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July 08, 2009

Obama To Russia: Hey Guys, Thanks For Ending The Cold War

This was from his speech yesterday in Moscow that was kind of overlooked* but some of it is stunning.

And then, within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Now, make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.

That's who ended the Cold War peacefully? Really? Not the generations of Americans who stood watch for decades deterring Soviet expansionism? Not dissidents who rotted in gulags for years keeping the flame of liberty alive during the long winter of communist rule?

It certainly wasn't Ronald Reagan who broke the paradigm which said the Soviet rule was cast in stone, contained perhaps but never to be rolled back.

America...just one of many nations, nothing special.

I guess I should be happy that Obama didn't apologize for our efforts during the Cold War, what with all we did to thwart the efforts of the Soviets to spread Communism around the world and all.

This speech, along with the one in Cairo, shows a major flaw in Obama, his willingness to say nice things about people that simply aren't true. Yes, it's polite to say something kind about your hosts but you can not build real relations on lies and flattery. His desire to prop up the hurt feelings of Russians, and before that Muslims, may make them feel good and him popular but it is dangerous when real world events and policies collide with Obama's fantasy version.

Unfortunately, his vision for the future of US-Russia relations is just as muddleheaded. As he said in the speech,

To begin with, let me be clear: America wants a strong, peaceful, and prosperous Russia.

...So as we honor this past, we also recognize the future benefit that will come from a strong and vibrant Russia. Think of the issues that will define your lives: security from nuclear weapons and extremism; access to markets and opportunity; health and the environment; an international system that protects sovereignty and human rights, while promoting stability and prosperity. These challenges demand global partnership, and that partnership will be stronger if Russia occupies its rightful place as a great power.

Yet unfortunately, there is sometimes a sense that old assumptions must prevail, old ways of thinking; a conception of power that is rooted in the past rather than in the future. There is the 20th century view that the United States and Russia are destined to be antagonists, and that a strong Russia or a strong America can only assert themselves in opposition to one another. And there is a 19th century view that we are destined to vie for spheres of influence, and that great powers must forge competing blocs to balance one another.

No where does he mention the fact that the key to achieving this desired state is a decent and representative government in Russia or that this in America or Russia's interest. Sure, he talks briefly about the need to respect certain freedoms much later in the speech but never address it directly to Russia and never in the context of how those freedoms are part of bringing about the kind of relationship he wants to see. In fact, he does quite the opposite when he uses the example of his support for returning Zelaya to power in Honduras....do whatever you want at home and we'll still do business with you.

I don't think we should only do business with countries we like or who have governments we approve of but the reality is we have to realize that thugs like Putin, Chavez, Khamenei will use foreign relations to to stir up trouble to bolster their support at home. If you are counting on autocrats to buy into this liberal vision of international order, you are simply an idiot who doesn't their true nature or for ideological reasons you want them to succeed.

Do business with them when you have to but don't count on them to be anything but trouble in the long run.

During the primaries last year I wondered if Obama was a bumbling fool who would do damage to the country or crafty leftists who would do damage to the country. I'm leaning more towards the latter these days.

Oh and for a little extra fun, Obama opened the speech by saying he met Michelle at law school. Apparently he forgot how the greatest love story ever began. Ooops.**

*As "Original Roy" points out in the comments Jimbo caught this yesterday. In my defense, no one ever said reading this blog was a prerequisite to writing for it.

**I changed that link to get rid of the HufPo piece and because the story is more interesting as Say Anything. Thanks to Slu for the tip.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:21 AM

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