Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are working together to weaken the West, destroy its democratic values, and end America’s 75 yearlong global leadership role.  


Democrats face understandable public exhaustion after eighteen years of post-9/11 warfare in the Middle East and Afghanistan.  But they should recognize that a return to isolationism invites the same dangers as did the America First movement of 1940, which demanded U.S. neutrality as the Axis powers conquered Europe and Asia.


Vladimir Putin attacks America and Europe’s democracies not because he fears invasion, but because he knows that freedom’s contagion can again penetrate Russia and topple him from power.  That fear led him to rig Russia’s 2011 elections, and the same fear animates his invasion of the pro-Western democratic Ukraine.


Using new weapons of the cyberage, Russia under Putin has come closer to bringing down the democracies of Europe and America than Stalin’s Russia could have ever dreamed.


  • It enabled him to launch his sweeping and systematic 2016 attack to help Trump win.
  • It resulted in an American President’s support for pro-Putin authoritarian parties throughout Europe.
  • It brought an American President into a plot to obliterate the reality of Russia’s 2016 attack on behalf of Trump, and to substitute the mirror-image lie that it was Ukraine —not Russia— that attacked America to support Hillary Clinton.
  • It produced a Russia-U.S. alignment of goals, in which Trump sows national divisions to gain power, while Putin joins him because divisions weaken American power.


The last patriotic faction within the Republican Party—whose backing for Trump stopped short of embracing Russian aggression—is now crumbling.  Cory Gardner’s transformation from pro-democracy, anti-Putin hawk to craven capitulation to Trump and Putin—is perhaps the most glaring single case of Republican surrender.     


Congressional Republicans now join in promulgating the Putin-invented big lie that it is Ukraine—which relies on American help to stave off Russian invasion—that meddled in the 2016 election.  That not only opens the door to the fall of Ukraine, it represents the onset of an all-out assault on the defenders of freedom—and of the truth—within our defense, intelligence, and foreign policy establishments, in the responsible free press, and in a Democratic Party now united in removing Trump and repelling Russian attacks on America.


What Must Be Done?


  • Staving off the attack on democracy at home must be our first priority, and that demands the removal of President Trump, the defense of our 2020 elections, and the crushing defeat of the Putin/Trump bloc of Republican politicians at the polls.


  • Now more than ever, defenders of American democracy must stand united with the fragile democratic ecosystem that struggles worldwide against the rise of authoritarian nationalism.


  • In Hong Kong, as many as one million citizens—out of a population of 7.4 million—have taken to the streets to defend democracy and human rights against the totalitarian dictator Xi, who commands an oppressed population of 1.4 billion.


If the same proportion of Americans demonstrated in defense of our democracy, 47 million Americans would be protesting together.


Will Americans again stand up—as they did in 1776, 1861, 1941, and in the movement for freedom that brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989?


Will America’s “democratic ecosystem” overcome its poisoning by Putin and Trump, take back America and push the enemies of liberty back toward the dark margins of world politics?


The time has come for defenders of American democracy to launch our own version of the “umbrella movement.” When this happens, millions of Americans now entrapped by the Putin/Trump/Fox News big lie machine will awaken to the pathology of that mass deception, and realize that President Trump’s bid for the “triumph of the will” has been the act of a toothless demagogue who participated in a plot against America itself.


George Orwell’s lesson from British appeasement of Hitler in the 1930’s is vital for all patriotic citizens to recognize today: “To see what is in front of our noses requires constant struggle.”


Now is the time to focus on a great danger to the American experiment in freedom, and our role as a model–as Thomas Jefferson put it–for an “empire of liberty.”