Don't question my patriotism when I explain a few things about Russian threats to our democratic republic. My views are supported by many of the top officials in the Reagan administration, as well as other highly respected officials from both parties whose loyalty is above reproach.

I happen to be a loyal Democrat who is working to change America's approach toward Russia. I have no particular affinity toward Russia or Vladimir Putin, but I can assure you it is in America's interest to improve relations. Unfortunately, our Deep State needed a devil around which they could unite our people, and Russia was the most convenient target.

When the Communist Party fell from power in Russia, the people tried to work with America. They wanted to be accepted. In response, America proved to be a somewhat less-than-reliable ally.

America's attitude toward Russia was that Russia was a defeated power, and we intended for them to stay that way. In fact, when we saw there was unrest in Ukraine, one of the four republics that made up the old USSR, we encouraged them to kick the pro-Russian government out and helped install a government more acceptable to the West.

Over the past 1,000 years, Ukraine has been invaded by numerous foreign powers, which has resulted in a citizen population divided into about six major ethnic groups, none of whom like one another very much.

During World War II, one part of the population fought on the side of the Germans against Russia. Another part fought on the side of the Russians against the Germans, and a third part fought against both the Germans and Russians.

The new government that was installed happened to be the Nazi faction, and the Russians who lived mostly in the eastern part of Ukraine and Crimea feared for their safety and fought against the new government.

They tried to get the U.N. to hold a vote so the eastern part of Ukraine could affiliate with Russia, but the U.S. killed the idea. The Crimea voted to leave Ukraine, anyway, and reunited with Russia. The Crimea had been a part of Russia for hundreds of years before Premier Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, arbitrarily signed it over to Ukraine. Since then, eastern Ukraine, supported by Russia, and western Ukraine, supported by the U.S., have been at war.

A few years after the fall of communism, America was exposed as the greatest offender in the world when it came to spying on other countries and trying to influence their internal affairs.

Angela Merkle (Germany) was incensed when she learned we had tapped her phone, Brazil stopped talking to us, and other countries were in an uproar over our behavior, even though a few other countries, such as China, had been spying on us as well. Animosities escalated, and Russia - finding its overtures spurned by America - decided to go its own way and involved itself in a variety of projects hostile to the interests of America, but there was no danger of direct armed conflict.

Russia's entire military budget is far less than $100 billion a year. We spend over $800 billion a year to maintain our shaky world empire. Obviously, we have more to fear from our own Deep State than we do from Russia.

Fred Gibson, of Tahlequah, is a retired educator with an ongoing interest in U.S. and world politics.

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