Opinion

Much Ado About Russia

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin.

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Vladimir Putin is looking for an apology from Fox News over Bill O’Reilly’s comment calling the Russian president “a killer.”  I don’t know if he wants to sit down with O’Reilly over a few jiggers of Russian vodka or if he is insisting on a statement being read by the management in prime time.

The words were uttered in the exclusive Fox interview between O ’Reilly and President Donald Trump in the context of what relations between the U.S. and Russia should be Trump reiterated his position that he believe that relationship should be better than it is; better than it was under the duplicitous and desultory Barack Obama and better than the dynamic duo of Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham think it ought to be.

Trump thinks Russia could be of some assistance in the general war on terror and the specific battle with ISIS.

And you know, he’s right.

There was another time in history when we needed Russia to fight and die for a common cause and we weren’t too particular about its internal politics.

I did a search for how American opinion leaders and major media outlets described dictator Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union while the U.S. was allied to it during the Second World War.

The word “killer” did not occur.

Yet Stalin was undoubtedly both a killer – he murdered political enemies during his early years as a Bolshevik activist – and a mass murderer.  Stalin spent almost 30 years atop the Soviet pyramid of power and through purges, Gulags and self-induced famine Stalin liquidated millions – millions more than Hitler and almost as many as China’s Mao Zedong.

But to Americans during the war he was “Uncle Joe,” a smiling and simple man of the people who had been catapulted into a position of great and awesome power.

If you ever want a laugh, watch the 1943 Warner Bros. film “Mission to Moscow” with Walter Huston playing U.S. ambassador Joseph E. Davies, a businessman friend of President Franklyn Roosevelt who apparently was as naïve as he was enthusiastic about his diplomatic post.  Davies believed everything the Soviets told him about how “wreckers” or saboteurs were destroying Soviet factories and plotting to overthrow Stalin’s good government.  These hapless and tortured victims were put in front of kangaroo courts, forced to confess to their crimes and then had to request that the state please put them to death for their sins.  Davies bought the Soviet line completely and even went on a speaking tour defending the Soviets for their admirable work in raising the average Russian’s standard of living and educating the masses – sort what liberals said for decades about Fidel Castro and Cuba.

Of course it was all a massive prevarication and within five years Warner Bros. was wishing they had never made that picture.  Watching it today induces a curious mixture of hilarity and outrage.

But the terrible truth is, we probably couldn’t have defeated Germany without the millions of Russians who died on the Eastern Front.

We may not be able to defeat ISIS without Russian help either — and don’t tell me that Putin resembles even the shadow of Stalin.

[dcquiz] I’ll tell you why Putin has become the bête noire of so many fashionable liberals and RINOs.  Russia has consistently rejected the normalization and acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyle and this has earned it the contempt of Western liberals who insist you not only must have your gay pride parades but you’ve got to celebrate them too.  Obama made it clear that this was an area of non-agreement.

So if the anti-Russians are going to persist in their insistence that there can be no accommodation or cooperation with this evil empire that is far less pernicious than it ever was under Bolshevism or even the pre-communist monarchy, let them at least be honest about the source of their hostility.

In comparison with the friends we have chosen in the past, it really is much ado about nothing.

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