By Tyler Bauer
As I said yesterday, there is no problem with President Trump meeting Putin. However, nearly everyone seems to think there’s a HUGE problem with this meeting, so I’ll do my best to get inside their minds and explore a few reasons why they think this way.
Why is everyone freaking out?
Reason #1 – Alleged Trump-Russia Collusion
As I said in an earlier blog, I don’t believe President Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. I haven’t seen a single ounce of evidence to prove otherwise, and I’m willing to consider President Trump innocent until proven guilty. If anyone ever releases evidence of collusion, I’m more than willing to change my position on this issue.
However, for those who have already convicted and impeached President Trump in their own minds, a Trump-Putin meeting means that the collusion is only becoming more blatant. Some will see any interaction between the two as evidence of treason or proof that the Kremlin is secretly running the United States government, and if Russia is controlling the United States government, that means all of our rights will be taken away. To these people, anything short of war with Russia is evidence of collusion because no president would ever be this soft on Russia (except for Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, FDR, etc.).
Reason #2 – Russian President Vladimir Putin
I don’t think anybody denies that Russian President Vladimir Putin is an objectively bad person, and I think this is a main reason why people are so opposed to Presidents Trump and Putin meeting. People are afraid that meeting with dictators will “normalize” and embolden them. To be fair, this is a valid point. Diplomacy with another head of state does grant that head of state a certain amount of legitimacy.
While this point is valid, it almost immediately falls apart. Presidents have always met with terrible people. Franklin D Roosevelt met with Joseph Stalin, who was responsible for the deaths of roughly twenty million Soviets during his reign. Richard Nixon met with Mao Zedong, who was responsible for the deaths of forty-five million Chinese in a four year period. Furthermore, presidents have been meeting with Saudi kings for over seventy years now. All of these people oversaw authoritarian regimes that committed unspeakable atrocities.
I’m not saying our history of meeting with dictators makes President Trump’s meetings with dictators acceptable – I’m just saying that I’d take this point more seriously if people consistently applied criticism regardless of who is president.
Reason #3 – Increasing the Size and Power of Government
Put simply, everyone in power wants Russia to be seen as an enemy. The irrational fear of Russia is what justifies the government’s power. For example, if it weren’t for Russia, the government couldn’t justify domestic spying, the insane military budget, or our involvement in NATO. Everyone (except average Americans like you and I) stands to benefit if Russia is perceived as an enemy. The government loves to use fear to increase its own power. If you don’t believe me, click here to see what the government has done since 9/11. Without fear, we might realize we don’t need the kind of government we have right now, which means big trouble for those in charge.