Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Hugh Hewitt Re-Post: Morning Glory: Putin's next victim

Heard this on the Hugh Hewitt Show and it's posted right now on Fox News. Hugh says the best thing we can co for Russian dissidents is to spread the word, make them household names. That being said, please spread the word about Vladimir Kara-Murza!

Russian pro-democracy activist Vladimir Kara-Murza is the name you need to know right now, the name that President Joe Biden, House Speaker Michael Johnson and both Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell need to be saying out loud and often this week and month and on a regular basis thereafter.

Kara-Murza is the highest profile Russian dissident left after the murder of Aleksei Navalny last week, and Americans need to know his name, make his cause their own. (Though perhaps with President Biden, the less said by the fading Commander-in-Chief, the better. Not only might Biden’s intended words go sideways, any warning from Biden to Putin becomes an invitation to Putin to act and humiliate Biden, again.)

Ben Domenech, editor-at-large for the Spectator, called me about Kara-Murza on Friday. Kara-Murza is a man of extraordinary courage, who chose, like Navalny, to return to Russia after getting to the West, and chose to do so having already been marked as an enemy of Putin. Kara-Murza has survived two poisoning attempts and is now imprisoned in one of the Russian dictator’s Gulag 2.0 camps.

"For my part," Ben emailed after we spoke, "my concern is for my friend Vladimir Kara-Murza, currently in isolation. "He was a pallbearer for John McCain with me—and on Putin’s enemies list, he is in all likelihood the next target."

"Unlike Navalny," Ben continued, Kara-Murza "is a permanent resident of the United States — and his wife and three children are American citizens. If the Biden administration is to have any moral authority, any at all, they must use every tool at their disposal to get such prisoners out, and make Alexei Navalny the last dissident Vladimir Putin murders."

Unlike the Soviet Union, which as late as 1989 few people saw dissolving into ruin, most everyone who pays attention now knows Putin’s empire, like the power of any mob boss in any country at any time, will not survive a month after his demise. Until his demise—which won’t come from anyone like Kara-Murza, but from inside the Kremlin or his palace in Sochi—Putin can order any opponent killed and does so with complete indifference to, indeed disdain for Western reaction, largely because the reactions, however intense are always brief, and usually just rhetorical.

Putin doesn’t worry much, if at all, about Biden because Biden, like President Barack Obama before him, talks a tough game but does nothing when his bluff is called. Navalny, murdered last Friday, was Biden’s "red line" with Putin, and like Obama’s "red line" about Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons, dictators ignoring both presidents have paid no price. At all.

Under President Trump, Ukraine got the lethal aid that President Obama denied it. Assad got not one but two fusillades of cruise missiles from Trump when the Syrian war criminal used chemical weapons. When Russian mercenaries attacked U.S. troops in Syria in 2018, then Secretary of Defense Mattis, acting on standing orders from Trump, directed that the Russians be wiped out and they were.

Trump talked like a man who wanted an understanding with his countries’ enemies, but slammed them hard when they broke the rules. Biden, like Obama, has made plenty of sweeping pronouncements about what countries should not and will not be allowed to do, but has never acted in the resolute fashion required to make Putin, or China’s and Iran’s dictators Xi Jinping and Ayatollah Khamenei pause. The opposite actually.

What did Biden warn Putin about Nalvany? "When Joe Biden met Vladimir Putin in 2021," The Guardian reminds us, "the leaders staring at each other across the library of a Geneva lakeside villa, the US president warned there would be ‘devastating consequences’ for Moscow if Alexei Navalny died in Russian custody."

In his new book about Team Biden, "The Internationalists: The Fight To Restore American Foreign Policy After Trump," Politico’s Alexander Ward, quotes his sources as saying after the Summit in June of 2021 that "Biden left the meetings telling his aides he got his message through to Putin." The book published Monday, three days after Putin had Navalny killed. Another great Biden assessment of the world around him that was exactly opposite of the realities of the world.

When Navalny died in Russian custody, Biden made another statement. The aging-before-our-eyes president expressed "outrage" but, incredibly, admitted he was "not surprised." Not even Joe Biden expects America’s enemies to take Joe Biden seriously. "Under President Biden America has been seen continuously as being in retreat from the rest of the world," British journalist Douglas Murray wrote in The Telegraph Monday. Murray is right of course.

This downward spiral in the ability of America to deter its enemies from the grossest displays of absolute and arbitrary power by evil men began with Obama and Syria, but accelerated with Biden ordering the scamper from Afghanistan in 2021 and the fiasco that followed which concluded with the deaths of U.S.troops at Abbey Gate and the abandonment of thousands of American citizens, green card holders, and allies eligible for SIV visas.

Then came Putin’s second invasion of Ukraine. Biden had talked a tough game then too, but hadn’t delivered what Ukraine needed to deter Putin from invading. Since that invasion, which Team Biden repeatedly telegraphed Ukraine could not endure and would not survive, the aid the U.S. has sent has been "too little, too late and too long," leaving a World War I-like stalemate and an exhausted American public Biden should be out rallying the country to stand with Ukraine still, but the president simply doesn’t have the physical stamina much less the brainpower to make such a series of speeches and sit for interviews to argue the case for keeping the aid flowing to Ukraine. He hasn’t even tried.

Instead, the often-confused president is "leading" a walk-back of America’s previously unequivocal support for Israel in the aftermath of the 10/7 massacre there. The entire Israeli Cabinet and almost every serious political actor in Israel has rejected Biden’s attempt to impose a Palestinian state on the Middle East, a imposition which any sane person would recognize as a reward for barbarism.

Don’t underestimate Biden’s ability to make a terrible situation worse, which is why I’m ambivalent about Biden saying anything about Kara-Murza. Former Secretary of Defense Gates, the equal of any figure in America when it comes to bipartisan respect, warned us all that Biden’s instincts and decisions are always—repeat, always—wrong on national security. The consequences for Navalny, like those for Ukraine and Afghanistan, have been the worst possible outcomes.

It used to be that the U.S. could at least keep a dissident alive, and perhaps we still can with focus and with "better-late-than-never" reprisals aimed squarely at disintermediating Putin’s and his cronies’ vast and stolen wealth. But public pressure to protect people like Kara-Murza has to be bipartisan and sustained, as it was for then dissidents Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and Vladimir Bukovsky in the closing decades of the Soviet era.

Again via Fox News and Hugh Hewitt


1 comment:

MrLiberty said...

So no thoughts on American Journalists being MURDERED by the Zelensky regime? Just thoughts on CIA/MI6 assets being murdered by having taken 4 mRNA jabs and dying in a Russian prison after having been spying for the US government? Got it.