Russia: Ally for Obama, Enemy for Trump

For the eight years Obama was in office, Republicans repeatedly warned not only Americans, but the world, that Russia was still a bad actor on the world stage and a geopolitical foe. For eight years liberals scoffed and mocked any Republican who held such view. For the two most notable examples, one only needs to look to Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney.

Sarah Palin, in the 2008 campaign, stated “after the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.” After making this statement, Palin was mocked for being ill informed regarding world affairs and naïve about foreign policy. Blake Hounshell, who at the time was editor of Foreign Policy magazine, called Palin’s warning “strange” and “an extremely far-fetched scenario.” Hounshell went on to write “and given how Russia has been able to unsettle Ukraine’s pro-Western government without firing a shot, I don’t see why violence would be necessary to bring Kiev to heel.” In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine.

During the 2012 campaign, Romney repeatedly referred to Russia as a geopolitical foe of America. For this warning he was repeatedly mocked and ridiculed as well. On one particular television interview Romney stated about Obama “if he is planning on doing more and suggests to Russia that he has things he is willing to do with them he is not willing to tell the American people, this is Russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe.”

This particular quote from Romney was in direct response to President Obama being caught on a hot microphone conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. On a hot microphone Obama stated “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him (incoming Russian President Putin) to give me space” to which Medvedev replied “yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you …” and Obama concluded by stating “this is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Romney was lambasted by the left for stating Russia was a geopolitical threat. Chris Matthews, on his MSNBC show, dedicated a 4:42 minute segment on the aforementioned Romney statement on Russia. After playing the clip of the Romney statement Chris states “Ugh…I don’t know what decade this guy’s living in.” Cynthia Tucker, a panelist on the segment stated Romney’s claim on Russia was “indefensible” and “we need Russia. We need Russia at the table to help us with our real geopolitical enemies.” Sam Stein of the Huffington Post was also a panelist on this particular segment. Sam stated of Romney “the fact that he declared Russia the preeminent geopolitical problem for the United States facing the world is an antiquated world view.” MSNBC and leftist activists repeatedly painted Romney as an out-of-touch, war mongering hawk who was stuck in a Cold War mentality.

Obama famously called Romney out for holding this view in a Presidential Debate. Obama stated “a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing American you said Russia, not al Qaeda, you said Russia. The 1980’s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the cold war has been over for 20 years.” First, this statement from President Obama is absurd. After already serving three years as POTUS, Obama did not seem to understand the term “geopolitical.” Al Qaeda is not now, nor have they ever been, a geopolitical threat as al Qaeda does not hold land and is not a recognized state (geography is required to be a geopolitical threat, hence the prefix geo- in the term geopolitical…it is not rocket science liberals). Secondly, by stating this in the debate, Obama joined the liberal refrain that Russia was no longer a threat to America or the world, and anyone who stated otherwise was living in the past. Romney was not as enlightened as Obama and leftist activists regarding foreign policy.

At this same time period Hillary appeared on CNN in an interview with Wolf Blitzer. Hillary stated of the concept Russia is a threat “without getting into the political campaign because that is for others to comment on, I think if you take a look at the world today we have a lot of problems that are not leftovers from the past but are of the moment. We have just been talking about one, namely Iran. And in many of the areas where we are working to solve problems Russia has been an ally. They are in the P5+1 talks with us, they have worked with us in Afghanistan and have been very helpful in the northern distribution network and other ways. So I think it is somewhat dated to be looking backwards…” Thus, Hillary joined the refrain that any talk of Russia as a threat is outdated and ridiculous as well.

Fast forward to today and liberals have spent the last year since Trump was elected POTUS attempting to tie Trump to Russia. According to Democrats today, Russia “hacked” Democratic emails and released them to hurt Democrats during the 2016 election (this has been debunked repeatedly as emails were not hacked, they were leaked by a Democratic insider).

For the past year Democrats have painted Russia as an evil actor, number one enemy of the United States, and Trump’s “collusion” with Russia helped him steal the presidency from Hillary. If Russia was an ally as Hillary stated, why are they now evil again?  This narrative from the Democrats for the past year is nonsensical. For eight years liberals excoriated any Republican who warned of potential Russia aggression and claimed Russia was a geopolitical threat. Today, liberals mock any Republican who point out their hypocrisy on Russia as being naïve to the Russian threat.

This all boils down to a simple question for liberals. Is Russia an ally or enemy of the United States? Liberals cannot have it both ways. Leftists cannot, for eight years claim Russia is a non-threat to America, or the world, then claim, as soon as Trump was elected, Russia is an evil actor in the world. It is asinine.

If Russia is not an ally as liberals claimed during the Obama presidency, then Hillary and Obama signing off on a deal that allows Russian control of 20% of our uranium supply is either high crimes and misdemeanors, or outright treason. I have yet to meet a liberal academic or activist that can explain how Russia was an ally during the Obama years, but became foreign enemy number one as soon as Trump defeated Hillary in the 2016 presidential election. To steal a line from liberal Cynthia Tucker, this current liberal position on Russia is “indefensible.”

David L. House II, M.P.A., Ed.D.

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