I was one of only 10 members of the House who refused to jump on board this major step toward reigniting the Cold War. The resolution contained a long list of misdeeds and malicious acts perpetrated by Putin’s Russia. Some of the accusations were accurate, some were exaggerated, some were provocative but wrong. In other words with this resolution the U.S. Congress went out of its way to turn the relationship between Russia and the United States into open hostility . . . this when both of our countries would benefit greatly from cooperation against our common enemies.
In years passed the Soviet Union was the world’s major threat to democratic government and world peace. I am proud to have been part of the fight against this evil empire from the time I was a teen to the seven years I spent in the White House as Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter and a Special Assistant to the President. But Reagan never believed the Russian people to be our enemy, nor Russia itself. Instead the enemy was the Soviet Union and once Communism was discarded Reagan wanted us to be friends and allies.
Instead, when Reagan left office, and the walls of tyranny came crashing down, many in the west continued beating the drums of fear and hatred toward Russia. Yes, those people in Eastern Europe who lived under communist tyranny are understandably paranoid about Russia, but that must not be the basis of American policy. Today there are major threats to the United States and the free people of the world and we need Russia actively on our side. Those threats are: Radical Islamic terrorism and an emerging powerful, arrogant and totalitarian China. These two threats are a primary danger not only to us, but to Russia as well.
Russia has been helping Pro Russian Ukrainian citizens who live in the Eastern part of that country and they annexed Crimea, which was the location of their most important naval base. H. Res 758 calls for the Crimea to be returned to Ukrainian control. It should have called for a supervised election to permit the people of Crimea to determine if they become Ukrainians or Russians. That compromise might help calm things down. Instead Congress chose to poke Russia in the eye and call Putin names.
Well, we need Russia, flawed leader and all, on our side. Instead of one sided attack resolutions we should acknowledge our concerns, but balance them with highlighting areas of mutually beneficial cooperation. We shouldn’t be pushing Russia away, we should be reaching out. We have been treating Russia as if it is still Communist and Putin as if he is Hitler. This is harmful nonsense. It creates barriers to good will rather than pathways to cooperation. We will pay a dear price if we are dragged back into a Cold War.