00:49 GMT04 March 2021
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    Commenting on the ongoing quarrel between Donald Trump and hawkish Republicans over the presidential candidate's Russia stance, veteran political commentator Pat Buchanan suggested that surely, the United States and Russia can learn to get along.

    In his op-ed, published in The American Conservative on Friday, Buchanan recalled that ever "since Donald Trump said that if Vladimir Putin praised him, he would return the compliment, Republican outrage has not abated."

    "Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites" earlier this week, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence "was taken straight to the woodshed," Republican Senator John McCain telling him "that Putin was a 'thug and a butcher,' and that Trump's embrace of him [was] intolerable."

    Senator Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, repeated McCain's insults, adding that Putin was "a dictator…who has his opposition killed in the streets." 

    "What causes the Republican Party to lose it whenever the name of Vladimir Putin is raised?" Buchanan pondered. "Putin," the commentator noted, "is no Stalin, whom FDR and Harry Truman called 'Good old Joe' and 'Uncle Joe.' Unlike Nikita Khrushchev, he never drowned a Hungarian Revolution in blood. He did crush the Chechen secession. But what did he do there that General Sherman did not do to Atlanta when Georgia seceded from Mr. Lincoln’s Union?"

    Moreover, Buchanan noted, "Putin supported the U.S. in Afghanistan, backed our nuclear deal with Iran, and signed on to John Kerry’s plan have us ensure a cease fire in Syria and go hunting together for ISIS and al-Qaida terrorists."

    "Still, Putin committed 'aggression' in Ukraine, we are told. But was that really aggression, or reflexive strategic reaction? We helped dump over a pro-Putin democratically elected regime in Kiev, and Putin acted to secure his Black Sea naval base by re-annexing Crimea, a peninsula that has belonged to Russia from Catherine the Great to Khrushchev. Great powers do such things."

    "The relationship between Russia and Ukraine goes back to 500 years before Columbus," the commentator recalled. "It includes an ancient common faith, a complex history, terrible suffering, and horrendous injustices—like Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the early 1930s. Yet, before Bush II and Obama, no president thought Moscow-Kiev quarrels were any of our business. When did they become so?"

    Recalling the media feeding frenzy surrounding allegations of Russian hacking into Democratic Party servers, which both liberal interventionist and neoconservative hawks have used to try and Cold War-era anti-Russian sentiments, Buchanan noted that if Russia really was responsible for the hacking, "it out to stop. But have not our own CIA, National Endowment for Democracy, and NGOs meddled in Russia’s internal affairs for years?"

    "Putin," the columnist emphasized, "is a nationalist who looks out for Russia first. He also heads a nation twice the size of ours with an arsenal equal to our own, and no peace in Eurasia can be made without him. We have to deal with him. How does it help to call him names?"

    U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participates in a discussion in a classroom at New Hampshire Technical Institute while campaigning for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination in Concord, New Hampshire, April 21, 2015
    © REUTERS / Lucas Jackson
    As for the charges by Republican senators that the Russian leader is a 'dictator', Buchanan pointed out that from Cold War days and into the present, the US has not only spoken with, but partnered and even allied with countries much less democratic than Russia is or ever has been. 

    "Scores of the world’s 190-odd nations are today ruled by autocrats. How does it advance our interests or diplomacy to have congressional leaders yapping 'thug' at the ruler of a nation with hundreds of nuclear warheads? Where is the realism, the recognition of the realities of the world in which we live, that guided the policies of presidents from Ike to Reagan?" the analyst asked.

    A veteran political commentator, columnist and writer, Pat Buchanan served as the White House Communications Director during the Reagan Administration, and has run as both a Republican and Reform Party presidential candidate.


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    opinion piece, commentary, Republican Party, Vladimir Putin, John McCain, Pat Buchanan, Russia, US
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