That Time Bernie Sanders Colluded with Russia
Much has been made in the past two and a half years of a conspiracy theory that Donald Trump, as candidate and president, colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election from Hillary Clinton.
The conspiracy theory was thoroughly debunked by the Mueller Report, sending Trump’s enemies in the media and Congress into paroxysms of rage and despair.
Ironically, another famous politician, someone who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency, did collude with Russia to influence American policy, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
His name is Bernie Sanders, self-described “Democratic socialist” and a senator from Vermont.
In the eighties, then the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sanders was fervent in his opposition to Reagan.
“As a mayor, I did my best to stop American foreign policy, which for years was overthrowing governments in Latin America and installing puppet regimes. I did everything that I could as a mayor of a small city to stop the United States from getting involved in another war in Central America trying to overthrow a government.”
The government Sanders was referring to was the Soviet allied regime of Nicaragua led by Daniel Ortega.
President Reagan attempted to support a popular insurrection against Ortega’s government, called the “Contras,” in the face of opposition from congressional Democrats.
Sanders visited Nicaragua and celebrated the anniversary of the communist revolution that had overthrown the fascist regime of Anastasio Somoza.
He addressed a crowd, who chanted anti-American slogans, declaring, “After many years of economic and political domination, Nicaragua is determined not to be a banana republic anymore, and it’s free to make its own decisions.”
Ironically, while Sanders was speaking nonsense at the time, eventually the country did become free to make its own decisions when, in 1990, a presidential election, forced in part by the Contra insurrection, overthrew Ortega’s regime and established a Democratic government.
Ortega returned to power in 2006 and his misrule has contributed greatly to the current migrant crisis on the southern border as his people flee economic turmoil and political repression.
Sanders also honeymooned in the Soviet Union in 1988.
He had long been an opponent of Reagan’s policy of confrontation with the Soviet Regime, stating that he feared that a nuclear war might result.
While in the Soviet Union, he praised Soviet society, according to some video tapes acquired by Politico.
“The hours of footage include a scene of Sanders sitting with his delegation at a table under a portrait of Vladimir Lenin. Sanders can also be heard extolling the virtues of Soviet life and culture, even as he acknowledges some of their shortcomings. There are flashes of humor, too, such as his host warning the American guests not to cross the KGB, or else.”
The Berlin Wall fell a year later and the Soviet Union itself after that.
Of course, Sanders cannot be accused of plotting with Soviet or later Russian agents to directly influence the outcome of American elections.
His collusion was subtler, attempting to provide a glowing image of the cultures and societies of the Soviet Union and one of its satellite states.
The idea was that if the Evil Empire, to coin a phrase by President Reagan, was not all that evil, the United States should deal with it on a less hostile basis.
Of course, subsequent events and the opening of the Soviet archives proved that Reagan was right to bring down the USSR and that Sanders, to use a Soviet term, was behaving as a “useful idiot.”
In a way, Sanders was like one of those pre-World War II isolationists who were proven wrong in their desire to pursue a “détente” with Nazi Germany.
The account of Bernie Sanders’ playing footsie with the Soviets and one of its puppet regimes calls into question his foreign policy judgement.
Politico also notes that the tapes of Sanders’ Soviet trip is a cause of concern to Democrats:
“Sanders’ opponents, though, will likely find much in the tapes to call outlandish.
And in a campaign season in which Democrats are concerned about nothing more than defeating President Donald Trump, there’s plenty of material that Democratic voters might worry the Republican Party could spin into a 30-second negative ad.
Perhaps Sanders’ checkered history where communist regimes are concerned is one reason why Joe Biden is so ahead of him in the polls.
On the other hand, Biden was no slouch either when it came to opposing Reagan’s tough stance against Soviet aggression.