Once upon a time America and Russia were Friends and Enemies and Friends and Enemies
Prior to 1945 America didn’t know what to make of Russia. America had been working with Russia during WWI. In fact America did not join WWI until very late. Russia had been fighting Germany with Britain and France. We were supplying Russia with aid. Russia spent a lot of people’s lives and energy to defeat Germany in WWI. We were allies.
After WWI relations with Russia were mixed. After 1939 the US was again in the position of working with the Russians. The real break in US/Russia relations happened after 1945. Even until 1944 and parts of 1945 the US was asking for Russia to help the US in its war in Asia with Japan. We made concessions at Yalta to have the Russians help us. The Russians lost millions in WWII helping us defeat Germany.
From 1945 we definitely were on a war footing up until middle of the 1980's when Ronald Reagan asked for Mr Gorbachev to tear down the wall. Russia conceded communism didn’t work, that democracy was a better system and Russia allowed Eastern Europe, Baltic states and others to break off.
During this entire period Russians proved to be technically extremely capable. They were able to replicate a lot of American technology achievements including nuclear weapons, ICBM’s and computers.
This places Russia as one of the more advanced nations in the world. At one point Russia and the US had more than 30,000 nuclear weapons pointed at each other. Today that number is 3,000. Through concerted efforts at cooperation the US has worked with the Russians to defuse and strike a friendly tone trying to work together for hopefully friendly relations. It was considered a priority of administrations to treat the Russians as partners.
This was considered a priority for America to keep Russia relations on a good trend up until 9/11. At that point America turned on a dime and has become obsessed with terrorism. Since then America seems to have forgotten entirely that Russia still has 3,000 nuclear weapons. However, it seems like a lot of people in America never forgot the old Russia and the war we were engaged in with them for 40 years. These old cold warriors keep acting like Russia was a Stalinist state and hates us like we hate them.
This is not my experience. I have never been to Russia myself but at technical companies I have met a few Russians and they appear not really angry at Russia nor america. They seem to have a kind of bigger picture of US and Soviet relations and what the Cold War was about. It’s important to note that during the Cold War no Russians or Americans were killed even though we did fight wars where the other supplied the enemy.
In the meantime Russia went through a series of leaders. These leaders didn’t seem to know how to stabilize Russia and it was struggling. When Putin came in he seemed to represent a combination of new and old. He was a KGB head during the Cold War.
Many people in America seem to think that Putin is trying to restore Russia to its old days. Several actions he has taken are consistent with that but he also has been trying to keep his economy afloat.
It seems over the last 8 years there has been a strong confusing debate over whether Russia is an enemy or not. Obama has said numerous times that he wanted to reset relations but he was unsuccessful and Putin seems to hate Obama/Hillary. This is very understandable actually. Obama sent arms to Ukraine to kill Russian soldiers. Hillary has questioned the legitimacy of Putin’s elections.
When Obama destabilized the Middle East by fomenting revolutions in 4 countries or more in addition to the ones we were already involved in he created a lot of problems. The last one he helped was a collection of Kurds in Syria that he wanted to see take over and remove Assad like he had done in Libya successfully killing Khaddafi.
He didn’t succeed in killing Assad and his faction did not have enough power even with US weapons and some air cover to do anything but destabilize Syria and foment ISIS which took over half the country.
A lot of people believe the best solution for Syria is Balkanization. The US under Hillary/Obama have been pushing for a Balkanization if not an outright win. With Russia firmly behind Assad all the factions are losing except Assad.
Our continued efforts to force Balkanization and the insurrection have cost 500,000 lives in Syria alone. The US and Russia hawks blame all those lives on Russia and Assad of course but we really helped this/started it. We have been funding the opposition and stretching out the agony. I think it is bizarre to claim that Assad should step down because we want him to and if he doesn’t then all the lives lost are his fault. NO, they are our fault.
If we had not destabilized Syria Assad would never have killed 500,000 of his people.
I’m not saying Assad is a good guy or Russia but this idea we can go around and support insurrections everywhere create enormous problems, people get killed, 65 million refugees and we walk around going “It’s all their fault” reminds me too much of democrats arguments on their loss of the election.
It’s apparent Assad does not consider Balkanization an option and he is perfectly willing to kill as many people as necessary to retain the wholeness of his country.
Frankly, I am not sure about the legitimacy of our arguments. Playing around in other countries affairs is exactly what the CLinton people claim is bad about Russia hacking. Well, what do you call what we’ve been doing all over the Middle East and in Israel trying to defeat Netanyahu and threatening Britain with trade penalties if they didn’t reject BREXIT?
The hypocrisy has to end. What this means to me is we need to abandon Syria. We can’t force the Balkanization and every day that we stop Assad is more people killed. We should ask for some protection for the people in our region and concede that Assad can control Syria unless we are willing to go full bore to protect these people.
Let’s not pretend we are more moral than anybody else about all this. Let’s stop the refugee flux and let’s work on building a coalition around ONE goal.
Terrorism. That’s what we need to win. Not Syria. Not Libya. Not defeating Netanyahu. We need to focus and get people working with us again like we have for the last 100 years. This means accepting that Putin may not be roses but he is against terrorism. He just may have killed Baghdadi.
Assad will eventually kill the terrorists in Syria once we stop distracting him with our forces. We are building a strong alliance with Saudi Arabia and other arabs that are aligned. We are working on a new angle on peace in Israel and Palestine.
Can we take Syria and Russia off the table as enemies? We need to focus and to deal with people we may not agree with and stop fomenting war with every Tom dick and Harry that we don’t like. We need only one war. The war against terrorism and we need to win it.
We have been friends with people we didn’t like for our entire history. This idea that Putin is bad therefore we have to hate him and oppose him and take him down is not like any foreign policy of the US ever.
Putin is not a communist anymore. He isn’t opposing democracy really. He’s not ideologically opposed to us like the terrorists. Why don’t people understand saying we will work with Russia on some things is not saying we love Putin.
The Russian people are incredibly smart, innovative, hard working (generally) and did I say smart. They are probably our best new allies in the world. I am speaking of the Russian people. They don’t hate us.
I have never met a Russian who hated Americans. Aren’t we all sick of this hate crap. We had enough of it for 40 years. I think the Russians have ZERO ZERO ZERO desire to return to the Cold War. They have no belief they could somehow take over all the countries they used to have. The people have no desire for that. I would find it hard to believe.
We are facing uneducated brutal terrorists who cook babies before feeding them to their mothers and do other unspeakable horrors.
If they ever had 3,000 nuclear bombs you can be sure the entire world would be basically returned to the year -6000BC. Can we focus on our true enemies?
If we look around the world at how we build a better world transforming the Middle East is hopeless. I think 6 trillion dollars invested with no return and so many years proves that this is not a good area to keep investing so much time and energy.
The Russians and Baltic states, Eastern Europe have come along fabulously in many ways. These countries can be counterweight to China and we can use a new place for us to focus trying to reform and help. Russia is huge. Let’s really try to reset relations this time. Let’s build a better world or at least try.
I don’t know if we can see this dream come to fruition but the potential is huge because the Russian people are not antagonistic to America and the West. They want to be part of it. I doubt Putin really disagrees with the people much. He talks about America as his partner.
He doesn’t speak about us like the Democrats speak about Russia. I don’t know if the democrats are right and Putin is some new Hitler but I doubt it. I think it is worth a try anyway. Can we shut up with all the Russia crap. They didn’t war on America by releasing the truth even if they did hack which new evidence suggests is still unclear.