Thursday, July 7, 2016
Trump, TeaPublicans, and Putin
Donald Trump and the TeaPublicans never hide their admiration of the former head of the Communist KGB and now Russian leader strongman, Vladimir Putin. The TeaPublicans have compared Putin to President Obama and admired Putin's leadership qualities over their own American president.
Trump had this to say about Putin:
December 2015 -- Washington (CNN)
Donald Trump on Friday praised Vladimir Putin and appeared to defend the autocratic Russian president when pressed about his alleged killing of journalists and political opponents critical of his rule. One day after Putin called Trump a "bright and talented" and the "absolute leader of the presidential race," the Republican presidential front-runner returned the compliments, hailing Putin as a "leader" and pointing to his high favorability numbers in Russia. "He's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country,"
Franklin Foer of Slate describes Putin's influence on European and now U.S. extreme right politics, and it's not good:
Vladimir Putin has a plan for destroying the West—and that plan looks a lot like Donald Trump.
Over the past decade, Russia has boosted right-wing populists across Europe. It loaned money to Marine Le Pen in France, well-documented transfusions of cash to keep her presidential campaign alive. Such largesse also wended its way to the former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, who profited “personally and handsomely” from Russian energy deals, as an American ambassador to Rome once put it. (Berlusconi also shared a 240-year-old bottle of Crimean wine with Putin and apparently makes ample use of a bed gifted to him by the Russian president.)
There’s a clear pattern: Putin runs stealth efforts on behalf of politicians who rail against the European Union and want to push away from NATO. He’s been a patron of Golden Dawn in Greece, Ataka in Bulgaria, and Jobbik in Hungary.
Joe Biden warned about this effort last year in a speech at the Brookings Institution: “President Putin sees such political forces as useful tools to be manipulated, to create cracks in the European body politic which he can then exploit.” Ruptures that will likely multiply after Brexit—a campaign Russia’s many propaganda organs bombastically promoted.
Donald Trump is like the Kremlin’s favored candidates, only more so. He celebrated the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. He denounces NATO with feeling. He is also a great admirer of Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s devotion to the Russian president has been portrayed as buffoonish enthusiasm for a fellow macho strongman. But Trump’s statements of praise amount to something closer to slavish devotion. In 2007, he praised Putin for “rebuilding Russia.” A year later he added, “He does his work well. Much better than our Bush.”
When Putin ripped American exceptionalism in a New York Times op-ed in 2013, Trump called it “a masterpiece.” Despite ample evidence, Trump denies that Putin has assassinated his opponents: “In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that.” In the event that such killings have transpired, they can be forgiven: “At least he’s a leader.” And not just any old head of state: “I will tell you that, in terms of leadership, he’s getting an A.”
How many times have we read about and heard TeaPublicans smearing President Obama with the label "Commie!" and yet they fall all over themselves in their admiration for a real "Commie," Putin. Now their hero, Trump, carries their admiration further by extolling the virtues of a strongman dictator -- and not just Putin, Trump admires Kim Jong Un as well.
And we understand why. Trump has a strong affinity for strongman tactics:
Meanwhile, Trump doubles down on the Star of David controversy and said his campaign should never have taken it down and should never have apologized for putting it up.