Col. Ralph Peters —a former Fox News pundit — is spitting mad, and I am here for it. He joined Anderson Cooper Wednesday night to:
- Give a master class on what the hell is going on in Eastern Europe between Russia and Ukraine (hint: war's afoot,)
- Explain the definition and proper application of "Realpolitik" (hint: it includes supporting human rights,) and
- Rip trump, Bolton, and Pompeo new poop chutes for their disgusting cowardice (hint: Khashoggi tape.)
There is so much rich information and analysis in the video, so don't just take my word for it. Please do watch and follow along with the transcript. The most powerful moments for me, though, were those when he was blowing an absolute gasket over the inhumane and spineless refusal of the Three Stooges to listen to the Kashoggi tape. Bolton doesn't understand Arabic, my ass. Like Col. Peters said, "Screams are universal." He then destroys the "Mean And Nasty Stuff Happens" drek that drools out of the sides of their mealy mouths by saying, "The fact that you can't do everything doesn't mean you shouldn't do anything."
Amen, Col. Peters. No excuses. Thank you for your service.
PETERS: Also we don't know what trump and his people are telling the Russians. Today in the Russian papers, they're convinced there's a full blown meeting going to happen probably Saturday or maybe Friday between Putin and trump. Mean, even if we move the issue of whether Putin has something over trump, which I continue to believe, trump is just drawn to him. There's this --
COOPER: He's drawn to power, it seems like. Any sort of person who exudes the kind of power he wishes he had.
PETERS: Yes, indeed, and that's the case for many, like President Xi, or Kim in Korea, to Erdogan, but there seems to be something special about Putin that just draws the guy, and we should all be terribly concerned about this. Because right now the media is so concerned with other things. We're blowing off the crisis in the Black Sea and the Kerch Straits and the Sea of Azov.
COOPER: Of course, between Russia and Ukraine.
PETERS: Again, the Russia papers, Russian media, they're beating war drums. That may mean nothing in the long run, but Putin has been amassing troops. Putin is very concerned. He wants Ukraine back. At least the eastern two-thirds. He believes, he believes it belongs to Russia. It's a mystical tie. And he also in a practical level wants a land bridge. He wants a land bridge between Russia and Crimea. Not just the $4 million bridge over the Kerch Strait. There's that. There's a crisis with the Ukrainian church, the Ukranian Orthodox Church seceding from the overlordship of the Russian Orthodox Church...
COOPER: Which is a blow to Putin.
PETERS: It's a huge blow to him, image-wise, but it also further divides Ukraine and Russia. A lot of things that we're ignoring are building to a head. Does that mean Putin is going to get a green light from trump to invade tomorrow? No. Not necessarily. But we need to pay attention.
COOPER: But to the idea of a green light, if you're a world leader and looking at how the U.S. Is responding to things, you look at how president trump has responded to the murder of this journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, and how continually no matter what the CIA says, you have John Bolton saying, "Well, look, I didn't listen to the tape. I don't speak Arabic. Why would I listen to a tape of somebody being killed?"
PETERS: That infuriated me. You don't want to listen to that tape? I don't speak Arabic either, but i'll tell you if you listen to a tape of somebody being tortured to death, you can figure out a couple of things. The screams are universal. The gloating tone of the torture is universal. And these people are cowards for not even listening to the tape. It astonishes me they would take such a position. The president's position on Khashoggi has squandered much of the remaining credibility we have. I'm a "realpolitik" guy. I want what's best for this country for security-wise and internationally, but we've been presented with this false dichotomy: the idea that realpolitik, the practical approach to strategy, precludes human rights. Indeed, in the age of hypermedia when we're bombarded with images of suffering around the world, wise support, rational support for human rights around the world, is indeed a part of realpolitik.
COOPER: Which is interesting, because what the president often says is there's a lot of bad people. A lot of bad things happen. But you look back at Ronald Reagan who would talk about a particular Soviet dissident. Even if he wasn't able to make a difference for all Soviet dissidents in one blow, to highlight the plight of one person can make a difference and have a ripple effect.
PETERS: The fact that you can't do everything doesn't mean that you shouldn't do anything. And yes, picking moral examples. There is a place for ethics, that forgotten word in Washington, indeed, for morality in our policy. It doesn't mean compromising our security. What it means is, when a legal resident of the United States, when they are murdered in a consulate on foreign soil, that you take a stand on that. And by the way, Anderson, the 1970s are over. We do not need Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia desperately needs us, desperately. For all the armaments they've bought and will continue to buy, the Iranians with all their old junk would eat them alive. Any U.S. Military officer that's ever been around the Saudis in training and schools in the desert can tell you that they expect us to do it all for them. And we can't and we shouldn't. Trump is shameless.