|Last March, President Obama leaned over to Dmitri Medvedev in Seoul, South Korea and promised he would have "more flexibility" to deal with contentious issues like missile defense after the U.S. presidential election.
Obama urged Moscow to give him "space" until after the November ballot, and Putin's poodle promised to pass on the message to then-incoming Russian president Vladimir Putin. Well, Putin got the message, and predictably he took it as sign of American weakness, not strength. The Washington Post today describes what has happened to U.S.-Russia dialogue as "a poisonous unraveling" and "badly frayed bilateral relations." President Obama hasn't a clue on how leaders of Putin's ilk think. They sneer at weakness and take advantage of naivete.
"From Syria and Iran to North Korea and Afghanistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds cards that he can use to help or hurt Obama administration objectives....Obama badly needs Russian help to get U.S. troops and gear out of landlocked Afghanistan. He also wants Russian cooperation — or at least a quiet agreement not to interfere — on other international fronts. Putin, however, appears to see little reason to help. Since his election last year to a third term as president, his political stock has risen among many Russians as he has confronted the West, and the United States in particular."
So no one should be surprised that Putin did to hurt the orphans of his country by banning U.S. adoptions. He made a brutal and cruel calculation that the ban would help him. Meanwhile the U.S. State Department's response on behalf of hundreds of Americans who are left in the lurch is uninspired. As President Reagan proved, Russia respects strength, not vulnerability or hesitancy.
Things have been "reset" with Russia all right--to about 1977.