For some unknown reason, both the mainstream media and President Trump are fixated on Russia.
Excuse me, but I don’t think Russia is the biggest problem we face today.
For 46 years, we fought a Cold War with the Soviet Union, during which many of the older leftists opposing Trump could find no wrong in Soviet-style totalitarianism.
Now, even though the Soviets are gone only in name and the global influence and ambitions of that nation diminished, the leftists now consider Russia dangerous.
On March 3, on Twin Cities Public Television’s “Almanac,” St. John’s/St. Ben’s professor Nick Hays called contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government “highly suspicious” and said that money has poured into Trump companies from Russian interests. He also said that allegedly the Russians have compromising information about Trump (or at least it would be compromising if Trump weren’t shameless).
Hays said it all had the classic characteristics of a KGB blackmailing op.
Then, Democrats made hay when Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded to a question from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Here’s the transcript of that Jan. 10 confirmation hearing exchange so you can judge for yourself:
Franken: “CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that quote, ‘Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.’ These documents also allegedly say quote, ‘There was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.’
“Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”
Sessions: “Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”
Did Sessions forget that he had met Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice last year: First, at an event for diplomats at the Republican National Convention and then in September one-on-one in Sessions’ U.S. Senate office? Did Sessions not consider himself to be a surrogate for the Trump campaign? Or was Sessions attempting to mislead Franken? Most likely your answers will depend upon your party affiliation.
Trump, being the veteran of the World Wrestling Federation that he is, is a master at controlling the storyline. When he couldn’t get the Sessions snafu off the front page even with high marks for the president’s speech to Congress, he tweeted an allegation by conservative talk radio host Mark Levin that President Obama had wiretapped Trump.
Like Hays, Trump offered no proof, but now WikiLeaks has come to his rescue with a massive dump of CIA documents that suggest the CIA has been doing a lot of probing, perhaps illegal, into Americans’ private lives.
Did the CIA bug Trump’s phone lines? Did Obama OK it?
As troubling as Sessions’ situation and both the Democrats’ and Trump’s reaction to it is, I still see it as a distraction. At least the Russians are led by Vladimir Putin who, by all accounts, appears to be sane. He can see the sense in avoiding a nuclear holocaust.
But what about those who don’t?
The Russia distraction is taking valuable time and energy away from what the federal government should be worrying about: primarily the nuclear capabilities of North Korea under supreme leader Kim Jong-un and the latest efforts by Islamic terrorists to infiltrate and overthrow Western civilization.
I recently read “My Journey on the Nuclear Brink” by William Perry. Perry has been involved in the effort to control nuclear weapons since the 1950s. Now almost 90, the former Secretary of Defense under President Clinton is spending his last years trying to prevent Armageddon.
The book begins with a scenario in which terrorists plant a nuclear device in a crate labeled as agricultural produce and have it flown to Dulles Airport, outside Washington, D.C. It is then loaded on a rental truck and detonated halfway between the capitol and White House, effectively decapitating the federal government.
Then, the terrorists announce that five more bombs have been placed in five other U.S. cities and will be detonated weekly unless their demands are met. Imagine the disruption to American life, if that were to happen. For Minnesotans, the Twin Cities would quickly become a ghost town as people poured into the hinterlands. Work would come to a screeching halt.
Think about North Korea, badly in need of capital, selling a nuke to ISIS. That’s what we should be focused on, not whether Russia influenced our last election.
Though futile, consider this a modest request to reset our priorities.
Tom West is the editor and general manager of the Record. Reach him at (320) 616-1932 or by email at [email protected]