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I’ve written in the past about the danger of constantly yelling and screaming about Russia and how those doing that yelling and screaming are ignoring the fact that what they are doing is incredibly dangerous.
Case in point: CNN analyst and former Bill Clinton strategist Paul Begala.
Here’s what Begala said on CNN last night:
“We were and are under attack by a hostile foreign power and... we should be debating how many sanctions we should place on Russia or whether we should blow up the KGB, GSU, or GRU [Russia’s foreign intelligence agency].”
Read those words slowly and carefully. “Under attack by a hostile foreign power.”
For all the talk about dangerous rhetoric, that is the kind of saber rattling that can push us into a terrifying armed confrontation that could get a lot of people unnecessarily killed.
For starters, Russia has a nuclear arsenal. Yet we have continued to antagonize them unnecessarily for almost a year. Unless Russia does something truly worthy of a military response - like dropping a bomb or literally invading - I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m not exactly eager to start another needless war, especially against an opponent that actually has the capability to do long lasting damage.
Nearly as important, though, those who are attempting to rile up Russia are ignoring the fact that - like it or not - they are an important ally in the war on terror. We don’t have to love them and they don’t have to love us for us to realize that we have a common enemy that it is in our mutual interest to work towards destroying. For whatever his faults, Putin is a potentially valuable asset to our biggest foreign policy goal - wiping out extremist terror groups like ISIS - and it is in our best interest to try to get along with him, rather than provoke him for no reason.
It is one thing to be concerned about the Russian government attempting to influence the 2016 election. But it is a completely different matter altogether when you go beyond asking for increased cybersecurity and launch into the type of hostile rhetoric that could cause horrific consequences.
Of course, Begala knows this, and doesn’t care. All that matters to him is ginning up ratings on CNN and doing anything he can to de-legitimize the president. And if he has to loudly attempt to agitate a battle with another country with nuclear arms? Well, so be it.
But whatever your thoughts are on President Trump, trying to push the country into a war just to spite him is beyond insane. And I wish those engaging in this behavior – like Begala – would stop being partisan hacks for five seconds and stop to think about just how much damage their efforts could cause.
Then again, it’s Paul Begala, so why would I expect any thoughtful actions at all?