Just when you feel that things couldn’t possibly get much worse, they invariably do. We now have Vladimir Putin, the tyrant dictator of Russia, and Donald Trump, the would-be tyrant dictator of the United States, exchanging accolades with each other. A fine bromance indeed. As I’ve written before, both have egos that would make the Grand Canyon look like a crack in the sidewalk. Both pal around with the super-rich, but promote themselves as populist heroes of the working class. In a recent Moscow news conference, when asked about a possible Trump presidency, Putin remarked that Trump was “brilliant” and very talented. Putin further stated that a Trump presidency would unquestionably lead to better relations between Russia and the U.S. Trump then, of course, returned the favor by announcing that he was flattered to be so nicely complemented by this “highly respected man.” Are you feeling the onset of extreme nausea yet?
I’ve written many times before about the Russian dictatorship that Putin has established. That Putin controls Russia mafia-style, where he is the boss of bosses or the godfather. That he runs a system of crony capitalism, whereby his cronies get all the capital and the rest of the peasantry are left to drown their sorrows in Russian vodka. (As if to vindicate this point, a few months ago, Putin personally intervened to have the price of Russian vodka lowered, so the peasantry could drink even heavier amounts.) That so-called Russian elections are controlled by Putin’s goon squads to assure his landslide victories. And that Putin maintains his popularity through military conquest of defenseless European territory.
The Russian economy is in the tank because its primary source of revenue is the exportation of its huge reserves of oil and gas. But with oil now less than $40 a barrel (a little more than a year ago it was over a $100 a barrel), the economy in general is on life-support. So to compensate for miserable living conditions, and to keep the masses pacified, Putin has to engage in military adventurism. Like Mussolini’s grandiose dreams of restoring the old Roman Empire, that I wrote about last time, Putin’s dream is to return to power the USSR empire that existed during the cold war in the 20th century. Accordingly, in 2008, he invaded the neighboring state of Georgia and took control of half of that country. It was the first time since the end of WWII that a European country acquired another country’s territory by military force. More recently he has militarily seized the Crimea from the Ukraine, and is now engaged in annexing the eastern half of that country by brute force. This slicing and dicing of the Ukraine has already led to the deaths of thousands of civilians.
But don’t take my word for what a bad guy Putin is. Read some of the many columns written by Gary Kasparov, a world class chess champion, considered by many experts to be the greatest chess player of all time. Kasparov, a native born Russian, won his first championship at age 22, and then dominated the world of chess until his retirement not too long ago. But he’s also involved in Russian politics, and has written column after column, as well as a recently published book, decrying what he calls Putin’s fascist dictatorship. At the same time, he’s been highly critical of the West’s moral failure to confront the evils of the Putin regime. On that score, however, it gets a bit more complicated, since virtually all of Europe receives its energy supplies from Russia. Since Europe is so highly dependent on Russian oil and gas, it’s reluctant to issue anything stronger than some weak-kneed sanctions against some of Putin’s cronies because of Russian military aggression in the Ukraine.
And the current U.S. foreign policy, being the weakest in history, has merely followed Europe’s lead. We don’t even have the fortitude to supply the Ukrainians with the military hardware needed to defend themselves from Putin’s onslaught. Much the same way that Britain and France didn’t want to upset Hitler and the Nazis in 1938.
In any event, Putin is the guy that Trump has formed a mutual admiration society with. If you want to view what a Trump presidency would be like, look no further than what Russia has become since a former mid-level KGB thug rose to absolute power in Russian politics. Trump has already displayed his own unique brand of fascism by first going after undocumented Hispanics who comprise only about 3.5% of the U.S. population; than blasting away at the Chinese, even though they own about a trillion dollars of U.S. debt; and finally proclaiming his desire to deny entry into this country of all of the over one billion Moslems populating this planet. All in gratification of the most important thing in Trump’s life; his own ego.
Does anyone really believe that once in power, Trump would have any regard for Constitutional niceties, or the actions of Congress or the courts. He would rule primarily by executive order, and those that didn’t like it could go lump it. Now it’s true that a hyper-polarized and dysfunctional Congress has brought about the type of gridlock where the masses are virtually screaming for necessary actions to be taken. But are these same people willing to forgo their Constitutional protections so this would-be dictator can rule with an iron fist of tyranny. I guess we’ll get to know in a little over 10 months. Putin and Trump, the fab duo of modern day fascism.