In the summer of 1987, just before my "television debut," a true friend instructed me in a congressional hearing, "Remember, the microphone is always on -- even when it's not!" It's a lesson I never have forgotten. Apparently, Barack Obama doesn't have any friends to give him similar advice, or he doesn't learn well. Either way, an open mic during this week's nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea, has revealed our president's extraordinary hubris and his penchant for dangerous diplomatic duplicity.
The video clip of an unscripted exchange March 26 between Obama and outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev should be grounds for the American people to hire a new commander in chief in November. The two leaders, evidently unaware they were being recorded, were discussing new limits on U.S. ballistic missile defense.
Obama: "On all these issues -- but particularly missile defense -- this can be solved, but it's important for him to give me space."
Medvedev: "Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space -- space for you."
Obama: "This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."
Medvedev: "I understand. I (will) transmit this information to Vladimir."
Note to reader: The "him" in Obama's opening soliloquy and the "Vladimir" in Medvedev's final remark are the same person: Vladimir Putin -- the former and future president of Russia. On May 7, Putin and Medvedev exchange places in Moscow's revolving-door government.
This surreal moment of unintended transparency from the Obama administration immediately went viral around the world. In Warsaw, where pro-U.S. politicians are still bruised from endorsing U.S.-built missile defenses -- only to have the O-Team "postpone" the project -- the president's conversation is seen as proof that "Obama will cave in to Russia." One Polish paper's headline read, "Were they trading Poland?"
In the immediate aftermath, officials in Romania and the Czech Republic -- both of which are slated for ballistic missile defense sites -- wouldn't comment on the Obama gaffe. But more than one political commentator observed that this is what we should expect from the Obama "reset" with Russia.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.