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A crisis of non-interference (a view of Obama from Russia)
Grani.ru ^ | January 24th, 2011 | Vladimir Abarinov

Posted on 01/25/2011 7:19:57 PM PST by struwwelpeter

Though it has not yet been officially announced, there is no longer any doubt that Barack Obama will run for a second term. The team from his first campaign has moved to Chicago, where it will set up his re-election committee. In March the president must submit a formal application to the Federal Election Commission, and his advisers are full of enthusiasm: their boss’s ratings have moved upward with confidence.

According to the Rasmussen poling service, for the first time since last year Obama’s positive rating has reached 50 percent. Intrade, an exchange for political predictions, gave odds in favor of a democrat’s election to the presidency at 60.5 percent, while for a republican - just 36%. No serious competitors are expected from within his party: Hillary Clinton, apparently, has finally laid down her arms and it is unlikely that she will either remain as a minister in Obama's second cabinet, or become his vice president.

Experts estimate that Obama could gather a campaign chest on the order of the fabulous sum of one billion dollars (in 2008 he had 750 million).

The Republican camp, meanwhile, has a sharp struggle ahead within its party for the nomination, and for money.

What program will Barack Obama take to the polls? The same as in 2008, but if during the first half of his term he justified his failed election promises as due to the policies of the previous leader, he will now use the Republican majority in the lower house as his scapegoat, since they have been putting sticks into spokes of his chariot of swift reform. There can certainly be no admission that his policies were wrong or ineffective. Obama is now positioning himself as a centrist, ready to work constructively with the opposition for the benefit of the American people. As part of this paradigm there possibly will be a change of the helm, but as to just how justified are these hopes, and in which direction he will turn the ship of state, we will know from the coming State of the Union address, for which the president summoned Congress on Tuesday.

In the international arena, however, many are worried about Obama’s position on human rights and the promotion of democracy. His policy is practically one of non-interference, which was clearly seen during a joint press conference following the latest US-China summit. Barack Obama, in response to a question, made a very careful statement: “China has a different political system from ours,” he said, cautiously choosing every word. “China is at a different stage of development than us. We belong to very different cultures, with very different histories...” He finished his soliloquy thus: “Over the past 30 years since the normalization of relations between the United States and China, China’s evolution has taken place and I expect that after a further 30 years we will see further evolution and further change.”

With amendments, these words could apply to Russia. The State Department has commented specifically on various occasions (the sentencing of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, and the arrests of opposition leaders), but these do not change anything on their merits - they are but lists, not policies. Serious experts, however, foresee the possibility of a change coming in this direction. During recent discussions in Washington at the Brookings Institute, a prominent member of the ‘think tank’, historian and writer Robert Kagan, said that he believes in a return to the values of liberal democracy in U.S. foreign policy, and that its purpose should be the “revival and strengthening of the liberal world order.”

According to Kagan, the Obama administration should focus not just on the promotion of democracy, but on its protection in places where it has already been won, but is now conceding is position and being eroded. As an example he cited the Ukraine. “This is not a crusade,” he said. “It is mainly about consolidation, and democratic solidarity.” As for Russia, he said: “I think that as we move forward in addressing the issue of Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization, this will mean the abolishment of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, so we will have to deal with the problems of human rights and democracy, as in the trial of Khodorkovsky and the arrest of Nemtsov...”

Indeed, Russia’s WTO membership entails the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik amendment with respect to it, but, given the current composition of Congress, it is unlikely that it will be a mere formality as before. Fierce debates are coming, and either way, the Republican leadership in the lower chamber is strongly situated for them.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: obama; russia; secstate; sotu
It will be interesting to see the Russian view of the SOTU, which I will post as soon as I see it published.
1 posted on 01/25/2011 7:20:07 PM PST by struwwelpeter
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To: struwwelpeter
A better link: http://www.grani.ru/Politics/World/US/Us_politics/m.185617.html
2 posted on 01/25/2011 7:25:55 PM PST by struwwelpeter
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To: struwwelpeter

I wrote this an hour ago, but couldn’t post because of technical ???? problems?

Great Scot! Trying to navigate FR is like wading in half cured concrete! And who knocked it off line for the entire
yawnable SOTU recital? Yawnable, vote buying, disingenuous, brown nosing the enemy, intelligence leaking, military shrinking, totally Socialist, reaffirming campaign promises of 2008 teleprompter read!

Rep. Paul Ryan was fantastic!


3 posted on 01/25/2011 8:19:39 PM PST by Paperdoll ( On the cutting edge)
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