Friday, September 09, 2016

The Cold War is really over

Whatever the you think of the merits of Trump's praise of Putin, this does show that the cold war and the knee-jerk mentality is really over. It wasn't that long ago that any praise of Russia or its leader would represent the death knell for a political campaign. That attitude, and the automatic demonization of Russia it encouraged, survived the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the USSR. Just four years ago, the GOP nominee called Russia our "number one geopolitical foe."

Sure Trump's remarks are making others in the GOP uncomfortable and it is generating some push-back within the party. But it's not disqualifying. The push-backers might be saying that Trump is wrong, but they are still largely supporting his candidacy.

While I think Trump's praise of Putin is bizarre and shows his tendency to make consequential judgment calls which seems to be based on the degree to which other people say nice things about him. I also there was a real institutional hostility to Russia among the military and political leadership in this country which was silly and outdated. I wonder if Trump is opening the door other ways of talking about Russia among Republicans, just as he opened the door to Republican criticism of the Iraq War.

ADDING: Just to further emphasize my point, can you imagine what would have happened if a presidential candidate went on state-owned Russian TV to criticize the American government in prior years? We really do live in the post-cold war world. Also, Trump is pretty ignorant and is willing to do anything to promote his failing candidacy. But the latter does not change the former.