Clinton Calls For Tougher Response To Russia On Syria, Ukraine

By RFE/RL | – –

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state who is now a leading contender to be the next president, has called for a stronger response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria, saying Moscow’s objectives were “to stymie, to confront, and to undermine American power whenever and wherever.”

In thinly veiled criticism of President Barack Obama’s administration and its current approach to Russia, Clinton said that Washington should be doing more in response to Russia’s interference in Ukraine.

“I have been, I remain convinced that we need a concerted effort to really up the costs on Russia and in particular on Putin. I think we have not done enough,” she said following a speech on September 9 at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

“I am in the category of people who wanted us to do more in response to the annexation of Crimea and the continuing destabilization of Ukraine.”

Russia took over Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, after sending troops and staging a referendum denounced as illegitimate by the United States and about 100 other countries.

The United States says Russia has sent troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine to support separatists in a conflict that has killed more than 7,900 people since April 2014.

“We can’t dance around it anymore. We all wish it would go away,” she said. “We all wish Putin would choose to modernize his country and move toward the West instead of sinking himself into historical roots of tsar-like behavior, and intimidation along national borders and projecting Russian power in places like Syria and elsewhere.”

The comments by Clinton, who served as Obama’s secretary of state from 2009 until February 2013, bore similarities to sentiments being voiced with growing frequency by other candidates, particularly Republicans.

Clinton faces several other Democrats also seeking the party’s nomination to be its candidate in the November 2016 election.

None of the announced candidates has had as much experience shaping Russia policy as Clinton, who helped put Obama’s first term “reset” of relations with Moscow in place.

Clinton said some achievements were made while Dmitry Medvedev was in office as Russian president from 2008-2012, including the New START nuclear arms-control pact and enhanced cooperation on transit of U.S. arms and materiel to Afghanistan.

But she said Putin’s return to the Kremlin changed that.

“I think Russia’s objectives are to stymie and to confront and undermine American power whenever and wherever they can. I don’t think there’s much to be surprised about them,” she said.

“We have to do more to get back talking about how to we try to confine, contain, deter Russian aggression in Europe and beyond,” she said. “And try to figure out what are the best tools for doing that. And don’t lose sight of the Arctic because we’re going to have a lot of issues up there as well.”

Clinton’s comments also come as Washington voiced increasing concern about Russia’s military intentions in Syria.

The Foreign Ministry has confirmed Russian military advisers were on the ground in Syria, and Reuters news agency quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying that Russia sent two tank-landing ships and additional aircraft in the past day or so along with a small number of naval infantry forces.


Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Brookings Institution: “Sec. Hillary Clinton: Absolutely no reason to trust Iran”

6 Responses

  1. Amazing Ms. Clinton…….you substitute the word Russia for USA and that would be my speech if I was Mr. Putin……NOW Ms. Clinton IT’S THE REFUGEES STUPID caused in part by you when you were State Secretary pushing Ukraine against Russia, undermining E. Ukraine’s move towards Russia, and performing a Coup D’Etat there. The WEST is pushing Russia, NATO is pushing Russia

  2. Well, this is someone who, after the action that tipped Libya into the lowest level of hell, commented on it with a glib, sadistic, gloating “We came, we saw, he died.” What else should we expect but the promise to make bad situations much, much worse?

    OK, prediction time, just to have it in public: Trump is the only Republican candidate who could win the next election and Clinton is the only candidate the Democrats could field who could possibly lose the next election. Let’s hope we don’t have to find out for sure if I’m right.

    • I think for Libyans the lowest level of hell was when Gaddafi was systematically destroying rebel cities with artillery and bombs while he pretended to be having ceasefires and negotiations. As in, he was going to kill everyone who opposed him. Note that while Assad’s equally murderous regime is still stubbornly defended by ethnic groups that recognize the threat to their existence by any alternative regime, NO ONE in Libya is still fighting to restore the Gaddafi dynasty or his sold-out brand of fake Islamic socialism.

      Instead of playing this fantasy where Gaddafi was challenged entirely by foreigners and not by a large rebellion among his own disgruntled citizens, why not just admit that you think that a socialist dictator has the right to stay in power by any means necessary – but you will not grant the same privilege to a right-wing dictator like Mubarak?

      • Well, since the death rate has just kept on rising fairly steeply since Gadhafi was killed that seems a less than accurate view of the situation. Also, why would you think that I consider his government to be a good one compared to others in the world? Or that I liked Mubarak any less? I wasn’t full of love for him but turning Egypt into a charnel house full of warring factions wouldn’t have been a good way of improving things there either.

  3. And this horrid person is going to be the next president. Obama seems to have a sense of realism and worked hard for the Iran deal. But Clinton is going to swing everything back into full war mode.

  4. Without specifics to define “Doing more” such talk is merely campaign rhetoric to secure Obama-haters and seniors votes within her party. Such talk also attracts campaign contributions and influences from strategic weapons manufacturers.

    Please take note that the last huge planet-killing nuclear submarine remaining on-order was recently delivered to the Navy.

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