Editorial: Tired of all that winning? Putin certainly must be.


might be the president-elect, but the real winner of the presidential election is Russian President Vladimir Putin. No candidate or party can claim to have achieved such an extraordinarily long list of U.S. domestic and foreign policy objectives as Putin has since he helped put in the White House in 2016. Even though Trump is now on his way out, Putin continues to chalk up victories at America’s expense.

Rarely, if ever, has a U.S. president’s agenda coincided so closely with that of America’s top adversary. Trump set out from the beginning to weaken the NATO military alliance that won the Cold War and prompted the Soviet Union’s humiliating breakup. Under Trump’s predecessors, NATO stayed strong and united. But now the alliance is, as Putin wanted, immersed in infighting and disarray.

Trump’s blatant displays of subservience to Putin, including publicly siding with the Russian leader over his own intelligence agencies, made clear that the United States would not stand in the way of Putin’s global objectives. As Putin intervened militarily to prop up the dictatorship in Syria, Trump did his part by ordering the sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops protecting America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria. Trump’s military advisers protested. His defense secretary resigned, and congressional Republicans joined Democrats in a rare rebuke of Trump.

But Putin rejoiced. The more Americans erupted in outrage over Trump’s clownish insults and Twitter rants, the further Putin advanced in his ultimate goal of undermining America’s integrity and reducing its global prestige. The Russian added his own insults with frequent military humiliations, such as having Russian jet fighters challenge U.S. military planes, buzz ships or violate NATO airspace. In January, a Russian military ship came within a few dozen feet of colliding with a U.S. Navy destroyer in the North Arabian Sea.

These weren’t accidental encounters. They were Russian shows of force, answered with Trump’s cowardly silence. Credible intelligence reports surfaced that Russia had offered bounties to Afghan militants for killing U.S. troops. Trump declined to challenge Putin publicly over it. Putin poisoned his critics abroad. Trump said nothing.

But nothing compares to his ultimate favor to Putin: After getting a big boost from Russian election meddling in 2016, Trump launched a campaign this year to undermine voter confidence in American democracy. With each Trump pronouncement alleging rigged elections and vote fraud, he advertised to the world that America no longer stood as a beacon of democracy. Trump was so convincing, polls show that 70% of Republicans do not believe the Nov. 3 election was free and fair.

What more could America’s top adversary ask for? Trump promised in 2016 that people would be “tired of winning” once he was done. “You’ll say ‘Please, Mr. President, we beg you sir, we don’t want to win anymore. It’s too much.”

He’ll certainly get no argument from Putin.

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Editorial: Tired of all that winning? Putin certainly must be.

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2020-12-06T16:45:15-06:00December 6th, 2020|Categories: Russia|Tags: , , |

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