The Russian victim?

An article examines Clinton presidency and Russia, “If Hillary Clinton is elected president, the world will remember Aug. 25 as the day she began the Second Cold War. In a speech last month nominally about Donald Trump, Clinton calledRussian President Vladimir Putin the godfather of right-wing, extreme nationalism. To Kremlin-watchers, those were not random epithets. Two years earlier, in the most famous address of his career, Putin accused the West of backing an armed seizure of power in Ukraine by “extremists, nationalists, and right-wingers.” Clinton had not merely insulted Russia’s president: She had done so in his own words. Worse, they were words originally directed at neo-Nazis. In Moscow, this was seen as a reprise of Clinton’s comments comparing Putin to Hitler. It injected an element of personal animus into an already strained relationship — but, more importantly, it set up Putin as the representative of an ideology that is fundamentally opposed to the United States”.

The report goes on to point out how “Even as relations between Russia and the West have sunk to new lows in the wake of 2014’s revolution in Ukraine, the Kremlin has long contended that a Cold War II is impossible. That’s because, while there may be differences over, say, the fate of Donetsk, there is no longer a fundamental ideological struggle dividing East and West. To Russian ears, Clinton seemed determined in her speech to provide this missing ingredient for bipolar enmity, painting Moscow as the vanguard for racism, intolerance, and misogyny around the globe. The nation Clinton described was unrecognizable to its citizens. Anti-woman? Putin’s government provides working mothers with three years of subsidised family leave. Intolerant? The president personally attended the opening of Moscow’s great mosque. Racist? Putin often touts Russia’s ethnic diversity. To Russians, it appeared that Clinton was straining to fabricate a rationale for hostilities”.

However the author does not describe to who Putin has not been sol tolerant, gays, democracy advocates, the free press and a host of others. To pretend that he is “tolerant” is either naïve or a gross mischaracterisation.

The writer goes on to note “I have been hard-pressed to offer a more comforting explanation for Clinton’s behaviour — a task that has fallen to me as the sole Western researcher at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Better known by its native acronym, MGIMO, the institute is the crown jewel of Russia’s national-security brain trust, which Henry Kissinger dubbed the “Harvard of Russia.” In practice, the institute is more like a hybrid of West Point and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service: MGIMO prepares the elite of Russia’s diplomatic corps and houses the country’s most influential think tanks. There is no better vantage point to gauge Moscow’s perceptions of a potential Hillary Clinton administration. Let’s not mince words: Moscow perceives the former secretary of state as an existential threat. The Russian foreign-policy experts I consulted did not harbour even grudging respect for Clinton. The most damaging chapter of her tenure was the NATO intervention in Libya, which Russia could have prevented with its veto in the U.N. Security Council. Moscow allowed the mission to go forward only because Clinton had promised that a no-fly zone would not be used as cover for regime change”.

The writer refuses to see the argument that there was no other way to keep Libyans safe from their own government than removing Gaddafi. Moreover, for Russia to protest that it did not see what was coming by delinking Gaddafi’s actions and the treatment of his people is to say that least, disingenuous.

The writer adds “Clinton has justified her threatened attack on Russia’s air force, saying that it “gives us some leverage in our conversations with Russia.” This sounds suspiciously like the “madman theory” of deterrence subscribed to by former President Richard Nixon, who tried to maximize his leverage by convincing the Soviets he was crazy enough to start a world war. Nixon’s bluff was a failure; even when he invaded Cambodia, Moscow never questioned his sanity. Today, Russian analysts do not retain the same confidence in Hillary Clinton’s soundness of mind. Her temper became legendary in Moscow when she breached diplomatic protocol by storming out of a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov just moments after exchanging pleasantries. And the perception that she is unstable was exacerbated by reports that Clinton drank heavily while acting as America’s top diplomat — accusations that carry special weight in a country that faults alcoholism for many of Boris Yeltsin’s failures”.

The writer worryingly adds that “Moscow prefers Trump not because it sees him as easily manipulated, but because his “America First” agenda coincides with its view of international relations. Russia seeks a return to classical international law, in which states negotiate with one another based on mutually understood self-interests untainted by ideology. To Moscow, only the predictability of realpolitik can provide the coherence and stability necessary for a durable peace. For example, the situation on the ground demonstrates that Crimea has, in fact, become part of Russia. Offering to officially recognize that fact is the most powerful bargaining chip the next president can play in future negotiations with Russia. Yet Clinton has castigated Trump for so much asputting the option on the table. For ideological reasons, she prefers to pretend that Crimea will someday be returned to Ukraine — even as Moscow builds a $4 billion bridge connecting the peninsula to the Russian mainland”.

It ends “In Clinton, it sees the polar opposite — a progressive ideologue who will stubbornly adhere to moral postures regardless of their consequences. Clinton also has financial ties to George Soros, whose Open Society Foundations are considered the foremost threat to Russia’s internal stability, based on their allegedinvolvement in Eastern Europe’s prior “Color Revolutions.” Russia’s security apparatus is certain that Soros aspires to overthrow Putin’s government using the samemethods that felled President Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine: covertly orchestrated mass protests concealing armed provocateurs. The Kremlin’s only question is whether Clinton is reckless enough to back those plans. Putin condemned the United States for flirting with such an operation in 2011, when then-Secretary Clinton spoke out in favor of mass protests against his party’s victory in parliamentary elections. Her recent explosive rhetoric has given him no reason to believe that she has abandoned the dream of a Maidan on Red Square. That fear was heightened when Clinton surrogate Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, recently accused Putin of attempting to rig the U.S. election through cyberattacks. That is a grave allegation — the very kind of thing a President Clinton might repeat to justify war with Russia”.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: