Special to WorldTribune.com
The Deep State has won. It got what it wanted: The end of any possible Détente with Russia.
President Trump campaigned on restoring U.S.-Russian relations. He has lost that battle — and the consequences are immense both for the world and America. Call it Cold War 2.0.
This is the real meaning of Trump’s decision to sign the crippling, new sanctions on Russia approved by Congress. In one sense, the president was backed into a corner. After months of relentless attacks by the mainstream media, Democrats and establishment Republicans, peddling the fiction that he colluded with the Kremlin in the 2016 election, a Trump veto would only have reinforced the Russia narrative.
Moreover, any veto would have easily been overridden — demonstrating the extent to which Russophobia and anti-Putin hysteria dominates Congress. Hence, a veto would have been both pointless and self-destructive: unable to stop the sanctions movement, Trump would only have opened himself up to more accusations of being Vladimir Putin’s stooge.
Yet, the sanctions represent a huge victory for the Russia haters. They are in effect a declaration of economic war.
They do much more than target Moscow’s elite; rather, they are aimed at broad swathes of the Russian economy. Their passage means that Russia is no longer seen as just an adversary—a strategic rival—but an enemy.
This has caused U.S.-Russia relations to deteriorate to levels not seen in over 30 years. In response, Putin has (rightly) denounced the decision. He has ordered the expulsion of nearly 800 U.S. diplomats from our embassy and consulates in Russia. More importantly, Putin now vows to no longer cooperate with America on any vital foreign policy issue. Having kicked the Russian Bear in the teeth, it no longer wants anything to do with the United States.
Contrary to media propaganda, Putin’s Russia is a natural ally. Washington and Moscow share numerous common interests: to smash ISIS; defeat radical Islamic terrorism; end the civil war in Syria; contain a rising and belligerent China; and settle the North Korean problem. This potential geopolitical alliance has been frittered away. Instead, this new Cold War has now pushed America one step closer to a possible military showdown with Russia.
And this begs the question: why?
What is it about Putin and Russia that so enrages our foreign policy establishment? According to our political and media class, Putin is a former KGB “thug” and “killer” who menaces his neighbors, assassinates journalists and meddles in U.S. elections. As Ralph Peters, a FOX News analyst, put it: Putin is the second coming of Hitler. The Russian strongman is allegedly evil incarnate.
The reality, however, is very different. Putin is not Hitler; he is not Stalin; and he is not Mao.
These are the great genocidal mass murderers of the 20th century. Yet, FDR has been praised by countless liberals and historians for his alliance with Stalin during World War II. Richard Nixon was lionized for going to China, meeting with Mao and embarking upon Détente — thereby splintering the communist bloc. Therefore, what is wrong with America (just as we did in defeating Nazi Germany) allying with Russia to destroy a common foe, Islamofascism?
Putin does not pose a threat to the West. Unlike Hitler (or Stalin), his armies are not rampaging across Europe, throwing millions into death camps. Rather, Putin is a modern-day Czar. His goal: to restore Russia as a great power and defend ethnic Russians in the “near abroad.” His military campaigns that have alarmed Washington’s Beltway elite — Ukraine, Georgia, Syria — were essentially defensive in nature.
Moscow’s annexation of Crimea only occurred after a coup d’état, in which Ukrainian nationalists overthrew the democratically elected pro-Russian government in Kiev. Fearing the persecution of the Russian-speaking population in Crimea, Putin sent troops to re-acquire the territory — which had belonged to Russia since Catherine the Great until the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In Georgia, Putin did annex the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But, again, this was after the Georgian government of Mikheil Saakashvili launched an all-out military offensive to crush the rebels, breaking a brokered truce and killing Russian peacekeepers. Had Tbilisi not waged a war of aggression, Moscow would not have intervened.
Russia’s war in Syria is based on vital national interests. Russian forces are there to prop up the secular regime of Bashar al-Assad, which is protecting the country’s Christians and Alawites from being slaughtered by ISIS terrorists. Moscow cannot allow Damascus to fall to radical Shiite Islam. This would cut off Russia’s access to its only naval base in the Mediterranean and expose its southern flank, especially the Caucasus boiling with Muslim extremism, such as Chechnya, to massive Islamist infiltration.
In other words, agree or disagree, Putin’s actions are not that of a war-monger or genocidal lunatic; rather, they are based on a Russia-first nationalist policy. And that’s the rub. Vice President Mike Pence recently said the administration’s sanctions will “remain in place” as long as Russia continues its “bad behavior.” Translation: The sanctions will not be lifted until Moscow pulls out of Crimea, South Ossetia and Syria.
This will never happen. If Putin gave back Crimea to Ukraine his government — any Russian nationalist government — would collapse. The Russian people would revo lt in the streets.
This means the new Cold War is likely to last for a long time, putting America and Russia on a semi-permanent collision course.
Our globalist elites despise Putin because he is a Christian patriot, who is opposed to NATO, the European Union and the New World Order. If Russia was an Islamic dictatorship, such as Turkey or Saudi Arabia, or a murderous communist autocracy that happens to be a major trading partner, like China, then it would not be public enemy number one.
Our military-industrial complex has been itching to revive a conflict with Moscow. It guarantees higher defense spending, lucrative multi-billion dollar contracts and perpetual hostility.
The real losers, however, are the American people.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at WorldTribune.com and the host of “The Kuhner Report” weekdays 12-3 pm EST on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.