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.
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