In Moscow earlier this week I mentioned to a Russian friend that racists in my town in Virginia were chanting fascist and confederate slogans plus “Russia is our friend!” He replied: “But we never had slavery; we had serfdom.” He didn’t grasp why Russia was being grouped together with slavery.
Also in Moscow I met an elementary school student who said to me, “I saw a movie, and I want to ask you, in the United States are there black people and do they always kill the white people?” When I assured him that they did not, he breathed a deep sigh of relief.
A high school student asked me, “Is it hard to live in the United States with the CIA and FBI after you all the time?” I assured her it was not.
Back in the United States people asked me if it was dangerous in Moscow. Are you permitted to just talk and say anything you want? Can you walk around without state controllers? Is it safe for women? Don’t they hate Americans?
These delusions, matching any from the Russian side, might be funny if they weren’t so tragic.
Let me make a few obvious points in the case for leaving Russia the hell alone.
- The Russian people are not the Russian government.
- Any flaws in the Russian government are very poorly understood in the U.S., can be only worsened by lies, hostility, sanctions, and threats, and are quite well matched by flaws in the U.S. government.
- We have seen zero evidence that Russia informed us of how the Democratic Party was corrupting its primaries, and it almost certainly did not do so, but would have been doing us a favor had it done so.
- Most Russians understand the hostility toward Trump as driven by hostility toward Russia and have no idea that hostility toward Russia can be driven by hostility toward Trump or that there are any legitimate reasons for hostility toward Trump.
- There are tons of legitimate reasons for hostility toward Trump.
- Russia tried to disarm and make peace and join the EU and join NATO and become friends, and was repeatedly told to go to hell, its economy corrupted, its people looted.
- Russians are only mildly better than Americans at handling such disrespect well.
- Russia and the United States are loaded with nuclear missiles ready to destroy the earth at a moment’s notice.
Trump’s financial corruption is U.S.-wide and world-wide. Why focus on any bits of it that involve Russians? Why are those bits worse (or better) than any others?
Trump owns stock in the weapons companies he is enriching with illegal and immoral wars. What better way could be found to improve U.S. relations to the world than to impeach Trump for that? Want to halt Russian weapons sales? Lead by example.
Trump has unconstitutionally discriminated against refugees, been stopped by the judiciary, and immediately done it again. Want Russia to take more refugees? Lead by example. Apart from that theoretical connection, there’s no Russian involvement in this scandal.
Trump has pushed policies that will aggravate climate change, a crime against humanity that can be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court even against a non-member. While it’s true that Russia is located on earth and has fossil fuels to exploit, there are no other Russian ties to Trump’s assault on the EPA.
Trump openly sought to intimidate voters prior to his election, and fought the counting of ballots where they existed, was elected with a minority of votes, was elected with numerous votes uncounted and numerous voters blocked from voting by the partisan stripping of the rolls and by ID laws, following a nomination principally decided by dramatically biased media coverage. If you believe Vladimir Putin had a role in any of that, you need therapy, and your therapy should be private, not a public spectacle inflicted on the rest of us.
Trump told the Russian ambassador how to go after ISIS? Isn’t that what both he and they publicly say they’re doing together? I’m against their approach as counterproductive, but I’m virtually alone in that. Didn’t Bush Sr. tell Gorbachev a coup was coming and the source of the information? Didn’t Roosevelt blurt out secrets to Stalin? Don’t governments form alliances and talk to each other all the time?
You want to go after Trump for obstruction of justice? Great. Please do. But don’t imagine there’s some underlying basis that involves the Russian government in deciding the U.S. election until someone offers proof of it.
My god! The United States openly claims credit for inflicting Boris Yeltsin on Russia. Where are the apologies that should be replacing the accusations?