BOOK REVIEW: Folly of Obama’s ‘reset’

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Ingeborg’s mother, Sigrid, refused to cry - even though the interview took place at her daughter’s grave. (One wonders if the theatrical setting for their conversation, while evocative and sentimentally appropriate, wasn’t a measure too cruel.) But Sigrid’s daughter’s courage was met by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s cowardice - the ministry would not even ask if Russia was conducting an investigation into Ingeborg’s death.

In fact, Politkovskaya was informed she was the first Russian to visit Ingeborg’s grave. “But what about Norwegians?” Polit-kovskaya asked Sigrid. “No Norwegians have come either,” Sigrid responded.

Politkovskaya asked a Norwegian news reporter why Norway wouldn’t press the case with Russia. The answer basically came down to this: Russia is different.

“Alas, this is an all too typical European attitude,” Politkovskaya wrote. “Russia has today been categorized as a maverick territory where, with the tacit agreement of the heads of the European states, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the OSCE all lumped together, it is apparently acceptable for citizens to live under laws quite different from those which apply to the rest of the European continent, laws which the rest of Europe couldn’t imagine living under in its worst nightmare.”

I suppose Europeans can take solace in the fact that they weren’t alone in their craven cowering before the Russian bear. As Ray Takeyh pointed out in “Hidden Iran,” the Muslim world was alight with rage at the Russian human rights abuses and the tales of massacres of Chechnya’s proud Muslims - yet Iran was silent.

Apparently, the export of the Islamic revolution stopped at the Russian border. “Given that Iran had calculated that its national interest lay in not excessively antagonizing the Russian Federation, it largely ignored the plight of the Chechens despite the Islamic appeal of their cause,” Mr. Takeyh writes.

Mr. Putin called the shots, period. The only country that would even suggest otherwise was the United States. George W. Bush even met with Politkovskaya during his presidency, going straight from a meeting at the Kremlin to speak with some of the Kremlin’s most formidable intellectual opponents.

But that all ended with President Obama’s “reset.” We were now to defer to Russia’s prized “sphere of influence.” Out went missile defense in the Czech Republic and Poland; in came the New START.

Anna Politkovskaya gave her life trying to reveal to the world the true nature of the terror state that Mr. Putin had been carefully crafting while the world looked the other way. This posthumous collection of her stories shows just how reckless and naive the reset policy really is.

Seth Mandel is an associate editor of NewsReal Blog and former managing editor of the Jewish State, an independent weekly newspaper in New Jersey.

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