Know Your Friends, Know Your Adversaries, and Know Your Neutral Parties

Republican cheerleading for Russia of late has been disappointing. We are facing a role reversal between the parties and the Republicans, typically more responsible on foreign affairs than Democrats, are going off in support of a totalitarian monster who murders dissidents and is a threat to our friends.

For the last eight years, Republicans have lamented that Barack Obama has disrupted friendships, relationships, and alliances as part of a vision to realign American interests with countries that do not have our best interests at heart. Here now, the GOP is doing the same with Russia.

We have friends. The Baltic states, Poland, our NATO allies — they are friends and allies who support us and we support them. We have adversaries. China is one. It is to Donald Trump’s credit that he is taking a tough line on China — something that has been missing the last few years.

But Russia is also an adversary. Under Vladimir Putin the Russians have shown old Cold War expansionist tendencies that are potentially destabilizing. If the Russians decided to invade Eastern Europe, the situation would be disastrous and destabilizing without a strong and aggressive American response. But right now, it appears the incoming Republican leaders are giving our allies cause for concern.

If we are not willing to have their backs, they will go in search of new alliances and those new alliances may not be in our national interest. Any alliance we may think we have with the Russians in return would not be an alliance in our interests because Vladimir Putin is concerned with building up a Russian sphere of influence.

What Republicans seem to be engaging in is as destabilizing as what they rightfully accuse Barack Obama. There is, however, a significant difference. Barack Obama disrupted our alliances in the Middle East and parts of Asia. Europe is a different ball game with more significant stakes and a history of triggering world wars.

Republicans need to do a better job of figuring out who their friends and adversaries are and who the real neutral parties are. Cheerleading a realignment toward Russian interests may put you on the loyalist list for Trump, but it’s a loyalty that will ultimately undermine the national security of the United States.

Lastly, I should put on the record my suspicion that I think the incoming Trump administration will not be as accommodating to Putin’s Czarist instincts and ambitions as they would publicly have you believe. But Trump sycophants have interpreted Trump’s statements as signaling a pro-Russian realignment and are rushing to beat the Trump train into station. I am cautiously optimistic that Trump will not destabilize our alliances and will reassert American support for Eastern European countries. But anyone who thinks otherwise can simply point to the sycophantic conservative media complex these days that fluffs up Vladimir Putin in the same way liberal media outlets fluffed up Obama and Fidel Castro.

Putin is not our friend. Those nations formerly held in bondage to the Soviet Union are our friends. Apologists for tyrants have no place in the party that freed the slaves from bondage and freed the world from the Soviet menace.

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Erick Erickson

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