In the United States, since our very inception, we detest despots. This sentiment is clearly expressed in our Declaration of Independence: “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” So, I really have some questions about the trip a small delegation of lawmakers made last week to a country whose leader exemplifies despotism.
These are the names belonging to the delegation that went to Russia on July 4th, 2018: Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), Steve Daines (Mont.), John Thune (S.D.), John Kennedy (La.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), John Hoeven (N.D.) and Rep. Kay Granger (Texas). Instead of celebrating our country’s independence from a despot these seven government representatives decided it was better to patronize one in Russia. In general, it doesn’t really matter to me if the intent of this trip was to discuss the proof they had regarding Russia’s interference in our election nor does it matter much if they had any earnest warnings for Russia against trying the same thing in our 2018 elections. That could be done in other ways without having to go to Moscow. By engaging in a trip to Moscow now, there seems to me to be a high probability that it creates the perception that we (the United States) are just accepting Russia’s recent violations of international law.
Such a perception would amount to appeasement. We all know the result of the last time leaders of the Free World tried appeasement (reference Neville Chamberlain). Hint: it didn’t work out so well.
So, I think some real soul searching on the part of this delegation needs to be done but does this delegation also need to be reminded about who their host is? The leader of Russia is someone who is suspected of human rights violations, suspected of murder, attempted murder, has squashed expressions of freedom and, of course, attacked our own country by interfering in our elections. Putin is a leader who has invaded two other independent countries that led to portions of those sovereign states being removed from their sovereign control. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia then sponsored what amounts to puppet governments in the former Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In 2014, Ukraine was invaded by Russia where Russia simply annexed Crimea outright.
The worst part about the trip this delegation of US representatives made is that it occurred on the 4th of July, our Independence Day. This is a day where we should be shouting to the world in no uncertain terms that we will be free of despots, all despots. Therefore, if this delegation’s intention were not to make a complete mockery of our most patriotic holiday of the year where freedom rings loudest, it may have come close to doing just that despite what its intention truly may have been.