Responding on Thursday to the incessant drumbeat in the liberal mainstream media that Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, present a clear and present danger to the United States, President Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war. They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin. We are doing so MUCH better than any other country!”
Trump added, “The Fake News Media is going crazy! They make up stories without any backup, sources or proof. Many of the stories written about me, and the good people surrounding me, are total fiction. Problem is, when you complain you just give them more publicity. But I’ll complain anyway!”
During his recent joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Trump said that while he trusted his intelligence services, he saw no reason that Russia would have tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That touched off a wave of bipartisan criticism, leading Trump to backtrack, and publicly repent of his initial evaluation of the possibility of Russian meddling.
While both Democrats and Republicans generally bashed Trump and lauded the American intelligence agencies such as the CIA, it is striking to note the contrast with the attitude that liberals expressed during the Reagan years, when he was routinely pointed to as the cause of poor relations with a string of communist dictators of the Soviet Union. In fact, Eleanor Clift of Newsweek said on the “McLaughlin Group” in January 1994 that the CIA had “concealed what was happening over there [in the Soviet Union],” so as to help the Reagan administration’s defense spending.
Now, however, if someone questions the competence or honesty of the CIA or another part of the American intelligence community, their patriotism is seen as spurious. Former CIA Director John Brennan, a man who voted for the Communist Party candidate for president in 1976, even suggested that Trump had committed treason.
Such harsh rhetoric did not subside even after Trump returned to the White House. At a Cabinet meeting, a reporter, evidently seeking to keep the “story” alive, asked if Russia was still targeting the country. Trump replied, “No.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders later argued that Trump was simply responding "no" to any more questions (and in Sanders’ defense, Trump had just said he wanted no more questions).
Regardless, the question in Helsinki on Monday, in which Trump was asked if Putin had interfered in the U.S. election, and the question on Wednesday, were both designed to continue the narrative adopted by almost all the Democratic Party and their allies in the media: that in the summer of 2016 Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election, so as to help get Trump elected president.
What was Trump supposed to do in Helsinki? Turn to Putin and call him a bad name?
This politically inspired narrative is a dangerous game. While liberals in and out of government may not actually want a military confrontation between the world’s top two nuclear powers, their continued casting of Russia as a mortal threat to the United States could lead to just that. And even if war is not the result of their incessant charges of Russian meddling and even “collusion” with the Trump presidential campaign and now with the Trump administration, there are negative consequences to continuing this present bad relationship with Russia.
The tension ginned up by the media, the Democratic Party, the intelligence agencies, and even some in the Republican Party, such as the self-adoring Senator John McCain, is a real threat to cause a military confrontation with Russia — a confrontation that could spiral out of control.
In order to not appear too cordial to Russia, Trump may be forced to forego better relations with Putin’s government, and relations could potentially deteriorate into actual conflict. The most obvious possible “flash point” is in Syria, where there are located military assets of both countries. A Russian general was killed in an ISIS attack last year, and the Russians, rightly or wrongly, have placed blame on the United States.
After the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the fall of communist regimes in eastern Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expanded eastward toward Russia. Yet, some in the West have charged that the Russians are threatening “NATO’s borders.”
Finally, the United States, under President Trump, has provided arms to the Ukrainians to use against Russian-backed rebels. An equivalent situation would be if Russia were to get involved in a civil war in Mexico. Is Trump being pushed into a potential conflict in eastern Europe so as to prove that he is not Putin’s puppet?
In order to undermine Trump, his enemies have decided to not only paint Russia as an enemy of the United States (how many times has one heard a person in the media or a politician declare that “Putin is not our friend?”), but if Trump seeks better relations with Russia, any such action in that direction will then be pictured as part of the alleged collusion with Putin.
Working together, the United States and Russia could greatly reduce the Islamic terrorist threat in the Middle East. But, of course, that might “prove collusion.”
And this “story” is not just a situation in which the Democrats and the media are taking advantage of an issue that just fell into their laps. They created the story, pretty much out of thin air. During the 2016 presidential campaign, liberal journalists backed the narrative created by Hillary Clinton that Trump was a Putin puppet. The Clinton campaign secretly funded the anti-Trump dossier, a story the liberal media has absolutely no interest in pursuing, as it does not advance their goal of destroying Trump.
Sadly, as the story has failed to destroy Trump, the rhetoric of the Left has just gotten shriller. Actor Morgan Freeman has even declared, “We are at war.” While Freeman is just a movie star, Robert Reich was a Cabinet officer in Hillary Clinton’s husband’s administration. He should be more responsible, but he chimed in, declaring that Russia had committed an “unprecedented attack on our democracy.”
And by the way, has he never learned that America is a republc, not a democracy?
Has he never heard of 9/11, Pearl Harbor, and the incident in 1983 when the Soviet Union shot Korean Airline Flight 7 — a passenger jet — out of the sky, killing all 269 passengers, including Congressman Larry McDonald (D-Ga.), then the chairman of the anti-communist John Birch Society (parent organization for The New American)?
Putin is certainly no George Washington, but he is also no Joseph Stalin. Yet, somehow, as a way of attacking Trump, he has been pictured as America’s worst enemy.
Back in the 1980s, then-Senator George McGovern (D-S.D.) praised the Soviet dictator Yuri Andropov as “a reasonable guy,” and charged that it was President Ronald Reagan who was “spoiling for a military showdown” with the reasonable communists in the Kremlin. Today, the leftist script has flipped, and because Trump is not “spoiling for a military confrontation,” the modern-day McGovern types question Trump’s loyalty to America.
It is a dangerous game to play, just to score political points. It needs to stop.
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