It’s been over fifty years–believe it or not–since Norman Jewison’s comedy hit The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, starring Carl Reiner and Alan Arkin, among others, made fun of the perpetual distrust (justified or not) we Americans and the then Soviet Russkies had for each other. The liberal filmmakers had their message — we should all just relax and love each other.
For those same liberals — perhaps including Reiner and Arkin, who are very much still with us — the situation seems to have completely reversed. Liberals and progs these days are aping Reagan, naming Russia as the Evil Empire. They wouldn’t dare make jokes about the spy ship currently thirty miles off our coast — it’s a matter of urgent seriousness now — even though we have been spying on them and they on us since the 1920s at least, and probably before.
Apparently the gravity of this espionage is contingent on who’s in power. When you’re out, it’s of the utmost concern. When you’re in, it’s business as usual.
Similarly, when a new administration comes in, they try to make nice with Russia, eventually fail, and then revert to form. Clinton, Bush and Obama all tried it. (Oh, how Obama tried it.) And now it’s Trump’s turn. Of course, if you read the junior varsity propagandists at the New York Times, this all began with Donald. But you’d need a lobotomy to believe the NYT these days. Actually, four presidents in a row falling over each other to woo the Russians unsuccessfully could make a pretty funny comedy were Chaplin still alive — or the Marx Brothers. Ninotchka revisited. But nothing of that quality exists now.
One president though did woo the Russians toward a good end, the aforementioned Reagan who pushed Gorbachev over the edge into glasnost. Trump is attempting to follow in Ronald’s footsteps, but may have a tougher mountain to climb. The real problem with the Russians now is not their meddling in our elections, which is of maximum import only to Thomas Friedman, et al. No evidence has surfaced that it had any concrete effect. Nor is the great problem even their expansionist goals in the Ukraine and elsewhere. Bad as this is, it is conventional great power stuff. We can deal with it and should.
But what is a true threat to the USA — and many others — is Russia’s alliance with Iran. Over the years, the Russians have been tsarists, communists and, now, oligarchists, but they have always been at least somewhat rational. The Iranians are cuckoo.
Well, not all Iranians obviously, but enough of their leadership and their masses, millions of whom believe this Twelfth Imam mumbo jumbo with its accompanying end days theology. Just the folks to help militarily. But the Russians are doing it.
Some say Trump’s outreach to Putin was motivated by an attempt to break this alliance between the Russians and Iranians. It’s doubtful we will ever know now, since the uproar caused by a few phone calls was so great it’s hard to see how the president has room to maneuver at this point. The Russians noticed this as well. It’s been all over their press. We’re back to square one.
What marvelous irony. The liberals who wanted so much to make peace in the days of The Russians Are Coming are doing their best to keep us at war. Meanwhile…
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday that top U.S. intelligence officials have told him that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign did not collude with Russia — attempting to end widespread new reports about potentially compromising, illegal talks with the former Cold War enemy.
“I can assure you, the top levels of the intelligence community have assured me that [the allegation] is not only grossly overstated, but also wrong,” Priebus told “Fox News Sunday.” “They have made it very clear that the story is complete garbage.”
However, his statement is unlikely to end the controversy, amid bipartisan calls on Capitol Hill to hold investigative hearings on the matter.
The mullahs should be happy.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. Follow him on twitter @rogerlsimon.