Bill Gives Putin a Hand; Hillary Gives Him a Slap

Ukraine with the bearWatching CNN Piers Morgan the other day he wanted us all to know about how Bill Clinton felt about Putin. He told us back in September 24, 2013, he met with Clinton in New York. He wrote that he asked Clinton if he trusted Vladimir Putin.

He said Clinton replied: “Putin’s a hard man. A very hard man. But he respects strength. We used to kick everyone out of the room, then go at it with each other. And I mean GO at it. It would get brutally blunt in there. But we’d get stuff done, and agree on things.”

Morgan said he asked him if he kept his word once they agreed.

“Yes, he did. Every time. I always believed you should try and be very honest with people in private and if you want them to help you, try to avoid embarrassing them in public. “

The next day Morgan interviewed him on television. After Clinton said the Putin was “very smart” Morgan said “you know him better than anybody.” Clinton agreed, “yeah, I do.” Morgan asked him what was he like behind closed doors. “Smart and remarkably – we had a really good blunt relationship – brutally blunt.” Clinton went on to say Putin never reneged on a personal agreement he made with him and kept his word in all of the deals he made.

Morgan has made much about Clinton’s experience with Putin suggestion that Putin is trustworthy. My recollection was that the time when Clinton was in office had hardly overlapped Putin’s time as president. Clinton’s term as president expired on January 20, 2001; on December 31, 1999, Putin became acting president of Russia and was elected president on May 7, 2000.  In their official capacities they had very little chance to meet nor to size each other up with respect to national affairs.

One meeting we know about, the last one Clinton was to have with Putin in Russia, took place in early June 2000. The person writing about the report said: “Mr. Putin, as a political unknown whose disposition to the Western eye is somewhat dour, seems unlikely to achieve with Mr. Clinton the easy-going ”Boris and Bill” chemistry that dominated during Mr. Yeltsin’s two terms.” The meeting with Putin which was their first face-to-face meeting were described as:  ”businesslike,” ”congenial” and ”easygoing.”

I’m not sure Putin ever came to America to meet Clinton during his final days. But my guess is that he didn’t and that there was only one meeting between Clinton and Putin on matters involving both countries. I’ve a sense that Clinton’s exaggerating his bluntness during these meetings and is sending out a false message that Putin is trustworthy and a man of his word. I’d suggest that since President Obama has had three hour to 90 minute telephone conversations with him over the past week indicates that he’s probably not that trustworthy. Didn’t Putin invade the day after one conversation catching Obama by surprise?

Why is Clinton rewriting his history? Aside from his habit of making more about himself than is there, I only assume that since he left office he has met with Putin for his own private reasons. Aside from making himself look good, he’s interested in maintaining his good relations with Putin for whatever business or other deals he is working on with Russia.  So if we look for an insight into Putin from Bill Clinton we probably won’t learn too much that truthful because of Clinton’s deals with him.

Fortunately there is another Clinton, Hillary. She has spent four years as Secretary of State so is quite aware of the man. She was going to reset the relationship with Russia but apparently learned nothing was going to change. Things were going to be done Putin’s way no matter what we wanted.

On Tuesday of this week at a private fundraiser Hillary said about Putin and his acts against Ukraine: “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s. The Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying, ‘They’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people’ — and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.” 

If I didn’t know better I’d say Hillary had been reading my blog.

Hillary clarified her remarks after many objected to her comparing Putin with Hitler. Some people also complained to me about it when I did. She said that she wasn’t saying Putin is the same as Hitler noting that the claims made by Putin to justify his invasion were “reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities. So I just want everybody to have a little bit more perspective. I’m not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we can perhaps learn from this tactic that has been used before.”

Between the two I have to go with Hillary. She didn’t say Putin was another Hitler. All she pointed out was that Putin’s tactics of invading another country based upon a false allegation that Russian citizens were at danger mirrored what Hitler had done. What Hillary wanted to suggest was that the failure of the nations to respond in the 1930s led to dire consequences.

Hillary was urging us to be alert to the consequences of inaction; Bill was more interested in advancing himself. I wrote the other day the Hillary has been silent since the invasion. She has now spoken out. It is good to see that she recognizes the dangers presented by Putin.



6 thoughts on “Bill Gives Putin a Hand; Hillary Gives Him a Slap

  1. “The days of aggression against a Slavic Nation by NATO and the seizure of it’s president as a war criminal are over.”

    It is now Russia’s turn?

  2. Should Russia be concerned about their borders? They were invaded by the French in the nineteenth century ( Napoleon). They were invaded by the US, Brits and Japanese in the twentieth century ( civil war 1918-1920). They were invaded by the Germans later in the 20th century ( Hitler). Some of their security fears are justified. Some American diplomat said the worst blunder of the post cold war era was NATO expansion. Trying to place a trip wire right on Russia’s border. Does anyone expect the US to have a war with Russia over who controls South Ossetia or the Crimea? Can the solution for the Crimean problem be the Brits sending in the Light Brigade? 2. Former Congressman Kucenich claims that the US had 65 different programs run by CIA, AID and the Endowment for Democracy to promote dissent against Yanukovich. He claims along with Russia this revolt like the Orange Revolution was sponsored by foreign forces. Is Putin correct in his statement that Yanukovich has no political future and was a crook? Is the timing of the events in Ukraine suspicious? Who fired the first shots the cops or the rebels? Who threw the first Molotov cocktail? Did it reach it’s climax to distract attention from the successful Olympics or was that just a coincidence? There are many forces around the Globe who resent Russia’s foreign policy. The Brits, French, Saudis and Israelis all wanted US force applied in Syria. Putin stopped that. Was this payback and does it explain IDF vets help lead the demonstrators? 3.Doesn’t Putin have all the cards in the Crimean and Ukraine situation? Hasn’t he masterfully orchestrated this to split the West and show the decadence of the EU and the fecklessness of the US? Russia provides 35% of the natural gas to Europe. Thus he has the power to turn off the lights in Berlin and other capitols. Europe has been a military and security dependent of the US for 70 years. Their military forces are quite small. They spend less than 2% of GDP on defense. During the Cold War that may have been understandable but we are 25 year post Soviet Union and they still won’t pay their fair share. look for the Europeans to accommodate their energy supplier. As MacCauley said the most bitter food to eat is the bread of dependency. Europe will trade security dependency for energy dependency, They won’t risk an economic downturn. 4. Putin is a patient calculating leader. In the 90s Russia was a basket case. Economically, politically and militarily impotent. What do you think was the viewpoint of Russia re: the attack on Serbia by NATO? Serbia was a long standing Russian ally. Milosovich was a friend. Kosovo was a part of Serbia. Do you think the Russians found it acceptable to bomb and dismember their fellow Slavic nation of Serbia? Putin had a plan to restore Russian strength. He did it by playing the energy card. He now has Europe over a barrel. As was said by Shakespeare ” the villainy you teach us we shall better the instruction”. The days of aggression against a Slavic Nation by NATO and the seizure of it’s president as a war criminal are over. The chickens are coming home to roost. The Soviets tried to sever ties between the US and Europe for 50 years to no avail. Putin has managed to pull it off in a dozen years. 5. The best result for Ukraine is the election of Klitchko and an effort at reconciliation with Russia. Ukraine is also energy dependent on it’s neighbor. Crimea was part of Russia for 200 years. If Kosovo can be taken from Serbia, Crimea can be restored to Russia. Assuming the majority of the Crimeans vote to make that choice.

    1. NC:

      1. What has the 19th Century got to do with anything? I though prior to the invasions by the Germans they and the Germans joined together to invade Poland. Oh, and the 16,000 Polish officers and elites murdered in Katyn Forest Massacre by the Russians (the Russians accused the Germans of doing it. FDR knew they did it but covered it up because they were our ally) The take over of the Eastern bloc nations, the invasion of Hungary and Checkoslovackia, most recently Moldova, Georgia and Crimea. I guess you much have a different history book.
      The “diplomat” you refer to complaining about NATO expansion idea is Stephen Cohen a lover of all things Russian, married to the publisher of Nation the magazine that feels closer to Lenin than Lincoln.

      You jest when you suggest Russia has fears of an invasion now. Who is going to invade it?. NATO? It is a shell of an army that would have difficulty invading Lichtenstein. What trip wire do you imagine is being set. Ukraine just doesn’t want to again be put under the Russian dictatorship; it’s never been nor will be a threat to Russia. You argue like Ireland should never have gotten its freedom because it might become a trip wire for England.

      No one will stop Putin’s invasion of Crimea; it’s just a question whether he will suffer for doing it.

      2 I’d hope you had a better source than the crackpot Dennis Kucinich who is aptly described as a “goofball lefty.” He has to make outlandish arguments to keep his third wife who is 30 years his junior who describes herself as “ an organic food and vegan advocate, a champion for peace, animals and the environment.” accustomed to the bright lights he promised her. You’re in good company with Cohen and Kucinich as your allies. I agree with this assessment:
      “Duranty was fond of saying, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs” and “I put my money on Stalin.” Something similar is going on now. Vladimir Putin laments the demise of the USSR and on his watch Stalin has been experiencing a revival. During the recent winter Olympics at Sochi, where Stalin’s villa has been carefully maintained, a Russian student told NBC that “Stalin took Russia to next level.”
      Putin doubtless believes that and, as Hillary Clinton also said, Putin “believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness,” including control of former Soviet Union countries. “When he looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia.”
      That is true and imperialism is the highest stage of Putinism. Hillary Clinton won’t stop it by talking about Hitler. President Obama won’t stop it by essentially giving Putin everything he wants. And leftist Democrats like Dennis Kucinich won’t stop it by blaming the Ukraine crisis on the United States. That’s why in Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, everybody is so nervous.´”
      As far as his claim this is a Western sponsored event in Ukraine, on December 20, 2013, he wrote: “Ukrainian citizens have rallied in the bitter cold at Independence Square in Kiev to demand a better economic future and to protest President Viktor Yanukovych’s failure to sign an economic agreement with the EU.” He concluded saying: “For the protesters in Kiev, standing tall for democracy and economic opportunity, there’s suddenly a new worry”
      As I said, Kucinich will say anything to align himself with the latest lefty positions which are always remarkably close to those of the Russian dictator.
      Putin’s now pimping Yanukovych in his attempt to justify further incursions into Ukraine. Today he called for the army to revolt and go over to the Russians.
      You write like you have a connection to Pravda. There has never been a more open rebellion than this one, as even Kucinich noted. There’s nothing suspicious about it if you followed it. As far as the Olympics are concerned, that they existed was the reason the revolt succeeded . Putin could not do anything about the Ukrainian peoples desire to be free until they ended.
      Putin no more stopped the US force in Syria than I did. Obama made his foolish red line and after walking around with McDonough was looking for a way out. Putin gave it to him. He didn’t stop him. Your basis for concluding Europe was behind the uprising gives you a skewed outlook. This was a pure Ukrainian matter despite what the Russians and their fellow travelers are now preaching.
      3 Suggesting Putin masterfully orchestrated this is like saying Hilter masterfully orchestrated the invasion of Austria. Obviously Germany is going to do nothing to alienate Putin and that’s why his Crimean invasion will succeed. True the EU forces are incompetent as you say which gives lie to any Russian suggestion that they feared them; as for the U.S., we’re lead with a “peace at all costs” president who probably will back off on any sanctions on Russia if Putin growls at him. Imagine the absurdity of our president calling a dictator three times to discuss the invasion and after each call the dictator picked up his game. Then we have our John Kerry in one ring and Sergei Lavrov in the other; it’s like the Peter McNealy/ Tyson fight – as Krauthammer said Kerry talks like this is a discussion over Russia having used the wrong folk at a Beacon Hill dinner. No question Europe will go with Russia for fear of an energy problem but also as it did in the pre-WWII days; no question the US will try to come up with a solution that will reaffirm everything Russia has done and will put a ban on the import of Russian cheese to the US.
      4. Russia is still a basket case. It is run by a dictator who surrounded himself with other KGB men all of whom have become billionaires based on their oil wealth. The population has no freedom. Russia cares little for Serbia since it was not part of the Soviet Empire – as far as Serbian president being a war criminal that seems to me quite obvious – as Ed said, the days aren’t over since Russia is now continuing its aggression. There is no severing of ties between US and Europe; they will unite in the face in the common threat when it becomes more obvious. I can’t help thinking your admiration of Putin is similar to what people thought about Stalin who also did those things as Walter Duranty pointed out.
      5. The best thing for Ukraine is to be free from Russia. It doesn’t present a threat to it and the only way it can accommodate itself to it is by following its dictates. Ukraine like all nations deserves to be free. Its history has been one of tsarist/soviet communist oppression. Ireland was part of England for 200 years as was India; now you sound like Churchill who couldn’t understand why those countries could not benefit from the rule of the British. I suppose if the majority of people of Southern California voted to be reunited with Mexico you’d be in favor of that.

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