Forty-one dedicated and professional reporters with deep knowledge of Russia-and in particular its human rights record-have been given their marching papers by the U.S.government.
Allegedly, this is because Russian media law is changing on November 10 to restrict AM broadcasting. But those who follow the Obama Administration’s Russia policy will see a familiar pattern. As the Russian government and media get more aggressive and more anti-American, the U.S. meekly retreats.
While the new Russian media law certainly does make the work of broadcasting more challenging, it is also a fact that Radio Liberty’s mission-to broadcast the truth and promote democracy-fits ill with President Obama’s accommodationist Russia policy.
The “reset” policy was of course launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with the presentation of a large red button to Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov during her first year in office. This silly gimmick proved prophetic of the ineptitude of the policy it symbolizes.
Under the “reset,” American national interests and those of its friends and allies have endured one setback vis-à-vis Russia after another:
- First to fall by the wayside was the ballistic missile defense system agreed to under President Bush with the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic.
- Second was the U.S.nuclear stockpile, which the Obama Administration voluntarily cut in the process of the New START negotiations with Russia.
- Then followed the withdrawal of U.S. support for NATO membership action plans for Georgia and Ukraine, which had been standing policy under the Bush Administration.
- Last spring, President Obama promised then-President Dmitry Medvedev (and was caught by an open microphone), “After my election I will have more flexibility” to negotiate nuclear cuts.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty director Steven Korn attempted to defend the firings in an op-ed in yesterday’s Moscow Times. “This is not a calamity,” he wrote, which certainly is not the view of the fired journalists. “On the contrary, we see this as an opportunity to improve and strengthen Radio Svoboda and to accelerate our plans to move to digital platforms.” This simply does not pass the smell test, especially as the entire digital team of the Moscow office was among those fired.
U.S. national interests abroad, including our security interests, continue to be compromised by the Obama Administration, andRussia is but one example. The worst part is that it is being done intentionally.