No reason to re-elect Rosendale

Thursday, June 2, 2022


My real-time introduction to the brutality of the Russian military — at that time it was still the Soviet Red Army – was in August 1968. As a Russian linguist trained at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., I arrived that month at my duty station in northern Japan.

I was part of a specialized team within the U.S. Army Security Agency intercepting and analyzing Soviet military communications emanating from the Urals east to the Pacific Ocean and China. But at that exact time our attention also was attuned to Europe where the Soviet army launched a surprise invasion of Czechoslovakia. The purpose was to put down reformist trends that spawned the “Prague Spring” and bring the Czechs back in line with Kremlin ideology for the Soviet bloc countries. Suffice to say, that foray was brutal but nowhere near the level of horror now waged in Ukraine. Any thinking person today can see Putin’s willingness to conduct “scorched earth” warfare reminiscent of World War II. His determination to dominate and his disdain for humanity in the face of world condemnation is evident. And it truly has become a matter of global involvement, for his ambitions for Ukraine foreshadow his ambition of greater aspirations in Europe – and the Europeans know this.

That’s why I support American aid in various forms of materiel, intelligence, and logistics to Ukraine. And I appreciate the votes of Montana’s two U.S. senators — Steve Daines and Jon Tester – in the latest congressional financial package and lend-lease to Ukraine. Both of these guys recognize the dramatic implications for the U.S. — and global stability — involved in the Russian invasion.

Putin will continue to gnaw away at what he believes should be in his sphere of influence until they are subjugated, and now he even threatens Finland and Sweden, sovereign nations unto themselves. Without shame Putin has become by dictate the greatest shameless propagandist since the Nazi Josef Goebbels.

I deplore the — I can only call it “ignorance” — of Rep. Matt Rosendale and his other “astute” colleagues including Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louis Gohmert of Texas, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Jim Jordan of Ohio who voted with him and turned a blind eye toward Ukraine. Holding that U.S. aid to Ukraine should wait until all America’s issues are resolved as this group advocates is ludicrous. Sometimes it is necessary to chew gum and walk at the same time. I chose to stay in the Army for another 30 years of service in the Wisconsin and Montana National Guard. My continuing education in the military intelligence branch remained focused on Moscow and its intensions – even, while I was completing Command and General Staff College, the Berlin Wall crumbled. However, no one really expected a benign leadership to suddenly fall upon Russia after its centuries of czars and dictators.

President George W. Bush famously said in June 2001 that he had looked in Putin’s soul and found him trustworthy — as did another U.S. president — but let’s just say the national intelligence and diplomatic communities withheld judgment. Since he assumed power in 2000, Putin has used military force to bring eight former Soviet satellites back into the fold and unleashed shockingly brutal aggression to keep Syria’s dictator in power.

A consummate political opportunist and rung-climber, Rosendale isolates himself from the people he was elected to represent, standing aloof, not deigning to communicate directly with us. He sees the world with blinders on, focusing only on matters in his partisan echo chamber. I see no indication he has the intellectual curiosity to objectively learn about the issues facing the U.S. House of Representatives and him as a current member.

Over its history, Montana has had other U.S. representatives — Republican and Democrat — who’ve understood national and world issues and have better represented us. Rosendale’s record stands in sharp contrast from his predecessors’ public service. I can see no reason why he deserves re-election.

Peter Fox

Big Timber


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