Sergei Tretyakov, Nathan Hale, and Benedict Arnold? Is there a difference between our traitors and their’s?

The CIA turncoat, Aldrich Ames told me that one country’s traitor is another country’s hero.
But is that true?
Ames said it was true because the end result was betrayal — the breaking of an oath and allegiance to one’s homeland.
As I wrote last week in my eulogy to my friend, Sergei Tretyakov, I noticed marked differences between him, Ames and John Walker Jr., who got his son, Michael; brother Arthur; and best friend, Jerry Whitworth, to join him in spying for the Soviet Union’s foreign intelligence service, the KGB.
(I did not include the FBI traitor Robert Hanssen in my discussion because I did not know him personally.)
The most obvious difference was that Ames and Walker did it solely for money. They had no interest in Communism or the Soviet Union. Tretyakov betrayed his homeland because he wanted a better life for his daughter and he had become disillusioned with the corrupt leadership that had taken charge of the Kremlin.
Ames and Walker never wanted to live in the old Soviet Union. Tretyakov became a U.S. citizen.
In the final chapter of Comrade J, Sergei explained why he believed he was different from Ames and Walker.
“No one recruited me,” he wrote. “No one pitched me. No one convinced me to do what I did.”

He then quoted from the Declaration of Independence:  “When any Form of Government becomes is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it….It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government….”

Sergei concluded:  “My wants and my desires were not much different from those early colonists.’ In the end, I came to believe I was not betraying Russia. I felt its leaders had betrayed Russia and me.”
Can a person betray his nation honorably?
About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.