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Monday, April 26, 2010

History Started On January 20, 2009

President Obama's outreach to Russia constitutes a "strategic reset," according to Spencer Ackerman.

The proof? The recent Joint Statement issued by the U.S. and Russia commemorating the meeting of U.S. and Soviet troops at the Elbe River during WWII (emphasis mine):

Now this is something you don’t often see from American and Russian leaders. Presidents Obama and Medvedev have released a joint statement of international partnership in commemoration of the “Spirit of the Elbe,” when the western and eastern allied offensives in Europe converged. That meeting was typically understood through the Cold War as a tragic reminder that total war ought never break out, even as NATO-Warsaw Pact tensions persisted. Obama and Medvedev are taking it as a symbol of a new chapter in geopolitics...

Prediction: the Chinese abstain from a Security Council vote on Iran sanctions, out of unwillingness to be the sole power that scuttles a sanctions package now that the Russians place a higher priority on establishing a more constructive relationship with the United States.

This Elbe River commemoration is a new chapter in the history of U.S. - Russia relations, if you think that history started on January 20, 2009.

If history actually started before Obama became President, then the commemoration really is no big deal:

PRESS-RELEASE № 13, April 29, 2005

Joint Statement by Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush made on the 60th anniversary of Soviet and US troops meeting on the Elbe, Germany

... The century starting now has seen new challenges to our countries' security, terrorism and mass destruction weapon proliferation among them. However, the chances are building up to achieve lasting peace based on the law and on shared values of freedom and democracy. Russia and the United States are working for ever-closer partnerly ties. In this situation, the meeting on the Elbe reminds us of the vast benefits we can provide to our two countries and to the whole world, when we are at one in the face of global challenges to use our newfound opportunities for progress and partnership.

At least he didn't tweet about it.

Update: Some reset in relations. What a rube. The Russians now are aggressively marketing ballistic missiles which can be hidden in shipping containers, and the primary receipients will be enemies of the U.S.. From The New York Times:

A Russian company is marketing a devastating new cruise missile system which can be hidden inside a shipping container, giving any merchant vessel the capability to wipe out an aircraft carrier.

Potential customers for the formidable Club-K system include Kremlin allies Iran and Venezuela, say defense experts. They worry that countries could pass on the satellite-guided missiles, which are very hard to detect, to terrorist groups.

This assessment from DEBKAfile echoes The Times' report:
Able to wipe out an aircraft carrier up to 400 kilometers away, the system's manufacturer, Novator, is directing its marketing tactics at anyone under threat of military action from the United States. One expert accused the Russians of proliferating ballistic missiles on an unheard-of scale.
Related Posts:
Worst Tweet of The Year
About That "Firecracker"
J Street: Liberal Bloggers Need To Study History, Not Memory

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1 comment:

  1. ...Hello William

    I believe the Elbe river meeting should be commemorated with a shudder, not a celebration or a press release. It signalled the end of a "marriage of convenience" brokered by military realists who wanted to defeat Hitler and sort the rest out later. Yes, Hitler was defeated, but Stalin was a horrible "ally" and about to get worse. The handshakes exchanged were a tacit acknowledgement of Stalin's hegemony over eastern Europe, with all that employed. They also represented a tacit decision to forget Katyn and all the other Stalinist transgressions. He was, after all spying against us, occassionally shooting US prisoners and refusing requests for cooperation. Within five years he would be intriguing to start the Korean War. No, I understand a brief commeration with a"hope to the future" phrase or two, but let's not make a big deal of this. Otherwise, the handshakes are too much like those exchanged between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army when they met halfway through Poland.