Only Courage and Leadership Can Save Us

Alan Znedell, March 16, 2022

Interviewed by the Washington Examiner Tuesday, Donald Trump admitted he’d been wrong (well, not exactly,) about Vladimir Putin. Our former president, who repeatedly referred to himself as a genius who knew more about diplomacy than his professional diplomats and more about the military than his Joint Chiefs of Staff now realizes the only way he can retain any credibility with his supporters is to acknowledge the obvious.

“I’m surprised — I’m surprised. I thought he was negotiating when he sent his troops to the border…I thought it was a tough way to negotiate but a smart way to negotiate…I figured he was going to make a good deal like everybody else does with the United States and the other people they tend to deal with — you know, like every trade deal. We’ve never made a good trade deal until I came along [he can’t dispense with his self-aggrandizing BS even with the fate of the world in the balance]…And then he went in — and I think he’s changed. I think he’s changed. It’s a very sad thing for the world. He’s very much changed.”

No, Donald, the very sad thing is that you set this up by trying to undermine NATO’s unity, thus convincing Putin that he could invade Ukraine without consequences. Even sadder is that the world had to come to the brink of a war that could mean the extinction of all life on Earth before your self-interest kicked in to try to change the narrative. You are a fool and not nearly as smart as you think you are. People with far more knowledge and acuity than you have accurately described Putin for thirty years. Putin hasn’t changed, you’ve been shown up for the charlatan you are. You don’t give a rat’s ass about Ukraine, Europe, the United States, or anything else unless it enriches you.

If the self-described master dealmaker who believes he can read and out-negotiate everyone thinks his change of tune gives him a free pass for his sociopathic arrogance, he’s going to be surprised. The emperor turns out to be stark naked before the world. A complete fraud. If someone starts a GoFundMe to buy Trump a one-way ticket to Hell, I’ll be the first to contribute. Does my anger feel inappropriate? Has anyone been paying attention? Trump’s narcissism and incompetence have brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

On the other hand, men who have been libeled and castigated by Trump, men who have shown courage and leadership Trump can only dream about, are now left to find a way to hold the line between autocracy and democracy without dropping into the abyss. When the Prime Ministers of three European countries, Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland, Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic and Janez Jansa of Slovenia traveled by train to Kyiv on Tuesday to show support for Ukraine, risking air and missile attacks by Russian forces guilty of killing indiscriminately, they honored the courage and tenacity of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

They will be followed by our President, Joe Biden, who will travel to Brussels next week for a NATO summit. Throughout 2021 and the recent leadup to the Russian invasion, European leaders have praised Biden, who has single-handedly rebuilt the crucial alliances Trump trashed. Only Biden’s leadership held NATO together, and that’s critical since it represents the only possible way out of this mess.

In Putin, the world is dealing with a man made desperate by his own paranoid delusions. That’s the most dangerous kind of craziness, because he really believed the future of Russia was at stake, and he was acting righteously when he ordered the destruction of historic cities and the killing of their civilian populations. There never was any threat to Russia from the west before the invasion of Ukraine; NATO never had any intention of attacking the Russian Federation. It has no reason to, and many reasons not to. But Putin’s actions put Russia very much at risk of economic collapse and internal dissension.

For four years, Donald Trump sucked up to autocrats wherever he found them while demonstrating complete disdain for our Constitution. For four years, he attacked and insulted allies like Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau and caused Europe, for the first time since the second world war to distrust America. Thank God for Mr. Biden and the courageous leaders of the twenty-nine other NATO countries who understand exactly what is at stake.

They have a very difficult choice to make, and very little time to make it. Do they continue to give Russian forces uncontested airspace to bomb and maim innocent Ukrainian civilians, or do they act to defend them, risking direct combat between Russian and NATO forces? I’m glad I don’t have to make that choice. Thanks a lot, Donald.

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1 Response to Only Courage and Leadership Can Save Us

  1. Jeff Bricker says:

    unfortunately, you did not print the rest of the Trump interview, which I include below, which does show that Trump supported and armed Ukraine against Russia.

    Regarding Putin”s alleged brilliance, I do think his strategy of getting Germany (and part of Europe) hooked on Russian oil and natural gas, then threatening to cut it off during winter if those countries interfere with his plans was smart. As far as I can tell, a month after the invasion, Germany is still buying and paying Russia for fuel transported over the Nordstream One pipeline.

    (the following is copied from the article you quoted)

    Breaking with his predecessor, Barack Obama, Trump approved sending lethal military aid to Ukraine to help Kyiv fortify its defenses against Russia. On Tuesday, Trump focused on his opposition to the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, running from Russia to Germany, that Putin could use to fund his war machine. Breaking with Trump, Biden approved the pipeline, a major priority of Germany’s, although Berlin has indefinitely delayed Nord Stream 2 since the invasion.

    Trump also highlighted the strong-arming he engaged in to convince NATO countries to increase their defense budgets. The former president conceded that he essentially threatened to ignore the treaty’s Article 5 commitment that an attack on one is an attack on all. But Trump said he did that because otherwise, the countries who were not spending 2% of their gross domestic product on defense, as NATO requires, never would have done so.

    Meanwhile, the former president pointed to his administration’s effort to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons program. All told, Trump argued, this agenda was the opposite of what Putin wanted and proof positive that he is no Putin patsy.

    CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

    “When you think of it, who was tougher on Russia than me?” Trump asked.

    “I got billions and billions of dollars” for NATO, he said. “Now, all that money is going against Russia, so I did that. I closed the pipeline. You know, the pipeline was closed, and Biden opened it. Plus, I did the biggest sanctions anybody’s ever done on Russia.”

    “I’ve been very critical of Putin from the standpoint of the pipeline, from the standpoint of raising billions and billions of dollars in NATO to protect, primarily, Europe against Russia,” Trump said. “Nobody else did that.”

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