COMMENTARY | With the Rape of the Ukraine proceeding apace, Politico asks the obvious question, how does this affect the presidential prospects of Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and architect of the so-called “reset” policy toward Russia?
On the one hand, Clinton, whose foreign policy acumen is already under attack because of the Benghazi Massacre, is going to have some explaining to do. If she was so able to bring in Russia as a partner in keeping the world settled, why is Putin now busily trying to reestablish the old Soviet Empire? By all evidence, it looks as if Russia feels it can gobble up the territory of a sovereign neighbor and get away with it.
On the other hand, Clinton can claim that the invasion of the Ukraine happened a year after she left office. That would require throwing both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry under the bus. Would she do such a thing simply to enhance her chances of becoming president?
Of course she would. The path to power of both Clintons is strewn with the corpses of other political careers that both Bill and Hillary had stepped over. She is quite capable of claiming that she had things well in hand and has no idea how the administration messed things up once she had left. Not to worry, but President Hillary Clinton will quite quickly set things aright. If there is anything that either Clinton is well experienced at is escaping the consequences of their own blunders.
However, while Clinton may run against President Obama, Republicans will have an opening to attack her on foreign policy. It has become a cliché that the next election will primarily be about Obamacare and the economic malaise. However Americans get nervous when the world is unsettled. Jimmy Carter was sunk just as much by the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as he was by runaway inflation and crippling high interest rates. The Republican candidate who can best project an image of strength and competence in foreign policy as well as the economy will likely have the edge to become president in 2016.