"For those who long wondered why throughout the presidential campaign Trump could not bring himself to say a critical word about Russian President Vladimir Putin, we now know the answer: Trump was hoping to do business in Russia, and doing so would require the approval of Putin." – USA Today Opinion
Make no mistake, the mainstream left and state serving-media voices are trying to gaslight an entire generation into believing any candidate that wants peace with Russia may be a foreign conspirator worthy of prison, shame, and family persecution.
Former congressman Ron Paul, as a peace presidential candidate, did not regurgitate war propaganda against Russia either. Neither did Senator Rand Paul when he ran. What Paul hotel do you see in Moscow? Yet for future generations, many in the media want to ensure no such candidate ever runs again without baked-in misgivings of treason and criminality.
No serious observer of recent events can honestly believe the mono-narrative the old media, including “hard news” outfits, has tried to curate about the 2016 election. However, the aim of the last two years of conspiratorial hysteria has been to sear into the minds of low information voters suspicion of any successful political figure who even half challenges the conventional wisdom that America must perpetually spend hundreds of billions on NATO, collect citizens' private conversations, sanction Russian citizens, and intervene in Russia's local border disputes.
This is nothing new. When Martin Luther King Jr. used his national spotlight to challenge the moral authority of the Vietnam War, he was denounced as a subversive agent of enemy foreign powers.
What voters need to understand is that those who challenge bipartisan orthodox foreign policy are the leaders most likely to keep them safe from foreign authoritarians. Free trade and travel with Russia would do more to undermine internal Russian tolerance for Putin's corruption than any bellicose grandstanding and arms build up ever could. In fact, Putin's administration's domestic popularity was at an all-time low prior to the Obama administration's 2013-2014 involvement in the Ukrainian civil conflict. Like clockwork, with economically damaging sanctions and foreign missiles accumulating along their border, the Russian public has begrudgingly fallen back into the arms of the local devil they know.
Conservatives and liberals informed by military wisdom must remind the public the lessons of history when we abandon a policy of strategic independence on the world stage. Sanctions and debt-financed bloated budgets are the best gifts we can give to corrupt foreign regimes. They saddle our economies with capital-destroying debt and malinvestment, and they repel otherwise sympathetic populations by ruining their lives over Machiavellian nihilistic turf wars with their rulers.
How would we feel if China placed missiles all along the Mexican and Canadian border? How would we feel if their state department and intelligence agencies helped install a rabidly anti-American leader in Canada and armed them to the teeth? One would think that with all the cultural leftist and media preening about social mindfulness of others, the nightly news narratives about Russia and other foreign bogeymen would illustrate this context for viewers. But alas, DC interventionist interests and their career bureaucratic allies prove too intoxicating for power-struck press fawners.
In 2017, the US reported military budget was 610 billion dollars. This was before Trump's 700 billion defense bill in 2018. In contrast, Russia spends roughly 66 billion a year on defense. No matter what TV talking heads say, it is never a winning strategy to spend over ten times an adversary to remain safe. One of these country's citizens is getting a better return for every dollar taken from the productive sector. It is not you.
Putin and other rival powers are watching the same strategy that bankrupted the Soviet Union: allow a debt-crippled economy, deeply hampered by crony corporatism, to destroy its currency by creating too much of it to finance foreign adventures. The bureaucrats and military cronies cannot help it: with a decades-long world reserve currency to export the effects of spending, their specialist knowledge blinds them with stupendous tunnel vision. Behold, their glorious strategy: “Putin bad, money grow on tree, my pension nice, me too smart to put skin in game, other people pay for our smart plans, we spend 700 billion and still behind rivals' nuclear technology, we spend 10 trillion more.”
Whatever they are feeding in Foggy Bottom's farm-to-table cafes does not a Sun Tzu make.
Morally-blind people locked in herd inertia cannot course correct. For merely questioning NATO spending and floating a desire to talk to Putin, Trump and his entire family have received a two year media-massaged rectal exam by Robert Mueller, an architect of the Iraq War trillion dollar disaster.
But sober people who understand that money is scarce and free trade and travel undermines and defangs foreign (and domestic) authoritarians, can do something about our predicament. We can just say no.
Just say no to sending youth into a military that has been abused of its original constitutional designs as it polices the world's internal disputes for cronies.
Just say no to voting for anyone that does not oppose the folly of trillion dollar interventions that make the world less safe, less free, and less interested in America's model of liberty.
Just say no to media outlets that stupidly cheer family-starving sanctions, drone strikes, and failed coups and then scapegoat the president in office when the wars drag on too long or show too many maimed and killed.
Just say no to fetid, decrepit, dying DC groupthink—toxic as it is for our minds, bodies, and souls.