The Return of Vladimir Putin... Not Good News for Obama

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 11/25/2011 - 12:53pm.


Vladimir Putin-finger

If you want to learn the mood of the Kremlin, you need only watch Russian television. Even privately owned channels tend to be owned by close allies of Vladimir Putin, and such is certainly the case with REN TV, the chairman of which is Lyubov Sovershaeva, previously Putin's deputy envoy to Russia's north-west region. ~ Michael Weiss

Tatyana Limanova, the pixie-ish news anchor for REN TV recently announced that lame duck President Dmitry Medvedev has just assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, a post previously held by Barack Obama. When she mentioned the American president's name, however, she gave the camera the finger.

As The Telegraph reported yesterday, the station then went into damage-control mode, assuring its 120 million viewers that Limanova thought she was off-air and was only being playful with station engineers, as I'm sure the White House was gratified to learn.

But how dramatically things have changed since Medvedev assured the Financial Times last June: "Let me tell you that no one wishes the re-election of Barack Obama as US president as I do."

For starters, the NATO-imposed no-fly zone on Libya didn't just impede Muammar Gaddafi's ability to slaughter his own people, it also impeded his ability to carry on living. Never a fan of multilateral interventions (Putin described the no-fly zone as a "crusade").

Russia sees the now-concluded Libya campaign as Western adventurism, a fine thank-you for its abstention from the UN Security Council vote authorising the protection of Libyan rebels.

Next came the announcement that Putin would indeed be returning to the presidency after a four-year stint as prime minister, news that was not greeted in the US press or government with squeals of delight, by those who had foolishly heralded the succession of Medvedev as a perestroika moment for a budding autocracy.

In October, Russia (along with China) vetoed a watered-down UNSC resolution that would have imposed international sanctions on the Assad regime in Syria because it has more or less outfitted Syria with all of its weapons and, well, take that for Libya.

Finally, earlier this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) came out with a report that made the strongest case to date that Iran was working toward the construction of a nuclear weapon.

Russia's response? "A compilation of well-known facts that have intentionally been given a politicized intonation," a foreign ministry statement read. The authors of the report "resort[ed] to assumptions and suspicions, and juggle information with the purpose of creating the impression that the Iranian nuclear program has a military component".

The IAEA based much of its evidence on US intelligence and also on Iran's development of a chain-reaction detonator device supposedly facilitated by an unnamed "foreign expert". Well, the Washington Post did us the favour of outing that foreign expert: a 76-year-old Russian nuclear scientist named Vyacheslav Danilenko.

Since the US-Russian "reset" was predicated on securing Moscow's help in forestalling an atomic Islamic Republic, this development seemed a significant setback for a key foreign policy objective.

Obama has learned the hard way that rolling over for Putin hasn't earned the US new-found respect in the steppes, but rather the obscene gestures of strongmen, and their talking heads.


Michael Weiss - November 24, 2011 - Telegraph.UK


Tag this page!
Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 11/25/2011 - 12:53pm.