Turns out Obama was the real Russian stooge
Accommodating the illicit nuclear ambitions of a Russian ally? Welcoming a Russian foothold in the Middle East? Refusing to provide arms to a sovereign country invaded by Russia? Diminishing our defenses and pursuing a Moscow-friendly policy of hostility to fossil fuels?
Finally, Obama cut US defense spending and cracked down on fossil fuels — a policy that Russia welcomes, since its economy is dependent on high oil prices.
Put all of this together, and it’s impossible to conclude anything other than that Obama was a Russian stooge — and not out of any nefarious dealings, but out of his own naïveté and weakness.
Obama didn’t expect any rewards when he asked then-Russian President Dimitri Medvedev during a hot mic moment at an international meeting to relay to Vladimir Putin his ability to be more “flexible” after the 2012 election; he was, to put it in terms of the current Russian election controversy, “colluding” with the Russians in the belief it was a good strategy. His “kompromat” was his own foolishness.
This deal was obviously deficient, but Obama officials used clever language to give the impression that it had removed all chemical weapons from Syria. Never mind that Assad still used chlorine gas to attack his population — exploiting a grievous loophole — and that evidence piled up that Assad was cheating more broadly.
The Russians eagerly covered for Assad because he’s their client. What was the Obama administration’s excuse? It effectively made itself a liar for the Russians. At the same time Moscow bolstered the Assad regime, we said had to go, smashed the moderate opposition we were trying to create, and sent a destabilizing refugee flow into Europe. This was a moral and strategic disaster.
To be sure, Donald Trump’s statements about Russia over the last year-and-a-half have often been stupid and shameful. But there was always a good chance that Russia’s blatant hostility to our values and interests would make any attempted Trump detente unsustainable. With his secretary of state and UN ambassador hitting Russia hard over the Assad gas attack and Trump’s strike challenging Russia’s position, the administration looks to be adopting a hard-headed attitude without bothering with a doomed re-set first.
Even if Obama eventually got tougher on Russia — imposing sanctions after the Ukraine invasion and sending contingents of US troops to countries near Russia — he never entirely shed his reflex toward accommodation.