Caught up in the twisted braid of domestic and foreign politics, attitudes toward Russia among U.S. public figures are now driven by a tangled mix of ideology, political convenience, and the profit motive. New emails illuminate Clinton’s participation in this strange dance.
Though Hillary Clinton has blamed numerous factors and people for her loss to Donald Trump in last year’s election, no one has received as much blame as the Russian government. In an effort to avoid blaming the candidate herself by turning the election results into a national scandal, accusations of Kremlin-directed meddling soon surfaced. While such accusations have largely been discredited by both computer analysts and award-winning journalists like Seymour Hersh, they continue to be repeated as the investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russian government picks up steam.
However, newly released Clinton emails suggest that that the former secretary of state’s disdain for the Russian government is a relatively new development. The emails, obtained by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, show that the Russian government was included in invitations to exclusive Clinton Foundation galas that began less than two months after Clinton became the top official at the U.S. State Department.
In March of 2009, Amitabh Desai, then-Clinton Foundation director of foreign policy, sent invitations to numerous world leaders, which included Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. Desai’s emails were cc’d to Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro and later forwarded to top Clinton aide Jake Sullivan.
The Clinton Foundation’s activities during Hillary’s tenure as secretary of state have been central to the accusations that the Clinton family used their “charitable” foundation as a means of enriching themselves via a massive “Pay to Play” scheme. Emails leaked by Wikileaks, particularly the Podesta emails, offered ample evidence connecting foreign donations to the Clintons and their foundation with preferential treatment by the U.S. State Department.
For instance, the King of Morocco “donated” $12 million to the Clinton Foundation in return for a meeting with Hillary, which ultimately resulted in a $157 million weapons deal for the African monarchy only a few months later. In another example, Bill Clinton accepted a $1 million check as a “birthday present” from Qatar. The generous “gift” was followed by a 1,482 percent increase in arms sales to Qatar, a deal signed off on by the Clinton-run State Department.
Russia – like Morocco, Qatar and numerous other nations – also benefited handsomely from the Clinton Foundation-State Department nexus. A few months after invitations were dispensed to Putin and other Russian leaders, Clinton approved the sale of 20 percent of the United States’ uranium capacity to Russia – a sale that was later connected to a $145 million donation to the Clinton Foundation from beneficiaries of the deal.
So far, the latest proof of Russian collusion has received sparse coverage from the corporate media, likely because it involves the actions of Hillary Clinton and not her one-time electoral opponent. The driver of the situation seems not to be one’s stance regarding Russia a few years ago, but instead one’s current stance. The U.S. political establishment has become increasingly determined to sour U.S.-Russia relations for a variety of reasons — including Russian economic independence, de-dollarization efforts, and its aid to the Syrian government.
Much of the recent decline in relations has come during the Trump’s presidency, despite the still-repeated characterization of the president as “Putin’s puppet.” However, Trump is just enacting the same policy laid out for the United States by the very people who direct Hillary’s policy actions, America’s real ruling class – the oligarchs.
Read the newly released Clinton emails
Top photo | U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks during a press conference at the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok, Russia Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Jim Watson)