Remember Hillary’s “reset button?” It was a cute prop that was promoted as the Obama administration’s signal that the disastrous policies of the last eight years were going to be “reset”. With the hated and disgraced Bush now back clearing brush again at his ranch in Crawford, the smart kids were going to show the world how it’s done.
As Charles Krauthammer notes, not only is Russia not budging on Iran sanctions, it rejects the mere threat of sanctions.
Note how thoroughly Clinton was rebuffed. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that “threats, sanctions and threats of pressure” are “counterproductive.” Note: It’s not just sanctions that are worse than useless, but even the threat of mere pressure.
It gets worse. Having failed to get any movement from the Russians, Clinton herself moved — to accommodate the Russian position! Sanctions? What sanctions? “We are not at that point yet,” she averred. “That is not a conclusion we have reached . . . it is our preference that Iran work with the international community.”
Henry Kissinger once said that the main job of Anatoly Dobrynin, the perennial Soviet ambassador to Washington, was to tell the Kremlin leadership that whenever they received a proposal from the United States that appeared disadvantageous to the United States, not to assume it was a trick.
No need for a Dobrynin today. The Russian leadership, hardly believing its luck, needs no interpreter to understand that when the Obama team clownishly rushes in bearing gifts and “reset” buttons, there is nothing ulterior, diabolical, clever or even serious behind it. It is amateurishness, wrapped in naivete, inside credulity. In short, the very stuff of Nobels.
They’re laughing at us. The world is laughing at us.
Paul Mirengoff of Powerline offered this a few days ago:
If my Russian sources are reliable, the answer is that Obama is viewed there mostly with amusement. Some of the amusement stems from his trip to Russia this summer. My sources were amused by the flotilla of Air Force jets that brought him and his entourage to Moscow. They were also taken with (but not necessarily impressed by) the fact that Obama and his crew took over the Ritz Carlton hotel, where rooms start at around $1,200 per night and the presidential suite goes for $13,000.
The Marriott had been good enough for Presidents Clinton and Bush. Rooms there — described as similar to Marriott rooms in the U.S. — can be had for around $350. I was also told (but have not been able to confirm) that Bush himself stayed at the Ambassador’s residence, rather than in a hotel as Obama did.
Russia has seen self-aggrandizing, luxury loving heads of state before. What really has turned Russian heads, according to my sources, is Obama’s eagerness to give things away. The Russians, you see, are hard-nosed. They drive hard bargains in their dealings with themselves and perhaps harder still with outsiders. They may even take what they can’t get through hard bargaining when you’re not looking.
Throughout the Cold War, except to some extent during the Carter years, the U.S. responded more or less in kind to Russian hard-bargaining. In the modern era, President Bush, prodded by Vice President Cheney, eventually did so as well.
It probably never occurred to the Russians that a U.S. president would come to power hoping to “reset” relations with Russia on some basis other than the hard bargain and the “trust but verify” mentality. Yet this is precisely what has fallen into the Kremlin’s lap. From what I’ve heard, the Russian elites can neither believe their good fortune nor hide their amusement.
Oh, in answer to my original question… what did we get for Obama’s smart power?
Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize.
And apparently he’s pretty proud of that accomplishment.
Speaking of the Nobel Peace Prize…Here’s Steven Crowder take:
Try as he might, Crowder fails at his attempt to emulate a tough, outlaw rapper. His cute, baby-face gives him away.