Written January 9, 2017     
 

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LONSBERRY POLL
Who is the greater threat to America?
Russia
China

© 2017 Bob Lonsberry

 
 
RUSSIA IS A DIVERSION

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Of course Russia tried to influence our election.

Russia has been trying to influence American elections since the 1920s. It has typically tried to do this through support to progressive activists, labor unions and Democrat politicians, and by the infiltration of those entities and the government by Russian agents and philosophical allies. The notion that Russians would try to influence our elections and our society can only surprise the purposefully naïve.

The recent fuss over apparent Russian hacking of the email system of the Democratic Party is little more than political posturing. It is largely meant to create a perceived delegitimization of the Donald Trump victory on election day. It is a political stunt which has an awful lot of politicians weeping crocodile tears.

In the real world, nations try to influence one another in a variety of ways all the time. They have done this through beaming propagandized broadcasts into one another’s territory for generations. They have done this through the support of political parties and movements over a similar period of time. Fear of Russian influence in American politics and governance is what gave rise to the red scare and McCarthyism and any number of genuine spies and provocateurs from Alger Hiss down to the present.

And it is not just them, it is often us. As recently as last year we know the United States tried to influence the outcome of elections in Israel. Barack Obama opposes Benjamin Netanyahu, and so the American government worked against the Likud Party of Prime Minister Netanyahu. In 2011, the United States government, in an effort directed by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, tried to influence Russian parliamentary elections in such a way as to weaken Vladimir Putin.

And those are just two examples. The United States has tried to determine outcomes of elections and pick leaders for various nations around the world for 100 years. It is part of the real world dynamic.

Ironically, the need to attack Trump has driven American progressives to vilify Russia, which for most of the 20th century was their favorite foreign country. The Obama progressives who love Cuba seem to have forgotten the Cuba was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Russia. It is a reversal of roles to have Democrats condemning Russia and a Republican president elect seemingly defending Russia.

Hopefully, the political posturing of the Democrats and their sycophantic friends John McCain and Lindsey Graham won’t get in the way of a common sense diplomatic approach to Russia under Donald Trump.

The Obama era was catastrophic for American relations with Russia, as it was with so many other nations. Our situation is dramatically worse today than it was eight years ago. After famously hoping for a reset and improvement of relations, the mismanagement by the Obama administration of the Russia relationship generally and the Vladimir Putin relationship specifically has empowered a belligerent Russia and exacerbated our traditionally poor relationship with that nation and people.

Donald Trump seems to be sending a message to Russia and the world that our two nations do not have to be enemies. He seems to be indicating that there are areas in which we can cooperate. That would certainly make sense. Though Russia will always be our opponent and rival, common sense does indicate that our two countries could naturally ally together against China and militant Islam. In a world dynamic in which many powers and cultures are antagonistic to the United States, gratuitous beefs with nuclear powers headed by unpredictable strongmen -- like Vladimir Putin -- don’t make sense. If American diplomacy under Donald Trump could find common cause with Russia, or at least mutual respect for one another’s priorities and spheres of influence, the world would be more stable and American interests would be more secure.

For this to happen, Donald Trump will need to do more than just demonstrate the open-mindedness towards Russia which we have thus far seen. He also needs to establish a relationship of mutual respect with Vladimir Putin. We don’t know if the Russians meddled with our recent campaign because they liked Trump or because they hated Clinton. But if the motivation was that Vladimir Putin believed Donald Trump would be good for Russia, then Donald Trump will have to early in his relationship with Vladimir Putin show who’s the boss.

If Vladimir Putin specifically tried to get Donald Trump elected, it was presumably because Putin thought that Trump would either be an incompetent opponent or would bend to Russian will. Trump must quickly show Putin that neither of those things is true. If Putin admires and respects strength, then the United States and its new president must show strength.

Realistically, it is likely that the future relationship between United States and Russia will improve. That is true in part because it would be hard for the relationship to get worse, or for it to be managed worse. Under Obama, Putin has been able to invade Ukraine, determine the outcome of the civil war in Syria, shoot down a civilian airliner, and directly weaken our ties with a variety of allies across the globe.

Things almost have to get better.

And we must do more to protect our cyber security and electoral integrity.

But we must recognize that the current posturing about Russia is merely a partisan political diversion. To the extent that people take it seriously and divert attention to it for more pressing issues, the country is hurt.

And there are a great many more pressing issues. In fact, that is the point.

While the American press and the Democratic Party are crapping their pants about Russia, the issues which drove Americans to the polls in November are being ignored. There is the issue of securing our borders, getting our jobs back, rebuilding our broken military, reestablishing our respect in the international community, lowering our ridiculously high business taxes, trying to finally save the people of inner-city America, balancing our budget and paying down our debt, restoring respect for police and bridging the gap of racial polarization.

Those are matters that truly count. Those are matters that drove people to vote. Those are issues that still directly impact our society. And those are issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with Russia and its meddling.


- by Bob Lonsberry © 2017

   
        
   
 
    
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