I use the term “officially” guardedly because Hillary Clinton is on the way out and her speech may be one of those things that officials say before they head out the door because they are finally free to break from administration policy. But considering that Hillary Clinton was the one who delivered the goofy “reset button” gimmick, it’s rather telling that she has also suddenly decided to speak out about Putin’s Eurasia plans.
The US is trying to prevent Russia from recreating a new version of the Soviet Union under the ruse of economic integration, Hillary Clinton warned on Thursday.
“There is a move to re-Sovietise the region,” the US secretary of state told a news conference in Dublin hours before going into a meeting with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
“It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that,” she said, referring to various iterations of a Moscow-backed plan to deepen economic ties with its neighbours.
“But let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.”
The move is confrontational, especially at a time when Russia is supposedly willing to cooperate with Obama on taking down Syria’s government which it had formerly supported. That may just be the natural liberal bullying instinct to do a touchdown dance after you defeat an enemy, it would be considered tacky, but the Russian government has the same instincts and acts the same way. Alternatively, the Russian government isn’t really bending on Syria, and it’s the Syrian situation that has badly worsened relations with Russia.
But Clinton’s specific statements are a common sense critique of Russia’s regional expansionism, that have never really been made before by Clinton or anyone at her level. This is especially true considering Obama’s sellout of Eastern Europe on Bush’s missile shield program.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air points out that there is an echo of Romney in the attack on Russian power politics, and it’s also likely that Clinton’s statement was delayed due to election politics. That it is being delivered at all suggests that Hillary Clinton or the entire administration are learning to question the wisdom of soft power and their plan for a Post-American world order.
The question is how have we gone from Obama’s “flexibility” to Clinton’s “evil empire” speech. Is Clinton dissenting from Obama as she leaves or is she expressing a sudden shift in administration policy?
Either way it’s an extraordinarily aggressive and confrontational statement that goes beyond even Bush era rhetoric. But unlike Bush, Obama is too impotent for it to mean anything.
Meanwhile from the Russian press, the Clinton and Lavrov joint press conference appeared to be somewhat troubled.
Open disagreement between Moscow and Washington over human rights and democracy as well as intra-organization infighting overshadowed high-level talks of Europe’s top security watchdog Thursday.
During a foreign ministers meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused each other’s governments of not complying with the organization’s principles.
In his address to the meeting’s plenary session in Dublin, Lavrov complained that plans to turn the organization into a security guarantor for much of the northern hemisphere were foiled by “unilateral approaches.”
As a result, the OSCE is sidelined from key events, and demands for its unity “are countered with unfriendly acts,” he said,
The minister added that conventional arms control had been “degraded” because of longstanding attempts to use arms control for political aims. Lavrov did not name any country, but NATO members, led by the United States, have staunchly resisted Moscow’s wishes to increase the OSCE’s regional security role, arguing that it would reduce the Western alliance’s position.
Lavrov echoed comments by President Vladimir Putin, who said Wednesday that the OSCE must stop serving the interests of individual members. The 57-member group includes all European and former Soviet states, Mongolia, the U.S. and Canada.
And there is this strange story.
Speculation regarding the health of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lingered Wednesday, as news reports and the Foreign Ministry gave contradictory explanations for his bandaged arm and bruised face.
Lavrov arrived in Brussels on Tuesday for a NATO meeting with his left arm bandaged and his lips looking bruised.
Turkish media reported that Lavrov was rushed at 6 p.m. Monday to Taksim hospital in Istanbul, where the foreign minister had accompanied President Vladimir Putin for talks, after falling in his hotel. Doctors diagnosed a fractured wrist,
A visibly agitated Lavrov refused to discuss his health Tuesday in Brussels. Asked about it by a reporter, he angrily responded “Are you from a yellow newspaper?” before leaving the briefing room.