The Wall Street Journal reports: “In a speech Monday night in Las Vegas, [Hillary] Clinton depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin as a mortal threat to sovereign European countries and U.S. interests. She called for a sustained commitment to keep him contained. . . . Asked how she perceived the Russian leader, Mrs. Clinton said: ‘Well, I see a very cold-blooded, calculating former KGB agent who is determined to not only enrich himself and his closest colleagues, but also to try to revive Russia’s influence around its border.’ ” Too bad Clinton did not see this when she was in office:
Should Mrs. Clinton run for president in 2016, opponents are likely to call attention to the moment in 2009 when Mrs. Clinton and her Russian counterpart pushed a mock “reset” button to symbolize a new era of good will. The rapprochement ultimately fizzled. With Russia’s annexation of Crimea and incursions into Ukraine, U.S.-Russian relations have hit a post-Cold War low point. . . . She warned of allowing “the borders of Europe — after the bloodiest century in human history — to be rewritten the way Putin is trying to rewrite Ukraine and threatening other places as well. We cannot let that happen because there will be no stop to it. … Put aside his personality, his agenda is one that threatens American interests and we have to be smart about how we’re going to contest it.”
And to top it off, Clinton bashed Europe for not following her advice to become more energy-independent. Where to begin? Well, there are many questions for the newly hard-nosed Clinton:
Whose idea was reset?
Was it a mistake?
When did you realize reset was a mistake, and what did you do about it?
In July, you defended “reset.” What do you think we got out of it?
If Putin was a bully, why give him encouragement by pulling anti-missile defense installations from the Czech Republic and Poland?
Was the New START treaty then a mistake, and were Republicans right that it would perpetuate Russian cheating on these types of deals?
Was it a mistake to let Russia into the World Trade Organization and not to accept a NATO Membership Action Plan for Georgia, which the Russians opposed?
Why did the State Department try to block the Magnitsky Act for so long?
Why did you praise the Russia-Syria deal on weapons of mass destruction? Didn’t that empower Putin and enhance his legacy in the region?
You say that you told European leaders to “move toward energy independence”? In what forum did you warn them? Why did they ignore you? Why didn’t the United States cooperate with Europe by exporting liquefied natural gas?
Did big defense cuts give Putin further reason to believe that he could get away with aggression? If so, why didn’t you oppose them?
You said you believe Putin is trying to “rewrite Ukraine and threatening other places as well. We cannot let that happen because there will be no stop to it.” So does that mean the Obama administration failed? What would you do to free Crimea and parts of Ukraine that Russia now occupies?
Clinton, like President Obama, makes sweeping statements that ignore her own participation in calamitous foreign policy decisions. By staying away from tough interrogators and relying on the foreign policy ignorance of campaign reporters, she tends to skate by. Let’s hope someone in the media or in an opposing 2016 campaign tries to hold her to account.