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Defeating Putin is America’s most important foreign policy … for now

Defeating Putin is America’s most important foreign policy … for now

On the far right and the far left, there is a mutual sentiment regarding the war in Ukraine – at least regarding the United States’ involvement.  They oppose spending billions of dollars – and supplying offensive weapons – to aid the Kyiv government in fighting Russian aggression.

The reasons vary.  Those on the left are genetically antiwar.  They are constant complainers when it comes to funding the defense budget. Some say Ukraine is a corrupt nation not worth saving.  FOX News’ Tucker Carlson has seen no reason to oppose Putin’s ambition to take over Ukraine.  “What has Putin ever done to me,” he rhetorically questioned.  Many see better uses for the money.

(Eighty years ago, the political ancestors of today’s opposition to aiding Ukraine were saying the same things about America’s entering the war against Hitler.  But I digress.)

I not only disagree with their arguments, but I also do not even understand the logic of them.  Saving the Ukraine Republic is important enough, but defeating Putin is critical to America’s and the world’s democracies’ national security … period.  Putin is an existential threat to the free world.  

He is the new Hitler.  And like Hitler, Putin must be removed from office – one way or another.  It seems the central question is whether we want Russian troops on the border of Poland or NATO forces on the Ukrainian/Russian border.  And yes, that means winning the war and inviting Ukraine to join the Alliance.

My concern with the war is that we are not doing enough to assure victory as expeditiously as possible.  Providing a lot of military support for a short war is more economical than moderate support for a prolonged war.  We should have learned that lesson in Afghanistan.

An allied victory means the nations across the globe – Asia, the Middle East, and Europe – will be safe from future aggression by Moscow.   It means the strategic location and resources of Ukraine will accrue to the benefit of the world’s democracies.  Just as losing past wars has emboldened our adversaries, winning will have a chilling effect on Beijing, Tehran, and Pyongyang.  The United States and other democracies would be free from Russian meddling.

There may be no more propitious time to do whatever it takes to defeat and depose Putin than right now.  The Ukrainian military has recently achieved an impressive victory over Russian forces – reclaiming more than 2000 square miles of Russian-held territory.  They routed the Russians – with soldiers chaotically retreating, leaving behind millions of dollars of equipment and weaponry.  According to military experts, this is the time to keep the advance going – before the Russians can regroup.

Putin’s support on the home front is starting to cave.  Dozens of municipal deputies have signed a petition calling on Putin to resign – charging him with dereliction of duty.  According to the petition, “President Putin’s actions are detrimental to the future of Russia and its citizens.”  Amazingly, the petition was published in the Communist media – and more than 80 others added their signatures.

There is growing unrest in the streets – and it has been reported that even key members of Putin’s inner circle are privately expressing doubts about his leadership.

This is the time, America, Europe and other nations around the world should maximize their military support for Ukraine.  America should double down on weapons and training … provide critical intelligence (including targeting information) … provide on-the-ground military advisors … declare the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant a demilitarized zone and replace the Russian military with an international force of nuclear experts and soldiers.

The objective is to expel all Russian military from the borders of Ukraine – including the Crimea and Donbass Region … the establishment of an American military presence after the war … and the commencement of a war crime tribunal against Putin.

And as far as Putin’s removal from office, that would happen automatically once his invasion is utterly defeated.  The folks in Moscow will end Putin’s tenure – one way or another.

We must understand that either Putin wins or Ukraine wins.  There is no such thing as a compromise peace deal.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Yehuda

    Considering the argument that America should have a war aim of defeating Russia, which is questionable, considering the American military retreat and defeat in Afghanistan, as well as the top generals , who planed the hasty retreat,continue to hold their jobs. More to the point, even “if” America could win with a hopeful support from the Russian “proletariat “, it would be a pyrrhic victory., considering that the only winner of this event would be China, which is the real threat to the American hegemony, that it has had in the world since 1945.The last point I will make is, the weakness of America is clear to all those ,who have eyes open to an incompetent president and his administration. The world actors are watching and the “bad guys”, China.Iran and Russia, are all in on changing the world order, while the members of Western civilization is fixated on changing the climate. while their societies unravel and the economy falters.

  2. Mike

    Larry, While you might find it surprising, I do agree with all that you opine in this post. However, I would like to point out that one of the biggest (if not the biggest) mouthpieces of the conservative movement, has absolutely no problem with Vlad, and truly adores Viktor Orban (of course I mean F____r Carlson). As you point out (and I totally agree) Putin is the new Hitler (and Orban in many ways is nipping at his heels). These are both authoritarian (fascist?) leaders of their respective countries, who many in the current US conservative movement are major fans of. I think it is time for you to rethink your position that today’s Republicans are not fascist and cannot be authoritarian (because they favor small government-really????)

    • larry Horist

      Mike … If you have been following my commentaries, you should have seen that I am no fan of Tucker Carlson. I took him to task in at least two commentaries devoted to his over the top statements … and I was critical of him in this commentary. How can conservatives who are passionate about small limited government EVER support autocracy. In the world of pragmatic politics, we do have to deal with autocrats who are allies … but the pressure from conservatives is to push for democratization. The Philippines is a good example.

      • Mike

        Larry, While philosophically I can see your points regarding small government and authoritarianism, I think you are overlooking what is going on in the Republican party today. Trump is obviously a huge fan of Autocrats as are many in Republican leadership-they like the ability to control aspects of people’s lives that are not necessarily popular with the masses. Look no further than CPAC fawning over Orban. So, my comments stand, I think you need to re-evaluate your position…

  3. M

    I certainly agree with you that Putin needs to be defeated. And he is every bit the Hitler-like dictator that you make him out to be.

    But you could do several more columns on how Trump brought Putin on to the world stage… how Trump idolized Putin, Kim, Orban, and other dictators around the world (Turkey, Syria, Philipines, Saudi Arabia, even China)… how Trump tried to withold support from Ukraine while blackmailing them to get dirt on Biden’s son… how Trump tried to destroy NATO…. Trump’s Hitler-like attacks on minorities, immigrants, Muslims, etc. to divide the country… Trump’s encouragement of right-wing hate groups…

    how the Republican right Conservatives have fallen right in line behind Trump… how CPAC has cozied up to Orban… … how not only Tucker Carlson but almost every commentator on ultra-conservative FOX News and Newsmax and OANN have urged the US to push for a settlement that gives Russia large parts of Ukraine, or even Tucker saying he hopes Russia wins the war… or the members of Congress that have said they support Russia and want to carve up Ukraine for “peace” … or the assault on voting rights and the integrity of the elections that are under assault by multiple (aka all of the Trumpers) that threaten to bring our country closer to authoritarianism…

    This website constantly defends Conservatism, but your column seems at odds with the way that Republican Conservatives have moved under Trump’s “leadership” (I write that with a big C, because none of the so-called “Conservatives” are really conservative). Are you openly admitting that Trump’s election and his whole cult following has been a mistake? There’s absolutely no doubt that Trump was supportive of Putin’s actions, and that he would have taken the US in that same fascist direction if he had been elected again. And Trump is still waging war agains the US, undermining election confidence, bullying and doxing his enemies, threatening violence and rioting if he’s prosecuted for his crimes, calling out US law enforcement as politicized and illegitimate because they had the gall to investigate him.

    So which is it – are you admitting that Conservatives are fascist, or becoming a closet liberal?

    • Mike

      Totally agree with your points-I will say I think Larry is a “conservative”, but he is not a “Republican” as Republicans are currently defined. While he has disparaged Cheney and Kinzinger, they are the true “conservatives” around, most of the rest of the Republicans are just sheep and Larry is having difficulty understanding that his party has changed and is no longer the party of Ronald Reagan. We can only hope that he eventually has an epiphany….

      • Name larry Horist

        Mike … You got it. I always tell people that I am a conservatives first … Republican second. I express my conservatism in the GOP because it is my best vehicle. Conservatism and Republicanism are cousins…but not Siamese twins. I have never thought of Trump as a true bred conservative — but have liked many of his policies that are conservative. I do not believe he pursued them out of some deep devotion to conservatives principles. I think he embraced them for pragmatic reasons. But he was implementing conservative ideals in many ways. From my standpoint, I have to go with the best policies regardless of the person. My criticism of Cheney and Kinzinger is that they are actively working to elect Democrats with a left-wing agenda. They not only attack Trump, they attack Republicans leaders and voters. They attack the GOP brand … ergo conservative principles. Regardless of Trump, I think it is critical that we restore the House and Senate to the GOP for policy reasons. Trump is not even on the ballot. The 2020 election is settled. So, neither of those will influence my vote. The court issues may be of public interest …. but not in terms of the midterm elections.

        • Frank stetson

          Larry. Maybe like most Republicans, on 1/6, they thought Trump’s mob was more serious than an over excited protest. They want a thorough investigation. Unlike most Republicans who did a 180 the next day or so and then decided the investigation by FBI was sufficient, these two still believe 1/6 was an insurrection aiming to overturn our election and harm certain officials and their investigation has proven them correct in that.

          It’s the flip flopping no investigation Republicans that are working to get Democrats elected, not these two.

          IMO. .

          Keep helping us Larry. Keep trying to sweep it under the carpet Thanks.

        • Mike

          Larry, Again you are wrong about Cheney and Kinzinger-they do not embrace a left wing agenda, nor do they embrace left wing candidates. They are both fiercely anti-Trump, they realize that he is an idiot who cannot be trusted with the power of the government. And they do work against candidates that embrace Trump (much as the conservatives associated with the Lincoln project do). If you are truly a conservative first, and a Republican second, they should appeal to you. Since they don’t, I am thinking that your statement that you are a conservative first and republican second are actually (to coin a phrase) hogwash….

          • larry Horist

            Mike … Cheney was one of the most conservative members of Congress — and in many ways, still is. You follow my commentaries enough to know that I believe House Minority Leader McCarthy mishandled the issue. BUT she has devoted the last couple years bitterly attacked more than Trump. He actions and statements are right out of the Pelosi songbook — an unrelenting effort to get voters to cast their ballots for Democrats — for Democrats to control the House. She is aiding and abetting the Democrat’s left-wing agenda. Give me your examples of how she is helping Republicans and conservatives get elected. Policy is whoever is in office.

            In terms of Kinzinger. I know his personally and have followed his career. He is not part of the conservative coalition. He is at best a moderate Republican. And what I said about Cheney applies to him.

      • Mike

        Defeat Russia? First we must have a different president. Also one that really won the election

    • larry Horist

      I completely reject the notion that there is any such thing as a conservative autocrat (of any kind). It is an oxymoron. The political continuum goes from dictators on the left (all powerful central government) to anarchists on the right (no government). Progressives play on the big central government on the left.. Conservatives play on the limited government on the right. By definition, a conservative cannot be a conservative and support big government. And despite all the political trash talk, I do not see insurrection, coups or any serous threat to the Republic or the American democracy.. It is all a bunch of hogwash.

      • Mike

        Larry, You are flat out wrong with your opening statement. Both Putin and Orban are “conservatives” by any definition of the word-Orban’s conservatism is why Republicans are fawning all over him. Most of the dictators in history have been right wing (think Hitler, Mussolini, Franco). Dictators do not necessarily embrace big government-in fact their government is frequently very small-essentially one person. You need to go back to school on this subject….

        • larry Horist

          No autocrat is a conservative. And conservatism does not allow for autocratic governance. You are confusing nationalism with conservatism — a common problem today — and even nationalism is confusing. In the world or autocrats, Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were more of the Fascist breed — although they referred to themselves as socialists. Then you have the Communists, such as Putin, Xi and Kim. Then you have the monarchs. None of those folks had called themselves conservatives — nor have their followers.

          In the world of geo politics every democracy has had alliances with autocrats. In WWII the most vicious autocrat on the face of the earth was our ally. Speaking of Stalin, of course.. But conservative’s have been a constant force for future democratization in autocratic nations.– sometimes by military victory and sometimes by internal reform. Reagan was an idea example of how conservatives deal with autocrats — unfriendly and friendly.

          Orban is an example. While he has tighten his personal control over Hungry, he is a valuable ally and member of NATO. Same as the guy in Turkey. He has enamored himself to a fringe in the conservative movement — just has Castro was the darling of a fringe on the left. And what can be said about Orban and the guy in Turkey — both of whom I am critical — they are no Hitler, Mussolini or Franco. And you forget that Hitler, Mussolini and Franco all rose to power as left-wing reformers against what were described as “conservative: governments — same in Russia. The fact that the fascist autocrats hated and warred with the communist autocrats did not change the spots on the leopards.

          Its is simple … conservative doctrine does NOT embrace autocrats and no autocrat is a conservative.

          • Mike

            Larry, I hear your arguments, but by your standards, Republicans are not actually “conservative” at this time. They fully embrace “autocrats”, and I think there is little argument that Trump is a “wannabe” autocrat. Cheney and Kinzinger are trying to rid the Republican party of these beliefs, and while you may find it distasteful that they are siding with Democrats on this issue, that is what they are doing. There is no question that Trump believes he is above the law, and the hearings that you so frequently disparage are an attempt to bring that point across to the American people. You frequently opine that the hearings are all political, a less partisan view of them is what they actually are-anti-Trump and anti-Trump supporters. The fact that most of the Republican Party has lost their mind and refuse to see Trump for what he is makes them “partisan” in your viewpoint….

          • frank stetson

            Your definition of conservative seems to fit a set of one: Larry Horist.

            Orban is a conservative autocrat, plain n simple. That’s why Republicans invited him to CPAC, because they are kindred spirits. Peas in a pod. Birds of a feather.

            Or put another way, Orban is as much a conservative as is Trump.

            Orban calls his vision of where he is heading as “illiberal democracy,” sure sounds more conservative than liberal. But he is not Larry and Larry is not Orban — agreed. Different conservatives can have different ideas, an idea that Larry can’t seem to grasp. So, Cheney thinks 1/6 should be investigated, Larry throws her out. Trump the person sucks, but love his policies, so Trump is in.

            Can I say Jimmy Carter is not a liberal and get away with it? Other notable conservatives have cozied up to like-minded autocrats over the years highlighting the autocrat’s conservative tendencies.

            “Friedman, for example, supported the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile as long as he and his colleagues were permitted to introduce free-market policies.”

            “The notable conservative William F. Buckley Jr. supported the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and the apartheid regime of South Africa. Buckley called Franco an “authentic national hero” and praised his brutal measures that led to civil war against Spain’s republican socialists.”

            “Conservative David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush, writes that this impulse “to support autocrats has swiftly led conservatives to tolerate corruption, whether in their long-distance Hungarian romance or their marriage to Donald Trump.” ”


          • larry Horist

            Mike … Some Republicans may embrace a pragmatic view of autocrats who are allies, but that does not mean they endorse autocracy as the preferred form/ A very small percentage may see autocracy as a legitimate means to pursue free-market fascism. .But thee vast majority of Republicans and virtually all conservatives do not favor big government (autocracy). Hungary and Turkey are allies, but I no of no conservatives who would not prefer a more democratic approach. We are constantly critical of government moving toward autocracy. America has been the world’s number one sales force for democracy — and the conservative movement within the Republicans Party has been the driving force. It has been the left-wing movement in the Democratic Party that has both pushed for a stronger more regulatory central government in America (and try to deny that) — and stood down to world autocrats. Remember how the left jumped on Reagan for calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” They argued we must live and work with Moscow. The left owns the big government (ergo autocracies) side of the continuum. And of course you claims about the Republican Party overall are hyperbolic political nonsense. Rather than seek out facts, you start with a false premise and then build on it with anecdotal arguments.

  4. Mike

    Larry, Why do you think that autocratism is “big government”? As I pointed out, autocracy basically means one person makes the rules, that sounds like very small government to me. Please don’t tell me that what you meant was you don’t believe in government controlling people’s activities, and a government run by an autocrat would do that. You don’t have to look very far to see that “government control” is the very cornerstone of Republican politics at this time. As far as support for autocrats-please name one Democrat who embraces an autocrat. There are obviously many elected Republican officials who worship the power that autocrats have. Your opinion on this matter is full of holes (and other stuff….)

    • larry Horist

      Mike … You ran your argument off the rational and logical rails. What conservatives oppose is big oppressive government run by fewer and fewer people.. autocrats are the extreme end of the continuum. Big Government means excessive arbitrary authority over the people. You attempt to make a dictator small government embarrassingly silly and ill-informed. You cannot really be that out of it. Read the 10th Amendment and you should be able to at least grasp the difference between limited government conservatism an big government progressivism ruled over by one elitist group. And as usual, you are taking the discussion down a rabbit hole that has nothing to do with the subject of the commentary. Distraction?