Ever since Vladimir Putin decided to annex Crimea, the media and cable news channel “contributors” have obsessed over the “Reset Button” presented by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on March 6, 2009. But no one has gotten the story right.
The conventional wisdom is that President Obama used the word “reset” to apologize for his predecessor’s alleged “bellicose” attitude toward Mother Russia and Vladimir Putin.
This is not the case. When I was in college and graduate school, I learned three different perspectives on what caused the Cold War: (1) Russia’s fault; (2) Both sides’ fault; and (3) America’s fault. Barack Obama, based on his education and radical associations (Frank Marshall Davis and Bill Ayers come to mind), clearly believes that the US was to blame for the Cold War. Thus, the “Reset Button” had little to do with the George W. Bush years, but was more about “apologizing” for US behavior toward Russia throughout the entire Cold War era — from the Potsdam Conference (June 1945) to the fall of the Berlin Wall (November 1989).