Presidents Obama and Putin at the Kremlin: It looks like the Russians

are coming to terms with the likelihood of another Obama term.



Obama: 'Not a God, But a Partner' (Izvestia, Russia)


"Putin finally realizes that the American political class will offer us no one better than liberal Obama. ... it is better to work with someone who, after his victory, is willing (perhaps genuinely) to come and meet on the issue of missile defense, than a man who (perhaps in all seriousness) considers Russia geopolitical enemy number one. ... On the U.S. political scene today there aren’t any other, pardon the pun, "real realists" to be expected."


By Boris Mezhuyev*


Translated By Casey Patrick Reilly


September 12, 2012


Russia - Izvestia - Original Article (Russian)

President Obama: Once again, from Russia's point of view, this article appears to favor a second term for America's Democratic Party leader.

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My friend and colleague Dmitry Drobnitskii, in his latest column in Izvestia, very reasonably noted a measure of change in the foreign policy behavior and rhetoric of our country's leading figures. It was a somewhat half-hearted attempt to play along with American's current president, a public expression of sympathy for his amicable mood with regard to Russia, as well as an understanding of his liberal-environmental agenda which Drobnitskii called a kind of awakening of "foreign policy realism."


Vladimir Putin, in Drobnitskii’s opinion, has stopped following some of his supporters who hope for a conservative Republican to reappear at the White House. Someone who, like Reagan or Bush Jr., believes in the sincere religiosity of Russians, and seeing a cross around a Russian neck, will accept him as one of their own. He finally realizes that the American political class will offer us no one better than liberal Obama. And he has rightly concluded that we should support Obama on issues that we can support him on, like for example, protecting the environment.


Of course, if Romney wins, we'll have to deal with Romney. But it is better to work with someone who, after his victory, is willing (perhaps genuinely) to come and meet on the issue of missile defense, than a man who (perhaps in all seriousness) considers Russia geopolitical enemy number one.


I would add, it is better to deal with a politician trying his best to deter Israel from carrying out a strike on Iran than with an unequivocal supporter of Israel, who in one way or another, will have to answer for his words.


To paraphrase the late astronaut Neil Armstrong, we can say that this understanding is "one small step for a leader, and one giant leap" for all Russian kind. Four years ago, when the same Obama went up against [Georgia President] Saakashvili’s biggest fan, Senator John McCain, most people in Russia were for McCain. There were four reasons.




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Some had hoped that McCain would reach the White House and immediately begin a tussle with the Russian authorities, flood the opposition with dollars, demand that Putin and Medvedev surrender themselves in front of the mob hastily-assembled by those dollars, and failing to fulfill the mob’s demands, our elite would be punished with terrible blacklists.


Others, among them sincere patriots of the Fatherland, trusted that such loud threats and openly-aggressive intentions on the part of the United States, would bring our ruling class to abandon their temporary lull, gather, rally, and finally institute a genuine modernization of the Russian Armed Forces and the overall economy.


Still others continued to believe in the old tale of the ferocious-looking but secretly-kind Republicans, and the soft, but sly and treacherous Democrats.


But the those with the greatest impact were a fourth group. These people stylistically enjoy rudeness, ferocity, and brutality. And, according to the twisted logic of some, all alpha dogs are simply obliged to love one another, and sooner or later, the brutal macho man in the White House would have to squeeze into the embrace of the brutal macho man in the Kremlin. In general, they thought, the lions have to sleep with the lions, and the bunnies with the bunnies.


Convincing our potential lions was impossible. They stubbornly refused to be in the company of bunnies. This could spoil their image and reduce their prestige.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


And now, it seems, in the minds of our elite - the ruling party and opposition - there has been a gratifying break. We have to admit, our opposition is a little smarter and a little wiser. There are many ways to treat [Putin opponent and businessman] Alexey Navalny, but we cannot give him his due. Unlike Kasparov, he never wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal and didn’t berate Russia for not rushing into a war with Iran.


Our sincere patriots are also smarter, since they have realized that Russia today is hardly ready for a frontal confrontation with the West. "If Tomorrow Brings War, then Tomorrow We March" [Soviet war song of 1938], then tomorrow, wouldn’t half our command staff flee? Only now has the government finally begun to realize that officials should not be permitted to open up bank accounts abroad; only now has it begun to think about how to avoid "an Italian desertion" by servicemen who want to live out their days in a small villa on the Mediterranean.



Finally, our experts, who love to remember the cases of Nixon and Reagan, have also become aware that the era of such legendary presidents is long gone. Before us are completely different kinds of Republicans and far different types of Democrats. On the political scene today there aren’t any other, pardon the pun, "real realists" to be expected - except for Obama.


It appears as though the Russian government has stepped away from policies carried out in the spirit of mutual public relations for alpha-dogs and beta-bunnies. This, of course, won't please all those who in fact are guided by national interests. Note that in the eyes of some overweening neocons, in their anti-Russian and anti-Iranian zeal, Obama is only a bunny. Yet he probably killed more leaders of al-Qaeda than Bush the younger. There is no particular reason to think him a defeatist when he is demonstrably not. And actually, in the case of Russia during his first term, he didn’t engage in any particular bullying of Russia.


Of course, Obama didn't dare touch the big banks; and he was afraid to bring order to the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, everyone who had hoped for a return of state guidance in the economy and new large-scale investment programs were waiting for Obama’s New Deal. Instead, massive state aid went to America's defaulting banks, there was a recognition of same-sex marriage and a partial reform of health care. He never became a superpower-Nobel laureate, exemplary defender of international law, or even the law itself. For Russia, and, as they used to say in the old days, all of progressive humanity, there is no reason to look at the 44th occupant of the White House with particular adoration.


But probably, as Dmitry Drobnitskii correctly noted, we shouldn’t look for leaders across the sea to be gods, but just reliable partners. And if Obama does not appear to us as a god, but a partner, he is certainly preferable.


*Boris Mezhuyev is a Political Scientist



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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Sept. 19, 5:27pm]







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