Danny Sjursen injects some facts into the Russia discussion. From Sjursen at antiwar.com:
On paper, Rachel Maddow may be the brightest host on all of cable news. Educated first at Stanford and then earning a PhD as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, she’s an eloquent speaker and distinguished author. But these days Maddow and her fellow “mainstream” progressives at MSNBC and CNN sound like hysterical, bellicose neocons. It’s all Russia all the time.
To listen to the rhetoric, whether focused on the inconclusive case that the president colluded with Russia during the 2016 election, on the war in Syria, on the recent NATO summit, or the ongoing drama in Ukraine, the message from the center-left, establishment “adults in the room” is the same – President Trump is a stooge of Putin and the U.S. must brace itself for impending, inevitable conflict with the Russians. It makes for one heck of a story, and as a CBS executive admitted it’s no doubt “damn good” for media ratings – but is it sound policy? This author thinks not.
Whether one loves or hates Mr. Trump – he’s oh so polarizing after all – prudent strategy requires context and common sense. Here are just a few points too often omitted from the Russia-as-evil-empire narrative:
- Russia has an economy about the size of Spain.
- Russian military spending actually decreased last year, and remains about 1/8th as high as the United States (and a fraction of NATO spending).
- Whereas Russia dismantled its Warsaw Pact alliance in the early 1990s, NATO – despite American promises to the contrary – expanded right up to the borders of Russia over the past 20 years.
- Sure, Russia has troops (and probably the strongest hand) in backing Assad in Syria, but this isn’t any new or major gain – Russia has long maintained bases and influence in Syria.
- Speaking of foreign military bases, Russia has about 20; the US – somewhere between 600 and 900, depending on the report.
- Yes, Putin annexed Crimea and meddles in Eastern Ukraine; and yes, it’d be preferable for Russia to adhere to international norms. Then again, President Trump is right about one thing: the vast majority of Crimeans are ethnically Russian and supported annexation; and, well, the West meddled in Ukraine too.
To continue reading: The ‘Left’ Gone Mad: Mainstream Liberals as Modern Day Warhawks