Hillary Clinton stands by 'Russian reset' in face of recent events
July 24th, 2014
12:35 PM ET
7 years ago

Hillary Clinton stands by 'Russian reset' in face of recent events

Washington (CNN) – It worked.

That is the argument former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made during a Thursday interview about her much talked about 2009 reset of U.S.-Russia relations.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'] [twitter-follow screen_name='danmericacnn']

The statement comes as Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, has distanced itself from the United States, and the country is widely seen by U.S. and European analysts as linked to the downing of a passenger airliner earlier this month in Ukraine.

"What I think I demonstrate in the book, is that the reset worked," Clinton told guest host John Harwood on NPR's “On Point” on Thursday during a conversation about her new memoir, "Hard Choices." "It was an effort to try to obtain Russian cooperation on some key objectives while (Dmitry) Medvedev was president."

Clinton later said the reset "succeeded" and was meant to be "a device to try to refocus attention on the transactional efforts that we needed to get done with the Russians."

The former secretary of state – and frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 – said the signing of the 2009 New START treaty, the increased sanctions on Iran and the securing of supply lines to American troops in Afghanistan were all successes that came from the reset.

But hindsight has not favored Clinton.

Russia has stepped up its aggressiveness on the world stage and the country's relations with the United States have suffered. The front cover of the latest issue of TIME Magazine even declares "Cold War II: The West is losing Putin's dangerous game."

Hillary Clinton: It’s up to Putin whether there’s 'another Cold War'

Putin now finds himself at the center of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 investigation. U.S. officials believe the plane was shot down over an area of eastern Ukraine that is now in control of Russian-backed separatists. The crash killed all 298 people on board, causing U.S. and European officials to step up rhetoric against Russia, with some blaming Putin directly for the deaths.

Putin has not taken responsibility for the downing, but in a written statement said, "no one should and no one has the right to use this tragedy to pursue their own political goals. Rather than dividing us, tragedies of this sort should bring people together."

The downing and the backing of separatists in Ukraine come after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine earlier this year. The move riled the international community and caused the United States and Europe to sanction important economic sectors of the country.

Clinton argued during the interview that when Putin retook the Russian presidency in 2012 she recognized the need to treat the country differently.

"When Putin announced in the fall of 2011 that he was coming back, I had no illusions," Clinton said. "I wrote a memo to the President, in fact I wrote two memos to the President, pointing out that we were going to have to change our thinking and approach. We had gotten all we could get from the reset."

Clinton's dealings with Russia have also turned political. Republicans have seized on Clinton's reset in light of recent events and the Republican National Committee has made the reset a hallmark of most of their sweeping attacks on Clinton. The group has argued "as relations with Russia continue to deteriorate, Clinton may need to reset her own Russian legacy."

Clinton compares Putin's Ukraine moves to Hitler, later recalibrates

During the interview with Harwood, Clinton acknowledged the number of foreign policy crises around the world but appeared to distance herself from decisions the Obama administration has made since she left in 2013.

"Every administration, every party in the White House has the responsibility during the time it is there to do the best we can to lead and manage the many problems we face," Clinton said when asked if the Obama administration is to blame for a number of issues around the world. "And I think we did in the first term."

On the topic of another international hotspot, Clinton strongly sided with Israel in the country's conflict with Hamas and the Gaza Strip.

Clinton said that she has "no doubt" that the current conflict "was a deliberate provocation" by Hamas to "engender more sympathy for their cause and also to put Israel on the back heal."

"I think the responsibility falls on Hamas," Clinton said.

Clinton did say, however, that she supports Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to secure a ceasefire in the region and hopes the agreement will bring an end to the fighting.


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Russia
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Pyramid

    Did Hillary fall and hit her head again?

    July 24, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. bill1942

    The "reset" worked juat about like Killary answered that 3:00am phone call from dying men in Benghazi. Right?

    July 24, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Say WHAT???

    OK, so let me summarize.... The Russian Reset was a "success" and Benghazi is a false scandal.

    Now I definitely want to see her medical records. Only somebody this is crazy would expect the American people to believe this garbage. And we thought that stupidity about being broke was bad! Hillary just keeps getting daffier and daffier every day.

    July 24, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. TM

    Could someone please translate this Clintonese statement: Clinton later said the reset "succeeded" and was meant to be "a device to try to refocus attention on the transactional efforts that we needed to get done with the Russians." .
    This is such nonsense.

    July 24, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. LDT

    I guess it depends on the definition of "succeeded".

    July 24, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Al D

    Is Hillary out to lunch with Obama or what? When Russia reassembles the old USSR, the "reset" Russia had in mind will have been accomplished.

    July 24, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Cal

    You guys are mean! The reset worked indeed… it worked for Russia.

    July 24, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Gabbo

    Hitlery is out to lunch ....has been for years and years ( about 72 years, I'd guess ...)

    July 24, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Al D

    What will Hillary do if she becomes president (God forbid) and another 9/11 happens? Why, she'll faint and hit her head again.

    July 24, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Of course, the GOP/Teatrolls ignore that it was BEFORE Putin came back and is why were able to get Medvedev to agree to the renewal of the START treaty to further disarm and reduce nuclear proliferation...and it was only AFTER that Putin came back and started trying to play games to flex Russian muscle as a regional power in order to distract his citizenry from how Russia has really lost its position as a global power and has one of the worst economies and currencies of any industrialized nation. But hey, that's to be expected when the MSM feeds them the story in a manner that encourages and facilitates their ignorant drivel.

    July 24, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. MTB

    She is perhaps one of the more stupid politicians in America. Her little stunt tour as Secretary of State produced nothing other than 4 dead Americans...

    July 24, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. MNBobster

    Once they build the wall in the Ukraine, the reset will be complete.

    July 24, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. truth hurts but reality bites

    Democrats had better start looking for the Hillary Clinton Reset Button!! No wonder there is so much talk and activity around getting Elizabeth Warren to run on the far left. Democrats Obama'd Hillary in 2008 and may very well Warren her in 2016. And statements like these make it more and more likely by the day.

    July 24, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. BMF

    Hillary is correct. Her reset with Russia. Hillary's reset button reset us back into another Cold War with Russia only this time the Russians seem to be winning.

    Nice going Hillary.

    July 24, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. cdsudduth

    If she can convince herself she's happily married, she can convince herself of anything

    July 24, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    "I have still not heard the specifics of exactly how conservatives would be "strong" with Russia. It seems like the whole TP / GOP Russia policy plan is to make fun of anything Kerry or Clinton says. Real mature."
    --------–
    I think I heard a sound bite of John McCain, quite naturally, suggesting that we send in 10,000 boots to assist the Ukrainian army with the separatists. I suppose that the good senator must have forgotten all about that 150,000 man mechanized army that the Russians had assembled on the Ukrainian border in just a day or two, back when all of this was just beginning. They were able to disappear from the border just as quickly when they decided to.
    --------–
    Is that the whole GOP/TP plan? March some guys around? That is as bad as Perry putting 1000 troops (one soldier per MILE) on the Tx border. I will take Kerry/Obama's diplomacy and measured responses over "march' some guys around". Hey Obama has kept terrorist attacks away from US soil and pulled us out of pointless war zones – I am good with that.

    July 24, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Gibberish Garbage Translator

    TM
    Could someone please translate this Clintonese statement: Clinton later said the reset "succeeded" and was meant to be "a device to try to refocus attention on the transactional efforts that we needed to get done with the Russians." .
    -–

    Sure, I will do it as a free public service.

    It means the Russian Reset was meant to be a way of avoiding the obvious aggressor Russia was at the time in order to pretend to be their friend and they would pretend to be ours so we could lavish freebies on them (like the cancellation of the missile defense system), slap them on the knee and then claim all was well in the world now. In short, it was a Smoke and Mirror Show, an Obama-Clinton production from DreamWorks.

    July 24, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. yougottobekiddingme

    I think that is Joe Biden in a pantsuit.

    July 24, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    I guess we're supposed to believe we would have had nuclear armageddon by now without her reset. Thanks, Hillary. Instead of Putin behaving like a 1930's Hitler, we get to settle for another little Napoleon. Maybe if she becomes president she can give the Chinese one of those reset buttons. Oh, yeah, just wait for the bear and the dragon to pal around more. What will she do then, complain about their war on women?

    July 24, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Thomas Collins

    "What I think I demonstrate in the book, is that the reset worked. We've got a whole new hot cold war"

    July 24, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. Vince

    This dumb fraud continues to make ridiculous comments but liberals still want her to be president. Need anyone say more?

    July 24, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Denver

    The reset worked?

    Dang sure seems to be bringing back Perpetual War©

    July 24, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Please Stop the Lies

    If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.
    If you like your hospital you can keep your hospital.
    If you like your healthcare plan you can keep your healthcare plan.
    We will all save $2,500 a year in healthcare costs.
    The Benghazi attack was the result of an internet video.
    The border is secure.
    The IRS false scandal was just two rouge agents in Cinci.
    The NSA isn't spying on us.
    The VA isn't killing our veterans.
    Obama will have the most transparent administration in history.

    And now, the Russian Reset was a success.

    Seriously Democrats?! SERIOUSLY?!!!

    July 24, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    "Dude, you are all over the map and driving erratically. You feeling ok?"
    -----------------------–
    It's depressing to see that you have descended into the depths of despair and have nothing better to offer than personal attacks and bad comedy, instead of concrete ideas and reasoned debate.

    July 24, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    "Dude, you are all over the map and driving erratically. You feeling ok?"
    -------––
    It's depressing to see that you have descended into the depths of despair and have nothing better to offer than personal attacks and bad comedy, instead of concrete ideas and reasoned debate
    --------
    Ummmmmmmm... no. Actually, Rudy, your normally ridiculous spin is exceptionally poor today, and I truly think you might have fallen off the turnip wagon.

    July 24, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
1 2 3 4 5