Almost Everyone Gets Russia Wrong – Apart From Obama

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

These days it is en vogue in Washington DC to be itching for conflict with Russia. Politicians and pundits alike are outdoing each other for how they can describe the supposed threat Putin now poses to the west. To his credit, Barack Obama seems to be the only politician not playing into the cold war 2.0 hysteria.

[…] Obama has been generally right about Russia for years. In a 60 Minutes interview last year, correspondent Steve Kroft kept trying to get Obama to admit that Putin was asserting his dominance over the US, but as Obama calmly (and correctly) explained, what Russia is doing in Syria and Ukraine is not borne out of strength, but out of desperation. The idea of using our military purely to “show strength” against Russia in some sort of macho capacity may only make things worse.

One of Obama’s best moments during the 2012 debate was mocking Mitt Romney for calling Russia the US’s “number one geopolitical foe,” quipping “the 80s called and wants their foreign policy back.” Yet this has now been turned into an attack on Obama by the very same people who seem to be almost wishing that Russia returns to its cold war status as Enemy No1.

The Obama administration seems intent on trying to negotiate a deal with Russia in Syria. Putting aside the flawed rationale for bombing Syria at all, this seems like the entirely logical move – yet it barely gets mentioned by the various parties who are currently fanning the Russia-is-the-enemy flames.

READ MORE…

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