Is The Trump-Russia Collusion Fantasy Driving US Foreign Policy?
CNN can’t go an hour without pushing the phony Trump-Russian collusion narrative. Other news organizations follow suit, breathlessly reporting the latest leak about Robert Mueller’s supposedly secret special counsel investigation. Mueller looking into Trump family members or some Russian who years ago purchased a condo or a golf membership in a Trump property.
Democrat members of Congress like Maxine Waters or Adam Schiff seek any opportunity in front of a microphone or camera to tut-tut about the seriousness of potential collusion and beat the drum for Trump’s impeachment. NeverTrump Republicans say nothing to defend their President, their silence passively endorsing the Democrat-media narrative.
Russia is now public enemy number one. Just as Mitt Romney told America as a presidential candidate in 2012. The NY Times at the time declared his comments, “Reckless and unworthy of a major presidential contender”, demonstrating, “Either a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics.” What a difference four years and a presidential election makes. Russian going from ineffectual to public enemy number one.
Why is it reckless now? What if the current media-Democrat-deep state obsession with Russian collusion is driving US foreign policy? Perhaps in a reckless direction?
The House and Senate recently slapped new sanctions on Russia. By a 98-2 veto-proof landslide vote in the Senate. The bill was signed into law by President Trump. What choice did Trump have?
I’m not saying sanctions are good or bad at this moment in time. Maybe Russian aggressiveness needs pushback. Then again foreign policy is complex. Many moving and competing pieces on an ever-changing chess board. Perhaps we need Russia’s help in fighting Isis and Islamic terrorism. Or in Syria.
As president, FDR worked with Stalin against a common enemy, Hitler. Despite the US and the USSR being geopolitical foes at the time, cooperation and collaboration were needed against a larger threat of Nazi ambition. Could Trump and Putin do the same now? Who knows?
Unfortunately, we don’t know and Trump won’t have that option given the persistence of the collusion narrative. He has no choice but to take a hard line against Russia, whether warranted or not. Or whether in the best strategic foreign policy interests of the United States or not.
Trump’s stewardship of US foreign policy is now driven by avoidance of playing into the meme that he is a Putin puppet, a stooge of the Russian government. Anything less would feed the narrative of collusion. Fueling calls for impeachment by the Democrats and giving NeverTrump Republicans an excuse to join in, ridding them of their embarrassing and unfit leader.
Lost on Democrats is the irony of their long love affair with the Soviets. Bernie Sanders spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. Senator Ted Kennedy, demonstrating real Russian collusion and election tampering, secretly enlisted the Soviets to help defeat Ronald Reagan in his 1984 reelection efforts.
Also forgotten are Democrat hero JFK’s two foreign policy blunders, driven by fear and hatred of communism, the Bay of Pigs and the Vietnam War. Politics driving foreign policy.
50 years later politics is again driving foreign policy. War-monger and Trump-loathing John McCain dismisses Trump being boxed in by these sanctions calling Trump’s concerns, “hardly surprising, though misplaced.” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described the sanctions a “declaration of a full-fledged economic war on Russia.”
Is it wise to alienate a potential ally who could be useful in the myriad global hot spots including North Korea, Iran and Syria? Driving Russia into alliances ultimately harmful to US interests. The answer is moot because petty domestic politics, a desperate desire to explain Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss and to delegitimize a duly elected, non-establishment president, is driving US foreign policy. To an unknown and potentially dangerous destination.
As an example, both North Korea and Russia, in response to new sanctions, are now strengthening ties with Iran. How does this help US interests.
Mueller and the left need to put up or shut up. Was there collusion altering the election outcome or not? Holding Trump and his foreign policy hostage to endless accusations, leaks and investigations will cause Trump to react accordingly and make poor decisions. Resurrecting the Cold War is a foolish and dangerous path to take over partisan squabbles.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.