During the presidential debates, Mitt Romney said that Russia is America’s top geopolitical foe. President Barack Obama openly mocked that statement, scolding Romney that “The 1980s called. It wants its foreign policy back.”
Well, the 1980s called. It wants its foreign policy back. New Russia is behaving like a neo-Soviet empire.
Despite the Obama administration’s much heralded “reset” with Russia in 2009, Vladimir Putin has instigated or increased headache after headache for the United States around the world. Now Russia is violating a longstanding missile test treaty, reports the New York Times.
WASHINGTON — The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a letter on Monday.
It is the most serious allegation of an arms control treaty violation that the Obama administration has leveled against Russia and adds another dispute to a relationship already burdened by tensions over the Kremlin’s support for separatists in Ukraine and its decision to grant asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.
At the heart of the issue is the 1987 treaty that bans American and Russian ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles capable of flying 300 to 3,400 miles. That accord, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, helped seal the end of the Cold War and has been regarded as a cornerstone of American-Russian arms control efforts.
Russia first began testing the cruise missiles as early as 2008, according to American officials, and the Obama administration concluded by the end of 2011 that they were a compliance concern. In May 2013, Rose Gottemoeller, the State Department’s senior arms control official, first raised the possibility of a violation with Russian officials.
Russia’s violations therefore proceeded past both the 2009 “reset” and President Obama’s unilateral decision to scrap deployment of missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic. Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought nothing in exchange for that move at the time, and they got nothing for it.
Obama’s response to Russia’s violation of the treaty is similarly feckless.
In his letter to Mr. Putin, delivered by the American Embassy, Mr. Obama underscored his interest in a high-level dialogue with Moscow with the aim of preserving the 1987 treaty and discussing steps the Kremlin might take to come back into compliance. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a similar message in a Sunday phone call to Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister.
Letters and phone calls. That’ll teach ’em!
I would say that Obama is looking more and more like Neville Chamberlain every day, but most millennials won’t even get the reference because our schools barely teach history, and it would be an insult to Chamberlain. Chamberlain was misguided when he declared “peace in our time” with Hitler, but he meant well. Obama knows what he is doing, and he does not mean well.