The three Congressmen representing our area have surely satisfied their "base" supporters by voting "lock step" with all the other Republicans to condone the conduct of President Trump when the Articles of Impeachment were passed. But in doing so they have placed not only those supporters but all of their constituents in grave danger.

By their votes, Representatives Cline, Griffith and Riggleman would have us believe the President's assertion that there was nothing improper about his withholding military aid from an ally that is in the midst of a war in which Russia is aggressively taking portions of its sovereign territory. They would have us close our eyes to the fact that Vladimir Putin is carefully gauging our nation's reaction to his every move as he calculates his next steps.

And what might Putin's next steps include? As a former KGB agent, the Russian president clearly yearns for the long lost glory of the former Soviet Union and all of its lost "republics." He has already grabbed the Crimean area of Ukraine, asserting Russia's "rightful claim" to a warm weather seaport on the Black Sea. He clearly desires similar access to the Baltic Sea, and the former Soviet Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania offer tempting targets. If the United States equivocates in our resistances to his advances in Ukraine, he will surely feel emboldened to push forward aggressively in the Baltic region.

The problem, in case the president and our representatives haven't noticed, is that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are now members of NATO, and the United States is bound by treaty to come to the military assistance of any NATO member that comes under attack. Should Putin misjudge our nation's resolve; should he misread our president's actions and the "loyal" support of his "base," we could find ourselves dragged into war with Russia. This possibility is not idle speculation -- it is a real potential consequence of the "game" that has been playing out before our eyes by the Republican Party in recent days.

Shame on our congressmen for their unquestioning support of the machinations of this president.

PETE HAMILTON

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY

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