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Russia: How’s that “reset button” working?

The push for international support for tougher sanctions against Iran seem to be going well with our good friends in Russia:

Russia will not support “crippling” sanctions against Iran, including any that may be slapped on the Islamic Republic’s banking or energy sectors, a senior Russian diplomat said Wednesday.


“We are not got going to work on sanctions or measures which could lead to the political or economic or financial isolation of this country,” Oleg Rozhkov, deputy director of the security affairs and disarmament department at Russia’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters.

“What relation to non-proliferation is there in forbidding banking activities with Iran? This is a financial blockade. And oil and gas. These sanctions are aimed only at paralyzing the country and paralyzing the regime.”

Well, yeah – that’s sort of the point of sanctions. Short of that, there are few options left to force Iran to comply with the will of the international community – such that it is. And this is one of the failings of the Obama administration’s approach.

You have to sort of root around to find that approach spelled out, but the clearest indication of how the administration approaches foreign policy is actually found in the DoD’s recently released Quarterly Defense Review. One sentence tells it all:

“America’s interests are inextricably linked to the integrity and resilience of the international system.”

In the past, US presidents have realized that, “the integrity of the international system depends upon the resilience of American power.”

The Obama administration (and this explains much of his world apology tour) has flipped that now putting “American power” second to the will and “integrity” of the “international system”.  As the article cited notes, Obama wants a “quiet world” so he can concentrate on his domestic agenda.  One way to do that is cede the US’s leadership role.

You can see how well that approach is working. Russia has just demonstrated the “integrity” of the “international system” by saying “no”. I wonder if Obama will call them obstructionists and “the country of ‘no’.”

Seriously though, this is quite a step back from the American leadership of the past, and it will have consequences. That statement in the QDR cedes our former position as the supposed leader of the free world to organizations like the UN. That has been a dream of the liberal left for decades. And as you read through the article I’ve cited for the QDR quote, look at the analysis that says that the plan reduces the American role in world by “disarming” us and structuring our military for a lesser role.

Russia is just the first of many nations which are going to defy the US’s attempts at pushing its foreign policy throughout the world because, essentially, there is no down side to doing so. We’re a weakened debtor nation (Putin recently consoled EU economic basket case Greece by pointing out the US is in the same boat) that has made it pretty clear that it won’t act without clear consensus from the “international system” this administration seems to love. Russia is obviously a part of that system and doesn’t mind at all stepping up and saying no. And China? Well, if Russia is this blatant and blunt about denying what the US wants, you can imagine China’s position.

Like I said, 2009 was the year of taking this administration’s measure on the foreign policy front. 2010 is the year that those sensing a power/leadership vacuum inherent in this US pullback attempt to fill it. Russia’s just the first to step up to the plate. We’ll hear from China soon.



11 Responses to Russia: How’s that “reset button” working?

  • The real question should be asked across the broad expanse of what The Clown™ has been doing since entering the hallowed halls of the White House. What has he done?
    Russia resent? Nah. Cuba reset? Not at all. NATO reset, to send more troops to Afghanistan? Of course not. China reset? They hate us more than ever. Iran reset? They think we are doofuses. Europe reset? They talk about the United States as a country on the decline, more so since Bush left office.
    Yeah, that reset button is working real well. More of that hopey-changey thing that stinks to high heaven.

  • Hey, look at it this way, Erb finally comes close to being right, though I hate to say it.  It took us deciding to take a nap by the side of the road to cede the leadership position, and while we do it, a pack of rodents from the European continent will be squabbling over who the head rodent is, but for now, we’re stretched out in the shade under a tree writing letters of apology for Pax Americana.   And we’ll probably stay there until the mushroom cloud rises down the road somewhere in the vicinity of either the Persian Gulf or the southeast corner of the Mediterranean, or we replace the fool in charge.

  • Say… Didn’t we have some liberal drop by a couple of weeks ago to lecture us on how much good Imeme has done for our image and how much world leaders like us now that he’s in charge?

    Here’s the problem: foreigners (and libs) may actually like America more under Imeme than they liked us under Bush.  But liking us and going along with us are two different things.  I may like my brother-in-law but NEVER be stupid enough to go into business with him.  Or loan him money.  Lend him my car keys.  Let him use my cel phone…

    Anyway, I’m sure that there are plenty of people around the world who like Imeme’s America.  Yessir, a weak, compliant, apologetic, multilateralist, feckless America is just what the doctor ordered for people like Kim Jong-Poofy Hair, Dobby, Ahmadinnahjacket, and bin Laden.

    I guess the Russians either stopped worrying about THEIR islamoterrorists getting a Bomb, or else figure that we and Israel will be the primary targets and they can take over when we’re a radioactive memory.  Or maybe Putin is just being bloodyminded.  Who knows?

    I hope that the libs will learn that relying on the goodwill of other countries for our defense (or anything else) is a big, big mistake, but I doubt it.  Munich was too long ago, and, anyway, THAT’S TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

  • America’s power is very limited, and that’s not because of Obama.   Quite literally, the US really doesn’t have the capacity to do much.    Iraq and Afghanistan shows the limits of the military to effectively shape politics (and of course has soured the public on any new actions), and the economic weakness caused by thirty years of increasing debt and current account deficits has limited our ability to use economic carrots and sticks.  The US can only be effective in concert with other countries with similar interests.
    Unipolarity, which arguably the US briefly enjoyed from 1990 to 2001, is unstable.  A unipolar power is tempted to over-estimate its strength and over-commit, while other countries generally decide it is important to work against the unipolar power, fearing its desire to use power.   Both of these things happened.    Also, China interestingly has refused to go along with Russia’s desire to try to undercut the US economy further — China recognizes that the US may no longer be dominate, and it is important.   Both China and Russia see nothing in their self-interest in confronting Iran, I’d be shocked if they agreed to significant sanctions.  It’s not in their interest.

    • However limited our power may or may not be, when all your time is spent bowing and scraping and apologizing, it doesn’t matter what kind of power you can or cannot actually employ.   Not any surprise though, nothing about the man’s career has prepared him for his domestic confrontations, let alone the international ones.  Amongst his greatest historical failures, and they will be legion, will be a nuclear Iran.    I hope in the process another will not be a new radiated spot on the globe somewhere near Haifa.
      But we’ll have some swell logos for government agencies that have the letter “O” cleverly worked into them in one way or another.

      • Ah, yes, ODS comes forth, looking very much like BDS looked.  Of course, Obama isn’t bowing and apologizing, nor does that really matter in the real world of power politics.  I feel much more comfortable with a man who I think understands the world and the issues than I did with the last guy, you obviously disagree.   But I see your case of ODS is as bad as some of the worst cases on the left of BDS were after 2006.  I think it’s incurable.  You’ll be seeing the world as “blame Obama for all bad things” and “Obama is horrible, rotten, etc.” for the next six years.   At least you know how the BDS sufferers felt while Bush was in office.   Maybe you could get a support group going.

        • Then, perhaps, you can name something he’s done?  Some foreign policy coup?  Our relations with China are?
          According to the Chinese themselves, worse.
          Russia?  Putin flexing his muscles constantly since inauguration.
          Iran?  going nuclear on the express track.  And with Russia and China telling the anointed one to bugger off on Iran sanctions……well done!
          Honduras?  Only not gone the way of Venezuela because they had the guts to defy their “ally” in the north, certainly not due to anything the President did, and in fact, very much in spite of what he tried.
          Relations with Britian?  Gone down hill rapidly under this administration.
          France?  Sarkozy?  yeah, lot of respect from him these days.
          Germany?  Heh.  Does the word snub mean anything in Farmington?
          Middle East?  Pretty speeches, no changes, except the Israeli’s are getting a bit jumpy what with Iran’s weekly announcements of enriched uranium
          He understands what Scott?  What has he accomplished?  His foreign policy is virtually non-existent.    And I won’t bother mocking him with his failed Olympic throw & his failed trip to the Climate Circus.    And bowing to Mayor of Tampa, oh, never mind, that’s a domestic bow by the President of the United States, my bad for pointing out his clueless domestic behaviors in this, the foreign policy arena.
          So, what is is he understands about the world, and it’s issues?  What has he DONE?   Something real, not something you feel, or think, or expect he’ll do.  He’s had a year to improve our standing and to undo the 8 years of that insane criminal Bush and his cowboy policies, where is the fruit of his Herculean foreign policy labors?

          • If I lol will it help?  I know I’ll help!  He closed that Al Queda recruitment center at Guantan….oh pooh….still open.
            Hell, they even moved his statue from a public park in Jarkata to a spot outside the elementary school he attended because the Indonesians complained about it being in the park.  Woot!  The world LOVES this  guy, no?

          • What’s funny is that ODS has so clouded your ability to think that you don’t realize that relations are much better now with almost all of these countries then they were while Bush was President.  Russia — remember the invasion of Georgia?   Seems the Russians weren’t too scared of Bush.  But ODS seems to have you hallucinating.    Sheesh.  I’d suggest you sign up for my on line foreign policy class this summer, but ODS often effectively resists reality.

          • Your class?  Summer course on delusional fantasy eh?  Now, the economy is bad enough and I don’t think there’s any benefit in my supporting your misguided teachings.  Hardly what I’d call useful return on dollars spent.  I expect there will still be vacancies for quite a while though, just in case I should win the lottery and perhaps decide  to entertain myself by poking you with a stick in front of your class.
            I’d go to the effort of proving every point I made, but what good would it do.  The people who understand our foreign relations with all the countries I named  (all those things have been in the news some for nearly a year now…) don’t need the proof, and you’ll ignore it, provide no proof at all of your statements (as you never do, except for self serving references to your own posts, and now to your ‘online’ class) and continue, as you always do, to airily wave your hand and demonstrate what a clown you are.