Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted this weekend that the so-called 2009 "reset" she brokered with Moscow was a success despite the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has long lurked in the shadows, secretly calling the shots even during President Dmitry Medvedev's term in office.
“I was among the most skeptical of Putin during the time that I was there, in part because I thought he had never given up on his vision of bringing mother Russia back to the forefront,” Clinton said. “So when he announced in the fall of 2011 that he would be changing positions with Medvedev, I knew that he would be more difficult to deal with," she said in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.
"He had been always the power behind Medvedev, but he had given Medvedev a lot of independence to make the reset a success," she added.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, heavy fighting between Ukraine and Russian-backed "separatists” has forced an international team of investigators to abandon their efforts to reach the site where a Malaysian passenger jet was shot down two weeks ago, the Associated Press reported.
“I saw that firsthand with respect to the parliamentary elections in Russia, because they were filled with irregularities and Russian people poured out into the streets to protest, and I, as secretary of state, said the Russians deserved better,” Clinton continued in her CNN interview. “Putin attacked me personally because is he very worried about any kind of internal dissent.”
She added the Europe needs to respond with more force to Putin's many provocations.
“If the United States and Europe don’t present a united front, I think Putin’s the kind of man who will go as far as he can get away with,” Clinton said. “I think he is still smart enough and cautious enough to be pushed back, but there has to be a push in order to make that happen.”
This is not the first time that Clinton has stated that the “reset” that she oversaw during her tenure as secretary of State was a success. She has said as much in her new memoir, Hard Choices, and reiterated this claim during a recent NPR interview.
“The reset worked,” Clinton said. “It was an effort to try to obtain Russian cooperation on key objectives while Medvedev was president, and of course [Putin] still pulled the strings but he gave Medvedev a certain amount of independence to negotiate, number one, a new arms control treaty which was absolutely necessary.
“We brought Russia around to understanding why we thought there needed to be international sanctions against Iran,” she added.
So, according to Clinton, the "reset" was more or less a success until Putin got involved, an odd statement considering the fact that she also believes he has for a very long time been in control.