America Can Confront Putin Without Going to War

I see too many Republicans defending/excusing Russia in order to defend Trump. This is wrong. Trump is wrong.

Romney was right. Russia is America’s number one geopolitical foe. The list of recent Russian transgressions is extensive.

Russia is led by a former KGB agent and has invaded and annexed territory from two neighboring countries, the first time this has happened in Europe since World War II. Russia is bombing civilians in Syria while supporting Iran, the number one state sponsor of terror in the world. Russia is assassinating dissidents on NATO soil using banned chemical and radiological weapons. A year ago yesterday, Russian forces shot down a civilian airliner over Ukraine. And as Trump periodically admits, Russia interfered with our elections.

Whenever someone points out these aggressive acts, we are inevitably accused of wanting war. No one is calling for war with Russia. That is a massive red herring.

George W. Bush strongly condemned Russia, sanctioned its leaders, and provided lethal aid and sent US warships to the Mediterranean when Russia invaded the nation of Georgia. This did not result in war.

Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union the evil empire, sent lethal aid to Afghans to kill thousands of Soviet troops, and called for the destruction of their regime. This did not result in war.

For decades, American presidents condemned the Soviet Union, sent troops to stymie communist aggression, worked to undermine Soviet propaganda with radio broadcasts into communist countries, and much, much more. None of this resulted in war.

Trump’s own administration has sanctioned Russian leaders and provided lethal aid to Ukraine, all without the credible fear of war.

If Trump, who considers himself a strong leader, had looked Putin in the eye and said “no more. We know what Russia is doing and we will not allow it,” we would not be at war today.

One final incident to consider. The closest America and Russia have come to war in recent decades was on February 7, 2018. It was just a few months ago that Russian mercenaries knowingly and purposefully attacked an American base in Syria containing US troops sent to fight ISIS. It is only the legal technicality of calling the Russians “mercenaries,” and the fact that the balance of power is so lopsided that no Americans were killed in the engagement, that prevented Russia’s actions from starting a war.

If Russian forces attacking the U.S. military did not start a war, telling Putin to stop interfering in our elections certainly won’t.

Russia and its deeds are the problem, not America and our words.

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