Column 1 Opinion

Opinion: Hillary Clinton Bears Much Of Blame For Low US, Russia Relations

Hillary is to blame for bad US, Russian relationsHillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have made a big stink charging that Russian intelligence agencies or their proxies are behind the leak of DNC emails to WikiLeaks and the subsequent implosion of her candidacy. Some say President Vladimir Putin himself authorized these leaks, and we don’t have access to the intelligence to say for sure what’s going on.

But the real issue isn’t who but why: Why was anyone in a position to hack the email accounts in the first place?

The incompetence of the Democratic candidate and her staff in dealing with national security matters is simply stunning. We learn more and more about this incompetence on a daily basis as more revelations from WikiLeaks come out.

And what the press and the Democrats won’t tell you is that the reason relations with Moscow are in such a mess started with Mrs. Clinton some five years ago. When Mr. Putin was re-elected to the Russian presidency in 2012, in an election seen as fraudulent by the West, then-Secretary of State Clinton publicly questioned the vote and infuriated the Russian leader.
“At a conference in Lithuania, Clinton issued a biting statement saying that the Russian people ‘deserve to have their voices heard and their votes counted, and that means they deserve fair, free transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them,’” wrote Politico.

Mr. Putin “was very upset [with Mrs. Clinton] and continued to be for the rest of the time that I was in government,” said Michael McFaul, the top Russia adviser in President Obama’s National Security Council from 2009 to 2011 and then U.S. ambassador to Moscow until early 2014. “One could speculate that this is his moment for payback,” reports Politico.

What has Mr. Putin truly concerned was Mrs. Clinton’s penchant for regime change. We all saw this reckless tendency play itself out in Libya. We still don’t know what really happened in Benghazi, but we know Hillary orchestrated the entire mess. Donald Trump is entirely correct when he states that Mrs. Clinton has killed tens of thousands of people through both her policies and actions.

Who can forget the eerie pleasure she displayed when she discussed on video her joy when Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi was killed, a dictator who had agreed to hand over his nuclear weapons just years before he was overthrown?
“We came, we saw, he died,” she happily remarked.

Yes, Mr. Putin was very worried that Mrs. Clinton would attempt to spark a Ukraine-style “color revolution” in Russia. She threatened his grip on power and now the Russian leader is — possibly — exacting his revenge. He feared that agitation stirred up by Western elements inside his country was being funded by Mrs. Clinton to topple him.

I’m not supporting Mr. Putin’s style of governing or saying that elections are free and fair in Russia. But I do question the judgment of a presidential candidate who would attempt to undermine the government of a nuclear power, a potentially deadly adversary. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton just thought herself superior to the Russians, that she could do whatever she wanted and there was nothing the Russians could do about it. By any standard, her behavior was reckless.

After Mrs. Clinton made her remarks, Mr. Putin began tightening his grip on power, oppressing the media and the political opposition. He expelled Western NGOs. Military spending increased. Russian foreign policy became more threatening. Elections became less transparent and less fair. So yes, you can blame the new Cold War squarely on Hillary Clinton. It’s just one more reason not to vote for her.

Originally posted at The Washington Times

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