Why the Left Resists a Reconciliation with Russia
Leftists had to have been astonished to hear President Putin's opening remarks at the Trump-Putin summit. Russia's president proclaimed, "The Cold War is a thing of the past[.] ... The era of acute ideological confrontation of the two countries is a thing of the remote past – it's a vestige of the past."
No wonder the American and European left are screaming over the triple reference to the past. No wonder also that old Cold Warriors like John McCain are apoplectic. That is because Putin's words and the Trump-Putin summit possibly signaled the beginning of the end of the left-leaning ideological hegemony that has influenced American international policies for many years.
The fact is that Putin expressed hopes for rapprochement with the West after the fracturing of the Soviet Union, assuming that once the communist party was almost obliterated and a new religious-political paradigm began to take hold in Russia, the West and Russia might have more in common. What Putin had not counted on, perhaps, was the rapid ascendancy of leftist ideology in powerful circles of academia, government, and even churches.
But there was a moment in which a new relationship between the world's two most powerful nuclear powers might have seemed possible. In fact, according to Peter Conradi, author of Who Lost Russia? How the World Entered a New Cold War, there were some expectations that after the fall of the Soviet Union, a new "entente cordiale" might be established between Moscow and the Western nations the old Soviet Union had tried to destroy.
Conradi relates that "soon after Putin came to power in 2000, he asked George Robertson, then NATO Secretary-General, when Russia would be invited to join. When Robertson replied that Russia would have to apply to NATO, just like everyone else, Putin retorted: 'Russia is not going to stand in a queue with other countries that don't matter.' The subject has not been raised since."
It appears now that the prospect of Russia joining NATO is so fantastically remote as to scarcely enter Putin's mind, but he has indicated that some cooperation between the United States and Russia is quite possible under a Trump administration.
The idea of such cooperation is not just foreign to those of the American left, but absolutely repellent, especially since Russia has given every sign its people are imbibing what the left has always detested as "the opiate of the people" – namely, Christianity, as presently characterized by the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church. Putin's admiration and imitation of Russia's tsarist past is also regarded as favorably by modern progressives as garlic and a cross by vampires.
In repudiating the left's embrace of postmodern orthodoxy, both Putin and Trump have assured they will continue to be detested by the Western left ensconced in places of power both in Europe and America. For the postmodern political ideologue, both America and Russia (as well as Israel) are powers that deserve to be destroyed. That is because to be powerful in any way is seen as automatically ensuring oppression of those who are not powerful.
As Naya Lekht observes, Israel, though certainly not the only target of leftist ideologues, serves as a locus for their approbation. The return of the idea of the all-powerful Jewish cabal automatically oppressing disempowered peoples everywhere on the globe, and whose hidden hand is pulling the strings of Washington's puppets, owes much of its renewed impetus to the leftist postmodern interpretation of what entails oppression.
And Israel, for all of its manifestations of the very best that a democratic Western country can offer ... has been scorned to be the nadir of human injustice.
Repackaged in the post-modern model of the powerful and the powerless, Jew-hatred has extended beyond academic institutions to movements such as 'Black Lives Matter,' which have become platforms for, among other things, virulent anti-Zionism. Anti-Semitism has not only successfully crept into progressive causes, but has been codified in the language used by the Left: words such as 'social justice' and 'Intersectionality,' which operate around the fundamental understanding of the ontology of power and privilege, have become code words for anti-Semitism, for within the hierarchy of power proffered by intersectionality, the post-1967 Jew does not only find himself at the very bottom, but is the culprit who abuses and exerts his power over the powerless. To boot, his very existence is loathsome.
Anti-Semites ensconced within places of power in academia, government, and many churches are appalled that the diminishment or even destruction of Israel the nation is postponed or will not happen, due at least in part to the Trump-Putin summit.
Caroline Glick explains, writing that before Trump and Putin met, the prospect of war between Israel and Iran or Hezb'allah was almost a certainty, as Iranian-backed forces tried to embed their presence in Syria near Israel's border. Israel would have to go to war in order to protect herself. Though Glick does not add the following, the summit and the reduction of the Hezb'allah threat are probably among the reasons Israel launched an attack on Hamas in Gaza.
Glick notes, "In their remarks, both Putin and Trump said that they are committed to Israel's security." She writes that Trump and Putin have, each in his own way, announced support for Israel against Iranian-backed forces. Trump will fight such, forces and Putin will not ally Russia with Iran should it remain in Syria and choose to fight Israel: "it is clear enough that the summit reduced the prospects of war in the immediate term. And again, if that was the only thing accomplished at the summit, its importance would be incontestable."
But the accomplishments of the Trump-Putin summit go beyond the possibility of war between Israel and Iranian-backed forces to a possible realignment of global alliances. The rejection of the postmodern doctrine that the equitable thing to do is to disempower the powerful so equality may reign is replaced with the idea that alliances among and with powerful nations such as Russia may best serve American interests.
What this may mean in practice is that organizations such as the E.U., which is seen by Trump as exploitative economically, will be opposed as long as their present trade stances prevail. The E.U.'s idea that those in power are inherently racist or colonialist and must pay for sins by empowering formerly colonized minorities also is not one Trump seeks to imitate in his relationship with Mexico and other nation-states that consider themselves deserving of empowerment, or at the very least sanctuary.
It also means that the globalist view of the E.U. and other globalist-leaning organizations is unacceptable to Trump as well as Putin, both of whom do not believe that the destruction of nation-states in order to establish a one-world order is a way to world peace, but which actually would be a sure guarantee that World War III will happen, since a push for global governance will inevitably be resisted by powerful nations.
The idea behind rapprochement between powerful nations such as America and Russia is that each nation should be able to make alliances on certain levels without sacrificing either's national identity or heritage. Alliances among nation-states rather than the pursuit of a new global order are considered more favorable ways to establish order.
In other words, it looks as if Putin and Trump consider it better to make a deal than to continue the Cold War both apparently want ended or at least mitigated. Both seem to be willing to make concessions to existing realities and to avoid more wars by fostering alliances rather than continuing adamantine positions that offer no possibility of rapprochement at all. In the meantime, Trump should recognize that though a leopard may change his spots, nonetheless, a leopard remains a leopard.
While it is true that all summits come with Gordian knots and often with Scylla and Charybdis choices, ultimately, both Russia and America have legitimate reasons for discontinuing the Cold War and for rejecting postmodern political ideology – as well as for making deals that do not compromise either nation's integrity.
Fay Voshell holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, which awarded her its prize for excellence in systematic theology. She is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Her thoughts have also appeared in many online magazines, including LifeSiteNews, The Christian Post, National Review, RealClearReligion, and Russia Insider. She may be reached at email@example.com.