We can almost see Russian analysts painstakingly mining the tapes and transcripts of those conversations for every nugget of information they can glean about America’s sources and methods. Clearly, Vladimir Putin and his comrades want a resurgent Russia restored to power, prestige, and influence. They want to be supreme in their sphere and to play a Super Power role in the world.
Against them we have a Secretary of State, John Kerry, who fecklessly bleats about the Russians being on “the wrong side of history.” And we have other high administration officials who scold the Russians, saying their seizure of Crimea is not in keeping with the enlightened standards of the Twenty-first Century. Perhaps so, but it seems carefully calibrated to the realpolitik of the previous twenty centuries.
This is, after all, an administration that believes in, that revels in, “Soft Power.” Mao Zedong liked Soft Power, too--for our side. He said you advance with a bayonet until you feel cold steel. Only then, do you pause.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will busy himself with integrating “transgenders” into his rapidly disintegrating military. And he will alert all commanders to the inconvenient truths of global warming—even as the globe undoubtedly warms up in a dozen diplomatic hotspots.
In all this, President Obama is succeeding. He told a New York audience this week that it was deplorable that the United States “invests” half of what Europe spend on infrastructure, renewing bridges, tunnels, and highways. He wants us to focus on domestic concerns, his real priority, arguably his only priority.
Europe can afford high-speed rail only because the United States has protected them from the Russians for sixty-five years. All that is about to change with Mr. Obama’s massive cutting of U.S. military capability. The globe will warm indeed.
Mr. Obama came into office intending to repeal Reaganism. And he is doing his best. Reagan’s visionary yet realistic approach to U.S.-Russian relations produced a miracle of American resurgence after a decade of “malaise.” The Obama record is one of retreat, retrenchment, and reflection.
No one should call for “boots on the ground” in Ukraine. Reagan never invaded the USSR, or even Poland or Rumania. Better than that, he created the conditions for the Evil Empire to collapse because of its own internalcontradictions.
Reagan provided clarity of purpose: “My idea of U.S.-Soviet relations is this: We win and they lose.” In Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Address to the Nation, in January 1989, he expressed his hope for better relations with Soviet Russia, but he wisely warned us: “Do not be afraid to see what you see.”
Mr. Obama’s circle is not afraid to see what they see. Unfortunately, they are wearing idealistic blinders that prevent them from seeing what is obvious: Putin is out and proud.