A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Obama Trades His Oath for Russian Campaign Contribution

Daren Jonescu

Obama has been caught on mic telling outgoing Russian president Medvedev that he will be able to compromise more on on missile defense after reelection.
In a moment too perfect to have been planned, President Obama has been caught on tape informing Dmitry Medvedev that after the 2012 election, he, Obama, will have greater "flexibility" in dealing with Russia's demands regarding nuclear treaties, among other unnamed "issues." Sadly, too many conservatives seem willing to let this moment pass without serious discussion, as though there were nothing to see here. This neglect is another product of the general cynicism about politics that has pervaded Western civilization, and that serves only the interests of those who would undermine that civilization with impunity.

In fact, even those who have given this incident the attention it deserves have been so focussed on Obama's words that they may be missing an element of this scenario that is at least as important as Obama's continuing sell-out of U.S. national defense, but which only becomes apparent when one turns the spotlight onto Medvedev.

Obama, apparently not aware that his voice is within range of a nearby microphone, says, "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved—but it's important for him to give me space."

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

Obama continues: "This is my last election. After my election I'll have more flexibility."

Medvedev responds, "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir by myself."

First of all, let us note the obvious: "Flexibility" in this context can only mean more freedom to give Vladimir Putin what he wants. Why else would an American president need to hide his intentions on arms negotiations with Russia during his re-election campaign? He is telling Medvedev, in no uncertain terms, that he can do more of what Putin demands, but only after he is no longer directly accountable to American voters.

Those who wish to dismiss this exchange as just "the usual backroom dealing" must think this through carefully. The secretiveness of the arrangement is not, in itself, the problem. "Secret" (i.e. private) negotiations are a part of intergovernmental decision-making, of course. The question of legitimacy turns not on the matter of secrecy versus transparency, but rather on the nature of what is being discussed in secret. Secret negotiations about how to achieve the nation's best interests—that is, strategic or methodological negotiations—are a foreign affairs necessity. Negotiating those interests themselves—that is, treating vital national interests as bargaining chips—and keeping this secret precisely from the nation whose interests are at stake, is a different matter entirely.

A U.S. president has just told the leaders of an unfriendly nation that he wants to make concessions to them on matters of national defense, but that he cannot do so until after he has freed himself from having to answer to the American people. In other words, he has explicitly made himself a servant, not of U.S. national interests, but of Russian national interests. He is assuring the Russians that he intends to satisfy their wishes, as soon as American public opinion ceases to be an obstacle. This, I suggest, is the kind of government secrecy that ought to cause alarm.

Notice, moreover, the manner of Obama's expression, and of Medvedev's replies. For one thing, Obama's presumption is that it is Putin, the president-elect, not Medvedev, the sitting president with him in Seoul, whom he must appease. And Medvedev is completely unperturbed by this way of speaking. He, too, speaks as though Putin is the real boss here.

In fact, Obama's plea for "space," and Medvedev's sober repetition of this term, is reminiscent of all those scenes in gangster movies wherein the small-time crook begs Mr. Big's enforcer for more time. "Tell him I can get the money next week. He just needs to be patient. I promise I won't let him down." At this moment, there is no more powerful gangster on the planet than Vladimir Putin. He is the ultimate Mr. Big. Obama's deferential pleading for "space" shows him, accurately, as the ultimate small-time crook.

The importance of the exchange, in the minds of the participants, is suggested by Medvedev's own choice of words.

Obama says Putin needs to "give me space." Medvedev replies, "I understand your message." That's awfully formal wording, isn't it, especially for someone who clearly has the upper hand in the situation? Then, when Obama says, "After my election I'll have more flexibility," Medvedev ramps up the formality to bizarre heights: "I will transmit this information to Vladimir by myself." "Transmit this information" is exceedingly impersonal language, almost suggestive of a chain of command. This exchange, therefore, is not informal talk. Rather, Medvedev is acting as an official go-between in this matter, using phraseology suited to the imparting of information within a hierarchy, and emphasizing the importance of the "message"—while also revealing the importance of reassuring Obama that Mr. Big will hear it—by promising to "transmit" the message personally.

Is this part of some paranoid conspiracy theory? Not in the least. I am not suggesting that Obama is a Kremlin plant, or that his exchange with Medvedev contains some secret coded message. The message is quite unencrypted and straightforward: "I want to meet Putin's demands, but I can't do it until after the U.S. election." The fact that Obama emphasizes that this is his "last election" is also telling. He is not merely saying, "I have to be careful what I do during a campaign season." He is talking about being permanently free from electoral scrutiny, and thus able to do things—sign or scrap treaties, reconfigure international military commitments, and so on—for which he will (in his own mind) be accountable to no one. No one, that is, except KGB Lieutenant-Colonel Vladimir Putin, who, after the KGB failed to overthrow the moderate Gorbachev regime, quit the official communist spy agency, turned "legitimate," and became a statesman whose ersatz "soul" a Republican president believed he could see, and trust—and whose patience Obama is begging for in this revealing encounter with Mr. Big's puppet/stand-in.

This is a key point: The man Obama is promising to accommodate as soon as the American public is out of the way can only be identified as a threat to the West. He is an anti-democratic thug within his own nation, and uses his U.N. veto powers to thwart Western interests in every possible way. If Obama had been caught on tape promising Raul Castro to end U.S. sanctions against Cuba, but only after the election, because he needs to win the swing state of Florida, conservatives would rightly be screaming from the rooftops. A national security sell-out to Putin is far more serious than that.

As I noted at the outset, there is another aspect of this exchange that ought to give one pause, but that has been overlooked, as everyone has been focussed on Obama's words alone. The last part of the exchange, accompanied by a warm handshake between the two presidents, carries an implication regarding Russian policy towards the U.S. election itself: The Kremlin wants Obama to win. They want something that he, and perhaps he alone at this time, can give them. Thus, Obama is telling Medvedev and Putin that he needs them to help smooth his path to electoral victory by downplaying the controversial issue of scrapping or altering major defense programs in Russia's favor. In other words, he needs the Russians to soft-pedal this issue until after the election—to give him space—so as not to put him in the uncomfortable position of having to defend these plans before the American people. This dialogue, then, concerns not only what Obama will do for the Russians after the election, but also what the Russians will do for him before the election.

It is this "information," specifically, that Medvedev repeatedly reassures Obama that he "understands," and that he will personally "transmit" to Vladimir. The Kremlin is going to modify its rhetoric to help Obama win the election, in order to get the defense concessions they know they would be less likely to get from any other U.S. president. If all goes well with this plan, Obama will get his second term to complete the socialization of the U.S. economy—just think how "flexible" he will feel on domestic issues after his "last election"—and, in exchange, Russia will get something along the lines of a treaty guaranteeing that U.S. missile defense, if it proceeds at all, will never be used to defend against the unfriendly thugocracy with the biggest arsenal of missiles. Consider the terms of that trade, and the fact that Medvedev seems both eager and very formal in accepting it, and then ask yourself again whether this is the permissible type of secret negotiation.

This mistakenly recorded exchange might have admitted of other interpretations, such as that Obama was playing a chess game with Medvedev/Putin, had he not previously shown himself anxious to bend over backwards to satisfy Russian arms demands, at the expense of official promises made to allies such as Poland and the Czech Republic—allies who are in the precarious position of understanding better than anyone what it means to trust the motives of the Russian government. And "bending over backwards" is the correct term here, as it precisely describes the "flexibility" that Obama says he will have for the Russians after the election.

Obama has a considerable list of mentors and associates—not to mention appointees—who have previously identified themselves as communists, Maoists, or socialists, but who, facing the historical winds, have subsequently adopted more "moderate" rhetoric and/or behavior. In at least some cases, it is entirely likely that the only real change these people underwent concerned outward presentation, or practical methods, rather than ultimate political beliefs or long-range hopes. Many of those Obama-affiliated leftists, such as William Ayers, Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Frank Marshall Davis, etc., overtly saw themselves as workers for the Soviet or Maoist cause, regardless of whether they had any direct contact or affiliation with their spiritual leaders overseas. They wished to be appreciated and approved of by their heroes in the Kremlin, or in Beijing.

Barack Obama, likewise, shows an unnatural desire to "impress" a Russian leader. "Tell Vladimir not to worry about me," he, in effect, informs Medvedev. "I promise that in the end, regardless of what I might say publicly before my 'last election,' I won't let him down."

Mr. Big will give him the time he needs. This small-time crook is still useful to the organization.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by