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How's That Reset Going?

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Remember when candidate Obama was blasting George's Bush's wahoo, cowboy, blunderbuss handling of foreign relations?  Russia was the prime example. According to Obama, Bush was alternately a sycophant or a bully.  All this was going to change when Mr. Smooth took office.  As Powerline notes:  

Remember the good old days when the Obama administration promised "smart diplomacy?" Hillary Clinton mocked the Bush administration for not cozying up sufficiently to Vladimir Putin's Russia, and presented the Russians with a "reset" button to demonstrate that from now on, things would be better. Right.

Now the administration is feuding with Putin over Edward Snowden. It is a bad sort of feud, because the Russians hold all the cards, in the person of Snowden. Whatever Snowden knows they can easily learn, and at this point there is nothing we can do about it.

I bring this up not to stick my tongue out at Mr. Obama (well, OK, I confess), but because it presents a serious criminal law issue.  Russia is harboring a fugitive from grave charges  --  specifically charges that he stole and published extremely sensitive national security secrets.

My purpose here is not to attempt to try Snowden in a media entry instead of a court.*  My purpose is to wonder just what Obama plans to do to get him to court. A country that commands power and respect would have a chance of doing that, Russian intransigence notwithstanding.  Instead, it seems like it will take us longer to get Snowden into court than it took to litigate the length of Maj. Hasan's beard. Could the reason that justice for Snowden will be so long in coming, if it comes at all, be related to the President's enthusiastic world apology tour?

Ain't nostalgia grand?  The humbly bowed Presidential head seemed like such a good idea before we roused ourselves to the unpleasant if persistent reality that what advances America's interests in the world  --  including its interests in justice  --  is not the downcast "America-as-contrite-bully" stance so popular in the faculty lounge, but big-time power and no crippling hesitation to use it.

*  Not that the Administration is unwilling, in the right circumstances, to conduct a trial in the media.  That's exactly what's going on with the President's and the Attorney General's alternately moping and seething reactions to the Trayvon Martin verdict.  Mr. Holder has been sufficiently crass to suggest that George Zimmerman just might be indicted on federal civil rights charges, even though DOJ has known for weeks that it has no case.

1 Comment

Bill, this a rare time where I disagree with you.

1. I've never been convinced that Barry O. undertook an "apology tour". If so, when? Do you have a link?

2. The Snowden issue is a lost cause. Putin isn't giving him up, because he doesn't have to. The ONLY way it would ever happen would be to pull a Jimmy Carter and threaten a 2014 Winter Olympic boycott. This isn't totally off the wall given there has been some grumbling on the left about this re: Russia's gay rights stance.

3. I think some of the right (at least the non-Rand Paul) seriously underestimate Russian power. All of the classical European powers - british empire, french empire, Prussia / German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Ottomans etc have all gone the way of the dodo, and the Russians still remain standing.

So my advice is Russia is never going to be a long term ally: the missile shield is never going up, Putin goes to sleep laughing about Clinton, Bush II, Obama, and probably Reagan as well, Nato would drop the Baltic states like a non-paying client of mine if Russia made a move on them - we should just accept that and just work to keep them contained to their part of the world.

-Matt

ps- and Bill, my tiny fascist side wouldn't oppose organizing an "accident" for Snowden....

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