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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Thomas Friedman, "Obama, Snowden and Putin": Putin Can't Do the US Serious Harm?

Truth be told, Obama suffered yet another foreign policy defeat of his own making last week, but you would never know it from Thomas Friedman's mind-numbing "newspeak." In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Obama, Snowden and Putin" (, Friedman begins by telling us:

"You only get one chance to make a second impression. It seems to me that Edward Snowden should use his and that Russian President Vladimir Putin has blown his."

Friedman proceeds to tell us that Snowden should come home to face the music and make the case that "he truly is a whistle-blower, not a traitor."

Putin? Friedman has reached the conclusion that he is beyond redemption:

"Putin’s insistence on blocking any diplomacy on Syria that might move out 'his guy,' President Bashar al-Assad, his abuse of Russian gays and lesbians, and his blatant use of rule-by-law tactics to silence any critics mean that we’re not getting anything from this relationship anymore, nor are many Russians."

Friedman then lectures us on what Obama "could have" told Putin last week, before concluding:

"So there is no sense wasting more time with him. While he will not help us, he can’t do us serious harm. He can and is doing serious harm to Russia, by putting loyalty to him before competence. Any system that does that for long, dies."

Could have, should have, would have. Query: Did Obama also only get one chance to to make a second impression? Did America's president also "blow" his chance last week?

Recall Obama's first opportunity to keep this Cold Warrior in line, when, instead, he promised Putin "flexibility" in his second term.

No, Obama's "reset" of America's relationship with Russia didn't bear fruit. Instead, it has been met with an "in your face" policy from Putin.

So,what did Obama say when asked about Putin last week?:

"I know the press likes to focus on body language, and he's got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom. But the truth is that when we're in conversations together, oftentimes it's very productive."

A "very productive" relationship? Has Putin stopped shipping arms to Assad, warned Tehran to halt their nuclear weapons development program, or extradited Snowden? In short, Obama missed his second chance to prove to Putin that he is something other than an invertebrate.

But back to Friedman: Putin "can’t do us serious harm"? Last month, as reported by Bill Gertz of The Washington Free Beacon (

"Russian strategic nuclear bombers taking part in large-scale military exercises flew practice strike missions in the western Pacific on Monday and were intercepted by Japanese fighters, according to Japanese and Russian officials.

The bomber flights were the latest case of strategic saber rattling by Moscow and followed what U.S. defense officials said earlier this year were practice-bombing runs against U.S. and Japanese military bases in the region."

Let's ignore ongoing Russian armaments shipments to Syria and tacit Kremlin support of Iran's nuclear weapons development program. Practice strike missions against US military bases in ine western Pacific? Nothing worrisome about that?

That's quite an imagination you have, Tom.

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