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Friday, January 2, 2015

Is Obama Secretly Reaching Out To Russia?

Links: A. Obama and Russia
           B. Obama Claims Victory In Stand-Off With Russia
           C. Latin American Perspective on Obama

Please be sure and read all three links before diving in to my commentary today.  After the wreckage of Ferguson and the debris left over after the unilateral Executive Branch fiat to normalize relations with Cuba, President Obama is talking about Russia.  On one hand, he appears to be discreetly inviting Russia to a round of formal discussions, and on the other hand, he is informing the free world that Sanctions on Russia have crippled the Russian economy.  True to form, I like to start with the truth.  The Sanctions enacted by President Obama and the European Union have not crippled the Russian economy.  Have a look at what the Sanctions were actually targeting.  Yes, the Russian economy is in the tank and the Ruble should change its name to the "Cossack Lira", but it has very little to do with the Sanctions regime as it currently exists.  It has everything to do with the price of oil.  President Obama admits this fact himself when, in the second link, he points out that Russia's economy is too dependent on the fluctuations of the oil market, while the U.S. economy is much more diversified.

Earlier this week, two prominent opponents of Putin were arrested and thrown in jail.  Reviewing the rap sheet has become a way to kill time and nothing more.  They were arrested for opposing Putin and for becoming a bit more vocal and effective than the government will allow.  Did the Russian people storm the prison?  Has the international press taken up a story of Russian political reformers in jail on a hunger strike?  Does Putin have an Aeroflot jet, warming up at the airport, to whisk him and his family to safety when the revolution takes hold?  Of course not. Obama pretends that pressure on Putin exists when in fact, it doesn't.  The Russians will put up with much more before they take to the streets.  Putin knows this, and he also understands international economics a bit more than President Obama.  Oil will rebound, as will the Ruble, regardless of the Sanctions regime.  Crimea is an integral part of Russia, and Putin continues to call the shots in eastern Ukraine.  The point being: Vladimir Putin is in no danger and sleeps well at night.  He can ride out this economic crisis because he understands the long-term value of oil.

The first link implies that the Obama Administration is looking for ways to discreetly reach out to Russia.  Even after six years, this administration still doesn't understand the basics of diplomacy and negotiation.  WE HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER PUTIN.  So why would he want to "mend fences"?  He has Crimea and eastern Ukraine, which I don't believe he really wants (but will keep for the time being as a bargaining chip).  Putin understands his adversary.  He has seen six years of Obama's international diplomacy, which, when boiled down, is basically about giving away the store.  Would you like an example?  Take a look at the recent Cuban rapprochement.  The United States is prepared to remove trade restrictions, work around the Congressionally mandated sanctions to re-establish banking ties, remove restrictions on travel, etc.  And what about Cuba?  Alan Gross was released, but no mention of any other steps to be taken.  The United States announced that Cuba would be releasing 53 political prisoners.  But it hasn't happened, and the Cuban press has not mentioned any agreed upon release of political prisoners.  To cut to the chase, we will give all, and Cuba will give nothing.

I'm actually a bit angry because writing this post has reminded me of some of the comments made over the last week or so.  Lets talk about Alan Gross.  Most Americans don't realize that this new agenda with Cuba included the release of three Cuban spies that were incarcerated in the United States.  Cuba has treated the release of Alan Gross as a trade-off.  The U.S. releases three Cuban spies, and Cuba releases one American spy.  Only Alan Gross was not a spy.  The implication in Europe and Latin America will always be that he was engaged in espionage, because the Cubans were allowed to spin this as they pleased.  During his announcement, Obama continued his habit of blaming the United States and the American people for the suffering of others.  This is the one reason why I personally despise the man.  Obama announced that our policy of fifty years of isolating Cuba was misguided, and responsible for the collapse of the Cuban economy (ergo, the suffering of the Cuban people).  I have grown weary of being the guilty party, Mr. President.  I am a 48 year-old white male and an American citizen.  According you to, I am responsible for racism in America (which flourishes, according to the speech you gave at the United Nations), I am responsible for the sad state of relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world, I am responsible for the poverty in Mexico, I am responsible for illegal immigration (I hire them to work in my factories and to water my lawn), I am responsible for people not having health insurance, I am responsible for Global Warming, I am responsible for all the failures of your administration (we've been out to get you since you took office), and now I'm responsible for the suffering of the Cuban people.  Its quite a burden to carry, but I have no choice in the matter.  I'm just trying to lay low until we get a new perspective in the White House.  One that doesn't believe that there is something inherently unfair and wrong with the American Dream.  A perspective that announces loud and clear that the United States and its economy can choose with whom, when and where it wants to do business.  Interestingly enough, Sanctions on Russia work fine for President Obama, but caused misery and suffering for the Cuban people.  Sometimes I wonder if one mouth knows what the other mouth is saying.

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