It’s no secret that Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin do not like one another. She has always known Putin to be the one to watch. That was evident when she couldn’t remember then-President Dmitri Medvedev’s name correctly. Because she knew that Putin still had the strongest hand in Russia. She followed the gaffe with “whatever.”
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to Russia with the intent to reset Russian relations. Wikipedia details the event:
“On 6 March, 2009, in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Sergei Lavrov with a red button with the English word “reset” and the Russian language Latin alphabet transliteration “peregruzka”. It was intended that this would be the Russian word for “reset”. Clinton explained that she wanted to reset relations between Russia and the United States. However, Lavrov explained to Clinton that “перегрузка” actually means “overcharge”. The two pressed the button anyway. Clinton explained that the American side meant it; they wanted a new era of better ties.”
The recent meme circulating showing Putin and Obama exchanging cold looks is reflective of the tenuous relations between the Kremlin and the current White House administration. The Russians undoubtedly believe a Clinton administration will be an extension of the current U.S. foreign policy.
The Russians, feeling isolated and among enemies, are paranoid of U.S. and Western aggression. Russia has seen NATO and the U.S. expand their leadership and challenge many traditionally Russian proxy states. That expansion has been aggressive and extremely well funded. No wonder they feel as though they’re between a rock and a hard place.
If the current campaign rhetoric is reflective of the presidency, then a Hillary Clinton president will view Putin and Russia has a primary aggressor in the world. That rhetoric would be unlikely to make diplomatic progress with the country. The world does not need more war, and the same is true of the United States government and its people.
The right-wing phenomenon that has erupted across the world, which has many concerned, was addressed in a speech by Secretary Clinton. She named Vladimir Putin the godfather of the extreme nationalist movement. In that sense, he is being blamed for many of the problems European nations are facing. This makes him into a Bond super villain.
Putin suffers from a vigorous and successful propaganda machine in the West. Painting him in any light other than a menace is hard. While there is more to him than what’s said, the strongest critique comes from the Clinton side of politics. In a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine, the relationship between Putin and Clinton is explored. “Let’s not mince words: Moscow perceives the former secretary of state as an existential threat.”
Featured image courtesy of newsweek.com.