Saturday, December 19, 2015

Response to Political Anomalies

It's fun to think Vladimir Putin endorsed Donald Trump, but the truth is, he didn't; in fact, he made a point of saying it's up to the American people.

He was only responding to reporters random questions, saying, depending on which translation you believe, that Trump is “an outstanding and talented personality", or else that Trump is "flamboyant", which might mean something else altogether. But the next thing, we're all talking bromance, or at least that the two guys are, in many ways, very much alike.

Which, according to Masha Gessen, a Russian-American journalist, is largely true:

"Putin respects fighters and he respects aggression and he doesn’t respect sort of calm and deliberation,” Gessen said. “He wants a manly adversary. He wants somebody he can understand.”

("Manly"? Hey, not that there's anything wrong with this, but the little guy is only 5' 7" tall! The next time he's in Moscow, Obama, who is 6' 1", should challenge Putin to a little game of one-on-one basketball. If Putin insists, he can even be "skins"!)

But remember, Putin expects to compete against this adversary, and he also expects to win. It's easier for him to win against somebody he can understand, someone like Trump. It's harder for him to win against someone he doesn't understand, someone like Obama, and maybe even Hillary. 

Trump and Putin both fit the Mussolini strong-man image of leadership. This country doesn't need a "strong-man" leader who does a lot more posturing than thinking. Obama has played Putin fairly well when it was necessary -- getting him involved in removing chemical weapons from Syria, for example -- and Republicans, who tend to focus more on posturing than actual diplomacy, never acknowledged that.

One thing Trump -- who says he wants to "Make America Great Again!" -- seems not to understand that this country has an actual two-hundred-plus-year history of lofty ideals that have served it well, at least until now. Just as he can see us throwing away what the United States stands for, he can also see himself as its strongman leader along the lines of Vladimir Putin, who also wants to return his own country to the greatness of the past, which, in his case, was always a nation mired in misery, ruled with an iron fist by ruthless czars and commissars, all with inferiority complexes.

Instead of trying to "make America great again" by changing it into Russia, Trump should audit a few courses on American history to learn a little more about the country he is threatening to dismantle. 

And so, by the way, should all of those "low-information" followers of his, who may actually be the real villains of this piece.

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