CBS, NYT regret that Obama-Putin relationship is on the rocks

posted at 12:41 pm on April 21, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Old and busted: Smart power and reset buttons. New hotness: Cold War echoes and writing off “allies” like Russia. Both the New York Times and CBS News report that President Obama has changed strategies with Vladimir Putin and have shifted to “an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment.”:

Even as the crisis in Ukraine continues to defy easy resolution, President Obama and his national security team are looking beyond the immediate conflict to forge a new long-term approach to Russia that applies an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment.

Just as the United States resolved in the aftermath of World War II to counter the Soviet Union and its global ambitions, Mr. Obama is focused on isolating President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world, limiting its expansionist ambitions in its own neighborhood and effectively making it a pariah state.

In other words, Obama now plans to treat Russia as America’s greatest geopolitical threat. Golly, who else said that? I’m trying my best to recall, but the Era of Hopenchange keeps calling and wants its fantasy world back.

CBS laments the end of Obama’s relationship with Putin:

In addition to sounding like he has no faith Russia will change course, the president sounds like he has no faith in his own ability to alter Russia’s behavior.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Mr. Obama has abandoned any hope of a good relationship with Putin, less than four years after he declared a successful “reset” of U.S.-Russia relations. Now, the Times reports, the president will merely look to “minimize the disruption Mr. Putin can cause, preserve whatever marginal cooperation can be saved and otherwise ignore the master of the Kremlin in favor of other foreign policy areas where progress remains possible.”

The change comes after Mr. Obama’s attempts to coax Putin into calling off pro-Russian forces occupying buildings in eastern Ukraine led nowhere. Descriptions of the phone calls between the two men issued by the White House and the Kremlin often sounded like two entirely different conversations. It was not unlike a phone call between the president and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., earlier this week that the president described as “very pleasant” while Cantor found it to be partisan posturing.

All of this sounds a little too familiar to Ron Fournier, too. After wooing Putin and failing, Obama wants to wash his hands of the Russian relationship, just as Obama did with his professed desire for bipartisanship shortly after first taking office:

The policy shift is defensible in light of Putin’s dismissal of U.S. overtures on Ukraine and the broader attempt by Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “press the restart button” with Russia. I have been among the critics who have accused Obama of misjudging Putin and raising expectations beyond his capacity to meet them. …

The turnaround on Russia is no more remarkable than the pivot Obama took after the 2008 election, when he abandoned his post-partisan brand at the first sight of Republican intransigence and forced the Affordable Care Act through Congress without GOP backing. Once poisoned, the well went dry: The candidate who had the “audacity to hope” for a new kind of politics surrendered to the toxic culture he promised to change. Obama wrote off Republicans. He said House Speaker John Boehner can’t or won’t bargain on the budget, then wrapped the white flag of surrender around the debt, gun control, tax reform, immigration, and other issues. Obama stopped looking for compromises, and then expressed outrage when he couldn’t find them.

Fournier points out one especially resonant paragraph in Baker’s report, and calls it emblematic:

The more hawkish faction in the State and Defense departments has grown increasingly frustrated, privately worrying that Mr. Obama has come across as weak and unintentionally sent the message that he has written off Crimea after Russia’s annexation. They have pressed for faster and more expansive sanctions, only to wait while memos sit in the White House without action. Mr. Obama has not even imposed sanctions on a list of Russian human-rights violators waiting for approval since last winter.

That last paragraph reminds me of Democrats who privately gripe about Obama’s lack of engagement with Congress, his unwillingness to build meaningful relationships, his allegiance to polls and focus groups, and his cautious nature that, in their minds, holds him back from greatness. “He can’t handle Putin. He can’t handle Republicans,” said a veteran Democratic consultant and part-time adviser to both of Obama’s presidential campaigns. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Democrat added, “He just is not a natural leader.”

Of course he isn’t. By nature, he’s a legislative backbencher and a superior campaigner, not a natural leader or even a competent executive. That’s why “smart power” has turned into such a disaster, and why domestic initiatives like ObamaCare were doomed to failure even apart from their structural flaws. The Obama administration careens from incompetence to incompetence, and until recently the media has seemed oddly uninterested in that dynamic. This is a great demonstration of why the first executive job on anyone’s resumé should not be the Leader of the Free World.

What can be done now, though? Putin has already signaled his readiness to challenge the West, emboldened by the flaccid response he’s seen thus far. If the West wants to keep Putin from forcing his way back into the Russian Empire, the US and EU had better prepare themselves to suffer some economic consequences for Russian isolation. Sanctions have to hit more than a few individuals in the Putin government, who will otherwise get compensated by Putin in order to keep his power balance in place. Only when Putin’s adventurism hits a broad swath of Russians will he find these policies unsustainable, and perhaps develop a little respect for international pressure. So far, this has been a cost-free trajectory for Putin and Russia, and the loss of his “relationship” with Obama clearly hasn’t bothered Putin one iota.


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Putin smoked this silly pot head like a personal bong. He has won every round since Poland. He tosses this kid around like a teenage bully beating on a fifth grader.

pat on April 21, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Putin is afraid of red lines.

acyl72 on April 21, 2014 at 12:45 PM

I don’t think “strategy” means “stupid and naive dreaming”, as they seem to think.

MTF on April 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM

In other words, Obama now plans to treat Russia as America’s greatest geopolitical threat.

The l980s called. Just to say “told you so.” The 1980s are vindictive that way.

But hey! Biden is helping out with Ukraine. What could possibly go wrong?

Happy Nomad on April 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Russia is often referred to as “Nigeria with snow”, as the countries’ stats look amazingly similar. Perhaps Obama took it to heart.

Rix on April 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Perhaps Obama should have stuck with snorting white lines instead of drawing red ones.

VelvetElvis on April 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM

What can be done now, though? Putin has already signaled his readiness to challenge the West, emboldened by the flaccid response he’s seen thus far.

Goes hand in hand with the moon bat social engineering policy of wussification

workingclass artist on April 21, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Putin smoked this silly pot head like a personal bong. He has won every round since Poland. He tosses this kid around like a teenage bully beating on a fifth grader.

pat on April 21, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Since Putin probably worked really hard to get Obama elected, he probably feels like he has a right to humiliate the doofus.

rhombus on April 21, 2014 at 12:54 PM

and his cautious nature that, in their minds, holds him back from greatness. “He can’t handle Putin. He can’t handle Republicans,” said a veteran Democratic consultant and part-time adviser to both of Obama’s presidential campaigns. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Democrat added, “He just is not a natural leader.”

There is gambling in Casablanca, obama-azzdwellers. It ain’t Beluga caviar. May all of you choke from what you consume.

LilliPutin figured out that the lilliputian in the WH and the maj. of the American sheeple are devoid of any principles.

obama killed the last smidgeon of pretense that the US has any moral authority.

That is obama’s greatest contribution to a world, who loves him for the destruction of the US, or the illusion of the USA.

It’s truly schadenfreudig to watch.

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

send in the killer drones.Only thing Obama does that i like.

gerrym51 on April 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Meh. He’s only a regional player. No worries. Carney isn’t too concerned. So POTUS doesn’t need to be.

nitzsche on April 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Unfortunately neither Cantor nor Boehner nor McCarthy nor McCain nor Ryan…..[the list goes on ]
are natural leaders, either.

EastofEden on April 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Name one people, I triple dare you, who are free/freer due to obama.

Name one foreign policy success by obama/Hillary/Kerry, I triple dare you.

The entire obama experiment is the Joke of all Jokes in History.

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Obama is a fraud, a street hustler, a con artist. He has never been anything more than that. His disguise is leftist ideology, and the ability to say what his ‘mark’ wants to hear.

He is a corrupt politician who uses the power (and money) of government to enrich his friends and punish his political opponents.

He is not interested in what Putin does, or Iran, or North Korea. He simply doesn’t care what happens outside the US just as long as he can dispense federal dollars to his friends and buy their loyalty.

Joseph OHenry on April 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Quit paying for this azzhole’s glorification.

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2014 at 12:59 PM

LilliPutin is tall because obama is a midget.

Schadenfreude on April 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Too much Decision Fatigue, that’s all. President Obama needs a 3 week vacation, right around the time Russia crosses the Ukrainian border in force.

JeremiahJohnson on April 21, 2014 at 1:01 PM

“He’s just not a natural leader.”

No, but he’s a glib liar, and that’s gotta count for something. You can’t find that utter disregard for integrity just anywhere.

Recon5 on April 21, 2014 at 1:01 PM

This is what we get for electing a community organizer and the least qualifed person in the room as leader of the free world. Obama owes a debt to welfare queens and insecure single women for giving him yet another 4 years to destroy this country. Some folks are just too stupid to vote.

Obamalies on April 21, 2014 at 1:02 PM

The “new cold war” that has ratcheted up did not being with Ukraine, it began with Syria… and then to gay rights… and the Olympics… and then Ukraine… there has been a steady anti-Russian hysteria in the media going on since last summer that bubbled right before the Olympics and burst during it…

ninjapirate on April 21, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Can he pleeeeaaaze just declare victory with his 8M(?) Obamacare enrollees and resign for the sake of the free world?

Tater Salad on April 21, 2014 at 1:03 PM

This is what Barry’s “flexibility” looks like.

Sven on April 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

The real take away is that Obama is stupid.

Occidental College, Columbia, and Harvard Law should be ashamed of themselves for giving this guy a diploma. He doesn’t reflect well on their educational standards.

Tater Salad on April 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM

In addition to sounding like he has no faith Russia will change course, the president sounds like he has no faith in his own ability to alter Russia’s behavior.

Yes, there is no vision when delusions die…

Haven’t the past events show that he has no ability to change Russia’s behavior? What are we to make out of faith in an ability that somebody only thinks they possess?

Here’s news for the Times: The Reset button FAILED. And Obama hasn’t been able to talk but two people away from their course of actions: Jack and Sh–his faithful companion.

Axeman on April 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Remember folks, when you advocate for a “strong America” that confronts all enemies abroad, you’re advocating for this being spread world wide:

http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/21/california-proposes-to-ban-judges-affiliated-with-the-boy-scouts-because-the-group-doesnt-allow-gay-troop-leaders/

Ronald Reagan’s America doesn’t exist anymore… trying to keep Ronald Reagan’s tough foreign policy posture would be tragic-comic. We’re a few election cycles towards the point where a “true conservative” would be spying for the FSB. It’s tragic to say this, but a nation that elects Obama twice is a nation I want having a weak foreign policy.

ninjapirate on April 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Putin has already signaled his readiness to challenge the West, emboldened by the flaccid response he’s seen thus far,

Flaccid.

That about covers it. They should check his food for saltpeter. I blame Michelle.

novaculus on April 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

This is what Barry’s “flexibility” looks like.

Sven on April 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Yeah. Look how faaar he can bend over now.

Harbingeing on April 21, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Putin: Tell me again, what is a community organizer…?

d1carter on April 21, 2014 at 1:13 PM

He doesn’t reflect well on their educational standards.

Tater Salad on April 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM

To the contrary, the lazy stupid rat-eared grifter is exactly what these institutions bargained for when they put aside intelligence, competence, and accomplishment for racial quotas.

I would ask Harvard Law or Columbia one simple question. Why’d you pick such a stupid black idiot for your affirmative action programs. Did all the smart ones go elsewhere?

Happy Nomad on April 21, 2014 at 1:13 PM

One of those guys hates America, is doing everything he can to bring the USA down, despises the West, spies on his own country men, and thinks communism is great.

The other is Putin.

jukin3 on April 21, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Let me put this in a way that Obama’s followers will understand.

Obama didn’t get his way, just like working with the Republican’s, so he is taking his ball and going home.

right2bright on April 21, 2014 at 1:24 PM

And let me add…Obama says Putin is a poo poo head…

right2bright on April 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM

I don’t support communist Putin but it’s worth noting he is the only one standing up for Christianity in the west. I think it’s something he has to be commended for.

weedisgood on April 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Sanctions have to hit more than a few individuals in the Putin government, who will otherwise get compensated by Putin in order to keep his power balance in place. Only when Putin’s adventurism hits a broad swath of Russians will he find these policies unsustainable, and perhaps develop a little respect for international pressure.

How about hitting the the newly wealthy and upper middle class Russians where it hurts? Tourist restrictions. Freezing a lot more overseas bank accounts. Stopping them from buying up Manhattan and London, etc. Seems like small potatoes but maybe if enough of the right people get hurt over there then maybe they can put some pressure, even small pressure, on Putin.

JohnnyL on April 21, 2014 at 1:27 PM

I see that the Protectors of King Barky the Incompetent (the msm) is using the world cautious in place of stupid.

jukin3 on April 21, 2014 at 1:32 PM

So Urkel doesn’t faze Putin?

/Color me perplexed, shocked and utterly speechless.

Key West Reader on April 21, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I would ask Harvard Law or Columbia one simple question. Why’d you pick such a stupid black idiot for your affirmative action programs. Did all the smart ones go elsewhere?

Happy Nomad on April 21, 2014 at 1:13 PM

If memory serves, it was the House of Saud that put him through college.

Key West Reader on April 21, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Putin “owns” Obama.

TulsAmerican on April 21, 2014 at 1:37 PM

I don’t support communist Putin but it’s worth noting he is the only one standing up for Christianity in the west. I think it’s something he has to be commended for.

weedisgood on April 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM

So Russia is now “the west?”

Puff puff pass.

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Worst President Ever Period

neyney on April 21, 2014 at 1:41 PM

In other words, Obama now plans to treat Russia as America’s greatest geopolitical threat.

China…

Our issues with Russia right now are very much like Britain’s obsession with Russia in the second half of the 19th century over such valuable pieces of real estate as Afghanistan and and Manchuria…

At the same time the completely missed the rise of a little country called Germany…

William Eaton on April 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM

“He just is not a natural leader.”

That’s racist! WHITE PRIVILEGE!

INSTITUTIONAL RACISM! MICROAGGRESSION!

myiq2xu on April 21, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Obama is a crossbreed of the worst traits of Jimmy Carter-Franklin Roosevelt-Woodrow Wilson.

Idiot trifecta.

portlandon on April 21, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Soon he will be reduced to talking about the allies he has created or saved!! The messaging just needs to be tweaked and all will be well in the Administration. Sarah Palin was ridiculed for saying she could see Russia from Alaska. By the time “Mr. Flexible” gets done, he’ll see Russia right across from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave!!!

Deano1952 on April 21, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Someone needs to tell Barry that the 1930′s called and wants to know if he wants to continue his subscription to “Progressism Today”. Special deal, comradski; comes with Lenin Pez dispenser and V. Putin monogrammed crying towel.

dissent555 on April 21, 2014 at 1:57 PM

dang capitalist keyboard; yet another thing that will have to be fixed by the glorious socialist revolution -
that’s “Progressivism Today”!

dissent555 on April 21, 2014 at 1:59 PM

This is what Barry’s “flexibility” looks like.

Sven on April 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

He didn’t think “being more fexible” meant grabbing his ankles.

Red Creek on April 21, 2014 at 2:03 PM

I would ask Harvard Law or Columbia one simple question. Why’d you pick such a stupid black idiot for your affirmative action programs. Did all the smart ones go elsewhere?

Happy Nomad on April 21, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Joe Biden said he was a clean black guy that could speak English!! That’s all they needed to hear!

Deano1952 on April 21, 2014 at 2:05 PM

This is a great demonstration of why the first executive job on anyone’s resumé should not be the Leader of the Free World.

Amen.

Ben Carson call your office.

rogaineguy on April 21, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Obviously Putin isn’t impressed by sharp creases in pants…

workingclass artist on April 21, 2014 at 2:11 PM

So Russia is now “the west?”

Puff puff pass.

Murphy9 on April 21, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Nope but The West used to be dominated by Christians, now the secularist and Muslims are taking.
Someone is needed to put the breaks on. Putin seems to have filled that void.

weedisgood on April 21, 2014 at 2:15 PM

In other words, Obama now plans to treat Russia as America’s greatest geopolitical threat. Golly, who else said that?

Maybe Obama should offer Mitt Romney the job of Secretary of State.
Exit question: Would Romney accept it?

Steve Z on April 21, 2014 at 2:24 PM

This is what Barry’s “flexibility” looks like.

Sven on April 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

He didn’t think “being more fexible” meant grabbing his ankles.

Red Creek on April 21, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Obama: “What can I do to show you what I’m made of?”
Putin: “Lean Forward.”

Mitoch55 on April 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Occidental College, Columbia, and Harvard Law should be ashamed of themselves for giving this guy a diploma. He doesn’t reflect well on their educational standards.

Tater Salad on April 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Is this a tip of the iceburg regarding their affirmative action policies? How many more like him come out of these institutions? I should think that all students/graduates (and parents/donors) from these schools should be outraged at this.

freedomfirst on April 21, 2014 at 2:35 PM

This dope sailed into office on a guise that he would work his personality and charm on all the foreign leaders and our enemies and all would be utopia. What say you 53% now?

rjoco1 on April 21, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Affirmative-action strikes (out) again….

viking01 on April 21, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Isn’t that an Aretha Franklin song?

You make me feel like a natural leader…

right2bright on April 21, 2014 at 3:00 PM

They will write him off as incompetent in order to save the mother-ship.

We were destined to get there eventually. Full steam ahead.

Carnac on April 21, 2014 at 3:10 PM

The Obama administration careens from incompetence to incompetence

Yea. It’s a regular Comedy of Errors. Without the Comedy part. They can’t even do that right.

Tsar of Earth on April 21, 2014 at 3:25 PM

In ’09 Harry Reid wrote a book in which he quoted Pres Obama as saying, ‘…I have a gift’ following a well received speech.

Of late, some Americans have discovered that Obama’s gift is his mouth and not his backbone.

WestTexasBirdDog on April 21, 2014 at 3:27 PM

“He can’t handle Putin. He can’t handle Republicans,” said a veteran Democratic consultant and part-time adviser to both of Obama’s presidential campaigns.

I wonder how John Boehner feels knowing he’s the only person in the world Obama can handle.

rdbrewer on April 21, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Russia has a flat tax and is arguably more capitalistic than the US.

Moreover, I fail to find a problem with Russia’s foreign policy.

antisense on April 21, 2014 at 4:17 PM

“He can’t handle Putin. He can’t handle Republicans,” said a veteran Democratic consultant and part-time adviser to both of Obama’s presidential campaigns. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Democrat added, “He just is not a natural leader.”

.
Sounds for all the world like Clintonista James Carville.

ExpressoBold on April 21, 2014 at 6:00 PM

What can be done now, though? Putin has already signaled his readiness to challenge the West, emboldened by the flaccid response he’s seen thus far. If the West wants to keep Putin from forcing his way back into the Russian Empire, the US and EU had better prepare themselves to suffer some economic consequences for Russian isolation. Sanctions have to hit more than a few individuals in the Putin government, who will otherwise get compensated by Putin in order to keep his power balance in place. Only when Putin’s adventurism hits a broad swath of Russians will he find these policies unsustainable, and perhaps develop a little respect for international pressure. So far, this has been a cost-free trajectory for Putin and Russia, and the loss of his “relationship” with Obama clearly hasn’t bothered Putin one iota.

Just a reminder: America has been sponsoring “color” revolutions and destabilizations, including the fascist coup in Ukraine, which clearly bothered Putin very much and still does. The “adventurism” is with the neocons; the Russians are reacting to Western aggression.

David Blue on April 21, 2014 at 10:15 PM

“He can’t handle Putin. He can’t handle Republicans,” said a veteran Democratic consultant and part-time adviser to both of Obama’s presidential campaigns. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Democrat added, “He just is not a natural leader.”

.
Sounds for all the world like Clintonista James Carville.

ExpressoBold on April 21, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Maybe Rahm, Axleshaft, or Bill Daley.

slickwillie2001 on April 21, 2014 at 11:08 PM

Sorry about this off topic, but I’ve been away for a week. Has HA initiated a new advertising policy that has automatic audio-on for all/most ads??? Is it something I can control on my end? I have to view the blogs with the sound off.

theFantom on April 22, 2014 at 12:41 PM