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Obama’s Russian Policy Needs ‘Resetting’

Obama’s Middle East policy isn’t the only thing that is falling completely apart. His ‘reset’ with the Russians is long overdue for a ‘reset.’ Maybe that will happen after November, when Mr. Obama can be more ‘flexible.’ Or when Mr. Romney will be more ‘inflexible.’

First we have this from an unfazed Associated Press:

Iran deploys Russian-made submarine in Gulf

By NASSER KARIMI | September 18, 2012

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Tehran has deployed one of its Russian-made submarines in the Persian Gulf, just days after the United States and more than two dozen allies began naval exercises nearby, Iranian state television reported Tuesday.

The Taregh-1 joined the Iranian fleet in the southern port of Bandar Abbas after it was overhauled earlier this year, according to the TV report. It’s one of three Russian Kilo class submarines that Iran obtained in the early 1990s.

In May, Iran redeployed another Russian-made submarine after repairs.

The report also showed the launch of what was said to be the partially completed hull of a destroyer, the Sahand, which the TV said is expected to be ready in the near future…

You can bet that Russia supplied the parts as well as the technicians to make these ships possible. Just like they have provided the technical support for their nuclear program.

Tuesday’s announcement came two days after U.S.-led naval exercises got under way in the waters of the Persian Gulf. They are the largest such maneuvers aimed at countering sea mines ever to take place in the region…

[T]he U.S.-led drills are seen as a response to Iranian warnings earlier this year it could close the strategic oil route in the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for tighter Western sanctions. Tehran has since stepped back from such threats…

No, they haven’t.

And then we have this from Reuters:

Moscow forces U.S. to close down its aid mission in Russia

By Arshad Mohammed [sic] | Tue Sep 18, 2012

(Reuters) – Russia has forced the United States to close its aid mission in Moscow, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, in a blow to U.S. efforts to improve ties and a step that may aid the Kremlin’s crackdown on pro-democracy groups.

Russia gave the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) until October 1 to cease operations after two decades and more than $2.6 billion spent to combat disease, protect the environment, strengthen civil society and modernize the economy.

In announcing the decision to close down the USAID operation in Russia, the State Department suggested the Russian government – which is earning high levels of oil revenues – felt that it should no longer be the recipient of such foreign aid.

That’s got to be it. Nobody likes to be given billions of dollars if they don’t need it.

Analysts also suggested a political motive: reducing foreign support for Russian groups that promote democracy and the rule of law but that are viewed with deep suspicion by the Kremlin

In a sign of his reluctance to brook dissent, Putin has pushed through new laws to raise fines for protesters, stiffen punishments for defamation and put new controls on foreign-funded campaign groups…

Does Putin have an Attack Watch website?

While U.S. President Barack Obama came into office seeking a "reset" in relations with Russia that bore some fruit, including a 2010 arms-control treaty, the two nations disagree on issues from the violence in Syria and Iran’s nuclear program to U.S. plans to build a missile defense shield and the Arab Spring…

It is truly despicable that Reuters would describe Obama’s cave on the START treaty as "fruit." It is poison for our country’s interests. And his cave on the missile shield was almost as disastrous.

USAID has a 2012 budget in Russia almost $50 million, more than half of which is spent on human rights and democracy work. About 40 percent of the overall funding goes directly to Russian organizations.

And the rest of it probably went into the pockets of the Russian commissars. Still, if some of it made it to the activist girl band, Pussy Riot, it might have been worth it.

And, lastly, from the Washington Post:

Vladi­mir Putin says of Mitt Romney: At least he’s direct

By Will Englund |September 18, 2012

MOSCOW — Soviet leaders used to prefer Republicans to Democrats, in the belief that Republicans were tough but more sincere and, once they made a promise, were more likely to deliver on it.

Even the Soviets realized that Democrats tend to be liars.

There has been a whiff of that old way of thinking in recent remarks by President Vladimir Putin, even though plenty has changed in Russia’s relations with the United States.

And very little for the good, over the last four years.

Speaking to reporters last week, Putin said he appreciates GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s bluntness in his denunciations of Russia — because that stance lets Russia know where it stands, and reinforces Putin’s opposition to a missile defense shield in Europe.

Sarcastic? Maybe just a bit.

Or maybe even Putin is repulsed by cringing apologists who promise to be ‘more flexible.’

“That Mr. Romney considers us enemy number one and apparently has bad feelings about Russia is a minus, but, considering that he expresses himself bluntly, openly and clearly, means that he is an open and sincere man, which is a plus,” Putin said after a meeting with Serbia’s president.

“We will be oriented toward pluses, not minuses,” Putin said. “And I am actually very grateful to him for formulating his position in a straightforward manner.” …

Let’s hope Mr. Putin will get to know Mr. Romney even better after November. And that he will have to learn to deal with someone who might not be so ‘flexible.’

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

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