U.S. President Donald Trump, left, listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump’s shameful capitulation to Putin

It is time for real alarm, for all patriotic Americans to speak out and for taking action, especially on the part of those in Congress.

In 1938 British prime minister Neville Chamberlain appeased Adolph Hitler by entering into the Munich Agreement, resulting in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, Hitler’s invasion of Poland and his declaration of war on western Europe and ultimately the United States. Today, 80 years later, on the world stage in Helsinki, Finland, President Donald Trump behaved eerily the same.

For one, he failed to condemn Putin’s (1) invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, (2) his support of Assad in Syria, (3) his known interference in the affairs of other democracies or (4) his attempts to murder two Russian nationals on British soil.

For another, alarmingly, Trump trashed our intelligence agencies’ unanimous assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election — in fawning and disgusting deference to the murderous dictator — by taking Putin’s denials instead. And, if this were not enough, this all comes just days after Trump’s criticizing of NATO, our allies and the European Union itself, calling it a foe. Incredible!

His behaviors are not only inexplicable (not to mention un-American) and beyond the pale, but also an insult to the country. Simply, Trump’s disavowal of our intelligence-gathering agencies’ findings plainly weakens our security. That’s a fact. Talking to an adversary is one thing, but to cozy up to one is yet another, especially to one that attempts to weaken our bedrock belief in free, open and pluralistic society as well as its fundamental institutions.

Trump should realize this, not deny it. In short, it is time for real alarm, for all patriotic Americans to speak out (Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike), and for taking action, especially on the part of those in Congress. We have a president — unlike any in our short history — who is placing the United States at existential risk. We have constitutional remedies to this. Let’s use them, if we must.


• Richard Hebhardt is a semi-retired educator who has lived in Juneau since 2005. He formerly was a superintendent for the Bristol Bay Borough, Copper River and Skagway school districts, and currently provides consulting services to school districts across the state. His opinions are his own.


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