History tells us that since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, almost all of our American presidents have tried to get along with Russia. Columnist Pat Buchanan on this page points to the history of our relationship with Russia since the 1930s in arguing that we should not restart the Cold War because of what is happening in Ukraine.
We don’t agree entirely with what he wrote but he’s right on some points as to the record of our dealings with the Soviet Union and now Russia. You could even say there is a history of the United States, and other countries, pampering Russia and trying to engage its rulers.
Since the break up of the Soviet Union about 25 years ago, Russia is not the world power it once was except that it does have nuclear weapons. America also is not the respected power it once was with other countries because they don’t trust us. Too much all talk and no action!
Buchanan states that “every president from FDR through George H. W. Bush, even after collisions with Moscow far more serious than this clash over Ukraine, sought to re-engage the men in the Kremlin.
“Whatever we thought of the Soviet dictators who blockaded Berlin, enslaved Eastern Europe, put rockets in Cuba and armed Arabs to attack Israel, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush 1 all sought to engage Russia’s rulers,” Buchanan wrote. That may be true, but what did it get us? Yes, we didn’t go to war with Russia, but we took much tougher stances when Russia made threats. An example is what JFK did in the Cuban situation. Russia backed off when we presented a show of force.
We haven’t done that in the case of Ukraine. Oh, we imposed a few economic sanctions, called for more, but so far that hasn’t made the Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, back off in Ukraine.
There have been efforts to engage Putin with little or no success.
Russia doesn’t want a war it can’t win. But Putin will continue to see how far he can go against the Western world. He will back off if we convince him we will back Ukraine in its fight against the Russian-backed rebels. How do we do that? We do it with military aid and a show of military force in that area. We are not suggesting we use ground troops, but there are other military weapons at our disposal.
Only a show of force will make this bully back off!