Conservative slams right-wing 'useful idiots' for backing Putin in war against Ukraine
Anatoly Maltsev for AFP

On Wednesday, writing for The Bulwark, conservative columnist Mona Charen tore into American conservative figures who have taken to sympathizing with Vladimir Putin in his invasion of Ukraine as "useful idiots."

"The pro-Putin, pro-authoritarian voices in the GOP are not yet a majority — about a quarter of House Republicans and 11 of 50 Senators voted against the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine in May — but they’re not a small minority either, and the wind is at their backs," wrote Charen. "CPAC has all but canonized Hungary’s strongman Viktor Orban, and in the first hours after Putin rolled into Ukraine, Trump reveled in the murderer’s 'savvy' and 'genius.' The 2022 election could bring more authoritarian-friendly Republicans to Congress, and meanwhile, hatcheries of conservative orthodoxy like Fox News and The Federalist are doing the spade work of persuading the base that Kremlin propaganda is more trustworthy — pravda, if you will — than the New York Times."

Republicans supporting Russia are a total betrayal of what the party is supposed to stand for, noted Charen — "as if People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced that they support puppy mills for medical research."

Among the loudest voices, Charen wrote, are Tucker Carlson, who recently proclaimed Putin to be "winning" just before Ukraine's huge counteroffensive threw Russian troops into disarray, and Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who said U.S. leaders are "buffoons who hate you so . . . they’ll keep defending Ukraine’s borders while turning their backs on ours.”

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"As if thousands of would-be immigrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande for work represent a comparable threat to tanks and missiles destroying cities, murdering men, women, and children, creating millions of refugees, and cutting off food and electricity," wrote Charen. "This talk of 'invasion' of our southern border was always hyperbolic, but to cling to it at a time when our screens are full of images of a true invasion becomes vile."

"Putin’s Russia differs from the USSR in ideology, but in repression and rapacity, it is comparable," concluded Charen. "And it’s scarcely believable that the 'useful idiots' who make excuses for it today — who actually root for its success — are 'conservatives.'"

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