The Dems would love to believe nothing more than the notion that the GOP has Russia in their pocket. For them, that’s the explanation for everything, including how Trump could become president over Hillary Clinton. However, all of that goes out the window when a Republican Senator is denied a visa for a congressional visit.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) was recently denied a visa to Russia for a bipartisan congressional delegation that will be taking place next week. Johnson has been able to visit Russia in the past, including last July. The Wisconsin Republican, as well as a few other lawmakers, were criticized in the US for attending meetings that involved Kremlin-connected officials.
If the Democrats were correct in that the GOP has a special relationship with Russia, a GOP senator wouldn’t be denied the visit. However, Johnson called the visa denial a “petty affront.” He has been working closely with the US ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman Jr, to set up a direct dialogue with some of the parliamentarians in Russia so that future relations between the two nations can be improved.
Unfortunately, Russian officials are choosing to play diplomatic games. With a visa denial, it shows that they aren’t looking to improve relations between themselves and the United States. The Russian Embassy in Washington is playing games, sending a statement on Twitter saying that the senator never asked for a visa. According to the embassy, there are “groundless accusations” coming from Johnson. They are calling him “Russiaphobic” and state that he wants to confront instead of having a dialogue.
Even if all of this were true, there’s still no visa available to Johnson, which the Russian Embassy could have granted him during this time instead of tweeting out a statement.
It is critical for the senator to have a visa to Russia. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as well as being the chairman of the subcommittee on Europe and regional security cooperation, he needs to be able to have open communications as well is to check on the various US politicians who are seated in Russia. He is also been in support of various pieces of legislation that focus on Russian accountability, particularly with its aggression towards Ukraine.
If there’s anyone trying to make peace with Russia, it’s the United States. There have been countless politicians who have extended an olive branch to Russia in order to provide them with a better alternative to the way that they are currently conducting business on around the globe. They have not held free and fair elections, they don’t respect the law, and Putin has been involved with invading Georgia, trying to illegally annexed Crimea, and starting a war in eastern Ukraine.
Further, Trump was at the Group of Seven (G-7) meetings this past week, taking place in Biarritz, France. This is a summit that Russia was booted from when they annexed the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine. However, Trump has announced that he plans to invite Putin to the 2020 summit, which will take place in the United States. This is a way of bringing Russia and Putin back into the loop with all that’s going on in the world – and providing them with the opportunity to make better decisions.
The Russian Embassy can say all that they will about the GOP Senator and accusing him of not actually filing for a visa or informing them of the mission of his desire to visit. The reality is that the GOP Senator is not able to go about his business in Russia because of the inability to get a visa. This means that the embassy is blatantly lying on Twitter, all to make themselves look like the victim – a common move that has grown tiring.
With the GOP unable to focus on what needs to be done in order to improve relations between the United States and Russia, this needs to be a clear showing to the Dems who believe that there are “special” relations taking place. If someone from the GOP is being denied a visa, there’s no hope that a House Dem would get one due to their overall hostility towards Putin and their belief that he interfered with the 2016 US elections, placing Trump into the seat of power instead of Clinton.
Russia needs to start playing fair, and this includes allowing visas to make it easier to start conversations. It’s the only way that relations can ever hope to improve between the two countries, whether Putin likes it or not.