Watching Space Shuttle Discovery soar over the great American monuments in DC on the back of a 747, gutted and consigned to a museum, brought back wonderful memories of America’s marvelous achievements. Yet it also reminded us it was our triumph in the space war that bankrupted the Soviet Union and created a bitterness they shall never forget.
It was a curious thing when, shortly after Obama’s inauguration, new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handed Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, a large red button meant to indicate a “reset” in American-Russian relations. And reset relations, we did.
President Obama did a “reset” on the space program, gutting ours and making it virtually impossible to do space travel without going through the Russians at an exorbitant future cost. He did a “reset” on plans to build defense missiles in Poland, breaking our promise and disheartening friends and allies.
And it made no sense. There was no need to bargain with Russia, no need acquiesce to her demands. Russia the pitiful remains of the old Soviet Empire, had been plundered of her natural resources by the Oligarchs. She was struggling for new identity, disillusioned with newfound wealth, in the midst of scandal from poisonings of journalists and dissidents. Russia was weak, a non-player on the international stage. Her only treasures were her history, and scattered sites of valuable nuclear material.
“After my (last) election, I’ll have more flexibility,” said President Obama to Russian President Medvedev, reaching out to touch his hand.
“I understand. I will transmit that to Vladimir,” replied Dmitri with a knowing nod. Sounds like the opening to a cheap spy thriller, but this was an actual conversation heard recently between an American president and the leader of that former foe.
We know now the President was rendering our trusted allies, Poland and the Czech Republic, defenseless against the still-looming Russian threat. Furthermore, he was leaving us neutered by agreements to share nuclear secrets we had no reason to share.
This convergence of decisions coupled with that overheard conversation could mean nothing. Or it could mean a great deal. But in order to understand it, we would have to go back in time to the days of the Cold War and the Left’s romance for Mother Russia.