When President Obama had Secretary of State Hillary Clinton give the Russians a big red “Reset” button, most Americans had no idea just how far that reset would take us.
Four years later, we’re seeing a reinvigorated Russia that still reminisces about the days of the Soviet Union, led by a former KGB spymaster.
When Ronald Reagan spent the Soviet Union into its final collapse, the Russia that emerged held the promise of being free and one day becoming a true ally of the United States.
But as Obama began “resetting” and bowing around the world on his global apology tour, Vladimir Putin sensed weakness. The temptation must have been too great, and he began mobilizing his nation, growing wages for workers, expanding Russia’s oil trade and slowly stretching his influence into other parts of the globe.
Key to Russia’s ascendancy is the opportunity provided by Obama’s contempt for military defense and his mishandling of the Middle East.
When Obama gave away missile defenses in Eastern Europe in exchange for a pat on the head from Putin, and again when he promised “more flexibility” after the election, Putin’s reputation among his own people and among the club of international leadership rose significantly.
Putin has traded that new stock carefully, applying pressure against Obama’s Arab Spring campaign in Syria and against U.S. interests again in regards to the Iran nuclear program.
On the international scene, the players gravitate toward the power, and thanks to our feckless president, the power is increasingly seen as being in Russia’s hands.
Just this past weekend, the Kremlin trumpeted Putin’s overseeing of the largest test of Russia’s nuclear capability since 1991, including launches of intercontinental missiles from land, sea and air.
Obama’s abandonment of all the U.S. had accomplished in Iraq has provided further opportunities for Russia. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recently concluded a $4.2 billion arms deal with Moscow, including 30 Mi-28 attack helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1 missile systems. Iraq is in discussions to get MiG-29 fighter jets and Russian armored vehicles.
After visiting Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow, Maliki has announced a proposal to replace ExxonMobil with the Russian companies LUKoil and Gazprom Neft in its oil fields. Putin is still considering the offer.
As Obama’s Benghazi lies continue to unravel, the chances for the shrewd Putin to muscle his way further into the Mideast only grow. The presence of Russian warships in the eastern Mediterranean has created a standoff with Turkish/NATO forces and the U.S. presence in Jordan. But with the Muslim Brotherhood solidifying its hold on power in Egypt and elsewhere, and reaching out to Iran, the entire Mideast situation is slowly sliding toward a unified Muslim alliance, but not the one Obama and the Saudi royal family hoped for.
If Iran can successfully bring nuclear weaponry to the table, either on its own or with Russian assistance, then Obama’s regime will have overseen not just the resurrection of the Russian superpower, but the creation of an entirely new Muslim superpower that can line up with China against U.S. power.
It will be quite a feat, tripling the number of our nuclear enemies in four short years.