The best propaganda is the propaganda that mixes truth and lies. Half truths also are a good strategy. The old adage that there are “two sides to every story” can be used as propaganda if only one side of the story is told. For students of the propaganda art it is fascinating to see how Putin has done the mix and the half-truth to create his pretext to invade Ukraine. It is equally fascinating to see how right wing pundits deal with the invasion. I say “right wing” only out of convenience as we know that what was “right” or “left” in the past, is no longer what it was.
However; TRUTH: Yes Donald Trump increased oil production in the USA and from what we see today that was a smart thing to do. Yes Donald Trump criticized NATO members for not doing more to support the organization and live up to their financial commitments to pay their share. He stated the stupidity of the US taxpayer supporting Germany who then made a deal to get their gas from Russia. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made him correct.
Sean Hannity is not wrong claiming that the US energy surplus would be very handy now. He can make the point that cancelling the Keystone Pipeline was not wise and that the US buying oil from Russia helps Putin. From what we see Russia doing today in Ukraine he is correct.
Then there is the other side of the story that is not mentioned. Trump stated that NATO was no longer relevant and undermined US relations with its long time allies. He cozied up to Russia as he resisted applying sanctions, He held up arms to Ukraine and was indeed anti Ukraine wanting to blame Ukraine for interfering in US elections not Russia. As Bolton himself said, Putin was hoping for a second term of Trump because he could have taken Ukraine without any need to invade. Putin was hoping to do to Ukraine what Hitler did to Czechoslovakia.
There are several theories of why Putin wanted Ukraine, but it does not matter which one is correct. What does matter is that he was going to take it no matter who was President AND he figured he could get away with it. Perhaps easier with Trump, but even with Biden he thinks he can get away with it. We need to make sure he doesn’t.
Some think that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan gave Putin the idea that the US would allow him to move against Ukraine. That the US was not going to stand up to a determined adversary like Russia. There are two facts that run counter to this. First, it is now apparent that Putin has been planning the invasion of Ukraine for a long time – well before the US pulled out of Afghanistan. Second, no matter who was President, Trump, Biden or God himself, getting out of Afghanistan was going to be messy. Donald Trump announced the US was ending the war and pulling out. He did not when he realized the mess that would result. You can say he was a pussy or just did not want to deal with it any more than Obama wanted to. Who can blame him? Biden also knew of the mess it was likely to bring, but had the guts to get out any way. Anyone who imagines getting out of that war was going to be easy and orderly is dreaming or just plain stupid.
The point is that whoever was President, Trump or Biden, Russia was going to take Ukraine either way. The world does not always revolve around what we are thinking and doing. In this case it revolved purely around what Putin was thinking.