As Europe’s post-cold war architecture crumbles in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, the prime architect of President Obama’s “reset” policy still argues it has been a great success.
Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken is quoted in today’s Wall Street Journal that Obama’s increasingly lampooned quest to improve relations with Russia by acceding to its economic and military demands “was not a failure”, because “there were areas where it made sense to cooperate with Russia.”
Blinken re-asserted the Administration’s now discredited mantra that “We don’t see the world in zero sum terms,” and echoing his boss, continued to suggest that the Obama Administration’s has a better understanding of Russian national interests than do the Russians themselves.”
“A successful, integrated Ukraine,” Blinken said, “is not only good for Ukraine, it is good for Russia.”
The Journal reports that even after yesterday’s Russian annexation of Crimea, the State Department and Secretary Kerry still cling to the ‘reset’ as the most effective approach to engaging Russia. The Journal quotes an unnamed State Department official who rejected charges that the reset has failed by pointing to the fact that “Mr. Kerry continues to talk with (Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov) Mr. Lavrov almost daily,” and that the State Department “still does not rule out having direct talks with Mr. Putin.”
In a particularly scathing rebuke to the efficacy of President Obama’s continued belief that personal diplomacy remains the best way to limit Russian military aggression, the Journal reports that last week, at the height of the crisis in Crimea, during supposedly high level talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov was unable to get instructions from Moscow because his boss, President Vladimir Putin refused to take his calls.
Next week, President Obama travels to the Hague to make yet another speech on behalf of nuclear non-proliferation. There has been no word yet from Kiev as to whether Ukraine – which in 1994 unilaterally relinquished its entire nuclear arsenal, then the world’s third largest, in exchange for US, British and Russian guarantees that’s its territorial integrity would be respected and defended – will be in attendance to listen to President Obama’s appeal.