First, let me say I am utterly uninterested in re-litigating the 2016 election results. My attention to the Russian Connection(s) is based on my concern that the Russian government — read Vladimir Putin — sought to influence the trajectory and substance of American foreign policy such that it would align with Russian interests.
Russian national interests (elimination of sanctions for its actions in Ukraine, diminishing NATO support for the Baltic States, reintegrating Crimea within Russian borders, separating the interests of the United States and Germany, retaining the Assad Regime in Syria to secure its naval base) are not necessarily American interests.
Secondly, there is ample evidence that the Russians sought to influence the direction of US foreign policy. If there was no coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, then why was Paul Manafort, a man with copious ties to Russian backed opponents of the Ukrainian government, hired as part of the campaign organization? What was the role of Carter Page in the campaign and its foreign policy pronouncements? Why did General Flynn lie to the vice-president about his discussions with members of Putin’s government? Our Commerce Secretary is tied to the Cyprus Bank and its connections to Russian money laundering. And, now did Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions meet with the Russian ambassador on matters related to the Senate Armed Forces Committee, or did the agenda include aligning US policy with that of the Putin government?
And all the while the press reports the Oval Office incumbent said things like, “Russia is not going into Ukraine,” and trying to clean up this mess later when it was pointed out that Russia was in Ukraine — in Crimea. Further, the incumbent repeated his comments that ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we had better relations with Russia?’
The Obama Administration placed sanctions on Russia for (1) its activities in Ukraine, especially eastern Ukraine where it is still supporting rebel forces, and (2) for its hacking of American political organizations and individuals — the DNC, etc. I think we can agree that Russian arms and personnel shipments to eastern Ukraine are a violation of that nation’s sovereignty. So, why has the current Oval Office been silent about Russian recognition of citizenship documents issued by Ukrainian rebel forces? Or, the continued military operations in eastern Ukraine? If the administration is not aligning its foreign policy interests with those of the Putin government then it is doing a remarkable impersonation of precisely that.
The Russians perceive the expansion of NATO as a direct threat, what does the Oval Office say — we must require that all nations chip in more money to insure our support, leaving the Generals to clean up the mess and seek to alleviate the confusion on the part of our allies. If this doesn’t align with Russian interests its hard to image what would.
The bottom line is that we need to focus on our national security, this isn’t selfish, it’s security. We need to know if the current administration is compromised. We need to know if the current administration is compromising American security interests. We won’t be able to answer these questions if the Republicans are successful in driving the narrative as one of partisan politics informed by a reaction to election results.
The issues raised begin with Russian tampering in our election processes, but they don’t end there. At issue is whether or not US foreign policy is focused on long term American interests, and is NOT predicated on promoting the interests of a hostile government.
Focus please. The election result argument is a straw man. The “wouldn’t it be nice” argument is a straw man. The pontification upon whether specific laws were broken is a straw man. The parsing of phrases in Senate hearings is a straw man. These subtopics are related to the essential issue but they should not be confused with it. Should these straw men take center stage, then it will be all the more difficult to discern IF American foreign policy is made based on OUR interests, or if American interests have been compromised.
We need an independent commission to investigate the possible compromising of American security interests, and the sooner the better.