Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday December 20, 2016
Will the GOP be the pro-Putin party?
Beneath the surface of the controversy over Russia’s efforts to help Donald Trump become presidentis a dramatic reconfiguration of opinion on foreign policy.
Many Republicans who had long been critical of Vladimir Putin’s despotic rule are adjusting their positions to accord with Trump’s more sympathetic views. Others are hanging back, fearful of picking a fight with their party’s incoming president or undermining the legitimacy of his election.
At the same time, Putin’s fiercest Republican critics, including leading neoconservatives, find themselves allied with Hillary Clinton’s supporters. They are calling out the Kremlin’s interference with the election and demanding a full accounting of what happened. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey O. Graham have been among the most outspoken.
While some on the left worry about starting a new Cold War, there has been a broad toughening of liberal and Democratic opinion toward Russia. This shift owes in part to outrage over Putin’s efforts to sabotage Clinton, but the roots of the mistrust of Putin can be traced back several years.
Putin’s hostility toward Clinton is widely seen as a response to her criticism of the 2011 Russian elections, a point she underscored herself last week. Mass protests broke out against what the opposition saw as Putin’s vote rigging. At the time, he blamed Clinton and the American government for the uprising. (Source: Washington Post)