From Russia, with Death
by RALPH PETERS
June 14, 2012
The low point of the American presidency over the past half-century wasn't Watergate, which is almost trivial compared to the corruption of the Obama administration, from treasonous leaks of classified material to the Justice Department's assault on honest elections. No, my fellow Americans, the lowest point of the presidency occurred a few months back when President Obama, caught by a microphone he didn't know was hot, told Russia's then-president, now prime-minister, Dimitry Medvedev to relay to strong-man Vladimir Putin a request for patience. Essentially, Obama said he needed time to fool the American people until the November elections then he could cut the deals that Putin wanted.
When an American president trusts Russia's leaders more than he trusts our country's voters, things in the Oval Office are rotten to a degree far beyond a bunch of clumsy burglars breaking into a campaign office. This is a betrayal that would have been unthinkable even to Bill Clinton.
Now we see the fruits of the poisonous seeds Obama planted yet again: Despite public pleas from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Moscow not only won't help stop the slaughter in Syria, but is now supplying the Assad regime with additional attack helicopters-perfect weapons to employ against civilian neighborhoods that have no self-defense capabilities. Unlike our own attack helicopters, which emphasize precision, Russia's helicopters, old and new, are built to maximize destruction.
Moscow backs the Assad regime for several reasons (not least, just to rub our snouts in our cowardice and impotence, thanks to President Obama's dreadful deal-making). Syria is Russia's last major Arab client-state. Syria buys more than three-quarters of its weapons from Russia's ailing arms industry. The Assad regime has provided a naval base at Tartus to Moscow, allowing Russia's rusty fleet to operate in the Mediterranean. And Russia desperately wants to preserve Iran's influence in the Middle East as a counterbalance to America's oil-state allies. So...Russia protects and supports Iran; arms and shields the Assad regime; and gives us the middle finger.
Obama's response? Nothing.
It gets worse. Even in the wake of Russia’s latest rigged election and Putin’s “victory,” brave Russians continue to protest in the streets. And Russia’s “Tea Partiers” aren’t just having their say on a sunny day on the Mall: Russia’s pro-democracy protesters face beatings, arrests, imprisonment, constant harassment, the loss of jobs, eviction, and denied access to education. These are courageous human beings struggling against a cynical regime with the odds stacked terribly against them.
Obama's response? Nothing.
For all his rhetoric, Obama has been inculcated with the hard-left's fondness for dictators, from Caracas to the Kremlin. When the old left spoke of the "dictatorship of the proletariat," the emphasis was always on the word "dictatorship." The core belief of the hard left is that the members of its inner circles are immeasurably smarter than the average benighted citizen-and you see powerful vestiges of that in the Obama administration, in which inept academics inflict disastrous programs on the productive members of our society (while pandering to the most-parasitical elements). As we saw in the-thankfully failed-Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election, the left doesn't respect the will of the majority when the majority rejects the left. Once elected, leftist regimes don't want to be bothered with the electorate.
So we now have a president who thinks it's just fine to cut deals with a brilliant thug like Putin behind the backs of the American people. And make no mistake: For all his targeted brutality, Putin is a brilliant leader-he'll be in power long after the next administration in Washington has passed on the torch. And he was clever enough to play to Obama's vulnerabilities, most notably our president's adherence to the Cold War, neo-Stalinist left's insistence that nuclear arms in American hands are a danger to the world, and Obama's desperate need to cover up his botched Afghanistan policies.
First, the nukes. Obama is proud of his nuclear-arms-reduction deal with Moscow and wants another treaty with even deeper cuts. He really does see the world through the lens of old nuclear-disarmament lefties, the sort who carried out orders from Moscow to stage ban-the-bomb rallies here and in Europe back in the bad old days. It's clear that Obama has never paused to actually think about the role of nukes in preserving peace-he's just blindly bought the line that our nukes are evil.
Well, folks, you don't have to be Dr. Strangelove and learn to love the bomb in order to note the obvious: Only the existence of our nuclear arsenal prevented World War III and still deters "big war" today. Nukes haven't stopped brushfire wars, insurgencies and terrorism, but that's not their purpose. The point of having a lot more nukes and delivery systems than the other guy is to prevent conflicts that take hundreds or even thousands of lives from turning into wars that take tens or hundreds of millions of lives. By that measure, our nuclear arsenal has been the most-effective tool for the preservation of peace in history. But it also prevents would-be competitors from bullying us: You can push America so far, but that's it.
Obama's nuke give-away to Russia, in which we sacrificed useful weapons and extremely valuable dual-use weapons platforms, while Russia gave up only weapons it didn't want and couldn't afford, was mistaken on two counts. First, it was a step toward our unilateral disarmament. We got nothing in return that was worth a damn. Second, it showed how outdated Obama's world-view is in another respect: Instead of measuring our nuclear arsenal against the combined weapons of Russia, China, rogue states and would-be nuclear powers, he used only the yardstick of Russia, as if we were still at the height of the Cold War and Russia was still the only foreign power that mattered. Today, Russia is a broken-down wreck of a country, in which a nouveau-riche aristocracy lords it over a vast, wretched peasantry (as if it were 1912, not 2012). Even with oil and gas revenues, Russia can't afford a powerful military establishment or an expansive nuclear arsenal. So Putin, playing to Obama's naivety, conned our president into giving up real capabilities while Russia got to streamline its stock of weapons.
The other biscuit Putin tossed to Obama was cleverly wrought, as well: He opened supply routes through Russia to meet the soaring logistics demands of Obama's politics-driven, foolhardy surge of troops in Afghanistan (of note: Obama is now giving himself credit for reducing the number of troops he sent, for solving a problem he created-this guy has perfected the self-licking ice-cream cone). With our supply routes through hostile Pakistan now closed, our troops rely on the "northern route" for supplies, from Russian ports by rail to and through Central Asia. We pay through the nose-and hold our nose. And the genius of it from Putin's perspective is that he now holds our troops in Afghanistan hostage. If Obama becomes obstreperous on issues such as Syria or Iran, Putin closes our last supply routes, leaving our troops and those of NATO stranded.
And Obama's White House staff leaks intelligence documents to portray our president as a strategic genius.
Our hands are tied; our president's blind, hapless and helpless; Iran's still pursuing nuclear weapons; Putin can expect more unilateral concessions from us after November (if Obama returns to office); Putin continues to dismantle Russia's last pretenses at democracy (while we dare say nothing); our troops are hostages in Afghanistan, where the president's policy has been an utter disaster; and the butchery in Syria continues.
Well done, Mr. President!
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer (and former enlisted man), and the author of the new bestseller, Cain at Gettysburg.