By Fred Fleitz
Joby Warrick and Karen DeYoung authored an important column for the Washington Post yesterday in which they tried to explain Hillary Clinton’s supposed feud with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Warrick and DeYoung, when Clinton left the State Department in 2013, she advised President Obama to snub Putin, avoid working with him and turn down any invitations by Putin for a presidential summit.
Clinton also counseled Obama that “strength and resolve were the only language Putin would understand.”
Clinton’s advice reflected her frustration that the so-called U.S.–Russia reset she attempted in 2009 went nowhere. Instead, U.S.–Russian relations deteriorated drastically while Clinton was Secretary of State and Russia engaged in destabilizing and belligerent behavior in Ukraine and Syria.
Clinton’s recommendation that President Obama snub Putin goes to the heart of her foreign-policy incompetence. While the United States obviously does not condone Russia’s foreign adventurism and support for the genocidal Assad regime, Russia is nevertheless a major power with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, thus Washington must maintain an ongoing dialogue with Moscow, especially at the head of state level. Despite the bashing Donald Trump has endured from the Clinton campaign and the mainstream media for supposedly admiring Putin, Trump seems to understand this since he has called for America to find a way to work cooperatively with Russia.
Trump gave his best response to Clinton’s criticism of him over Russia and Putin at the last presidential debate on October 9 when he said that “Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way. From everything I see he has no respect for this person [Clinton].”
Clinton’s call to snub Putin ignores the reality that our country frequently must deal with many regimes accused of violating international law and having abysmal human rights records.
For example, China’s active oppression of Tibet and Xinjiang is far worse than anything Putin has done in Ukraine. China also has significantly increased international tensions by its naval maneuvers to seize control of the entire South China Sea. If Clinton believes the United States must shun Russia because of its human rights record and aggressive behavior, why did she not also call for China to be shunned?
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