Franklin Graham: When Trump “says this election was rigged or stolen, I tend to believe him” (and other court evangelical news)

The waning days of the Trump presidency are upon us. It seems like more and more of Trump’s supporters are accepting this reality, but the president has not. Over the weekend Trump met with Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Sidney Powell and Peter Navarro to talk about how to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Meanwhile, outgoing Attorney General William Barr said, once again, that there was no election fraud.

Russia is attacking the United States. But Trump, who rarely reads intelligence briefs, thinks it is China. Barr believes it is Russia. So does Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. So does just about every other else.

More and more people are getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Trump could take credit for this vaccine and thus end his presidency with what Mitt Romney recently described as a “victory lap.” But why would Trump do this when he can get the old gang back together (Bannon, Flynn, Giuliani) and try to overturn the 2020 presidential election?

COVID-19 is at an all-time high right now. Mike Pence got the vaccine. But Trump is retweeting anti-maskers.

Let’s see how many court evangelicals are still riding the Trump train.

The Liberty University Falkirk Center is fighting to the end. Jerry Falwell Jr. might be out at the Christian university, but his legacy at Liberty University lives on through the Twitter feeds of Charlie Kirk, Jenna Ellis, Eric Metaxas, Sebastian Gorka, and others.

Critical thinking?:

Ignore public health officials:

Apparently everything is open on Liberty University’s campus:

Earlier today, I posted about Charlie Kirk’s election fraud claims. Either Kirk knows nothing about basic civics or he is deliberately lying in order to deceive his followers.

Check out Rod Dreher’s “Charlie Kirk’s Hooters Conservatism.”

Jenna Ellis on Bill Barr in June 2020:

Jenna Ellis on Bill Barr in July 2020:

Jenna Ells on Bill Barr in December 2020:

And this:

Eric Metaxas is running a video of a Los Angeles pastor interviewing Mike “My Pillow Guy” Lindell about election fraud. Lindell is a conspiracy theorist on steroids.

And in other court evangelical news:

Lance Wallnau is also pushing the “Trump won more counties than Biden” narrative.

Here is Lance Wallnau on Christian nationalism.

In this video, Wallnau worries that evangelicals are assimilating to the fake news about the Biden victory.

Richard Land is “thinking intensely”:

Jack Hibbs seems excited about Charlie Kirk’s new appointment:

Alt-right Trump adviser Steve Bannon joined Jim Garlow’s prayer meeting for election integrity:

Robert Jeffress goes on Fox News and prays for Donald Trump and Lou Dobbs. No mention of Biden:

Jentezen Franklin has COVID-19

Franklin Graham believes Trump:

Trump supporter says that prayer for “election integrity” may lead to the “Third Great Awakening.” (And other court evangelical news)

Russians are hacking the U.S. government and Trump remains silent. Thousands of people died today from COVID-19 and Trump remains silent (except when he takes credit for the vaccine in a tweet about the stock market).

Meanwhile, Trump continues to raise money on his election fraud claims. Today I received e-mails urging me to “reject socialism,” enter a raffle for a signed MAGA hat, claim (with a donation) my “free Christmas gift,” order my Trump Christmas ornament, and help stop Biden from overturning Trump’s “accomplishments,”

Many of Trump’s most ardent Christian supporters–the court evangelicals–are carrying water for this lame duck president. Let’s see what they have said since our last update.

The gang at Liberty University’s Falkirk Center remain Trump’s most vocal Christian defenders.

Hundreds of thousands have died of COVID-19 and a “think tank” at a Christian college is questioning the “expertise” of scientists and doctors:

While everyone is complaining about the “war on Christmas,” the Falkirk Center is engaged in the war on Mother’s Day and Father’s day. It almost makes one wonder if the Center owns stock in greeting card companies.

Pastors who follow science, public health professionals, and state governments are “submitting to power hungry tyrants.”

Charlie Kirk, the co-founder of the Falkirk Center, tells his followers to ignore Anthony Fauci:

Charlie forgets that Tom Paine wrote Common Sense at a Planet Fitness:

Kirk continues to undermine the democratic process with his unprovable election fraud claims:

And let’s not forget Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow and Trump election fraud lawyer Jenna Ellis:

She is still quoting scripture:

And in other court evangelical news:

Sometimes God gives a prophet “corrections”:

Wallnau is not happy with Beth Moore. On Wednesday he shared this Facebook post from someone named Johnny Enlow:

Response to Beth Moore’s Tweet of Dec 13, 2020 (Twitter@BethMooreLPM)

Beth Moore, I was sent your tweet this morning and you wanted to hear from fellow leaders. Your rebuke was public so therefore this too is public. My goal is that this be an entreaty more than a counter rebuke. Now, I pray you will listen to a fellow leader. To acknowledge and recognize that God’s key governmental instrument is President Trump is not “Trumpism”. Nor is it denying Jesus any preeminent place. The reason God has Cyrus’s and Davids and Esthers and Moses’s and Pauls and Elijahs and Gideons and Joshuas etc. etc. is because He uses human instruments. If I applied your logic to your very ministry I could conclude that you are unnecessary to give a message because Jesus as King will take care of it. You seemingly have faith for Him to handle all governmental matters personally without need of an instrument but not religious or spiritual matters. I think it self-evident He would not call us the “salt” of the earth and the “light” of the world if He as King Jesus would handle everything.

What if King Jesus has Himself sanctioned and raised President Trump as His key instrument at this time? Would it not be an egregious offense before Him for a leader in the Body of Christ such as yourself to not recognize that reality because of some personal wound, grudge, blindness or preference? And worse to then encourage other leaders towards similar mutiny equivalent? What if some leaders in Moses’ day would have reached out to the people and messaged “We have no need to follow Moses! We must only follow God? God will open the Red Sea before us whether we honor or follow Moses or not”. Would that “zeal for Jesus” have been looked upon kindly by God? I think not. It would be a zeal devoid of wisdom. Apply that to every Biblical character of renown that God used as His key instrument. Israel repeatedly faced judgment for ignoring who God had sent as His key instrument. That was true all the way into the New Testament. The Pharisees could not receive Jesus Himself because of their “zeal for God”. They disrespected the instrument God sent because He was not in the package they expected- and He was actually God Himself! Would not anyone championing “God” above honoring the leader this very God had chosen– actually be in rebellion to God?

Beth, I must tell you that as much as I have respected your ministry to the Body of Christ for many years that this is where you find yourself today. You not only are in resistance to God’s instrument of choice of the hour but you are using the very platform God has given you to champion foolishness against God. While there may or may not be “Trumpism” the actual reason there is so much passion in the Body of Christ towards President Trump and what he is fighting for, is because there are millions of believers in this nation discerning God’s will and His instrument of deliverance for our nation. You have done them and the Body of Christ and the general populace itself a great disservice by calling their proper discernment into account. May you back down from your self-righteous stand and properly discern the day and the hour we are in. May the accountability you have projected onto leaders in the Body of Christ be properly felt by you, yourself, as it is serious. –Johnny Enlow

Court evangelical journalist David Brody interviewed new Christian convert and convicted felon Roger Stone:

Eric Metaxas is explaining his “controversial” comments at Saturday’s Jericho March. He tries to separate himself from Alex Jones, his anti-Catholic remarks, and his blatant plugs for the My Pillow Guy.” He also mentions Rod Dreher’s criticism of his appearance at the Jericho March. Rule of thumb: when you need a ten minute segment to clarify your statements, something might be wrong.

He also addresses those criticizing him on Twitter about his belief in election fraud. He specifically mentions Karen Swallow Prior, Kevin Mattingly, and Rod Dreher. He says that their criticism is wrong and “sloppy.” Then he tries to compare the Jericho March with the Civil Rights Movement.

Here are some of the comments on these Metaxas videos:

  • None of this is okay! Biden is NOT OUR PRESIDENT!!! I will NEVER ACCEPT BIDEN OR HARRIS!!!
  • Joe Biden and his campaign TOOK IT BY STEALING so they had to physically “show” that he was “President elect” with signs lol because they themselves know it is fraudulent! Their guilt shows EVERY SINGLE DAY!
  • He calls himself President Elect. He also announced publicly that he and others put together the most comprehensive voter fraud organization in the history of America. Which of these statements is true?
  • We need to be in a position that we are standing in Faith and we’re not giving up! Don’t let them see us sweat! God got this! This is not over!
  • I don’t understand why people are “moving on” from this or letting it slide. Ignoring it. Not standing up to obvious fraud. It makes my heart so sad. Justice and honesty are not being honored. And all the people who voted and put in the effort to abide by the rules have been dismissed. It’s so disrespectful of our nation and our principles. And the implication that anyone who won’t let it go is somehow wrong or imbalanced. I so appreciate your attitude towards this. And the people who are involved. Speaking the truth in love. Bless you bless you bless you.
  • I absolutely 100% agree with you. But Biden doesn’t have have a decent bone in his body. And doesn’t care if all of American thinks he is a lier and crook, which he most obviously is.
  • Don’t forget the pastors of the 1700s who were key in the founding of this nation!
  • Eric, this is part of persecution because we are standing up for Righteousness, Truth, Freedom, and Justice. Persecution will be heavier but remember that you are doing the right thing in the eyes of the Lord. Jesus also said, the world hated Him therefore the world will hate you so count that as a blessing (paraphrase) Matt 5:10. Just a few nights ago, I had a dream and a man in my dream spoke loudly and distinctly the word PERSECUTION. I knew God was showing me to be prepared for it. So be prepared and be blessed for standing on the side withJesus! Paul says in 2Corn 12:10, for Christ, he delights in hardships and persecution.
  • I am stunned people do not want to see or know the truth. We have Forensic research stating Dominion machines have a 68% error rate. Thousands of affidavits from American citizens. Video of fraud taking place. Why should we accept their fraud. NO and HELL NO!

The Electoral College has voted, but Jack Hibbs is still holding out hope:

Jim Garlow shames all evangelicals who did not vote for Trump. They are all baby-killers, socialists, freedom-haters, anti-marriage, totalitarians, and opponents of religious freedom. Here is what he wrote this week at his Facebook page:

81% of evangelicals voted for life in the womb, the sacredness of authentic marriage, for Israel, for choice-based economics/ free market, a job expanding employment which produced the greatest socioeconomic lift to minorities ever recorded …and for liberty and freedom.

But 14% of so-called “evangelicals” (which used to mean Bible believing) knowingly voted for the dismemberment of babies, the destruction of biblical marriage (yesterday I posted an article about Biden appointing a transgender to high office and it was immediately removed), socialism (which inflicts staggering human pain), economic policies which result in the poor becoming a permanent and dependent underclass, an anti Israel stance (which brings God’s judgment – Genesis 12:3), for authoritarianism and totalitarianism (think Cuomo, Newsom, Whitmar, Lightfoot, Pelosi all making rules for “the deplorables” while they violated them!) and – even though the 14% of “evangelicals” were warned that it would cost us religious freedom – tyranny for those who hold to a distinctly biblical faith. Read this article carefully. Very carefully. These are the causes which 14% of so-called “evangelicals” openly supported, and helped destroy what is left of this wounded and tattered nation. At what point, will they repent?

This has little to nothing to do with specific candidates or parties per se. It is not Republicans vs Democrats. It is not Right vs Left. At its core, it is not even Trump vs Biden. It has everything to do with right vs wrong, with good vs evil. It has to do with policies. With principles. Some biblical. Others radically anti-biblical.

Where is the shame among the 14%? Where is the repentance? Look what 14% supported. I am not angry. I am sad. I grieve for them. Read the article carefully (Leftist “evangelicals” – as if there can be such a thing! – are referred to.)

I am assuming that the so-called “14%” will not be part of this (also on his FB page):

A wild question. In the midst of our national demise, is there a chance we are on the cusp of the Third Great Awakening in America? My gut feeling – and I might be totally wrong – is that the 3rd Great Awakening just MIGHT be 1.Very different from the 1st and 2nd Great Awakenings and… 2.There is a possibility – maybe – that we just MIGHT already be in it, given the massive prayer movement that is in the US – along with many other nations praying for us during this horrific time. However, we don’t yet recognize it for the revival it is, because it gets overshadowed or overridden by the political nuances since the spiritual awakening is flowing primarily out of a royally botched, fraudulent election.

In other words, prayer for “election integrity” will lead to a revival.

Robert Jeffress has been pretty quiet on the “election fraud” front. Yesterday he tweeted about Santa Claus:

Ralph Reed seems to have moved on from the presidential election. He continues to focus on the Georgia Senate run-offs:

Senate Intelligence Committee Unanimously Concludes that Russia Helped Trump Win in 2016

trump putin

Here is Ellen Makashina at The Washington Post:

The Senate Intelligence Committee has unanimously endorsed the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia conducted a sweeping and unprecedented campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The heavily-redacted report, based on a three-year investigation, builds on a committee finding nearly two years ago that the January 2017 intelligence community assessment (ICA) on Russia was sound. The spy agencies also found that Russia sought to shake faith in American democracy, denigrate then-candidate Hillary Clinton and boost her rival Donald Trump.

Read the rest here.

It is worth noting that the Senate Intelligence Committee includes Republican Senators James Risch (ID), Marco Rubio (FL), Susan Collins (ME), Roy Blunt (MO), Tom Cotton (AR), John Cornyn (TX), Ben Sasse (NE), and Richard Burr (Chairman-NC).

No tweets yet from Trump.

Tweet of the Night

vb-cjs-arms-bw

John Smith coat of arms

It comes from Central Michigan University historian Andrew Wehrman.  He comments on Trump’s visit to Jamestown tomorrow:

Why the Buzzfeed Story, if Inaccurate, Could Backfire on Trump

Here is some speculation:

Buzzfeed issued a story claiming that they had two sources who told them that Donald Trump told Michael Cohen to lie before Congress.  Twenty-four hours later, a spokesperson for Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Donald Trump’s connections with Russia, said that the story was “not accurate.”

As of now, Buzzfeed stands by the story:

And Trump’s counsel Rudy Giuliani has responded:

So if I read this correctly, Giuliani (and by extension Trump?) is affirming the integrity of the Mueller investigation.  So if Mueller is right about the Buzzfeed article, why wouldn’t he also be right about everything else in an investigation that Trump has described as a “witchhunt?”

Trump may win this battle.  But when Mueller’s report comes out and Trump denies its accuracy, his opponents will bring up this incident.  This incident only strengthens the integrity of the Mueller investigation in the long term.

Just some random thoughts for your Friday night.

Max Boot Lists 18 Reasons Why Trump Could be a Russian Asset

trump putin

Max Boot is an American intellectual and military historian who is best known for his decision to leave the Republican Party and the conservative movement in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.  He tells this story in The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right.

In a recent Washington Post piece, Boot offers 18 reasons why Trump might be working with the Russians.  Here is a taste:

On Friday, the New York Times reported that “in the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” That investigation may well be continuing under the auspices of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. We don’t know what Mueller has learned. But we can look at the key, publicly available evidence that both supports and undercuts this explosive allegation.

Here is some of the evidence suggesting “Individual 1” could be a Russian “asset”:

— Trump has a long financial history with Russia. As summarized by Jonathan Chait in an invaluable New York magazine article: “From 2003 to 2017, people from the former USSR made 86 all-cash purchases — a red flag of potential money laundering — of Trump properties, totaling $109 million. In 2010, the private-wealth division of Deutsche Bank also loaned him hundreds of millions of dollars during the same period it was laundering billions in Russian money. ‘Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,’ said Donald Jr. in 2008. ‘We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia,’ boasted Eric Trump in 2014.” According to Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s guilty plea of lying to Congress, Trump was even pursuing his dream of building a Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign with the help of a Vladimir Putin aide. These are the kind of financial entanglements that intelligence services such as the FSB typically use to ensnare foreigners, and they could leave Trump vulnerable to blackmail.

— The Russians interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to help elect Trump president.

— Trump encouraged the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails on July 27, 2016 (“Russia, if you’re listening”), on the very day that Russian intelligence hackers tried to attack Clinton’s personal and campaign servers.

— There were, according to the Moscow Project, “101 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia linked operatives,” and “the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.” The most infamous of these contacts was the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower between the Trump campaign high command and a Kremlin emissary promising dirt on Clinton. Donald Trump Jr.’s reaction to the offer of Russian assistance? “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Read the rest here.

The Trump Cover-Up and the Fate of the Court Evangelicals

SekulowIf the Washington Post‘s reporting is true, Donald Trump tried to cover-up his son’s meeting with a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign.  We still don’t know what the POTUS was trying to cover-up, but it now appears that the Russians were involved.

Another Post writer, Paul Waldman, reflects on this news:

This latest story is clearly one of the most significant developments in this scandal to date, for two reasons. First, it describes an organized effort to mislead the public — not to spin, or minimize the story, or distract from it, or throw out wild accusations about someone else, but to intentionally fool everyone into believing something false. Second, it implicates the president himself. Indeed, the most extraordinary part of the picture this story paints is that while other people involved were recommending some measure of transparency on the assumption that the truth would come out eventually, they were overruled by the president, who personally dictated the misleading statement.

And it gets worse. Once the story broke, Trump’s own lawyer went to the media and denied that the president was involved in the drafting of the misleading statement. In two televised interviews, Jay Sekulow said “the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement,” “The president didn’t sign off on anything,” and “The president wasn’t involved in that.” While it’s theoretically possible that Sekulow would make emphatic statements of fact like those about what his client did or didn’t do without actually asking Trump, that seems almost impossible to believe. Sekulow is a prominent attorney who knows exactly what kind of trouble that could bring, both to himself and his client. So the only reasonable conclusion is that he was repeating what Trump told him.

Read the entire piece here.

Jay Sekulow, Trump’s lawyer, is an evangelical Christian.  He may now be experiencing some of the blow-back that comes when court evangelicals turn a blind eye to the moral character of the politicians who they hope (and pray) will give them access to power.

When Sekulow went on television and denied that Donald Trump had nothing to do with his son’s “misleading statement” about the Russian meeting he was either:

1).  Lying on behalf of the President

or

2). Unaware that the President was involved in the crafting of the statement. If this is true, Trump used Sekulow as part of his cover-up.

In June 2017, we wrote a post on a report that Sekulow was urging poor people to give money to his Christian non-profit while he lived a lavish lifestyle and paid millions of dollars to family members.  His current defense of Trump is not going to help him rebuild his integrity.

Court evangelicalism is not illegal, but it damages the witness of the church in the world.

On Russia-Gate and “Context”

Trump Jr.

Ever since Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russians came to light, everyone on cable news is talking about context.  Pundits and commentators believe that Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer must be understood in the context of:

Donald Trump’s connection to the people who set up the meeting.

General Michael Flynn’s meetings with Russians.

Donald Trump’s Putin-love.

Jared Kushner’s meeting with Russians.

Donald Trump’s decision to remove an anti-Russia stance on the Ukraine from the GOP platform.

Trump adviser Roger Stone’s connections to Russia.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s links to Russia.

Trump adviser Carter Page’s links to Russia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s failure to disclose meetings he had with Russians.

Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey over his role in the Russian investigation.

Trump telling Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office that Comey was a “nutjob” and that his firing has taken the “pressure” off of him.

And we could go on…

Does all of this information mean that Donald Trump is guilty of colluding with the Russians?  Not necessarily.  But any investigation into this case must begin with this context.  It cannot be ignored.

Historians talk about context all the time.  Contextual thinking is historical thinking. Any investigator–whether it be the FBI, the CIA, or an insurance investigator–must take context into consideration when conducting an investigation.

“Context” is one of the five “Cs” of historical thinking that I write about at length in Why Study History?: Reflecting on the Importance of the Past.  Context does not always lead us to definitive answers about “what happened.”  In this sense, history is a limited discipline.  But it is an essential discipline in the sense that it can help us get close–sometimes very close–to the answers we seek.

Is Trump guilty of collusion with the Russians?  We will only find out if investigators continue to apply other historical skills: research, investigation, and the dogged search for evidence.  But context is a start.

Why study history?  A better question might be “why not study history?”

This Headline Explains the Whole Trump Jr. Meeting with a Russian Contact

Trump Jr.

It is from David Graham of The Atlantic: “If There Was No Collusion, It Wasn’t for Lack of Trying.”

Here is a taste:

In other words, Trump Jr. admitted (while acknowledging a prior lie) that he was open to receiving damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian lawyer; he was just frustrated that she didn’t seem to have it. If there was no collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump inner circle, it was not because top Trump aides were against it.

Trump Jr.’s admission here is remarkable. Donald Trump’s tendency to speak unwisely remains one of his greatest weaknesses—his threat to release apparently fictive tapes resulted in a special-counsel investigation that has rocked his still-young presidency—and his children are a chip off the old block. (Eric Trump has admitted, contra claims of separation, that he continues to talk business with his father.)

Read the rest here.

Conservative Evangelicals and Putin

Putin and Religion

Are conservatives in the United States growing fond of Vladimir Putin?

Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger of The Washington Post uncover a growing connection between conservative groups and Putin’s Russia.  These conservatives are drawn to Putin’s views on guns and gay marriage.  A Nashville lawyer with a porcelain bust of Putin in his office put it this way:  “the value system of Southern Christians and the value system of Russians are very much in line.”

Before I give you a further taste of this article, I think I should mention that Putin is a ruthless dictator who probably ordered the deaths of several of his political enemies.

But at least he is pro-gun and anti-gay marriage.

A taste:

Growing up in the 1980s, Brian Brown was taught to think of the communist Soviet Union as a dark and evil place.

But Brown, a leading opponent of same-sex marriage, said that in the past few years he has started meeting Russians at conferences on family issues and finding many kindred spirits.

Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, has visited Moscow four times in four years, including a 2013 trip during which he testified before the Duma as Russia adopted a series of anti-gay laws.

“What I realized was that there was a great change happening in the former Soviet Union,” he said. “There was a real push to re-instill Christian values in the public square.”

A significant shift has been underway in recent years across the Republican right.

On issues including gun rights, terrorism and same-sex marriage, many leading advocates on the right who grew frustrated with their country’s leftward tilt under President Barack Obama have forged ties with well-connected Russians and come to see that country’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, as a potential ally.

The attitude adjustment among many conservative activists helps explain one of the most curious aspects of the 2016 presidential race: a softening among many conservatives of their historically hard-line views of Russia. To the alarm of some in the GOP’s national security establishment, support in the party base for then-candidate Donald Trump did not wane even after he rejected the tough tone of 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who called Russia America’s No. 1 foe, and repeatedly praised Putin.

Read the entire piece here.

 

The Author’s Corner with Lee Farrow

sewardfollyLee Farrow is Professor of History at Auburn University at Montgomery. This interview is based on her new book, Seward’s Folly: A New Look at the Alaska Purchase (University of Alaska Press, 2016).

JF: What led you to write Seward’s Folly?

LF: I took a cruise to Alaska a few years ago. I realized I knew very little about the purchase, so when we landed in Sitka, I went to the only bookstore in town and looked for something to read on it.  There was nothing. When I got back home, I did a little research and realized that the last book on this subject for adults was published in 1975. I decided this should be my next project, and I contacted the University of Alaska Press and they agreed it was time for a new book on the subject.

JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of Seward’s Folly?

LF: The Alaska Purchase—denounced at the time as “Seward’s Folly” but now seen as a masterstroke—is well known as a key moment in American history, but few know the whole story. This book gives an overview of just what the Alaska Purchase was, how it came about, and its impact at the time, and discusses its implications for foreign policy and international diplomacy far beyond Russia and the United States at a moment when the global balance of power was in question.

JF: Why do we need to read Seward’s Folly?

LF: Russia, and the question of Russia-American relations, is back in the news and the subject of much concern and controversy. In addition, Alaska has been at the center of various debates in recent years, some involving global climate change and the environment, some involving questions of domestic energy reserves. There are also those in Russia who believe the Russian-American Treaty of 1867 was not really a sale, but a lease, and that Russia has a rightful claim to Alaska. While this argument is incorrect and not likely to be taken seriously in most corners, it is part of the story of the complex Russian-American relationship.

JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?

LF: I’m actually a Russian historian, but in recent years, I have become interested in the history of Russian-American relations. In 2014, I published a book called Alexis in America: A Russian Grand Duke’s Tour, 1871-72, that examined the visit of Russian Grand Duke Alexis, Tsar Alexander II’s son, to the United States. Among other things, Alexis visited Chicago after the Great Fire, hunted buffalo with Buffalo Bill and Custer, and was in New Orleans for the first daytime Mardi Gras celebration, and was treated as a celebrity wherever he went. I became interested in Russian history in high school in the early 1980’s when an older friend of mine went off to college and started studying the Russian language.

JF: What is your next project?

LF: I am currently working on the republication of several memoirs by American women who witnessed the Russian Revolution of 1917. One of these, Louise Bryant, was the wife of John Reed and was played by Diane Keaton in the film, “Reds.”

JF: Thanks, Lee!

What Mitt Romney Said About Russia

It looks like he was right.


From Isaac Chotiner at The New Republic:

In the course of the last presidential campaign, Mitt Romney made a comment about America’s number one “geopolitical foe,” which Romney claimed was Russia. He was mocked by the president and many liberal commentators. Here are Romney’s remarks, in their full context, which came during a conversation with Wolf Blitzer: 
ROMNEY:  Russia…is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe.  They fight every cause for the world’s worst actors.
BLITZER:  But you think Russia is a bigger foe right now than, let’s say, Iran or China or North Korea? Is that—is that what you’re suggesting, Governor?
ROMNEY:  Well, I’m saying in terms of a geopolitical opponent, the nation that lines up with the world’s worst actors.  Of course, the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear Iran.  A nuclear North Korea is already troubling enough.
But when these—these terrible actors pursue their course in the world and we go to the United Nations looking for ways to stop them, when—when Assad, for instance, is murdering his own people, we go—we go to the United Nations, and who is it that always stands up for the world’s worst actors? It is always Russia, typically with China alongside.
And—and so in terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that’s on the Security Council, that has the heft of the Security Council and is, of course, a—a massive nuclear power, Russia is the—the geopolitical foe.
This all seems…exactly right.