As I write this a seemingly unhinged Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, has sent 190,000 “peacekeepers,” in reality heavily armed soldiers, to “denazify” Ukraine. This will be difficult because President Zelenskyy is Jewish! Meanwhile this brutal invasion’s death toll is already the worst in the region since WWII and could result in a global war. (Not to mention, take the laughs out of “Laughing Matters.”)
I’m reminded of June 12, 1987 when President Reagan spoke at the Brandenburg Gate of the Berlin Wall. His immortal words were directed at Russian General Secretary Gorbachev. “If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
In little more than two years, November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. This was a pivotal event in world history, marking the fall of the Iron Curtain and communism in Eastern and Central Europe. Putin, when not busy sailing his yacht, or poisoning journalists, has often suggested that the fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. (As for Putin’s gaudy 270 foot, $100 million yacht, his ownership is a tad suspicious given his $10,000 monthly salary, making Vlad among the most corrupt world leaders, or at least the thriftiest.)
So it was the party of Reagan became the party of Trump who, by the way, has called Putin’s invasion “genius.” And Trump’s former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is also praising Putin. But no one could ever doubt Trump was “Putin’s Puppet”’ if they witnessed the July 16, 2018 Helsinki summit. It was there “The Donald” sided with Putin over U.S. Intelligence. (Reagan must have been spinning in his grave.)
The issue in question was whether Russia had interfered in the 2016 election which Trump’s own intelligence were convinced they had. However, at the press conference following his 2-hour meeting with Putin alone, Trump said, “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” (As if autocratic tyrant Putin “denying it” meant it didn’t happen. Give me a break.)
Trump’s statements amounted to an unprecedented refusal by a U.S. president to believe his own intelligence agencies over the word of a foreign adversary. It drew swift condemnation including from his own party. House Speaker, Republican Paul Ryan, who rarely rebuked Trump’s controversial statements, said “there is no question that Russia interfered in our elections.” He called on Trump to recognize that Russia “is not our ally.” John Brennan, the former CIA director and a career intelligence officer, called Trump’s comments “nothing short of treasonous.” (Amen!)
Trump’s next statement only added fuel to the fire. “Putin said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” The next day Trump had the audacity to proclaim he meant to say, “I didn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.” This made zero sense given everything Trump had said in defense of Russia. So, once again, Don the Con inadvertently told the truth, if only by mistake.
That brings me to Fox News’ anchor Tucker Carlson who is now seemingly defending Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine casually asking, ‘Why is it disloyal to side with Russia but loyal to side with Ukraine?” (With the name Tucker and wearing a bow tie, I always viewed Carlson as a harmless clown but now, as propagandist of the most-watched cable news show, and desperately reaching out to interview Putin, I see him as a dangerous bozo.)
Thankfully some small sanity exists at Fox News as evidenced by contributor Dan Hoffman, a former CIA station chief. He compared Putin’s rhetoric, in which he recognized two break-away regions of Ukraine to Hitler’s “justification for taking the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia.” The comparison is so alarming because it rings so true.
With my deadline looming and events rapidly changing it’s impossible to speculate where this crisis is heading but it’s almost certain it will be ugly. After all, referring to his former career, Putin has often warned the west, “There is no such thing as a former KGB officer.” (Yikes!)
Some experts have speculated Putin has stolen as much as 200 billion dollars from Russia in Mafia-style. With the fall of communism, Putin handed over to oligarchs monopolies of entire industries that used to be government-owned. In return, however, the oligarchs were forced to make Putin their 50-50 partner. (Assassinating journalists, and 50% cut of everything, no wonder Trump is so jealous.)
Apparently fearing severe sanctions from the U.S. Vlad covertly moved his precious yacht from Germany to a Russian harbor. (Hey, maybe the yacht will be where Mad Vlad gets interviewed by Comrade Carlson?)