The New York Times endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, calling her “one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.” There was one big problem with the editorial. Her policy toward Russia laid the groundwork for the Russian aggression that the Pentagon now has to spend billions of dollars to prepare for. The paper somehow forgot to mention that.
The Obama/Clinton Russian “reset” policy in 2009 set the stage for Russian wars of aggression and military intervention in Ukraine and Syria, and Vladimir Putin’s decision to give sanctuary to NSA defector Edward Snowden. Snowden’s stolen documents have assisted the rise of ISIS.
The liberal paper is entitled to endorse anybody it pleases. But to endorse Mrs. Clinton and not explain or justify her failed policy with regard to Russia is an oversight that borders on dishonesty.
When President Obama’s own Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, just a few days later, identified Russia as one of America’s biggest threats, the Times was put in a bad spot. How could it defend endorsing the former secretary of state when the Russian threat she had ignored was now taking center stage, and going to cost the U.S. billions of dollars?
The paper’s editorial writers had to think fast. That’s right: blame Secretary Carter for asking for too much money! The Times ran an editorial suggesting in a vague way that Carter’s $582.7 billion budget request for the Pentagon was not correct, and that additional spending on the threats from Russia and ISIS needed to be recalibrated in some way. The Times wasn’t too specific, but it decided to call his request a “blank check,” and added that “it is unclear” that Carter’s plan is the right one. This was supposed to take the heat off of Mrs. Clinton for not anticipating the threat that the United States and its allies now have to face.
It’s important to set the record straight. Not only was the reset policy wrong, but even the photo opportunity where the new policy was announced was a disaster. Hillary Clinton had presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a mock reset button with the word, “peregruzka,” meaning “overcharged,” not “re-set.” She said, “We worked hard to get the right Russian word.” He replied, “You got it wrong.” The video of the embarrassing exchange includes the infamous Hillary Clinton cackle.
Ignoring all of this, the Times said, “As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton worked tirelessly, and with important successes, for the nation’s benefit. She was the secretary President Obama needed and wanted: someone who knew leaders around the world, who brought star power as well as expertise to the table. The combination of a new president who talked about inclusiveness and a chief diplomat who had been his rival but shared his vision allowed the United States to repair relations around the world that had been completely trashed by the previous administration.”
The Russian “re-set” was one such effort to “repair relations.” It failed. It’s best, from the Times’ point of view, just to ignore this disaster.
“Russia and China are our most stressing competitors,” said Defense Secretary Carter the other day. “They have developed and are continuing to advance military systems that seek to threaten our advantages in specific areas. And in some cases, they are developing weapons and ways of wars that seek to achieve their objectives rapidly, before they hope, we can respond.”
In regard to what he called a “resurgent Russia,” Carter spoke of the need for “a strong and balanced approach to deter Russian aggression…” He said that “we haven’t had to worry about this for 25 years; while I wish it were otherwise, now we do.” He went on to talk about threats from China, North Korea, Iran and ISIS.
It’s true that, for 25 years, administrations of both political parties have misjudged Russia. The Times and other media need to demand accountability from those who thought Russia could be our “partner” in global affairs. Instead, the paper ran an editorial endorsing Mrs. Clinton for president and cited her alleged expertise. This is the mark of a paper that is determined, for political reasons, to make Mrs. Clinton into something she is not. She was not a success. She was a failure. The editorial won’t hold up under scrutiny.
The honest approach would be to analyze why Mrs. Clinton was so wrong about Russia. Interestingly, the Times may have the answer to this question in its own pages.
Could it have something to do with the contributions to the Clinton Foundation from Russian interests? The Times itself ran the story, “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal,” on April 23, 2015. It talked about how Russian President Putin had moved “closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain,” based on a Russian deal to acquire a company called Uranium One—a deal that required U.S. State Department approval when Mrs. Clinton was the secretary of state.
The paper said that as the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One during the time period 2009 to 2013, millions of dollars in “donations” were flowing to the Clinton Foundation from Uranium One’s chairman and his family foundation. “Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.” The deal gave the Russian government control of 20 percent of the uranium in the United States.
We can conclude that the Russian reset was an exercise in selling our national security to Russia. It was corruption. But rather than retire from public life, which would have been the honorable thing to do, Hillary Clinton decided to run for the highest office in the land, and has the support of The New York Times. She hopes the American people will forget what she did. The Times has already done so, for political reasons.
Today, in order to counter the Russian threat, Secretary Carter is calling for “reinforcing our posture in Europe to support our NATO allies in the face of Russia’s aggression.” He calls it the European Reassurance Initiative. It cost $800 million last year, Carter said, and this year’s budget request asks for $3.4 billion. The Russian reset will be incredibly expensive. But the Clintons already have their millions.
The New York Times quibbles with the financial cost of addressing the threat while ignoring Hillary Clinton’s role in making the world a more dangerous place. The paper shares in the corruption that the Clintons have specialized in. In fact, the Times has become nothing more than a house organ of Hillary’s presidential campaign.