There are those on the populist Right and the hard Left who counsel appeasement to Russia over the Ukrainian invasion. Not our fight, they say. Russia is our friend, they say. We care more about Ukraine than our own country, they say.
Some, like Bernie Sanders, say it with silence, as they can’t bear to disagree with a KGB colonel. Some, like Tucker Carlson- the modern Lord Haw Haw, openly side with Putin so much so that Carlson’s show has been used as pro-Russian propaganda on Moscow television. One, a resident of Mar-a-Lago, cannot bring up any issue without defining it first and foremost about himself.
There was once another man who was also an American First isolationist. Like Trump, a former media darling. Like Carlson, he made propaganda for a tyrannical regime. Like Sanders, he excused tyranny because of ideological excess.
However, when the fighting started, when it became democracy versus the dictators, this man fought for democracy.
From his World War Two journal, “We jettison our drop tanks, switch on our guns, and nose down to the attack. One Jap plane banks sharply toward the airstrip and the protection of the antiaircraft guns. The second heads off into the haze and clouds…I start firing as the plane is completing its turn in my direction. I see the tracers and the 20’s [20mm. cannon] find their mark, a hail of shells directly on the target. But he straightens out and flies directly toward me.
I hold the trigger down and my sight on his engine as we approach head on. My tracers and my 20’s spatter on his plane. We are close – too close – hurtling at each other at more than 500 miles an hour…I pull back with all the strength I have. Will we hit? His plane, before a slender toy in my sight, looms huge in size…I am climbing steeply. I bank to the left. No, that will take me into the ack-ack fire above Amahai strip. I reverse to the right. It all has taken seconds.
My eyes sweep the sky for aircraft. Those are only P-38’s and the plane I have just shot down. He is starting down in a wing over – out of control. The nose goes down. The plane turns slightly as it picks up speed-down-down-down toward the sea.”
Charles Lindbergh, American hero and leader of the pre-WWII isolationist forces in America, learned from his appeasement and atoned over the skies of the Pacific as a consultant with the United Aircraft Company, helping them field test their F4U Corsair fighter. He did more than that. He flew over 50 combat missions. The man learned how wrong he had been.
Sanders wants Moscow to win and Trump thinks Putin invaded Ukraine to annoy just him. But, will the ranks and spox of the populist Right, people like Carlson, come to their senses? Will they grow a backbone? Probably not. Unlike Lucky Lindy, they wouldn’t avail themselves of a chance to get into a cockpit and learn the error of their ways. They will sit safe and sound while others do the dying for them. When this is over, may America remember their unredeemed moral cowardice.