Russia’s ‘Nyet’ And America’s Naivete

October 15, 2009

America needs someone a lot smarter than Hillary!

Russia’s ‘Nyet’ And America’s Naivete

IBD: 15 Oct. 2009

Clinton in Moscow: Looking for Putin?

Clinton in Moscow: Looking for Putin? View Enlarged Image

Geopolitics: America’s new clout from the Nobel Peace Prize somehow didn’t persuade Russia to help pressure soon-to-be-nuclear-armed Tehran. But then, for nearly 20 years Moscow has been helping Iran go nuclear.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week jetted straight from Northern Ireland, where she told the divided political factions, “No one ever said it was going to be easy,” to Moscow, where someone should have told her, “No one ever said it was going to be possible.”

Weren’t the pieces supposed to be in place for Moscow to respond to U.S. “leadership” and join in new sanctions against Iran?

Russians just praised as a “responsible move” the U.S. decision to back out of the long-range missile defense system we promised Poland and the Czech Republic.  The president of the United States just won the Nobel Peace Prize because he “created a new climate in international politics.”

Yet Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was too busy even to be there for Secretary Clinton’s visit, traveling to China instead. Maybe Moscow hasn’t heard about the new climate.

But Putin’s regime apparently has heard that now “dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts,” as the Norwegian Nobel Committee put it. Indeed, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed, even the threat of sanctions against Tehran would be counterproductive.

No wonder the secretary of state emerged from her Moscow talks trying to put a good face on things. She followed the Russian lead that further sanctions would be premature. In truth, she was downplaying a clear failure to get Moscow to be tougher against the Islamofascist regime.

Let’s get real here: Why would Russia do any such thing? First, it would be viewed as a U.S. geopolitical victory and a Russian geopolitical defeat. Second, Russia, beginning in the early 1990s, helped build and continues to sustain Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The U.S. seems to be taking the advice of a New York Times editorial in June 2005 suggesting that “rallying Russia constitutes a key part of any successful containment strategy vis-a-vis Iran.” The Times contended that “Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile advances could put roughly 20 million people in the south of Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine at risk by as early as next year,” and it warned of Russian fears of “nuclear blackmail from the Islamic Republic.” The paper’s conclusion: “Washington might soon find that, with the proper inducements, it has a more receptive audience in Moscow than ever before.”

But lost in Hillary’s face-saving and the Times’ naivete is the possibility that Russia doesn’t fear the prospect of a nuclear Iran at all, but rather believes it would be in its long-term geopolitical interest.

A mix of incendiary rhetoric and feigned promises to help against Iran got Moscow what it wanted in the U.S.’ scrapping of the proposed missile defense in Eastern Europe. But we’re not getting reciprocal Russian help against the Iranian nuclear monster that Moscow is helping to build.

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