[Rushtalk] Trump's Putin Praise in Perspective

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at juno.com
Sat Nov 5 17:05:27 MDT 2016

Trump's Putin Praise in Perspective

By Paul Albaugh


Donald Trump once again managed to confuse a pretty straightforward
issue in his comments in the recent "commander in chief forum." Trump
restated his previous adoration for Russian President Vladimir Putin,
saying, "Well, he does have an 82% approval rating." Furthermore, he
said, "It's a very different system and I don't happen to like the
system. But certainly, in that system, he's been a leader, far more than
our president has been a leader."

In a sense, Trump has a point. In fact, Rep. Steve King probably
explains it best, highlighting that Putin has been able to stoke the
fires in his own country and has brought forth a surge in Russian
nationalism. Putin is doing what he thinks will make Russia the great
power it once was, and Trump appreciates it.

Trump's running mate Mike Pence also defended Trump's statement,
asserting, "It's inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger
leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country."

To be clear, we agree that Obama has been a terrible leader for America.
But to be equally clear, Putin is an evil man who has spent his time in
office advancing his version of Russia's interests at all cost. Putin
kills journalists and political opponents who disagree with him. He
essentially has all of Russia under his thumb, which may very well be
why his "approval" rating is so high. Moscow's propaganda machine is at
full force and Russians are once again literally frightened to be
considered dissident.

Recall that Putin wants to regain Soviet-style control over Eastern
Europe and has made gains in doing so. He annexed Crimea and invaded
Ukraine. He also supports Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, is on good
terms with Iran (to whom, it's worth noting, Obama has freely given
billions of dollars), and generally has been undermining U.S interests
abroad for years (as has Obama). Putin's goons are the main suspects in
the hacking of the DNC's emails. Putin is a former KGB agent, and, as
the saying goes, you can take the man out of the KGB, but you can't take
the KGB out of the man.

The bottom line is that Putin is a fascist strongman, so it is troubling
that Trump would heap so much praise upon him — even as bad as Obama has
been for America. Compare and contrast, but don't praise.

The Washington Examiner's Philip Klein sums up the flawed moral
equivalency argument nicely:

        "Trump is dismissing actions Putin took threatening neighbors
        and working against U.S. interests by essentially saying, well,
        Obama has done a lot of things that were just as bad. This is
        exactly the type of moral equivalency that conservatives spent
        decades fighting against — when those on the far left tried to
        portray the U.S. and Soviet Union as morally the same, or slam
        U.S. as being the real terrorists in the Middle East. Imagine
        the reaction on the right if, in 2008, candidate Obama said Hugo
        Chavez was a great leader, and when confronted with his human
        rights violations, said, 'Well you could say the same about what
        George Bush did in Iraq.'
        "This is very important. Trump is not merely saying that Putin
        has been more effectively advancing his nation's interests than
        Obama, but he's saying that none of the evil actions he's taking
        have been any worse than Obama. And that is reprehensible and
        indefensible. And nobody on the right should be defending him."

Trump is missing out on a golden opportunity to point to the reason why
Putin has brought back a Russian resurgence. It's in part a result of
the failure of the Obama administration to recognize the geopolitical
threat that Russia is to American interests and global stability. It was
Obama and the Leftmedia who in 2012 scoffed at then presidential
candidate Mitt Romney for stating that Russia was our greatest
geopolitical foe.

Furthermore, it was none other than Hillary Clinton who miserably failed
at her much-ballyhooed "reset" of relations with Russia. It was Bill
Clinton and the Clinton Foundation who asked his Hillary's State
Department for clearance to meet with Russian oligarchs. And it was
Hillary who facilitated a lucrative uranium deal for Moscow.

Trump needs to focus on defeating Hillary Clinton, and making these
kinds of statements only enables her to turn the tables and argue that
Putin wants a Trump presidency but fears a Clinton one. Nothing could be
further from the truth. In addition, Trump needs to be more focused on
Liberty, pointing to America's past leaders who have guided us to
greatness. If Trump wants to make America great again, he should look
there, not to Vladimir Putin.

In any case, the real story here is Clinton's failure and corruption as
secretary of state and Obama's malfeasance as president. It was the
weakness of their leadership that has enabled Russia and Putin to get to
where they are today. Trump's praise for Putin is dumbfounding, but it
also pales in comparison to the Clintons' pay-to-play behavior with the
Russians or Obama's "Make American Not-So-Great" policy.



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