As pundits debate what the West could have done to avoid war in Ukraine, former President Bill Clinton has offered his answer: nothing.
I don’t think there is anything we could have done to prevent this,” Clinton said Tuesday during a lecture at Brown University.
He was asked the question by Derek Shearer, who served as ambassador to Finland under the 42nd President. Looking back on Mr. Clinton’s tenure, when he worked with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and then briefly with his successor, Vladimir Putin, Mr. Shearer asked if there was anything the United States and its allies could have done differently.
“Well, the short answer is I don’t know, and I’ve spent sleepless nights thinking about it,” Mr. Clinton replied.
The former president then recounted how his government initiated the process of admitting the Baltic states – Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia – into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the late 1990s.
A number of conservative figures have blamed this expansion of NATO, an alliance originally designed to defend against the Soviet Union, for Russia’s recent aggression. Tucker Carlson has claimed that NATO exists primarily to “torment Vladimir Putin”; Nigel Farage has said NATO enlargement has resulted in “poking the Russian bear with a stick”.
Mr. Clinton dismissed these arguments.
“It is not true that we have done anything to isolate, humiliate or ignore Putin,” the former president said. “That’s the biggest load of cops you’ll ever hear.”
As evidence, Mr Clinton pointed out that he had met with the Russian leadership 23 times during his eight-year tenure – 18 times with Mr Yeltsin and five times with Mr Putin.
“The idea that we were trying to blockade or isolate Russia… that’s just not true,” he said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now in its third month. The war was a humanitarian catastrophe that has killed at least 2,665 Ukrainian civilians so far, according to the latest United Nations estimates.
In discussing NATO’s influence on the conflict, Clinton quoted journalist Anne Applebaum as recently saying that if the alliance had not expanded, “we would be fighting this fight in East Germany now.”
“Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen,” Clinton said. “Ukraine must prevail.”
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/ukraine-needs-to-prevail-says-bill-clinton-as-he-claims-blaming-us-for-war-the-biggest-load-of-bull-41595757.html “Ukraine must prevail,” says Bill Clinton, when he claims to blame the US for the war “the biggest load of cops.”