Sunday, August 14, 2016

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin (July 26)

Many foreign policy observers were surprised when Donald Trump declared that he would ‘do business’ with Vladimir Putin, and those on the left in the US were doubly disturbed, seeing Trump as a neo-fascist.

Following the business mogul’s acceptance speech, the picture looks a little clearer, though not necessarily simpler. Trump appears to be winning over American Evangelicals, notwithstanding his crude language and his several wives, probably in large part thanks to his call for law and order. In fact, this backing will bring double returns, because it aligns him in yet another way with the Russian President. Unbeknownst to most Americans, Vladimir Putin is a committed Eastern Orthodox, not only preaching a return to religion, but visiting monasteries and reserving a privileged place for Kyril, the Russian Patriarch on the presidential reviewing stand.

Vladimir Putin’s embrace of religion is an integral part of his traditional worldview, based on solid families and what he refers to as sovereignization. As the eminent Russian blogger living in the US known as the Saker wrote in 2014

“The Russian end-goal: to unseat the US from its role as a world hegemon, (and to) present another civilizational model which openly rejects the current Western paradigm of a society run by small, arrogant minorities,” in which individual countries are no longer sovereign, and to “challenge the current liberal capitalist economic order embodied in the Washington Consensus and replace it by a model of social and international solidarity (call it ’21 century socialism’ if you want).” 

Writing in Russian Insider recently, Russian paleo-conservative blogger Roman Nosikov noted that: “The recent meeting of the NATO-Russia Council shows that basically the parties are not yet ready for dialogue, because Russia is a country and NATO is a bureaucratic structure. A country has interests and goals, while a structure has reports, work plans, schedules and cadres. The country has a reality, and the structure has an ideology. 

Nosikov goes on to say that:“Russia offers the restoration of international law…. and transparent rules of the game….a capitalism that is not diseased with the ideology of supremacy and bureaucracy,” referring to Vladimir Putin’s repeated calls for a return to sovereign states loosely organized around several regional poles to replace overall US hegemony, one dominant state (the US) with subordinate allies..

This is a more elegant way of describing a new world order than that of Donald Trump, but if these two meet, they will understand each other, at least on this level, which is about the survival of a nuclear-armed planet.

More on Trump/Putin to come.

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