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Clinton's Reckless Reset: 7 Years Later

- March 5, 2016

Seven Years Ago Today Clinton Spearheaded The Infamous Russian Reset, And Russia's Belligerence Toward U.S. Interests Since Exposes Her Failed Foreign Policy Judgment

TOP TAKEAWAYS

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  • It was seven years ago today, when Hillary Clinton led a failed 'reset' in U.S.-Russia Relations.
  • Today, the policy "lies in tatters" as Russia has shown increased belligerence to U.S. interests around the world.
  • Russia increasingly threatens our NATO allies and destabilize the Middle East.
  • President Obama's top defense officials have been forced to label Russia as the number one national security threat to the United States.
  • Despite all of the evidence that the reset has failed, Clinton continues to stands by her policy, even calling it "brilliant."

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Seven Years Ago Today, Then-Secretary Hillary Clinton Presented Her Russian Counterpart With A "Reset" Button Illustrating The Administration's Desire To "Press The Reset Button" With Russia. "Russian media has been poking fun at US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she gave her Russian counterpart a 'reset' button with an ironic misspelling. Clinton's gift to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at their meeting in Geneva on Friday evening was meant to underscore the Obama administration's readiness to 'to press the reset button' in ties with Moscow. But instead of the Russian word for 'reset' (perezagruzka) it featured a slightly different word meaning 'overload' or 'overcharged' (peregruzka)." ("Russian Media Teases Clinton Over 'Reset' Button," Agence France-Presse, 3/6/09)

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Clinton, 2009: "We're Going To Hit The Reset Button And Start Fresh Because Clearly The Obama Administration Believes That There Are A Number Of Important Areas To Discuss With The Russians." NPR's MICHELE KELEMEN: "Madam Secretary, you've exchanged letters, you met briefly in Egypt this week already with Sergey Lavrov, but this is going to be your first lengthy meeting with the Russian foreign minister tonight. How do you set the tone, because as you know your predecessor had quite a testy relationship with him?" CLINTON: "Well, we're going to hit the reset button and start fresh because clearly the Obama administration believes that there are a number of important areas to discuss with the Russians. We're just at the beginning of this discussion, but I'm looking forward to it." (NPR's " Morning Edition," 3/6/09)

TODAY, CLINTON'S RESET POLICY "LIES IN TATTERS" AS RUSSIA "HAS STEPPED UP ITS AGGRESSIVENESS ON THE WORLD STAGE"

Clinton's Russia Reset Policy "Now Lies In Tatters." "But most experts agree that the policy now lies in tatters, with Russian President Vladimir Putin openly fueling anti-American sentiment at home and pursuing confrontational policies abroad, such as the invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of its Crimea region." (Olivier Knox, "Russia 'Reset' Architect To Next President: Don't Try That Again," Yahoo, 5/27/15)

At The End Of The Day, "Hindsight Has Not Favored Clinton" As "Russia Has Stepped Up Its Aggressiveness On The World Stage." "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." (Dan Merica, "Hillary Clinton Stands By 'Russian Reset' In Face Of Recent Events," CNN, 7/24/14)

Putin Has Been Working To "Restore Some Of The Great-Power Status Russia Lost" And Has Been "Cultivating Relations With Countries Hostile To The United States." "Since resuming the presidency in 2012, Mr. Putin has worked to restore some of the great-power status Russia lost with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, not least by cultivating relations with countries hostile to the United States, like Venezuela and, to some extent, China. Cultivating Iran fits into that pattern." (Neil Macfarquhar, "Putin Lifts Ban On Russian Missile Sales To Iran," The New York Times, 4/13/15)

In January, Putin Named The United States A National Security Threat To Russia. "A new appraisal names the United States as one of the threats to Russia's national security for the first time, a sign of how relations with the west have deteriorated in recent years. The document, 'About the Strategy of National Security of Russian Federation', was signed by President Vladimir Putin on New Year's Eve. It replaces a 2009 version, endorsed by then- President Dmitry Medvedev, the current prime minister, which mentioned neither the United States not NATO." (Vladimir Soldatkin, "Putin Names United States Among Threats In New Russian Security Strategy," Reuters, 1/2/16)

  • The New Designation Is "A Sign Of How Relations With The West Have Deteriorated In Recent Years." "A new appraisal names the United States as one of the threats to Russia's national security for the first time, a sign of how relations with the west have deteriorated in recent years. The document, 'About the Strategy of National Security of Russian Federation', was signed by President Vladimir Putin on New Year's Eve. It replaces a 2009 version, endorsed by then- President Dmitry Medvedev, the current prime minister, which mentioned neither the United States not NATO." (Vladimir Soldatkin, "Putin Names United States Among Threats In New Russian Security Strategy," Reuters, 1/2/16)

Obama Has Been Forced To Extend Sanctions On Russia After Its Military Intervention In Ukraine

Last Week, President Obama Decided To Extend U.S. Sanctions Imposed On Russia Following Its Military Intervention In Ukraine. "President Obama has extended for another year U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine, according to a White House statement. Obama signed an executive order to prolong the raft of measures that target senior Russian officials and businessmen connected to President Vladimir Putin's inner circle, as well as a number of key Russian state companies, blocking them from visiting or holding assets in the United States, as well as doing business with some U.S. companies. The United States imposed the sanctions in March 2014, after Russian troops seized Crimea from Ukraine, sparking the most serious crisis between Moscow and Washington since the end of the Cold War." (Patrick Reevell, "Obama Prolongs Sanctions On Russia Over Ukraine Crisis," ABC News, 3/3/16)

Also Last Week In A Presidential Memorandum, Obama Stated That Russia's Continued Occupation Of The Crimea Region Poses "An Unusual And Extraordinary Threat To the National Security And Foreign Policy Of The United States" And Justifies The Continuation Of Sanctions For 1 Year. "On December 19, 2014, I issued Executive Order 13685, to take additional steps to address the Russian occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine. The actions and policies addressed in these Executive Orders continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on March 6, 2014, and the measures adopted on that date, on March 16, 2014, on March 20, 2014, and December 19, 2014, to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond March 6, 2016. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660." (President Barack Obama, Notice-Continuation Of The National Emergency With Respect To Ukraine , 3/2/16)

  • The Sanctions Specifically Cite Russia's Annexation Of Crimea And Continued Use Of Force In Ukraine As Threats To Peace And Stability. "On March 20, 2014, I issued Executive Order 13662, which further expanded the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660, as expanded in scope in Executive Order 13661, and found that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation, including its purported annexation of Crimea and its use of force in Ukraine, continue to undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets." (President Barack Obama, Notice-Continuation Of The National Emergency With Respect To Ukraine , 3/2/16)

NATO Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove Stated This Week That, Despite Diplomatic And Economic Sanctions, Russia Has Continued Its Aggression In The Ukraine By Providing Personnel, Equipment, And Training. "While the U.S. and European nations have responded with diplomatic and economic sanctions, Russia continues its aggression in eastern Ukraine by providing personnel, equipment, training, and command and control to combined Russian-separatist forces." (Gen. Philip Breedlove, Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senate, Statement, 3/1/16, p.10)

  • Gen. Breedlove Also Noted That The Ceasefire In Ukraine Remains "Tenuous At Best" Because Of Russia's Destabilizing Activities That Suggest It Is Intent On The Permanent "Redrawing Of Sovereign Boundaries Of Europe." "The cease fire in eastern Ukraine remains tenuous at best, and Russia continues its destabilizing activities in direct contravention of the Minsk agreements. Russia also shows no signs of engaging in dialogue over its illegal occupation of Crimea, and seems intent on transforming this situation into a permanent redrawing of sovereign boundaries in Europe." (Gen. Philip Breedlove, Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senate, Statement, 3/1/16, p.10)

Russia Has Turned The Crimean Peninsula Into A Power Projection Platform. "Since Russia has taken control of the Crimean region of Ukraine, it has moved a significant number of anti-air and anti-surface missile systems onto the peninsula that could hit targets in most of the Black Sea region, the supreme commander of NATO and U.S. European Command (EUCOM) told reporters in a Wednesday afternoon briefing. 'What we have seen is that Crimea has been transformed in some fairly significant ways as far as weapon systems in the Crimea,' said Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove. 'These weapon systems - from air defense systems that reach nearly half of the Black Sea to surface attack systems that reach almost all of the Black Sea area - have made the platform of Crimea a great platform for power projection into this area.'" (Sam LaGrone, "NATO Commander Breedlove: Imported Russian Missiles Have Turned Crimea into a Black Sea 'Power Projection' Platform," USNI News , 2/25/15)

OBAMA'S TOP DEFENSE OFFICIALS POINT TO RUSSIA AS "THE GREATEST THREAT" TO THE UNITED STATES

Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford: "Russia Presents The Greatest Threat To Our National Security." SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): "And sir, I'm sure you've had the opportunity to form opinions on what our threats have been and what our threats are today. What would you consider the greatest threat to our national security?" GENERAL JOSEPH DUNFORD: "My assessment today is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security." (Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 7/9/15)

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Marine Corps Chief Lt. Gen. Robert Neller Pointed To Russia As Posing "The Greatest Threat" To The United States. SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): "Sir, with that being said, I've asked this question to everyone who's come to this committee for their approval, and that would be, what do you assess as the greatest risk or threat the United States of America faces from another country?" LT. GEN. ROBERT NELLER: "If you are asking me about a country, Senator, who poses the greatest threat, I would say another nation-state, I would agree with General Dunford that Russia has the most increasing capable force, and their actions and the fact that they have strategic forces make them the greatest potential threat, although I don't think they want to fight us. Right now I don't think they want to kill Americans. I think violent extremists want to kill us. And their capability is not that great but their intent is high." (Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 7/23/15)

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Army Chief Of Staff Gen. Mark Milley: Russia Is The Greatest National Security Threat To The United States. SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): "What do you consider the greatest threat the United States of America faces, national security, as far as the country?" GENERAL MARK MILLEY: "As a soldier, as a military officer, I'd have to say that it's Russia." (Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 7/21/15)

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Even Clinton's Husband Former President Bill Clinton Has Stated Her Policy Led To "Estrangement" With Russia

At A January Campaign Rally, Bill Clinton Knocked Hillary's Russia Reset Policy, Conceding It Had Few Accomplishments And Went From "Our Attempt To Do Better" To "Estrangement." BILL CLINTON: "The only thing that has survived the estrangement of the United States and Russia from our attempt to do better is something called the New START Treaty, negotiated by Hillary's State Department, which makes us much safer from this prospect from an accidental or intentional nuclear exchange. In a dangerous world, I think that's a pretty good deal." (Bill Clinton, Remarks At A Hillary Clinton Campaign Rally, Nashua, NH, 1/4/16)

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RUSSIA CONTINUES TO POSE A DIRECT THREAT TO OUR NATO ALLIES IN EUROPE AND OUR ALLIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

In November, Putin Announced That "Russia Will Counter NATO's U.S.-Led Missile Defense Program By Deploying New Strike Weapons Capable Of Piercing The Shield." "Russia will counter NATO's U.S.-led missile defense program by deploying new strike weapons capable of piercing the shield, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday. Putin told defense officials that by developing defenses against ballistic missiles Washington aims to 'neutralize' Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent and gain a 'decisive military superiority.'" (Vladimir Isachenkov, "Russia To Deploy New Weapons To Counter US Missile Shield," The Associated Press, 11/10/15)

Russia's Aggressive Foreign Policy Towards Ukraine And The Baltic States Amplifies A Growing Sense of Unease Among Our NATO Allies. "Russia's aggressive foreign policy toward Ukraine and the Baltic States amplifies a general sense of unease among NATO's eastern flank members, with tensions across the region, both inside and outside NATO, exacerbated by Moscow's illegal occupation of Crimea and direct support for combined Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. Kremlin efforts to establish levers of influence in the Baltics across the diplomatic, economic, information, and security spectrum are meant to develop an environment favorable to Moscow and present an ongoing challenge to Western efforts aimed at assuring these NATO Allies." (Gen. Philip Breedlove, Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senate, Statement, 3/1/16, p.10)

  • Baltic Members Of NATO Have Called For A Longer NATO Commitment Of Increased Military Forces To Send "A Very Blunt And Strong Statement" To Russia. "NATO's eastern-flank members are lobbying for a long-term ­alliance commitment to keep increased military forces in their countries, along with authority for those forces to respond quickly to possible Russian intervention in advance of formal political approval from NATO headquarters in Brussels…the Baltic countries in particular would like 'a very blunt and strong statement' from NATO that a strong deterrent force will be in place 'as long as necessary, while we have such a neighbor,' Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said." (Karen DeYoung, "Baltic Countries Want Longer NATO Commitment To Counter Russia," The Washington Post , 2/26/16)

In November, Russia Signed A Contract To Sell Iran S-300 Surface To Air Missiles Systems. "Russia and Iran have signed a contract for Moscow to supply Tehran with S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, Sergei Chemezov, the chief executive of Russian state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec, was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying on Monday." ("Russia, Iran Have Signed Contract For Missile System Delivery: RIA," Reuters, 11/9/15)

  • "Israel And The US Fear The Missiles Could Be Used To Protect Iranian Nuclear Sites From Air Strikes." ("Russia To Provide Iran With S-300 Air Defence Missiles," BBC News, 11/9/15)

In Syria, Russia Is Actively Working To Undermine U.S. Interests And Prop Up Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad

Russia's Military Buildup In Syria Is Aimed Mainly At Propping Up Assad And Reinforcing His Stronghold. "Russia's military build-up in Syria is aimed mainly at propping up President Bashar al-Assad and helping him reinforce his threatened coastal heartland, where he is seeking to bolster the communities that form his power base as his army falters. The Russian escalation has ended any prospect of Assad being ousted by military force, despite the near collapse of his army in the face of rebel advances, and will consolidate the de facto partitioning of Syria, most analysts believe." (Samia Nakhoul, "Russia Props Up Assad As He Reinforces Coastal Heartland," Reuters, 9/28/15)

  • Robert Ford, Former U.S. Ambassador To Syria Has Said That While The Kremlin Says Intervention Is Part Of Its Commitment To Fight The Islamic State, Russia's Main Goal Is To Boost Assad. "The Russians were quick to send in air forces and more ground equipment, said Robert Ford, former U.S. ambassador to and then special envoy for Syria, who resigned because of differences with U.S. policy on Syria. 'It makes me think that the Assad regime was actually becoming very weak and the Russians became scared,' he said. While the Kremlin says its deployment is part of the international fight against Islamic State, its main goal is to boost Assad and defend Russia's beachhead on Syria's north-west coast, Ford said." (Samia Nakhoul, "Russia Props Up Assad As He Reinforces Coastal Heartland," Reuters, 9/28/15)
  • Most Analysts Believe, Russian Escalation Has Ended Any Prospect Of Assad Being Ousted By Military Force. " The Russian escalation has ended any prospect of Assad being ousted by military force, despite the near collapse of his army in the face of rebel advances, and will consolidate the de facto partitioning of Syria, most analysts believe." (Samia Nakhoul, "Russia Props Up Assad As He Reinforces Coastal Heartland," Reuters, 9/28/15)
  • Middle East Expert: "Contrary To What The U.S., Turkey, Qatar And Saudi Arabia Have Been Trying To Say And Do, The Russian Intervention In Syria Shows That Assad Is Not Going Anywhere." "Fawaz Gerges, Middle East expert at the London School of Economics, said the Russian action was a turning point in stiffening Assad's resolve that removed any prospect that he would leave the scene sooner rather than later. 'Contrary to what the U.S., Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been trying to say and do, the Russian intervention in Syria shows that Assad is not going anywhere,' Gerges said." (Samia Nakhoul, "Russia Props Up Assad As He Reinforces Coastal Heartland," Reuters, 9/28/15)

NATO Secretary General Soltenberg Has Said That Russia Is Undermining The Peace Process In Syria. "Russian air strikes in Syria are 'undermining' efforts to find a political solution to the war, Nato's secretary general has said. Jens Stoltenberg said the raids were mainly targeting the Syrian opposition. Moscow insists it is battling 'terrorism.'" ("Syria Conflict: Russia Strikes 'Undermining Peace Talks'," BBC News, 2/5/16)

Russia Has Become The Biggest Cybersecurity Threat To The United States

Last Year The Director Of National Intelligence James Clapper Ranked Russia As The Top Cybersecurity Threat To The United States. "Clapper highlighted the case of Russia, which he said posed the greatest a cyber risk to US interests. He said that threat from the Russian government was 'more severe' than previously realized." ("US Spy Chief James Clapper Highlights Cyber Threats," BBC News, 2/27/15)

This Year's Threat Assessment From DNI Clapper Stated That Russia Is Assuming A "More Assertive Cyber Posture" Against The United States. "Russia is assuming a more assertive cyber posture based on its willingness to target critical infrastructure systems and conduct espionage operations even when detected and under increased public scrutiny. Russian cyber operations are likely to target US interests to support several strategic objectives: intelligence gathering to support Russian decision making in the Ukraine and Syrian crises, influence operations to support military and political objectives, and continuing preparation of the cyber environment for future contingencies." (James Clapper, Worldwide Threat Assessment Of The US Intelligence Community, Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senate, 2/9/16, p.3)

Russian Cyber Attacks Have Grown "More Brazen And More Destructive" As Russia Is Increasingly At Odds With The United States Over Ukraine and Syria. "Russian computer attacks have become more brazen and more destructive as the country grows increasingly at odds with the U.S. and European nations over military goals first in Ukraine and now Syria. Along with reported computer breaches of a French TV network and the White House, a number of attacks now being attributed to Russian hackers and some not previously disclosed have riveted intelligence officials as relations with Russia have deteriorated. These targets include the Polish stock market, the U.S. House of Representatives, a German steel plant that suffered severe damage and The New York Times." (Michael Riley and Jordan Robertson, "Cyberspace Becomes Second Front In Russia's Clash With NATO," Bloomberg, 10/14/15)

DESPITE THE EVIDENCE, CLINTON CONTINUES TO STAND BY HER FAILED RESET POLICY

Clinton On The Russia Reset, June 2014: "I Thought It Was A Brilliant Stroke, Which In Retrospect Appears Even More So, Because Look At What We Accomplished." BBC HOST: "You famously pressed the reset button. Are you embarrassed by that now, that gesture?" CLINTON: "No I thought it was a brilliant stroke, which in retrospect appears even more so, because look at what we accomplished." ( Interview With BBC, 6/13/14)

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In 2012, Then-Secretary Hillary Clinton Mocked Concerns Over The Russian Threat , Saying, "In Many Of The Areas Where We Are Working To Solve Problems, Russia Has Been An Ally. … So I Think It's Somewhat Dated To Be Looking Backwards …" CLINTON: "Well, without getting into the political campaign, because that's for others to comment on, I think if you take a look at the world today, we have a lot of problems that are not leftovers from the past, but are of the moment. We've just been talking about one, namely Iran. And in many of the areas where we are working to solve problems, Russia has been an ally. They're in the P-5+1 talks with us, they have worked with us in Afghanistan and have been very helpful in the Northern Distribution Network and in other ways. So I think it's somewhat dated to be looking backwards instead of being realistic about where we agree, where we don't agree, but looking for ways to bridge the disagreements and then to maximize the cooperation." ( CNN Interview With Secretary Of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Istanbul, Turkey, 4/1/12)

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Clinton, March 2010: "Our Goal Is To Help Strengthen Russia." CLINTON: "One of the fears that I hear from Russia is that somehow the United States wants Russia to be weak. That could not be farther from the truth. Our goal is to help strengthen Russia." (Interview With Vladimir Pozner, 3/19/10)

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As Secretary Of State, Clinton Was "The Face" Of The Administration's Russia "Reset." MIKE ALLEN: "Willie, it was Senator Clinton, Secretary Clinton, who was the face of the 'reset.' You guys will remember we saw this on 'Morning Joe' back in 2009, in her second month in office. She was in Moscow at one of her first trips and she presented the Russian Foreign Minister with an actual gift wrapped red 'reset' button." (MSNBC's "Morning Joe," 3/4/14)


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