At one time, the leader of Russia could do no wrong. Even Joseph Stalin, a bloodthirsty tyrant who subjugated most of eastern Europe and was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of his own people, was praised by many in the United States. Some — such as leftist folk singer Woody Guthrie — even wrote a column defending Stalin’s unprovoked invasion of Poland in 1939.
Today, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is certainly no George Washington, but is also no Stalin, is the subject of more hatred among the American establishment than any of the string of dictators that ruled Russia after Stalin.
President Donald Trump has been the target of particularly vitriolic comments after his cordial treatment of Putin at the recent Helsinki Summit, but nothing tops the comments made by President Barack Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan, who tweeted, “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”
Brennan even called for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Chief of Staff John Kelly to resign in protest. “I’m at a loss of words to describe just outrageous his words, his statements, his behavior has been … and how Mr. Putin now is the master puppeteer of Donald Trump, the person who is in our Oval Office. Outrageous.”
What is “outrageous” is that Brennan would even dare to question anyone else’s patriotism. In 1976, Brennan voted for Gus Hall, the candidate of the U.S. Communist Party, which at that time was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This was in the middle of the Cold War, when hundreds of Soviet nuclear missiles were pointed at the United States, and during a time when the Soviet Union had thousands of political prisoners in its gulags.
Yet, he thinks it is Trump who has committed treason.
Brennan — who supported a puppet of Communist dictator Leonid Brezhnev — is not alone, of course. Up until Donald Trump took office, Brennan and his fellow leftists absolutely loved the Soviet Union and its dictators. For example, even after Soviet spy Alger Hiss was sentenced to five years in prison in 1950, Secretary of State Dean Acheson continued to support him, infamously saying, “I do not intend to turn my back on Alger Hiss.”
Hiss played a critical role at the wartime Yalta conference in 1945, when much of eastern Europe was delivered to Stalin. The conference also played a huge role in the eventual fall of China to communism.
Hiss was not the only Soviet spy to penetrate the U.S. government. The exact number is unknown, but it was clearly immense. According to Arthur Herman in his book Joseph McCarthy, when two researchers reviewed KGB files and compiled a list of classified materials taken by Soviet spies such as Hiss, it “ran to over 150 single-spaced pages.” And that probably only represented a fraction of the total.
In addition to actual spies, the Russian dictators from Stalin through Mikhail Gorbachev could count on their supporters in the United States, many of whom are the same people who now despise Trump and Putin. There were Soviet front groups such as the International Organization of Journalists and the World Federation of Democratic Youth.
When Ronald Reagan was president, there was no question that most of the Democratic Party’s leading politicians favored Russian communist dictators over the American president. Senator George McGovern expressed relief that, in contrast to Reagan, a much more reasonable man was in power in Moscow — Yuri Andropov. (Interestingly, the American media routinely mentions Putin’s former association with the KGB, but when Andropov was ruling the U.S.S.R., little was said that Andropov had actually headed up the KGB).
McGovern said, “I think we ought to be very thankful that this man Andropov seems to be a reasonable guy and somewhat restrained. Because certainly the Reagan-Weinberger approach is one of intense confrontation. It’s almost as though they were spoiling for a military showdown.”
Former President Jimmy Carter even visited Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin’s residence in 1984 to express his concern about Reagan’s defense buildup. Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neill told Dobynin that Reagan was a “demagogue” and a “dangerous man.”
Perhaps the actions of Senator Edward Kennedy were the most egregious. It was discovered by a researcher in 1991 that Kennedy had actually communicated to Andropov to ask the then-Soviet dictator to help the Democrats challenge Reagan in 1984 — in other words, interfere in the U.S. election. The memo expressed Kennedy’s view that “The only real potential threats to Reagan [in his race in 1984] are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations.”
Each successive Communist dictator — Brezhnev, Chernenko, Andropov — was praised by the Left as superior to Reagan. It was even noted that Andropov liked classical music and an occasional glass of wine. And, then, of course, nothing could surpass the praise heaped upon the last Soviet dictator, Mikhail Gorbachev. It was so absurd that radio commentator Rush Limbaugh coined the term “Gorbasms.”
Interestingly, at one time, even Vladimir Putin was in the Left’s good graces. Shortly after Obama took office in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and presented him with a “reset button.” Later, Obama declared that the “reset” with Putin had worked, yet when Trump now tries to effect his own reset with the Russians, he is denounced by Brennan as a traitor.
Obama, not realizing his microphone was still on, later told then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to give a message to Putin: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility,” to which Medvedev responded, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
When Obama ran for a second term in 2012, he dismissed concerns expressed by his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, who said the Russians under Putin were becoming very aggressive. Obama retorted that Cold War had “been over for 20 years.”
And it was not just Democrats who had no problem with Putin before Trump. President George W. Bush said that he had looked into Putin’s eyes and saw a man who wanted peace.
Today, the Republicans are either joining the Democrats in bashing Trump or staying silent, with the exception of Senator Rand Paul, who understands the importance of good relations with Russia. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) even said, “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
This is incredible. President Franklin Roosevelt made many laudatory remarks about Stalin — who is considered responsible for as many as 36 million deaths. President Richard Nixon toasted Mao Tse-tung, a man thought to have been responsible for as many as 64 million deaths. President Jimmy Carter kissed Brezhnev on both cheeks after the Soviet tyrant sent tanks into Prague in 1968 to crush rebellion to communist rule in Czechoslovakia.
Putin is no saint. But he is also no Stalin. Yet, this is really not about Putin. Attacks upon Putin are just a way to subvert the results of the 2016 presidential election, even if it prevents President Trump developing a better relationship with a foreign country.
Photo: AP Images