Writes veteran Daniel Duffy on how “American Appeasement of Russia Led to War in Ukraine” in The American Thinker:
In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia. Shortly after, President Obama announced a “reset” policy with Russia. This was consistent with President Bush, who found Putin “straightforward and trustworthy.” In 2014, Putin punished Ukraine for ousting its pro-Russian puppet president by annexing Crimea. The West responded with tepid sanctions. President Trump equated Putin’s killings of journalists and dissidents with the actions of the United States not once, but twice. “There are a lot of killers,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly in a 2017 interview. “You think our country’s so innocent?” In 2015, he said, “I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe, so you know.” He continued to describe Putin as a leader and someone whom he respects.
No, the United States isn’t perfect. But the lack of moral clarity when equating a country that has representational government, freedom of speech, real elections, a mostly free economy, and a separation of church and state with the monstrosity of a dictator like Putin emboldens the Kremlin and does real damage. Putting Putin on an equal footing affects the way we think of our relations with him.
If someone were your moral equal, why would you hesitate to become largely dependent on him for natural gas? To Trump’s credit, he did in fact warn Europe that this was not a good idea. But the point is that the lack of moral clarity dilutes our thinking.
[…] So what’s wrong with the precedents set by all these administrations? The common denominator is that they negate the nature of Russia. The West views these events — the invasion of Georgia here, attacking American troops there — as episodic. Westerners haven’t connected the dots.