Former CIA Director John Brennan’s hysterical assertion that President Donald Trump’s news conference with Vladimir Putin was treasonous is one of the stupidest statements I have ever heard, and a masterpiece in dodging responsibility. It is incumbent upon a former government official to know treason — the only crime defined in the U.S. Constitution — can only be committed — by definition — during a time of declared war. So much for the stupidity.
As to dodging responsibility, Brennan knows the Democratic National Committee emails were hacked on his watch and that of his boss, Barack Obama, and they did nothing. Now Brennan wants to sit in judgment on Donald Trump. Seriously?
The latest firestorm against the president who brings unemployment to an all-time low for all demographics — ethnic, age, gender — and North Korea to the negotiating table emerges from his misspeaking — using the word “would” when he meant to say “wouldn’t” — when speaking of whether he believed Vladimir Putin or his own intelligence agencies about Russian hacking.
It was a serious slip of Trump’s tongue, but no more than that. Putin responded as though Trump had used the word he intended because that is what he or his translator heard. He said there was no reason for the two men to trust each other at all, but a very pragmatic need for them to work together nonetheless. Yet Democrats and even some leaders in Trump’s own party are screaming Trump said exactly what he meant. Really?
There was another statement the president made that has received less press but every bit as much self-righteous indignation. Mr. Trump said both sides had behaved badly over many issues and occasions. What’s up with that? Is our president saying we have tried to influence elections and are perhaps not entitled to the moral high ground?
He is saying exactly that — without apology — but with the conviction that it is time for both sides to stop. Is he correct? Has American been as unscrupulous as the Russians?
Only if you count invading their country in a vain attempt to restore the czar following the Great War, derailing the nuclear test ban hopes of both nations in 1960 with the U-2 flight of Gary Powers, or sending at least as many spies their way as they send ours, and I don’t know what else.
I do know — as does the world — that Barack Obama spent tax dollars attempting to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu during his last election. Just as public is the information Obama tried to strongarm Canadians into leaving their oil in the shale where they found it.
I say this to demonstrate that our nation is not innocent in the field of manipulating other nations, and that certainly includes Russia.
The difference is the Russians have been caught out in their 2016 machinations. Neither Trump nor Putin is demanding a mea culpa; Trump is saying we might retire to a neutral corner and consider playing nicely with each other from now on and starting now. It seems a good place to begin again.
Don’t misunderstand. We have not annexed the Philippines or gone to war with Cuba, as our Russian counterparts have done in Crimea and Ukraine, even though we once controlled those nations. We turned Iraq and Afghanistan back to their own people in record time, just as we released Germany and Japan following World War II.
Fact is we have never sought empire and we are unique in the world for quickly releasing nations we have conquered in just wars. I’ll take American integrity and benevolence in foreign affairs over anybody else’s any day of the week. Yet, that said, we are not the boy scouts of the world, and nobody is.
What should we do now?
We might try the basic process of reconciliation as it works for persons and nations. First, we speak our mind with courtesy but pulling no punches; knowing our president, we can assume he did just that. We can listen to the other side with that same courtesy; apparently, Donald Trump did that.
Finally, we can reframe the conversation. That would look like a fresh and unprejudiced beginning that includes the famous Ronald Reagan formula of trusting but verifying.
At the same time — without excusing Russian wrongdoing — we can thank the God who loves us that their machinations actually revealed needful truth instead of planting disinformation. This is one thing all parties agree took place, and the process continues as the veil is progressively pulled away — not from Trump but from Obama and the deep state under which we have been waterboarded for so long.
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