On July 16, 2018 Donald Trump claimed that what Vladimir Putin says is more truthful than whatever is said by America’s entire intelligence community. He endorsed a leader, a nation, and an international viewpoint that no American president or government has ever endorsed. No American government has ever viewed Russia as an ally, a friend, a co-equal, or a friendly force in world politics. In fact, for the past 80 years America and Russia have been diametrically opposed, often at the threat of open military hostility.
Unlike Belgium, Norway, Holland and France, who were directly and almost immediately swallowed up by Hitler’s armies, the Soviet Union entered a 1939 non-aggression pact with Hitler that swung open the doors of Eastern Europe. The Soviets have to share some of the blame for the outbreak of WWII and total blame for the eventual invasion of their homeland by Hitler’s forces.
Once Hitler had broken the agreement and invaded Russia, America and the Western Allies began aiding Russia with military and essential supplies. We were never allies with Russia, we only shared a common goal of destroying Nazi Germany. When WWII ended Russia occupied huge chunks of real estate and refused to withdraw. They turned Eastern Europe into a network of satellite countries that would act as buffer zones should its Western enemies ever attack again.
In 1946 England’s Winston Churchill gave his famous “iron curtain” speech in Fulton, MO warning of Russia’s growing empire and the threat it presented to a free Europe. Out of this grew the formation of NATO in 1949 to counter any Soviet aggression. NATO is a mutual defense treaty and didn’t come about because of Russia playing nice.
In 1950 North Korea, along with Chinese troops and Soviet equipment and supplies, invaded South Korea. In response America and its allies sent tens of thousands of combat forces into Korea to push the communists back.
The early 1960s saw the Soviets pushing hard to gain influence in South and Central America and the Caribbean. American spy planes discovered Soviet nuclear missiles, capable of hitting targets in most of Eastern America, being made ready on the island of Cuba. This aggression by the Soviets brought the world to the brink of an all out nuclear conflagration.
Then along came the mid 1960s and Soviet backed forces in North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam and before that ended, 58,000 Americans lay dead.
Since Vietnam the competition between America and the Russians hasn’t ended. In 1979 the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and helped to establishment instabilities that would eventually lead to increased instability and the rise of radical Islam. Though the Soviets didn’t cause 9/11 they helped create a sanctuary in which radical plans could be drawn up.
Even after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and the Russian Federation took its place there has been no let up in tensions between Russia, America and its European neighbors. Russia has tried to regain and strengthen its influence in Europe, It has tried to rebuilt its empire with the invasion of the Ukraine and the annexing of Crimea.
All that has happened and continues to happen in the Mid-East partially falls at the door of the Kremlin. While America and other nations share the blame the Russians have been there from day one stirring the pot.
On a personal note, here’s what I find so offensive about Trumps acquiescing to Putin in Helsinki. During the Cuban Missile Crisis I and thousands of others chased nuclear armed Soviet submarines all over the Caribbean because my government said Russia was a threat to our nation and way of life. Thousands of other did the same in Korea and Vietnam. Since the end of WWII Russia has been our greatest adversary and as such, has cost thousands and thousands of America and Allied lives. Now, after 80 years of blood, sweat, and treasure Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge a Russian attack on the most basic part of our democracy, the right of citizens to cast their vote. The United States of America has been attacked by a foreign power and Donald Trump gives the man who ordered it a green light.
With all this history I find it impossible how an American, veteran or not, can give their support to Trump. As John Brennan, former director of the CIA said, Trump’s words and actions at Helsinki, “exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous,”