The growing threat from Russia

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Thursday, March 22nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. 

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Perhaps Vladimir Putin was using his experience meddling in U-S elections to meddle in his own.

REICHARD: Commentary now from WORLD Radio’s Cal Thomas.

THOMAS: When I say that Putin won re-election last Sunday, you’ll have to just imagine the quotation marks I put around the word “won.”

Putin’s 76 percent vote total compares with the 99 percent tally for Iraq’s Saddam Hussein back in the day or the near-unanimous vote to make Xi Jinping president of China for as long as he wishes.

My point is, Putin’s re-election is a sham.

If you read the London papers, you learn stories of ballot-box stuffing and vote fixing. We also know Putin effectively wiped out any serious opposition. And what about his alleged use of deadly World War II-era nerve gas in an attempt to extinguish two former spies who served as double agents? My use of the term “alleged” is just a legal nicety. Meantime, the victims lie in critical condition in a London hospital.

The larger question for the West is what happens next?

Will Putin feel emboldened to be even more aggressive than he has been against neighboring countries?

What of the opposition? Brave journalists tell the truth about Putin and his tactics. Will they wind up dead under suspicious circumstances?

And then there is the ultimate question: What will and what can President Trump do about all this? The Trump congratulatory phone call to Putin does not bode well.

I’ll note for the record that President Obama was similarly solicitous, but Trump is president now. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump refused to condemn Putin for his aggressive tactics in Ukraine. And he’s shown reluctance as president to conclude that Russia interfered in the U-S election.

Is it time for us to return to a Cold War mentality?

Do we need to prepare for a type of Soviet Union 2.0?

Are we headed back to the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” with growing numbers of inter-continental ballistic missiles pointed at each other?

In January, President Trump sanctioned a list of Russian oligarchs, but refused to apply broader sanctions against the country. The pressure is on for him to go further.

If he does, will it make a difference?

Or will Putin continue his “make Russia great again” policies?

Ronald Reagan believed in “peace through strength” and contributed to the downfall of the Soviet Union by successfully employing that policy.

Does Trump have a similar policy when it comes to modern Russia?

Does he have any policy?

He had better because Putin has one and a corrupt election is only part of it.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to supporters during a rally near the Kremlin in Moscow, Sunday, March 18, 2018. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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