Candidate Clinton Already Set for Cold War with Putin, Assad’s Ouster

Even if it turns out that the hackers behind the leaked Democratic National Party’s emails were not Russian intelligence – as the party’s presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her fans contend – or an elaborate set-up contrived by her rival, Republican candidate Donald Trump, the truth is that the Clinton-Putin animosity has long roots that will come to bear if she is elected.
And so President Vladimir Putin is already taking advanced measures of his own in case this avowed hawk moves into the White House.
They got off on the wrong foot in March 2009. Clinton, then Secretary of State of the first Obama administration, stood smiling for media cameras when she presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a large red button representing the reset of relations.
It was printed with the Russian word ‘peregruzka.’ “We worked hard to get the right Russian word,” she said.
Lavrov took one look and said: “You got it wrong. It should be ‘perezagruzka’ [Russian for reset]. ‘Peregruzka’ means overcharged.”
Two years later, in 2011, Putin resolved never again to believe a word Hillary said or any of her promises, after he claimed she cheated Moscow over the war the US led in Libya and its ulterior goal which was to take out its ruler, the late Muammar Qaddafi.
Today, especially after the email hacking affair, DEBKA Weekly’s Russian sources report that Putin has set his face toward the regeneration of cold war in Asia, Europe and the Middle East in the first year of the next US president’s term, if it turns out to be Clinton.
Two years ago, he saw a watershed moment for determining whether US-Russian relations were heading towards discord or calm. He has since built up a winning stake to keep Moscow ahead of the game.
In Asia, China works with Russia – not with the US. In Europe, the European Union is breaking up and NATO losing ground: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, a leading member, publicly accuses the Obama administration of complicity in the failed military putsch against him.
(See DEBKA Weekly 718 of July 29: Erdogan Pivots East, Puts One Foot out of NATO)
Moreover, the Russian army has expanded its Middle East holdings – especially in Syria, while the US army is edging back. Russia and its army dominate the Shiite Middle East bloc of Iran, Iraq, Hizballah and Syria, whereas America has lost the trust of the Sunni powers, led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
When it comes to perfidy, Putin is convinced that, just as he won’t forget Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding Libya which rankle with him to this day, so too do Saudi King Salman and Egyptian President Fatteh el-Sisi, keep firmly in mind the Obama-Clinton conspiracy of 2011 to get rid of Hosni Mubarak and bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in his stead.
Conscious of the Kremlin’s abiding hostility towards her, the Democratic candidate has in the last few days sent her advisers out with a message that, if elected, her Syrian policy would differ broadly from that of President Obama.
Whereas Obama prefers to deepen intelligence and military cooperation with the Russians in Syria (not much different from the theme advanced by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump), Clinton is signaling her intention of ordering a "full review" of the United States' strategy on Syria as a "first key task" of her presidency.
Her reset this time will emphasize the "murderous" nature of the Assad regime.”
In other words, where Obama is bent on accommodation, she would go head-to-head with Moscow, starting in the Syrian arena.
Jeremy Bash, former senior official at the Pentagon and the CIA and currently national security adviser to the Democratic candidate, revealed this week:
"A Clinton administration will not shrink from making clear to the world exactly what the Assad regime is," he said. He described a foreign policy more hawkish than that of the current administration. He said there were a "lot of clues" to how Mrs. Clinton will behave as commander-in-chief from her time as secretary of state. During that time, she championed the intervention in Libya and advocated the arming of Syrian rebels against the regime.
“She sees the importance of American leadership as a first principle," he said.
It seems therefore that Putin’s forebodings of a renewed cold war with America should Clinton gain the White House are not too wide of the mark. His thrust today is partly preemptive.
(See a separate article in this issue: Putin Shuts the Door on US “Last Try” for Cooperation in Syria.)

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