Panicking to contain Putin after the reset button didn’t work.
Only a year ago, Obama was berating Russian president Vladimir Putin for his “KGB mentality” and “old expansionist ideas.” Now, however, Obama wants to quadruple military spending in Europe.
President Barack Obama’s administration said Tuesday it was seeking to expand U.S. military spending in Europe four-fold in a bid to reassure allies still unsettled by Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.
The new spending would increase to $3.4 billion under the new plan, which is set to be formally unveiled next week as part of Obama’s final presidential budget.
. . . . In a statement, the President said Tuesday’s announcement “should make clear that America will stand firm with its allies in defending not just NATO territory but also shared principles of international law and order.”
He said at an upcoming meeting of NATO leaders in Poland the discussion would center on bolstering military commitments among the nations.
“It is clear that the United States and our allies must do more to advance our common defense in support of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace,” Obama said.
Obama’s naive and fawning approach to Russia has had the opposite of its intended effect. Remember his promise of greater “flexibility“?
Obama and Hillary’s disastrous 2009 “reset” with Russia and the related move to scrap the missile defense system in Europe—a move about which Poland and the Czech Republic were less than thrilled, while Russia of course, was ecstatic—was a mistake.
At the time, the Washington Post wrote of Obama’s decision to abandon Poland and our European allies:
The abrupt reversal of U.S. defense policy immediately brought plaudits from Russian officials, who had viewed the prospect of an American missile shield system on their country’s western border as an affront. The shift raised the possibility of greater cooperation between the two powers on containing the Iranian threat and in negotiating an extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which expires in early December.
Obama’s weak and feckless foreign policy regarding Russia in general and Putin particular has done nothing but emboldened Putin and undermine our allies’ trust in the U.S.
Was it really only a few short years ago that Obama was mocking Mitt Romney for noting, quite rightly, that Russia was a top geopolitical threat?
It’s probably too much to hope that this announcement about strengthening our military presence in Europe is rooted in Obama suddenly seeing the world as it is rather than as he imagines it should be.