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Fecteau: Chafee’s Wrong on Russia

Monday, February 20, 2017


When the Russian government run RT news outlet needed an American talking head to regurgitate some of its propaganda, perhaps every other sellout was busy. I am sure it looked high and low, and then reluctantly settled on someone that would embrace Russian propaganda, no questions asked; enter socially awkward Mr. Lincoln Chafee.

Lately, after a short hiatus from his failed presidential bid, Mr. Chafee has been running a victory lap of sorts, strutting around like Rocky Balboa. But Chafee is far from Rhode Island’s Rocky. His short-lived presidential bid was an embarrassment to many in the state of Rhode Island; he literally received an ‘asterisk’ for the percentage of support he received from voters. His signature issue of adopting the metric system was laughable.

Now, it appears as though he has taken on another strange position, speaking in defense of ‘common ground’ with Russia. In a recent interview with a news anchor from RT (a Russian government-controlled news network), Chafee condemned those who belittle ‘normalizing’ of relations with Russia.

How can the United States possibly normalize relations with such a parasitic country? At the time of this writing, a Russian spy ship looms ever closer to the American coastline. Russia even recently deployed a cruise missile in breach of a 1987 treaty. Russia has been accused of meddling in elections around the world including the United States. This comes at a period when Russia has refused not to return Crimea, a peninsula which it illegally annexed.

Mr. Chafee also bizarrely points to the Syrian Civil War as an area of intersecting interests – something that could be ‘settled’ as he puts it. As of right now, the Russian-backed Syrian government is targeting anyone opposed to his fledgling grip on power; no exceptions. The Syrian government has targeted U.S. backed secular rebels, leaving the so-called Islamic State fighters relatively intact, aspiring to force the United States and its allies to the bargaining table.

The government’s alleged war crimes only further inflame sectarian tensions, creating the next generation of terrorists, and that very refugee crisis Chafee so wants dearly addressed. Thanks to Mr. Chafee, this regime now has an American cheerleader on the world stage.

The United States should strive to end the Syrian war but is working with a group of genocidal madmen the answer? Amnesty International has accused the Russian-backed Syrian government of killing myriads of people in clandestine prisons. The International Criminal Court has been considering an indictment against Russian-backed Syrian President Bashir Assad for war crimes. United Nations investigators have further found Assad responsible for several chemical attacks. None of this seems to trouble Mr. Chafee.

Chafee never exude confidence. In 2013, I remember Chafee announcing an imminent, dangerous snowstorm coming to Rhode Island. While witnessing him tripping over his own words, he tried to comfort us all — I thought we were all going to die.

It looks like Chafee has developed a backbone as of late but in an unusual, contrarian manner. He has assumed positions that would weaken the United States’ standing in the world and embolden our adversaries. I’d prefer the timid, insecure Chafee over the brand, spanking-new reckless Chafee with a backbone.

Matt Fecteau is a former White House national security intern and Iraq war veteran.


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