Barack Obama believes he’s a cool customer, therefore he understood exactly what he was engaging in Tuesday as he made fun of being accidentally overheard on Monday during a talk with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the nuclear summit in South Korea. “First of all, are the mics on?” Mr. Obama joked, prior to taking several moments to describe the discussion as no big issue.
However, it may well be a big issue politically this current year in addition to being a problem regarding policy in a second term, which explains why Obama wished to make it appear unimportant. In a dialogue regarding missile defenses, Mr. Obama had been overheard informing the Russian that:
“This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” Mr. Medvedev, who will soon turn over the presidency to Vladimir Putin, replied that “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”
Among the major concerns for this election is going to be exactly what Mr. Obama may do in a subsequent term as soon as he’s unrestrained by any future electoral restrictions. Might he let loose the EPA along with other regulators which he has controlled relatively during the past year prior to an election campaign? Might he make use of his executive powers to help expand and enable labor unions?
The fear is particularly appropriate concerning national security, in which Congress possesses much less capability to restrict Presidential policies. Mr. Putin desires to control or even eliminate U.S. missile defenses inside Europe and elsewhere. Mr. Obama has not dared to reduce this sort of arms control offer during his first term, but what might happen in a second? In 2001, Obama explained to a Chicago television station that:
“I don’t agree with a missile defense system.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Obama was adamant his confidential discussion with Mr. Medvedev was “not a matter of hiding the ball” until a subsequent term. It is feasible, if not likely, that he was simply stringing Mr. Medvedev along with the aged political calendar technique. However one of the lessons of Mr. Obama’s initial three years is the fact that when he said he wished to fundamentally transform America, he was not joking. He most likely meant exactly what he explained to Mr. Medvedev as well.
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