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It’s Time to Get Over Our Russophobia

Unless there is a late surge for Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, who is running in second place with 7 percent, Vladimir Putin will be re-elected president of Russia for another six years on March 18.

Once he is, we must decide whether to continue on course into a second Cold War, or to engage Russia, as every president sought to do in Cold War I.

For our present conflict, Vladimir Putin is not alone at fault. His actions have often been reactions to America’s unilateral moves.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, we brought all of the Warsaw Pact members and three former republics of the USSR into our military alliance, NATO, to corral Russia. How friendly was that?

Putin responded with his military buildup in the Baltic.

George W. Bush abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that Richard Nixon had negotiated. Putin responded with a buildup of the offensive missiles he put on display last week.

The U.S. helped to instigate the Maidan Square coup that dumped over the elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine.

To prevent the loss of his Sevastopol naval base on the Black Sea, Putin countered by annexing the Crimean Peninsula.


After peaceful protests in Syria were put down by Bashar al-Assad, we sent arms to Syrian rebels to overthrow the Damascus regime.

Seeing his last naval base in the Med, Tartus, imperiled, Putin came to Assad’s aid and helped him win the civil war.

The Boris Yeltsin years are over.

Russia is acting again as a great power. And she sees us as having slapped away her hand, extended in friendship in the 1990s, only to humiliate her by planting NATO on her front porch.

Yet what is also clear is that Putin hoped and believed that, with the election of Trump, Russia might be able to restore respectful if not friendly relations with the United States.

Clearly, Putin wanted that, as did Trump.

Yet with the Beltway in hysteria over hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails, and the Russophobia raging in Washington, we appear to be paralyzed when it comes to engaging with Russia.

The U.S. political system, said Putin this week, “has been eating itself up.” Is his depiction that wide of the mark?

What is the matter with us?

Three years after Nikita Khrushchev sent tanks into Budapest to drown the Hungarian revolution in blood, Eisenhower was hosting him on a 10-day visit to the United States.

Two years after the Berlin Wall went up, and eight months after Khrushchev installed missiles in Cuba, Kennedy reached out to the Soviet dictator in his widely praised American University speech.

Lyndon Johnson met with Russian President Alexei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey, just weeks after we almost clashed over Moscow’s threat to intervene in the Arab-Israeli War of 1967.

Six months after Leonid Brezhnev sent tank armies to crush the Prague Spring in August 1968, an inaugurated Nixon was seeking detente.

In those years, no matter who was in the White House or Kremlin, the U.S. establishment favored engagement with Moscow. It was the right that was skeptical or hostile.

Again, what is the matter with this generation?

True, Vladimir Putin is an autocrat seeking a fourth term, like FDR.

But what Russian leader, save Yeltsin, has not been an autocrat? And Russians today enjoy freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, travel, politics, and the press that the generations before 1989 never knew.

China, not Russia, has the more repressive single-party communist state.

Indeed, which of these U.S. allies shows greater tolerance than Putin’s Russia? The Philippines of Rodrigo Duterte, the Egypt of General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Turkey of President Erdogan, or the Saudi Arabia of Prince Mohammad bin Salman?

Russia is nowhere near the strategic or global threat the Soviet Union presented. As Putin conceded this week, with the breakup of the USSR, his nation “lost 23.8 percent of its national territory, 48.5 percent of its population, 41 percent of its gross domestic product and 44.6 percent of its military capacity.”

How would Civil War Unionists have reacted if the South had won independence, and then, to secure the Confederacy against a new invasion, Dixie entered into an alliance with Great Britain, was given the Royal Navy bases in New Orleans and Charleston, and then allowed battalions of British troops to deploy in Virginia?

Japan negotiates with Putin’s Russia over the southern Kuril Islands lost at the end of World War II. Bibi Netanyahu has met many times with Putin, though he is an ally of Assad, whom Bibi would like to see ousted, and has a naval and air base not far from Israel’s border.

We Americans have far bigger fish to fry with Russia than Bibi.

Strategic arms control. De-escalation in the Baltic, Ukraine, and the Black Sea. Ending the war in Syria. North Korea. Space. Afghanistan. The Arctic. The war on terror.

Yet all we seem to hear from our elites is endless whining that Putin has not been sanctioned enough for desecrating “our democracy.”

Get over it.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

68 Comments (Open | Close)

68 Comments To "It’s Time to Get Over Our Russophobia"

#1 Comment By Tiktaalik On March 11, 2018 @ 11:41 am

>>No threat? He is undermining NATO, which helped keep the peace in Europe since WW2.

I’ve thought that it was MAD

>>He is bankrolling neo-Nazis.
Like whom?

>>He is not loathe to have rivals and dissidents assassinated.

Again, who were these unfortunate guys? Could you please provide some evidence. Any evidence, in fact.

#2 Comment By Colm J On March 11, 2018 @ 4:59 pm

By and large the folks who pooh poohed anti-communism in the years between 1945 and 1989 are the same folks who these days never stop droning on about Russia’s evil machinations. The Neocons are only a part exception to this rule. They were strong anti-Soviets, but never seemed to object to Chinese communism in the same way. Their anti-Sovietism seems to have at least partly stemmed from the Soviets’ support for the Palestinians.

The Neocons still don’t condemn China much – even though it is a dictatorship which brutally suppresses dissent and is making serious imperialistic inroads in Africa and elsewhere – not to mention dominating the consumer market throughout the west.

If, during the Cold War years, anyone had come out with the type of bizarre Russophobic conspiracy theories hawked by the western liberal media today, they would have been laughed off the stage – even by anti-communists. But corporate media liberals and Neocons have always been utterly shameless.

#3 Comment By Andrei On March 11, 2018 @ 5:16 pm

“The U.S. helped to instigate the Maidan Square coup that dumped over the elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine”.

Wow, dude. What is Pat Buchanan still doing writing here? This is *exactly* the mantra from Russian Television and other propaganda channels. No discussion, no proof, just like that, gonna drop that and just move on to the next “thought”?

#4 Comment By Dr. Diprospan On March 12, 2018 @ 12:37 am

A good discussion happened, thanks to
Mr. Buchanan.
Putin never in his speeches called the US an enemy or a rival. Only a partner.
While Putin served in Germany, Boris Yeltsin held leading positions in the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. What could cause sympathy and trust between such different people? Party money and the legacy of the Soviet Union.
V. Putin was engaged in their search and taking under the control of the new government as the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB). Putin is a specialist in the return of financial assets to their homeland.
On the territory of China, which is proclaimed a friend and strategic partner of Russia – there are 50 thousand Russian-speaking people and approximately equal number of Chinese in Russia. There are seven million Russian-speaking people living in the US, three million of them are Russian. Not all of them came to wash dishes in American restaurants. And certainly not all of them earned their money by washing dishes.
Putin invited Russian residents of foreign states to amnesty their capital, provided they were kept in Russian banks. He threatened them: “Return the capitals, as long as there is a chance, otherwise you will get tired of swallowing dust, running through the courts, trying to unblock the arrested deposits.” It’s hard to scare the Russians with dust..
Another thing is the full-scale deterioration of relations with the great financial empire.
By early 2018, Russian losses from US sanctions have been neutralized by a threefold increase in the capitalization of Russian banks at the expense of repaid capital, a large part of which will be used to purchase American securities.
The principle of divide and rule is the highest form of governing society since ancient times. So, that a social “electric motor” can produce useful work, it must be connected to the negative and positive pole.
In Mr. Buchanan’s article, I was most interested in the words about common projects.
I was always irritated by the attitude towards conservatives, as to supposedly backward people. Putin’s latest speech clearly demonstrated the fallibility of this approach.
How not to remember the snake chasing its tail? Now you are in the tail, but after a moment the head has to chase after you.
In a word, is not it time for a major Russian – American
conservative project, Mr. Buchanan?

#5 Comment By Tiktaalik On March 12, 2018 @ 3:00 am

Andrii, do you think that Nuland’s ‘cookies’ aka support from the US was nothing?
Let alone all previous installments and constant pressure on Yanukovich during ‘revolution’

The only thing Mr. Buchanan got wrong is
‘pro-Russian’ part. Yanukovich was neither pro-West, nor pro-Russian, he was pro-Yanukovich

#6 Comment By John S On March 12, 2018 @ 6:16 am

I recommend this recent episode of the McLaughlin Group in which Mr. Buchanan is taken to task for his rosy view of the Russians.

#7 Comment By MIKLE On March 12, 2018 @ 12:53 pm

Finally, some smart opinion !

#8 Comment By RussianIvan On March 12, 2018 @ 1:17 pm

Андрей, Here, Nuland admits that the US spent 5 billion to support democracy in Ukraine

#9 Comment By Denis On March 12, 2018 @ 2:43 pm

> But what Russian leader, save Yeltsin, has not been an autocrat?

There is a strange cultural phenomenon in anglosaxon cultures. Most probably even for all societies with heavy germanic ancestry: you got “right” facts in some way (most likely from propaganda mouthpieces like CNN, BBC, etc) and then follow it with religious fervor.

There is a fixation on the idea Yeltsin was a democrat. The fact is you are misinformed and he was worse than Putin even for democracy:
1) When the parliament refused to allow a privatization plan he just captured a parliament and television center with 158 dead + 400+ injured. How would your propaganda mouthpieces be raving if Putin would do this now?
2) Yeltsin lost elections in 1996 despite huge TV propaganda campaign. They just faked numbers to make him a winner.

So much for “save for Yeltsin”.

#10 Comment By Dmitriy Vologdin On March 12, 2018 @ 5:47 pm

US sent arms to Syrian jihadists, not “rebels” to overthrow the Damascus government, not “regime”. “Rebels”, “Free Syrian Army” are the umbrella terms designed to cover jihadi/wahhabi scum sponsored by US.

#11 Comment By Jay On March 12, 2018 @ 7:36 pm

Putin and Russia are actively dividing our country. Just look at the spread of fake news via Twitter bots on both sides of the aisle. They’re encouraging Americans to hate each other, and only see things from one side. I don’t believe Trump actively worked with Russia to win the election, but Russia meddled just enough for there to be an investigation, which has split our country down the middle like never before. Even if nothing comes of the investigation, Russia already won. For you to act like the meddling in our election was just a minor detail, and that a foreign government actively dividing our nation ideologically isn’t a big deal, then you’re drinking the Putin Kool Aid

#12 Comment By SteveJ On March 12, 2018 @ 9:40 pm

Well in terms of the 2016 election, this Russiaphobe bit had a very basic and flawed underpinning from the start.

I mean it is downright weird to claim that Internet “propaganda” is an “attack” on the United States and “undermines” democracy or that any one country does it.

What exactly do the forces of “resistance” want to do here — regulate the Internet?

Good luck with that.

#13 Comment By Harold On March 12, 2018 @ 9:41 pm


#14 Comment By PAX On March 12, 2018 @ 10:16 pm

Damn it Pat – I have told you before – Love the bomb and Bibi. Don’t try and use common sense. We have outsourced our foreign policy to the armchair war party types- just accept it.

#15 Comment By Stephen Reynolds On March 13, 2018 @ 4:17 am


You would be more on point if we started out from a well-defined Russian nation-state and moved from there to the USSR. Defining “Russia proper” is a thankless task. Muscovy was an aggressive, expansionist state from the beginning of its rise to prominence, first against neighboring principalities that are universally regarded as part of Russia proper, but soon enough against other, non-Russian neighboring peoples. And yes, it encountered and suffered from aggressive non-Russian states also. But the fact is that in the long run Russia was very successful in empire building. Setting up “Union Republics” and engaging in nation-building was the necessary way to co-opt nationalism among the numerous non-Russian peoples of the empire, to suppress movements that could not be harnessed (e.g. the Jedidists among the Tatars), to pick winners and losers, and to produce a collection not of Potëmkin villages but of Potëmkin countries, with fictitious autonomy. It was never intended to produce genuinely independent countries. If there was a giveaway of territory that could legitimately be claimed as Russian, it’s a self-inflicted wound, but when people complain about lose of territory it is mostly lost of empire that pains them.

“[A]ll the aspirations of these countries [the former Soviet satellites and the Baltic states] could be easily put on hold by the US. But somehow it didn’t occur.” It seems obvious to you that it should have occurred. Who the hell are they to think that their sensibilities count for anything against those of the Russians? American Progerssives and Paleoconservatives tend to agree with this perspective. Nego.

What we learn from Mareš & Šmídová is that among the Czechs opposition to NATO membership was firmly centered in the extreme left and the extreme right. We see this alliance at work in some countries, most prominently in Hungary these days. It remains true that NATO came very slowly to take a more positive view of the petitions of the people of this region. The same people who supported accession to NATO wanted to share in the prosperity of their neighbors to the West, but that hope was invested more in the EU than in NATO. No one, it seems, understood the destructive character of the neoliberal ideology that by then was firmly embedded in Western policy. It gave the Russians a miserable decade at the end of the last century and made many of them cynical toward Western democracy. It has produced a backlash in the West led by right-wing populists. The West may not recover. But NATO is not the place to look for the parties responsible.

I won’t play Tu Quoque. I am not here to defend the USA or the West in general. I would have taken up arms to defend Queen Liliouklane had I been there and had an uprising occurred. That doesn’t make Kaliningrad any less of a geopolitical monstrosity. The West was desperate to have the USSR join in the war against Japan because of fear that the experience of Iwo Jima and Okinawa would be repeated on a much larger scale. As it was, the USSR simply grabbed territory and contributed essentially nothing to the war effort in the Pacific theater. Who else annexed conquered territory occupied at the end of the war? Modest spoils of war my жопа!

#16 Comment By Carl Kuss, L.C. On March 13, 2018 @ 11:54 am

According to Patrick Buchanan democracy is not important. We need to get over it.

#17 Comment By Tiktaalik On March 13, 2018 @ 4:12 pm

Stephen Reynolds
>> If there was a giveaway of territory that could legitimately be claimed as Russian, it’s a self-inflicted wound, but when people complain about lose of territory it is mostly lost of empire that pains them.

It is not the loss (!) of territories per se.
I’m pretty happy to get rid of -stans. But there’re territories and territories. And Eastern Ukraine/Southern Siberia are in the second category. Also don’t forget mass ethnic cleansings of the kind when millions of Russians/Ukrainians/Belorussians and so forth were expelled from the former Central Asian republic. So yes, I think that there’re quite a good amount of grievances here.

>> It seems obvious to you that it should have occurred. Who the hell are they to think that their sensibilities count for anything against those of the Russians?

As a matter of fact, I concur. There were a lot of promises by powers that were in NATO and they all were easily broken with a very flimsy pretext. On the other hand, there is a silver lining — it hopefully gave a very important lesson — you can’t trust the West, it won’t adhere to any promises or treaties (see also Libya and JCPOA right now)

>>What we learn from Mareš & Šmídová is that among the Czechs opposition to NATO membership was firmly centered in the extreme left and the extreme right.

~50% of the population is pretty much for extremes, no?

>>. That doesn’t make Kaliningrad any less of a geopolitical monstrosity.

Why? It’s a good bulwark. And still — who is its rightful owner at the moment?

>>As it was, the USSR simply grabbed territory and contributed essentially nothing to the war effort in the Pacific theater.

Oh, really? Even Wiki is far from being certain on this
“The Soviet entry into the war was a significant factor in the Japanese government’s decision to surrender unconditionally, as it made apparent the Soviet Union would no longer be willing to act as a third party in negotiating an end to hostilities on conditional terms”

>>Who else annexed conquered territory occupied at the end of the war?

Well, there were a lot of annexations after WW2. Even Luxembourg took part, so the rhetoric question is pretty off the mark.

#18 Comment By MaggieRose On March 18, 2018 @ 12:48 pm

Absolutely right. Putin is not a demon, and Russia is not our enemy.
In response to a comment I saw who says “Putin is undermining NATO, which is keeping the peace in Europe”, I say, you are blissfully unaware, apparently, of the fact that we promised to stop NATO from expanding eastward when the Soviet Union collapsed. There is no longer a need for NATO, and it is certainly NOT keeping the peace-we have put anti missile missiles right on Russia’s borders-that is a threat to them!!!