Here is former President George Bush on Russian President Vladimir Putin's domestic centralization of power as quoted in a recent book, "Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House: "He thinks he'll be around forever. He asked me why I didn't change the Constitution so I could run again.”
Mr. Bush, brutalized by then candidate for president Barack Obama, never looked back when he left office and has been silent as a tomb ever since. Still, one cannot help but wonder what Mr. Bush’s reaction was to the latest news out of Russia, as reported by Reuters: “Putin dissolves state newsagency tightens grip on Russia media.”
The “state media” in Russia, of course, is still tethered to the remnants of the ancient soviet regime – progress in Russia has always moved at a snail’s pace – but Mr. Putin’s media changes, according to Reuters, strengthens the tether:
“The move to abolish RIA Novosti and create a news agency to be known as Rossiya Segodnya is the second in two weeks strengthening Putin's hold on the media as he tries to reassert his authority after protests against his rule.”
When Vice President Dick Cheney returned from meeting Mr. Putin, he is reported to have told people privately, "I think KGB, KGB, KGB" and, returning from a first meeting with Mr. Putin, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told his colleagues, “I looked in his eyes and I saw the same KGB killer I've seen my whole life."
Having been lectured by Mr. Putin on press freedom Russian style, Mr. Bush remarked, “It was not hostile. It was like junior high debating. Seriously, it was a whole series of these juvenile arguments. There was no breakthrough with this guy."
Mr. Bush’s chief critic in the White House has quite a different view of Mr. Putin. Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign suffered a minor cramp when Mr. Obama, unaware that his mic was live, leaned over towards current Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, touched his knee and whispered conspiratorially that he would be much freer in his second term to conduct foreign policy with the ex-KGB agent. Mr. Obama asked Mr. Medvedev to pass along his private message to Mr. Putin, and Mr. Medvedev promised to do so.
Mr. Putin’s most recent crackdown on freedom of the press in Russia eliminates the need for special measures concerning unfortunate leaks and hot mics: Where everything is secret and even minimal dissent is punished by the prospect of a prison term, the hot mic problem permanently disappears: If you can control reporting, it simply does not matter what you say. Mr. Obama, it appears, is not the only president who has been unchained after having won an election.
Iran is not a new player on the international stage. It has been for many years a menacing player on the Middle East chessboard, and almost anyone who has lived the last few decades with their eyes opened knows beyond doubt that Iran’s political interests are not congruent with those of the United States or with what we used to call, before the Obama administration smudged the lines, the international “friends” of the United States both in the Middle East and Europe. Even former President Jimmy Carter, when he is not shilling for the enemies of Israel, has felt the lash of Iran. He very likely lost his presidential bid when Iranian students, marching to the steady beat of the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s drum, stormed the American embassy and held hostage 52 Americans for 444 days. In Farsi, the hostage crisis was called “Conquest of the American Spy Den,” and it followed a Carter policy that withdrew American aid from counties deemed guilty of human rights abuses. Russia, then the Soviet Union, played both ends against the middle and has been for some time in Iran’s corner as it struggles with the Satanic United States.
In the Obama administration, it is becoming increasingly obvious, there are no enemies – only potential friends the administration feels will bend to persuasive diplomacy. Quite by accident, if one is to believe accounts from an administration that frequently stretches the truth, the United States stumbled into a possible diplomatic solution to the Iranian push towards the development of nuclear weapons when newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry opened a door to the suddenly friendly Mr. Putin, who is now busily engaged in shaping American foreign policy in the Middle East.
Now then, this is the stuff of which stories concerning Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation are made. In New York, uber-progressive U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer threw a wrench into Mr. Obama’s amorphous Middle East foreign policy by promoting a bill that would strengthen sanctions against Iran should the heroes of the “Conquest of the American Spy Den” fail faithfully to follow the terms of an agreement hammered together by Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin.
So then, how many members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation -- all Democrats and, presumably, friendly to democracies elsewhere in the world -- have declared unflinching support for Mr. Schumer’s bill?
Like Mr. Schumer, who is Jewish, U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, who is Jewish, very likely would want to prevent states that sponsor terrorist activities in the Middle East such as Iran and Syria and Russia from aiding quasi-religious terrorist organizations from pushing into the sea a democratic state that for years has had friendly relations with the United States. Mr. Blumenthal and other members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation have in the past voted in favor of strong sanctions against Iran, mostly in order to prevent the continuing Iranian revolution from producing nuclear weapons. “Strengthening sanctions and enforcement of them is vital to create incentives and increase pressure if this interim step is unsuccessful,” Mr. Blumenthal has said. “I believe there is a continued need for the Senate to pass even tougher sanctions.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is perhaps too busy to respond at length to an interrogatory on the Schumer bill. Much of his time on the public stump lately has been devoted to the launching of nuclear tipped rhetorical missiles aimed at the National Rifle Association (NRA) and “Darwinists” in the U.S. Senate who failed to supported a gun control bill never introduced in his chamber by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, apparently a closet “Darwinist.” But what about Mr. Blumenthal and Connecticut’s five Democratic members of the U.S. House? Have they, along with Mr. Obama, adjusted their friend’s list to include Iranian leaders who many times have pledged to destroy the “Zionist element,” and are they quite comfortable in allowing ex-KGB agents to shape a binding agreement between the United States and Russia’s long time business partners in Iran?
In brief remarks in a left of center website, Mr. Murphy indicated he did not favor the Schumer bill. He argues that the bill forcing Iran to abide by the terms of an agreement favored by Mr. Obama would unnecessarily put a crimp in Mr. Obama’s negotiating posture, a position that makes sense only to people who are willing to genuflect to any future agreement, however ruinous, acceptable to revolutionary raving mullahs and Mr. Putin.
There is very little chatter in the Connecticut’s press concerning the Schumer bill, and one wonders: Has anyone, at the risk of discomforting Connecticut’s Democratic hegemon, put the question – Do you or do you not favor the Schumer bill, and why? -- to the five Democratic members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation? If not, why not?