Dems, Media Prove Anew Their ‘Flexibility’ on Russia

Lacking either a moral compass or a consistent foreign policy, Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media have been guided in recent years by what they call “Rahm’s Rule” — in brief, “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

Adopting that rule came naturally to President Barack Obama. In a March 2012 meeting with outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Korea, a hot mic picked up Obama telling Medvedev, “It’s important for him to give me space. This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

The “him,” of course was Putin. Said Medvedev, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.” Vlad got the message. Obama and his cronies had no real values. They were flexible enough to be played, and he was just the man to play them.

This past weekend, while most sane observers were withholding judgment on events in Russia, Democrats and their neocon allies were noisily doing backflips to exploit the seeming crisis in their political favor.

Having no inside skinny on the fluid state of affairs in Russia, I will wait until the dust settles to venture even a preliminary comment. I do, however, know something about the Democrats’ impressively flexible relationship with Putin and Russia over the course of these last 15 years.

As it happens, the Obama White House began sucking up to Russia soon after the January 2009 inauguration. Speaking at a February 2009 conference in Munich, Vice President Joe Biden signaled Obama’s flexibility, telling the audience, “It is time to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.”

Two years later, Biden made an unusual speech at Moscow State University. There he listed the many new areas of cooperation between Russia and the United States and cited with pride the fruits of that relationship. Just two years prior, only 17 percent of Russians held a positive view of the United States, said Biden. By the time of his speech in March 2011, that figure had increased to 60 percent.

During his 2011 speech, Biden boasted of visiting a high-tech hub on the outskirts of Moscow called “Skolkovo.” Biden thought Skolkovo held the potential to become Russia’s Silicon Valley. With a proven talent for taking care of those close to him, a talent he would hone in the Ukraine, Biden encouraged American venture capitalists to invest there.

Even apolitical observers were troubled by this exchange of capital and information. EUCOM, the American military’s leading intelligence think tank in Europe, called American involvement in Skolkovo “an overt alternative to clandestine industrial espionage — with the additional distinction that it can achieve such a transfer on a much larger scale and more efficiently.”

Bill Clinton meanwhile secured State’s permission to meet with Skolkovo honcho Viktor Vekselberg. Clinton happened to be in Russia at the time to give his infamous $500,000 speech, paid for by a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin. On that same trip, Clinton met with senior Rosatom official Arkady Dvorkovich.

Rosatom was the entity that controlled all things nuclear in Russia, including the arsenal. At the time, Rosatom was seeking the State Department’s permission to buy Uranium One, a Canadian company with vast U.S. uranium reserves.

This deal raised eyebrows even at the New York Times. As Jo Becker and Mike McIntire reported in April 2015, too late to make a difference, the Russians took control of Uranium One in three discrete transactions from 2009 to 2013, during which time “a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation.” The chairman of Uranium One alone donated $2.35 million.

For Russian President Vladimir Putin, securing Uranium One was like finding a pony under his tree on Christmas morning. As Rosatom CEO Sergei Kiriyenko told Putin in a staged interview, “Few could have imagined in the past that we would own 20 percent of U.S. reserves.”

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