Obama’s Russia Policy: Trust, Don’t Verify

by Ken Blackwell
November 21, 2011
President Reagan’s famous dictum, which he often quoted to Mikhail Gorbachev in Russian, was Trust but Verify. (In
Russian, it rhymes: Doverai, no proverai.) President Obama has
recognized that Reagan was a “transformational” president. He says he
gave the old man credit, though he never gave him his vote.

Now, Barack Obama is determined also to be a transformational
president. And he is succeeding in this. More’s the pity. His Russian
policy is one of “Trust, Don’t Verify.”

First, he cancelled missile defense for our new allies– Poland ,
Hungary , the Czech Republic . This was done with the hope and
expectation that it would make the Russians more cooperative on Iran.

Russia has responded by pulling the teeth of any sanctions resolutions
at the UN that threatened to really bite the Iranian mullahs. The Washington Post tells us–in a front page story,
no less, the absorbing tale of Vyascheslav Danilenko, Russian nuclear
scientist, who is said to be aiding Iran in development of a nuclear

The UN’s own International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Danilenko
is at the heart of ” Iran ‘s efforts to gain expertise in disciplines
essential to building a nuclear warhead.”

So much for trusting the Russians. In the popular movie, Red Oktober, the
gruff U.S. admiral played by the redoubtable Fred Thompson says: “The
Russians don’t take a c__p without order from Moscow.” Fred got that
part right. To think that Danilenko could travel to and from Tehran on
“business” without the Kremlin knowing and approving is ludicrous.

But we trust the Russians, don’t we? Before President Obama’s famous
“hamburger summit” with puppet president Medvedev, the FBI collared ten
Russian spies. Surely, we would never subject these Kremlin agents to
enhanced interrogation. In fact, they were quickly issued exit visas and
put on a direct flight to Moscow. They did not pass GO, they didn’t
even get a TSA pat down.

Nothing could stand in the way of the Obama administration’s fast track
for the START Treaty with Russia, ratified by the lame ducks of the 111thCongress. Vice President Joe Biden
was their point man in hurrying this treaty through last December.
Biden has a long history of trusting the Russians. He went to Moscow in
1979, when Barack Obama was just old enough to vote.

Biden told the KGB in 1979 that
we were most interested in arms control. Human rights was a matter of
lesser interest. As a result, we got no arms control agreement that
could be ratified–even by a Democratic Senate. And thousands more
Russians were thrown into the GuLAG.

Biden’s Russian expertise: Trust, don’t verify.

The Wall Street Journal reports, in a front page story, that American astronaut Dan Burbank is “hitching a ride
to the International Space Station.” Thanks to Mr. Obama’s re-ordering
of priorities for NASA, we no longer have the capacity to send up
astronauts ourselves. Instead, we can trust the Russians to take us for a

President Obama recently met with outgoing President Medvedev in
Honolulu. They conferred on ways to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear
weapon. Forget for the moment that Dmitri Medvedev faithfully plays the
monkey to Vladimir Putin’s organ grinder, what possible common interest
could we have with Russia in framing a policy on Iran?

Reuters reports
the two men discussed Syria during their meeting. Does our president
know that Russia has been a backer of Syria for decades? And that Syria
is a virtual client state of Iran?

Can we trust the Russians? Should “Trust, Don’t Verify” be our new policy toward Moscow? I can agree with this much of Astronaut Dan Burbank’s merriment: You can always trust the Russians to take Americans for a ride.