What are you getting? You’re getting the same thing you got when he sold out Honduras to Chavez over that non-coup “coup” they staged: The warm fuzzy glow of knowing that George Bush would heartily disapprove.
But some members of Obama’s own party, however, had a simple question for the administration: if this was a return to realism, and a concession to Russia’s long and vocal opposition to the missile program, what, exactly, was the U.S. getting in return for fundamentally changing it?
And almost certainly, the answer leads back to Iran…
But Russia has given no ground on those questions, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov bluntly opposing tougher sanctions. And Medvedev suggested Thursday that any new American political capital would be more likely go toward the longer-term Obama Administration goal of deep cuts to the two countries’ nuclear weapons stocks…
“If they wanted to engage in a process of negotiation over this they should have been transparent with the Polish and the Czech governments,” said Randy Scheunemann, the top foreign policy advisor to the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, who said cancelling the missiles in the countries was “seriously misguided.”
“Unilateral preemptive concession in the hope that your negotiating partners will follow suit? Anyone who believes that will work with Russia hasn’t looked at 70 years of Soviet history and 200 years of Russian history,” Scheunemann said.
As much of a royal sucker as he is for agreeing to this, The One deserves credit at least for the shrewdness of his politicking. It’s amazing how much goodwill on foreign policy he’s been able to buy from conservatives simply by being willing to stay the course in Afghanistan for another year. As much anger as there is among the grassroots over today’s retreat and his appalling Honduras betrayal, not to mention the excruciating length of time it took for him to show some indignation about Iran’s head-cracking after the election, there’s no bite to it the way there is to the protests over ObamaCare and bank bailouts. Expectations of how he’d deal with foreign powers were so fabulously low on the right that a modest troop increase in Kabul is enough to placate us until the midterms, in all likelihood. Notice also how the goalposts on Iran have subtly moved after today’s decision. No longer is convincing them to give up their nuke program the acid test of Obama’s diplomatic push; now, merely getting Russia to play ball on sanctions — which no one believes will force Iran to give up the bomb, mind you — is the test. If Putin comes around and agrees to join in the wrist-slap on Tehran, well, then that’s proof that Hopenchange works, whether Iran is disarmed or not.
If you’re looking for tea leaves to read about future cooperation, enjoy this piece from Russian media suggesting that the U.S. backing down on missile defense is hardly a concession at all, in which case why would a quid pro quo be necessary? Oh, and this one too from Fox News reminding us that Iran somehow managed to launch a satellite into space earlier this year, which suggests the sort of near-term long-range missile capability that our crack intel team now insists doesn’t require defending against.