MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Ignore the Haters. Russia Is Not Our Enemy.

There is greater danger in not engaging Vladimir Putin.

Trump and PutinMikhail Klimentyev/ZUMA Press/NewscomThose hoping for an early end to the Trump administration received a gift this week as Donald Trump Jr. disclosed an exchange with a Russian lawyer. The Russian hacking story now promises to dominate headlines for the remainder of Trump's presidency, however long it lasts.

For the duration, talking heads will be telling us that Russia is an adversary and a hostile threat. But regardless of whether the president was involved, Russia hating, while great for the military-industrial complex, is inimical to world peace and broader American prosperity.

The intelligence and military leakers and Trump's political enemies believe friendly relations with Vladimir Putin's government are dangerous. But since Russia can annihilate our country, the greater danger is not engaging with Putin.

The anti-Russia hyperventilation covers the political spectrum. Republican Sen. John McCain told an interviewer that Putin is a greater threat than ISIS, accusing Russia of trying to change election results in America, France and elsewhere. But Putin's regime is not decapitating or urging lone wolves to massacre Americans on US soil. And as for Russian manipulation, the pro-Russian candidate Marine LePen was crushed in the May presidential election in France.

Democrat Hillary Clinton accused the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russia to "weaponize" leaked information against her with the WikiLeaks' dump of John Podesta email messages. Clinton's collusion assertion is based on her questionable assumption that WikiLeaks is an agent of Russia. Since WikiLeaks operates out of an embassy in London, one might expect our British allies to have leaked Putin's instructions to Julian Assange by now.

McCain, Clinton and others are amplifying the US intelligence community's public indictment of Russia for election meddling during the closing days of the Obama administration. That report also claims that Russian agents hacked Podesta's email and released them through WikiLeaks, but does not provide hard evidence.

Intelligence community assertions should be treated with skepticism. After all, this community concluded in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had WMD's. Further, a senior member of the intelligence community, James Clapper, lied to Congress in 2013 when he denied that the NSA collects data on Americans.

Even assuming the allegations are true, they do not lead to the immediate conclusion that Russia is an enemy. Friendly countries spy on one another and try to influence each other's elections all the time. President Obama called on British voters to reject Brexit, and the NSA appears to have bugged German Prime Minister Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

Israel spies on the US and tries to influence our elections. Jonathan Pollard's espionage "has few parallels" according to the CIA, which concluded he had "put at risk important U.S. intelligence and foreign policy interests." In 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to scuttle President Obama's re-election effort.

Most of the intelligence community memo focuses on the activities of RT, a Russian media group that operates a cable news channel, a web site and social media properties in the US. RT is accused of spreading propaganda and fake news that impacted our election. But such media are neither new nor unique to Russia.

Our Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and other state media have been around for decades. Among the personalities on RT America are Larry King, Jesse Ventura, and former Air America hosts Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz – none of whom appear to be stooges for Vladimir Putin. Further, as Simon van Zuylen-Wood noted in his excellent overview of RT, the network "is watched by so few people that Nielsen doesn't bother to publish its ratings."

To be sure, Putin has some very undemocratic inclinations. But the US has maintained and continues to maintain friendly relations with despotic nations. President Richard Nixon visited China in 1971, not long after Mao Zedong killed tens of millions of people with his Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Today, there is widespread support for friendly relations with Saudi Arabia – an undemocratic nation that stones women to death for adultery.

It is also true that Russia is a rival for influence on the world stage. This perhaps is why our generals, intelligence operatives, representatives, think tanks and the media so dislike Putin. While the foreign affairs intelligentsia views the world as a power-playing chessboard, this approach to geopolitics is contrary to the interests of ordinary Americans who don't benefit from international conflicts.

When President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the oval office a few weeks ago, he shared intelligence about a plot by Syrian-based ISIS operatives to place laptop bombs on civilian airplanes. Russia's presence in Syria may have helped thwart this plot. And it had an incentive to do so: ISIS previously downed a Russian civilian airliner in the Sinai Desert.

As president, Donald Trump has the legal right to declassify the intelligence. But some unelected bureaucrat in the US national security establishment decided that Trump's actions were inappropriate and leaked the story to The Washington Post. It is possible the leak alerted ISIS that its plot had been compromised, encouraging the terrorists to protect their bomb-building efforts from further scrutiny. The potential victims of this leak are civilian passengers of US airlines – the presumed target of the ISIS plot.

Russia also provided intelligence that, had it been handled properly by the FBI, could have prevented the Tsarnaev brothers from bombing the Boston marathon.

Rather than cooperating, however, the national security establishment not only seeks conflict with Russia, it looks for enemies around the world. Hostilities provide lucrative contracts and a sense of mission to those advancing them – but imposes huge costs on the rest of us. US troops are now engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

Worldwide warfare has driven national security spending toward $1 trillion a year. With a national debt approaching $20 trillion, this is a financial cost our country can ill afford. And since 2001, the US has suffered almost 7,000 deaths and over 52,000 wounded in foreign hostilities.

Democrats 50 years ago were peace organizers, fired by Martin Luther King's condemnation of the Vietnam War. And Barack Obama won the presidency promising to withdraw from Iraq.

But in their desire to rid the White House of Donald Trump, Democrats have forsaken their anti-war heritage. Instead, they are teaming up with Republican hawks and the Deep State to drive a wedge between the US and Russia.

Libertarians are the logical champions of peace and prosperity, but some have expressed sympathy for coercive US government actions to counter Russian influence. These include targeted sanctions and funding for groups in Eastern Europe that supposedly promote liberal democracy.

Although portrayed as a penalty on foreign powers, sanctions prevent US individuals and companies and individuals from doing business with those countries. A new Senate bill, S.722, prevents US companies from working on gas pipelines between Russia and Western Europe. The bill also appropriates $500 million of US taxpayer money to a "Countering Russian Influence Fund," to be spent in Eastern Europe. The legislative language lists six possible uses for this money which sound good, but are vague and open to broad interpretation.

Libertarians recognize the state usually abuses the powers we give it. We should never advocate for restrictions on trade or appropriation of tax money for so-called democracy promotion. Peace and non-interventionism are core tenets of libertarianism that too many self-identified libertarians seem to forget. We must avoid repeating the mistakes we made in the runup to the Iraq War.

Regardless of one's position on Trump, Congress has not declared war on Russia. Russia has not invaded us. Russia is not our enemy.

Photo Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE:
    Ignore the Haters. Russia is Not Our Enemy

    You're right.
    Xerxes and that damned Persian Empire is our enemy.
    Where are those 300 Spartans when you need them?

  • Longtobefree||

    At home on August recess.
    You don't really expect them to fight in the summer heat, do you?

  • Uncle Jay||

    You're right.
    I'm sure their union has definite prohibitive rules against fighting in the summer heat.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    They do have a well documented preference to fight in the shade.

  • Longtobefree||

    The only proven election interference I have seen reported is Obama using tax dollars to interfere in Israel's elections, and the DNC (cough*Hillary*cough) interfering against Bernie in their own primary. And I am not sure about the primary being a real election, because it is run by the party rules. (supposedly)

    Russia was an ally in a shooting war less than 100 years ago. Russia/USSR was a potential enemy during the 'cold war' but never actually got around to using military troops against us. Russia is a maybe ally in the fight against the parts of Islam that they want to fight against. Russia has an interest in who wins US elections because a global economy gives everybody an interest in the politics of all countries. There is a big difference in expressing a preference and in trying to change the actual poll results. I mean, we allow the communist party to openly nominate candidates and run for office. Both the US and Russia are going to act in their own interests in all cases. Deal with it.

  • Jima||

    ^^^THIS x 1000! You have precisely defined the attitude of most of the people I know.

  • Tony||

    Shorter: I got the fat cow I wanted as president, so it's all good.

  • The Last American Hero||

    You got a corrupt NY Democrat for President, just not your preferred corrupt NY Dem.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    This.

    That Tony thinks most people around here actually supported Trump proves he's unable to learn.

    Just because libertarians think both C&T are probably the worst candidates ever fielded, does not mean we actually secretly liked one of the two. But Tone's too dense to grasp this.

  • Crusty Juggler - Double Great||

    OH GREAT MORE OF TREASON CALLING FOR A RUSSIAN INVASION!!!!!!

    To be sure

    !!!!!!!!!EQUIVOCATING!!!!! MONSTER!!!!

    Libertarians recognize the state usually abuses the powers we give it. We should never advocate for restrictions on trade or appropriation of tax money for so-called democracy promotion. Peace and non-interventionism are core tenets of libertarianism that too many self-identified libertarians seem to forget. We must avoid repeating the mistakes we made in the runup to the Iraq War.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!! GAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

  • Agammamon||

    accusing Russia of trying to change election results in America, France and elsewhere.

    Does McCain have no self-awareness? I mean, he's only been pushing for 'regime change' for decades. He's been all for us using 'dirty tricks' to influence the internal politics of other nations - including the USSR, Russia, France, etc - even to the point of advocating the actual use of large-scale violence to deal with governments we don't like.

    So why is it OK when we do it, but not when someone does it to us?

  • Number 7||

    because we're us.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah. Presumably there's a Russian version of John McCain over there somewhere saying that it's good when Russia does it, but American meddling is an act of war or something.

  • paranoid android||

    Hey man, Ivan Mikainski is a true patriot, how dare you speak ill of him!

  • Connie2256||

    This post is awesome. Thanks for sharing with us.
    how big is the universe

  • Cynical Asshole||

    So why is it OK when we do it, but not when someone does it to us?

    Because 'Murica! Fuck yeah!

  • Agammamon||

    Libertarians recognize the state usually abuses the powers we give it. We should never advocate for restrictions on trade or appropriation of tax money for so-called democracy promotion.

    I think this sentence could use one of them there commas - between 'restrictions on trade' and 'or appropriation of tax money'.

    Because, as written, this sounds like you're saying we should never advocate for restrictions on appropriation of tax money for so-called democracy promotion.

  • GILMORE™||

    I've been ignoring the story since the FBI "hacking" report revealed less about what actually goes on w/ Russian cyber-snooping than a publicly-available F-secure analysis from a year earlier

    the entire Russia narrative is a gigantic pile of horseshit and anyone with two brain cells to rub together has known it since day 1.

  • Crusty Juggler - Double Great||

    the entire Russia narrative

    It stays alive thanks to the seemingly constant failure to disclose meetings or phone calls or whatever the fuck Trump's people are supposed to do, which is unfortunate, but I agree that other than the usual, "let's fuck with them" strategy I assume every country either has or wishes they had, it is much about nothing.

  • GILMORE™||

    failure to disclose meetings or phone calls

    if every inconsequential meeting a campaign had required 'disclosure', elections would be non-stop conspiracy mongering.

    if anything, this latest pearl-clutching about Don Jr's meeting raises questions about who actually pushed this so-called "russian" source on them, and why the State Dept was bending rules on her behalf to enable her political jaunt.

    in fact the entire russian-narrative, if anything, is far more a story about the media and its desperate credulousness (while ignoring the clinton camp hand in all of it). See = stuff like the "pee dossier"

  • GILMORE™||

    far more a story about the media and its desperate credulousness

    which is why i find the headline here so misplaced

    there's absolutely no need for anyone in the media to be telling the public to "calm down".

    Tell fucking CNN, WaPo, and all their idiot journalist friends on Twitter.

  • Crusty Juggler - Double Great||

    They have to disclose it on their security clearance form, which they didn't do, which is my problem.

  • GILMORE™||

    you take "security clearance forms" very seriously?

    I don't even know what that is, or why its supposed to matter.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    elections would be non-stop conspiracy mongering.

    I'm pretty sure that particular horse bolted from the barn at least 16 years ago and has since died of old age, and where the barn once stood is a Pottery Barn and a Chili's.

  • GILMORE™||

    i think you missed my point, which is more like - 'yes, that's the status quo': forcing people to publish the names of every inconsequential nobody who happens to make contact with a campaign seems like it would be adding gasoline to what is already a brush-fire of stupid.

  • Agammamon||

    Like they say - its not the underlying crime that you get screwed over, its the coverup.

    Scandals have to be dealt with like bandages - get it all out there quick so people will move on to something else. You'd think after multiple generations of politicians and bureaucrats getting to walk away from actual criminal activities they wouldn't be so worried about hiding this stuff. Especially since the guys who come out and say 'yeah, I did it, what are you going to do about it' tend to come off just fine.

  • Zeb||

    I think you are probably right. All that seems to have come out is that completely normal stuff that anyone paying attention should expect has been happening. Plus some political newcomers weren't always on the ball, which also isn't surprising or interesting.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It is sort of fun to watch, though. At first.

  • I can't even||

    I threw in the towel when the DNC refused to turn over the "hacked" servers to the FBI. That should have ended all doubt that is was pure unadulterated bullshit.

  • skunkman||

    Exactly. This is maybe the smartest Reason article that I have ever read.

    I am neither D nor R, as many that post comments here, and I didn't vote for Trump. But I will admit that the democrats and their agents, the main stream press, have pissed me off so much that I'd cast my vote for him today of for no other reason than to spite them. Treason? Impeachment? They are ******* insane. The left had gone completely unAmerican on this one. They are making every effort to make the election look illegitimate to strip credibility from the US President and create upheaval. Should we work with Russia to kick the ass of terrorists? Yes. Should we work with them to mess with North Korea and force China to step up? Yes. Should we work towards a cease fire in Syria? Yes. Should we support their abusive military action in other countries? No.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Hear, hear.

  • Demagogisimus||

    100% man, 100%.

  • Domestic Dissident||

    Holy fucking shit, it looks like an actual real libertarian instead of another hysterical left-wing JournoList ninny somehow snuck through the screening process and got in here.

    I don't know how it happened, but let's hope the word doesn't get out too broadly!

  • Eric||

    It's cute how you repubs are all "let's be besties" now with Russia. What's it like to have absolutely no principles?

  • I can't even||

    Not pushing a false story is "let's be besties"? How about lets not have a nuclear war just to prove Clinton's lies false?

  • Eric||

    I didn't say any of that. Just accusing republicans like DD of having no principles is all.

  • Domestic Dissident||

    You're more than welcome to grab a Bowie knife and join Yekaterina in the airborne attack on Red Square.

  • Eric||

    ^dumb

  • Citizen X - #6||

    New(?) commenter Eric is about to get himself merged into the Citizen Crustweigel gestalt if he doesn't stop poking Simple Mikey. Bad!

  • Rhywun||

    It's Tony or that new AmSoc sock. Same phrasing as always.

  • Zeb||

    Really. Has Stalin Dickwipe, or whatever it was yesterday, gone already?

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    I thought he was posting in the PM links.

    But I didn't even get to those until after 420, so who knows?

  • Agammamon||

    I don't understand - being 'besties' with Russia is completely in keeping with the US's 'principles'. They are, after all, just doing the same things we're doing.

    As for libertarian principles, why are we supposed to be opposed to Russia? They're not particularly totalitarian nowadays. I mean, I wouldn't like to live there, but there are a lot of worse governments to live under. Is it because of the Cold War? Its because of the Cold War isn't it? Even though that state's been dissolved for a couple decades now - original sin and all that, right?

  • damikesc||

    It's cute how you repubs are all "let's be besties" now with Russia. What's it like to have absolutely no principles?

    "There isn't a real point to going to war with Russia" and "Why are we even involved with Syria in the first place? Both sides are equally shitty" is, apparently, the same as being besties with Russia.

  • Calidissident||

    I really don't recall you taking this line on Russia back in 2012 when Romney said they were our "#1 geopolitical foe" and Obama laughed at him for it and essentially said he was stuck in the Cold War. I also remember conservatives in general mocking Obama for that after the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine, but that stopped once Trump became popular while praising Putin.

    I do agree with a lot of the points of the article. We don't need a return to brinksmanship with Russia, and I'm skeptical of the sanctions (even more so the further attempts to add on to what has already been passed). I also think we can cautiously work with Russia in some areas - we realistically don't have any other choice in Syria - but it would be foolish to trust Putin. You can hold these opinions and still harbor no illusions about Vladimir Putin and his regime being swell or turn a blind eye towards Putin's ambitions in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. There's a segment of libertarians who take such a contrarian stance on everything that they end up downplaying or apologizing for people like Putin and Assad just because the American political establishment doesn't like them. You don't have to do that in order to oppose the establishment's preferred foreign policy.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    That gives me an idea...

  • Red Twilight||

    Yes, this is reason.com desperate to suck up to Drumpf. Assholes, posing as libertarians, rather redundantly

  • Marc Joffe||

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I am definitely not a Conservative and I was disappointed by Romney's anti-Russia stance in 2012. Further, I thought Obama's approach to Cuba and Iran was excellent, and am disappointed to see his achievements being rolled back. My bottom line is that we should avoid conflict wherever possible and maximize engagement through trade, travel and person-to-person communication.

    I agree with your point about some libertarians falling into the trap of being apologists for Putin, Assad and others. Sometimes we're so anxious to highlight US government hypocrisy that we minimize or dismiss criticism of foreign despots.

  • Calidissident||

    And while observations of the hypocrisy of Democrats and the left on the issue of Russia are fair, I find that they display a stunning lack of self-awareness when they come from partisan Republicans and conservatives. If a Democratic president/candidate was under investigation (or at least key members of their campaign/administration were) for possibly colluding with Russia, the right-wing outrage machine would be dialed up to 11. It's laughable to suggest that Republicans are dismissing it for anything other than partisanship.

  • colorblindkid||

    Correct, the only difference is the entire non-Fox News press would be siding with the Democrat and have headlines like "Republicans are angry over potential Russian influence on hack of party e-mails" instead of "PUTIN HACKED THE ELECTION!"

    I expect politicians to be awful. It would be nice if our press wasn't just as bad.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah, that's true. I don't have too much expectations for the press these days. And while I expect the politicians to be awful, I don't let that make me ok with what they do. Whether it's Bush, Obama, Trump, Clinton(s) or any of the Congresscritters, etc.

  • Loss of Reason||

    Maybe...but again colluding with Russia how? Did Russia put Hillary's email server in a closet? Has any information that was leaked not accurate? Did Russia change one vote? Are there stories that the RNC rigged the primary for Trump?

    The problem is it just sounds like the Democrats are whiney and can't accept they lost. Even though they lost at EVERY government level, they can't seem to face that Hillary lost.

    Show proof of collusion. US in general has interfered in other country elections.
    When Obama beat Romney, Republicans moved on. Democrats can't.

  • Calidissident||

    The main point of my post wasn't about whether or not the collusion story is true, just that the Republicans absolutely would have jumped on it if the shoe was the other foot.

    There wasn't really a comparable storyline to latch onto after the Obama-Romney election. That election also wasn't as close as this one was. Nonetheless, I do recall frequently seeing conservatives online blaming the loss on voter fraud, although I don't remember any prominent Republican politicians saying that.

    I don't know if there actually was any collusion, but the Trump Jr. story shows that he and two other major figures of the campaign were willing to covertly accept information from the Russian government as part of its effort to elect Trump. As it turns out, it seems they were duped, but they apparently had every intention of doing that if she actually had been who she said she was. Add on the shady Russia connections from people like Manafort and Flynn, and I think it's at least worth letting the investigation run its course. I personally doubt direct evidence of actual (rather than a failed attempt) collusion will be found, and if it is Trump himself will probably not be able to be directly implicated. I still think we should just see how it plays out. Premature shrieking about treason from the left or handwaving from the right should be ignored IMO.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Team is gonna Team. Let the investigation run its course, but the proclamations of treason are out of hand. As is the daily spiking of the football.

    By the way, is there a way to legally gamble on whether a political "scandal" will result in anything? I could have paid off my house betting on Trump since November.

  • damikesc||

    The main point of my post wasn't about whether or not the collusion story is true, just that the Republicans absolutely would have jumped on it if the shoe was the other foot.

    But without the press, it would've been dead in a few days.

    Remember, Scalise was shot and badly injured NOT THAT LONG AGO.

    And the press is still more obsessed with Russia than a Progressive trying to mass murder Republican Congresspeople.

  • Calidissident||

    If an investigation was happening (which is what I was discussing) the press can only do so much to ignore that. And while yes, most of the MSM leans left, there's still plenty of conservative outlets on the Internet and talk radio, in addition to Fox News. And if congressional Republicans were pushing the story (which they would be) that would get news for sure.

    You bring up a good point, but part of that is that the Russia story is an ongoing investigation, whereas the shooting was something that took place on a single day. The liberal press does seem keen though to ignore a pattern of political violence, except when it comes from the right.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Mike M.|3.4.14 @ 2:05PM

    Nobody other than perhaps complete whackos like John McCain are advocating that. The real question for serious people who is: should we and the west do absolutely nothing at all, or should we respond to try to isolate and punish Russia in non-military ways.

  • Calidissident||

    LMAO this is a perfect example of what I was talking about. Please tell me more Mikey about how your stance on Russia is totally principled, and not at all a flip flop based on your love of the God-Emperor who took a 180 position on Russia compared to the traditional Republican party line.

  • skunkman||

    Oh, and the ****head lefties didn't do the same thing. Obama with his 'I'll have more flexibility after the election" the Clintons with the backroom deals, the lovers of Snowden and of course the farther left commies that have worshiped mother Russia for years.

  • Calidissident||

    Please point out where I said that Obama and the Clintons were awesome and that the left always hated Russia. Oh yeah, that's right, I didn't say that.

    You people are just as bad as the Obama worshipers who screamed "BUSSHHHHHH!" at every turn in 2009.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Oh shit!

  • paranoid android||

    Solid. Gold.

  • Crusty Juggler - Double Great||

    Whoa.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Hillary advocated bombing Russia within the last 24 hours.

    That's Hillary Clinton, the almost POTUS.

  • Calidissident||

    Source? I saw the story about the Clinton ally saying that, I haven't heard anything (and google didn't return anything) about her endorsing that.

    But regardless, I don't see how that's relevant to Mikey's hypocrisy here.

  • Zeb||

    So, still convinced that Reason is all in for war with Russia?

  • Robert||

    I know Marc D. Joffe from way back & can vouch that he's the real thing.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I like the cut of this Joffe character's jib. Does he have a newsletter that one may subscribe to?

  • Robert||

    He did use to edit either a LPNY or NYU LSA newsletter, or both, in the 1980s.

  • Marc Joffe||

    Wow. Thanks for remembering that! I expect to write for Reason more frequently going forward. You can see myt recent stuff here: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Authors/J/Marc-Joffe . The material I wrote while at NYU remains in my file cabinet (:

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The anti-Russia hyperventilation covers the political spectrum . . . . McCain, Clinton and others are amplifying the US intelligence community's public indictment of Russia for election meddling during the closing days of the Obama administration."

    If by "political spectrum" you mean various flavors of necon, maybe.

    Let's be clear. John McCain is neocon, and Hillary Clinton is a necon. If you can slide an exacto knife between their views on foreign policy, I'd be interested to see the distinctions between them.

    The intelligence services (what other Reason contributors have been calling the deep state) have, likewise, been trying to undermine Trump's attempts to forge a working relationship with Putin on fighting ISIS in Syria--apparently ever since Trump starting campaigning on working together with Putin.

    P.S. You might have thought this article--if no other--would have mentioned that Trump brokered a limited ceasefire with Putin that appears to be holding after 96 hours. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Incidentally, you don't have to wonder why the intelligence services don't want Trump working with Putin. If Trump forges a working relationship with Russia in Syria, then American foreign policy may have to acquiesce to reality Syria being in Russia's (and Iran's) sphere of influence. Syria (regarding both ISIS and the Assad/Iranian alliance) is our intelligence services' justification for their future budgets--among other considerations. They don't want to give up that turf to Putin.

    Meanwhile, Hillary, McCain, and the neocons want to keep Syria open to the possibility of an Iraq style occupation. Trump's strategy flies in the face of that.

    Don't be confused by party boundaries, here. Hillary Clinton lost to Obama in the 2008 primaries because she was a huge neocon enthusiast for the Iraq War, where Obama could ostensibly claim to have been against it. Trump represents a return to Reagan/Bush Sr. era pragmatism--with Putin playing the role of Pinochet.

    If it is in America's best security interests to ally ourselves with Joseph Stalin, then that's what we should do. The suggestion that we can't do what's in America's security interests because of the way Putin treats LGBT, newspapers in Moscow, etc. is childish and stupid.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's reminiscent of Democrat arguments against MFN status for China back before they joined the WTO circa 2001.

    Back then, the Democrats' said, "No, American consumers can't enjoy the benefits of free trade--not so long as the Chinese hold political prisoners. We'll just have to hold our breath until we turn blue".

    Nowadays, the neocons say, "No, Americans can't enjoy the security benefits of a pragmatic foreign policy--not so long as Vladimir Putin doesn't recognize gay marriage. We'll just have to keep on the watch for terrorists."

    Imagine if our president said shit like that during World War II. "No, Americans can't forge an alliance with Russia and force the unconditional surrender of the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese--not so long as Stalin mistreats his people."

    16 years of neocon "victories" that all look and smell like huge mistakes, and not only have the American people forgotten about pragmatism--we've forgotten what really winning looks like. Sometimes winning looks like Pinochet. Sometimes winning looks like bugging out of Lebanon 'cause there's no upside and a whole lotta Rosie downside.

  • Fear and loathing||

    Think carefully before allying yourself with snakes and liars. Press the reset button again. Good fucking luck.

  • Ken Shultz||

    What is that supposed to mean?

    You think World War II was a failure?

    You think winning the Cold War was a mistake?

  • Fear and loathing||

    It means we should demand concrete actions from Putin before we change our sanctions because Putin is a liar who cannot be trusted. He lies about the elections he wins, the places he invades, the people he assassinates, and the money he steals. This talk of allying ourselves with this fucking punk motherfucker is crazy. Deal with him? Yes. He's not your friend though.

  • Ken Shultz||

    96 hours later, there's been no reported fighting in the ceasefire zone.

    Knock on wood.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Stalin was also a lying sack of shit.

    When it was in our best interests to ally with him, we did it anyway.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Just remember, allying with Stalin meant 50 years of Soviet jackboots on the necks of Eastern Eurpoe. It may have been the best option, but there was a cost to it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Just remember, allying with Stalin meant 50 years of Soviet jackboots on the necks of Eastern Eurpoe."

    Being allies with Stalin meant devastation to the Nazis from the east and chasing the Japanese out of northern China without great losses in American lives.

    Because we shouldn't have traded away eastern Europe was no reason not to use Stalin in an alliance.

    We made some big mistakes in regards to what happened after the war.

    Allying ourselves with Stalin during the war, however, was not a mistake.

  • Tony||

    Putin is a greater threat than ISIS. Ask any serious foreign policy person and they'll say that. They'll also note that just because attacks are happening in secret over the Internet doesn't make them less important than an old-fashioned physical assault. They fucked with our presidential election, and they won. Anyone apologizing for them is simply carrying water for Trump, and there's no need for that considering he's a bloated corrupt buffoon with the intelligence (and libido) of a bonobo.

  • Zeb||

    Putin is a greater threat than ISIS.

    Threat to whom? To Ukraine, the Baltics and other neighbors, sure, absolutely. I don't think he's that much of a threat to the US if our government doesn't do anything too stupid. ISIS probably isn't either, or wouldn't be if we'd stop dicking around in Syria and Iraq.

  • Tony||

    Putin wants to destabilize NATO and has already interfered with the US presidential election to the extent that he won.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    All hail our great and powerful leader, President Putin!

  • Loss of Reason||

    Do you read off of DNC talking point cards? Explain with examples how Putin won. Wait, he published Hillary emails that she wrote! People found out what she is really like!

    Show evidence that they hacked voting machines. Show anything that proves they liked Hillary more than Trump.

    You lost at all levels of government. All!

    Just think Tony, if you nominated anyone almost besides Sanders or Hillary, a Dem would be president.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    I just have a hard time believing that a significant number of people in the Midwest wanted to vote for Hillary, but then thought "You know what? The way Donna Brazile leaked questions to Hillary's campaign before her debate with Bernie was really unfair. I'm voting for Trump"

    Plus Hillary doing just one thing differently, like not making the deplorables comment or picking her states better, swings the entire election back in her favor

  • The Last American Hero||

    It was all those UAW guys in Detroit and Pittsburgh steelworkers, wolfing down lunch in the heat of campaign season and when Comey Email II broke, they all said "Enough with this lady, I'm goin' with the Donald."

    Sure.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Russia may not be wuite our enemy but neither is it our friend and it seems to have designs on several nations that are our friends who have historical readons to fear an aggressive Russian state. Let's avoid hanging our friends out to dry in order to appease Putin.

  • Red Twilight||

    Regardless of one's position on Drumpf, Congress has not declared war on Russia. Russia has not invaded us. Russia is not our enemy

    So that's the bar now for finding out who's an enemy. No, that is simply Joffe angling to be a spare cock holster for Drumpf.

    How about Iran? Has Congress declared war on Iran? Have they invaded us? Is there not a reason to engage them?
    How about North Korea? Has Congress declared war on Iran? Have they invaded us? Is there not a reason to engage them?

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    You changed the original quote to say Drumpf! Clever! And you made a joke about how the writer wants to have sex with the president! That'll show those gay-bashing Republicans!

  • Loss of Reason||

    Awww, trying to being grown up by name calling. Please hold your breath until you get more attention

  • The Last American Hero||

    No, that's the bar for successfully trying people for treason, which people like you keep wanting to do.

  • keith2366||

    Russia is not our enemy. Putin is.

  • ||

    Yeah, he stole our Democracy! OMG! /derp

  • Marc Joffe||

    Here is the problem with that formulation: Russia is a country that has virtually no tradition of democracy and a highly nationalistic population. When Putin exits, he is likely to be replaced by another strongman. You can't expect a liberal democrat uninterested in controlling the country's "near abroad" to take power. So if you see Putin as an enemy, you will likely see his successor as an enemy as well.

  • Tony||

    I think the consensus here is that may very well be the case, once he becomes puppetmaster to a Democrat instead of a Republican.

  • ||

    Absolutely. Putin's not a good guy by any means, but the benefits of diplomacy with Russia far outweighs the Democrat's pant shitting. Well, I mean what doesn't outweigh Democrat's pant shitting? Some less shittier pants?

  • The Last American Hero||

    I'm torn between the taste of the salty ham tears that keeps on flowing as Team Blue keeps tripping over its own dick, and my belief that divided government is a good thing and if Team Blue keeps tripping over its own dick - we may have one party rule for the foreseeable future.

  • ||

    Hopefully, one party rule has a lot more libertarians.

  • Tony||

    All you're doing is regurgitating the precise narrative the Kremlin paid good money to cram down your throat.

  • sparkstable||

    For the sake of argument... let's say Trump is working with Putin, gets to roll in the dough because of it (either direct payments or income from the gained power/influence of being POTUS)... that every thing the libs say is true.

    If it keeps us from shooting guns at Russia then I think Trump deserves more.

    I would much rather have a selfish corrupt politician that avoids a war with another heavy (even if he fights in Syria etc) than Hillary (a different selfish corrupt politician) trying to show she has more balls than Putin by taking a lukewarm relationship and turning it full scale hot.

  • WinstonV||

    This isn't about friends or enemies. It's about nation-states advancing their own self-interest. Russia, regardless of whether one thinks it is friend or enemy, obviously sees world influence as a zero-sum game, and has, by destabilizing our democracy, knocked the US off the top of the leader board. The "libertarian" angle seems to be shoehorned into a discussion where its relevance is questionable. Attacking the US government for violating libertarian tenets while giving a pass to Russia for even more egregious behavior exposes what seems to be the real agenda. I can't see this op-ed as anything more a clumsy apologia for the inaction of Congress, in light of, and the blatant errors of the current administration.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    How did Russia destabilize our democracy? I'm still unclear about that.

  • JuanQPublic||

    It seems like just yesterday the principle-vacant Democrats were harping on and on about Bush's "you're with us or against us" bluster.

    The last year will serve as a lesson on just how little principle the Democrats have today. It's also nothing short of amazing that the same party who is waggling it's finger about "Russia" and "election integrity" when their own party elite collided with the Clinton campaign to marginalize the challenger.

  • XM||

    First reason article to use the term "deep state"?

  • Kay Faibe||

    You know what would be cool? If we could forget this whole Russian collusion crap and get tax reform going and roll back some of the absurd legislation that was passed in the last 8 years that is ruining US's ability to compete economically? Unless someone can show Putin made voting machines change Clinton votes to Trump, I'm not seeing what the problem is. I agree with Jamie Dimon, can our government pull the head out of the ass and make some progress?

  • mysmartstuffs||

    "As president, Donald Trump has the legal right to declassify the intelligence. But some unelected bureaucrat in the US national security establishment decided that Trump's actions were inappropriate and leaked the story to The Washington Post. It is possible the leak alerted ISIS that its plot had been compromised, encouraging the terrorists to protect their bomb-building efforts from further scrutiny. The potential victims of this leak are civilian passengers of US airlines – the presumed target of the ISIS plot.

    Russia also provided intelligence that, had it been handled properly by the FBI, could have prevented the Tsarnaev brothers from bombing the Boston marathon."

    My recent post: SEO Revolution PLR Review
    Sent from Honest Jvzoo Reviews

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Late to the party but this is a great article. Thank you Reason.

  • obatgonore88||

    True, this is what I think too. Although somewhat different in opinion about the discussion, but mostly I agree with this site. Hope it always updates so I always increase my insight

    Obat Keluar nanah dari penis

  • buybuydandavis||

    RT is accused of spreading propaganda and fake news that impacted our election.

    CNN, PBS, NBC, ABC, BBC, ...

  • Mark P||

    Many countries--including Russia--should not be trusted; however it is Democratic presidents Clinton or Obama that gave billions of dollars to Russia in 1998, North Korea before that, and Iran last year--all in exchange for empty promises. We need strong relations with Russia because they are one of three superpowers armed with a powerful nuclear arsenal. The last thing we need to do is encourage Russia to align with China against U.S. interests--that would be a disastrous foreign policy that would not turn out well.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online