A new column by Charles Krauthammer explains how President Barack Obama’s “naivete and ambivalence” have allowed Russia to gain the upper hand in Europe.
Writing in The Washington Post, Krauthammer suggests that from the very start of his administration, Obama’s “epic misjudgment of Russian intentions” gave Russia’s President Vladimir Putin a valuable opportunity to expand his influence in Eastern Europe and the rest of the world. (RELATED: For Putin, Even A Tiny Fall In Popularity Could Be Huge)
Krauthammer points out the offer of a “reset button” in U.S.-Russian relations, early in Obama’s first term, and just six months before Obama cancelled an anti-Russian missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. And though Obama dismissed Mitt Romney’s 2012 claim that Russia was the U.S.’ “number 1 geopolitical foe,” many of Obama’s top military officials have since confirmed Romney’s claim.
In the past year, Krauthammer says, Putin has used trends in American policy against Obama. Russia has conducted massive covert operations in Ukraine, sided with Iran during nuclear negotiations, and kidnapped and imprisoned an official from Estonia (a NATO ally) — all because Putin “knows Obama would do nothing.”
While the U.S.’ responses to Russian aggression have been minimal, one of Obama’s actions does seem to have indirectly hurt Russia. Sanctioning Russian officials after Putin invaded Ukraine led to an extensive Russian import embargo against many Western countries. As a result, over half of all Russians are cutting back on basic food expenses as the country’s economy grinds to a standstill. (RELATED: US Pressure Leads 6 In 10 Russians To Buy Cheaper Groceries)
But it’s certainly difficult to argue with Krauthammer’s bottom line: even if Obama isn’t interested in escalating conflict with Russia, Russia is certainly interested in escalating with Obama.
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