Stop picking on Russia!

Public Domain image

Public Domain image

My fellow Americans, you are barking up the wrong tree.

Demonizing the Russians is not what you should be doing.

We want and need rich educational, cultural, athletic and other such exchanges with Russia. Our countries benefit from these meetings of private citizens who seek to share their knowledge and talents with each other. We must continue to encourage and support them.

I remind you of something I wrote late last year; a similar post in which I stated that

I am arguing that the animosity between the White House and the Kremlin cannot extend to the citizens of both nations.

We must continue to communicate. We must continue to visit. We must continue to be allies.

When those words were written, Barack Obama’s time in the White House was winding down. The expectation then was that Donald Trump was going to usher in new policies — or at least a different demeanor — that would de-ice the Cold War that developed during Obama’s eight years.

Trump has definitely ushered in something new, and he neither planned for it nor wants it: Intense scrutiny of the communications and conversations his election team, his family members and some within his White House team had with various Russian officials throughout 2016.

As Buzzfeed’s Miriam Elder reminds us, we must keep asking relevant questions about any and all meetings the parties might have had.

The real question about contacts between Trump’s camp and the Russians, of course, is what they are talking about — what plans they made, whether and how they are coordinating. …

Here is the problem: People inside the Democratic establishment and in the media are looking for a smoking gun, when many of the answers are in plain sight — in the posture of Russian state media, in the Wikileaks campaign, and beyond.

Sure, keep close tabs on what the people around Trump did in the months before (and immediately after) the 2016 election. Also, keep a close eye on Russian president Vladimir Putin; he is not a force for democracy. His interest in undermining it is real. European governments certainly are watching him, and it would be preferable if the Trump administration was wary of him. (As an aside, I do wonder what Putin thinks of a small group of Russians hopeful for a return to monarchism within that country.)

But equating any dislike of Putin to adopting a hostile attitude about the Russian people is just plain wrong. Stop it.

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