Friday, December 13, 2019

Obama or Trump: Who's the Real Russian Stooge? - Ari Lieberman


by Ari Lieberman

A sobering -- and telling -- look at the historical record.




Democrats and their socialist allies have been quick to portray President Donald Trump as a tool of the Russians. Pejoratives like "Putin's puppet" and "Russian asset" are terms routinely employed by Trump's shrillest critics with banal regularity.

The Mueller Report, compiled by a team largely composed of Trump antagonists, conclusively established that neither Trump nor members of his campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. That fact, established after wasting $32 million in taxpayer funds, has not stopped Democrats and their echo-chamber puppets in the establishment media, from regurgitating tired tropes and talking points steeped in Alice in Wonderland-like fantasy.

Democrats and elements within the leftist media have absurdly attempted to portray Trump’s efforts to establish good, working relations with Russia as an attempt to undermine the republic. However, no such criticism was ever leveled against Barack Obama when he attempted his farcical Russia re-set, which ended in disaster. It’s a tired double standard that Trump and his supporters have become accustomed to.

Despite cautious efforts to foster good relations, the Trump administration’s foreign and domestic policies have adversely impacted Russia and its imperialistic designs. In fact, even a cursory review of Trump's record on Russia reveals that he is anything but Russia's stooge and can more accurately be characterized as its worst nightmare. I’ve compiled a list of seven significant actions undertaken during the Trump administration, which unequivocally supports this assertion.

Energy: In September 2019 the United States exported more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported, marking the first time that the U.S. was a net petroleum exporter since monthly records were initiated in 1973. This startling development occurred under Trump’s watch. Trump reversed his predecessor’s deleterious energy policies, which were viewed by the energy industry as hostile. In fact, Obama, who nixed Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL pipeline, banned offshore drilling in the Arctic and enacted harsh regulations on the fossil fuel industry, developed a reputation of being anti-energy. Instead of shoring up U.S. energy interests, Obama did everything he could to thwart the fossil fuel industry while providing taxpayer subsidies to failed solar energy companies like Solyndra. By contrast, U.S. fossil fuel development and production under Trump is now surging. This not only strengthens America’s national security, it harms Russian economic interests.

Ukraine: Despite the Democratic narrative, it was the Trump administration and not the Obama administration that provided lethal aid to the Ukrainian army to repel Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the Russian-backed proxy takeover of two provinces in eastern Ukraine was met by tepid action by the Obama administration. Ukraine had asked the United States for lethal military assistance, but that request was rebuffed by Obama. Trump reversed Obama’s pro-Russian policy and authorized the release of military assistance to Ukraine, which included delivery of highly effective Javelin anti-tank guided missiles.

Poland: Shortly after taking office, the Obama administration announced that it would be scrapping a missile defense agreement that the Bush administration had negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic. By 2013, Obama had completely dismantled the concept of a Europe-based missile defense system, leaving the Poles and Czechs embittered. By contrast, the Kremlin was ecstatic. Putin had to concede nothing and received a windfall. In 2012, Obama was infamously caught on hot mic telling Russian president Dmitri Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to capitulate on missile defense after the November presidential election. In 2017, Trump partially reversed Obama’s Russia cave-in by signing a memorandum of understanding with Polish president Andrzej Duda in which the U.S. agreed to sell Poland Patriot missile defense systems. The MoU signals to both America’s friends and foes that America does not abandon allies.

Rebuilding the military: It is no secret that the U.S. military – which endured severe budget slashings under Obama – was compromised during the Obama years. U.S. overseas military obligations coupled with sequestrations put an enormous strain on the military and its ability to perform its mission. Military personnel did not have a favorable view of Obama, who saw climate change and not Russia as America’s main threat. A joint poll conducted by the Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families found that more than 50% of those polled maintained an unfavorable view of Obama while only 36% registered approval. But the toxic situation existing under Obama was reversed under Trump. The latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by Trump, ensures that the US. Military maintains its qualitative and quantitative edge over its adversaries, which include Russia and China. Equally important, morale among America’s military personnel has surged under Trump.

Syria: When Bashar Assad used poison gas against his own citizens in 2013, killing nearly 1,500 people including 400 children, Obama declared that such use of chemical weapons crossed all red lines and warranted a severe military response. Within a month, Obama reversed course and allowed Putin to orchestrate a scheme compelling Assad to give up his WMDs. Despite the deal, Assad was still able to retain some of his chemical weapons and the means of manufacturing them. Worse yet, Obama permitted Putin, as interlocutor, to gain a substantial foothold in Syria. Under Trump, Assad’s use of chemical weapons was met with an overwhelming U.S. military response signaling to both friend and foe that the U.S. would not tolerate the use of WMDs by rogue regimes. Trump also ensured that Putin did not extend his reach beyond the so-called de-confliction zone. In February 2018, a Syrian army column backed by Russian mercenaries from CHVK Wagner attempted to seize an oil refinery near the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor. They were stopped cold in their tracks by U.S. military personnel who called in air and artillery strikes. The entire enemy force was wiped out and the Russians lost and estimated 200 to 300 men. The action signaled to Russia that the U.S. would not tolerate violations of prior understandings.

INF Treaty:  Under Obama, the Russians flagrantly developed and deployed ground-based missiles with ranges of between 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Obama likely ignored the transgressions in a misguided effort to get the Russians on board with the JCPOA, colloquially known as the Iran deal. In 2019 the Trump administration formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) citing blatant Russian violations of the accord.

Venezuela: In 2009, Obama warmly greeted Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Hugo Chavez at the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad. A smiling Nicholas Maduro, Chavez’s successor, was standing nearby and appeared amused by the encounter. Obama later defended his warm embrace of one of America’s top enemies by claiming that the U.S. must engage other countries through humanitarian gestures. During Obama’s tenure, Venezuela became a center for nefarious Russian, Chinese, Iranian and Hezbollah activity. Despite the presence of such pernicious actors right on America’s doorstep, Obama actively opposed sanctions against the Venezuelan regime even when there was wide bipartisan support for such measures. Russia maintains a large economic stake in Venezuela to the tune of over $15 billion. In an effort to prop up the regime and secure its investments, it dispatched troops to Venezuela several times this year. When Trump took office, he reversed the pusillanimous policies of his predecessor by immediately imposing sanctions on Venezuela and key Venezuelan officials. Trump continues to ratchet up the pressure against Venezuela by initiating a relentless economic and diplomatic offensive against its ruling junta. The Trump administration also sternly warned the Kremlin not to deploy military assets in the region referring to such deployments as a direct threat to international peace and security in the region. Thanks to Trump’s relentless pressure campaign, Maduro’s days are almost certainly numbered and when he inevitably falls, Moscow stands to lose a bundle.

During his tenure, Obama pandered to the Russians. He allowed them to violate missile treaties, gave them a twenty percent interest in America’s uranium mining capacity in the now infamous Uranium One deal, transferred sensitive technology to Russian companies that would later end up in the hands of the Russian military, dismantled missile defense shields in eastern Europe, eroded the U.S. military, prevented lethal aid from reaching Ukraine and stifled the fossil fuel industry. If the Democrats want to find a Russian stooge, they need look no further than Barack Obama.  


Ari Lieberman

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2019/12/democrats-call-trump-russian-asset-facts-say-ari-lieberman/

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