Parroting Putin to own the libs

It wasn’t so long ago that Republicans were hawkish toward Russia—and advisably so. Russian president Vladimir Putin announced his intention to make his country the primary antagonist to the transatlantic liberal international order in a famous 2007 speech. “One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way,” he chided. “This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?”…

Since then, in response to what Putin characterized as American arrogance, Russia invaded two countries to prevent them from deepening their political and economic relationships with their neighbors; sent expeditionary forces to Syria and Venezuela to prop up failing, bloody dictatorships; attempted at least one coup in a foreign country; ordered an assassination on foreign soil using weapons of mass destruction; and launched an unprecedented campaign of political skullduggery from Tallinn to Tucson.

With each of these transgressions, Putin’s goal was to halt and, if possible, reverse the liberalizing trend of Russia’s neighbors and the world more generally. He sits atop a vast system of informal patronage networks fully intertwined with state power. Free markets, the rule of law, and true democracy threaten not only his hold on power, but billions of dollars of illegitimate wealth held by him and those he’s lifted up around himself.