As the media continue to scrutinize Mitt Romney’s alleged gaffes, might we spend a moment looking at the world as it actually exists, right now, independent of the presidential campaign? Let’s take a tour.
Russia. When Obama became president he proclaimed a policy of “reset” in U.S.-Russia relations, and tried strenuously to bring Russia within the Atlantic orbit of democracy and the rule of law. To that end he scrapped the proposed land-based missile interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic, politely ignored Russia’s continuing occupation of Georgian territory, negotiated a nuclear arms reduction treaty that slashes the U.S. stockpile (while failing to implement the modernization commitments he made to pass that treaty), and promised “more flexibility” in further missile talks should he win a second term. He has sought to liberalize trade with Russia by de-linking human rights from commercial exchange, while he quietly opposes the Magnitsky Act, which would ban Russians involved in the abuse of human rights from the United States.
This is the response: The Russian president, when he is not posing shirtless or flying with cranes, has looked not to the West but to other autocracies for influence and friendship. He brooks no dissent. Activists for a truly democratic Russia face imprisonment or worse. Russian bombers have threatened American airspace. A Russian Akula-class nuclear submarine is believed to have entered the Gulf of Mexico. A high-level Russian general threatened the West with a preemptive nuclear strike. Our ambassador, Michael McFaul, is harassed. Russia’s response to the Magnitsky Act,according to a government-funded propaganda website, was to introduce “similar sanctions against an undisclosed group of U.S. officials implicated in violating the rights of certain Russian citizens such as Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko.” Bout is the international arms dealer serving 25 years in prison. Yaroshenko is in prison for drug trafficking.
Regrettably not in prison is Bashar Assad in Syria, where he murders his countrymen and pays no price because Putin stands behind him. These are the men the Russian regime defends.