- - Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Since Donald J. Trump’s emergence as the Republican nominee, his 2016 victory, inauguration the following January, and thereafter, Democrats have been obsessed with the false narrative that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, was responsible for the defeat of Hillary Clinton.

Refuting this obsession almost defies elaboration. It can be summed up with one word. Bunk. It was provably false from the beginning when Democrats were desperate to explain the defeat of the “smartest woman in America” by a real estate tycoon turned celebrity television personality. Moreover for “never-Trumpers” — the petulant wing of the Republican Party who couldn’t grasp how their several preferred candidates lost the nomination to him — Mr. Trump was a threat.  

Both groups were petrified that he would threaten their vise-like grip on establishment politics in Washington. Which is why both sides quickly launched efforts to delegitimize his presidency from the beginning. Accusations that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign was their answer. But that nonsense has been thoroughly debunked. Indeed, if there were any such collusion, it appears to have been that fomented by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, a reality that will be quickly buried if former Vice President Joe Biden wins the 2020 election.

Democrats, however, remain stuck on the Russian narrative. It has an adhesiveness akin to flypaper that they simply cannot shake off. The most recent manifestation of this can be found this week in Joe Biden’s insistence that Russia is America’s top national security threat. Such thinking may prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Mr. Biden and his judgement will be a significant threat to American national security if he is handed the reins of power on Nov. 3.

Consider this. Early in this presidential election cycle, Mr. Biden blurted out dismissively “Come on, man!” when speaking of the potential threat China poses to America. Weeks later he confirmed his inability to see clearly by asserting that the Chinese threat to U.S. national security was “Woe is me” rhetoric. But in fact, the nation’s top intelligence and national security professionals see China not simply as a major threat to our economy and national security interests in the world, but as our top adversary.   

Sino-expert Gordon Chang puts it bluntly. Permitting China to seize the upper hand economically in a contest with the U.S. is dangerous. “We shouldn’t be enriching a hostile regime with our trade and with our investment.” Mr. Chang recognizes that China believes they have a “mandate” and “obligation” to rule the world. Fortunately at present, American power dominates. But the Pentagon is worried that it won’t last. 

In a recent report, our military experts have warned that China is on a path to double its nuclear stockpile this decade, including improved ballistic missiles able to reach the U.S. Cheaper athletic shoes is not China’s objective. World dominance is, as witnessed by their determination to steal American trade secrets and intellectual property, particularly that associated with our national defense.

Yet in the closing hours of this presidential election, Joe Biden is captivated by the Russian narrative. Just this week he reiterated his view that Russia was the “biggest threat to America right now.” However, having been stung by his own naivete concerning China, he concedes it is our “biggest competitor.” In truth, Joe Biden fails to understand the nature of either threat. Russia is a failing empire. China is an expanding one. But beyond Mr. Biden’s nearsightedness, his adherence to the Russian flypaper has him caught in a dilemma. Why?

Because if Russia is our biggest threat today, why wasn’t it when Moscow invaded Crimea in 2014 during the Obama-Biden administration? In response they did little more than send blankets and military food rations to blunt Russian occupation and subsequent annexation of Ukrainian territory. The reason is simple. Neither President Obama nor Vice President Biden saw Russia as a chief threat, but rather as a bother to be dealt with, not confronted for its glaring violation of international law and norms. Contrast their response to that of President Trump who sent lethal anti-tank weapons to the Ukraine to do that which blankets cannot.

So why is Mr. Biden insistent on sustaining the Russian bogeyman narrative? To be sure, it does fit neatly into the self-delusional Democratic storyline that Russia not only conspired to elect Mr. Trump, but continues to do so by using the Internet to damage Mr. Biden’s candidacy. However, Joe Biden needs no assistance from Russia in that regard. He is quite capable of undermining his own credibility by failing to see the realities of the Chinese threat to America while proffering the notion that Russia is our primary menace. 

It is a myopia that is not only unfocused, but also reveals how little Joe Biden can see clearly about national security. Let’s hope the vision of voters is far better.

• L. Scott Lingamfelter is a retired U.S. Army colonel, combat veteran, and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates (2002-2018). He is the author most recently of “Desert Redleg: Artillery Warfare in the First Gulf War.” 

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