Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute in Seattle has asked all the right questions about a recent Russian media report suggesting that Russian killers have been dispatched to the United States to execute a former Russian spy. He had supposedly betrayed the ring of Russian “illegals” recently caught and expelled in a Washington-Moscow spy swap and defected to the U.S.
Mr. Chapman, who had served as Deputy Assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1983 to 1985, has asked why we have not heard any loud protests from the Obama Administration about this incredible public announcement attributed to an unnamed Kremlin insider. The Russian government plans to break American laws by killing a person on U.S. soil and yet there has been no condemnation from the White House.
Not even in Soviet times would the Kremlin show such open contempt for the U.S. Chief Executive. Those who understand Russian and Soviet history know that leaders like Putin would hold President Obama in very low esteem precisely because he has bent over backwards to please the former KGB mafia which runs and owns Russia.
They must still have highly effective agents of influence in the U.S. to decide that an open warning for anyone thinking about defecting or exposing them was worth risking a diplomatic crisis. But they also assumed correctly that the Obama Administration will not react strongly to a public insult.
Rather than being impressed by Mr. Obama’s unilateral concessions, which included stopping the deployment of the U.S. missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic and weakening ties with loyal U.S. allies in Central and Eastern Europe, Putin and Medvedev see Obama as inexperienced, weak, naive, and easily manipulated.
They must have laughed and rejoiced when Mr. Obama made the announcement about the removal of the U.S. missile shield from Central Europe on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. With the exception of President Obama’s Russia advisor, most experts familiar with the way former Soviet and KGB officials think would have warned him that even before giving them a major strategic gift without getting anything in return, he was being perceived in the Kremlin as someone who is confused about America’s interests, and certainly not their intellectual equal. Anyone who has studied Soviet history with a critical mind could have told him that.
The reported announcement, attributed to a Russian government source, about sending Russian killers to the U.S. is a sign of the Kremlin’s open contempt for President Obama, which may explain why we have not heard any loud protests from the White House or the State Department. To react strongly to the Russian media report about the killers dispatched to the U.S. by the Kremlin would expose the foolishness of President Obama’s ideas about “resetting” relations with Mr. Putin’s Russia.
Mr. Obama has undermined U.S. security and the security of America’s allies, whose soldiers have fought and died alongside American soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan, only to be told that when the leaders in the Kremlin want to have someone killed in the U.S. they are not grateful enough to him to refrain from making an extraordinarily humiliating public announcement. They many have decided that the more arrogant they are, the extra pressure will result in even greater unilateral concessions from President Obama on the assumption that he will take their declared security concerns more seriously in response to loud shouts and insults. This had been a well-tested Soviet public diplomacy tactic, which is again being employed, albeit with much greater sophistication.
After all, President Obama became convinced that Poland with a few U.S. defensive missiles represented a real threat to Russia. Perhaps he also thinks that the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 in alliance with Hitler was a defensive move, as suggested subsequently by Stalin (only after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union), other Soviet leaders, and Mr. Putin himself. Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev make like President Obama’s confused thinking, but they are not impressed by him as a leader. If they were, a Kremlin source would not be telling Russian journalists about sending killers to the U.S. Under President Reagan, or for that matter any other U.S. president until Barack Obama, there would have been a quick official American response to such an open and audacious Russian promise to send a hit squad to commit murder and violate U.S. laws.