The Republican strategy to counter Russia’s bellicose actions in Ukraine has been challenged by Donald Trump’s unprecedented campaign for the White House. Divisions between the outspoken businessman and other influential GOP leaders have widened as Trump seeks friendlier relations with Vladimir Putin than many fellow members would like.
Hromadske journalist Nataliya Gumenyuk discusses this situation with David Frum, a former speechwriter for U.S. President George W. Bush, now a senior editor at The Atlantic. Despite being a staunch Republican, the long-time journalist recently published an article arguing why Conservative readers should support Hillary Clinton.
David Frum and George W. Bush
Donald Trump is clearly a political figure who breaks the rules, making the politician ‘dangerous’. That’s according to David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and now Senior Editor at The Atlantic. Although Mr. Frum disagrees with almost all of Hillary Clinton’s domestic policies, he recognizes the Democrat as a ‘normal politician who will follow the normal rules’
“If Donald Trump wins, we will move into a period of Constitutional Crisis, that Donald Trump will try to use powers that the president doesn’t have, shouldn’t have, he will find people who will support him because they like what he’s trying to do. He’ll find many people who oppose him, both because they disagree with him and also because it’s unacceptable and we will lurch from crisis to crisis”
In George Washington’s final speech before leaving office at the end of the 18th century, he warned a time would come when competitors for power who seek to elevate their own on the ruins of public liberty.
“There is no guarantee any democracy will last forever. Democracy is always something we have to work vigilantly to uphold. It doesn’t happen automatically. When there are challenges to it, people must rally to its defense”, Mr. Frum says
“People in Ukraine paid a blood price very recently to have a society that obeyed laws. America has been more fortunate but nothing happens forever.”
Asked about whether society automatically self-regulates with checks and balances, Mr. Frum argues there is no such system - only people who agree to obey laws. Meanwhile, he says the Republicans in Congress are unlikely to control any future Trump presidency as ‘they were scared of him even when he wasn’t president’.
Meanwhile, the journalist says the spread of more authoritarian leaders around the world is moving into a ‘new stage of human history’. The world of globalization and the freer movement of labor comes as middle classes come under more pressure in rich or formerly rich countries.
“The best description I’ve heard of who votes for Donald Trump are successful people in unsuccessful places. They see a loss of something important and they’re rallying to this man who will use his strength and his will to bring back what they feel is theirs.”
While many Americans concentrate focus on domestic issues, many analysts have questioned the Russian influence on Donald Trump’s campaign and a possible future presidency.
‘We find this - Russia - so audacious. We know that Russia manipulates the elections of all kinds of other countries including your country (Ukraine). The idea that they would dare - the United States - the presidency, that they are so arrogant that they think they could do this...the idea that we have a candidate who welcomes Russian manipulation of our elections.”
The U.S. should respond to alleged attempted Russian interference in the weeks prior to the vote, Mr. Frum says
“We are not talking about violence here because this is information warfare...I think everybody would like to know how much money Vladimir Putin has exactly. Everyone would like to know exactly what he owns. I suspect this is something the U.S. government already knows.”
Although foreign policy has played a relatively marginal role in the U.S. election, the issue of Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine has not been omitted.
“There is a lot of argument about what kind of support should be provided to Ukraine. Should we provide lethal arms? That is a complicated question. Some of our European partners have a different view than some people in the United States. But (the fact) they (Trump’s campaign) would go to the effort of taking this language of helping Ukraine with lethal weapons out of the platform...that was an early indication just how weirdly close to the Russians that campaign operation was.”