Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Where's that reset button again? 

President Obama was in Russia last week, and even tried to give the Russian people partial credit for ending the Cold War peacefully, but the effects of Smart Diplomacy™ don't seem to be all that different from regular old diplomacy. AP reports:
"A U.S. warship anchored off Georgia for joint military exercises Tuesday while Russian jets pounded mock targets nearby in a sign of lingering tensions over the former Soviet nation turned U.S. ally.

"The U.S. and Russian maneuvers marked a stark change in tone from meetings last week between President Barack Obama and Russia's Dmitry Medvedev, who expressed hope for repairing relations that have sunk to a post-Cold War low.

"During meetings in Moscow last week, Obama warned Moscow to respect the territorial integrity of Georgia and reject the notion that it holds a zone of privileged interest among its former Soviet neighbors. Russia praised the U.S. administration, but made no concessions in its long-running dispute with the West over its role in the post-Soviet space."
Let's give it another year or so, but it will hopefully sink in to the majority of Americans that from the perspective of many foreign leaders and their peoples, it does not matter greatly who the President of the United States is at a particular point in time -- the U.S. has its set of interests and other countries have their objectives, and sometimes there is common ground, and sometimes there is friction. That is not a knock against President Obama per se (only those around him know how coldly realistic or woefully naive he really is), but it is a reminder to that segment of the electorate who might vote for a candidate partly because of the belief that simply recasting the superficial image of the country might actually result in a sudden and meaningful change in the various national interests around the world.


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