Yep, I love Sean Connery’s portrayal of James Bond. The next closest is Daniel Craig. So, based upon that title, ya know what this missive is all about.
First, let me send y’all greetings from Ft. Sill, Oklahoma! Yes, the home of the US Field Artillery, and now, the US Air Defense Artillery. I am here visiting with my young nephew, and his family. He has just redeployed from the Middle East where he was a JSOTF (Joint Special Operations Task Force) Operations Officer. Upon redeployment, he was reassigned to Mother Sill. I just gotta tell ya, it was kinda special to drive through Ft. Sill Key Gate, remembering that it was 35 years ago that I first did so, in October of 1983.
Back then the US Army Field Artillery units were massive, widely deployed, and equipped with the full panoply — okay, arsenal — of fire support weapons to defeat the Soviet Union. It was here that I saw Pershing I and II missiles, Lance, saw the development of the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) which I would command at the Battery and Battalion level. Back when I took command of the 2d Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment (MLRS) of the 4th Infantry Division, June 6, 2002, my young nephew was there. He was still a Cadet at North Georgia Military College. It was after the change of command ceremony when he said he wanted to be an Artilleryman just like me — and he ended up commanding an MLRS Battery in the same Field Artillery Brigade at Ft. Bragg where I had been the Brigade Operations officer.
Why am I sharing this walk down memory lane? Because today is the summit between President Trump and President Putin. And, in some ways, not much has changed since I first arrived here at Ft. Sill 35 years ago. Sure, there is no Soviet Union, but there is a geo-political threat, foe, adversary, called Russia. It’s led by a man who chided that his greatest disappointment of the 20th century was the collapse of the Soviet Union. A collapse enabled and facilitated by the military strength and deterrent that we provided when I was still in uniform.What do I expect out of this one day, if that, summit? I expect President Trump to make the case, in no uncertain terms, to Vladimir Putin that there will be no return of a Soviet Union. Click To Tweet
What do I expect out of this one day, if that, summit? I expect President Trump to make the case, in no uncertain terms, to Vladimir Putin that there will be no return of a Soviet Union. I expect President Trump to put Putin on notice — not look into his eyes and see his soul, there is not one. Not give Putin a freaking reset button or convey to him that President Trump will have more flexibility. I expect President Trump to let Vladimir Putin know that the gig is up and the hammer is about to fall. I do not expect us to offer any concessions, surrender no high ground, and not take the foot off the pedal.
What needs to be expressed — explicitly so — to President Putin is that there is a strong resurgence, and opposition to his expansionist designs. That he will remain isolated, albeit the Russian people are good people, but Putin is a dark and evil man. Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as an evil empire. I do not see Russia as an evil empire, but certainly, based upon facts, see Putin as an evil man. And there should be no reticence in publicly stating so. If there is anything I would advise President Trump against saying, it is the continuous mentioning of great relationships, great chemistry, and seeking to get along with these despotic rulers like Putin, Xi Jinping, the Ayatollahs, and Kim Jong Un — men who only respect, and regard, actions of strength and might.
There’s not just a cold war, but rather a boiling conflagration that could easily overflow. No, we should not allow Putin to get away with the illegal annexation of the Crimea. We should force him out of Syria, and cause him to abandon Iran. We should undermine his fragile economy by providing our oil and gas to Eastern Europe, and maintain our military presence in support of Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States. There is only one way to play ball with someone like a Vladimir Putin: hardball . . . no smiles, no overtures of friendship.
Now, of course, there are those who will say, “shut up West, President Trump knows what he is doing.” Well, sorry, I do have the freedom of speech and expression, and I am one of those relics who still remembers going through Checkpoint Charlie, and entering East Berlin, and walking the streets, in uniform, with Soviet officers. President Trump must not look at any issues involving Russia as a personal attack on him, and his presidential victory. We all know that there was no collusion of his campaign with Russia. Heck, the only collusion with Russia was by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, involving a former British spy to link up with Russian agents to produce a dossier the Clinton campaign paid for.
I agree, this summit needed to happen. The purpose is clear: to convey to Putin the resolve that we now have at the leadership of this country . . . unlike the previous administration. We do not, and, of course we have no reason to, trust Putin, that should be made clear. President Trump cannot silence his haters and critics, but he can masterfully deal them a blow, a major setback which will cause them to go into apoplectic meltdown number 149.
President Trump, Vladimir Putin is not, and never will be, your, or our friend. He has, in every way possible, made that clear as he has tried to embarrass and undermine our country at every turn. I applaud your tough actions against Putin, and now you can deliver that message to him with laser-like precision. NATO is stronger. Our alliance with Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States is solid. We have forced immense domestic unrest in Iran.
Mr. President, remember it was Adolf Hitler who complained about needing to protect ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland. Next thing you know, Hitler overran Czechoslovakia. This is no different from the rhetoric we hear from Putin with reference to the Crimea, and his ensuing action in Ukraine. History does, indeed, have a way of repeating itself when you fail to learn from, and heed, its lessons.
Thirty-five years ago I drove through the Ft. Sill Key Gate, and we were standing on freedom’s rampart against the Soviet Union. Here I sit under the shadows of the Wichita Mountains that overlook Ft. Sill, and we are still facing the same geo-political threat and foe.
Good luck President Trump . . . kick Putin’s ass!
Photo credit: Kremlin.ru
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
West is a commissioned officer in the Texas State Guard. He’s Fox News Contributor, former Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, and the forthcoming We Can Overcome.