Fred Weir of the Christian Science Monitor has an interesting interview with Andrei Klimov of the Duma foreign affairs committee, who explains why Russia is not reacting strongly to Hillary Clinton’s recent statements regarding Georgia, Ukraine, and Poland.
“We understand that the Obama administration has to save face [in the former Soviet Union] and head off its domestic critics on the right,” says Andrei Klimov, deputy chair of the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee. “Under the previous administration, the US took positions that are hard to back away from. But it’s mostly just words.” (…)
But according to Mr. Klimov, “Clinton knows times have changed, and there’s a totally different situation in the world now… She has a difficult task to perform, and why should we make it harder for her?”
Another reason for calm is the ascension of two relatively more pro-Russia presidents in Ukraine and Poland, the withering career of Mikheil Saakashvili. Oddly if Russia wanted to help Obama with domestic critics, they should probably be feigning conflict and anger. It’s just not an area of foreign policy that is very politically useful to any party in the United States.