President Obama Portrays a Tough-Guy Persona by Sanctioning Russia but His Failed Policies Indicate Otherwise
By Neil A. Carousso
President Barack Hussein Obama has just imposed 9 different sanctions on Russia, which could “box in Trump,” wrote The New York Times.
Reuters and the Associated Press are reporting that Obama has expelled 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the Russian embassy in Washington. D.C. and the Russian consulate in San Francisco. The President has also ordered the closing of 2 Russian compounds in the nation’s capital and New York City as a result of the alleged Russian “hacking” into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Russian intelligence officials have 72 hours to leave and will no longer be able to access the compounds as of noon on Friday, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke with Reuters anonymously.
The Russian foreign ministry said the U.S. sanctions are “counterproductive and will harm the restoration of bilateral ties,” reported Interfax news agency, citing Konstantin Dolgov, Foreign Ministry commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says Moscow regrets the new U.S. sanctions and will consider retaliatory measures. On Thursday, the Kremlin vowed retaliation to the U.S. sanctions that will be “adequate,” but Friday morning Putin, in a statement on the Kremlin’s website, said, “While we reserve the right to respond, we will not drop to this level of irresponsible diplomacy, and we will make further steps to help resurrect Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of Trump will pursue.”
While it may seem like a strong and necessary move from an inherently weak leader, who is on vacation in Hawaii, it may cause major problems in the United States during this period of transition from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration. The sanctions do not include economic holds or an impact on Russian oil reserves, and many believe the Russian compounds should have been closed a long time ago.
Simply put: Obama waited this long to punish Russia, starting what he cannot finish in office. This is another problem for President-elect Trump to resolve starting on January 20 when he is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
Liberal Democrat and Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky said on the air Thursday afternoon that it was a “disgraceful and weak move by the Obama Administration,” adding that Obama’s sanctions are “feckless.” The perplexity is bipartisan.
Really, President Obama? Kicking out a few Russian intelligence agents? How about exposing and freezing Putin and inner circle assets. #weak
— Julie Roginsky (@julieroginsky) December 29, 2016
The fact is that the election was a repudiation of President Obama’s policies and leadership by the American voters. Obama even tied his legacy to Mrs. Clinton on the campaign trail saying that he would consider it a “personal insult” if Clinton was not elected.“My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot.” – President Barack Obama, Saturday, September 17, 2016, Congressional Black Caucus Dinner.“Hacking” neither affected Americans’ votes on their ballots nor the Electoral College votes. There is no proof that Russia affected the election results in any way.
In fact, the “hack” of Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s email account was accessed by simplistic measures. Podesta clicked on a link in a phishing email, appearing to be Google, and entered his password when prompted to “change his password.” This resulted in ultimately giving away Podesta’s email password to the email sender portraying himself or herself as Google.
Russia’s “hacking” is a distraction to undermine and delegitimize President-elect Trump and avoid discussion about the failed and rejected Obama policies that have led to the decimation of the Democratic party in terms of lost seats across all levels of government, including losing the party majority of members in Congress in 2010, and 948 lost state legislature seats since Obama took office in 2009. The GOP controls the most state legislative seats since the 1920s. Republicans, now, have 31 sitting governors, compared to just 18 Dems, after losing 12 governorships.
“These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior,” President Obama said in a statement, calling out the highest levels of the Russian government for their alleged involvement in the U.S. election.
Obama has said that these sanctions are just the beginning, but not all acts will be made public. It is suspected that the U.S. will engage in a counter-cyber attack. The U.S. should also update cyber-security systems and strategy and upgrade computer software that dates back to the 1950s, according to the United States Government Accountability Office.
While Russia should be held accountable for any involvement or intent to influence the election, Obama’s consistent lashing out of spite of Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton, is immature and unpresidential, and perhaps, jealousy of Trump’s early success in the name of tax and business policies of the President-elect, who has saved 1,100 American jobs that Carrier was sending to Mexico, announced that Sprint is bringing back 5,000 jobs to the U.S. that were sent overseas, and new company, OneWeb’s announcement that it is creating 3,000 jobs in the U.S., which is associated with Korean-Japanese businessman and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son’s guarantee to invest $50 billion to create 50,000 American jobs.
Just in the past two weeks, Obama has signed an executive order banning offshore drilling in the Arctic, policy that continues oil dependency on terror-sponsored nations, and officially dumped an entry-exit registry for immigrant men. Last week, Obama decided to abstain from a United Nations resolution to sanction Israel over settlements in the West Bank. This has been seen as a betrayal of the United States’ strongest ally in the Middle East and “anti-Israel” by many, including most Republicans. David Keyes, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Fox News that Israel has “ironclad information” that the Obama Administration worked with Egypt to draft the resolutions, which has been denied by the White House. Important to note that President Obama worked to unseat Netanyahu during last year’s parliamentary elections by spending $350,000 in American taxpayer grants to oust the Israeli prime minister, a congressional report concluded last summer.
Now, Obama is punishing Russia after a failed 8-years of Russian foreign policy, started with the “Russian Reset” in March 2009 while Clinton was Secretary of State, and punctuated by three transactions of a total of 20 percent of American uranium to Russia, between 2009-2013, that made “Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.”
With President-elect Trump taking office, U.S. foreign policy will be approached differently from the abominable past 8 years under Obama. “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” said Trump in a statement issued Thursday evening. “Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.”
Featured image: President Obama (right) met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Los Cabos, Mexico on June 18, 2012. Courtesy: REUTERS/Jason Reed.
Last updated: Friday, December 30, 2016 at 11:10 AM ET.