- The American Conservative - http://www.theamericanconservative.com -

We Have to Deal With Putin

Since Donald Trump said that if Vladimir Putin praised him, he would return the compliment, Republican outrage has not abated.

Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites, Gov. Mike Pence was taken straight to the woodshed.

John McCain told Pence that Putin was a “thug and a butcher,” and Trump’s embrace of him intolerable.

Said Lindsey Graham: “Vladimir Putin is a thug, a dictator … who has his opposition killed in the streets,” and Trump’s views bring to mind Munich.

Putin is an “authoritarian thug,” added “Little Marco” Rubio.

What causes the Republican Party to lose it whenever the name of Vladimir Putin is raised?

Putin is no Stalin, whom FDR and Harry Truman called “Good old Joe” and “Uncle Joe.” Unlike Nikita Khrushchev, he never drowned a Hungarian Revolution in blood. He did crush the Chechen secession. But what did he do there that General Sherman did not do to Atlanta when Georgia seceded from Mr. Lincoln’s Union?

Putin supported the U.S. in Afghanistan, backed our nuclear deal with Iran, and signed on to John Kerry’s plan have us ensure a cease fire in Syria and go hunting together for ISIS and al-Qaida terrorists.

Still, Putin committed “aggression” in Ukraine, we are told.

But was that really aggression, or reflexive strategic reaction?

We helped dump over a pro-Putin democratically elected regime in Kiev, and Putin acted to secure his Black Sea naval base by re-annexing Crimea, a peninsula that has belonged to Russia from Catherine the Great to Khrushchev. Great powers do such things.

When the Castros pulled Cuba out of America’s orbit, did we not decide to keep Guantanamo, and dismiss Havana’s protests?

Moscow did indeed support secessionist pro-Russia rebels in East Ukraine.

But did not the U.S. launch a 78-day bombing campaign on tiny Serbia to effect a secession of its cradle province of Kosovo?

What is the great moral distinction here?

The relationship between Russia and Ukraine goes back to 500 years before Columbus. It includes an ancient common faith, a complex history, terrible suffering, and horrendous injustices—like Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the early 1930s.

Yet, before Bush II and Obama, no president thought Moscow-Kiev quarrels were any of our business. When did they become so?

Russia is reportedly hacking into our political institutions. If so, it ought to stop. But have not our own CIA, National Endowment for Democracy, and NGOs meddled in Russia’s internal affairs for years?

Putin is a nationalist who looks out for Russia first. He also heads a nation twice the size of ours with an arsenal equal to our own, and no peace in Eurasia can be made without him.

We have to deal with him. How does it help to call him names?

And what is Putin doing in terms of repression to outmatch our NATO ally, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and our Arab ally, Egypt’s General el-Sissi?

Is Putin’s Russia more repressive than Xi Jinping’s China?

Yet, Republicans rarely use “thug” when speaking about Xi.

During the Cold War, we partnered with such autocrats as the Shah of Iran and General Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos in Manila, and Park Chung-Hee of South Korea. Cold War necessity required it.

Scores of the world’s 190-odd nations are today ruled by autocrats. How does it advance our interests or diplomacy to have congressional leaders yapping “thug” at the ruler of a nation with hundreds of nuclear warheads?

Where is the realism, the recognition of the realities of the world in which we live, that guided the policies of presidents from Ike to Reagan?

We have been told by senators like Tom Cotton that there must be “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.

Fine. How does Israel regard Putin “the thug” and Putin “the butcher”?

According to foreign-policy scholar Stephen Sniegoski, when Putin first visited Israel in 2005, President Moshe Katsav hailed him as a “friend of Israel” and Ariel Sharon said he was “among brothers.”

In the last year alone, Bibi Netanyahu has gone to Moscow three times and Putin has visited Israel. The two get along wonderfully well.

On the U.N. resolution that affirmed the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, Israel abstained. And Israel refused to join in sanctions against a friendly Russia. Russian-Israeli trade is booming.

Perhaps Bibi, who just got a windfall of $38 billion in U.S. foreign aid over the next 10 years from a Barack Obama whom he does not even like, can show the GOP how to get along better with Vlad.

Lindsey Graham says that the $38 billion for Israel is probably not enough, that Bibi will need more, and that he will be there to provide it.

Remarkable. Bibi, a buddy of Vlad, gets $38 billion from the same Republican senators who, when Donald Trump says he will repay personal compliments from Vladimir Putin, gets the McCain-Graham wet mitten across the face.

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority [1].

29 Comments (Open | Close)

29 Comments To "We Have to Deal With Putin"

#1 Comment By John Blade Wiederspan On September 16, 2016 @ 12:24 am

Wasn’t it George W who looked into his eyes and said I can work with this man? I saw Donny say he had more respect for Putin than for Pres. Barack Obama. Wasn’t it George W who called Putin “Pooty Poot”? I am dead sure our T.V. reality star will successfully handle the former head of the KGB. Emphasis on dead.

#2 Comment By Tiktaalik On September 16, 2016 @ 2:41 am

>>During the Cold War, we partnered with such autocrats as the Shah of Iran and General Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos in Manila, and Park Chung-Hee of South Korea

buttressed could be even more pertinent)

Very good article indeed. Knee-jerk reaction of american politicians and journalists looks extremely strange. As a matter of fact they look like idiots or puppets.

#3 Comment By bacon On September 16, 2016 @ 5:29 am

Rubio and Graham are reflexively ready to push US influence everywhere, all the time, with military force always on the agenda, and McCain seems to be in a state of constant agitation whenever US forces are not actively engaged in combat somewhere. They are loud voices, yes, but irrational voices, too.

#4 Comment By just On September 16, 2016 @ 6:03 am

Dear Patrick. “Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians” is just another western lie. Be more coherent.

#5 Comment By Janice Barrett On September 16, 2016 @ 7:31 am

Here is an article that compares the submarine capabilities of Russia and NATO in the North Atlantic:

[2]

It certainly appears that NATO has its work cut out for it if it hopes to successfully defend the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea regions.

#6 Comment By I Don’t Matter On September 16, 2016 @ 7:55 am

Mr Buchanan, can you at leasr stop calling him “Vlad”? No Russian would ever call a Vladimir “Vlad”, Vlad is a short for Vladislav or Vladlen – different names. This fake ignorant pretense to familiarity is cringeworthy. Since you’re such a big fan, please at least get the guy’s name right.

#7 Comment By John S On September 16, 2016 @ 8:24 am

“We have to deal with him.”
We also have to deal with our current allies. Whom would Mr. Buchanan like to favor?

#8 Comment By Skeptic On September 16, 2016 @ 9:13 am

Very sensible article. And as the EU falls further into disarray and possible disintegration, due to migration and other catastrophically mishandled problems, a working partnership with Russia will become even more important. Right now, we treat Russia as an enemy and Saudi Arabia as a friend. That makes no sense at all.

#9 Comment By John Blade Wiederspan On September 16, 2016 @ 10:18 am

“Just” states the starvation of the Ukraine is a western lie. The Harvest of Sorrow by Robert Conquest refutes this dangerous falsehood. Perhaps “Just” believes The Great Leap Forward did not lead to starvation of tens of millions in China. After all, this could be another “western lie”. So to could be the Armenian genocide in Turkey or slaughter of Communists in Indonesia.

#10 Comment By SteveM On September 16, 2016 @ 10:23 am

As I’ve stated many times, Obama the narcissist hates Putin because Putin doesn’t play the sycophantic lapdog yapping about how good it is to interact with the “smartest person in the room”.

I’m serious. Obama craves sources of narcissistic supply and has visceral contempt for sources of narcissistic injury. I.e., people who may reveal the mediocrity that he actually is. Obama considers Putin a threat in that context.

The downside for the U.S. is that Obama has extended hating Putin to hating Russia. And yes, Washington is flooded with sources of sycophantic narcissistic supply for Obama including the MSM. And they are happy to massage his twisted ego by enthusiastically playing along with the Putin/Russia fear-monger bashing.

And so the U.S. – Russia relationship is wrecked by the “smartest person in the room”.

P.S. too bad Hillary is saturated with her own psychopathology that portends more Global Cop wreckage.

#11 Comment By blimbax On September 16, 2016 @ 11:29 am

John asks, “We also have to deal with our current allies. Whom would Mr. Buchanan like to favor?”

Well, we could redouble our commitment to our democracy and peace loving friends in Saudi Arabia, we could deepen our ties to those gentle folk in Egypt, and maybe for a change give some meaningful support to Israel. Oh, and our defensive alliances will be becoming so much stronger with Montenegro as a member, we will need to pour more resources into that country.

Anyway, what Buchanan is saying is, “We have to deal with him,” not “favor him.” The two terms should not be confused.

There are a lot of “allies” of questionable usefulness that the US should stop “favoring,” and a lot of competitors (and potential allies in the true sense) out there the US should begin “dealing” with.

#12 Comment By VikingLs On September 16, 2016 @ 12:10 pm

@I don’t matter

It grates on me when people do this too, but I’d wager Putin wouldn’t prefer people here call him Vova either.

#13 Comment By Viriato On September 16, 2016 @ 2:10 pm

“Dear Patrick. “Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians” is just another western lie.”

How so? I’ll concede that it was not a deliberate attempt at ethnic cleansing, but millions of Ukrainians did starve, and it was due to Stalin’s policies.

“We also have to deal with our current allies. Whom would Mr. Buchanan like to favor?”

There is no objective reason for a conflict between Russia and our current allies.

Excellent article, Pat.

#14 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On September 16, 2016 @ 3:46 pm

“During the Cold War, we partnered with such autocrats as the Shah of Iran and General Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos in Manila, and Park Chung-Hee of South Korea. Cold War necessity required it (funny, you failed to mention Laos, South Vietnam, Nicaragua, Noriega/Panama, and everyone’s favorite 9/11 co-conspirator and WMD developer, Saddam Hussein). either way how did these “alliances” work out for the US? really doesn’t matter, does it? it is early 21st century, not mid 20th century. there is a school of thought in the worlds of counter-terrorism/intelligence operations, which suggests if you want to be successful, you have to partner with some pretty nasty folks. Trump is being “handled” by an experienced, ruthless (that’s a compliment), and focused “operator”. unless, of course, Trump is actually the superior operator, in which case, this would be the greatest black op of all time.

#15 Comment By Clint On September 16, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

“From Russia With Money — Hillary Clinton, the Russian Reset and Cronyism,”

“Of the 28 US, European and Russian companies that participated in Skolkovo, 17 of them were Clinton Foundation donors” or sponsored speeches by former President Bill Clinton, Schweizer told The Post.

[3]

#16 Comment By WakeUp On September 16, 2016 @ 4:45 pm

Everything the Western elite does is about dollar hegemony and control of energy. Once you understand that then the (evil)actions of the Western elite make sense. Anyone who stands in the way of those things is an “enemy”. This is how they determine an “enemy”.

As long as Russia is not a puppet of the globalist banking cartel they will be presented as an “enemy”. Standing in the way of energy imperialism was the last straw for the all out hybrid war being launched on Russia now.

If the Western public wasn’t so lazy and stupid we would remove the globalists controlling us. Instead people, especially liberals, get in bed with the globalists plans against Russia bc they can’t stand Russia is Christian and supports the family.

Every word about Russia allowed in the Western establishment are lies funded and molded by people like Soros and warmongers. This is the reality. Nobody who will speak honestly or positively about Russia is allowed any voice. And scumbag neoliberal globalists like Kasperov are presented as “Russians” while real Russian people are given zero voice.

What the Western elite is doing right now in Ukraine and Syria is reprehensible and its all our fault for letting these people control us.

#17 Comment By John S On September 16, 2016 @ 5:20 pm

@blimbax
“There are a lot of “allies” of questionable usefulness that the US should stop “favoring,” and a lot of competitors ..out there the US should begin “dealing” with.”

Like? Shall we dump NATO so we can gain access to the dynamic Russian market? Maybe Putin will give Königsberg back to Germany.

@Viriato
“There is no objective reason for a conflict between Russia and our current allies.”

I think Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, would be a little upset if we just blew off the invasion of Ukraine as “things great powers do.” Then there’s the periodic threats of nuclear war. The above tend to lead to conflict.

#18 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On September 16, 2016 @ 6:54 pm

“John McCain told Pence that Putin was a ‘thug and a butcher,’…”

John McCain should be careful what he says about Putin. The Russians could release documents showing that high-ranking politicians in the U.S. knew that reports about Vietnam MIA/POWS were far more credible than the establishment has ever admitted. With that, McCain’s reputation would be ruined. On the Kerry Committee that investigated those reports during Bill Clinton’s presidency–the last chance to return possible living prisoners to the U.S. from Siberia–McCain and Kerry both walked out during the testimony of one military witness. McCain looked far more self-righteous than Kerry, if you can believe that. A documentary about the MIA/POWS shows the scene, but I can’t remember the name of it.

#19 Comment By John Blade Wiederspan On September 16, 2016 @ 7:50 pm

Just, if exact words matter, (and they do), my reaction may have been inappropriate. Viriato is correct. It was Stalin’s policies led to the starvation of millions. Mao did not personally starve millions in China, his program “The Great Leap Forward” did.

#20 Comment By john On September 16, 2016 @ 9:29 pm

Well we, or Victoria Nuland decided that matters would be decided by undemocratic means. A coup supported by the US is one possibility a rebellion supported by Russia is another. Once we decide that the normal political process is to be suspended who is to say where it will stop?

#21 Comment By I Don’t Matter On September 16, 2016 @ 11:23 pm

“It grates on me when people do this too, but I’d wager Putin wouldn’t prefer people here call him Vova either.”

Exactly. Speaks to the larger issue of utter lack of understanding of the most basic feature of Russian culture, that is, knowing how to address people properly.
Goes both ways, of course, I had to adapt, as a young lad, to calling my first American boss “Bill”, rather than “Mr. Such-and-such”. Helps when you don’t matter – just do what others do around you, and you’ll be fine.

#22 Comment By Greg On September 17, 2016 @ 12:39 pm

Agree on the ‘Vlad’ thing. Kind of makes me think of a certain member of the house of Drăculești.

Vladimir Vladimirovich works. Or Volodya if you want to use a diminutive.

As a note – the Russian emphasizes the second syllable of VladEEmir. It’s almost as painful to hear American’s say VLADimir as it is to hear them say “Ivan”….

#23 Comment By Adam On September 17, 2016 @ 8:54 pm

Truly going way out of your way to defend the position of a candidate whose only foreign policy intentions appear to be to undermine our allies and embolden our enemies.

Then again, you’re the one defending a candidate who supported the Iraq War, then decided he was against after we went, then supported Libyan intervention, then decided he was against it after, who supported ousting Mubarak, then decided he was against it after, who advocated early in his campaign for a full-scale invasion of Syria with 20,000-30,000 troops, then decided he was against putting any troops on the ground.

Defending the indefensible, Pat Buchanan, everybody.

#24 Comment By Aaron On September 17, 2016 @ 10:04 pm

It’s true. I cannot for the life of me fiqure out why better relations with Russia is a bad thing.
If some individuals want to hold reservations against Russia, then fine. But haven’t they heard the phrase, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer…”?

#25 Comment By Fran Macadam On September 18, 2016 @ 11:17 am

“I am dead sure our T.V. reality star will successfully handle the former head of the KGB. Emphasis on dead.”

Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but almost all our politics and so-called journalism already is “unreality TV.”

What an uninformed joke – Putin as former head of the KGB. Putin was never more than a lower echelon apparatchik in the KGB, an organization now defunct for 25 years. After the fall of the Soviet, which he supported, he joined the anti-communist mayor of St. Petersburg, whom he defended against a coup by disgruntled Soviets.

#26 Comment By Steve McQueen On September 18, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

The outrage over Donald Trump’s perfectly reasonable comments about Vladimir Putin is, it is to be hoped, the last gasp of the neocon wing of the Republican Party.

Only foreign and military policy Trotskyites, which is what neocons are, could fault a presidential candidate for refusing to vilify a foreign leader with whom he will have to get along if he wins the election.

Vladimir Putin is not a nice guy and Trump never said he was. But Putin is the leader of one of the three major nuclear powers and finding a way to work with Russia is a critical foreign policy objective.

We’ve tried the Obama approach — alternately ignoring and ridiculing Putin. It’s time to try the Trump approach — understanding that he is a powerful defender of Russian interests and treating him with respect.

#27 Comment By georgina davenport On September 18, 2016 @ 3:37 pm

Even if we do not call Putin names, we should not praise him either, particularly undeservingly.

As for Bibi scoring a big foreign aid, mind you, that is not Obama’s doing, but the GOP, who have clearly forfeited American interests in this regard. As such, the GOP is acting not any differently than Trump praising a dictatorial Russian president who kills and imprisons his political opponents.

#28 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 19, 2016 @ 5:55 am

“Trump is being “handled” by an experienced, ruthless (that’s a compliment), and focused “operator”. unless, of course, Trump is actually the superior operator, in which case, this would be the greatest black op of all time.”

I agree that your comment is n accurate compliment of Pres. Putin. However, I am not sure we have anyone as shrewd. Pres. Putin worked his way though treacherous waters in the Soviet Union and has manged to work his way to the Presidential leadership of a developing democracy.

Russia had no intention of going quietly into that “good night.” And we have created great opportunities for Russia to play the quintessential diplomat. And he has thus far done that quite well. Attempting to resolve that by a show of force, only bolsters his position.

P.S. I think we should be talking with North Korea.

#29 Comment By Margarete Rolle On September 19, 2016 @ 6:50 am

This article expresses my viewpoint precisely, and I’ve been Ukraine watching since the Maidan “revolution”. I’m appalled by the blinkered opinions and misinformation propagated by the mainstream media.