Reagan said “tear down this wall.” Is Obama helping Putin rebuild it?

Protestors in the Ukraine. Photo: Ilya Pitalev/RIA Novosit

In case you’ve missed it, the foreign policy reset button that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hit with Russia is now stuck on restoring the old Soviet Union. I suppose this is indeed what Obama meant when he told then-Russian President Medvedev he would have more “flexibility” after winning reelection.

According to a Bloomberg.com news report,

Vladimir Putin’s dream of recreating the Soviet empire is being tested on the streets of Kiev. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators facing off against riot police in the Ukrainian capital are protesting civil rights infringements and a government decision to back off signing free-trade accord with the European Union. The battle is really about whether Russian President Putin can extend his economic influence over its ex-Soviet neighbor, said Tim Ash, chief economist for emerging markets at Standard Bank (SBK) Group.

Just recently demonstrators in Kiev tore down the statue of Vladimir Lenin to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with returning back to centralized control of Putin and the Kremlin. It’s both perplexing and telling that Obama has been completely silent on these matters. I suppose that trip to South Africa to honor someone who also had socialist leanings is more important – but I digress.

Per Bloomberg:

Putin, who described the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century, is using his country’s energy wealth to anchor Ukraine, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Belarus in a Russian-led bloc after two decades of advances by the West. Ukraine, the route for half of OAO Gazprom (GAZP)’s gas shipments to Europe, faces a choice: cheaper gas and continued access to its traditional customers, or stronger ties with the EU’s $18 trillion market.

This just goes to show how a nation’s economy, and particularly energy security policy, is becoming a preeminent aspect of international relations — hence why America needs energy independence. Indeed energy appears to be the political weapon of choice for Putin whether it’s through dangling the promise of price cuts or veiled threats of cutting off supplies during a midwinter freeze.

Why has the US not made any official comment to Ukraine and offered to support their trade venture with the European Union (EU)? Don’t forget Russia went to war in 2008 with another former satellite, Georgia, as it was strengthening its ties with NATO.

Of course, President Obama cancelled the missile defense system pact with the former Soviet states (including Ukraine), something that would have served to show strength. How interesting that Ronald Reagan commanded Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” while Barack Obama is acquiescing to Vladimir Putin as he rebuilds it. (And a Hillary Clinton presidency would be just as weak and ineffective).

70 COMMENTS

  1. To be fair sir, Ukraine has always been far more closely aligned to Russia than to the rest of Europe. This has been true for centuries. The reality of politics in Ukraine is that a large group (arguably, a majority) of Ukrainian citizens consider themselves Russian as opposed to Ukrainian. There are a lot of ethnic and historical reasons for this. Putin’s attempt to re-create a Soviet empire is a minor footnote to a multi-century long relationship.

    • A minor footnote? With your knowledge of the region I will make a guess that you may have been around during the Cold War.

      • I’ll fess up, while I am a US citizen and reside there-in, I was born in Kiev during the Cold war and have relatives in Moscow, Kiev, and Sevastopol. I have a bit more direct viewpoint of the issue than most Americans. The new Russia is not the Soviet Empire, they are far closer the the 19th century Russian Empire. This does not make them the good guys, but in the modern world, those are few and far between.

      • Good to have someone who understands the immense complexities of European and Russian politics.Things are not as black an white as Americans believe. In Europe there are so many cross currents that no outsider can begin to fathom them out.

      • Please
        do not look to PSWERGE or to Russians to find out about Ukrainian history. It
        will always be a viewpoint that upholds their intentions in the region. For a
        true history of Ukraine, read historians form Ukraine or the following Orest
        Subtely’s History of Ukraine (published in 1984), or Hrushevkiy” History
        Of Ukraine – Published in 1916.

      • One from a expatriate who was run out of his country and the other from a Czarist lapdog. Yeah good sources there.

      • Actually, the one was executed by the Russians and the other is a Harvard professor. You profess to know something about the region. You know the propaganda that you were taught by the Soviets. You are neither a scholar of the region nor do you know it’s history. You are a czarist lapdog that probably does not get any creibity elsewhere, therefore you have to look to blogs to spew your Soviet ideology. To the dimwits that are out there, you may make sense, but not to someone who knows history. Keep blogging buddy. “You” really are making a difference here. Lol. You should be ashamed of yourself. Keep on posting. Apparently you have nothing else in your life.

      • Don’t you have better things to do than reply to week old posts?

        The Czarist dog was a nice touch. I think any objective observer can easily tell which of us is educated and which is a mindless racist.

      • Russia just leave Ukraine alone.

        You are talking about Sevastopol that is full of russians, because of russian navy army in there. But what about more than million of Ukrainians that shown yesterday strong will to go towards EU(as well as change current government…), where are those who wish to join russia or support current president, except of several thousands that were brought by pressure from east/south regions of Ukraine.

      • 1. It was not more than a million. There is no public space in Kiev that will fit a million people. (Even kreschatik square will only fit a fraction of that.)

        2. It’s called an enthusiasm gap. The Russian population has nothing to protest as they will be fine either way.

        3. The Ukraine has not existed as a separate country from Russia since the 15th century. (if then) Your assertions that they are not mostly the same country are absurd.

        Expecting Russia to leave Ukraine alone is, at best, unrealistic. Russia has legitimate defense concerns when it comes to having a former close ally on its border forge closer ties with potential enemies.

        In addition, given the utter economic disaster that the EU has turned into over the past decade, I can’t see how preferring the EU over Russia (and their much healthier economy) would be beneficial to Ukraine. This is especially true when you consider that Russia has every reason to stop giving Ukraine preferential access to their markets.

        As for Sevastapol being full of Russians… Really? I was born in Kiev, my father was born in Moscow, my mother on a random Siberian oil exploration well. Two of my grand parents are from farmland about an hour outside of Kiev, the other two are from Moscow and Estonia. Which of the people in that list are Russian, Ukrainian, or otherwise? I am a bit sick and tired of this neo-nationalist BS going around Ukraine that only serves to divide people.

      • 1) You’re right! There were only a few hundred protestors as the Russian Media indicated! You deserve an Oscar also.
        2) Ukraine existed prior to Russia. Study History. The area that is now Ukraine and Belarus was called Kievan Rus’. Even this name the Russians took from Ukrainians.
        3) You claim you know something about the area because you were born there. I don’t see it. All I see is Russian chauvinism and propaganda. Please read the History of Ukraine by Orest Subtelny or any other Western Historian that was not influenced by leftist ideology. Did you get your history of Ukraine from Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Duranty, who received a special commendation from the Soviet Union for his reporting on events therin?

      • 1) I just said that a million is a blatant exaggeration. Which it is.
        2) Did you not read my posts? The Kievan Russ morphed into the Russian Empire after the Tatars were driven out. Ukraine has not been an independent nation since the dark ages.
        3) I claim to know history because I STUDIED history focusing on Eastern Europe following the fall of the Western Roman Empire. I claim to have a different PERSPECTIVE because I was born and did a lot of my growing up in the Soviet Union.

        I am sick and tired of racists who blame everything on Russian chauvinism and ignore the historical realities of the region.

      • My grandfather was executed in a Russian Gulag for being a Ukrainian patriot. My mothers 3 uncles were killed in combat against the Russian Red army in the 40’s. They were in the resistance fighting against Russian occupation of Ukraine. The Russians cannot wash their hands of this blood. There need to be trials like Nuremburg to show the world what they did!

      • For anyone that’s interested please look up what FOAD means I the urban dictionary. This is what I mean about Russian chauvinism. Glad that pwsrge showed his true colors!

      • I’m sorry I don’t feel the need to care about people who allied themselves with the NAZIS. The fact that you call yourself Ukrainian is an insult to every single member of my family who died fighting your jack booted buddies.

  2. Pwrserge, Putin was head of KGB. Don’t trust him. Just like George Bush Sr. was head of CIA. Russians hated him. So why should we trust the old KGB head? Oh wait, USA foreign policies are weak now. Ok. I understand. Let’s get a Reagan back in office Please. No more whussies.

      • He was also GRU, not KGB. KGB are internal security, GRU are foreign intelligence. The latter has far more in common with the CIA than the Gestapo.

      • Sorry meant to say head of KGB that got rid of Gorbechev. Yes he was agent in East Germany that over saw foreiners coming in. Any how, he was in part of a group that got Gorbechev out. The “old” guard didn’t like Gorby.

    • John, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Ukraine, historically, has been a center of Russian culture. This goes all the way back to the 5th century with the Kievan Russ. The idea of Ukrainian nationalism as distinct from Russian nationalism is a fabrication of the past two decades. In fact, Ukraine has not been an independent country in several centuries prior to the dissolution of the Soviet union.

      This issue is further complicated because there are two primary ethnic groups in Ukraine. Russian and Ukrainian (yes, they are both nationalities and ethnic groups) people have had a very strong distrust in each other sown by the decades of Soviet persecution of BOTH groups. However, modern Ukrainians have a very hard time separating the actions of Stalin’s (who was Georgian, not Russian) thugs from modern Russia.

      In all honesty, being offended that Ukraine chooses to align with Russia rather than Europe is like being offended that Texas chose to align with the US rather than Mexico.

      • Actually, Kievan Rus was the center of the Ukrainian nation state. Keivan Rus was populated by Ukrainians who are Slavs. The area around Moscow which was called Muscovy was inhabited by Finno-Ugric tribes (Russians). The Ukrainians came in and organized these tribes and spread Christianity to these areas. It was Czar Peter which changed the name of Musocvia to Russia so that they would look like they were tied to the Kievites and were closer to Europe. Western Europe was very much in vogue at the time and Czar Peter wanted to be as close to it as possible. Additionally, during these times, Ukraine was populated primarily by Ukrainians. This changed in Eastern Ukraine through the famine genocide committed by Stalin and the Russians on the Ukrainian people. A 5th column was inserted into Ukraine. The villages who were once populated by Ukrainians, were now empty because of the genocide. These people were replaced by imperialist Russians. The above post shows infers that Ukrainians and Russians are from the same stock and the Ukrainian identity has only appeared over the last two decades. The previous post does not speak of the several attempts at the Ukrainians creating their state over the course of the last few hundred years. The post is what the West has picked up from the Russian propaganda factory as the “correct” Russian version of events and history. Over the course of the last 90 years there was a term for this… it was called Russification. Russification is still occurring through misinformation being spread about the history of Ukraine as seen from the above post. My parents fled Ukraine in the 40,s due to Russian aggression. My grandfather and three of my mothers uncles gave their lives for their Ukrainian identity fighting the Russians along with 7-10 million that were starved to death by the Russians for being Ukrainian.

      • You should read my posts. I was BORN in Ukraine. What you have above is a fairly tale. Look over the founding of Kiev. (circa 5th century) Look at any major depiction of the event. Notice the guys in the VIKING LONGBOATS? The Kievan Russ was founded by a group of vikings (aka THE RUSS). Ever heard of the Varagian guard? Fact is, the natives had more or less mixed as far back as the LATE ROMAN EMPIRE. All of those predate Peter by centuries.

        Are there major differences between Ukrainians and Russians? Yes. But pretending that the two groups are not closely related is absurd.

        Imperialist Russians? Under Stalin? Really? Blaming Russians for Stalin is like blaming German Jews for Hitler. Was Stalin’s rapid industrialization performed at a horrible cost to the population of Ukraine? Of course, that’s why the man was known as a monster. Pretending that it was some over reaching imperialist Russian plot is delusional. Need I remind you that Stalin killed just as many Russians as he did Ukrainians?

      • More Russification. The idea of it being delusional is the arrogance of the Russian Imperialist. Even today they cleave to Ukrainian history as if it were its own. Please research Yuri Dovhorukiy and Novgorod. That is Russian history. Let Ukraine go and let the history of the land be told. Ukraine and Russia never had a Nuremburg. It is high time that the communists led by imperial Muscovites be tried for their crimes against humanity. There are many monsters still walking around in Russia. Individuals such as Lazar Kaganovich architect of the famine died peacefully in his home without any reckoning.
        If you were born in Ukraine you should know your history not spread misinformation about your country (unless you were born during the Soviet regime) and are just rehashing their propaganda. LEARN!!!

      • Please read Robert Conquests book – The Harvest of Despair to learn what Russian Imperialists did in Ukraine. Russia was the aggressor as they are today against Ukraine. The days of the bullying and thug mentality of its leaders are hopefully over for Ukraine. Hopefully Russia and its people soon realize they can rise up against tyranny also!

      • Again… Lev, you confuse Russians with Soviets. You ignore the fact that Russians suffered just as much in those times as Ukrainians did. This rabid nationalism and bigotry does not help you make your argument.

        Your family, by your own admission, ran away. Mine had to live there until the iron curtain fell. My great-uncle got sent to a gulag by the Soviet government because he ignored children “stealing” small handfuls of grain to feed their starving families. This is despite the fact that this same great-uncle fought at Kursk and left his arm there.

        The situation in Kiev is not as simple a just blaming Russians. It is the result of two fundamentally corrupt groups leading the discussion into radical directions rather than a conciliatory middle ground. Quite frankly, I don’t see how antagonizing a powerful neighbor is in any way in the best interests of Ukraine.

      • I was born in the early 80s. I was educated in America and have degrees in this topic. The nationalism you are pushing is simply no reflected in historical fact.

      • That is like saying that Germany was not responsible for the Nazi movement. The Russian revolution occurred in Russia. Communism and the Soviet Union were created through force by the Russians. Please stop spewing this chauvinist apparatchik rhetoric. You claim to have a degree in the area of study but are blind to what Putin and the Russian regime is creating. They want empire and you are walking lockstep with their propaganda. Do they have rights to Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Romania… Do not forget your history regardless of what you read in books written by liberal ideologues and Russian chauvinists.

      • I would remind you that, at the time of the communist revolution, Ukraine and what we know today as Russia didn’t exist as countries. They were all part of the Russian Empire. (A far more complex national entity that you give it credit for.) A closer analogy would be blaming Prussia for the Nazi movement.

        Russia has legitimate defensive interests. How do you think the US would respond if Mexico signed a defensive alliance with China? I would remind you that Georgia invaded Russia. What did Russia do? They kicker them out, removed their ability to do so again… Then left. Funny how Georgia is not a part of Russia despite “Russian Imperialist Ambitions”. Again, your rabid racism is showing.

        Close ties with Russia are in the economic best interests of Ukraine. Nobody is proposing surrendering Ukrainian sovereignty, but to antagonize your #1 trade partner in favor of a failing Europe is absurd.

        Nobody is “blind” to what Putin is doing. No more than people are “blind” to what China is doing, or the US. It’s called securing your borders and economic interests. The present Russia is hardly the evil empire you make them out to be. Nobody is the evil empire you would have us believe Russia is.

  3. Putin has zero respect or humor for gay Obama and the BHO cult.
    Putin, the former KGB head, knows Hill’ry is an unfeminine feminist
    congenital lyin hippie; promoted above her ability in a femenized US
    that Obama is “Fundamentally transforming.” Putin has plans for
    Syria, Iran, Hezb’ollah and war. BHO has bad plans; such as Obam-
    Care, IRS crimes, NSA overreach, indebtedness, dishonest pretense,
    actress like tendencies and demoralization of WE THE PEOPLE and
    our military leadership core–period. BHO is a White/Black/Arab who
    suffers an identity crisis and would be better suited as a comedian;
    Putin could laugh at even more. Putin is not focused on contraceptives,
    free abortions, gay marriage, violations of BAIPA, DOMA and Russian
    law; BHO is! BHO seeks to be recognized as leader of the world; even
    as he demonstrates at home his piss poor leadership in America. Putin
    is leading Russia as Russian leaders do; he views Obama as very like
    MS Hill’ry…just as millions of U.S. patriots view him. Putin may be trying
    to reestablish control of some former states; while Obama negotiates with
    and meddles with enemies and confuses allies. A spoiled American
    citizenry of sheeple are entirely satisfied to be dependent on a faceless
    government; even as this suicidal tendency assures their destruction.

  4. Everything he touches goes to heck,,, his agenda is not one the majority wants. Imo.

    when is congress as a whole going to stop this dictator. Will take us decades to recover from all the damage he has caused.

      • When the elections roll around again Obama will not be running. He is limited to two terms and this his second. You might know how to spell “trailer park” (thanks by the way) but you need some more practice at that commenting thing.

      • Oh Thank you for giving me that opportunity, are you allowing him to run again? In case you can’t tell, that is dripping with sarcasm! My vote did nothing for keeping him out of office either time, and if you didn’t vote for him, neither did yours. So who did?

      • Do you want to let him off the hook so easily? Being such a buffoon, he deserves everything thrown at him, he has endangered world economies, not just the US. No one is history has ever spent as much as he has, your first 4 trillion took 222 years but he spent that much in 4 years and now he has been in South Africa praising another corrupt terrorist. Someone has to say something.

      • My point was you led off with him being black…which has nothing to do with him being an idiot. It’s an insult to Allen and other conservative blacks.

      • No offense intended to sensible blacks, now if we start this business you see where it goes. before too long we have to appologise for mentioning black. This will start another round of touch me nots. Mr West has brains enough to be able to see that the insults are not aimed at him but at the buffoons who let their trousers hang below their butts, the bastards who love to play knockdown, to the corrupt government officials, the brain dead sychophants. To claim that it is an insult to conservatibve blacks is not on, man can think for himself. We do not have the option of complaining every time white is mentioned in relation to a crime, we are smart enough to figure out that there are many whites, just as there are many blacks. Dont raise this as an issue. The point is about morons, black, white or purple, and I don’t have to appologise to anybody, they are trying to ruin my society. He happens to be black, it is not an insult, it is a description.

      • Allright Ronnie you seem like a good lad so I’ll explain like I would to a 5 year old. If you are trying to make out the one black guy in a group of 10. When you say Joe is the black guy in the group you are being descriptive nothing racist there. But when you associate black or white or purple to behavior you perceive as negative then you are racist. Simple enough?

      • You see where it goes, the converstion is hijacked by one word that and that word for you is a full stop, Now you are being condescending, You think that I need to have it explained to me like a five year old?

    • How many white people going on shooting rampages? And where was your voice when the buffoons were attacking whites with knockdown.?

    • TOS Blog: Daily Commentary from an Objectivist Perspective
      Tuesday, January 15, 2013
      Startling Homicide Statistics among Blacks (and the Cause)
      Posted by Ari Armstrong at 7:30 am ET
      The blogger Publius makes an extraordinary claim: If in America “black men [were] murdered at the same rate as everyone else, the overall [homicide] rate would drop to 1.9 out of 100,000 population. That would give the United States the 147th highest murder rate in the world.” This raises two questions: Is that true, and, if so, what does it mean?
      Let’s examine the statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) report “Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2011,” there were 15,953 deaths by homicide that year, for a rate of 5.1 per 100,000 population. In its “Crime in the United States: 2011,” the FBI gives a lower estimate for the number of murder victims: 12,664. Of these victims, fully half—6,329—were black. And yet blacks comprised 13.1 percent of the population in 2011, according to the Census Bureau. (These figures square with those reported by the Wall Street Journal last August.) Do Publius’s claims about the murder rate pan out? The Census Bureau lists a U.S. population of 311,591,917 for 2011. The number of homicides reported by the CDC, 15,953, divided by the total population, yields the rate of 5.1 per 100,000. If we assume that the FBI’s ratio holds for the larger number of homicides reported by the CDC, and take the number of nonblack homicides to nonblack population, we get 7,980 divided by 270,773,376, or 2.9 per 100,000 population. I’m not sure how Publius calculated his figures for the murder rate, but they seem to be low. And even the rate of 2.9 per 100,000—which is considerably below the national rate—is above that of Canada and western European nations. The startling number is that of black homicide victims. Even taking the FBI’s lower figures, the number of black victims (6,329) divided by the total U.S. black population (40,818,541), yields a murder rate of 15.5 per 100,000 population. And if we assume that the FBI’s ratio holds for the larger number of homicides reported by the CDC, that indicates the murder rate among blacks is 7,973 divided by 40,818,541, or 19.5 per 100,000 population. That is horrific (although still below the murder rates in the likes of Mexico, Brazil, and Uganda).
      So what’s the source of the problem? As Publius notes, the problem is
      not among the black population as a whole; rather, it is due to a
      “small sub-culture that glorifies violence and lives and dies by the
      gun.” It is the gang culture, characterized by widespread criminality,
      tribalistic warfare, through-the-roof unemployment, extremely high rates
      of out-of-wedlock births (72.1 percent among blacks in 2010), widespread welfare dependency, and nihilistic art typified by “gangster rap.”
      Of course the left will cry “racism” at anyone stating such facts,
      but such cries are ridiculous. Although skin color and genetic makeup
      obviously have no causal connection to this problem, a tragically large
      number of blacks in America (and many whites and Hispanics as well)
      choose the gang “lifestyle” or at least the broader culture that supports it. And leftist intellectuals feed this culture by promoting anti-value “art,” moral relativism, the entitlement mentality, and welfare dependency—all funded by forced wealth transfers. The horrifying homicide rate among black Americans is the most visible and tragic symptom of a much deeper cultural disease. And the cure is a philosophy of reason, individual responsibility, productive work, and life-oriented values. Like this post? Join our mailing list to receive our weekly digest. And for in-depth commentary from an Objectivist perspective, subscribe to our quarterly journal, The Objective Standard.

  5. Seems to me that the cold war was brought to an end By Reagan and Gorbachov. Two men who had mutual respect. Now you have a buffoon in power and no respect.

  6. You have people in the US asking to change your constitution to allow him to run again, so you might be stuck with him permanently.

  7. President Obama invokes colour at every opportunity in this politically correct culture we find ourselves mired. I don’t have a problem with anyone going head to head with these tactics because not having the courage to do so is exactly what they hope will keep any opposition at bay.

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