In the very first cabinet meeting of 2019, President Trump talked about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, saying that “the reason Russia (sic) was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia.” He added: “They were right to be there.”
The 1979 invasion was Communist aggression into Afghanistan to support a puppet government.
It was a brutal occupation that lasted about a decade until Mikhail Gorbachev called it off and it was an important milestone in the fall of the Soviet Union.
These comments are indistinguishable from modern day Russian revanchist propaganda.
We don’t think Mr. Trump said these stupid things because he is treasonously allied with Vladimir Putin.
We just think he was out of his depth and just recklessly spouted off, perhaps as Andrew McCarthy wrote because he “has border-crossing aliens on the brain.”
Ten presidential elections ago, President Gerald Ford in a debate with Jimmy Carter said: “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration.”
Mr. Ford probably meant to say something about how the spirit of the people of Eastern Europe stayed true during the long Soviet occupation, but it came out poorly. It was a gaffe, not what he really thought.
We hope, some now, some way, it’s the same here.
We have normalized the Trump presidency which means that we give him credit for the things we like and criticize things we don’t like.
We like the installing of two Supreme Court Justices and several dozen lower court federal judges.
We like the tax cut and the low unemployment rates and the wage growth.
We like his deregulation bent.
We like that he pressures NATO countries to pay their fair share for defense.
We like that he authorized the killing of hundreds of Russian soldiers in Syria who were advancing on our troops although we don’t know if we should be in Syria in the first place.
We like that he has tried a new approach in North Korea. We’re glad the ISIS caliphate is destroyed.
We don’t like the tariffs.
We don’t like the arming of the Ukraine or the bashing of major companies likes Pfizer.
We don’t like his offensive tweet – one example, calling Stormy Daniels “horse face.”
We didn’t like his initial handling of the Jamal Khashoggi’s murder but acknowledge that this was tricky because of our alliance with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
We didn’t like his news conference in Helsinki although we thought that former CIA chief John Brennan’s response was absurd when he said that it “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous.”
We didn’t like the avoidable outcome of separating migrant children from their families at the border. There is nothing – repeat nothing – wrong with a zero-tolerance policy of illegal border crossings but the lack of judges and facilities should have been remedied before we started. Predictably, his enemies catastrophized this issue and former Director of the National Security Agency disgracefully compared it to Auschwitz and Laura Bush compared to the internment of Japanese citizens in World War II.
We are unclear about his decisions to quit Syria and draw down in Afghanistan and the quitting of the Iran deal.
In short, there are things we like and things we don’t.
We put his ignorant revisionism around communist aggression in Afghanistan in the latter.