In my lifetime, most U.S. presidents wanted to be friendly with Russia.
President Ronald Reagan described it as an “evil empire” in a speech in 1983, and while being recorded joked “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes”. The joke was meant to be off the record.
But other presidents were more trusting, even when Russia was Communist.
In 1977 President Jimmy Carter gave a speech renouncing America’s “inordinate fear of communism.”
Then the Russians invaded Afghanistan.
“My opinion of the Russians has changed most drastically in the last week than even (sic) the two-and-a-half years before that. It’s only now dawning upon the world the magnitude of the action that the Soviets undertook in invading Afghanistan.” said Carter in an interview with ABC News on December 31, 1979.
Then came a supposedly post-Communist Russia and Vladimir Putin.
Republican president George W. Bush met with Putin in 2001 and said he got “a sense of [Putin’s] soul.”
Later, Bush explained that
“…he did not make a mistake in his initial and often-ridiculed assessment of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, when they first met in 2001 and Bush said he got “a sense of [Putin’s] soul.”
Instead, Bush said, Putin became a different person.
“I think, to a certain extent, he changed,” Bush said Monday in an interview with conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt.
“The reason why I said that is because I remembered him talking movingly about his mother and the cross that she gave him that she had blessed in Jerusalem,” Bush told Hewitt. “Nobody knows that, and I never tried to make an explanation of why I said what I said until the book” (Bush wrote a book titled ‘Decision Points’ about his time as president).
In the book, Bush writes that he interrupted Putin as the then-Russian President spoke from note cards and “seemed a little tense.” Bush asked whether the story of his mother giving him a cross was true, and writes that “a look of shock washed over Putin’s face.”
Putin then told the story of recovering the cross from a house fire and said that when a worker found the piece of jewelry it was as if it was meant to be. Bush writes that he remarked, “Vladimir, that is the story of the cross. Things are meant to be.”
Under Putin’s leadership freedom of speech and a free press have withered in Russia. Journalists who have been too aggressive have died suspicious deaths, and Putin has imprisoned business leaders who have been too open in opposing his will.
The extent to which Bush had misjudged Putin became clearest in August 2008 when Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia, a former Soviet bloc country on its southern border. The two leaders had an intense exchange in the stands of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium during the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony.
Bush told Putin he had warned him that the Georgian leader, President Mikhail Saakashvili, was “hot-blooded.”
“I’m hot-blooded too,” Putin said.
“I stared back at him,” Bush writes in his book. “‘No Vladimir,’ I said. ‘You’re cold-blooded.”
Then came Barack Obama.
Obama, who had been a left wing radical in his youth, wanted to be friends with Putin. The N.Y. Times reported at one point (Putin was Prime Minister at the time): “As a pool of television journalists gathered for a news conference on the leaders’ meeting, Mr. Obama leaned in to deliver private assurances to Mr. Medvedev. President Obama found his private moment of political candor caught by a live microphone as he told President Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on the delicate issue of missile defense after the November election.” In other words, he was assuring the president of Russia that he would be cooperative, but he didn’t want the American public to know how cooperative.
In the Obama administration, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, Hillary, was Secretary of State.
Hillary’s campaign Chairman John Podesta “sat on the board of a small energy company alongside Russian officials that received $35 million from a Putin-connected Russian government fund.”
Podesta sat on the board of a tiny energy company named Joule Unlimited. A mere two months after he joined the board, Rusnano, founded by Vladimir Putin in 2007, invested $35 million in the company. Podesta sat on three separate boards of Joule-affiliated corporate entities, but only reported two.
Moreover, Podesta’s own leftist think tank, the Center for American Progress, got $5.25 million from a group called the Sea Change Foundation in the four years ending in 2013. Sea Change, in return, had received what the authors call “a large infusion of funds from a mysterious Bermuda-based entity called ‘Klein Ltd.,’ ” which appeared to have Russian ties.
“This puts Clinton’s actions while in office under deep suspicion.” Hillary was quite the leftist in her youth. She joined the Venceremos brigades in Castro’s Cuba, and her college dissertation was on the leftist saboteur Saul Alinsky (author of “Rules for Radicals”).
Then came President Donald Trump.
President Trump seemed initially to be the most openly friendly president to Putin.
In fact Hillary suggested that Donald Trump “has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin, whether it’s saying that NATO wouldn’t come to the rescue of allies if they were invaded, talking about removing sanctions from Russian officials after they were imposed by the United States and Europe together, because of Russia’s aggressiveness in Crimea and Ukraine, his praise for Putin which is I think quite remarkable.”
Given that Hillary’s own record was spotty, lets look deeper:
Trump has said contradictory things about Putin according to a CNN KFile review of Trump’s public statements. CNN’s article says:
Since 2013 — when Trump’s Miss Universe pageant was held in Moscow — Trump has at least nine times claimed to have spoken to, met, or made contact with Putin. But as the 2016 campaign wore on and his statements on Putin began to attract more scrutiny, Trump changed course, denying having ever met the Russian president.
“I never met Putin,” Trump said at a July 2016 news conference. “I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I’m a genius. I said thank you very much to the newspaper and that was the end of it. I never met Putin.”
March 3, 2014
Amid Russian aggression in Ukraine, Trump tells “Fox and Friends” that Mitt Romney was right about Russia being a “geopolitical foe.”
“Well Mitt Romney was so right, and nobody knew how right he was going to be, and you look at Obama’s response and just take a look at what’s going on,” said Trump. “Syria was propped up by Russia. Syria’s now back in their fold 100% and that whole deal is coming to an end because Russia’s taken over.”
Trump added, “There are a lot of things we could be doing economically to Russia. Russia is not strong economically and we could do a lot of different things to really do numbers on them if we wanted to.”
March 13, 2014
Trump tells NBC’s “Today” that the US should “definitely do sanctions” against Russia for their aggression in Ukraine.
“And we have to show some strength. I mean, Putin has eaten Obama’s lunch, therefore our lunch, for a long period of time,” he said. “And I just hope that Obama, who’s not looking too good, doesn’t do something very foolish and very stupid to show his manhood. I just hope that doesn’t happen.”
March 24, 2014
Trump tells “Fox and Friends” Mitt Romney was right that Russia was “our biggest problem.”
“Well, Mitt was right, and he was also right when he mentioned in one of the debates about Russia, and he said, ‘Russia’s our biggest problem, and Russia is, you know, really something,'” Trump said.
“He said it’s a hell of a problem, and everybody laughed at him, including certain media, by the way,” continued Trump. “They laughed. It turned out that he’s absolutely right. You look at what Russia’s doing with Iran, how they controlled the situation, and Syria, and virtually every other place that … We were thrown out of every place. I’m not saying we should be there. We should rebuild our own schools and our own bridges and highways and everything else. To be scoffed at and thrown around the way we’re being thrown around is absolutely unthinkable.”
March 18, 2015
Trump tells the Daily Mail about his relationship with Putin: “the relationship is great, and it would be great if I had the position I should have.”
Trump also said he received “a gift from Putin – an award and a beautiful letter.” He does not confirm or deny meeting with Putin when asked.
Aug. 29, 2015
Trump says that Putin “hates Obama,” but that he would get along great with the Russian president.
“Putin hates us,” he said. “He hates Obama. He doesn’t hate us. I think he’d like me. I’d get along great with him I think. If you want to know the truth.”
Sept. 28, 2015
Trump tells reporters at Trump Tower that “Putin is a nicer person than I am.”
Dec. 18, 2015
Trump said on Morning Joe that Putin was a better leader than Obama, and dismissed Joe Scarborough’s allegations that the Russian president “kills journalists that don’t agree with him.”
“He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” Trump said.
He added: “I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe, so you know. There’s a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, a lot of killing going on, a lot of stupidity.”
Dec. 20, 2015
In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Trump defends against allegations Putin has ordered the killings of journalists and dissidents.
“As far as the reporters are concerned — as far as the reporters are concerned, obviously I don’t want that to happen. I think it’s terrible — horrible. But, in all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t’ seen that. I don’t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he’s killed? Because I’ve been — you know, you’ve been hearing this, but I haven’t seen the name. Now, I think it would be despicable if that took place, but I haven’t’ seen any evidence that he killed anybody in terms of reporters.”
In practice, once he became president Trump argued he has been tougher on Russia than any of his predecessors.
“Ideally we want to get along with Russia. Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Baltic state leaders.
“Probably no one has been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump,” he added, citing investments in the U.S. military and NATO.
Trump gave weapons to the Ukranians defending themselves against Russian aggression. Obama had refused to do that.
Now that it looks like Joe Biden will be president, its important to remember that his son Hunter received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the richest woman in Russia and the widow of Yury Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow.
I wonder what Vladimir thinks of all this.
Hunter Biden: https://nypost.com/2020/09/23/hunter-biden-received-3-5m-from-russian-billionaire-report/
Hillary Clinton: https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/hillarys-biggest-scandal-russia-and-her-reset-pal-vladimir-putin/
Donald Trump: https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/03/politics/trump-putin-russia-timeline/
I was too lazy to put down the other sources, but you can find them on the internet.