The American Left and Right: Together on the Margins about Putin

Whether on the right or on the left, these voices also tend to share a certain style of argumentation – one relies on fearmongering and dichotomous thinking. In that respect, they’re quite similar to the isolationists of old. In 1941, for instance, Sen. Burton K. Wheeler (D-MT) expressed his opposition President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Lend-Lease program of aid to Great Britain in lurid terms, asserting the legislation amounted to a “New Deal AAA foreign policy – plow under every fourth American boy.” Today, those opposed to a firm American stand against the Kremlin on Ukraine and in favor of generous concessions to Moscow frame the policy choice confronting the United States as between war with Russia on one hand and acceding to Moscow’s demands on the other.

Hence Tucker Carlson’s open promotion of the Kremlin’s line. Claims that any opposition to Russian aggression will lead to a global conflagration are nothing new; indeed, they tend to crop up any time the United States and its allies take a firm stand against Moscow’s geopolitical prerogatives and priorities. It’s a flawed line of reasoning about foreign policy that’s not confined to discussions about the current crisis with Russia. During the initial debate over the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015, for instance, President Obama presented the choice facing the country as “ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war.”

Peter Juul and Brian Katulis, Putin’s American echo chambers