Clinton Did Not See North Korea Or Russia As Threats, Leaked Speeches Reveal

REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel/Pool.

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Despite seeing global foreign policy dangers as the Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton did not view North Korea or Russia as a threat to the United States in 2013, according to speeches released by WikiLeaks.

In a presentation to the National Multi-Housing Council on Apr. 24, 2013, Clinton responded to a question, “How afraid should we be of North Korea?” by saying: “You know, right now, it’s not a direct threat to the United States. It is, however, a threat to our treaty allies in South Korea and Japan. It is also a source of instability on the Korean peninsula that could have, you know, ramifications for the region and our interests in the region.”

She didn’t think Russia was a threat either: In remarks to Sanford Bernstein on May 29, 2013, Clinton recounted a meeting with Vladimir Putin when she was secretary of state. “We talked about a lot of issues that were not the hot-button issues between us, you know, his view on missile defense, which we think is misplaced because, you know, we don’t believe that there will be a threat from Russia.”

The speeches also reveal that Clinton was willing to allow a wide degree of discretion to Russian motives and Vladimir Putin: “I would love it if we could continue to build a more positive relationship with Russia,” she said to Goldman Sachs CEOs at an annual conference on June 4, 2013.

In that same speech she described the relationship of the U.S. and Russia as one of “progress” and said Putin has “asserted himself in a way now that is going to take some management on our side, but obviously we would very much like to have a positive relationship with Russia and we would like to see Putin be less defensive toward a relationship with the United States so that we could work together on some issues.”

In addition to describing Putin as “very engaging…and a very interesting conversationalist,” Clinton finds common ground with the Russian leader.

In a 2013 speech to the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, Clinton recounted a story when she said, “‘You know, Mr. Prime Minister, we actually have some things in common. We both want to protect wildlife, and I know how committed you are to protecting the tiger.’ I mean, all of a sudden, he sat up straight and his eyes got big and he goes, ‘You care about the tiger? I said, ‘I care about the tiger, I care about the elephant, I care about the rhinoceros, I care about the whale. I mean, yeah, I think we have a duty. You know, it’s an obligation that we as human beings have to protect God’s creation.'”

Hillary and Bill Clinton as well as Hillary’s current campaign chair John Podesta enjoyed a close relationship with Russian interests throughout the Obama years. Podesta’s emails reveal that he sat on the board of directors and owned 75,000 shares of the Russian-backed Joule Unlimited. He has transferred those shares to an anonymous holding company.

Bill Clinton received a $500K speaking fee from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment firm, on June 29, 2010, just as the Russians announced their intention of buying Uranium One and with it one-fifth of the U.S. uranium supply.

Any coziness has been interrupted during the presidential election campaign.

Though President Obama maintained a wait-and-see foreign policy posture on Russia through most of his time in office, the Obama justice department has accused Russia of mounting the cyber attacks that hacked Democrat and Clinton campaign emails and Clinton campaign directors routinely say “the Russians did it” when confronted with volatile WiliLeaks emails. Vice President Joe Biden threatened Russia with a “clandestine” cyber attack on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

Meanwhile Russian officials have been speaking ominously about war between the Cold War enemies with retired Russian Lt-Gen and roving Kremlin spokesman Evgeny Buzhinsky telling the BBC, “If you want a confrontation, you’ll get one…You want a confrontation, you’ll get one everywhere.”

Tthe last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhal Gorbachev, told Russia’s state news agency that relations between his country and the U.S. had reached a crisis.

“I think the world has reached a dangerous point. We need to renew dialogue. Stopping it was the biggest mistake.”

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