By Ben Barrack
In light of the developments in Ukraine, it may be worth revisiting the now infamous ‘open mic’ moment between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev in Seoul, South Korea on March 27, 2012. The exchange took place at a nuclear summit and Obama made specific reference to missile defense when talking about having ‘more flexibility’ after his election.
Obama: “This is my last election. After my election, I’ll have more flexibility.”
Medvedev: “I understand. I transmit this information to Vladimir and I stand with you.”
Based on another ‘open mic’ quote attributed to Obama prior to the recorded exchange above, it’s believed that the ‘flexibility’ he said he would have after being re-elected dealt exclusively with missile defense. Here is the quote:
“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him (Vladimir Putin) to give me space.”
Did you catch that? He wasn’t talking about missile defense exclusively. What was the reference to ‘all these issues’? Did any of them involve Obama standing down whenever Russia is on the march? That happened in both Syria and now Ukraine, after Obama’s reelection. Consider something that both Barack Obama’s childhood mentor Frank Marshall Davis and Putin have in common; both were Josef Stalin loyalists. In fact, as Putin was joining the KGB in 1975, the young Obama was being mentored by Davis. The two had a relationship that spanned nearly a decade. In an interview with Breitbart, Cold War historian and political science professor Paul Kengor said the following about Davis:
There’s a vast volume of evidence from his writings, government documents, declassified archives. His loyalties to Stalin’s Soviet Union were so obvious, and so contrary to American interests, that the Democrats who ran the Senate called him to Washington to testify in December 1956 to explain himself. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment. No matter, the next year, in a Senate report titled (tellingly), “Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States,” the Democratic Senate listed Davis as “an identified member of the Communist Party.”
According to Russian historian and author Richard Sakwa, in a book entitled Putin: Russia’s Choice, Putin had a familial connection to both Stalin and Vladimir Lenin. Writes Sakwa:
Putin’s paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin, had been a cook employed for a time at Lenin’s country house (Gorki), and following his death in January 1924 worked for Lenin’s wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya. Later on several occasions he cooked for Stalin when the latter visited one of his Moscow region dachas (country houses).
Moscow’s Levada polling centre says Stalin’s popularity among Russians has tripled in the last twenty years. It’s a trend that has accelerated since Vladimir Putin, now prime minister, came to power in 2000. On his watch, the Kremlin has sought to emphasise Stalin’s wartime victory and his transformation of the Soviet Union into a superpower.
In his defense of Stalin, Putin compared the mass murderer to Sir Oliver Cromwell this past December, saying there was no difference between the two men.
Conservative pundits have been borderline apoplectic over what they perceive as Obama’s ‘weakness’ when it comes to Putin. Charles Krauthammer made the point that the Obama administration is calling Climate Change the greatest threat while expressing shock over Russians invading Crimea. Ret. Col. Ralph Peters said that Putin ‘has Obama’s number’. House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) was so stupefied that he said Obama is ‘playing marbles’ while Putin’s playing chess’.
Lost on all of these ‘experts’ is the possibility that Obama wants to see the return of the Soviet Union as well. Many of these experts refused to acknowledge or make hay over Obama’s connections prior to his 2008 election. Acknowledging the possibility of collaboration now would come with a concession that they failed to do something about it then.
Pundits and especially politicians have always been reluctant to identify Stalin as a common thread that joins both men – one through a mentor, the other through a grandfather. This is why relationships matter when you’re talking about elected office, especially the President of the United States. That said, there is a very interesting difference between Putin and Obama – their opposing stances on the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt provides the quintessential example. After the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi, the Obama administration was in panic mode. Senators Lindsey Graham (RINO-SC) and John McCain (RINO-AZ) essentially went to work as emissaries for Obama. Both traveled to Egypt in a failed and desperate effort to have Brotherhood leaders released from prison. The Obama administration’s support for the Brotherhood in Egypt has been indisputable. Conversely, Putin is siding with Gen. Abdel Fatah el-Sisi.
As for Syria, Putin’s policies have served to protect Christians there while Obama’s policies have enabled Jihadists. Putin won the day against Obama in Syria last year when Obama failed to strike Bashar al-Assad’s forces and allow Russia to negotiate the truce. Polling data in the U.S. was also extremely lopsided against launching a strike against Assad. International coalitions fell apart as well. Inexplicably, dozens of Foreign Policy experts – to include Karl Rove – sent a letter to Obama that demanded he launch military strikes against Assad’s regime in response to a chemical weapons attack which evidence suggests, wasn’t even launched by Assad.
Later, it was learned that the Obama administration had negotiated a nuclear deal with Iran that would help to clear the path for Iran to get nuclear weapons. Again this was beneficial to Putin; it was also detrimental to the Saudis. Iran and Saudi Arabia are mortal enemies. However, there is another group that benefited – the Muslim Brotherhood.
While the Muslim Brotherhood is plenty content with accepting Saudi money, it seeks to one day overthrow the Saudi Royal family. In this case, Obama may have applied Rule 8 from Rules for Radicals, the book of his ideological hero, Saul Alinsky:
Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”
The part in bold is key. Had the jihadists in Syria gained the upper hand with the Assad regime as a direct result of a U.S. strike on Assad, the Brotherhood would have been benefited and Russia would suffer a setback. On the other hand, one way to turn a jihadist defeat in Syria into a victory would be to alienate Saudi Arabia by helping Iran get a nuclear weapon. Again, this benefits the Brotherhood, which has been setting up shop in Turkey since being ousted from Egypt.
As Walid has explained, this could lead to a showdown between Turkey and Russia.
We know what side Putin will take and we have a pretty good idea what side Obama will take.
Those respective decisions explain – at least in part – why so many Americans think more of Putin than they do of Obama.