Tags: Barack Obama | Russia | Steve Malzberg Show | ronald reagan | putin | foreign policy

Ex-Reagan Aide Adelman: Obama Lacks Fortitude, Strategy on Russia

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Thursday, 08 May 2014 06:07 PM

President Barack Obama has neither the fortitude nor an overall strategy to deal with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin, says Ken Adelman, a former arms control director to late President Ronald Reagan.

Adelman, the author of "Reagan at Reykjavik: 48 Hours That Ended the Cold War," told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV Thursday that Reagan would advise Obama to be tough and to devise a strategy in his talks with Putin.

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"You have to know where you're going in order to get there," said Adelman. "The fact is, I don't feel today there's that kind of overall strategy that Reagan had."

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In addition, Obama needs to be tough like Reagan was, said Adelman. His book, which came out this week, is a first-hand account of the historic 1986 summit between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland that was the key turning point in the Cold War. The gathering was initially planned to outline future talks but ended up turning to major international issues, including eliminating nuclear weapons, the strategic defense initiatives and more, and is based on now-declassified information.

"The president tried to deal with various Russian leaders,' said Adelman of Reagan, "but they kept dying on him. When he got Mikhail Gorbachev, what he was willing to do was amazing. He was willing to sit down with the Soviets but he was also willing to stand up to the Soviets and I'm not sure we see that kind of fortitude right now."

And as Gorbachev made concessions, Adelman said, Reagan gave up nothing because "the fact is that Reagan knew where he wanted to go and he was tough in getting there."

Adelman said the story of the Reagan-Gorbachev meeting has "all kinds of twists and turns, it has all kinds of ups and downs and emotional, and it's full of surprises. It's like an Agatha Christie mystery where over a stormy weekend in October in a creaky house, creaky old house thought to be haunted, two exceptional individuals meet and they experience the most amazing things."

But most of all, Adelman said, the meeting displayed Reagan's leadership skills.

"I don't know about you, but I never talked to anybody for 10-and-a-half hours," said Adelman. "Reagan tells stories during that time, Gorbachev gets mad at him during that time, and it's just an amazing kind of episode."

And what you can see through the story, said Adelman, is that "Ronald Reagan had an overall strategy, which we don't find exactly today."

That strategy was, "in a nutshell, we win, they lose," said Adelman, which Reagan brought about from being tough on the former Soviet Union.

He did that, said Adelman, by "pursuing the strategic defense initiative, by getting deep cuts in nuclear weapons, by getting an overall arms buildup, military buildup by the United States, and by delegitimizing the Soviet Union by calling it an evil empire."

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