Russia the Enemy—Not Friend
A friend is an ally, someone who is on your side. But it goes deeper than that. A true friend is one who seeks to promote your happiness and prosperity. An enemy is someone hostile to you; one who works to harm you and your best interests. By any set of parameters, Russia is not our friend. Indeed, Russia is our enemy, an adversary who has worked aggressively to damage the United States and its interests. Although this is perfectly obvious, there are those among us who make no secret they hold Russia in high regard. More specifically, the object of their admiration is Vladimir Putin, the authoritarian at its head.
We all know imitation is the highest form of flattery. And any onlooker can’t help but notice a growing number of Republicans want to emulate Putin. Perhaps they like his tactics, or his goals. Perhaps they see our democratic government as weak, and his authoritarian one as strong. Putin’s apparent objective is to restore Russia’s place in the world as it was for the now defunct Soviet Union. The values and morality of today’s Russia are totally contrary to what our founders enshrined in the Constitution. In Russia there is no loyal opposition, or for that matter any opposition. Rules that have kept the peace since World War II are not for him.
Russia the Unscrupulous Country
Russia is an aggressive, power hungry animal, ruthlessly violating numerous treaties and international law without regard to the human cost. Any action is justified if it serves Putin’s objectives. Here is a brief summary of Russia’s actions:
Russia invades, occupies and even annexes areas of independent countries—Georgia and the Ukraine—in what it designates its sphere of influence.
Russia restricts candidates in opposition to Putin and frequently arrests and convicts them on trumped up charges.
Russia assassinates individuals it deems disloyal to Putin or Russia. There is no trial or jury of peers.
Russia supports corrupt and murderous regimes as in Syria and joins in brutal indiscriminate bombing of civilians.
Russia even sinks to cheating in the field of sports, massively falsifying doping data even after having been previously suspended for that action.
And most alarmingly for the United States, Russia interferes with elections here and in Europe. Putin, a former intelligence officer, is a master of propaganda, and provides positive misinformation in support of the candidate he favors and negative misinformation on the opponent. Because of easy access to social platforms, it’s an inexpensive way to influence an election. This is a serious concern for the 2020 U.S. election.
Russia Gains Fox News Star Commentator’s Support
These are not actions of a friend. Clearly, Russia is not our friend. Yet there are public voices, namely Fox News’ star commentator, Tucker Carlson, who are openly urging the United States to treat Russia as our friend. A few weeks ago, he said, “Why do I care about what’s going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? And I’m serious, I don’t care. And why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.”
Shortly after, he claimed he was joking, but later, doubled down saying, “I should say for the record, I’m totally opposed to these sanctions and I don’t think that we should be at war with Russia, and I think we should probably take the side of Russia if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine. That is my view.”
Imagine that. According to Carlson, we should take the side that invaded, occupied and even annexed areas of independent neighboring countries. We should abandon one such country, Ukraine—an ally of the United States—that’s trying to build a democracy. And we should seek friendship with Russia, the country that interfered in our 2016 election to support its favored candidate. Oh, wait. That candidate was Donald Trump. Now we have the answer to our question why so many Republicans act as if Russia is our friend.
Donald Trump’s Friend—Russia
Any friend of Donald Trump is a friend of the Republicans. Russia is not our friend but it’s certainly a friend of Donald Trump. Perhaps he’s even more than just a friend. Russsian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently visited the White House. Apparently at Trump’s request, he posed for a photo standing behind Trump seated at his desk. Perhaps this was an unwitting reflection of the power behind the throne. It must have made Putin smile.
Russian media was quick to happily describe the event. In its weekly news of the week program, TV channel Rossiya 1 aired a segment called “Puppet Master and ‘Agent.’—How to Understand Lavrov’s Meeting With Trump.” They do not feel the need to hide that Russian experts and politicians consider Trump to be openly pro-Kremlin. In fact Russian news personalities refer to him as Russia’s “agent” and even joke about Trump’s future prospects after he ultimately leaves office. One asked, “Should we get another apartment in Rostov ready?” He was alluding to the asylum Russia provided Viktor Yanukovych, former president of Ukraine, who was forced to flee to Russia in 2014.
Fortified by his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani’s deceitful actions, Trump has turned a blind eye to Russian propaganda, allowing it to take root in the U.S. Many Americans now believe that the Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. Putin, very happy to enjoy the fruits of his efforts, recently remarked, “Thank God no one is accusing us of interfering in the U.S. elections anymore. Now they’re accusing Ukraine.”
Sadness of a Patriot
As a patriot, I find it difficult to witness the total humiliation of our President and the demeaning of the United States on the world stage, particularly at the hands of the corrupt and immoral government of Russia. Yet, it is Trump himself who has created this situation with the acquiescence of the sycophantic Republican Party. Sadly, this humiliation and the damage to our national security do not seem to bother the perpetrators of this disgraceful action. Winning the next election is the driving force and these sycophants need Trump’s endorsement to do so. In their eyes the Constitution loses its power when it comes up against Trump. No profiles in courage here; just an assembly of cowards.
Trump has been impeached, and not one Republican was able to defend him on the charges. Oh they railed about a witch-hunt, and dared to compare holding him accountable to the betrayal of Jesus. But no one called him honorable, or honest, or incorruptible. No one said he was a good man. They didn’t want people with first hand knowledge to testify, but decried the lack of evidence that was apparent to everyone. They will not oppose Trump any more than the Russian government will oppose Putin. That is the model they want to imitate, and that is why these Republicans are the greatest danger our democracy has ever faced.
Ronald Reagan knew Russia was our enemy. He left a legacy expressed in American values and strength. Donald Trump destroyed it.