Opinion

My Questions for Hillary on Putin

Hillary Clinton is ready to share more thoughts on Vladimir Putin.

The Hill reports:

In a CNN interview scheduled to air on Sunday, the possible 2016 front-runner and former secretary of State said Russia “bears responsibility” for arming and supporting Russian separatists in Ukraine.

“I think if there were any doubt it should be gone by now that Vladimir Putin – certainly indirectly through his support of the insurgents in eastern Ukraine and the supply of advanced weapons and, frankly, the presence of Russian special forces and intelligence agents – bears responsibility for what happened to shoot down the airline,” she said on “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

Okay, so what happens next?

My questions for Hillary:

1) What happens if Europe doesn’t take the lead on sanctions? Would a strong American policy stance inspire a strong European policy stance?

2) What kinds of sanctions, specifically, should the United States be imposing on Russia?

3) Should the United States be placing Pentagon advisers in Ukraine right now? What about military assistance to the government in Kiev? Good ideas–why or why not?

4) The Daily Beast recently reported that “Kiev last month requested the radar jamming and detection equipment necessary to evade and counter the anti-aircraft systems Moscow was providing the country’s separatists.” Your reaction?

5) What does American leadership on this issue look like specifically in terms of policy and language?

6) If you were President today, what would you do with respect to Russia and Ukraine? Would polling that often reflects a lack of American interest in greater involvement in Ukraine play a factor in your decision?

That’s where I’d start.

Jedediah Bila is co-host of “Outnumbered” on Fox News at 12pm ET. She is an author, columnist, and Fox News Contributor. Follow Jedediah on Twitter @JedediahBila.

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Patricia
7 years ago

Putin is not our problem. Ukraine is not our problem. In case noboby noticed, the US is drowning in debt and government regulations and being invaded from the south. It is time to look at what really matters, and it’s not what is happening in Europe. We have bailed their butts out enough. Besides, with all the neocon propaganda buzzing around, it’s getting harder and harder to divide sides into “good guys” and “bad guys” as our silly media does all the time.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago

Now, on a somewhat more serious note based upon the voter survey sent out by the Chair of the Republican Nat’l Committee, Reince Priebus for potential Presidentual nominees selected from his proffered candidates,
should the Republicans nominate either John Bolton, Jeb Bush (yep, another Bush), Chris Christie, Newt Ginrich, Rob Portman, Condoleezza Rice, or Scott Walker to counter the propposed run by H. Clinton and the question as who would best serve and who should win: What difference does it make?

PaulE
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Hi Ivan,

So those are the choices that the GOP brain-trust has decided we have to choose from for 2016? I agree with you. What difference does it make?

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

PaulE, there were other less egregious choices on his list. I just picked a sampling of what I selected as the worst of the lot. There are none who stood above “favorable” which included T. Cruz. Ron Paul was on the list as well as his son, Rand and so was Rubio. He did have Ben Carson listed, but I haven’t seen anything of his “position papers” that you once suggested he prepare. So, your guess is as good as mine, if not better as to what the Republican Establishment plans to do. Best I can tell they are prepared to pash it and fall back in it. Hope I’m wrong.

PaulE
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Yes, that is probably their strategy. They learn nothing, which is why I toss mail from them straight in the garbage. I only support candidates directly at this point.

On Ben Carson, he needs to make up his mind one way or the other as to whether he’s running. If he and his family aren’t up for the non-stop smear campaign and media bashing that any of the Republicans running against Hillary will face, he needs to state that now. If he’s running, then he needs to start putting out real position papers, on at least initially, what his policies would be on the economy, both domestic job creation and foreign trade, foreign relations with both our allies and those hostile towards us, immigration and border security, terrorism, and several other major topics. In short, we need to better understand what his overall plans would be should the people choose him as the nominee. We can’t pick someone based on simply his speeches. While good, they don’t cover the level of detail we the American people need to make an intelligent decision.

The country already elected someone based solely on his speeches and we all know how well that has worked out. Obviously Ben Carson is far superior intellectually to Obama and he’s not an advocate of socialism, but he still needs to lay out his vision for America. That is what position papers are for. So people can see what a potential President plans to do if elected.

scouch
7 years ago

Well uh, er, um lets see, you asked so here is my short version answer for the American People, what difference does it matter.

Jim Hammond
7 years ago

I hear lots of criticism of Hillary Clinton which I agree are mostly accurate but that gets us no where!

What are some suggestions for effective action to counter Putin. He is shrewd and plays everyone.

The first thing on my list is tell truth and stop being afraid to be blunt. It seems to me that Reagan would call Putin a liar and that he is trying to reconstitute the Evil Empire that was the old Soviet Russia. Putin has met and talked to Obama so he knows how weak he is and he realizes Obama will hide behind anyone and everyone in the world to do the dirty work of opposing Putin. Putin has analyzed Obama and knows no effective action will be taken by Obama! So Putin can continue to play the odds in his favor just like Hitler did with Chamberlin before WWII.

Obama’s number one priority is to install the Democratic party as the dominant political party for future decades and he could care less about foreign problems. He is blind to the possibility of future wars that might be instigated by Iran or Russia or China. He will defy our Constitution and ignore overseas threats to accomplish his self-serving Socialist agenda because he thinks the American public will believe all of his lies and deceptions. Until recently he has gotten his way because many people thought he was almost a messiah…..he was always for the common man which is a big lie. He is an egotistical, self-serving politician just like many others from the past but he has been more clever in fooling the public. He reminds me of Huey Long who built a political empire for himself but was only stopped by an assassins bullet.

Surely there are a lot of smart people who have more specific solutions to America’s problems! Come on folks lets out think Obama and his tribe. The basic principles and future of America are at stake here. Obama could care less about anyone else……we need to show that we care for America and all our people!

Jim

PaulE
7 years ago
Reply to  Jim Hammond

Hi Jim,

Putin has one sector of the Russian economy that is actually working. That’s the energy sector. Oil and natural gas production. Everything else in Russia is basically flat on its back, thanks largely to the top down corruption that has made Russia so inhospitable to domestic and foreign investment. Stated plainly, the law in Russia is what Putin says the law is. So no one is going to sink large sums of investment capital into a country where, if you get on Putin’s bad side one day, you could find yourself either in jail or your entire investment nationalized.

So if you want to do something to get his attention, you go after his one stream of revenue that pays for virtually everything. However, for that to work, the Europeans, who buy most of Putin’s oil and natural gas, have to be willing to step up and do something. The United States does very little in the way of total business with Russia (around 3 percent), so this is not “an American problem” to fix. At least through economic means. Of course a strong American President would try to persuade European leaders to make better decisions for themselves, but one would hope that some of the leaders that make up the Euro zone have some economic common sense to do what is in their best, long-term economic interests. If not, then that is also a problem we can not fix for Europe.

So far, none of the major European countries have been willing to do anything of any real substance. The current sanctions are pretty much a joke. If you want to send a message to Putin that his economic strangle-hold on energy supplies to Europe is in any danger, then you have to actually do something meaningful. Instead, both France and now Germany will be instituting bans on both domestic drilling and fracking within their own countries, which will only increase Putin’s leverage over them going forward. Nothing like making yourself even more dependent on an adversary to give them the confidence to keep doing whatever they want to do. Other European countries by the way have already adopted similar bans. So while many European countries sit on top of extensive shale gas reserves and could pose a serious threat to Putin’s money pipeline, because the Europeans have completely bought into the whole man-made global warming nonsense even more than us, they are intentionally throwing away their best tool to reign in Putin. Putin is no fool. He sees most of Europe making bad decisions, that will only force them to buy more Russian natural gas at whatever price he deems fit to sell it.

The bottom line is that if the world wants Putin to change course or at least re-evaluate his current strategies, the Europeans have to make better decisions for themselves, that not only will cost Putin his economic influence over them, but also make their own economies better over the long run. If the Europeans want to stay their current course, then there is no incentive for Putin to re-evaluate his current strategies. Putin is not a genius. He’s just smart enough to take advantage of the bad decisions made by the leaders of Europe.

Jim
7 years ago
Reply to  Jim Hammond

Okay so what are you really saying, support Hillary? or just out Obama now?

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  Jim

I think (correct me if I’m wrong) that PaulE is saying without Europe on board, Putin is not the U.S. problem to solve.
Now if Europe could convince Putin that joining the EU would be a benefit for Russia, maybe they could then destroy Russia’s present tottering economy like they have theirs internally.
With all these trade pacs that are being proposed that I believe are designed to dismantle national soverignity, none are being addressed as including Russia in the “union.” Maybe that could change, but I don’t want to see the U.S. joined in such a venture. Europe, maybe and with Russia and other eastern block nations, but not us, except on a nation to nation basis.

PaulE
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Ivan and Jim,

I guess I went into too much detail, so I’ll try to simplify things. Not sure how anything in post would lead you to think I was supporting Hillary or any other Socialist for office Jim. God knows this country can’t take another Progressive (Socialist) after the damage that Obama has done to this country. I was merely stating that this is NOT a problem the United States can solve on its own from an economic sanctions perspective. Your original question Jim was how could Putin be countered, which is what I laid out in my original post.

Anyway, from an economic perspective, Russia does not do enough business with the United States, that a U.S. only set of sanctions would have any real material effect on Putin. That is a fact. Whether a Democrat or a Republican sits in the White House, that dynamic isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

The Europeans on the other hand represent Russia’s biggest customers for both energy and what little in the way of other goods Russia still produces. So if we want to change Putin’s current course, we need the Europeans to get serious about what they are willing to do. As an example, London is the base for much of Russia’s international banking system, not the United States. So we have no leverage from that angle either on Putin. They, the Europeans, are therefore essential to getting any sort of economic sanctions to work against Russia. The Europeans have the ONLY REAL leverage from an economic perspective.

To date, NONE of the major European countries have expressed a willingness to impose real economic sanctions on Russia, simply because most European countries have intentionally made a series of seriously flawed decisions going back at least the last 15 to 20 years, that have resulted in them becoming even more dependent on Russia for their natural gas supplies than they were even 10 years ago.

As the Europeans bought into so-called “man-made climate change” nonsense and embraced “green energy” solutions centered around wind and solar, they actively began moving away from nuclear, their own natural gas, coal and what little oil they domestically produced. I won’t go into a lengthy explanation of how “green energy” has exploded energy costs upward all across Europe and weakened all their domestic economies as a result, but suffice it to say that Europe’s decision has made Russia’s natural gas even more vital to a functioning Europe today. That is why I referenced the actions of France and Germany concerning their recent decisions on domestic drilling and fracking in my original post. Bad policy decisions by European leaders have only encouraged Putin to think he can move forward without fear of consequences to the Russian economy. Just like bad policy decisions made in Washington send messages to China, the Middle east, and other nations around the world, that we are weakening our own hand when it comes to certain actions moving forward.

If Europe wants to send a clear message to Putin that they won’t stand for his current actions any more, then the Europeans need to start immediately reversing their positions on domestic drilling, fracking, the use of nuclear and coal for energy generation. The immediate threat to Putin’s only real revenue stream, his energy sector, would make him think twice about his grand vision to reconstitute the old Soviet Union from a territorial perspective. Absent the willingness of the Europeans to do that policy change, I don’t see how they are going to change Putin’s calculus when it comes to the Ukraine and the other former eastern block countries.

Ivan, the likelihood of getting Putin to join the EU, while entertaining as hell, stands about as much chance of happening as getting Obama to agree to resign immediately for the good of the country. Nice to think about, but it just isn’t happening. :-)

In the current political climate, I don’t think we have to worry about any sort of unified trade pact that includes the United States, all of Europe and Russia as well. At least not in the near-term of 18 to 24 months. The complexities of getting anything done in Brussels with the EU automatically adds several years to any such negotiations, should anything of the sort ever be proposed here. Think about what it takes to get anything done in our current Congress and then magnify it by the 28 nation EU bureaucracy churning away in Brussels and you get the idea of governmental dysfunction run amok.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

But PaulE, Germany is already making noises about pulling further away from U.S. influence because of our earlier and more recent “financial/banking” bullying. They are rapidly going the way of France relative to us. Meanwhile, Russia and China are forming a mechanism to do their energy trades in RMD and/or Rubles and taking oil trades based on dollars per barrel out while deminishing the soverign reserve status of the dollar internationally. There is also rumbling of trading for Russian goods using the Euro.

The noise from Germany reminds me of the Hitler/Stalin non-aggression pact during WWII that failed when Hitler did his invasion on the eastern front. Russia and Germany had divided and shared Poland prior to that. While Obama may appear like Chamberlin to some, Merkel seems more like a Hitler to me. And do not forget or ignore her Communist beginnings. And yes, she did come from East Germany prior to their reunion.
National Socialists were still socialists, if you will.

My whole point about Russia joining the EU was meant as sarcasm, not real speculation, but it does not need a formal union for them to do business and jointly undercut U.S. interests.
Our bankers and politicians have been turning the Europeans against us just as much as they have been turning the American public negative toward them. And the FED still has not delivered Germany’s Fort Knox gold, except a small token amount, while still having many tons still on receipt.
We have been throwing our weight around like we were heavy weights when we can hardly tip the scales as middle weights. Obama does not only bully Americans, he bullys our allies as well. The world sees a failing Empire way over here. Russia is there, not an ocean away.

My first two lines in the earlier response were to say that I thought you were suggesting that without Europe, the U.S. could accomplish little or nothing and believed that was a basic point of your comments.
The end of my comments did include my displeasure in trade pacs that has us joining the EU in a formalized multiple nation regional union under the WTO. That part is not satire.

PaulE
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Ivan,

Yes, I took your point about Putin joining the EU as sarcasm. That was a good one. Of course if European leaders keep making bad short-term economic policy decisions involving Russia and their own economies, the end result will be a defacto trade agreement with Russia benefiting the most in the end anyway. As I said in my original post, if Europe stays on its current course, there is no incentive for Putin change his current strategy. It’s the Europeans’ choice and without their support, none of our economic sanctions against Russia will accomplish much for the reasons I outlined.

Personally, I don’t expect the Europeans to change course.They seem committed to following the same bad policies that they themselves have seen don’t work as they expected them to. Yet admitting failure is not politically acceptable, so they will simply double-down on what doesn’t work and continue to hope something changes. On the matter of sanctions, the American people just need to realize the fact that not everything is fixable by the United States acting alone. Especially when the target country doesn’t do a lot of business with us for sanctions to have any bite.

On the rest, there is no doubt that the rest of the world sees the United States as a nation in decline under Obama. Each and every day his administration finds new ways to alienate allies and embolden our enemies. Yes,our unnecessary antagonizing of European banks is one of the latest examples of how we go out of our way to tick off our allies.

So obviously other nations will look to take advantage of our intentional self-erosion (sounds better than committing intentional national suicide to atone for perceived past sins the left thinks we’re guilty of doesn’t it?) of standing on the world stage wherever possible. The $400 billion dollar Russia / China energy deal, the BRIC nations banding together to form a competitive $50 billion dollar alternative to the IMF are both examples of the world looking at a post-American dominated world. I honestly expect to see more such deals in the years ahead, if we do nothing to reverse our intentional downward slide.

On the leaders of Europe, they’re all basically Socialists. Only the degree and speed of adoption of standard socialist policies varies slightly from nation to nation. The end result will all be the same. So it’s no surprise that Germany is moving towards what France is doing. They’ve all been for following each for years and years. Which is why their economies are all in various stages of economic stagnation or collapse.

JLB
7 years ago

A great set of questions from Jedediah. I wish she could interview Hillary on the set of Outnumbered. Unfortunately, as many of you have pointed out, Hillary would avoid answering the questions directly but she might put her foot in her mouth. She has done that numerous times on her book tour.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  JLB

It’s really hard to get your foot in your mouth when your head is where the sun don’t shine.
It is also difficult if your head is in the clouds.
And if she did, who would report it other than Fox?
Hey, maybe if she did get it in, she might have difficulty getting it out again.
One way we could help get her foot out of her mouth could be by pulling her leg.
Kinda like I’m trying to pull yours, JLB.

Rik
7 years ago

If anyone expects anything but “reasonable doubt” spin from any politician that went to law school, I’ve got tickets to vacation on the next voyage of the Titanic I can sell you! Now the socialist democrats even marry attorney spouses.

What’s next? … A gay socialist democratic attorney president and his/her gay spouse? … Maybe in France!

PaulE
7 years ago

Jedediah,

All good questions, but unfortunately none of them are likely to be answered by Hillary anytime soon. Certainly not in any sort of a direct, plain-spoken fashion, that avoids the use of political double-speak in order to avoid taking either personal ownership or responsibility for decisions she or the Obama administration made, while she was Secretary of State.

Like Bill Clinton, Hillary is trying to carefully balance her seat on the proverbial fence. All with the expressed purpose of not discouraging her loyal supporters, ahead of 2016, by supplying answers of real substance and clarity that would mar the carefully crafted veneer of competence and supposed accomplishment her people have worked so hard and long to fashion around her. She is also keenly aware that answering any questions, like those you have provided, would only serve to provide even more ammunition to her her critics concerning her ability to truly handle the complexity of the Presidency, which constantly involves the type of serious issues you’ve touched on.

Of course all this is predicated on the notion, likely completely wrong, that Hillary was going to take the job of being President seriously. That she was not merely going to spend a disproportionate amount of her time simply vacationing, attending fund raisers in a serial fashion and working on improving one’s golf game (or whatever she does for relaxation) , while the country and the world burns. In short, not being a carbon (pun intended) copy like somebody else we know. Still the bar has been set really, really low based on our current occupant of the White House. So it wouldn’t take a whole lot to be seen as a drastic improvement in the eyes of an apathetic public.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Well said, PaulE. And lest we forget, when our Ambassador’s compound was attacked in Libia, neither Hillary nor Barry answered that 3AM call even though it wasn’t the middle of the night. I waited in vain for someone to mention that campaign criticism, just like I waited for someone to label our previous Sec of the Treasury as Tiny Tim. When will the Republicans realize that ridicule is one of the best of political wepons? The Democrats have been using it successfully for decades.

PaulE
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Ivan,

Too many of the establishment Republicans in Congress are concerned with being seen as either “mean” or “not playing nice”. Establishment Republicans want the party to be known as the polite party, even as the Democrats not only ridicule, but consistently lie about nearly everything. So Republicans continue to soft pedal any criticism of the administration lest they risk losing, at least in their minds anyway, the valuable and always elusive “independent voters”. You know, the Democrats who like a little extra attention, so they pretend to be “on the fence” between siding with Democrats or Republicans on various issues. They’re “independent” thinkers, that is until it’s time to vote. Then it’s straight-line Democrat all the way. Republicans don’t seem to learn this lesson, no matter how many times they keep falling for the same routine.

Democrats, as you rightly state, don’t care about being perceived as either “mean” or “not playing nice”, because they know the mainstream media will run cover for them and spin whatever they say as either “a legitimate concern” or “the real truth Republicans don’t want you to hear”. It’s a consistently winning strategy, so they see no reason to change it.

By the way, many of these same establishment Republicans are, once again, winning their respective primaries across the country. Sure there are a few upsets here and there, but in the vast majority of primaries, the people are once again voting to return the same ineffectual and spineless wonders to office for yet another term. Until the American public decides it wants to put people in place, who will actually adhere to the Constitution and follow its guidelines explicitly, the best we can hope for is to minimize the ever-increasing damage to the country by the Progressives.

Ivan Berry
7 years ago

Since Bill supported the Kosovars and their liberation army in getting out from under the rule of the Serbs, it seems that Hillary should support the Russian Separatists if she expects to remain consistant with the Clinton doctrine.

PaulE
7 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

I would expect nothing less.

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