There is no justification in defending Vladimir Putin – and never has been. There are no nuances … no other side … no moral or political defense of the man.
Whether it is FOX News’ Tucker Carlson, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, or President Trump, they are inappropriate to today’s realities. While they and their statements of equivalency are at the top of the news, the fact is that there are always those who stake out a position of accommodation to evil despots – at least at the onset of some heinous actions. It has been an evergreen part of American history.
The rise of Hitler was applauded by powerful interests in the United States. The racists elements of the Democratic Party had ties to Hitler and his ethnic purification policies – most notably the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger. Prominent activist William Cooper Procter financed genocidal and race purification campaigns in America – including Sanger’s activities. If his name is familiar, you are correct. He was a member of the Proctor family that founded the consumer goods giant Proctor and Gamble.
Joseph Kennedy, the patriarch of the Kennedy political dynasty, was a Hitler sympathizer and opposed the United States supporting America’s European allies when the Fuhrer invaded Poland. Democrat Senator Burton K. Wheeler, of Montana, was a major opponent of American involvement in a war against Hitler.
In a previous commentary, I delineated the succession of modern American Presidents who had given aid and comfort to Putin by overlooking his brutal and war criminal aggressions in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria and Ukraine. Their actions may have been well intentions or unwitting, but they were mistakes for which the world – and Ukraine – are paying today.
While Trump has taken some of the most aggressive actions against Russia – more than any American President since Putin came to power – he had an inexplicable and disturbing habit of speaking complimentarily of the Russian despot – or in ways that could be twisted as supportive of Putin’s policies.
I found FOX News’ Tucker Carlson to have reached the apex of wrongness and stupidity when he proffered rhetorical questions – in Putin’s defense – based on what he (Putin) did to Carlson personally. But as I have written in the past, I do not consider Carlson to be a voice worth listening to. I never liked his style or substance in many of his commentaries even when he was guesting on the FOX morning show. I was amazed that the network gave him the primetime hour. It is a show that I rarely watch – and am continuously disappointed when I do.
But there is a second category of folks who give aid and comfort to Putin. They do not raise arguments in despots defense. They are convinced that Putin is a danger to humanity. BUT they are too easily intimidated by Putin’s threats of a nuclear third world war. They will stand down and let Ukraine fall – and arguably any other nation in the crosshairs of Putin – rather than take the extremely small risk – according to most experts – that Putin would resort to a nuclear conflict against the military might of NATO.
A just society must be able to defend even those too fearful and timid to defend themselves. We have seen that situation with those succumbing to the protection racquet of the Mafia. People who will allow evil to flourish out of personal fear. On the other side are the brave folks who step up at risk to life and limb to fight and defeat evil. We are seeing that today in Ukraine – where people who could remain safely on the sidelines are returning to Ukraine to take up arms.
As an objective observer, I understand that there are arguments to be made by sifting the ledgers of history to find factoids here and there that may offer a different perspective on Ukraine. Congresswoman Greene points out that former Ukraine government had broken agreements in the past. It is true that in a plebiscite in the Crimea, it was claimed that 90 percent of the residents wanted to align with Russia – if you accept that vote as legitimate. Most observers do not.
However, … all these past events have nothing to do with Ukraine today – and with Russia today. Ukraine has evolved into a western style democracy under President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Its ambition is to be a member of both NATO and the European Union. The past conflicts between the ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russian appear to have vanished when you see who is fighting against Putin invasion. The country has never been more unified – and Putin is a major part of the reason.
What has evolved today is a stark contrast between democracy and authoritarianism – between good and evil. There are no longer any nuances. No more equivalencies. There are no longer two defensible sides to this melodrama.
That is why the free world must speak with one voice against the disruptive ambitions of a mad tyrant. Putin is the new Hitler … the new Stalin. President Biden was correct when he called him a murderer and a war criminal. There can be no accommodation with Putin. He must be defeated.
It is both a moral and practical obligations to not only end the war in Ukraine with a clear and humiliating defeat of Putin and his cabal of evil enablers. In addition, it is a necessity that Putin be removed from power by any means necessary. He is a cancer in the body politic of the world – and a cancer among the Russian people who he purports to lead and defend.
America is a free nation in which we all have an inalienable right to speak as we please. Those on the fringe who find nuance or equivalency in the war between Ukraine and Russia are irrefutably wrong, in my judgment. They only serve to provide false legitimacy to the Madman or Moscow. That is why his propaganda vehicles are so eager to publicize their words. In terms of setting American policy, they should be—and must be — ignored. The goal is obvious. Defeat of Putin and liberations of Ukraine. There are no acceptable alternatives or options.
So, there ‘tis.