Zelensky and Biden: Defenders of democracy

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The Ukraine crisis is the story of two power couples. There’s the dynamic duo and defenders of democracy, Volodymyr Zelensky and Joe Biden. Then we have a deadly dictator and a dictator “wanna-be,” Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, represents the millions of brave people who fiercely resist Russian aggression. His partner, the president of the United States, is the leader of democratic nations across the world who are doing everything they can to stop the aggressors without starting a nuclear war.

{mosads}Putin, the Russian dictator, wants to revive the Soviet Empire by force. His American enabler former President Trump did everything he could to soften the NATO alliance so his role model could cut through Eastern Europe like it was Swiss cheese.

The Ukrainian president’s speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday was must-see TV. It was a tour de force that will generate even more sympathy and support for his beleaguered nation.

He pulled out all the stops in his address to Congress, the American public and friends of democracy everywhere. Zelensky compared the Russian invasion of his nation to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the deadly attacks on 9/11. He presented a before-and-after video that dramatically compared his tranquil and peaceful nation before being bullied by Putin with the tumultuous aftermath of death and destruction.

The Ukrainian leader brought tears to the eyes of many jaded senators and representatives. The Biden administration did not bend to Zelensky’s ask for a no-fly zone across Ukraine, but it did announce after the compelling speech that the U.S. would send an additional $800 million in military aid, which includes 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems and 2000 Javelin anti armored missiles. 

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Ukraine took a TV comedian and elevated him into command of their nation, which Zelensky ably guides through dark days. The U.S. catapulted a television personality into the Oval Office with Trump, who quickly turned the presidency into a bad joke. Americans wisely canceled the show as quickly as the opportunity presented itself denying Trump a second term. Hopefully, Ukraine’s president will enjoy a longer tenure if he’s able to fend off the Russian invasion with the help of the other democracies in the world.

The difference between Zelensky and Trump is the distinction between hope and hate. Zelensky gives his besieged nation hope in dark times. Trump’s hateful rhetoric simply plunged the U.S. into a deeper and darker abyss.

The big question is whether Biden can resist growing public pressure to up the military ante and save Ukrainian democracy from Soviet-style imperialism without starting World War III. Western democracies balked when the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in the 60s but are now ready to step up to the plate to save democracy.

The Russian invasion could turn into a wider conflict. Last week, Russia attacked a site in Ukraine 15 miles from the border of NATO member Poland. If the explosion had landed just inside of the Polish border instead of just outside it, the blast could have ignited a much larger and even more deadly conflict. That’s why the world is better off with a steady hand like Biden at the helm, then it was with an impulsive POTUS like Trump as commander in chief.

Trump was completely unsuited to deal with crises, including the COVID-19 crisis that arguably ended his failed presidency. He seemed to spend more time thinking about the adverse political impact the pandemic had on his presidency than fighting the deadly plague.

The U.S. and the world went from the frying pan of the pandemic and into the fire with the Ukrainian crisis. The difference between the onslaught of COVID-19 in early 2020 and the Russian invasion is we have a cook in the White House who knows to mix the ingredients and bring the meal to the table without burning it or starting a fire in the kitchen. 

{mossecondads}While Biden defends democracy at home and abroad, Trump has a taste for totalitarian rule and an affinity for dictators like Putin. The ex-president stood in awe of Putin and seemed to envy his ability to have his way —without having to worry about formidable obstacles like voters rights, steadfast members of Congress or pesky federal judges.  

The low point of Trump’s reign came on Jan. 6, 2021 when he gave a speech that fired up a crowd hell-bent on overturning the popular mandate for Biden, leading to a Soviet-style coup d’état invading, sacking and pillaging the nation’s sacred temple of democracy. 

We’ll see Biden’s diplomatic skills in action next week when he travels to Europe meet with many of the same NATO leaders which Trump badgered and belittled during his failed presidency. By that time, the fierce Ukrainian resistance will be even under more pressure from Putin’s forces. Which means, Biden will be even under more pressure to rescue the fledgling democracy from the claws of the big bad Russian bear.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. His podcast, “Deadline D.C. with Brad Bannon,” airs on Periscope TV and the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter: @BradBannon

Tags Brad Bannon Donald Trump Joe Biden Military Putin Russia Trump Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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