So, No Reset Then?-A Saturday Link

Putin announced the re-opening of an old base in Cuba, where the rotten Communist regime keeps chugging along, its people still immiserated.

Of course, Putin is an old KGB guy, who learned a lot of tricks on how to keep power in the waning days of the Soviet empire.  More recently, he’s been aggressively carving-up old satellites when it suits Moscow’s interests, as in Georgia and Ukraine, playing off of Russian ethno-nationalist sentiment and the fear and pride of lost empire as much as he can.

Here’s Putin, back in the 80′s, meeting Reagan.  Ho hum, just a tourist, snapping some photos and meeting, how do you say, your premier.

From The Atlantic Photo: Vladimir Putin-Action Man

‘Russia needs a strong state power and must have it. But I am not calling for totalitarianism.’

Vladimir Putin

No, there may not be a brilliant long-game at work, and yes, there’s always a ‘seed of aggression’ when you’re dealing with Moscow, especially Putin. I’d say many Americans (too many in the media) are choosing to see the world through current rose-colored glasses of vague, one-world liberalization and democracy for all (Guantanamo, for all its faults, is probably a more pressing issue for the current administration when it comes to Cuba, which says a lot).

A harsher, more realist turn could serve us well right now. We need strategy: to be fluid and clever, while building alliances and recognizing interests and promoting them to contain these kinds of shenanigans.

More here:

‘After Putin visited Cuba on Friday, the Kremlin press service said the president had forgiven 90% of Cuba’s unpaid Soviet-era debts, which totalled $32bn (£18.6bn) – a concession that now appears to be tied to the agreement to reopen the base’


Maybe we could bring-in Rocky for some consultation, you know, just to have him around:


Some related links on this site:

Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘The Once Great Havana’

Michael Moynihan reviewed Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko’ which praised the Cuban Health Care System.

Vladimir just wants to be friends, America: Remember that appeal in NY Times?

***Bonus-Putin and Bush’s love affair in a GAZ M-21 Volga caught on tape.  Putin sends Medvedev out to keep the flame alive with Obama on missile defense.

Are we headed toward 19th century geo-politics? I get a sorely needed refresher on the Cold War:  Obama’s Decision On Missile Defense And A Quote From Robert Kagan’s: ‘The Return Of History And The End Of Dreams’

From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Full post here.

Michael Totten’s post here.

This would be good news, and I think a possibly important success for Obama’s foreign policy. It was made possible, sadly, not only by the planned assassination of ambassador Chris Stevens, but by his life’s work. He was there for many Libyans, working alongside them in the bitter struggle against Gadhafi, when it counted. It’s also made possible by the people who stormed Ansar-Al-Sharia’s base. This has been a primary goal of Obama’s foreign policy; to isolate and highlight the extremists, the radicals, the Islamists, especially Al Qaeda affiliates and try and find a sweet spot of Muslim sentiment on the ground to push them aside. ‘Moderate’ Muslims may be a chimera in my limited experience, and they may not, but a group of Libyans apparently giving the thugs a run for their money is a good start.

Totten’s new book: Where The West Ends.

Addition:An emailer points out that such hope reveals my hand as a neo-con. Look around at Egypt, the rise of Islamism generally, the gathering threats on the horizon. They are there, dear reader.

Another Addition:  Beyond Jimmy Carter, Obama believes he will bridge two worlds.  That’s quite a risk for Americans at home and through our foreign policy.  This is a bright spot amidst a real mess.

Obama’s still pushing the video-started-the-riots story?  Was he really willing to be so nebulous on free speech?

It’s more about the Free Libya group getting tired of the lawlessness rather than Ambassador Stevens.

Yet Another Addition: NY Times has an interview with Morsi.  Still ‘optimistic.’  CNN, of all places, releases information from Stevens’ diary after promising the family they wouldn’t, because they thought it pertinent.  The NY Times has a piece critical of the administration’s handling of Iraq, where basically, we’d be lucky to get a strong military and strongman leadership.

Why did the Obama administration claim there was more security when there likely wasn’t for Stevens in Libya?  Why did it blame the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ video for the attack in Benghazi for so long?  Did the administration’s actions during this time potentially put other embassies and other Americans at risk?  Did it fail to meet a fundamental defense of the first amendment by trotting out Nakoula to placate the actually rioting Muslims across the Muslim world, and shift the responsibility to Google, and individual American citizens in order to ultimately save Obama’s foreign policy and belief that he can bridge two worlds?

Those are big risks to take.  A little explanation would be nice.

Another: MSNBC reports on CNN reporting despite the State Department’s to ‘protect the family.’

Related On This Site: Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanFrom The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Remember Libya?’A Few Thoughts On Watching Operations In Libya

Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

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