchange, though arrogant, flamingly stupid and brazenly conniving, isn't minor. The apologists' agitprop disregards the men's privileged positions and insults common sense. But then a fair inference drawn from Obama's request for "space" is he believes he can tell the American people any jit and jot, and the rubes will believe. When he ran against Hillary Clinton, Obama opposed the individual mandate. In office, it became the cornerstone of his health care legislation.

The patron-donor of Obama's re-election space, former KGB agent and authoritarian strong man president-elect Vladimir Putin, will soon replace Medvedev. However, like many strong men on the planet, to include his pal, Syria's Bashar al-Assad, Putin confronts his own peoples' demand for democratic change and economic revival.

Twitter-generation Russians opposing Putin know that he and his gang are the corrupt authors and beneficiaries of Russian-brand state cronyism, a vicious economic-political amalgam combining mafia greed and muscle with streaks of communism, fascism, corporatism and czarism.

Charges of vote fraud and intimidation marred Putin's suspect re-election, but to ensure his grip on power he needed space to do what he had to do. Yes, Vladimir certainly understands Barack's request.

Losing the Cold War stung Russian pride. Putin portrays himself as the man who revived respect for Russia. As part of the act, he consistently stokes Cold War embers, to include Soviet-era anti-Americanism. The militant theater panders to hardline nationalists and distracts critics of his corruption and cronyism. Thus Obama's quid for Putin's quo is as obvious as it is geo-strategically foolish, for the U.S., U.S. allies and, ultimately, for Russia, as well. Barack will give Vladimir an international diplomatic triumph; its domestic political dividends will strengthen Putin's personal power.

Missile defense is Putin's favorite Cold War ember. In the last decade, the U.S. and NATO have built the diplomatic and technological framework to deploy an anti-missile defense designed to stop an Iranian missile volley. Turkey agreed to host a key radar site. The multilayered shield is actually rather robust, though Obama weakened it in September 2009 when he eliminated ground-based interceptors (GBI) deployment. GBIs have anti-ICBM capabilities but were no counter-force to Russian strategic missiles.

Still, Russia objected. Obama dumped the GBIs, despite howls from U.S. ally Poland.

Would Khomeinist Iran try to politically blackmail Europe with a nuclear-armed ballistic missile? Japan and South Korea decided missile defense was a sane response to North Korea's nuclear extortion racket. Exposing London and Paris to the nuclear whims of millenarian religious nuts is utterly stupid diplomacy. Countering NATO's shield thus puts Iran's ayatollahs in political debt to Russia. Putin's Moscow prefers sphere of influence to a sphere of shared security.

Obama appears to have decided his re-election, with the aid of Putin, is more important than supporting U.S. allies and pursuing responsible collective security measures against rogue regimes. Hope and change? No. A self-centered politician's political security first. American security? Not so much.

To find out more about Austin Bay, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Austin Bay
Feb. `16
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Authorís Podcast
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 8 Feb 2016
Deb Saunders
Debra J. SaundersUpdated 7 Feb 2016
Steve Chapman
Steve ChapmanUpdated 7 Feb 2016

8 Jul 2009 Here Be Dragons: Patrolling Nowhere in the 21st Century

9 Oct 2012 Is the First Balkan War Really Over?

21 Apr 2010 The Land Beyond Chitchat and Oughtta Be