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  • Russian Reset Roulette: Putin Throws Obama's Foreign Aid Under the Bus

    The State Department announced yesterday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has informed the United States he will not permit any further activities by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Russian Federation.

    State officials tried to put the best face on this humiliating rejection, saying they are “extremely proud of what USAID has accomplished in Russia over the past two decades” and pledging to “work with our partners and staff to responsibly end or transition USAID’s programs.”

    The reality is that this is a slap in the face from Putin to President Obama and U.S. Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul, who became a target of vicious attacks by the Russian state media.

    And exactly why is the State Department so proud? Two decades ago under Boris Yeltsin, there may have been a chance for genuine democracy to take root in Russia. That chance was squandered by the Russian ruling elites. After billions of dollars spent on USAID programs in the 20 years since, what has been accomplished? In the words of the Peterson Institute’s Anders Aslund, “Russia is no longer a democracy by any stretch of the word,” as Putin has systematically transformed it “from a semi-democracy to an authoritarian state.”

    The United States should have unilaterally ended foreign aid to Russia years ago when the oil revenues poured in, but apparently the Obama Administration put a higher premium on throwing more good taxpayer dollars after bad to create jobs for USAID bureaucrats than it did on sending a clear message about American values to a rival nation.

    Now it is Putin who is doing the throwing—of Obama’s Russian aid program under the bus.

    Coming on the heels of the tragedy in Benghazi, this is another Obama foreign policy humiliation by those who deeply dislike America.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Russian Reset Roulette: Putin Throws Obama's Foreign Aid Under the Bus

    1. DiscontentWithLiars says:

      Good for them! Foreign Aid should be something other countries apply for. It should not be a handout to political leaders for their support. Kinda like our government withholding road fixes to States if they don't do certain things. Time for the US to get out of the "Drug dealer" mentality, and quit buying "Friends".

    2. Like-Reagan-Would says:

      Call it what you want, but don't call USAID foreign aid in Russia a "handout". The USAID programs in support of Russian activists working in democracy strengthening, rule-of-law, human rights, electoral and political processes and against trafficking in persons rights activist are still needed. The increasingly evident authoritarian nature of the Kremlin regime is deepening by the hour, and the push back from the Kremlin on USAID Democratic Initiatives programs in Russia is testimony to their relevance to the deterioration of what is left of democracy in Russia. For those who suggest Russian needs no foreign cooperatuion money, remember the support "From the American People" was NOT to the Kremin. It was to and in cooperation with a grateful Russian people as represented by brave but Kremlin battered civil society. While USAID in-country management of Democratic Initiatives in Russia has now ended, the US should not only continue grant programs to Russian democracy activist organizations, but double or triple the budgets. It is in our long term strategic interests, consistent with democratic values, and will be cheaper than paying for a new cold war.

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