To Understand Russia Now You Need to Remember Bill Clinton’s Reign

Is Vladimir Putin the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler, as some have tried to pin on him? Make no mistake, Putin is a dangerous man, but if you climb past the warmongering rhetoric of certain Western politicians and media sources on a ladder of historical knowledge, you may see a very different landscape beyond the rubble of the Berlin Wall.

The situation in Ukraine was absolutely foreseeable, given the United States’ betrayal of Russia which began under Bill Clinton, and has continued under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The problem with the script for this unfolding horror story is that there are no “good guys.” Both sides are wearing black hats, led by a ten-gallon model sported by the United States.

David Stockman, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, recently wrote about this important part of our history:

…as [Ray] McGovern explains, Clinton just unilaterally cast aside the solemn pledges to freeze NATO at its existing borders that had been made by President Bush and Secretary Baker. In making these pledges the latter represented a world-wise generation that had experienced the long, costly, perilous cold war twilight and had recognized the profound opportunity for a fresh start that had fallen upon the world when the Soviet Union disintegrated.[…]

Clinton made what quintessential Russian specialist Ambassador George Kennan called a “fateful error.” Writing in the New York Times on Feb. 5, 1997, Kennan asserted: “Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era.”

“Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”

If Russia indeed rises again as a threat to world peace, it will be the United States who gave Vladimir Putin the enemy he needed to reenergize Russian patriotism, and anger toward the West.

As the sad recent history of the Middle East demonstrates, contemporary American leaders specialize in poking sticks into hornets’ nests, and then reacting with manufactured surprise when scores of innocent people begin getting stung, and the occasional hornet inflicts pain on an American target.