What does it mean when the President of the United States tells the leader of a foreign nation that he has more “flexibility” to negotiate away U.S. Interests after he’s reelected?
It means the country is in serious trouble.
Last week, President Obama spoke with Dmitry Medvedev at an event in South Korea. What he didn’t realize is that his microphone was still on when he decided to get candid with the Russian president. “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense,” he said, “this can be solved, but it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space …. This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” Medvedev nodded and replied, “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you … I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.” And then he said, “I stand with you.”
So, what’s the problem? The mainstream media certainly didn’t seem to see one. They thought that this was just Obama being “too honest” – obviously, he will have more flexibility after winning re-election.
But there’s more to it than that. This is the President of the United States telling a country that is effectively an enemy – Russia has variously backed Syria, Iran, China, and Venezuela in their anti-American plays – that we will hand them what they want should they take off the pressure for a few months. As usual, Obama has it wrong. The job of the President of the United States is not to treat the people of the United States as an inconvenient obstacle to handing anti-American regimes what they want. The job of the President is to represent the people of the United States and their interests. Obama didn’t just reject that job, he took action directly in opposition to it.
But there’s even more to it than that. This is Obama’s entire re-election strategy.
Obama faces two particularly thorny issues with regard to his re-election effort. The first is oil prices, which have skyrocketed recently. The second is Iran.
When it comes to oil prices, Republicans have jumped on the president with both feet, blaming him for higher pump bills. That’s led Obama to do what he does best: blame others. This week, he blamed the big oil companies for rising gas prices, and suggested that their tax breaks be repealed (a proposal immediately rejected by the Democratic Senate).
There is one group, however, he did not blame: OPEC. OPEC controls an enormous percentage of the world oil supply; they can ease prices simply by ratcheting up production. Notice, however, that Obama hasn’t called on them to do so. Why? Because he’s waiting for Republicans to continue pushing on gas prices, making it their central campaign issue – and then he’s going to go to his newfound friends for help. He’ll go to the Russians, who “stand with him”; he’ll go to OPEC and tell them that he needs production boosted, and that in return, he’ll be more “flexible” on Israel after his re-election. Voila! Gas price problem solved, just in time for the voters to give him the credit.
Then there’s the second major threat to Obama’s re-election: Iran. If Israel attacks Iran, Obama will be stuck between a rock and a hard place. He’ll have to appease his Israel-supporting base, particularly in states like Florida and Ohio. At the same time, however, he’ll have to appease his anti-Israel far-left base, which wants to see him stick it to the Jewish State.
Obama’s only option is to delay. Thankfully, the Russians are here to help. It is the Russians who have been supplying materials to the Iranians to build their nuclear facilities. They wield tremendous power with the mullahs. And it is the Russians who have been holding up the show with regard to UN sanctions.
All Obama has to do is ask the Russians to make public pronouncements about stopping Iran from going nuclear; all he has to do is get them to sign on to one sternly-worded UN resolution against Iran. If he does, he can then make the case to the American public that he’s tough on Iran and that Israel must therefore hold off on a pre-emptive strike.
When President Obama said he needed “space” from Russia so that he could do their bidding as a lame duck president, there was another side to the deal: he needs their help to be re-election.
This is not how American elections are supposed to work – with presidents intriguing with corrupt and authoritarian world leaders who debase their own sham electoral systems to help rig our own votes. Obama has taken Chicago politics international.
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