Obama to Russian leader: I’ll cave after I’m re-elected

Just a reminder, to those ambivalent about President Obama’s track record in his first term, of the kinds of things that could await us once he no longer has to run for re-election. From ABC News’ Jake Tapper:

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.”

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.

The exchange:

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.

Medvedev got his gist the first time, but Obama went ahead and made it quite explicit that he would cave to Putin once he’s safely ensconced in his second term. A couple of administration officials could only give half-hearted defenses of the president’s words to Tapper — after all, how do you defend Obama here?

The vaunted “reset” with Russia, botched even in its symbolism from the beginning, has been an utter failure. Moscow has been no help regarding Iran or Syria, its bullying domination of its “near abroad” has continued unabated, and all we have to show for it is less of a commitment on our part to erecting a missile defense that never had anything to do with curtailing Russia; Putin’s protests to the contrary were laughable to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the kinds of missiles in question.

And now, we get a preview of the further backtracking — er, resetting — toward the untrustworthy Putin we can expect in a second Obama term. One has to wonder which other world leaders have received such requests for “space,” and to what ends.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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333 comments Add your comment

getalife

March 26th, 2012
12:10 pm

cave?

Flexibility does not mean cave.

Speaking of caving, you chose the newt who invented the mandate so you caved on the mandate kyle.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 26th, 2012
12:11 pm

Not to mention obozo only merits an audience with Putin’s right hand stooge.

They own his a$$.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 26th, 2012
12:15 pm

obozo’s already been punked on missile defense so you can only imagine what major national security component he will imperil.

If he get’s the chance, just sayin…

Mark

March 26th, 2012
12:18 pm

carlosgvv

March 26th, 2012
12:21 pm

An honest reading of this exchange shows this could be interpreted in many ways. Kyle, you aren’t making yourself look good by putting the worst possible interpretation on these words. It is far from clear exactly what Obama means here.

Dusty

March 26th, 2012
12:22 pm

Well, I am ready to give President Obama all the space he wants….right after the next election…. out in his own little villa far from Washington.. in a field of pineapples if so desired.

NO more WhiteHouse for him! We gave Obama a chance. He couldn’t handle it. No more chapters in this fractious fairy tale. End of story!!

JF McNamara

March 26th, 2012
12:26 pm

Is the plan to bomb Russia now?

ragnar danneskjold

March 26th, 2012
12:30 pm

Obama was merely confirming that unemployment is liberating.

Mudfoot

March 26th, 2012
12:32 pm

Regardless of Obama and his actions, it’s truly a sad day for America as we have implemented a “shove your compromise up yer butt” political policy, especially since politics REQUIRE compromise. Despite that moderates and centrists from both parties are being ousted via pressure from their peers and the vote of the intolerant populace. While this makes for great TV and lots of fuel for the melodramatic to throw upon the fire, it accomplishes NOTHING and slows any progress or improvement to a standstill or worse. It’s childish, it’s self-defeating and it’s pointless, yet this is the mindset that has overtaken a large portion of the voting populace and it is also the mindset that the media (on both sides) are all to eager to highlight, promote and profit from. This piece is a perfect example of that, and the comments will most likely illustrate my comments regarding voters quite well also.

Wake up America – While it’s probably fun and easy to embrace the demogogues and the melodramatics while amongst friends and peers, it is completely counter-productive in the stewardship of a country.. Can’t you folk just watch reality tv or something for your drama fix?

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
12:35 pm

carlosgvv: OK, give us a scenario in which Obama needs the “flexibility” of never needing re-election again in order to get what the U.S. needs in this case. I suppose it could be something that is more hawkish than his left-wing base would like — but is that the kind of thing he would advertise in this way to Moscow? I don’t think so.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 26th, 2012
12:40 pm

To our foreign policy resume, which already includes war loser, islam enabler, iran sniveling coward, American troop disarmer, shrinker of the armed forces, Israel’s newest enemy, flower power punk, we can now add 2nd rate Russian stooge.

But hey, he gave the order to kill bin biden, while hiding in the White House, of course.

Wow, aren’t we impressed?

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
12:40 pm

Mudfoot: We already “compromised” with Russia on missile defense: They got what they wanted (we agreed not to build in Poland/Czech Republic) and we didn’t get what we wanted (meaningful help with Iran). I can’t envision a scenario that fits with the “flexibility” Obama described that works out any better for us.

Dusty

March 26th, 2012
12:42 pm

The thought of Obama talking with Putin over a defense system in Europe is almost comical.

Putin, another strong man of old Russia with long tough experience and little charisma, meets with “let’s have a beer” Obama of little or no experience in defense or diplomacy. What a match! The community organizer with the Russian lion. Wow!

This is downright scary. I imagine the Europeans are somewhat dazed at that thought. Me too! Giving Obama any big problem to settle is pitiful. His Chicago crowd can’t handle a big one and he can’t either.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 26th, 2012
12:43 pm

While the use of the term “cave” is probably the most negative connotation to describe what the current Disaster-in-Chief will do if re-elected, there is NO denying that he wishes to kick the can down the road rather than taking a principled stand on this issue.

It shows that the current Disaster-in-Chief has his re-election interests squarely ahead of the interests of the United States of America, and proves once again his total lack of leadership skills.

Don't Tread

March 26th, 2012
12:44 pm

To liberals, “compromise” means “give me what I want and you pay for it”.

Intown

March 26th, 2012
12:44 pm

This is the same old tired BS about Dem Presidents being weak-kneed on foreign policy. Truth is, we have yet to find a good foreign policy on Russia in the Putin/Medvedev era. Neither Bush (who in 1999-2000 campaigned on a foreign policy of having stronger ties with Mexico and Russia) nor Obama have had much success so far. I don’t see Romney or Santorum fairing any better. Russia and Putin do not exactly have the most trustworthy track record.

JF McNamara

March 26th, 2012
12:45 pm

If Russia decided to put “missile defense” in Cuba, how would we feel about that? Isn’t that like the Poland, Czech…What, wait, that happened?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 26th, 2012
12:45 pm

Enter your comments here

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 26th, 2012
12:46 pm

Bernie, in case you missed it, Cynthia Tucker and Kyle were both here at the same time. He didn’t replace her.

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
12:47 pm

JF: That’s a completely inapt analogy regarding the actual technology involved.

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
12:48 pm

Intown: You are right about one thing: We have been misjudging Putin for more than a decade. But doesn’t that make it even more egregious that any U.S. president would continue to make this mistake?

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
12:49 pm

Tiberius: Don’t encourage him.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 26th, 2012
12:49 pm

“If Russia decided to put “missile defense” in Cuba, how would we feel about that?”

A. This is known as a deflection. Used when people cannot argue the point at hand.

B. I suspect we’d say “Have at it”. It IS a “defensive” system, is it not?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 26th, 2012
12:52 pm

If Cheney got a new heart, doesn’t that mean it’s time for obozo to get a new spine?

Dusty

March 26th, 2012
12:52 pm

Bernie, 12:41

You can find Cynthia Tucker right over in Athens, Georgia where she helps journalism students learn how to write prejudiced political columns.

Obviously you do not like Kyle because he does not write prejudiced columns. Just sensible, reasonable truthful information which is not the kind of thing you like.

But shhh….don’t tell.. Bookman is trying to be just like Tucker. Go there and find what you seek. Bye bye….enjoy!

Darwin

March 26th, 2012
12:53 pm

How would you like it if the Russians got with Mexico to build a missle defense shield to defend against Cuba? That’s what I thought. The right wing uses war to scare people. That’s what the cold war was about. Oh, I thought we won that. The right wing uses any chance they get for a confrontation. That’s why we’re so loved in the world. Thanks Kyle.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 26th, 2012
12:55 pm

Darwin, see my 12:49.

It applies to you as well.

JF McNamara

March 26th, 2012
12:56 pm

@Kyle,
It’s not inapt. We were going to build 10 missile silos for interceptors in Poland. Why would Russia trust us to use those bases from defense only? From their perspective, we could lie and put nukes on their doorstep. Would we trust them to just put “interceptors” in Cuba?
@Tiberius – Your lightning rod of hate!
It’s not a deflection. Read Kyle at 12:40.

Ayn Rant

March 26th, 2012
12:58 pm

Cave in to what? Let’s hope that Obama abandons the crazy Bush-Cheney scheme to put a huge US missile base in the southern suburbs of St. Petersburg, just over the border in Poland. Yeh, it’s supposed to be a missile defense system against Iran’s nuclear-tipped missiles; actually it’s just the last gasp of the useless “Star Wars” military spending program started by the Reagan administration.

Putin objects to a US missile launch facility on the eastern border of his country, just as we’d object to a Russian or Chinese missile launch facility in Canada near Chicago and Detroit. And, any thinking person can figure out the futility of spending billions on an unreliable weapon system that may be able to destroy a few missiles, given plenty of advance warning.

Jefferson

March 26th, 2012
1:03 pm

Again, you are probably wrong there Kyle, stick to the Ga assembly there are theifs among them.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 26th, 2012
1:05 pm

Funny how liberals like Any Rant who bow down to the altar of science (no problems there if your science is accurate, btw), yet decry a system as “unreliable” and we should therefore not do it.

In case you missed it, Ayn, every freakin’ rocket we tried to test during the early days of the Mercury program blew up spectacularly. It would certainly fall into your description of “unreliable”. Yet we continued on and the space program was a huge success.

You don’t avoid things because they are hard; in fact, that’s why you do them at all.

stands for decibels

March 26th, 2012
1:08 pm

Flexibility does not mean cave.

Does if you’re a cave man…

Ugg! Mighty warrior! Ugg smash enemies!

carlosgvv

March 26th, 2012
1:15 pm

Kyle – 12:35

Well, let’s see. If he does not have to worry about re-election, he can take more decisive action without worrying about Republicans distorting everything he does. As for “more flexibility” on missile defence, you and I both know this could be taken in any number of ways.

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
1:17 pm

JF @ 12:56: We were going to give them the right to inspect the sites, if I remember correctly.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 26th, 2012
1:22 pm

So worrying about his re-election takes precedence over the safety and security of the United States and their allies, carlos?

Got it. :roll:

MarkV

March 26th, 2012
1:27 pm

This is about the worst article Kyle has written in a long time, insulting and totally reprehensible. To put his own interpretation of “being flexible” to mean “to cave” might be expected from some of the rabid Obama-haters on this blog, but it is unforgivable from someone who calls himself a journalist.

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
1:28 pm

And it’s an inapt analogy because there is no country on our side of the world threatening Russia. There is no equivalent to Iran here.

Anyway, the Russian acceptance of a system on our warships in the Black Sea — a less favorable position for us and for Europe, but no better geographically for Russia — gives away the game. It had nothing to do with Russia feeling threatened; it was because Moscow wants to maintain its historical influence over Central and Eastern Europe, to have in effect a veto over Western policy in that region. And it was unacceptable in my view, especially in light of that history (see more here), for Obama to effectively grant them that veto.

Jefferson

March 26th, 2012
1:28 pm

A petty shot is pretty petty, but that’s what you expect from people who act petty. Drama, theatrics…hate… love, peace and SOUL.

JF McNamara

March 26th, 2012
1:28 pm

@Kyle,

We inspected Iran’s nuclear facilities and Saddam’s weapons caches. How did that work out for us?

Russia doesn’t trust us, and we don’t trust Russia (on nearly anything). I’m good with that arrangement.

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
1:30 pm

MarkV: I’ll offer you the same challenge I’ve offered others today, to no avail: Describe for me a scenario regarding missile defense for which Obama would tell Russia he needs the “flexibility” he would get from being in his second term, and in which he would do something that serves our interests and would not be seen as yielding to Moscow.

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
1:31 pm

JF @ 1:28: Actually, it was a lack of inspection and full access that led to the tensions with both countries, and ultimately war in Iraq.

John

March 26th, 2012
1:33 pm

It is nothing short of treason. He is promising to weaken America’s defenses for Russia in exchange for Putin going easy on him in an election year. There is no other way to spin this.

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
1:37 pm

Bernie: My tolerance is high, but your attacks have become more and more bizarre and outrageous. You’re done here.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 26th, 2012
1:37 pm

If flexibility means cave by Obama, what does walking through a garden holding a Saudi Prince’s hand mean?

Sounds like Kyle is hitting the Panic button seven months early. Be patient, you’ll win a few House seats. Don’t panic yet.

Finn McCool (Class Warfare = Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 26th, 2012
1:39 pm

Describe for me a scenario

Obama said just last week we have way more missiles than we could ever use…

MarkV

March 26th, 2012
1:41 pm

Kyle Wingfield @1:30 pm

Kyle,
We here are not those, who will do any negotiation with the Russians. We can speculate on any such scenario all we want, and whether we found one that fits your requirement or not is totally irrelevant. Nothing you can say will negate the fact that you have put your own insulting interpretation to Obama’s words, an interpretation that is completely disgraceful. You have put yourself fully in line with those here who claim that Obama’s goal is to hurt the US, and I can only express my contempt for that.

Big D

March 26th, 2012
1:41 pm

Sounds to me like Obama is ready to give Russia control over our security if his is reelected. Imagine liberals running both houses and the white house completely disarming us. Amazing and very scary.

Kyle Wingfield

March 26th, 2012
1:43 pm

To all who disagree with me, let me put it this way:

Suppose Obama were to be caught on a hot mic asking Netanyahu for “space” until his re-election so that he had more “flexibility” regarding Iran. How many of you would think he meant something Netanyahu would not like and which would be popular here in the U.S.?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 26th, 2012
1:43 pm

“President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

THAT is the reprehensible part, MarkV.

Why would anyone concerned with the security and safety of America and her allies be concerned about their re-election more than doing the right thing for US first?

My God, man! This is the guy you libs think practically walks on water for crying out loud! The guy who got Bin Laden! The guy who saved the auto industry! The guy who pulled us back from the precipice of a Depression!

And he has to wait for re-election to make this next big decision? Who’s kidding who here? Surely you don’t think he’s going to delay his decision because he’s going to get tough with the Russians, do you? It’s not as if he’s going to lose any of the left-wing whack-jobs out there, even if he gets too tough for Pete’s sake!

His future position is either going to be weak, or appear to be weak, and as we know it’s so much better to sell out your country once you’ve been ensconced in your cushy chair for another 4 years.

“Reprehensible” is the current Disaster-in-Chief’s middle name.

carlosgvv

March 26th, 2012
1:44 pm

Tiberius – 1:22

No one with any reading comprehension skills could possibly come to that conclusion based on my post.