Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why the Russians Don't Matter

Sometimes I have kneejerk reactions based on ancient history--that's today's post.  Back in the 50's and 60's conventional wisdom believed that the Soviets wanted Democrats to win presidential elections because they were "softer" on nuclear weapons, test moratoriums, test bans, etc.  This was probably true.  But I felt then and feel now that in principle what the Soviets wanted, what the Russians want, what whoever wants, is basically irrelevant.  It may be the same sort of reaction as the Brits had when Obama spoke in favor of their remaining in the EU.

When we look at foreign policy, it's a question of our values, of our interests, and of the realities.  Now one of the realities may be a nation's attitude, but the real questions lies in our power.

Carolyn Hax is an advice columnist for the Post; one of her refrains in giving advice is to take responsibility for what you control, don't get tortured by what the other people want, do, say. Same applies in foreign affairs: is it wise for us to continue NATO guarantees to the Baltic countries or not? That's a different issue than whether Putin is trying to install in office someone who might not continue NATO guarantees.  We shouldn't react against Trump on the basis of Putin's supposed support for him; we should react against Trump because he would be a bad protector of our values and interests in the midst of world realities (mostly because he doesn't know our values, interests, or the realities.

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