Aletho News


Obama rips open the cauterised Russian wound

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | December 18, 2016

In the entire chronicle of Russian-American relations since Joseph Stalin, it is difficult to recollect an instance when a US President held a Kremlin leader personally responsible for an outrageous criminal act. But then, the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee, the formal governing body of the Democratic Party in the US has no precedent.

The alleged Russian hacking was the main topic of President Barack Obama’s press conference held in the White House in Washington on Friday. Obama accused that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking:

  • I’d make a larger point, which is, not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin. This is a pretty hierarchical operation… I’ll confirm that this (hacking) was at the highest levels of the Russian government. And I will let you make that determination as to whether there are high-level Russian officials who go off rogue and decide to tamper with the U.S. election process without Vladimir Putin knowing about it.

Obama’s lengthy remarks at the hour-long press conference hinted strongly that the US intelligence is in possession of hard evidence to back up the accusation. Elsewhere, Obama said or signalled:

  • In a conversation on the sidelines of the G-20 in Hangzhou in September, he did plain-speaking with Putin and bluntly demanded an end to the hacking. Obama threatened that otherwise there’d be “some serious consequences.” Putin got the message; Russian hackers backed off.
  • However, the damage was done because Moscow had by then already passed on the stuff to WikiLeaks to stir up controversies in the US election campaign.
  • Washington will retaliate at a time and manner of choosing, not all of which may show up in public domain but the Kremlin will be made to understand that there is a price to pay.
  • Obama defended the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election victory as such – although “I (Obama) don’t think she (Hillary Clinton) was treated fairly during the election. I think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling.”

What are the implications? One, the US intelligence possesses explosive materials on the Kremlin leadership. Two, Obama thoroughly disapproves of Trump’s intention to accommodate Russia (and Putin). He just stopped short of inciting the Republicans to mutiny. (“Over a third of Republican voters approve of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB. Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave.”) The intention is to create a bipartisan resistance to Trump’s plans to improve relations with Russia.

However, the intriguing part will be Obama’s personal attack on Putin. It’s well-known that Obama detests Putin. But then, there is more to it. Obama seems to believe Putin did plot Trump’s victory.

To my mind, Obama aims to hit back by fatally wounding Putin in the Byzantine world of Kremlin power-play. The thesis of mainstream American pundits is that the Kremlin power cliques see Putin as their best frontman and so long as he is useful, he retains his position, but the moment he becomes a liability, the matrix can change and he becomes expendable. This is one thing.

In the US assessment, again, Russian elites hanker for normal ties with the western world where they own expensive properties, keep fat bank accounts, educate their children, go for shopping or enjoy holidays. They are restive that Russia is being kept under quarantine by the West. They count on Putin to get sanctions removed. Now, when the US president names Putin in a criminal act, his image gets damaged irreparably.

Obama’s calculation could be that a) under immense psychological pressure, Putin himself may not seek another six-year term in the election in early 2018, or, b) if Putin becomes a ‘burnt-out case’, Russian elites in their quest to improve relations with the West, may have no more use for him.

Either way, something sinister has begun. Obama fired the salvo to take out Putin just before he himself walks into the sunset. But there is much more to come in this epic story. The 32 days before Trump is sworn in, will be a season for media leaks in America. Read the transcript of Obama’s remarks here.

December 18, 2016 - Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. This endless and tasteless charade is so frustrating…thanks to Aletho News and the ever-readable and informative Mr. Bhadrakumar.


    Comment by roberthstiver | December 18, 2016 | Reply

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