Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Moscow, meeting with our Russian “allies,” to talk about the Iranian nuclear problem. Getting Russia’s cooperation on sanctions against the Iranians was the main topic of concern.
Not surprisingly, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the real power in the Kremlin, wasn’t at home to meet with her—he is in China, on more pressing matters: negotiating a huge trade deal with the communist Chinese. Clinton had to settle for separate meetings with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and President Dmitry Medvedev.
Why did Putin snub Clinton?
Why not? Putin has already gotten the one concession from the administration of Barack Obama that he wanted more than anything else—the dropping of U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.
Last month, you will recall, Obama unilaterally dropped plans to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe to protect our allies against Iranian missiles. This came as a complete shock to all, but to the Russians, it was a gift from above. The construction of that shield had been a worry for the Russians ever since former President George Bush first proposed it, and one could only imagine the look of disbelief on Putin’s face when he first heard the news that Obama was not only backing away from it, but that nothing was expected of Russia in return!
Because of this generous act, then, the expectations of the Obama administration over Clinton’s visit were naturally quite high, as this is the first high-level contact with the Russians since Obama’s missile shield reversal. Surely, in light of this act of magnanimity, the Russians could now be counted on to support U.S. efforts to strengthen sanctions against Iran?
So, were the meetings productive? Are the Russians now on board when it comes to hitting Iran with stricter sanctions?
In a word, nyet!
Russia, said Lavrov, believes that stronger sanctions against Iran would be “counter-productive” and will not support them (Thank you for visiting, Secretary Clinton, and don’t let the door hit you in the bum on the way out).
Why would it have been otherwise?
Obama had already given up his main bargaining chip last August. If history has taught us anything in dealing with Russia, it’s that you NEVER negotiate with the Russians from a position of weakness. NEVER.
Did our Secretary of State get the message?
Apparently not, for she then goes on to weaken our position further in a groveling gesture that gives away even more!
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Moscow today for talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The Russian newspaper Kommersant is reporting the US has privately agreed to stop publicly criticizing Russia’s human rights record in return for Russian cooperation on confronting Iran and so-called missile defense.
Back in China, Putin is undoubtedly toasting his good fortune with his Chinese hosts.