So Much for that Russia Reset

One of the most unheralded repercussions of the Edward Snowden NSA revelations has been the fraying of our relationship with Russia.

Not too many years ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was proclaiming a “reset” in our relationship with our Russian friends after the cold, harsh relationship that existed between the Bush White House and our Russian comrades.

Of course, the honeymoon period between our two nations never really seemed to happen, and the much talked about Russia reset seemed more like “business as usual.”

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The truth of the matter is that while we can be friendlier with Russia today thanks to their turning away from the evil that is political and economic communism, we still find our interests at odds with theirs.

Their President, Vladimir Putin, styles himself as an old world dictator, dressing himself in the trappings of democracy while undermining the freedom of his people at every turn. Until Russian political philosophy matures into one that appreciates and understands the benefits of personal liberty, I doubt we’ll find our leaders cozying up to discuss matters of mutual self interest.

In March of 2012 Mitt Romney scandalized the mainstream media when he had the gall to say that Russia was our “number one geopolitical foe.” He was promptly derided as a foreign policy novice with little understanding of what was “really” happening out in the world. Sadly, the mass of voices who spoke out against Romney were wrong — and Mitt was right.

Russia may no longer be the “Evil Empire,” but they do seem to oppose us at nearly every turn on foreign policy. We have caught many a Russian spy in recent years, and the Russians seem unapologetic about the political faux pas of spying on “friends.” Also, the Russians continue to crack down on the civil liberties of their people – free and fair elections in the Russian Republic seem to have gone the way of the wooly mammoth. Most disturbing, the Russian political leadership seems to have no problem with quieting their opposition by any means necessary — even seeming to go so far as to assassinate political dissidents.

Most recently in our relationship, Washington has become upset with the position the Russian government has taken on escaped NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The US government made it clear that the return of Edward Snowden would be greatly appreciated, but Russia was unmoved by the pleas. The Russian government used the possibility of Snowden’s execution as the reason to avoid his return, but even after the Attorney General took execution “off the table” Snowden was given temporary asylum in Russia.

reset cartoonNow the reset has most definitely gone cold. The President recently chose to cancel a planned meeting with President Putin ostensibly due to concerns over gay rights in Russia – but more glaring was the recent unpleasantness with Mr. Snowden. Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, who is often a mouthpiece of the Democrat Party at large, went so far as to say, “Putin doesn’t deserve the respect after what he’s done with Snowden… He goes out of his way to stick the knife into the United States.”

For his part, Putin seemed indifferent to the apparent snub, instead, reaching out to offer his warmest wishes to the recovering President George W. Bush. Ironic, no?


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