In his most recent op-ed Pat Buchanan wonders if future Americans will look back on the Russia fear mongers in the same way we look back on the war hawks of 1914, or the three blind mice of Versailles in 1919.
While there is a lot that I disagree with Buchanan about, there is no denying he is a brilliant man who understands history and has a command of the causes and effects of world events. In his latest piece he artfully weaves together the common talking points of today’s media elite, the establishment of both parties, and the leftist anti-Trump forces with a little knowledge from our history and some of our recent foreign policy decision.
Buchanan expertly reminds us that when it comes to autocrats and dictators, the things Trump is being attacked for today, are the same things President have done for generations.
- Putin favors “spheres of influence” over self-determination? So did FDR, Truman, and George H.W. Bush.
- Corruption over Transparency? Our “man in Kiev” has been accused of being thoroughly corrupt.
- Repression over Democracy? We’ve favored regime change in nations where leaders were duly and legally elected! Turkey, Egypt, and the Philippines for example.
- We sanctioned Russia after the death in prison of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. No one is talking about sanctioning China even though they just let Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, die in prison.
Buchanan goes on to explain that in most of our dealings with Russia, while we might disagree with the path they’ve taken, we can understand their reasons for taking it. The world is not as black and white as we like to pretend, and today there are elements of the left and the establishment that are painting Vladimir Putin as some never-before-seen nefarious figure. We should be careful that we don’t let these people drag us to war. Buchanan concludes his piece by issuing a stern warning:
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Putin is not Pope Francis. But he is not Stalin; he is not Hitler; he is not Mao; and Russia today is not the USSR. Putin is an autocrat cut from the same bolt of cloth as the Romanov czars.
His cooperation is crucial to the peace of the world, the freedom of the Baltic States, an end to the Syrian civil war, tranquility in the Persian Gulf, and solving the North Korean crisis.
While our tectonic plates may rub against one another, we are natural allies. The Russia of Tolstoy, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn and the Orthodox Church belongs with the West.
If America stumbles into a war with Russia that all our Cold War presidents avoided, the Russia baiters and Putin haters will be put in same circle of hell by history as the idiot war hawks of 1914 and the three blind men of Versailles in 1919.
We’d be wise to heed Buchanan’s words.