Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton drew fire from many recently for her statements equating Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his country's actions in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi invasions of Europe in the 1930s. Despite the criticism, Clinton is not backing down from the comments.
Clinton defended her assertion of the similarities between the two leaders during a question and answer session at UCLA:
"What I said yesterday is that the claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities ... is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland, in Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe."
Clinton also characterized Putin as someone who is keenly aware of Russia's former pace on the world stage and is seeking to restore the nation's greatness, saying that he "believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness." All of this was during a session that saw Clinton, a possible presidential candidate in 2016, field questions about everything from the Affordable Care Act to Girl Scout Cookie preference.
While all of the talk of similarities between Putin and Hitler may stir up some discomfort, don't start digging a bomb shelter to wait out WWIII just yet. Clinton was sure to mention that all parties are working toward a diplomatic solution to the crisis: “So it’s a real nail-biter, right now, but nobody wants to up the rhetoric. Everybody wants to cool it in order to find a diplomatic solution and that’s what we should be trying to do.”
Such a solution may prove difficult given the opposite views of Russia on the one hand and the European Union and United States on the other. Current Secretary of State John Kerry is in Kiev working on bringing the two sides together, although no major news has broken about the prospective talks.
Clinton's remarks have drawn the usual strong reactions from the internet, ranging from the negative:
Hilary Clinton said Vladimir Putin was equal to Adolf Hitler now you know why she won't ever be president
— The Justice League (@JusticeAngelo) March 6, 2014
To the positive:
We need a strong President and it seems like Hilary Clinton is that person. Glad she made the Hitler-Putin analogy.
— Robert Townsend (@polarsnare) March 6, 2014
To the undecided:
Hilary Clinton compared Putin to Hitler.. I might vote for her next election ...might
— Charlie Waffles (@MeloSmoove) March 6, 2014
Whether or not Putin's actions prove to be on a level with that of the Nazis, you can rest assured that Clinton's comparison will be around at least until the next presidential election.[Image via UCLA]