Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg justified Russia’s invasion of Crimea, according to his own recently-surfaced 2015 remarks.
Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin highlighted Bloomberg’s comments from an appearance at the Aspen Institute with moderator Jennifer Bradley. (RELATED: Betting Odds Upset: Bernie Blows Past Biden, Bloomberg In Third)
Bloomberg began by comparing Russia’s move to annex Crimea to the United States annexing California from Mexico in 1848. “What would America do if we had a continuous country and a lot of people in that country wanted to be Americans. Does California ring a bell? We just went and took it.”
Bloomberg went on to suggest that U.S. military bases worldwide were no different than Russia’s aggression in the region, adding, “I’m not suggesting Putin’s doing a good thing or it should be allowed. But we did this. That was 200 years ago, but we did it. And you want a warm water port? Guantanamo Bay ring a bell? We kept that.”
He then suggested that the expansion of NATO may have led to Russian President Vladimir Putin feeling threatened, appearing to argue that Putin only lashed out because he felt cornered by other world powers.
Bloomberg concluded by claiming that having Russia as an ally would be important in the future, especially because he did not believe it would be possible to stop Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities. “With the whole crazy Islamic world with all of its chaos that’s going on, we’ll never be able to stop Iran from being a nuclear power. To do it, if we did, you have to have Russia as an ally in these things,” he explained.