March 30th, 2012

Obama flexibility assurance: Krauthammer asks why

Charles Krauthammer wants to know what was behind Obama’s assurance to Medvedev on his increased post-2012-election “flexibility”:

After all, what is Obama doing negotiating on missile defense in the first place? We have no obligation to do so. The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a relic of the Cold War, died in 2002.

We have an unmatched technological lead in this area. It’s a priceless strategic advantage that for three decades Russia has been trying to get us to yield. Why give any of it away?

To placate Putin, Obama had already in 2009 abruptly canceled the missile-defense system the Poles and Czechs had agreed to host in defiance of Russian threats. Why give away more?

It’s unfathomable. In trying to clean up the gaffe, Obama emphasized his intent to “reduce nuclear stockpiles” and “reduce reliance on nuclear weapons.” In which case, he should want to augment missile defenses, not weaken, dismantle or bargain them away. The fewer nukes you have for deterrence, the more you need nuclear defenses. If your professed goal is nuclear disarmament, as is Obama’s, eliminating defenses is completely illogical.

But maybe this is why; it’s an article on the subject of the nuclear weapons race with the USSR that Obama wrote while a senior at Columbia. Now, I realize that most people’s points of view change between college and many decades later. But still, it’s logical to assume, from the evidence of this paper, that nuclear disarmament was a topic he cared unusually deeply about in early adulthood, since it’s virtually the only sustained piece of his academic writing that’s come down to us.

Here’s the text of Obama’s article. And here’s what the NY Times had to say about it in 2009 [emphasis mine]:

What clearly excited [the younger Obama] was the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which would end the testing and development of new weapons, and thus, in the minds of arms controllers, end the nuclear arms race. The Reagan administration vehemently opposed the treaty. Paraphrasing Mr. Bigelow’s views, Mr. Obama said the United States should initiate the ban “as a powerful first step towards a nuclear free world.” That phrase would reemerge decades later…

Barack Obama’s journalistic voice was edgy with disdain for what he called “the relentless, often silent spread of militarism in the country” amid “the growing threat of war.” The two groups, he wrote, “visualizing the possibilities of destruction and grasping the tendencies of distorted national priorities, are throwing their weight into shifting America off the dead-end track.”

In closing, he decried the “the twisted logic of which we are a part today” and praised student efforts to realize “the possibility of a decent world.”

Even back then, Obama believed (for whatever reason; you can fill in the blanks with any number of theories from benign to malignant) that it was up to the US to go first in disarming, and this was true even before the fall of the Soviet Union.

But back to the present—and the future, on which Krauthammer speculates:

Can you imagine the kind of pressure a reelected Obama will put on Israel, the kind of anxiety he will induce from Georgia to the Persian Gulf, the nervousness among our most loyal East European friends who, having been left out on a limb by Obama once before, are now wondering what new flexibility Obama will show Putin — the man who famously proclaimed that the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century was Russia’s loss of its Soviet empire?

They don’t know. We don’t know. We didn’t even know this was coming — until the mike was left open. Only Putin was to know. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” Medvedev assured Obama.

Added Medvedev: “I stand with you.” A nice endorsement from Putin’s puppet, enough to chill friends and allies, democrats and dissidents, all over the world.

24 Responses to “Obama flexibility assurance: Krauthammer asks why”

  1. Don Carlos Says:

    Res ipsa loquitur: Traitor.

  2. pst314 Says:

    In case the New York Times link goes stale, you can also find Obama’s student article here:

  3. pst314 Says:

    Obama’s essay reads like little more than a stringing-together of smug and arrogant cliches. It could be used to illustrate some of the points raised in Jonah Goldberg’s forthcoming book, The Tyranny of Cliches.

  4. gcotharn Says:

    Besides Jake Tapper of ABC: where, in MSM, has Barack’s promise of “flexibility” been reported? They are on the other side; w/Barack.

    Adam Carolla brilliant profane rant re media bias

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: It got pretty wide coverage, perhaps because ABC covered it first through Tapper. Here are just a few prominent example:

    Washington Post
    NY Times
    LA Times

    I’ve also spoken to a couple of liberal friends who knew about it and although they made some excuses they found it somewhat disturbing. Since they don’t watch Fox News or read neoneocon, they must be reading or hearing about it somewhere on the left.

  6. Steve Says:

    Yet another example of Obama being ‘professorial’ as the left would say but that is being too generous considering everything he touches turns to crap.

  7. Robert Says:

    I do not think he understands Russia very well. My wife is from Russia, and the Kremlin is doing a few things. One, they are supporting Iran because Iran is paying them for the nuclear technology. The Kremlin is very interested in making money so it can do things like buy houses in Monico and buy U.S. basketball teams, i.e. NJ Nets. There is a heirarchy similiar to the Roman empire. Also, they would like to create uncertainty since this will drive up oil prices. The Kremlin is not very interested in ordinary Russians outside of making sure they do not revolt and kill all the people in charge. They are able to pay pensions with the Oil money as well as provide young Russians with good salaries, especially compared to their parents. They do not like Muslims, but they wouldn’t mind them wiping out Isreal since they killed Jesus. When I hear this I like to tell the Russians that it was really the Italians. Russia, the people as well as the people in power, would like to be more important in the world. This isn’t surprising since American’s like being important as well.

    As far as the president, after reading his article, I found a knee jerk reaction that the problems are all the American conservative’s fault. I believe that he believe the propaganda about how conservatives. It reminds me of a rich person I met in New York who kept saying how dumb Sarah Palin is. I find the argument that if the United States were to give up its military, there would be peace in the world to be pretty dumb, but I guess they wouldn’t listen to me anyway.

    Russia is very dangerous. I personally believe that Putin staged some of the terrorist attacks in Russia in order to cancel the elections in Russia for the equivalent of state governors.

  8. Lisa Says:

    Well, since he really loves his drone attacks and is constantly bragging about killing Bin Laden, it seems that he has gotten over his aversion to the “spread of militarism in the country”.

  9. Curtis Says:

    Post modernism filled the vacuum of meaning by simply stating “See those guys, those guys who are rich and have what you don’t have, them’s the bad guys.”

    Now, how does it turn the corner, walk a block, and turn another corner so as to effect a 180 degree change. Which it must. Because “those guys” are now them. And all along postmodernism’s siren call to the disaffected was nothing more than giving rum to the soldiers. And despite their deceptions to the soldiers, the other couintries are not deceived. Old enemies remain old enemies. Merely because America would turn from a Republic to a Dictatorship does not mean the world trust “Dear Leader.” Shite. It is to weep how much we have given away. When will the courage and outrage reach majority levels to vote these monsters out!~

    Romney stated it correctly. Russia is our geo-political foe. That last term is code, a term of art, a reference to geo-politics. Certainly, there are updates to the geo-political model, but Romney was saying it really never goes away and cannot go away because humans are what they are and form local connections.

    Moreover, Mormons are really into the Book of Revelations and Russia is not the good guy therein. No sir. You have to know which dog is a come-here dog versus a sic-em. Russia? Well, I think everybody knows.

    Russia. A thugocracy. Consider it no more than a mafia nationalized. They live off their people to export their crime and contempt towards God. Not Russia the people, mind you. How great will be the day when the great peoples of Russia and Iran are liberated!

  10. jon baker Says:

    Robert says “They do not like Muslims, but they wouldn’t mind them wiping out Isreal since they killed Jesus. When I hear this I like to tell the Russians that it was really the Italians.”….I guess it goes right over their ill informed heads that both Jesus and his earliest disciples were Jews…..of course the Russians might not understand that many Christians think they , the Russians, are part of the attacking force against Israel predicted in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39…though there is great Debate over the modern names of some of those ancient peoples listed there as well as the sequence of that battle in relation to other predicted events….

  11. physicsguy Says:

    Curtis, Iran yes, Russia I have my doubts. Mainly based on history. They seem a people unwilling to govern themselves.

  12. Artfldgr Says:

    well put Robert

    From the list of goals in “The Naked Communist,” by Cleon Skousen.

    3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

  13. Curtis Says:

    jon baker: please provide any evidence of the great debate you mentioned. Biblical scholars and Torah scholars know no such debate. The debate, if it exists, is between liberals and moderates. Their erudition pales when compared to the massive minds of true scholarship. Here is another bellweather grade: competence. Years of progressive education has depleted the rationalist power of their scholar. Note Supreme Court Gingrich and her amost school girl arguments for Obamacare. Note Breyer’s incorrect summation of every precendent he cited. What a horrible farce!

    Liberals claim, because they must, because they have nothing else, superior intelligence. Denying access to revealed or historical knowledge, they must claim their current scientific knowledge is superior and, ironically, transcendent. But if knowledge is ultimately decended from Truth, what happens if Truth is other than they claim? Thus does God ever moderate their power.

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    Soviet ambitions towards the United States were aimed at the extinction of Capitalism and the ‘socialization’ of America,


    The main strategic goals on the road to their fulfillment were:

    The withdrawal of the U.S.A. from Europe and Asia;

    The removal of Latin America from the United States’ sphere of influence and its incorporation into the Socialist bloc:

    The destruction of United States influence in the developing world;

    The reduction of American military power to a state of strategic inferiority;

    The advent to power in Washington of a transitional liberal and progressive government;

    and the collapse of the American economy.

    - “We will bury you” by Sejna 1985

    Written 27 years ago about plans started a long while ago

  15. Curtis Says:

    Wow. I make spelling errors and don’t correct them. People are smart enough to figure out the correct word. But “Gingrich” for “Ginsburg.” Hmmmmm. I guess it shows you my disdain for both.

  16. Curtis Says:

    Aragorn (King Elessar Telcontar) to Frodo:

    Are you frightened. You should be. I know what hunts you.

    What is ever needed in any fight: courage, skill, and willingness to die but first as Gen. Patton so aptly stated willingness to make the enemy die first. All you pacifict Ghandi wanna be’s are welcome to create a moat with your bodies.

    Give your life dear.

  17. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Obama is another Neville Chamberlain, who in trying to explain meeting in Munich with Hitler said, “We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war…even if it does mean the establishment of personal contact with dictators, and of talks man to man on the basis that each… is willing to allow that other systems may better suit other peoples.”

    That statement is, I think it fair to say, one with which Obama would heartily concur, if only privately.

    That statement also reveals such a fundamental lack of understanding of malevolent aggression as to render the holder of such a view as unfit for leadership. It is also a damning indictment of the electorate who voted for him and the MSM that withheld information critical to evaluating his fitness for office.

    Obama recently instructed the National Security Council to undertake a study that could result in U.S. nuclear weapons reductions of up to 80 percent, which would lower our nuclear weapons to less than China’s.

    “The reduction of American military power to a state of strategic inferiority”

    If reelected, there’s little doubt his agenda will include all of Artfldgr’s succinct summary of the left’s goals for America’s decline.

  18. Beverly Says:

    I knew Krauthammer was going to go ballistic over this. This is his subject: he left the Left over nuclear disarmament, and he’s a passionate advocate of Israel’s security.

    This just adds a major item to the list of evidence that Hussein’s intentions are malign, hostile to America.

  19. expat Says:

    William James said in one of his essays on pragmatism that we can only approach truth and that the best way to do that is to systematically roll up our experiences and think. If you take that to mean that our experiences should include the historical and collective, I agree with him. If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely the life that locks itself within narrow class structures and academic political correctness is hardly worth examining. People can theorize all they want, but if their theories never admit challenge from the real lived world, including that of our ancestors, how close can they come to truth?

    I’ve just ordered Escape From Camp 14. From the reviews I have read, it sounds like the ultimate example of being dehumanized and the difficulties of trying to find your human instincts when you are free. I remember reading and seeing stories about the orphanages in Romania and Ukraine where many of the “caretakers” seemed inhuman to me. It seemed as though the communist system had done everything possible to rob people of the ability to care about helpless children, whether by keeping them in abject poverty they could do little to alleviate or by making any move outside the rules a crime punishable by death. These people will have to learn how to handle freedom. To a lesser extent this is probably also true of many Russians. Like for some East Germans, the security of the old way retains its appeal and even in the old system they had individual achievements and experiences of which they are proud. We have to be very careful in stating our own values while giving them time to adjust to the dramatic changes they have experienced. We have to try to walk in their shoes and remember that each has travelled a different road.

  20. Curtis Says:

    Expat, the statement, “I am better because I don’t think a whole lot” is an equally valid proposition against a whole bunch of genuflecting. I consider it more “pragmatic.” You mention the following:

    “We have to be very careful in stating our own values while giving them time to adjust to the dramatic changes they have experienced.”

    What the hell does that mean? I think it means what I call feedback. But feedback occurs rather quickly and doesn’t preclude us from “stating our own values” unitl adjustment occurs ie., learning from it. Feedback shouldn’t take that long. Should be very quick.

    And “values.” I don’t have “values.” Not values in the sense that I have “freed” myself from God and now make all my own little rules.

    I have life given to me by God. It is not mine, inherently, I possess it as a steward. And truth, although I see not all of it, can be at least known enough to live honestly. I have faith, a better faith than James, that I can know truth because Truth has created me and spoken and still does speak. Because my life, your life, each of our lives speaks back to us, giving us feedback upon what works. Try free love (adultery). See if that works! Feedback is truth and the abstraction of that simple principle by Harvard dons of The Mystical Group notwithstanding, feedback is much more pragmatic than anything William James ever did.

    The purpose of examination is to compare our actions against right or wrong. And if you don’t even believe in an objective right or wrong, what’s the use of any examination?

    Don’t waste your time on William James. His is a circular path of educated nonsence. He spawned Rorty and Leary. Ick. Psychology. I can’t think of any subject more human effort has been poured into with less result. All the time poured into the education of psychologists and all the time and money spent on their “healings” could have been better spent on oragami. There’s a subject now.

    Finally, I’d like to hear what you think of the N. Korean’s escape from that hellhole. We have all been told that we are little pyramids with our physical needs comprising the base and moving up to “spiritual.” That each of us is not that, that we are an integrated object much more complex, much more mysterious, is my position:

    For you fashioned my inmost being.
    You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    I thank you because I am awesomely made, wonderfully: your works are wonders – I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed.

  21. Don Carlos Says:

    Thank you for that, and bless you.

  22. expat Says:

    I am referring to what I experienced after the Berin Wall was torn down. I was in Leipzig shortly after reunification, and I saw a major bookstore not far from the university. Its windows were full of books on taxes and insurance. I have never read such books because I grew up understanding how our system works. I wondered how intimidating it must be to feel lost in the new system. I also remember older people in the old state run department store which was starting to carry western products. One women kept lifting plastic articles like butter dishes and looking at the price tags. Can you imagine what it is like going into a store and not knowing what is expensive or cheap and not knowing how far your money would go if you needed new shoes next month? I went through some of that when I moved here. It really does take time to adjust. Some in the West were pretty smug in the way they handled the Easterners. It didn’t make the transition any easier.

    I agree that some psychologists are idiots, but I certainly see value in attempting to understand how people develop and function. I just don’t take every thing a psychologist says as the ultimate truth.

  23. Ymarsakar Says:

    Krauthhammer is acting a little bit too clueless. But since he hob nobs with the social elite, that’s to be expected.

  24. goldby621 Says:

    @ gcotharn & neo, I remember thinking also “doesn’t anybody else think this is as big a deal as I do?” I felt like I was the only one who did a double take when I saw the clip and thought to myself, “did he actually SAY what I think he did?? AND it was caught on mic. And this is not worthy of a major furor? So I was kind of surprised when Charles Krauthammer actually did base his weekly article on this (tho’ I had seen a clip of him on another show commenting that he thought it was indeed very significant and also seemed to confirm my feeling that either an awful lot of people missed it, or for some reason (I can’t imagine) didn’t find it particular important and/or interesting.

    I was still feeling that way when I read gcotharn’s comment (I was a little late) and then read the “coverage” by outlets such as WaPo, NY Times, LA Times. These articles were more mentions than articles and seemed designed to read more like “yes, yes, we know Obama got caught on a hot mic saying this, yada, yada….but really, you think this is important and serious???!! Get a life!” At least that’s how they came off to me. Maybe I’m just completely cynical at this point, but have most people in this country turned into mindless zombies, at this point — either as a result of the MSM’s manipulations or their ridicule of anything suspect President Barack Obama does. They used to call Clinton Teflon? It seems to me that if a space alien were to land, they’d wonder who this “God” O. is and why would anyone dare question a word or action emanating from this being of perfection.

    When does it stop? But then I listen to pundits, and ordinary people babble themselves silly defending the man or proclaiming what a great President he is and why would anyone even consider changing the status quo, and I start to question my own sanity. Is it me? Maybe it is. Am I “just one of THOSE conservatives” always looking for the negative in what Obama says and does?

    I have to say I feel like I’ve been expending a lot more energy trying to figure out what the heck he’s done well or right, and why anyone possibly has any kind of positive opinion of his performance in the Presidency, never mind his character or likeability. And damned if I have a hint of a clue what is going on in all these other people’s minds. I sort of feel like I’m going through 2008 Presidential campaign redux and I’m just not hearing the Pied Piper’s tune that seems to be enchanting all these other people.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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