Your editorial regarding Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump (“Congress must act,” July 18) was nothing more than an erudite version of the kinds of hyperbole, misinformation, and half truths — not to mention hysteria — that our pathetic president deals in. A few examples serve to illustrate:
You twice refer to Mr. Putin as a dictator. As much as it might pain you to admit, he was legally elected by the people of Russia.
As for Mr. Putin’s so-called “election manipulation,” your assertion that it is “universally acknowledged by every major figure in the U.S. intelligence community” doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Only three of the 17 intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI and NSA), using carefully selected agents, were involved in the investigation of alleged Russian “hacking” into the DNC and the Clinton campaign’s attempt to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ election bid.
Numerous respected former intelligence officers, including Ray McGovern and a number of his contemporaries, have conclusively shown that the outside interference in the campaign could not have been a “hack” but, instead, was a leak — probably from someone within the Clinton campaign itself. So much for the “free and fair elections" you accuse Mr. Trump of denying. And of course we would never meddle in another country’s elections.
And how did you arrive at the conclusion that it is Russia that “devastated Syria?” U.S. financial and military aid to rebel groups in an attempt to overthrow President Bashar Assad is what devastated Syria. Russia is in that beleaguered country at the request of its legitimate president who, like Mr. Putin, was elected by the people, however distasteful that idea may be to you.
You maintain that “we seek peace.” Somehow I seem to have missed our peace-seeking activities over the past several years. Names like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and yes, Syria and a half dozen other countries keep coming to mind. And if we are on such a quest for peace, why do we have the largest military expenditures in the world? More than the next seven highest spenders combined, including Russia and China. And why do we have military installations in some 80 countries around the world and join in as NATO squeezes ever closer to Russia’s border? These are curious ways to seek peace.
Finally, you laud Sen. John “bomb, bomb” McCain, a man who never met a war he didn’t like, for his criticism of Mr. Trump. Why wouldn’t he be critical? To Senator McCain, anything that might even remotely reduce the possibility of a war, any war, is to be opposed.
Yes, President Trump’s handling of the summit with Mr. Putin was characteristically bumbling and inept, but certainly not the cataclysm you and like-minded Trump haters seem to think it was. The sun still came up this morning, the earth is still turning, the sky is not falling, Chicken Little.
But perhaps this could be a wake-up call for us to take a critical look at ourselves and how we deal with other nations of the world.
John M. Sharpe, Glenelg