Conservatives have blasted the foreign policy of Barack Obama as incoherent and inept, but give credit where it’s due — they managed to succeed in this area, didn’t they? Daniel Halper notes at The Weekly Standard that today is the sixth anniversary of the “reset button,” the toy given to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by Hillary Clinton as a way to publicly blame George W. Bush for the poor relationship between Washington and Moscow — just seven months after Russia invaded Georgia. As Tommy Christopher said at the time, who’s bright idea was it to give Russia the button in the first place? “Why not,” Tommy suggested, “just give Vietnam a ‘tripwire of friendship’?”
Besides, Bush and (especially) Condoleezza Rice would have gotten the Russian translation correct:
This marks the beginning of the Hillary Clinton tenure at State, while Benghazi marks its end. Other than an improvement in relations with Burma and an easing of tyranny there from the military junta, it’s a track record marked by a notable lack of accomplishment and disastrous failures. The Obama administration turned Libya from a state that at least nominally suppressed Islamist terror networks into a failed state where they run wild. They pushed Egypt into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, another Islamist disaster that the Egyptian military finally reversed — at the irritation of Obama and Clinton. The full withdrawal from Iraq created another failed state, but that belongs more to Obama than Clinton.
It’s tough to come up with a foreign policy victory one can assign to Clinton, unless we go by her definition of success. America Rising found this video from almost exactly five years ago that shows Hillary did succeed in her objective with the reset button after all:
This comes from an interview with Vladimir Pozner, who used to make the rounds in American media during the Soviet era as an apologist for the Kremlin, and worked for years as a Soviet propagandist in North American markets. Here’s the full exchange:
QUESTION: What is necessary, in your view, on the Russia side for it to really work? And what is necessary for it on the American side to really work? Because it can’t be that one side says to the other, “Well, it’s going to work only if you do this.” And the other side says, “No, I’m sorry.”
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think both of us have to change our mindsets and our attitudes about the other. We live with an inheritance of feelings and historical experiences. We were allies in World War II; we were adversaries during the Cold War.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We’re now in a new era. I think one of the best changes that each of us could entertain is looking toward the future instead of constantly in the rearview mirror.
One of the fears that I hear from Russians is that somehow the United States wants Russia to be weak. That could not be farther from the truth. Our goal is to help strengthen Russia. We see Russia with the strong culture, with the incredible intellectual capital that Russia has, as a leader in the 21st century. And we sometimes feel like we believe more in your future than sometimes Russians do.
And here’s another excerpt from the same conversation about the difference between the Bush and Obama administrations:
QUESTION: You wrote an article for the November-December issue of Foreign Affairs back in 2007 and you blamed George W. Bush for the fact that the U.S. kind of had lost the respect and the trust of even its closest allies and friends. Has there been a change now? Do you feel that you’ve overcome what happened during those years?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I do. And here’s why. What I have seen in the last year started with relief that the prior administration was gone and a new administration was in place, a lot of excitement and anticipation about President Obama and what he symbolized and his brand of leadership, and we have worked very hard at rebuilding relationships. Just today in meeting with President Medvedev, we acknowledged that we’ve come a long way in doing that. We still have work to do because these problems are never ending. I think there’s a difference – what some people confuse. There’s a difference between being able to have an open, frank , constant communication which we now have with Russia and other partners in the world, and agreeing on everything. We’re not going to agree on everything.
And sometimes people look at me or look at another foreign minister and say, well, if you’ve got such a great relationship, why don’t you agree? Well, that’s the wrong way to look it because what we want to do is find the areas where we can agree and move forward together, like we are with the START treaty that we’re about to finish. And where we have disagreements, more of those through the kind of honest communication that we now are engaged in.
So how has that worked out? Well, the Russians have “reset” Crimea, they’ve “reset” the Donbas in Ukraine, and they’re poised to “reset” portions of the Baltics, too. Russian bombers are making fly-bys past the US and our Western allies, testing our defenses and our responses. Bush may have woken up late to the nature of Vladimir Putin and the Russian imperialistic strategy, but at least he woke up.
Now Hillary Clinton wants to run on her foreign-policy record to become President. I wonder who she’ll strengthen next if she does … China? Iran? We know one thing from her record — it won’t be the US.