Categorized | USA, Yetiv_Isaac

Obama made cynical anti-missile promise to Medvedev

By Isaac Yetiv

Isaac Yetiv, PhD

LA JOLLA, California–Years ago we were regaled with a “wardrobe incident”  on TV : a female performer “inadvertently” uncovered her breast. Days ago, a similar kind of incident occurred. It was a  “mike incident” (microphone kept on while speakers thought it was off) , showing the president of the United States whispering to the president of Russia some secret, a promise to be more forthcoming on the issue of missile defense, “after the elections.”

We saw the pictures, we heard the whispers. Obama said : “After these coming elections, last for me, I will have more flexibility, I can do better…” (not verbatim. I.Y.)  Medvedev understood. With an accomplice’s eye, he said : ” I  will transmit that to Vladimir…” (Not to Prime Minister Putin , mind you.) An air of satisfaction and mission accomplished invaded both faces, in the best tradition of the mafia…or the KGB. It was, in the word of a commentator, “a Dr Strangelove moment.”
 The wardrobe incident was a staged stratagem in the entertainment business to enhance publicity and ratings, but the mike incident was, except for a few cynics, a huge really inadvertent blunder in an international summit meeting. Inadvertent because there is nothing to gain,politically, from such a faux pas. The American president exposed  a different part of the anatomy, not a breast but a way of thinking, of hiding from his people a secret he shares with a foreign leader of a country that is today a formidable rival, if not a declared enemy as it used to be under the Soviet regime.
And, on substance, the secret is very alarming : it dealt with the missile defense systems. Obama is signaling to his opponents that he will be more forthcoming and will make more concessions on the matter , like, according to experts, freezing the technology, not upgrading the existing arsenal etc… which will, of course, weaken the American position and endanger its national security. He had already antagonized the military  when he canceled his predecessor’s agreement to build missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, and if he unveils his “flexibility” now, the American people might not like his concessions, and that will jeopardize his re-election.
I see this incident as a very grave matter, and I deplore the fact that the mainstream media did not give it the proper attention by reporting it adequately and commenting on it. Many of them ignored it completely , as they usually do with any anti-Obama event or information, thus doing a disservice to the truth and to the people in our democratic Republic. (If you want to hear both sides of the political equation, watch Foxnews.)
Mike incidents with the president happened before, at least twice to my knowledge: The first occurred in San Francisco on a domestic matter, not of great consequence. The second happened recently in Paris, when President Sarkozy was heard confiding to President Obama his dislike of PM Netanyahu of Israel. We heard Sarkozy say: ” I can’d stand him (Netanyahu); he is a liar…” to which Obama responded: “You deal with him not often; I have to suffer him every day.” (Not verbatim. I.Y.). This was not nice, for sure, but it does not rise to the level of the Russian-American confab at summitry and its very serious implications.
Leaders should heed our Hebrew Sages’ admonition: “Wise men, be careful on what you say !” (Hakhamim, hizaharu be-divreikhem !)

Yetiv is a freelance writer and lecturer in La Jolla.  He may be contacted at [email protected]

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