The American left has been going to great lengths to first show collusion with the Trump Campaign and Russia, as well trying to highlight what a great threat Vladimir Putin is to the United States. First, a reality check:
- Russia does not have over 100 military bases spread around the world. In fact, it maintains a grand total of two outside its own borders.
- Russia did not unilaterally withdraw from the ABM treaty. That would have been the United States in 2002.
- Russia dissolved the Warsaw Pact and moved on from the Cold War, while the United States has maintained and expanded NATO. In so doing, it broke promises not to position bases near the Russian border.
- Russia watched the US intervene in Ukraine, overthrow its democratically elected president, and then ramp up military assistance to its puppet government. To be sure, this event led to Russia’s bloodless coup in Crimea in 2014. This response was unfortunate but more moral than US-instigated bloody “regime changes” in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
- Russia’s military budget is about 10 percent of the US’s. In fact, recent Trumpian increases in the defense budget exceeded the Russian military budget in toto.
The social and political forces shaping the United States in its first decades understood the deleterious effects standing armies and foreign entanglements had on liberty in the home front. Looking for “monsters to destroy” makes us less free, enriches connected classes, and centralizes power. Pre-Buckley, Old Right conservatives used to appreciate how an expanding warfare state breeds the welfare state and would not be surprised with the growth of government we have today.
Second, the looming specter of peace — to say nothing of the Prince of Peace — terrifies the military-industrial complex and those who would be enriched by it, which by now must include half of the Washington, DC, metropolitan statistical area. The wailing and gnashing and calls for Trump’s impeachment (and even his head in that Portland “art” exhibit) are by bought parties on the left and right (McCain and Clinton, George Will and Wolf Blitzer) whose livelihoods depend on Cold War II, and they’re aghast that Trump won’t allow it to come about.
In the aftermath of Trump-Putin, it might be worth noting Russia and the United States control 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons and that they are, right now, pointed at each other’s population centers. Dialogue, understanding, interdependency, and (especially) trade between these countries are crucial.
That Trump gets this and would act on it, very much against the zeitgeist, is heroic, representing — if only in this instance — he is striving to enter through the narrow gate.