Readers Write: Trump: Putin’s willing pawn

Donald Trump’s disgraceful display of pandering in Helsinki to Russian dictator and former agent of the notorious KGB, Vladimir Putin, has been indelibly imprinted in America’s historical record.

Having grown up in the 1950s, I can attest to the frightening realities of living in fear of Russia’s significant nuclear arsenal.  I and fellow American classmates of that era ‘ducked and covered’ in our classrooms preparing for Russian nuclear missiles.

It is astounding to me that Trump, approximately my age, fails to understand Putin is a product of that era, as well, but, on our adversary’s side.  

Putin developed into a highly skilled KGB agent and Russian intelligence officer.

In short, Putin is masterful at how to ‘play’, dominate, and crush adversaries.  In 2016, Republican Senator John McCain called Putin a ‘thug and a murderer’ for good reason. 

During Putin’s time as Russian president, opponents have been murdered, political prisoners have been jailed in Siberia for decades, human rights have been suppressed, opposition has been quashed, Ukraine’s Crimea has been annexed via Russia’s military, Assad’s massacres of Syrians have been supported by Russia, and evidence seems to have been found implicating Russia in shooting down Malaysia Airline Flight 17 over Ukraine.

To quash religion further, in July, 2016, Putin seemingly approved laws imposing strong restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism.

Although numerous religious leaders and human rights advocates protested, Russia’s new dictates took effect in late July, 2016, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere except in recognized church buildings.

Subsequently, Russia’s Baptist Council of Churches wrote in an open letter that Putin’s new laws would “…create conditions for the repression of all Christians….Any person who mentions their religious view or reflections out loud or puts them in writing, without the relevant documents, could be accused of ‘illegal missionary activity.’”

Put succinctly:  Russian President Putin’s oppressive government is antithetical to our American way of life.

When Trump seemingly ‘chummies’ with Putin, an obvious dictator, he demonstrates either admiration for Putin’s dictatorship or ignorance of Putin’s dictatorial record.  Either way, Trump’s apparent admiration of dictators is dangerous for American democracy.

In June, 2018, Trump called Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, a “strong head” of his country.

This past week, Trump told Sean Hannity in an interview that Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin was, “very, very strong.”

Americans must know and understand history to preserve our freedoms.

It is worth repeating that, in his Evil Empire speech (March 8, 1983), President Ronald Reagan warned Americans that the leaders of the Soviet Union (Russia): “…preach the supremacy of the state…they are the focus of evil in the modern world…because they sometimes speak in soothing tones of brotherhood and peace….some would have us accept them at their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses.  

“But if history teaches anything, it teaches that simpleminded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom…. So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority…. I urge you to beware the temptation…. (to) label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire.”

I voted twice for President Ronald Reagan.   

I suspect Reagan would be apoplectic if he knew of Trump’s disgraceful, kowtowing behavior in deference to Russia’s Putin.

If Trump cannot understand or refuses to recognize Reagan’s cautionary warnings regarding Russia, he does not belong in the job of American  President.

If Trump, a self-admitted mis-speaker (e.g., would/wouldn’t?)  who behaves like a loose cannon, continues to conduct unrecorded closed-door meetings with a known brutal dictator, he does not belong in the job of American President. 

Such meetings between our President and other world leaders need to be recorded for American posterity or for Congressional review…even if not appropriate for Americans’ general consumption for security reasons.

If Trump ever considered Putin’s offensive request to turn over our former U.S. Ambassador, Michael McFaul, to Russia for questioning over spurious allegations, he does not belong in the job of American president.

Regardless of one’s history of voting for Trump or not voting for Trump, Americans must recognize Trump’s palpable anti-democratic leanings that threaten our accepted freedoms…freedoms which we can never take for granted.

My mother always told me: “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.”  Russia, our friend?  I think not.

Kathy Rittel

East Williston


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