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Friday, September 23, 2016

From Reset to Realpolitik, Clinton’s New Hard Line on Moscow

From Reset to Realpolitik, Clinton’s New Hard Line on Moscow

As president, Hillary Clinton is prepared to take a much tougher stance on Russia than Trump — or even Obama. Syria’s civil war will be the first test.

By Molly O’Toole
Before leaving the State Department in early 2013, Hillary Clinton wrote President Barack Obama a final note on Russia. The hoped-for “reset” with Moscow, she said, was in the end a setback. She urged Obama to set a “new course” by taking a harder line against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It would be several months until the Obama administration would accuse the Moscow-backed government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of crossing the White House’s red line on chemical weapons, and roughly two-and-a-half years until a Russian official would show up at the American Embassy in Baghdad with an hour’s warning before Moscow began dropping bombs in Syria. But the Syrian conflict had already begun to emerge as a new fault line in a tectonic clash between the United States and Russia.
Clinton cautioned Obama that the relationship between Washington and Moscow would “likely get worse before it got better,” and he had to be “realistic” about the danger Putin posed to both his neighbors and the world order, she wrote in her 2014 memoir, Hard Choices, which was published before her campaign for president — her second — this year.

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