Democrats very irritated by the fact that the Republicans do not share their outrage at the escalating scandal over ties trump and Russia. The sympathy of President Vladimir Putin, the zeal with which his son was willing to take potential assistance from Russia during the election campaign of 2016, and questions about how could the team members trump to collude with Russia in order to undermine Hillary Clinton forced Democrats to talk about impeachment and even treason.
Being an inveterate anti-Russian hawk, who for the last ten years have highlighted the Kremlin’s operation of influence throughout the West, I share the frustration and outrage of the Democrats. Over the past year I have written and published numerous articles on the subject, including “How Putin mocked trump’s” (“How Putin plays Trump like a piano”), “As trump has forced his party to love Russia” (“How Trump got his party to love Russia”) and “How the Republican party became the party of Putin” (“How the GOP became the party of Putin”). From my point of view, the indifference of conservatives to the attempts of Russia to weaken and discredit our democracy is one of the most horrific events in modern political history of America.
However, although the Democrats are probably right in the diagnosis that they have put the Republicans, they are completely deprived of the ability to adequately assess their own past relations with Russia. This explains why conservatives are so hard to take seriously the indignation of the liberals about Russia: most of those who now scolds them and calls them “puppets of Putin” had spent the previous eight years, blindly supporting the democratic President, Barack Obama, whose main characteristic in relations with Moscow became carelessness. From the point of view of the Republicans, these latter-day democratic proponents of the cold war are just victims of hysteria party — and this perception is not entirely unfounded.
Let’s look at the next episode of the unfolding Saga on the relationship of trump and Russia, namely from meeting Donald trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer, who promised to send him dirt on Clinton. Before the publication of emails indicating that he was ready to get the dirt on a political rival of his father, trump Jr. said that the meeting only discussed the theme “adoption”. The Democrats rightly pointed out that it was just a ploy: when officials of the Russian government or it’s agents talking about international adoption, they are actually referring to the Magnitsky act of 2012, which imposed sanctions against Russians responsible for serious violations of human rights and was named after Russian lawyer, expose the massive fraudulent scheme involving officials of the Russian government and died in a prison cell. The adoption of the Magnitsky Act so angered Putin that he decided to take revenge by banning American families to adopt children from Russia. Since the adoption of this law five years have passed, and he still haunts the Russian President. In the words of trump, in the course of their conversation with Putin during an official dinner at the summit Big twenty, which previously tried to keep silent, Putin raised the supposedly innocuous topic of “adoption”.
But despite the righteous indignation of the Democrats and the support of the Magnitsky Act, which relentlessly claim former Obama administration officials and their supporters in the not too distant past they tried to prevent its adoption, fearing that the law could disrupt their invaluable “reset” of relations with Moscow. In 2012 in the campaign the Obama administration lobbied for the repeal of the amendment of Jackson-Vanik law, which was adopted in the cold war era in which the strengthening of trade relations with Russia tied to the situation of violations of human rights in this country. Some members of Capitol hill offered to replace the amendment of Jackson-Vanik with the Magnitsky act, but the administration strongly protested against such a step. Shortly after his appointment to the post of U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul (Michael McFaul) has publicly stated that the Magnitsky Act would be “unnecessary” and that the administration is against public shaming of Russians guilty of human rights violations, but also against the imposition of financial sanctions. McFaul even referred to the Russian opposition, which, according to him, agree with the point of view of the administration.
However, it was about the characteristics of Russian civil society, whose most influential leaders have supported the repeal of the amendment of Jackson-Vanik only if its replacement by the Magnitsky act. “If [the amendment of Jackson-Vanik] cancel, leaving nothing in return… this will be a boon for Mr. Putin”, — wrote a Russian dissident Gary Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov in the Wall Street Journal a few days after the statements of McFaul. (Nemtsov, one of the strongest critics of Putin, was killed in 2015, a few hundred meters from the Kremlin walls.) Meanwhile anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny wrote that although he supported the repeal of the amendment of Jackson-Vanik, “there is no doubt that the majority of Russian citizens will be happy if the Senate would deprive the most corrupt Russian officials the right to enter the territory and engage in financial transactions in the United States that is the essence of the law Magnitsky”.
However, the Obama administration has continued not only to oppose the Magnitsky act, but to state that Russian opposition supports her in these endeavors. “The leaders of the political opposition in Russia, — wrote the then Secretary of state Hillary Clinton in his article for the Wall Street Journal urged the US to repeal Jackson-Vanik, notwithstanding their concerns about the situation with human rights and the Magnitsky case”. Despite the protests of the administration, the Congress approved the Magnitsky act, and Obama had to sign it. Commenting on this fight a few years later, bill Browder (Bill Browder), an investor who employed Mr Magnitsky and which insisted on the adoption of this law, said in an interview with Foreign Policy: “the Administration, starting with Hillary Clinton and then John Kerry have done everything possible to prevent adoption of the law Magnitsky”.
Today, the liberal anti-Russian hawks are trying to convince us that they always knew about the treachery and crimes of the Kremlin. This amnesia affected not only the specific act but the whole foreign policy of the Obama administration. Since the reboot, which was announced in early 2009, a few months after the invasion of Russia in Georgia, and coagulation of missile defense systems in the Czech Republic and Poland later in the same year until it is ready to close eyes to Russia’s violations of the terms of the Treaty on the elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles of 1987 and to prepare the ground for military intervention of Russia in the Syrian conflict, the Russian policy of the Obama administration was one extended in time, the eight-year concession to Moscow. For two presidential terms, Obama tried to downplay the threat that Russia presented to the allies, interests and values of America, and ridiculed those who tried to say otherwise. “The traditional division of countries of the South and North makes no sense in a world where everything is interdependent, how and country-based differences has long remained in the past of the cold war,” said Obama at the UN General Assembly in 2009 — much more florid and long-winded way to point out the moral deterioration of NATO, for which later the liberals sharply criticized trump.
When in 2009 the Obama administration decided to roll the missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland — announced his decision on the anniversary of the invasion of the Soviet Union to Poland — she emphasized that this step is aimed not so much to do something nice for Russia, but to be able to more effectively counter the Iranian threat. In foreign policy, perception is of great importance, and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have interpreted this move as proof that America throws his friends to meet his opponent. The same feelings felt by many of America’s allies during the reign of Obama, whether it was about the Israelis or the Arab Sunnis concerned about the growing influence of Iran, or the Japanese, who were disturbed by the reluctance of the US to resist revisionist China. The liberals are quite right in criticizing the administration of the tramp for what she alienates allies. However, they apparently forgot about how people behaved, who headed the White house during the previous eight years.
Three years later, due to the fact that during a personal interview Obama with then President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev somebody forgot to turn off the microphone the whole world know that Obama has promised to show “more flexibility” (that is, to make new concessions to Moscow) after the presidential election, which was held in the autumn of that year. (Imagine what a storm would rise, if trump had said that to Putin.) Later in the same year, after MITT Romney (Mitt Romney) called Russia a “geopolitical enemy of America number one”, Obama ridiculed his rival in the elections. “I called the 1980s, ask them to return back their foreign policy, saying the cold war is 20 years over,” he joked then Obama. Then Obama’s example was followed by many Democrats, foreign policy experts and journalists also began to criticize the position of Romney. The future Secretary of state John Kerry, commenting on the statement Romney said the warning “ridiculous”. And his predecessor, Madeleine Albright (Madeleine Albright) said that Romney “is hard to understand what is really happening in the 21st century”.
And this wasn’t just a topic for discussion.
The downplaying of the extent and nature of the Russian threat was a major component of the liberal foreign policy doctrine until last year, when it became clear that Russia is trying to interfere in the election campaign in the U.S. to reduce the chances of a democratic candidate to win. This was the justification for humiliating Obama’s decision to agree to cynical proposition of Russia to help get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons after the Syrian regime crossed the “red line” Obama. This agreement not only allowed to completely destroy the chemical weapon stockpiles of the Bashar al-Assad (as evidenced by the fact that the regime has used him already after he allegedly destroyed), but in essence paved the way for the Russian military intervention in the Syrian conflict two years later.
Even after Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 — the first forcible seizure of territory on the European continent since the end of world war II — Obama continued to downplay the seriousness of the Russian threat. A few weeks after the annexation in response to a question about whether Romney is right, saying about the threat from Russia, Obama called it “a regional power that is not because of the strength, but its weakness is a threat to some of its neighbors.” Really? Russia is such a “regional power”, which managed to interfere in the American presidential elections right across the Atlantic ocean, spending that Democrats today called the most successful operation effect in history. “In all my time in government this was the point which I was the hardest to defend,’ said one former official of the Obama administration, commenting on the administration’s reaction to Russia’s intervention. I had a feeling that we pulled the plug”.
However, accusing trump that he is Putin’s puppet, the liberals — especially the President, whom they so admired — rarely think about their own hypocrisy and apologize to Romney, whose insight in relation to Russia if he was elected President in 2012, would prevent Putin to do what he did under Obama. Obama Putin rightly saw a weak and indecisive leader and decided that he should apply the tactics that he uses on the territory of the former Soviet republics to the American democratic process. The only recognition errors, which was made to date came from the former head of the election headquarters Clinton Brian Fallon (Brian Fallon), who wrote on Twitter: “We Democrats were wrong in 2012, ridiculing Romney”. Obama’s speechwriter Jon Favreau (Jon Favreau) is also acknowledged with a smile that “we miscalculated a little”. If Obama feels some regret, he, most likely, save them for your memoirs.
But even if the liberals will eventually show remorse and acknowledge how much they were wrong in Romney, it would not be valid proof of their seriousness in relation to Russia. To their present criticism of the administration trump sounded weighty and reasonable liberals will not only have to apologize for insulting Obama’s statement that Republicans restricted the Champions of the cold war. They will have to renounce and to challenge the greater part of foreign-policy legacy of Obama, who underestimated and tried to please Russia at every opportunity. Otherwise, their grim statements about “active measures”, and “compromising” and other phenomena of the Soviet era and will look to manifestations of opportunism, and their allegations that trump is a puppet of the Kremlin, will remain merely a reflection of political bias.
So far, it seems that Democrats demonstrated rigidity in relation to Russia is largely — if not entirely — attributable to the anger caused by (mistaken) conviction that Putin was deprived of Clinton winning the election, not the Kremlin aggression against Russia’s neighbors, not Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict on the side of Assad, not a violation of the terms of the Treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range or some other its steps. The majority of Democrats were ready to pull it all the hands of Russia at a moment when Obama told the world that the “country-based differences has long remained in the past of the cold war” are obsolete, or that Russia is only a “regional power”, whose intervention in the Syrian conflict will trigger another Afghanistan, or when he tried to enlist the support of Russia for the sake of another of his geopolitical goals for the conclusion of an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. If the latter-day antagonism of the Democrats in relation to Russia, was a manifestation not only of the positions of the party, they would have to protest against foreign policy decisions of Obama, who tried to please Russia at every opportunity. As written by a former speechwriter of George W. Bush Matt Latimer (Matt Latimer), if trump took part in the elections and won, but not as a Republican and as a Democrat, the Democrats likely would demonstrate exactly the same cynicism and opportunism, waving away the Russian scandal, which the Republicans are now showing.
The reluctance of Democrats to conduct an honest analysis of his past political blunders, their amateurism and the zeal with which they oppose Russia, it resists attempts to convince the American public that Russia’s intervention in our democratic processes is a very serious matter. The most influential participants of this debate are those people who deeply studied the big strategy of Russia, implying the undermining of the foundations of Western democracy, and who understand that the case with trump is just one element of a long-term global campaign. It is not surprising that these people maintain their anti-Russian position under different administrations, and they criticized the Obama administration for its failures as openly and forcefully as they now criticize trump. However, mainly due to the fact that the media prefer sensationalism, the voices of these experts usually are muffled, and the preference given to individual members of the Democratic party and the conspiracy theorists who actively accuse the current administration of “treason”. Frankly, most liberals novice in this matter, and their obvious overcompensation and harsh rhetoric leads to the degradation of our civil culture. “We were under attack from a hostile state… We need to discuss how many of the new sanctions we need to impose on Russia and whether we should blow up the KGB, the GSU or GRU”, — said recently the Democrat Paul Begala (Paul Begala) in an interview with CNN, mentioning the names of the Soviet intelligence Agency, a defunct Agency and the Russian military intelligence. Leading joy Reid MSNBC (Joy Reid) recently tweeted — for no reason at all — that “Donald trump is married to one American woman (his second wife) and two women from the former Soviet Yugoslavia: Ivan — Slovakia, Melania — Macao”.
Most likely, Reid wanted hinted that trump must be the agent of Russia, since he twice married women from the countries of the former Eastern bloc. In the statement, the RAID — just one sentence — committed three errors: 1) Ivana trump was born in the modern Czech Republic, not in Slovakia; 2) Slovakia never was part of Yugoslavia; 3) Yugoslavia, although a socialist country, never was part of the Soviet Union — indeed, she actively resisted against the inclusion in the Warsaw Pact bloc. This is what happens when rank and file Democrats, who until June 2016, is not at all interested Russia, suddenly begin to pretend to be Henry Jackson: they are starting to sound like Joe McCarthy (Joe McCarthy).
Speaking about the future, the obsession of liberals Russia could significantly harm them. Many Democrats, apparently, sincerely believe that Putin is the only reason Clinton became the first female President of the United States. Considering Russia’s intervention is the only and the most important explanation for their defeat in the elections, Democrats happily forget about many other factors — the weakness of candidates, unconvincing and sluggish platform, the features of the gender policy, which has pushed many Americans which prevented them from an easy victory over the incompetent person who ever claimed the post of President. Although the American people really need to learn more about the extent of the Kremlin’s influence operations and about how Russia threatens the free world, obsession with Russia and unwillingness to consider other factors will not let them win in the future.
Of course, the hypocrisy that often accompanies politics, and politicians will never be late to recognize that Russia is a threat. But given the fact that the Democrats are now talking about impeachment, and even of treason, they need to soberly analyze the situation. Constant reminders of the strange sympathy trump Putin and his suspicious ties with Russia is not enough. Much more serious concessions of Russia, which was the previous administration that caused us interests are not less harmful, and maybe even more. Are the liberals to admit that the reboot was a huge mistake from the beginning?
Are they willing to support the decision to provide weapons to Ukraine? Re-deploy a missile defense system in Eastern Europe? Are they ready to admit that the Syrian policy of Obama has been a disaster which paved the way for Russia to restore its influence in the middle East? In other words, are they willing to renounce foreign-policy legacy of their most beloved leaders? Because only this can prove the seriousness of their criticism of Russia. Otherwise, all their words and actions will remain mere manifestations of party bias.