In national politics, the outrage-a-day ethos that the news media has pursued since President Donald Trump became a serious candidate has made it a matter of urgency to comment on anything on which a writer might think to comment. Wait a few days in order to take care of items of more actual relevance, and the tempest on which one had something to say is no longer relevant.
Well, I’m not sure where we are with the whole “Trump is a Russian asset” mania, but for the sake of offering my little corrective to the monolithic certainty one sees among Rhode Island’s news and commentary folks, here’s Mark Tapscott’s “10 Ways Trump Put Real Muscle in U.S. Policies, Defenses Against Russia“:
That “something [beneficial that might come from the Russia hysteria” is a sharper public understanding of the numerous ways in which Trump has reversed the accommodation, wavering and vacillation that marked former President Barack Obama’s approach during his eight years in the Oval Office to dealing with Putin.
Obama’s weakness was epitomized by the “red line” he drew in Syria against chemical weapons. Obama did nothing when Syria’s Russian-backed dictator, President Bashar al-Assad, killed hundreds of civilians with chlorine gas.
Putin subsequently annexed Crimea and openly backed insurgents trying to return Ukraine to Russian control.
While U.S. intelligence and military assets have undertaken multiple unpublicized measures since Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017, the following dozen initiatives on the public record amount to a near-complete reversal of the Obama years.
Have people forgotten the truism that we should watch people’s actions, not their words? The United States is still backing Ukraine and is pressuring Europe to increase its resilience in the face of Russia. Probably most importantly, we continue to build our energy output, which drains the Russian economy. Those aren’t the actions of a foreign government’s “asset.”
In fact, they’re just about the opposite of the policies pursued by our prior president, whom a hot mic caught transmitting a message to Vladimir that he’d have more flexibility once he’d won reelection.