Will we stand up to Rus­sia?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor - PAUL BLOUSTEIN Cincin­nati

When former KGB ap­pa­ratchik Vladimir Putin be­came the capo di tutti capi of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, we should have ex­pected some less than friendly back-and-forth.

Then Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, ur­bane and dig­ni­fied, went all servile in a vain at­tempt to in­gra­ti­ate him­self with ‘Vlad the Bad,’ and can­celled the an­timis­sile de­fense sys­tem so pa­tiently ne­go­ti­ated with East­ern Euro­pean na­tions by his rough-and-tum­ble pre­de­ces­sor, cow­boy George W. Bush.

Mr. Obama, min­i­miz­ing him­self fur­ther, sent a smil­ing sec­re­tary of state, Hil­lary Clin­ton, to meet her Rus­sian coun­ter­part bear­ing a mis­spelled “re­set but­ton.”

Sens­ing that Mr. Obama, whose for­eign pol­icy con­sisted pri­mar­ily of a mys­te­ri­ous arc of his­tory vis­i­ble only to his eyes, was no chal­lenge, Mr. Putin seized Crimea, pro­moted in­sur­rec­tion in east­ern Ukraine, put mil­i­tary forces into Syria and med­dled in our elec­tion.

Rus­sia re­mains a prox­i­mate chal­lenge to the United States and is sure to cut into Pres­i­dent Trump’s golf time. Mr. Putin, con­di­tioned by eight years of Mr. Obama, will al­most cer­tainly stress our new pres­i­dent in many ways. He will want to take the mea­sure of his new an­tag­o­nist as well as that of the new sec­re­tary of state. Will John Kerry’s Foggy Bot­tom re­place­ment con­tinue his pre­de­ces­sor’s role as fa­vored in­ter­locu­tor of tyrants and mis­cre­ants? Will we con­tinue to put ul­ti­mate faith in the arc of his­tory bend­ing our way in lieu of ef­fec­tive strat­egy? Will high moral pro­nounce­ments con­tinue to sup­plant back­bone? Fi­nally, will the “re­set but­ton” be spelled cor­rectly and rep­re­sent any­thing worth­while? Mr. Putin wants to know and he is not alone.

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