Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mocked Russian President Vladimir Putin over NATO expansion. Photo/Reuters
WASHINGTON – Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton grilled Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue of expanding NATO membership. Hillary said: “It’s a shame, Vladimir. You caused it yourself.”
When she returned to the State Department to unveil her official portrait, Clinton also used the opportunity to express her distaste for the policies of former Republican President Donald Trump, who defeated her in the 2016 US presidential election.
Clinton stated that there may be questions about the US’s ability to rally support for Ukraine to resist a Russian invasion in 2022 because of Trump’s legacy of alienating his allies.
“People may doubt that because we have burned so many bridges with our allies and friends,” he told current and former officials in the agency’s ornate Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room, reported by Reuters on Tuesday ( 9/26/2023).
“Returning a foreign policy… that actually brings people to us, not away from them, is going to be very difficult. And it is, but it has been achieved,” Hillary added. He thanked Foreign Minister Antony Blinken for his efforts. “He (Blinken) helped restore America’s position.”
Hillary said her fellow Democrat, US President Joe Biden, was carrying out many of the priorities of the Obama administration, in which Hillary was the top US diplomat and Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice president.
“Maintaining democracy in Ukraine, expanding NATO – just to top it off, too bad Vladimir, you did it yourself,” he said, prompting laughter and applause.
“We always say, ‘people are not forced to join NATO. The people voted and want to join NATO,’” he added.
Hillary described what she saw as Biden and Obama’s common priorities as “expanding NATO, confronting Russian aggression and managing the challenge from China.”
He joked that it had been a long time since he had seen a portrait depicting him staring into the distance with a magnified American flag in the background.
“Between COVID, between not wanting to get it done under the previous administration,” he said, glancing meaningfully at the audience, drawing laughter, “it’s been a long time. And I will probably be as surprised as all of you.”