On Tuesday, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev penned an op-ed in The New York Times calling on Congress to impeach President Donald Trump — arguing that it would set a moral standard not just in America but around the globe. “The America I knew as Russia’s foreign minster is gone,” he wrote.
“The United States has often played a pivotal role in my political life, beginning 50 years ago when I was a student of international relations at a Moscow university,” wrote Kozyrev. “At that time, Soviet propaganda was well-practiced at denouncing Richard Nixon for rejecting the Kremlin’s dogma that in politics, the ends justify the means. Mr. Nixon had argued during his 1960 presidential campaign that the American democratic system recognizes a standard of moral truth that allows the individual to say to government, ‘Thus far may you go, but no farther.’ If what Mr. Nixon said was true, many of us in the Soviet Union thought, then America is on the right side of history.”
“The Kremlin would later exploit the Watergate scandal to sneer at Mr. Nixon’s — and by extension, America’s — allegiance to moral truth as nothing more than hypocrisy,” continued Kozyrev. “But what looked like an easy propaganda victory turned out to be Pyrrhic. When Republicans joined Mr. Nixon’s Democratic opposition in Congress and forced him to choose between resignation or impeachment, the Soviet dissident newsletters retorted that the standard of moral truth had proved to be real in America after all. And they pointed out that the investigation of the president of the United States was initiated by two young reporters, representatives of a free press. The Kremlin found no counterarguments, except to condemn the press as enemies of the people and dissidents as traitors.”
That, Kozyrev, set the stage for later Democratic presidents to exert moral weight on Soviet affairs, from Jimmy Carter opposing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to Ronald Reagan calling for the reunification of Germany. But now, with Trump in charge and running roughshod over the rule of law and American values, Russia feels no such counterweight to its own power.
“Today, under false slogans promising to make Russia great again, the Kremlin bosses have returned to their old ways, including the dogma that the ends — power — justify any means, including quelling opponents inside Russia and, if possible, abroad,” wrote Kozyrev. “They have unapologetically rushed down the path toward a renewed Cold War, using old and new tools of subversion against established democracies in America and Europe, and aspiring democracies in Ukraine and Georgia. If the Russian slogan under Communism was ‘Proletarians of all countries unite!’, today it would be, ‘Detractors of democracies and foes of the liberal world order arise!’ And they do so, from China to Venezuela, from North Korea to Syria, taking advantage of the current absence of global American leadership grounded in moral truth.”
“As the foreign minister of a newly democratic Russia in 1992, I was in the same shoes as today’s Ukrainian leadership when we needed and received American aid to consolidate our democracy,” continued Kozyrev. “Nobody took it for granted, but it was not viewed as just another diplomatic quid pro quo either. The American generosity was an expression of another moral truth: that democracies help each other. At the time, President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, was at risk of losing to the Democratic contender Bill Clinton in the next election. The idea that he or his representative would have asked us for ‘kompromat’ on his rival is unimaginable.”
Ultimately, Kozyrev wrote, the only way for America to regain its standing — and become a voice for democracy and stability once more — is if Trump is impeached.
“I believe that if Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, act to remove this president, a new powerful message would be sent to governments and people around the globe, just like the one that went out in 1974: Moral principles still matter in American politics and policy,” wrote Kozyrev. “And the future still belongs to moral truth and to those who embrace it.”
You can read more here.