At the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit on Monday (March 26), the Washington Post reported that camera crews caught President Obama and outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, apparently unaware of the presence of the all-seeing media eye, speaking with each other.
“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama can be heard telling Medvedev, apparently referring to incoming Russian president — and outgoing prime minister — Vladimir Putin.
First impression: That was the only chance they had to meet one on one at the summit? Whatever the case, conservative Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post said:
This is a stunning gift to Romney from the Obama camp. The legitimate concern that Obama will take his re-election as a mandate to head left is likely to become an all-purpose weapon.
Mitt Romney’s foreign-policy advisors expressed their appreciation by writing an open letter to President Obama for the National Review. In part, it reads:
Too often, the United States under your leadership has been neither strong nor constant. Your inadvertently recorded remarks to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in South Korea raise questions about whether a new period of even greater weakness and inconstancy would lie ahead if you are reelected.
Then the advisors raised the “p” word (emphasis added).
Should the American people expect more efforts to placate Russia by weakening the missile defense systems that protect us and our allies?
But at least they didn’t hurl conservatives favorite foreign-policy epithet at the president — the “a” word. Ms. Rubin, however, had no such constraints (again, emphasis added).
It’s remarkable, actually, that Obama could be any more flexible with Russia than he’s already been under his “reset” — which is indistinguishable from appeasement. His administration praised rigged Russian elections, helped get Russia into the World Trade Organization, has tried to slow down human rights legislation aimed at Russian perpetrators, and yanked missile defense sites out of Eastern Europe.
Though some think Neville Chamberlain was correct to sign the Munich Agreement in 1938, which ceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany, he’ll never be allowed to rest in peace. In fact, many progressives agree that President Obama placates and appeases — conservatives, of course.
The latest development, reports Elaine Grossman at Global Security Newswire:
All but four of the U.S. Senate’s 47 Republicans have called on President Obama to explain remarks on missile defense made on Monday in an informal discussion with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
They were led, of course, by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Contrariness Committee.
Meanwhile, at Democracy Arsenal, Heather Hurlburt wrote about the letter.
I was mesmerized thinking about the idea that two-thirds of the signatories served in the second-term Reagan, Clinton and Bush Administrations — administrations that saw major positive steps in arms control, relations with enemies, and attempts to broker ends to decades-long wars (and that’s just Reagan and Bush) — would sign such a letter.
But she also seems to view the letter as a message to Romney from his own advisors.
Clearly, Romney’s team is right to worry that a President Romney might follow the lead of their former bosses, not to mention Presidents Clinton, Nixon and Eisenhower, and grow more confident and more concerned with pragmatic solutions to the world’s most pressing national security problems in a second term.
Romney himself also responded to the open-mic moment and then President Medvedev, in turn
… rebuked US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for saying Russia is the “number one geopolitical foe” of the US. … Mr Medvedev said Mr Romney’s comments “smelled of Hollywood” and advised him to “use his head”.
Whatever President Obama’s faults, one can’t imagine Medvedev or Putin saying that about him.
Cross-posted from the Foreign Policy in Focus blog Focal Points.