8:38 AM, Dec 21, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, President Obama took a shot at pundits--and Putin. He made the comments in response to a question about whether he's getting rolled in his deal with Cuba.
"So let me move you on to the other big story that we've had, and that is your reach out or Cuba's reach to you and your reach to Cuba," Crowley started, according to a transcript provided by CNN. "Listening to the critics, part of this is they wrap it up in how you dealt with other sort of bad actors. Oh, this is what he's done. He's accommodated Syria by not crossing the red line. He has accommodated Iran by talking to them on nuclear weapons. You know, and sort of down the line, Russia -- he's allowed Putin to move in and take Crimea. And here's the gist of it. The gist of it is that you're naive and they're rolling you."
Obama responded, "Yes. So this was said about Mr. Putin, for example, three or four months ago. There was a spate of stories about how he is the chess master and outmaneuvering the West and outmaneuvering Mr. Obama and this and that and the other. And right now, he's presiding over the collapse of his currency, a major financial crisis and a huge economic contraction.
"That doesn't sound like somebody who has rolled me or the United States of America.
"There is this knee-jerk sense, I think, on the part of some in the foreign policy establishment that, you know, shooting first and thinking about it second, uh, projects strength. I disagree with.
"We have been very firm with respect to those countries that we think are violating international law or are acting against our interests.
"But I have been consistent in saying that where we can solve problems diplomatically, we should do so.
"You look at an example like Iran, over the last year and a half, since we began negotiations with them, that's probably the first year and a half in which Iran has not advanced its nuclear program in the last decade."
CROWLEY: And we know that for sure...
OBAMA: And we know that...
CROWLEY: -- that they have not.
OBAMA: -- we -- that's not just verified by the United Nations and the IEA -- IAEA and ourselves, even critics of our policy like the Netanyahu government in Israel, their intelligence folks have acknowledged that, in fact, Iran has not made progress.
So Cuba offers us an example of an opportunity to try something different. For 50 years, we've tried to see if we can overthrow the regime through isolation. It hasn't worked. If we engage, we have the opportunity to influence the course of events at a time when there's going to be some generational change in that country. And I think we should seize it and I intend to do so.
'We Still Have More Work To Do'9:01 AM, Dec 19, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The State Department's Rose Gottemoeller, under secretary for arms control and international security, spoke at the Brookings Institution Thursday
10:21 AM, Dec 17, 2014 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
Alarm bells have gone off in Beijing, in Moscow, and even among some so-called “realists” in the West. They caution that the pending U.N. General Assembly consideration of an EU-Japan joint resolution on North Korean human rights violations, scheduled for December 18-19, could push Pyongyang over the edge. Publicly censuring North Korea for its crimes against humanity, they warn, might lead to a fourth nuclear test and even potentially trigger another military confrontation on the Korean peninsula. These voices, as a result, advocate continued silence despite overwhelming evidence of massive human rights violations, about which the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) report wrote the following: “The gravity, scale, and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the modern world.”
1:08 PM, Dec 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
With the price of oil plunging, the ruble crashing against other currencies, and its interest rates soaring, Russia has announced to the world that it:
And the ruble is in free-fall.Dec 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 15 • By CATHY YOUNG
A year ago, Ukraine’s “Euro-maidan” protests, spurred by then-president Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to reject a promised trade agreement with the European Union and rush into the well-paid embrace of Vladimir Putin, began to escalate in Kiev, turning to violent clashes with government forces. A Ukrainian revolution, a Russian land grab, and months of undeclared war later, we still don’t know whether these events signaled the beginning of a revival of Russian power or the beginning of the end of the Putin regime.
1:41 PM, Dec 8, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
So bad that there is widespread hoarding as a precaution agains economic collapse. As Bloomberg reports, Russian citizens are:
2:29 PM, Dec 5, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Charles Lane speculates on just what collapsing oil prices will mean for Russia and Vladimir Putin’s grip on power. This depends, Lane writes:
12:35 PM, Dec 1, 2014 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
German chancellor Angela Merkel has cautioned that the adventurism of Russian president Vladimir Putin would not remain limited to Ukraine, or even to other countries bordering on Russia. Since Russia seized Crimea in February-March 2014, Putin’s provocative campaign has included imposition of phantom “governments” in two areas of eastern Ukraine, Luhansk and Donetsk, and harassment of the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which are members of NATO.
10:31 AM, Nov 25, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Russians want delivery of their aircraft carrier. They contracted with the French to build it and a deal is a deal. But things are not (yet) so far gone that a NATO country is willing to arm the enemy for a few francs.
11:38 AM, Nov 20, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Europe is experiencing increased, and threatening, intrusions by Russian aircraft and:
NATO war planes have had to scramble 400 times this year in response ... a rise of 50 percent over last year, the new secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Thursday.
12:00 AM, Nov 15, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
There is more than might have been, but a lot less than first meets the eye. That describes the climate deal struck this week by President Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping in their private two-day meeting following a gathering of 19 Asian Pacific leaders in Beijing. The very fact of a deal is more than even well-informed observers expected.
As Germans celebrate reunification, they are reluctant to confront a Russia that is once again seeking to divide the continent Nov 24, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 11 • By JAMES KIRCHICK