From Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post: Is the Obama administration’s foreign policy "enemy-centric?"
That was the contention put forth this morning by a European who has been one of the most stalwart friends of the United States — and of democracy — since his days as a courageous dissident in what used to be Communist Czechoslovakia. Alexandr Vondra — who after the fall of communism became the Czech Republic’s ambassador to Washington and then its foreign minister and deputy prime minister — told an audience at the Atlantic Council here in Washington that President Obama’s “cool realism” is putting long-standing ties at risk. …
Vondra said that the Obama administration rewards rivals — notably Russia and China — with “carrots” while handing out only “tasks” to its allies. He said the U.S. agenda with its allies seems to be driven by U.S. domestic needs and U.S. priorities, especially nuclear disarmament, Iran and Afghanistan, while neglecting the priorities of its allies.
Vondra said that the United States is actively approaching Russia with its offer to “reset” relations. Meanwhile Russia is assertively approaching the Czech Republic and other nations, driven by its enmity to NATO and its belief that it is entitled to hold sway in its own sphere of influence. But the third side of that triangle — between the United States and allies — is inactive, Vondra said, creating a danger that nations and policies less amenable to U.S. values will fill the vacuum. Russia’s governance and economic model are not sustainable in the long run, he said, “but in the short run, it is Russia that sets an agenda now.” (photo: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)