Space, Comrade

Turning this post over to Jim Geraghty, from his Morning Jolt newsletter yesterday (Tuesday, March 28, 2012 for future reference).

"(Director's note: This section of the Jolt is best enjoyed while listening to the soundtrack of The Hunt for Red October.)

Sure, there's nothing unnerving about this exchange:

At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have "more flexibility" to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him "space."

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.

The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you . . .

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

All of Obama's fans will insist that this is nothing new -- that the president is just observing the obvious.

Poppycock. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that the United States and Russia are at loggerheads much more often than they are in agreement. We want tougher sanctions on Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, or any other trouble spot, but you usually can count on the Russians to threaten a veto at the United Nations and bellow their tired talking points about Western imperialism. They invaded Georgia. They've had the Russian fleet do maneuvers with the Venezuelan navy. They send their arms to just about anybody who's willing to buy them. Their notion of "free elections" is a sick joke. Before the so-called reset and after, the Russians seem to define their interests in opposition to ours.

If Obama wants more "flexibility," it can't be the flexibility to take a tougher line. Republicans in Congress would back that. No, if he wants flexibility, it must be the freedom to make concessions that would be politically difficult -- or even outrageous -- today.

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey concludes:

This, to quote our Vice President, is "a big f*****g deal." What solution does Obama envision that would pay off for Putin so much that the Russians would agree to the "space" necessary by keeping quiet about US plans for its deployment? The only possible answer would be the dismantling of even the smaller missile-defense system to which Obama committed in 2009. And it looks as though Obama has already tipped his hand to the Russians -- against whom this particular defense system would be mainly ineffective anyway -- in exchange for political assistance to influence the election.

"The man has big plans for us -- the kind of plans he won't be sharing with the American people. Not yet," warns Scott Johnson. "Something tells me this next election is a big one. Let's kill Obama's 'space' program."

"What you've seen during his first term is nothing compared to what you'll see if he gets a second term," concludes Bruce McQuain at Questions and Observations.

There will be no constraints on him by the need for re-election. Although it may be hard to believe, that has held him back somewhat this term. He has also shown more than a slight propensity to go off on his own if he doesn't get what he wants from Congress. Given how the Congressional races are shaping up, that seems to be something he'll probably suffer again during his second term.

While that may slow him down a bit, he feels he'll have enough "flexibility" that he'll be able to act on his own and through the agencies and departments he owns to push his agenda. If, by some horrendous turn of events he is re-elected and the Democrats somehow wrest full control of Congress from the Republicans again, then the scenario becomes even darker. We can't afford to take that chance.

The hot mic reveals a man biding his time and planning an unrestrained second term in which he'll pursue his agenda by whatever means are available to him.

Hopefully, by this time next year, the only flexibility he'll be exercising is deciding whether or not he should go golfing, work on planning his library or do both on a beautiful Chicago day."

Shorter Obama: Just give me 8 months to completely screw Poland. It is really hard to believe that what we've been seeing is restraint.