President Ronald Reagan would have been repulsed by the spectacle of an American president kowtowing to a murderous dictator like Vladimir Putin. If Russia had attacked our democracy, Reagan would not have meekly stood by for months denying it. He would have taken swift and effective action to punish the attacker, rather than appeasing and praising the tyrant.
Reagan understood the need to value and nurture our relationships with our European allies, as well as those in the Pacific. He understood that our allies benefit from the U.S. protective umbrella but he knew we are the greatest beneficiary of those alliances. We are able to maintain forward operating bases in Germany, Japan and South Korea to project American power around the world and keep our citizens safe from our enemies.
President Trump has done tremendous damage to NATO, which was conceived by the U.S. as an essential component of our national defense. NATO helped us defeat the Soviet Union and has had our back in the war in Afghanistan. A recent poll shows that 42 percent of Germans now want American troops out of their country. American influence and security there and around the world will suffer if we make ourselves unwelcome where we need to maintain bases close to the borders of our enemies, specifically Russia, China, and North Korea.
It would have been inconceivable to someone like Reagan, a real champion of America, for the U.S. president to bash our allies over their collective heads in public, especially in the presence of Putin, the greatest threat to our national security. Or, to call the European Union a “foe,” which is decidedly wrong and harmful to our peace and safety. Or, to side with Putin over the U.S. intelligence agencies, which have unanimously confirmed the Russian aggression against the United States.
Reagan would not have meekly acquiesced to Putin’s earlier “suggestion” to call off war games in South Korea, just to appease another cutthroat dictator, Kim Jong-un. Nor, would he have praised Kim as a wonderful person, even as Kim was speeding up his nuclear program and brutalizing hundreds of thousands of his people.
I could see Reagan telling Putin, upon learning of the Russian attack, “Look, you little pipsqueak, if you ever do anything remotely like that again, your country will be cut off from the international banking system.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May have stood up to Putin, why can’t our leader?
Instead, our president practically swooned at Putin’s outrageous idea of having Russian spies help Robert Mueller with the investigation of Russia’s attack on America--the old fox-in-the-hen-house ploy. Good thing Putin did not offer the Brooklyn Bridge for sale.
Just as bad as Trump submitting to Putin, most Republicans in Congress have meekly submitted to the ally-bashing and Putin-loving. Where is the GOP outrage about these words and deeds that clearly jeopardize our national interests? We have heard just a few timid statements of support for NATO and against trade war from current members of that party, which once billed itself as the bulwark against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now, it only emits tiny whimpers that the President is helping the wrong team on the world stage.
My suggestion to the Idaho Congressional delegation--get some backbone and speak out forcefully in defense of America. Force the President to impose all of the Russian sanctions Congress approved months ago. Demand cyber counter-measures. Find out what happened in the secret Putin-Trump meeting. Your country needs your action and voices, Senators Risch and Crapo.