Editorial: Leadership of superpowers need to talk

Aug. 12, 2013 @ 02:26 PM

Long before we could talk to anyone from anywhere, before technology even allowed us to talk to televisions that actually responded, we worried greatly about the unknown.

The time was known as the Cold War, when the United States and Russia were the world’s most powerful. Each had nuclear arms. Each had people in their respective country not totally versed on the politics, but worried a missile was pointed at them.

And it was believed to be a button push away from reality.

Reality in 2013 is no more Cold War. Tensions are, however, increasing between the two superpowers. And for the first time in a generation, how our president interacts with Russia is climbing in importance.

Times change greatly, and how much they are changing now rests with President Obama.

The most recent generation hasn’t seen every move by our president with the leader of Russia scrutinized. There was a time it was, long before Russia helped us and NATO forces with supplies in Afghanistan, and long before normal trade relations went into place with Russia.

Vladimir Putin, however, is finding ways in his third term to assemble building blocks to a new wall.

Putin has Russians believing Westerners are attacking. In Syria’s crisis, he backed Bashar al-Assad, a leader who fueled his country’s civil war and who clearly sees Israel and the U.S. as enemies.

That said, just like in the United States, foreign polices mean one thing to the people of the country. Domestic polices, right or wrong, are different because they directly touch those people.

And there, Putin is hammering away. Organizations in Russia receiving foreign fiscal help are in Putin’s crosshairs. Adoption of Russian orphans by Americans is done. And that just adds irony to taking in Eric Snowden, an American orphan of sorts.

President Obama is playing his cards with Russia’s people. In terms of freedom and dignity, it makes sense.

The summit he opted out of last week will eventually have to happen. We’re not at a new Cold War yet, but the ante is climbing.

Both countries still have a stranglehold on nuclear options. They’re both still very much in power.

And to ease the tension, Obama needs to push the right buttons.