Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov essentially accused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of lying by charging Russia with delivering arms including helicopters to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Today at a joint press conference with India’s minister of external affairs, Clinton took questions (at about the 15:00 mark and again at about 28:00) on the topic.
She began strongly enough: “Well, I was very clear yesterday . . .” She reiterated her charge but then devolved into the same patter that if Russia knows what is good for Russia, it will stop doing such things and get on board with U.N. envoy Kofi Annan’s “peace plan.” She wants Russia, you see, to behave more “constructively.” But perhaps Russian leaders see their interest differently — propping up allies, getting brownie points with Iran, displacing the U.S. as the strong man in the Middle East.
Clinton then proudly declared that the United States is giving no military aid to the rebels. “None!” She then politely suggested that rather than debate this with her colleague (Lavrov), they should all sit down with “Kofi.”
It is mind boggling, really. Russia publicly insults our secretary of state, defies international efforts to end mass murder and supplies the mass murderer with weapons and this is all Clinton can muster. The Russians must take us for fools.
Later in the press conference she was asked if this puts “reset” in jeopardy. Oh perish the thought. She proclaims that “everyone knows we have a comprehensive relationship” with Russia. It flows one way, but never mind that. She then went out of her way to praise the “reset.” It is ”quite a constructive policy,” she declares. But what are we getting out of this abusive relationship?
This is a magnificent example how the State Department’s mushy rhetoric, refusal to assert our interests and blind faith in international organizations renders the United States impotent. Clinton still thinks the road to peace goes through Kofi Annan’s living room.
Don’t expect the U.S. to do anything meaningful regarding Syria any time soon. We wouldn’t want to upset the Russians.