The results of Barack Obama’s “reset” of U.S. relations with Russia are now in. They are, like the rest of Obama’s foreign policy record, disappointing.
Obama said that in exchange for a reset, Russia would support a new nuclear arms reduction treaty. Russia did, but in name only: the actual reductions to U.S. and Russian missile stockpiles were marginal and insignificant. What really happened is that Obama signed a Potemkin treaty, supplying himself with fodder for his reelection campaign assuming he was willing to lie about the contents of the agreement. No problem there, it seems.
The other major promise Obama made was that Russia would support a new round of sanctions against Iran. Same result: Russia did so, in name only. Russia insisted on a shockingly watered-down agreement which is in no way different than the trio of similar agreements it supported during the Bush years. Russia is exempted from all provisions restricting sales of weapons and nuclear technology to Iran, and there is no threat of military action or any financial sanctions with serious bite. Before the ink was dry, Russia was blustering, threatening “payback” in the event any Russian interests were impaired by the sanctions.
The price that has been paid for these illusory “victories” has been truly extraordinary.
Obama has sold out the people of Georgia and the people of Eastern Europe, all of whom had hoped for something at least a little better from the land of the free and the home of the brave. Worse, Obama has sold out the people of Russia itself. By ignoring events ranging from the brutal arrest and beating of activists trying to hold peaceful public meetings, to the even more horrifying harvesting of vital organs from young draftees induced to commit suicide by barbaric hazing, to the pandemic official corruption that undermines the very foundations of the country, the Obama government has sent a clear message to Vladimir Putin that he may abuse Russia’s population just as he likes so long as he helps Obama win reelection.