A report this week made the choice of my second Golden Fleece Award an absolute no-brainer. It said a small, but politically vocal, portion of the American electorate that admires Vladimir Putin’s muscular polities is seeking to undermine US President Joe Biden’s efforts to stand up to the Russian President. If that isn’t the definition of stupid, ignorant, myopic and dangerous, I don’t know what is.

      I watched an interview yesterday on U.S. Station PBS – the Public Broadcast System – with Leon Panetta, the former Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA and White House Chief of Staff. It is the first time I have heard a U.S. official talk about Vladimir Putin with a sense of history and reality.

      He said we should never forget that Putin was, is and will be KGB to his core. He is a bully, and must be treated like any other bully, and that treatment must be applied rigorously and consistently. Hurrah! It’s about ……. Time. (I should add that Panetta didn’t use the word “…….” on camera but it was obvious he would have liked to (My interpretation  of his body language or, maybe, what I thought he should say).

     The report I read said that some activists on the right – and a few on the left – of the US political spectrum say that it is Mr Biden who is “warmongering”. Arch-conservative voters who take this view are pressuring members of Congress to take a conciliatory tone towards Russia, tamp down rhetoric and refuse authorization to send troops to the region. They are also working to elect Republican candidates who have publicly stated that they will not intervene in Ukraine. Definitely Golden Fleece material.

     The efforts have the potential to frustrate Mr Biden’s Ukraine plans and reshape the Republican Party’s foreign policy outlook. It all smells very strongly of Donald Trump and his cosying-up-to / admiration-for Putin. Trump’s international political naïveté, coupled with his greed and ego, is being mimicked by these idiots. Thank god Trump isn’t still in the White House. He might have sent U.S. troops to help Russia invade Ukraine. I exaggerate…..but maybe not!

     Ultraconservatives in the Republican Party are threatening political consequences for those who are perceived as overly aggressive and prone to using military force for the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Some Republicans say they do not trust Mr Putin, but are even more suspicious of Mr Biden and his “interventionist” policies. (You have got to be kidding!) (Absolutely stupid as well as Golden Fleece material).

     Jared Taylor, who edits a white supremacist website, American Renaissance, said he saw Mr. Putin as a “Russian patriot”. Those on the mainstream left and center dislike Mr Putin’s Ukraine stance because the Russian president opposes gay marriage. (Again, you’ve got to be kidding! How irrelevant is that compared to  European war?)

     The percentage of Republicans who described Russia as an ally or a friend rose from 22% to 40% between 2014 and 2018, according to a Gallup poll. You wonder why I give them a Golden Fleece?

     Fortunately, most Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, agree with Mr. Biden that the build-up of troops on Ukraine’s border is a threat to US interests, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center. Frightening is the fact that the same poll reported only a relatively small percentage, 23%, of those surveyed had heard much about the subject. Again, god help us!

     To repeat what Leon Panetta said, Vladimir Putin was/is/will be KGB to his core, and just because he buys his suits in London’s Saville Row doesn’t make him civilized. He’s a bully, and should be treated as such.

     The idiot Republican Party members, and Republican political representatives, who are mimicking, or obeying, Donald Trump’s slightly misguided ideas, policies and lies, absolutely deserve this award of Connecting-The-Dots Golden Fleece Award #2.

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