My God! Another awesome Jennifer Rubin column.
I’m becoming a fan, of all things. She writes:
Donald Trump’s contempt for American values and human rights is one of many reasons to oppose his candidacy and to reflect on the noxious influence of the right-wing media, which confuses despotism with strength, and military strength with barbarism. Criticism of the Obama administration’s feckless foreign policy — which we have frequently voiced — does not require support for war crimes. This seems to have eluded the Trumpkins, who instead adopt shameful positions that are in every sense un-American.
Donald Trump and his advisers’ infatuation with Vladimir Putin is well known. Trump seems not to know or care that Putin has invaded Ukraine and Georgia, continues to have his troops occupy parts of both, represses gays and political opponents, is linked to the murder of numerous journalists, and operates an economy for the benefit of himself and his oligarchs. But what about those who should know better?
Hugh Hewitt argues: “Putin’s an evil man. POTUS a good but incompetent man. Putin has served his country’s national interest better.” Really!? It’s in Russia’s interest to repress civil rights, have a Third World economy, lack a non-corrupt judicial system, shoot down a civilian airliner, jail dissidents, become an international scofflaw, etc.? The praise of an “evil” man is indicative of the moral confusion that has overtaken many on the right. A freshman philosophy student learns that an evil man does not advance his country’s interests (See: European despots of the 1930s).
As a practical matter, Russia is a basket case under Putin. James Pethokoukis cites the Index of Economic Freedom:
Russia’s prospects for long-term, diversified, sustainable economic growth remain bleak. There is no efficiently functioning legal framework, and government continues to interfere in the private sector through myriad state-owned enterprises. Corruption pervades the economy and continues to erode trust in the government. … Progress with market-oriented reforms has been uneven and often reversed at the urging of those with an interest in maintaining the status quo. Increasing inflationary pressure poses a major risk to overall macroeconomic stability. Large state-owned institutions have increased their domination of the financial sector at the expense of private domestic and foreign banks.
Oh, and the Russian economy shrank 5 percent since 2013, and life expectancy is 70.4 years, “#153 on the global league tables, by the way, a sweet spot just below Bangladesh and above North Korea.” No, Trump and more-educated defenders are bizarrely wrong. Putin has not been good for Russia. . .
Continue reading. Video at the link.