America Needs to Recall Reagan’s Approach to Russia
Witnessing the unprecedent anti-Russia hysteria in Washington one feels a real danger that it may end badly for everyone as the poisonous rhetoric from politicos and the media gets more out of hand. The non-stop 24/7 demonization of Russia and its president Vladimir Putin has now reached such an intensity that we may soon find ourselves at a point of no return from the possibility of war with a powerful nuclear country.
There is no doubt in the minds of those who have not been brainwashed by the media that Russia card is just a useful tool directed against Donald Trump by Clinton camp and the establishment from both parties who detest his domestic and foreign policy reforms.
Trump’s logical reasoning of getting along with Russia to jointly fight radical Islamic terrorism is used by his detractors as a proof that he is a Putin’s stooge and traitor to homeland. By the same token FDR could be accused of the same crimes for joining the alliance with Joseph Stalin in the war with the Nazi Germany.
If one indeed believes that Russia is the greatest threat to American democracy, and since the numerous sanctions imposed on Moscow do not work, then some may come to think that war is the next logical step.
However, don’t we have enough wars started by the last three presidents resulting in millions of dead and wounded, an endless stream of refugees, and misery and destruction in the Middle East and Afghanistan with no end in sight? These wars also have cost Americans thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. There will be hardly any survivors in the WWIII.
So, what is to be done?
When things have gotten so bad why not try to find the answers in the not so distant past when Ronald Reagan, who is now revered by most Americans of all political persuasions, even by those who did not support him during his presidential terms?
Why was it alright for Reagan to find a common language with Mikhail Gorbachev and the then-communist USSR while any suggestion from Trump to attempt the same with Putin and post-communist Russia leads to the calls for impeachment?
Fortunately, not only are the major details of the Reagan-Gorbachev negotiations and deals readily available but there are many members of Reagan’s inner circle like James Baker, Bill Bennett, Pat Buchanan, Chas Freeman, Suzanne Massie, Jack Matlock, Edwin Meese, Dana Rohrabacher, George Shultz, David Stockman, and I am sure many others to whom I must apologize for not mentioning.
We need their advice about how to resolve this crisis and the time is now.
Trump and Putin are expected to meet on the margins of the G20 summit in Hamburg (July 7-8, 2017), a date that is quickly approaching. The good news is that both presidents are eager to work towards a mutually beneficial US-Russia relationship.
However, we need Reagan’s wise men to help overcome the efforts of those who have other goals and objectives which have nothing to do with the security of the United States and survival of humanity.
This is what Reagan said about the opponents of his nuclear deal with Gorbachev: “some of the people who are objecting the most ... whether they realize it or not, those people basically down in their deepest thoughts have accepted that war is inevitable.”
Reagan refused to accept what others considered inevitable, and this is what Trump must do as well.
Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow. He is the author of the book Operation Elbe, which describes joint US-Russia anti-terrorist efforts.
On July 3, 2017, the American University in Moscow and the Burganov Museum will unveil a sculpture of Reagan and Gorbachev in downtown Moscow. For additional information please visit www.RussiaHouse.org/wrf.php