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.

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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. Josh

    It depends on what the word reset "is". 😉

    July 24, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Wes

    The Russian reset is a disaster.

    July 24, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Bob USAF(ret)

    A non-leader Sec Of State advises a non-leader pres; well folks, we have seen how great that has worked out in the Ukraine.

    July 24, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Obamaroid Ointment

    Success depends on what the meaning of reset is is, I guess.

    July 24, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. tom

    I like her, but who does she think she is fooling? If I go on a diet and gain ten pounds, a few months later I can just say I was trying to bulk up? Nonsense revisionism. Uncle Vlad has always been in charge and even an idiot knows that.

    July 24, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. davidrichards51

    I think she means the reset worked...and now Russia is ramping up to be the adversary they were after WWII.

    July 24, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    "Instead of Putin behaving like a 1930's Hitler"
    A another example of invading a country based on lies is the W Bush Iraq invasion.
    Hitler lied to placate then invaded while Bush lied to cover up his reasons for invading, like Putin.
    Putin and Hitler both invaded where they intended, while Bush invaded the wrong country.
    Hitler's invasion losses and Putin's were kept low while Bush got 4000 troops killed.
    Hitler killed himself, Putin is being punished with sanctions, and Bush avoided a war crimes trial and is free today.

    July 24, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. Marty

    I read in another article that she is "polling" well. That is good but it does appear she only has a slight grasp of reality.

    July 24, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. GlobalTrvlr

    Wow. Could she be more clueless. The Reset button was the most clumsy, childish, amateur thing any Sec State or President has ever conjured. And then to say it succeeded? @Sniffit, I know you want to add your own context, but the only impact it ever had was to show Russia we had just elected naive, narcissistic amateurs, and they immediately started playing Obama and Hillary. I am sure you are as clueless as she, because Putin was never gone from the seat of power.

    July 24, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Octoslash

    What a terrible, unqualified failure that woman is.
    And YOU want to put her in the White House.

    July 24, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Mike W

    What makes you think truth , facts and reality have anything to do with the liberal democrat thought process. Geez, she lives in a fantasy world as does her ex boss Obama, truth facts and reality only get in the way of Obama telling the world how great he is.

    July 24, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. matt

    yeah, the reset worked and she has a good marriage.
    just go away.

    July 24, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Mike Young

    Hillary is following Obama's strategy to say what people want to hear no matter how outrageously false it is. There are idiots out there who will believe it.

    July 24, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. cico31

    Hillary, Pelosi, Reid, Wass Schultz, Biden....Who is more insane?

    July 24, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Kennible Lecter

    This woman is indeed brain damaged. She is obviously suffering from delusions.

    July 24, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. salty dog

    Rwnj, exactly where were you in the last months of w, as late as July 08, the economy is still strong, hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of jobs gone each month, the global economy about to explode, but hey, w and dick and company got filthy rich, all is fine. Its no wonder the world has distanced itself from us, thanks George. He should have spent all his time painting while he was in office.

    July 24, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. Mr Happy Man

    I really don't know what is more absurd – Hillary's comments that upon Bill's exit from the Presidency that she struggled to pay for houses, or that "reset' worked. With candidates like these currently out there, that might explain why public policy polls indicate that Darth Vader is more popular than any potential 2016 candidate, including Hillary.

    July 24, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. sgfd

    @Rudy NYC

    So what you're really saying is you knowingly hired an incompetent idiot who hired an incompetent moron, can't reconcile the reality with your baseless ego so invent some weird analogy that doesn't describe the actual situation – must really suck for you to struggle so desperately to rewrite history

    July 24, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Funniest irony about it all is the GOP/Teatrolls are actively engaged in tactics that are a core tenet of communist theory: exacerbate the contradictions. In other words, make your opponent's efforts and attempts to help the public fail and cause damage on the theory that it will increase support for your side. For example, it's why the red states refused to create exchanges, undermined their own insurance commissioner's power to control premium rates, have voted 50+ times to try to break the ACA in various ways, etc. What it comes down to is what I've been saying for ages: "they deliberately break government in order to "prove" that it's broken.

    July 24, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. churyl minne

    Yes. The "reset" worked. Obama has allowed Russia to reconstruct its former empire, pretty much like the USSR.

    Only liberals would think she, Elizabeth Warren, Jerry Brown etc are serious candidates for POTUS. They couldn'r run a lemonade stand without government assistance.

    July 24, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. Gunderson

    See old Hillary go down with ship. Hard change mind now. Old Democrat Texas Operative say, Never take any cheap shots at opposition. May come back bite you. Now if I could only Spal. Wonder how much Republican's spend to loose this time. Loose? Oh, that old Democrat plan. Rich still no pay fair share, no?

    July 24, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. salty dog

    Cico,,yeah, good thing the gop has enough clowns to fill a tour bus, all equally balanced, pot meet kettle.

    July 24, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. chbeyer

    Hillary will be the same as Obama when she becomes president. One bald faced lie after another. To suggest that the Reset/Russia policy worked is complete idiocy. That said, she is the one who pushed the reset button and joined Obama on this not so enlightened policy. The result is that Russia is waling all over us.

    July 24, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. smith

    @Silence-Terrorist attacks? Did you forget the Boston Marathon Bombing? Warzones? Libya and now back in Iraq? Btw, there is no proof that Bush knownly lied about anything. Check out Clinton`s speech after Operation Desert Fox in 2000.

    July 24, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    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.
    Yup, I was right. You're out of fresh ideas with merit, and have reduced yourself to bad comedy and personal attacks. Please, accept my humblest apologies for shooting all of them to pieces. Given the chance, I promise to do it again.

    July 24, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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