By now, everyone is probably aware of the fact that Barack Obama had a “hot mic” moment on Monday during a conversation with outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
On behalf of incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin, Medvedev was seeking certain accommodations from Obama on a missile defense shield for Eastern Europe. And although Obama didn’t promise those accommodations immediately, he did say, “This is my last election. After my election I will have more flexibility.”
If that seems to you to be the equivalent of Obama saying, “Hush for now, and I’ll give you whatever you want once I’ve been re-elected,” you’re not alone. Medvedev thought the same thing, thus he responded, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
And Medvedev wasn’t the only other one to understand what Obama was saying. At least forty-four Republican Senators and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney also believe that’s what Obama was saying.
Those Senators, led by Jon Kyl (R-AZ), sent Obama a letter in which they reminded him that “deployment of missile defenses in Europe” was a promise he made to the Senators in order to secure ratification “for the New START treaty” in December 2010. Their concern, after Obama’s comments on Monday, is that they are dealing with a man who can’t be trusted to keep his end of the bargain if he wins re-election in November 2012.
Romney, for his part, was even more pointed in his response to Obama’s conciliatory words to the Russian leader. He actually referred to Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe.” Medvedev, who’s obviously feeling his oats in light of Obama’s weakness, arrogantly responded to Romney: “Regarding ideological clichés, every time this or that side uses phrases like ‘enemy No. 1,’ this always alarms me.”
What should alarm Americans is not what Romney said or what Senator Kyl wrote. Rather; what should alarm us that outgoing Russian President Medvedev was exacting quasi-pledges from Obama on behalf of a former KGB agent who’s about to be President of Russia for a second time around.
In other words, even before officially entering office, Putin is working through others to place the United States in the weakest posture possible. That seems to bolster Romney’s claim that Russia is “our No. 1 geopolitical foe” if you ask me.