In March of 2012, President Obama met with his then-counterpart, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, to discuss a number of issues, including European missile defense. The meeting was memorable primarily because an open mic caught a candid exchange between the two heads of state, which David Nakamura of theWashington Post recounted in detail. Obama sought to reassure Medvedev that “on all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him,” meaning incoming Russian president Vladimir Putin, “to give me space.” Medvedev was receptive — “I understand your message about space. Space for you …” — and Obama went on to make himself even more explicit: “This is my last election,” he explained. “After my election, I have more flexibility.” And Medvedev promised to “transmit this information to Vladimir.”
But how will the president use the flexibility he has gained by virtue of his reelection? Among conservatives, the prevailing view is that the Obama administration will use this flexibility to weaken the U.S. strategic position vis-à-vis Russia. Yet the president could also use his flexibility, and Russia’s blundering intervention in Ukraine, to strengthen the U.S. position by revisiting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Read the full article at National Review Online.