A few weeks ago, liberals mourned the passing of a mass-murdering Marxist whose crimes make Putin’s misdeeds look infinitesimal by comparison. During the Cold War, liberals criticized American presidents for “provoking” Castro and Soviet leaders. Now they rip into Trump for not provoking Russia. They scold Trump for upsetting totalitarian China (by merely taking a congratulatory call from Taiwan) then demand he tangle with Putin and damage relations with Russia.
Already, the chattering class is up in arms about Trump’s selection of Rex Tillerson to head up the State Department. As the head of ExxonMobil, which performs extensive work in Russia and employs a significant number of Russians, Tillerson has known Putin, along with many other foreign leaders, for some time. So what? How else could he have run a global company of that size? Any attempts by the Democrats to demonize Tillerson are bound to look stupid, especially since they normally fault Republican nominees for bellicosity. Are they going to argue that Tillerson is disqualified for diplomacy by his record of getting along with foreign leaders?
Of course, some Republicans, always looking to score off the shallow, virtue-signaling politics of the moment, stand ready to help the Dems in this idiocy. “Being a ‘friend of Vladimir’ is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryofState,” tweets out Senator Marco Rubio. “It’s a matter of concern to me that he has such a close relationship with Vladimir Putin,” says Senator John McCain. “I don’t know [Tillerson] much at all, but let’s put it this way: If you received an award from the Kremlin, [an] Order of Friendship, then we’re going have to do some talkin’,” says Senator Lindsey Graham.
This is pathetic but typical of cheap-shot pols. Tillerson got that award from Putin, not for a personal friendship, but for his company’s activities in the country and his “big contribution to developing cooperation in the energy sector.”
Trump is often accused of “immaturity” and “recklessness” by Washington’s supposed smart set. But what is more childish than their egging of Tillerson for insufficient Putin-posturing? How is that prudent? How does that serve the interests of peace and stability?
Over the last eight years, they have applauded State Department diplomats for casting a blind eye to China’s evils. It didn’t bother the self-appointed monitors of international standards, when Joe Biden went over to China and praised its inhumane policies. The country’s practice of punishing women for having more than one child was a policy the Obama administration could commiserate with, Biden told Chinese leaders: “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family.”
Trump has never even come close to making such a moronic statement about Putin’s policies. Yet the media talked endlessly about his “bromance with Putin.” But where were the stories about China wanting Hillary to win? It is no coincidence that this same media would then take so much offense at Trump not observing “careful” protocol with China, in the words of James Fallows, who sputtered on Twitter, “It is hard to overstate the bottomless pig-ignorance & recklessness, of this step.” How quickly Putin’s critics turn into apologists for brutal Chinese communists.
The same liberals who cheered Obama for lifting sanctions on the brothers Castro will excoriate Trump and Tillerson for not supporting them against Putin. They are readying their photos of Tillerson clinking glasses with Putin over this or that oil deal, even as they trot off to Red China for toasts and tours. Obama’s communications director Anita Dunn called Chairman Mao one of her favorite “political philosophers,” and Democrats defended her, but now they can’t abide a secretary of state nominee who conducts business with a former KGB agent?
Even at the height of the Cold War they never talked so disparagingly about KGB agents. They reserved their disdain for Reagan and his “bellicose” stance toward the Soviets. It wasn’t until the evil empire ended that they saw any evil in Russia. Now America can’t be confrontational enough in their view. Pols compete with each other over who can dislike the Russians the most. Mitch McConnell says, “The Russians are not our friends,” and the Beltway crowd cheers. Meanwhile, Donald Trump merely says, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia?” and is bitterly panned.
So who exactly is the bully itching for a fight? It is not Trump but his critics.
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