Politics & Government

Denny Heck tells Olympia Rotary Russia has become a “gas station with nukes”

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Washington ratified its constitution in 1889 and created three branches of government modeled after the federal government: executive, legislative and judicial. Here is who serves in each branch.

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck talked about Russia with the Olympia Rotary Club Monday, saying his time on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has convinced him Russia is a “gas station with nukes” in terms of the threat it poses to the United States.

Heck identified five main threats targeted by the intelligence community, including Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and non-state actors. After addressing China, Heck went on to say “Then there’s Russia, a gas station with nukes, literally. You take the gas out of the economy and they’re just a very well-armed Third-World country, but they’re one that has significant malevolent intent.”

Heck cited Russia’s occupation of Crimea, invasion of Ukraine and the “non-stop repeated cyber warfare that they engage against (the United States)” as proof of authoritarianism and attacks on liberal democracies.

Heck went on to call the conflict between Russia and the United States “Cold War 2.” He explained the conflict as a continuation of the original Cold War which lasted from 1947-1991.

“I think frankly we prematurely declared victory, and as a consequence ... I think what has emerged is a new cold war,” Heck said. “The first one was capitalism versus communism. The new one is the values of liberal democracies … versus the forces of authoritarianism and kleptocracy.”

Heck emphasized that the struggle against international threats is still ongoing.

“I think it’s really important to recognize that we are engaged in these battles now, today, as we speak ... in cyberspace,” Heck told the Rotary. “People sometimes ask me if I thought Putin and his people would be back in the 2020 election. My friends, Putin never left.”

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