Every week on Monday, the WoW! staff, community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Is Demonizing Putin And Russia A Smart Move?
Don Surber: “Is Demonizing Putin And Russia A Smart Move?”
As Trump exposes the espionage, I believe most Americans will have a what-the-feathers moment and side with President Trump. We do not like wiretapping.
Rob Miller: Ahh, Russia! A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a wonderful sandwich of that Russian black rye, turkey or roast beef, spicy Russian mustard and pickle with kasha on the side and a Stoly chaser (Sorry, Sir Winston).
First, let’s not forget that Barack Hussein Obama and his $ecretary of $tate Hillary Clinton gave Putin whatever he wanted in the beginning. They literally betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic by reneging on America’s commitment to put missile defense units in those countries and all Putin had to do was glower a bit.
Russia’s nukes at the time of the Hillary ‘reset’ were outmoded and out of date, So Obama and Hillary put together that ridiculous START treaty, which not only had the U.S. decommissioning state of the art American nukes on parity with Russia’s obsolete ones, but giving Russia access to our top anti-missile technology like Shoot To Kill, with no quid pro quo from Russia at all. And that doesn’t count Hillary giving Russia control over a chunk of America’s uranium production in exchange for a nice donation to the Clinton Foundation and a $500K speaking fee for Bill. What the Clintons and Obama gave Russia hurt America worse and was worth far more to Putin than they and their surrogate’s wildest accusations about anyone in the Trump Administration!
But as to the question at hand…
The major challenge of our age is the War on Jihad. Nothing else comes close. This isn’t a clash between civilizations as Samuel Huntington put it, but a clash between civilization and totalitarian barbarity. And the Russians know that first hand.
In the 13th century, the Mongol invasion of the early Russian state of Rus was a catastrophe. Rus lost most of its territory to the Mongols and to the Polish/Lithuanian kingdom. The Mongols devastated whole, entire cities and left them in ruins. Whatever was left of Russia had to pay tribute in slaves and treasure to the Tatars, the Muslim successors to the Mongols. And that lasted until the 15th century, when the Russians finally drove them out. The Russians have been fighting jihad for centuries, and have recent, first hand experience of jihadi brutality…like the 2004 takeover of a school in Beslan by jihadis and the subsequent rape, murder and torture of the children, teachers and other adults they held hostage. Even the most savage beasts would never have behaved in such a fashion. Beslan, Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Nice, Ma’alot, Orlando… it never changes except for the details.
If civilization is to triumph over barbarism, we must remain united, whatever our differences. That is how the West won at Lepanto and at Vienna. Different kingdoms put aside their differences to fight the greater threat. And we will need security cooperation with Russia to win the War on Jihad.
The uncomfortable truth of the matter is that Putin and Russia have been the ones fighting jihad, while Barack Obama and his cabal have been complicit in financing, empowering, arming and training it. It was Obama, after all, who destabilized the Middle East, destroyed America’s relationship with Egypt by trying to turn the country over to the Muslim Brotherhood, distanced us from the region’s Sunnis by empowering Iran, and helped create ISIS and backed ‘moderate Syrian rebels’ who were al-Qaeda affiliates.
The entire Crimea dust up is the most ridiculous of all. What we did to Russia and the Serbs with Kossovo is far worse than what Putin did with the Crimea. And what’s more, we didn’t even have any national interests at stake there. It was simply wag the dog, to distract the news headlines from Bill Clinton’s intern problems and look good to the Muslim world, particularly the Saudis. And it has negatively affected our relationship with Russia severely to this day. Memories are long in that part of the world.
Russia needs the Crimea as its sole outlet to the Mediterranean, and the warm water ports it can reach via the Black Sea. That’s also one of the main reasons behind Putin’s involvement with Syria… Russia’s vital naval bases, the Syrian ports at Tartus and Latakia.
Putin might not be a leader Americans would appreciate, but Russia is a different place, where the country has only prospered under strong, autocratic leaders. Putin is a Russian nationalist, but he also keeps his agreements. A sit down between Putin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who Putin knows and respects as a man of his word is likely to yield some important and necessary fruit.
Mike McDaniel: Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment was “thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans.” Immediately after he left office, the Republican Party abandoned that common sense idea, which was equally immediately seized upon by the Democrats, who have rigorously observed it where Democrats are concerned, and practiced the opposite: “though shalt speak ill of every Republican.”
Speaking ill of the Russians is, mostly, a no-lose proposition for the Democrats. Sure, it’s insanely hypocritical for the party of Ted Kennedy, who actually sought the aid of the Soviets, an evil empire bent on the destruction of America, to help him sabotage Ronald Reagan. The same party’s presidential candidate, John Kerry, betrayed his fellow military members, and his picture hung, for decades, in the North Vietnamese war museum as a hero of the struggle against America. The dishonor role goes on and on, yet it is the same party now indignant that members of the Trump Administration may have had the slightest contact with the Russian Ambassador, a man whose job it is to have as much contact with Americans as possible.
President Trump, with his too friendly comments about Vladimir Putin only painted a bigger target on his back. On one hand, we certainly want relations with Russia to be as good as possible, consistent with America’s national interests and those of our allies, but it wouldn’t hurt Mr. Trump, even now, to take a bit of a rhetorically harder line with Russia.
Still, the Democrats are riding any mention of Russia like a rented mule, and their goal is to use that ridiculous, lame topic to do as much damage to Mr. Trump–and to the nation–as possible. They don’t care how much America is harmed in the world in the process, as long as they get Trump, and perhaps, even seize power again.
Putin is doubtless laughing uproariously. He could care less if the Democrats say bad things about him. He knows, no matter what, they will always be useful idiots, easily manipulated to the detriment of America. He could easily be working with Democrats to harm Trump, who any rational leader must understand is not going to be the feckless pajama boy and useful idiot Barack Obama was. Any weakening of America is to Putin’s advantage, and our Democrat Party is working for him, whether intentionally or not.
Until Trump, and the Republicans can agree to fight back and not give an inch, the Democrats, and Putin win. Merely acknowledging their false accusations and faux outrage surrenders without resistance. The media will, of course, do everything it can to attack Trump and help the Democrats. Unless they want to surrender the majority, and give the Congress and White House back to the likes of Barack Obama, Trump and the Republicans had better put on a unified front, and say: “yes, members of the Trump Administration have talked to the Russians, and they’ll talk to the Russians in the future, just as they will talk to representatives of every other nation. That’s what we’re supposed to do. You’ll see the result in our foreign policy. That’s all we will have to say on this issue; now get the hell out of my office.”
The Democrats do have a risk: Americans are sick of fake outrage and fake news. However, the Administration and Republicans need to show them they’re on their side. Thus far, Republicans seem determined to squander everything that fell into their laps. The real battle is an offensive one against Democrats who are subverting our republic, not a defensive battle against non-scandals.
Demonizing Russia may be a smart move, if Republicans continue to do more damage to Mr. Trump than the Democrats. It won’t take long to find out.
Bookworm Room: My glib answer is that, if the Democrats are doing it, is is ab initio a bad idea. Russia is exactly the same as it was when Obama promised Putin flexibility and then handed the Middle East over to it; when Hillary, in exchange for sizable bribes, was nice enough to give Russia control over vast quantities of uranium; or when Podesta did whatever it was he did to increase his wealth thanks to dealings with Putin’s Russia. The problem is that, by playing this public game of demonizing Russia when nothing has changed, the Progressives are trying to force both Putin and Trump into an adversarial relationship that may not be to America’s benefit.
In this regard, it’s important to keep in mind that the Progressives have been unable to articulate an ideological rationale for this demonizing. This distinguishes the situation from that prevailing during the Cold War, which saw America stand worldwide for freedom and the Soviet Union stand worldwide for tyranny. It’s true that Putin is a KGB oligarch and tyrant, as well as Russian who wants what Russia has always wanted: Control over vast tracts of land and people. Having said that, though, this is not the Cold War and we are not in an ideological stand-off with Putin or Russia. Progressives have simply chosen him as the Bogey Man because they can.
My take is that allowing Trump, who truly loves and “gets” America, to have a free hand in his dealings with Russia is probably the best situation. In that way, Trump can respond as needed to whatever situations arise, whether in the Middle East, in Europe, or domestically. Creating an artificial enmity, where none has existed for the preceding eight years, gains nothing and risks much.
So, back to my first point: As is true for all Democrat/Progressive ideas, demonizing Putin and Russia is a dumb move.
Laura Rambeau Lee: The Cold War never ended no matter how hard the left tries to convince us otherwise. Progressives love to demonize Russia and blame them for every bad thing. A lot of it is true, such as them trying to influence our political elections. They have been doing this for a very long time and are expert at disseminating propaganda and disinformation.
The dirty secret is the progressive left (many within the media and in high political office) is working towards the same goal as Putin – the destruction of the United States of America. We need to be very clear that Putin is a hard core communist and has illusions of restoring the old Soviet Union.
But demonizing Putin and Russia is not a smart move. We have been dancing this dance with Russia for decades; utilizing them as allies when it serves our shared interests and placing sanctions on them when they step out of line. Maybe with Gorbachev President Reagan could “trust, but verify.” With Putin there can be no trust, and always verify. But as a world power we will continue to need to keep diplomatic lines of communication open with Russia. Demonizing them will only make our tenuous relationship more difficult to maintain.
Well, there it is.
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