Beaton column: Do the Dems think the Russians are coming today?
In the 1966 comedy movie, “The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming,” a Russian submarine accidentally runs aground near Cape Cod.
It turned out that the Russian submariners were good guys, and all ended well. But not until after the buffoonish Americans made fools of themselves for assuming that the Russians planned to make good on their longtime promise to do to America what they had done to Poland, East Germany, the Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.
The movie’s sympathetic view of the Russians had little basis in events of the day. It was just a few years after President John Kennedy stared down the Soviets when they moved to install nuclear missiles in Cuba just 90 miles from Miami.
But then, as now, Hollywood never lets facts get in the way of sympathy for America’s enemies.
Kennedy’s clear-eyed view of the Soviets was the same as that of his Republican and Democrat predecessors. All had seen the carnage of Soviet communism. Stalin killed more than 20 million people — 12 million in the gulags, another 7 million by orchestrated starvation and 1.5 million who were simply executed. Stalin killed more people than Hitler (but only half as many as his Chinese competitor in communism, Mao Zedong).
Later Soviet autocrats were not as bloody but just as threatening. Nikita Khrushchev famously promised, “We will bury you!” At a meeting of the United Nations, he raged and pounded his shoe on the table.
In Afghanistan, the Soviets conducted a genocide that killed 2 million people. The Red Army systematically raped women and threw them from helicopters.
Republicans never stopped being wary of the Russians, but something strange later happened with Democrats. After two Dem presidents escalated the Vietnam War over the course of eight years, the Dems became the anti-war party while a Republican president was winding it down. Ever since, Dems have been fighting their last war — their Vietnam anti-war.
Their antiwar strategy was premised on a notion they seldom advertise because it’s not a great vote-getter. It’s that America is not a peacekeeper, but a warmonger. The Dems came to believe that America is bad.
The Dems saw Russia as less bad because it opposed America. Dems figured with schoolyard logic that the enemy — Russia — of the Dems’ enemy — America — was surely the Dems’ friend.
The last Dem president, Barack Obama, even contended that America was so bad that it needed “fundamental transforming.” As part of that transformation, he and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, declared a “reset” of America’s relationship with our adversary Russia, as if the bad blood came not from the gulags but from Russia’s justified reaction to American aggression.
The Russians loved this reset. Emboldened, they conquered Crimea and slaughtered Syria.
Even after this miss-set reset, the Dems remained willfully blind to the danger of the Russians. In the 2012 election, Republican challenger Mitt Romney declared that Russia was America’s “biggest geopolitical threat.” In response, Obama mocked him: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”
Over the last year, however, the Dems reversed themselves. They came to believe the Russians are bad guys again. But it’s not because they raped, imprisoned, tortured and murdered millions, though they did do that. It’s because they disclosed to the American people embarrassing Dem emails.
And so the Dems spent a year yakking about collusion between the Russian email thieves and the Republican racists/misogynists. Yadda yadda yadda.
But in the last month the worm has turned again. We’ve learned that the Russians not only dished dirt to the Republicans but also to the Dems. Their goal was not to dirty one American candidate or the other, but to dirty an American election.
The dirt they dished to the Dems is cheap spy novel stuff. A sleazy lawyer for Hillary laundered millions in Hillary campaign contributions through his law firm to overseas spies who sent it to shady Russians to invent salacious scandals about the Republicans. To give the invented scandal some credibility, they gave it a French name: dossier.
This dirty dossier from dirty Russians paid for with dirty money by the Dems’ dirty lawyer makes Dems who have been trumpeting “the Russians are coming” for a year look a little dirty now.
So the Dems are toning down their rhetoric. A little dirt from Russia with love is evidently not so bad now that it’s on the Dems as well.
OK, let’s put dirty politics aside for a moment.
The Dems would do better, and America would certainly be safer, if they stopped flip-flopping daily about the Russians depending on whether the Russians are helping or hurting them politically.
I have nothing against the Russian people, but the Russian government was bad yesterday, is bad today and probably will be bad tomorrow. Deal with it.
Correspond and subscribe at theAspenbeat@gmail.com.
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