President Trump's Moral Relativism on Putin Is Wrong
There is an enormous amount of conventional wisdom, dear to the elites in Washington and in major urban centers on both coasts, that President Trump is, and will be, battling against. Good for him.
Putin’s lack of character and integrity is not, and should not be, one of those things.
When you find yourself pushing back against Bill O'Reilly in the now notorious Fox News interview, you know Trump has a particular problem admitting that Putin is undemocratic, ruthless, and possibly criminal in every sense of the word. And as president, he now has the data available to him, to back up that characterization. That he would then use the left's moral relativization as a way to try to rhetorically lower America to Russia's level is troubling.
This is not an attack on realpolitik, and the possibility that Trump will use the broad based pragmatic philosophy as a guide to managing America's foreign relationships. The term is German originally, of course, and it means practical politics rather than ideological politics, as generally applied to foreign affairs. But realpolitik does not mean demeaning one's own nation of which one is the duly elected leader, in order to justify disturbing questions about the leader of a foreign country. One which has more often been America's adversary than occasional ally.
As has been said, FDR allied America with Stalin's Soviet Union. And Stalin makes Putin look like a Swedish ombudsman. Eisenhower allied America with Batista's Castro - or more precisely did not break off a long-standing relationship with Cuba over concerns that Batista was jailing and torturing some of his own citizens. Nixon made one heck of a deal with Mao, who might have killed even more people than Stalin.
But had you pressed any of those presidents on the character of the foreign leaders whom they were dealing with, you would have never had a debasement of America as a response to the question. They might have been affably evasive, or diplomatically brief, or stern-eyed about the world America found herself (and still finds herself) in. They might have - in private - acknowledged that international affairs, especially proxy wars, can be bloody mistakes sometimes. Even mistakes that had to be made in the context of a Cold War, or a war on terror, for example.
But to demean the character of America itself? Like Noam Chomsky? As stated in the Washington Examiner's editorial, President Trump's response is troubling even assuming it was given for strategic reasons. It is far more troubling if it was given for venal - as in money - reasons. As of now, there is no evidence to suggest the latter. Let us pray it stays that way. America First should mean the the president is always seen to truly value America as a nation.
The president did not need to do this to his new administration. You now have MSNBC's Katy Tur - long a target of candidate Trump's annoyance with the media - slyly suggesting that Trump would like to assassinate journalists who displease him. A ridiculous bit of conspiracy mongering. But that's what happens when you use moral relativism to demean the nation you are president of. Let's hope President Trump clarifies his position on Putin and Russia. The sooner the better.
Posted by AllardK at February 8, 2017 5:45 PM
Trump’s position on Putin, Russia and America is perfectly clear to me and millions of others who bothered to listen and understand. Sorry you missed it Allard.
Oh, I think we understood his position on Russia just fine.
O’Reilly: “But he’s a killer.”
Trump: “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”
It is astounding to see the President of the United States, the representative of the American people, call us the moral equivalent of Russia and its autocrat, Vladimir Putin.
The thing is, this was not a one-off gaffe. He keeps saying these kinds of things. He sure acts like he has been compromised.
Meanwhile, Trump’s attacks on the media and the judiciary continue on an almost daily basis. In the case made by his DOJ for the immigration EO, the lawyer claimed Trump’s power over the subject of immigration is “unreviewable.”
This is not going to end well.
And what is really scary is that all this is taking place when nothing bad is happening. The chaos, missteps, misjudgments, and alienation of allies are all self-inflicted wounds. What will happen when something really goes wrong?
phx8, I wouldn’t quite put us in the same category as Russia but we are not innocent either.
phx8 must have just awakened from a very long sleep if he pretends that the Left hasn’t been blaming America for all kinds of horrendous acts for decades.
Is phx8 now claiming that our country is innocent?
A lot of people say a lot of things about this country. Trump is not just some guy. He is the President. He represents all of us. And we are not, in any way, shape, or form, the moral equivalent of Russia. Not even close. Playing a game of “whataboutism” does not work here.
On Putin’s orders, Russia kills journalists and dissenters. It jails the political opposition. It steals the assets of those jailed opponents, such as their biggest oil company, Rosneft. The country is a corrupt oligarchy, a kleptocracy, and Putin has now remained in power for 17 years. They do not have a free press. In Aleppo they bombed a populated city into rubble. That was a war crime, plain and simple.
We just had a failed raid in Yemen. It went very badly. Thirty Yemenis were killed, including women and children, and we missed the main target, a terrorist. That was botched. Does anyone think that makes us the equivalent of the Russians?
Ah yes phx8…and Vietnam was a just and honorable war. America was innocent.
How often have we heard our Leftie Pals trash our Founders for owning slaves? America is innocent?
phx8, How many civilians did Obama kill with his Drone attacks? Innocent???
phx8, shall we address America’s treatment of Indians? Innocent?
Sigh. The usual conservative response: “whataboutism.”
What Trump said is indefensible. It was wrong. Saying that someone else sometime, somewhere did something wrong does not excuse Trump’s wrong. He is a disgrace and he is mentally unfit for the office.
phx8, Trump mentally unfit? Pelosi still thinks Bush is President, Waters thinks Russia invaded Korea. Trump gave Bombs to Russia even before he was President and you have the BALLS to say Trump is unfit? I suggest you look at your own party before you make dumb comments.
What about Pelosi! What about Waters! They each said something wrong once! Therefore, any comment by Trump saying the USA & Russia are morally equivalent is a “dumb comment.”
Here is the problem with “whataboutism.” Pelosi and Waters are not the president. Their comments are one-off gaffes. If Trump made a one-off mistake, it would generate some comments and be quickly forgotten. The problem is that this is a daily occurrence. And that is what makes Trump unfit.
It’s not just saying the US and Russia are both killers, and not innocent. As awful as it might be, that could be one of those one-off slips. He keeps saying bizarre things about Russia.
That one just happens to be worse than most. There is also the comment about Nordstrom’s and his daughter’s line of business. That was inappropriate and possibly illegal. It is calling a federal judge a “so-called judge.” It is condemning the “dishonest media,” claiming terrorist attacks go unreported, and then providing a list of 78, only to find they were reported, some were major stories of 2016, and some were either not terrorist attacks at all, or incidents in which there were no casualties.
If you want to deep defending Trump you will be in a loooong four years.
phx8, Said something wrong once???? LOLOLOL Those 2 are the poster children for term limits. I’d call them so called Judges when they give rulings that are partisan in nature, the media is dishonest either reporting half truths or out right lies. The problem with “whataboutism” is when you give a certain group a pass like the Democrats when condemning Republicans and the Democrats are just as guilty.
Your problem is that you sometimes view things in a binary. You think a party/politician is either guilty or innocent. The reality is that the world isn’t black & white. We live in a universe of color.
The irony is that you fully understand all these shades of nuance when it is time to defend Donald Trump by granting him various degrees of benefit of the doubt. However, the instance a Democrat narrowly misses the perfect platonic ideal, you pounce and either tar & feather them for it or use it to shield your precious Republicans. Equivalating Democrats’ misdemeanors with Republicans’ felonies is hugely dishonest.
As phx8 said, we are only three weeks into the current administration. Do you really want to spend two hundred more weeks lying just to avoid the discomfort that comes with admitting one may have made a mistake?
Warped, Democrats, Republicans, no difference they are both F**KED up and have their share of IDIOTS and Pelosi and Waters are poster children for term limits, O yea and don’t forget Princess Pocahantas Warren.
Instead of tossing around insults, why don’t you try to make an argument and prove a point?
phx8 alleged that Donald Trump is mentally unfit to be President. I’m not going to comment on whether I agree with this or not because it is irrelevant to the point I am making.
You retort that two elderly Democratic Congresswomen recently committed public gaffes related to memory loss. While this may be an argument to demonstrate that Pelosi or Waters are mentally unfit to be President of the United States, that is neither here nor there because neither woman is our President nor has either ever seriously sought the office. Whether or not these women are mentally fit to be President has absolutely no bearing on whether Donald Trump’s faculties are up to the task or not.
Warped, I never said anything about the dingbat sisters being president. I was referring to the offices they hold. The point I am making Warped is that if phx8 considers Trump to be mentally unfit for President he should first look to his own party to see who is unfit to hold office, no matter what office that is. We can find many of the 535 people who are currently holding office that should not be there.
Being a member of Congress has far lower requirements than being President. Occasional memory lapses are not disqualifying if the consequences are trivial.
Warped, Memory lapses in any branch of government may have dire consequences. They are NOT trivial.
Does that hold true for Republicans, Warren Porter?
What policy consequence resulted from confusing Trump with Bush or confusing Crimea with Korea in a public speech? I’m a sprite twenty something and even I occasionally find my tongue saying different words than what my brain has instructed.
Warped, Your 20 something and tongue slipping compound that with their age and see what you get. They may be talking to a leader of another country and one of their gaffs come out.
Didn’t they make fun of the way Bush said nuclear?
They may be talking to a leader of another country and one of their gaffs come out.
Since when is it in the job description of a Congressperson to engage in high stakes talks with other nations? Anyway, if it were to happen, the Foreign leader replies, “Pardon me?” and the mistake is corrected. No problemo.
Didn’t they make fun of the way Bush said nuclear?
Yes. It was a verbal tic of his that he repeated multiple times. If Pelosi mistakes Bush for Trump ten more times before the end of the year, I fully endorse mocking her for it. Same goes for Waters and Crimea/Korea. However, in any case, no one on the left ever argued seriously that the inability to properly pronounce nuclear was in of itself evidence that one’s mental faculties were not up to the task of being President.
Warped, Never said high stakes talks, are you saying that congressmen and women can’t have a cordial talk with a head of state? Leader may also call him/her a buffoon and walk away pissed off. You got to look at both sides of the coin. It’s commendable you are defending your party but slips of the tongue have caused wars.
slips of the tongue have caused wars
Not in recent history. Again, there is no evidence that Pelosi, Waters or any other Democrat has ever committed a severe faux pas with any foreign dignitary. Whereas, we have multiple leaks from the Trump administration depicting numerous missteps and embarrassments on his part.
When a Democrat calls up Putin and forgets what START is and I fail to condemn, then you can call me a hypocrite. Until then, please leave the baseless accusations for another day.
I remember when VP Quayle was criticized for weeks for using an optional spelling of a word potatoe/potato. The media was relentless.
Would Warren Porter defend Dan Quayle’s position as vigorously as he defends his Democratic pals?
“So the responsibility for it lies with President Barack Obama and his failed policies,” McCain said.
After McCain took heat on those comments from Democrats, he clarified on Twitter that he was referring to Obama’s national security decisions and not the president himself.
Let’s here some kind words supporting John McCain from Warren Porter.
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she “misspoke” when she said Donald Trump is a role model for children. Democrats seized on the Republican lawmaker’s tortured response and pressed her to explain what about Trump children should emulate.
Some kind words for Sen. Ayotte are in order, Warren Porter.
McCaskill, meanwhile, also went on the attack. “As a woman and former prosecutor who handled hundreds of rape cases, I’m stunned by Rep. Akin’s comments,” she wrote.
Let’s hear how Akin educated himself and forgive him for misspeaking, Warren Porter.
The GOP is “a party that has the Ku Klux Klan, has the tea party, the Freedom Party and it used to be the party of Lincoln, and we are seeing it fall apart,” he said.
Do we even know who said this? He admitted he misspoke. Did Warren Porter jump on this guy?
Like I said Warped, It’s commendable you defend your party the way you do even when they blatantly screw up.
If Quayle hadn’t already had a reputation for being an intellectual lightweight, he wouldn’t have been unfairly pilloried.
As far as I know, John McCain was not criticized by any notable Democrats after his correction had been issued.
Regarding Kelly Ayotte and Todd Aiken, unlike the other cases, there is substantial reason to believe that the damaging statements were not mere mistakes but were made consciously. It makes no sense to compare these with confusion between the similar sounding “Crimea” and “Korea”.
Regarding Charlie Rangel, I will not defend him or his remarks. They are not excusable.
I also readily agree that “misspeaks” is a lousy excuse politicians often use when they are caught lying. The word “misspeaks” describes what Pelosi and Waters recently said and what McCain and Quayle said. It doesn’t explain Obama or
DeGette said, nor does it explain what Ayotte or Aiken said.
Not surprising, but still…
The Intelligence Community is withholding information from the Trump team. Someone is leaking to the Russians. A top Flynn, Rob Townley, aid has been denied a security clearance, with the approval of Director Pompeo at the CIA. Flynn was talking to the Russians about lifting Obama’s sanctions in December, which were put in place to punish the Russians for interfering with our election. Pence and Spicer defended Flynn. Previously, Flynn emphatically denied talking with the Russian ambassador about it. Now he doesn’t remember.
Flynn is lying.
When asked, Trump pretended he knew nothing about it. Trump is lying too.
“A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets. […]
What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.”
By the way, that magazine is owned by a relative of Kushner.
Something big has been happening with the Russian GRU. It might just be an internal power struggle. It might be that someone is leaking. The #2 guy at GRU cyber-security had a bag put over his head in the middle of a meeting and was dragged out of the room. Others have been arrested. One was found shot dead in the back of his car.