William Perry, the secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton, has warned that the US alienated Russia by neglecting its post-USSR pain and inherent security interests. Before relations with Moscow can be repaired, the US must recognise this, Perry has said.
In an editorial piece published on Monday by the publication Outrider, Perry, a seasoned supporter of the elimination of WMDs, urged reflection in Washington, DC.
After the fall of the USSR, Perry claimed that later US administrations followed policies that alienated the Russian populace. He claimed that the US didn’t give a damn about the misery that Russia’s shift to a capitalist economy caused and disregarded Russian objections to NATO encroaching on its borders.
“The combination of the West failing to act during Russia’s financial crisis, and ignoring their strongly-held views on NATO expansion, reinforced a prevailing Russian belief that we didn’t take them seriously,” the article said. “Indeed, many in the West saw Russia only as the loser of the Cold War, not worthy of our respect.”
Perry, who oversaw the Pentagon from 1994 to 1997, was a staunch advocate of the Partnership for Peace initiative. This was a compromise that permitted Russia and Eastern European countries to train with NATO troops but refrained from admitting former Warsaw Pact countries due to Russian objections.
Ultimately, the Clinton administration worked to formalize the military bloc’s growth, which paved the way for a hostile relationship with Russia that resulted in the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin, who he sees as “an autocratic leader who would instead demand respect and power by force,” was supported by Russians because of the American attitude. Perry stated that although he views the Russian president as an opponent of the US.
“We must work to rebuild connections with Russia, treat the Russian people with respect, and rebuild our relationships, in the hopes that we can once again return to the path of friendship,” he concluded.