Opinion: When Putin’s your neighbor, the Russian threat is chilling
Since his election, President Trump has done little to halt the growing confidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. For those of us in the Russian “spheres of interest,” this carries potentially chilling consequences.
In his inaugural address, his first statement as US President, Trump said: “We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”
Now the President is following up words with action. In his budget, outlined last week, Trump confirmed earlier reports that he intends to dramatically scale back funds to the State Department.
What does that actually mean? Russian state-owned media has been very fast to translate. They wrote before the budget was officially announced that Trump was ready “to slaughter sacred US cows” and to stop “democracy export.”
“Democracy export” is a phrase commonly used in Russian propaganda. They’ve used it to describe the Arab spring, the Euromaidan protest in Ukraine and even the Lithuanian declaration of independence 27 years ago.
But in none of these historical events was there a drop of American imposition. I know this very well from my own family’s history. No one made my father’s uncle write and print illegal literature in his own flat.
No American helped him in 1980, when he was sentenced to prison and exiled to Siberia for seven years. No one told my parents in 1987 to take their 3-year-old daughter — me — to a demonstration against the Soviet Union in Vilnius. Nor did America organize the Baltic Chain — in which 2 million people joined their hands for freedom.
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