Snap Fact #183

President Obama Is A Master At The Strategy And Tactics Of Foreign Policy And Diplomacy!
Do you remember the "gaff" that President Obama made on his visit to Seoul, Korea on March 26,2012? The President was meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Thinking the mic was off Mr. Obama commented to the effect that he would have more flexibility to negotiate regarding Russian concerns about U.S. defense systems and other complex matters after the 2012 election. He asked that this message be transmitted to Vladimir Putin who be re-taking the helm in Russia in early May. Of course the right wing jumped all over this one. Playing on the fear and paranoia of so many in their base the message was driven home that here we had a positive confirmation that Obama is a Commie. You can see the damning video on YouTube for yourself (www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfUmqbtItTE) and view the accompanying attack on the President.
There is little doubt that the hysterical attacks on the President were politically damaging. It could make sense to some to think that our leader was going to sell out his country to his Fellow Travelers. The “Rational Majority” knew better and the story didn't go too far - until now. 

We have all come to know that our President is a deliberate long term player. We also have come to understand that he is a problem solver of the highest caliber. One of the rules of successful leadership is that you listen to and respect your opposition and that you suggest solutions to problems wherein all parties win. This ingrained philosophy has earned the President, and his country great respect around the world. That respect has translated into many foreign policy victories for the U.S. as well as our friends and allies, and even our adversaries.

World leaders come to the table with respect and admiration for President Obama. They know him as a tough but fair negotiator. Instead of a "my way or the highway" approach he seeks to find common ground and devise creative solutions to problem after problem. On the other hand he is not the soft touch that many who do not understand his methods fear. On May 5, 2012 America received an answer to his comments to Mr. Mededev. We print this breaking story from Reuters below:

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's President-elect Vladimir Putin is ready to go far in developing ties between Russia and the United States provided the relationship is equal, Interfax news agency quoted Putin's foreign policy aide as saying on Saturday.

Putin discussed bilateral relations at a closed-door meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama's top security aide Tom Donilon at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Friday, three days before his inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin.
"Putin emphasized that in developing the relationship with the United States, Russia is ready to go really far, on condition that the Americans will act on the principles of an equal and mutually respectful partnership," Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying.

Ushakov said Donilon handed Putin a letter from Obama, calling it "a multi-page detailed document, whose main message is that Obama is ready to cooperate with Putin in order to move forward on the path of the creation of partnership between the United States and Russia".

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov and the U.S. embassy in Russia declined to comment on the meeting.

Putin plans to make his first foreign visit as president later this month to the United States where he will take part in the G8 leaders' summit as well as meet Obama. Putin's second major foreign visit will be to China at the start of June.

Putin, who tried to keep a low profile in foreign policy issues during his stint as prime minister, last met Obama for a caviar breakfast at Novo-Ogaryovo in July 2009.

Obama made "reset" of U.S. relations with Russia one of his top foreign policy priorities. He had a good working relationship with departing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who will now become prime minister.

As prime minister, Putin has held regular meetings with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, an architect of the Cold War policy of detente towards the Soviet Union.

Putin extensively used anti-American rhetoric in the run-up to March 4 presidential election accusing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of stirring protests against his 12-year rule by encouraging "mercenary" Kremlin foes.

The two former Cold War foes still differ over issues including the Syrian crisis and U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in Europe. Many observers believe the relationship may deteriorate during Putin's six-year presidency.

A top Russian general warned this week that Moscow could carry out pre-emptive strikes on future NATO missile defense installations. NATO called such threats "unjustified" and said the system posed no threat to Russia's security.

Obama was caught on camera in March telling Medvedev that he will have "more flexibility" to deal with contentious issues such as missile defense after the U.S. presidential election in November.

Obama, who holds his first political rallies of the 2012 campaign on Saturday, has been criticized by opponents for being too soft on Russia and is likely to step up criticism ahead of the election.

(Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

Of course this is an issue in motion. There is a long way to go before mutual good will translates into tangible results. But perhaps the road to bilateral cooperation with Russia is now a bit clearer of obstructions. Certainly people of good will can hope to find common ground and partnership better than self-righteous enemies. Once again the “Rational Majority” of voters in this country need to ask themselves who they want to deal with our friends and adversaries around the world for the next 4 years?