US-Russia Relations: Former US Ambassador to Moscow Warns of Police State in the United States

Former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock, who is also a leading scholar on Russia, warned in a post on his website March 4, that the U.S. threatens to become a “police state.” In reference to the assumption by so many media and politicians that any contact that President Trump’s supporters may have had with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and other Russian diplomats is questionable or even illegal, he writes:

“I have been taught that in a democracy with the rule of law, the accused are entitled to a presumption of innocence until convicted. But we have leaks that imply that any conversation with a Russian embassy official is suspect. That is the attitude of a police state, and leaking such allegations violates every normal rule regarding FBI investigations.”

Matlock goes on:

“As one who spent a 35-year diplomatic career working to open up the Soviet Union and to make communication between our diplomats and ordinary citizens a normal practice, I find the attitude of much of our political establishment and of some of our once respected media outlets quite incomprehensible. What in the world is wrong with consulting a foreign embassy about ways to improve relations? Anyone who aspires to advise an American president should do just that.”

Matlock also endorses Trump’s accusation that we are experiencing a witch hunt: “The whole brou-ha-ha over contacts with Russian diplomats has taken on all the earmarks of a witch hunt. President Trump is right to make that charge,” he writes.
He concludes:

“Finding a way to improve relations with Russia is in the vital interest of the United States. Nuclear weapons constitute an existential threat to our nation, and indeed to humanity. We are on the brink of another nuclear arms race which would be not only dangerous in itself, but would make cooperation with Russia on many other important issues virtually impossible. Those who are trying to find a way to improve relations with Russia should be praised, not scapegoated.”