From Tucker with Love

The best thing that could be said about Tucker Carlson’s love letter to Vladimir Putin on his show Tuesday is that it didn’t sound any better in the original Russian. It sounded much more like a work of translation than anything original, because we’ve been hearing it all from Russian state TV for years. 

Many of those classic lies and themes were presented. Carlson claimed Russia’s border vulnerability was genuine, that NATO exists solely “to torment Vladimir Putin” who “has no intention of invading Western Europe,” that it is the U.S. hyping the threat of war, and more. He indulged in pathetic worship of Putin’s manufactured machismo at the same time he presented Biden as weak and not in charge. As I tweeted in reply to Mike Pence in 2016, Putin is a strong leader the way arsenic is a strong drink.

Even after the Trump years, when sometimes you weren’t sure if you were watching Fox News or Russia Today, it’s still a shock to hear American commentators of influence recite talking points straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook. Carlson did his best to twist them into MAGA-friendly soundbites, but it’s an impossible task. If there’s anything Putin wants for America, it’s for it never to be great again.

The topic at hand was Ukraine, back in the news not for impeachable reasons but because Russia once again has been building up a massive military force on its neighbor’s border—a border it already crossed by force in 2014. It’s been bizarre to hear the Biden White House talk about what may happen “if Russia invades Ukraine” when that invasion happened seven years ago and the war is still ongoing, with thousands of casualties.

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