On his Fox News show Tuesday night, host tucker Carlson invited foreign policy hawk Ret. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters to debate how America should be handling various foreign powers, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, and others. When the conversation turned to Russia and Vladimir Putin, things got particularly tense, with Peters at one point comparing Carlson to a Nazi apologist and Carlson slamming Peters for his “insane” rhetoric.
“Our president seems determined to do anything he can with the Russians, and the Russians hate us — Vladimir Putin hates us,” said Peters. “He is malevolent and he is as close to pure evil as I can find. He’s also brilliant. I don’t understand why any American would want an alliance with Russia. We should be strengthening our alliance with democracies. Instead of trashing NATO, we should be building it up much more strongly. Why attack Australia? Why attack Canada? … It’s about Western civilization.”
“It’s hard to see why — I’m not vouching for Putin’s character, he seems like a shady guy, I wouldn’t live there,” Carlson replied. “Hard to see why he’s a threat to us. How many wars can we fight at once? How many people can we be in opposition to at once? Why not just accept that people who are bad people have similar interests and side with them?”
That’s when Peters dropped the Nazi apologist comparison.
“You sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938 saying Hitler hasn’t attacked us,” said Peters.
Stunned and clearly insulted, Carlson wouldn’t let the reference go unchallenged.
“I beg your pardon? Slow down. You cannot compare me to somebody who makes apologies for Hitler. And I don’t think Putin is comparable,” said tucker Carlson.
“I think Putin is,” replied Peters.
“I think it is a grotesque overstatement actually. I think it’s insane,” said the host.
“Fine, you can think it’s insane all you want,” said Peters.
But Tucker wouldn’t let it go.
“You just compared me to a Nazi apologist because I asked the question. Which is, why does it contravene American interest with a common cause with a group trying to kill ISIS?” he said.
“He invaded his neighbors, broken the long peace in Europe, assassinates dissidents and journalists, he bombs women and children on purpose in Syria, he is as bad as Hitler,” said Peters matter-of-factly. “If you don’t like the Charles Lindbergh [comparison] — I will retract that, but you sound like someone in the 1938 saying what has Hitler done to us?”
Carlson then pointed out that it’s impossible to predict the future by noting Peters’ own past errors in judgment on foreign policy issues.
“I would hate to go back and read your columns assuring America that taking out Saddam Hussein will make the region calmer, more peaceful, and America safer, when in fact it has been the opposite and it has empowered Russia and Iran, the two countries you say you fear most — let’s be totally honest, we don’t always know the outcomes,” said Carlson, adding, “They are not entirely predictable, so maybe we should lower that a little bit rather than calling people accommodationists.”