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Republicans Are Giving Away National Security Issue to the Democrats

Newsflash: If Ronald Reagan returned from the great beyond to listen to the nonsense that comes of many Republicans’ mouths nowadays, he might leave them dumbfounded as he shames them, for a host of reasons.

One such reason may be their alarming indifference to Russia’s aggressiveness under Vladimir Putin, whom many experts accurately describe as a despot seeking to reestablish the superpower status his country enjoyed as part of the Soviet Union.

Policy is often a thermostat that veers from cold to hot and vice versa as circumstances dictate. After 9/11, Americans had an appetite for a war on terror and were forewarned by President George W. Bush and his hawkish compadres VP Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that our presence not only in Afghanistan but also in Iraq might require decades to prevail, and so we’d better have the stomach for it.

That thinking worked for awhile, and Bush’s immediate successors to the Republican presidential nomination – John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 – didn’t significantly turn down that thermostat.

Enter 2016 GOP nominee Donald Trump. He came out swinging by blasting the Bush family for its “endless wars,” using that theme as a springboard to topple little brother Jeb from frontrunner status, but even more effectively, and lastingly, altering voters’ mindsets.

Whether we chalk it up to principle or political opportunism, Trump is the first modern-day president not only to chastise the other party, but also his own. He blasted both Bush and Barack Obama for not bringing our troops home, and touted his own longstanding opposition to the Iraq War, even as TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) sufferers scrambled to assemble a hodgepodge of half-quotes to paint him as a warmonger. Their argument was laughable and desperate, and Trump won the election.

Amid the rubble of a Trump presidency that ended awry stands a new kind of Republican – a ‘MAGA’ Republican, if you will – who’s not only ready to blame President Biden for everything, but to adopt viewpoints based on exactly the opposite of what Biden would do.

Because Biden has reinvigorated NATO and is standing up to Putin, Trump is using it as leverage to discredit Biden as a warmonger.

I’ve long believed that just as Khrushchev never would have attempted to send missiles to Cuba had Ike rather than JFK been at the helm, and Saddam never wouldn’t invaded Kuwait had Reagan instead of the elder Bush been president, I still maintain that Putin would’ve dare have invaded Ukraine under Trump. Mind you, Putin’s boldness on the world stage occurred under Obama and Biden, and to some extent under the younger Bush, who said that he’d looked into Vladimir’s eyes and understood his soul.

Be that as it may, I can’t see how if Putin forged ahead with war under Trump, we wouldn’t have supported Ukraine, as Biden has. After all, Trump rightfully praised himself for giving Ukraine much tougher weapons to defend itself than Obama ever did, and that was before Putin waged war.

To put it another way, if Trump was still president and Putin did attack Ukraine, and Trump stayed out of the way, then shame on him. And shame on all the new isolationists who don’t know or understand 20th century world history and think if we simply stay home and mind our own business no one will bother us. Tell that to the casualties aboard the William P. Frye or at Pearl Harbor.

That’s right, Republicans are ceding part of the national security issue to Democrats. It’s the Dems who now look like the party ready to stand up to Russia and China, while pro-Trump isolationists buy into the rhetoric. And how undeserving that by default, this motley crew of Democrats is viewed as the party of military prowess?

Fortunately, other prominent Republicans – actually, most of them – have unequivocally pledged their support for Ukraine. They understand it doesn’t matter much if Ukraine is corrupt, or even if some of the money will wind up stolen by the crooked elites. It’s all about keeping Putin in check. This isn’t ‘foreign aid’, it’s helping ourselves. Thankfully, many Republicans, and Biden too, know better than to take their eye off the ball.

The other reason Democrats can never fully claim the national security reputation is because of their pathetic response to the border crisis. Americans have been the lion in the jungle long enough to be complacent and so it’s the smaller critters – rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks – who need to have more cunning to survive. That’s the residents of beleaguered Central and South American countries, as well as druglords, gunrunners, and human traffickers, who seize the opportunity to pounce with Biden at the helm, just like high school students can’t wait for the substitute teacher to fill in one day so they can deploy all their hijinks.

Ironically, multitudes of Republican voters applauded Reagan for winning the Cold War, used that memory to double down unconditionally on Cheney-Rumsfeld neoconism, had Trump remove their blinders, but now have gone to the other extreme becoming petulant isolationists.

Ronald Reagan is rolling in his grave.

I’m all for Trump supporting an alternative way to keep Russia at bay without firing a shot, but if appeasement means that Russia annexes even one square inch of land, that’s a defeat that the world cannot afford.

Like it or not, Republicans, to be against Biden on this one is to be against Reagan – no matter what your newsfeeds tell you.

Trump’s just doing what candidates do: throwing a bunch of stuff against the barn door to see what sticks. As president, though, he would not abandon Ukraine, no matter what he says.

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