We’ve come a long way from President Theodore Roosevelt’s famous saying “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” President Barack Obama’s policy apparently is to whisper slyly and compromise our security.
What else are we to conclude of his notorious open-mic moment with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev? Why would he think it’s okay to send a message to President-elect Vladimir Putin that “all these issues, but particularly missile defense … can be solved” if Putin will “give me space” until after the U.S. presidential election?
In short, hang on, Russia. I can’t tell the electorate that I’m willing to weaken our defenses. Once those dopes have sent me back to the White House for another term, I’ll have a free hand to give you what you want.
As if we haven’t already given away too much. Under the 2010 New START treaty, a strategic nuclear arms-control pact with Russia, the U.S. agreed to reduce its missile-defense capabilities, along with the number of strategic nuclear missiles and bombers. Russia, however, may build more such “delivery vehicles,” since it reported fewer of these (521) than the treaty allows (700). New Start was really about degrading America’s strategic superiority.
On missile defense, we left two allies twisting in the wind. Both Poland and Czech Republic had ignored Russian threats and agreed to host missile-defense sites that would have helped protect U.S. territory and our European allies. President Obama cancelled both sites shortly after taking office. But this, and New START, apparently aren’t enough for the Kremlin. Hence the president’s whispered hint that more is coming.
Are these concessions being made to an ally, someone who has demonstrated a willingness to work with the United States to make the world a safer place? On the contrary. Putin has been openly disdainful of American foreign policy in many of the world’s trouble spots, from Syria to Asia to Latin America. And what does he get? Respect. Rewards. A genuine ally such as Britain, meanwhile, is treated poorly. The administration has gone out of its way to assure Britain that it’s nothing special, and even sided with some of its adversaries in matters such as the dispute over the Falkland Islands.
Think about the message this sends to the world: that it’s better to be America’s enemy than to be its friend. That belligerence pays off. That cooperation is a fool’s game.