Republicans used to compare talking to Moscow to talking to Hitler

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tags: Russia, Putin, Trump



President Trump Monday morning tweeted that most politicians would have done what his son, Donald Trump Jr., and other Trump campaign officials did when they met Russians promising secret information on Hillary Clinton.



This is a remarkable claim for a Republican to make. Republicans used to compete with each other over who was tougher on Russia (or, more precisely, the Soviet Union), and to condemn Democrats for their purported softness. Now, Trump sees nothing wrong with his son meeting a person who had been described to him as a “Russian government attorney,” in order to provide “high level and sensitive information” that was described as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Here’s how dramatically the Republican position has changed.

During the Cold War, anti-communism was the glue that held the GOP together. In the 1970s and 1980s, Republicans of all stripes took great political advantage in criticizing Democratic presidential candidates, such as George McGovern and Michael Dukakis, as being too weak to stand up for U.S. interests in the face of the threat from Moscow.

Conservative Republicans saw it to their advantage to criticize not just Democrats but members of their own party for showing any signs of appeasement of Moscow.

Most people remember Ronald Reagan’s victory over Jimmy Carter as the victory of a Republican champion of a strong defense in the face of the Soviet threat after four years of weak Democratic foreign policy leadership. But Reagan had built his political fortunes within his own party by attacking the detente, or lessening of tensions, with Moscow initiated by Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and national security adviser/Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as too accommodating of the Soviet Union.





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