Prof. Snyder, Trump and Putin

In his latest NYRB piece, Timothy Snyder lists a number of Russian “politicians” supportive of Trump. They turn out clowns of varying colors; none of them operators to be reckoned with. Particularly amusing is Snyder’s naming Alexander Dugin as “the leading Russian fascist ideologue and a very important media presence in Russia.”. Technically, of course, the historian is correct: Dugin is an important media presence – in the sense that, say, Sasha Baron-Cohen used to be in his Ali G manifestation.

Most pro-Kremlin America-watchers have something in common. They worship power and strongmen in particular. They don’t believe in values, other than as a weapon wielded by hypocrites. They prefer Republicans to Democrats – particularly aggressive, straight-talking Republicans to mild-mannered, politically correct, human rights oriented Democrats. Less obviously perhaps, they feel that Russia is bound to lose Cold War II within the next eight years. With that in mind, they would rather surrender to Trump (as a surrogate Reagan) than to a female commander-in-chief. They also fear Hillary Clinton as a senior member (in their imagination) of a sinister global(ist) cabal, an efficient, ruthless and extremely hypocritical string-puller.

The only interesting bit quoted by Snyder is Pushkov’s stratagem: Trump “can lead the Western locomotive right off the rails.” That pretty much encapsulates the Kremlin’s great hope and its operating approach. They are hoping with all their hearts that Kaczynski, Le Pen, the British Euroskeptics, and Trump will wreak enough havoc on the West so Russia would call the shots in the brave new world. That view is simply delusional, rooted in what some Russians call a reverse cargo cult: the wishful-thinking belief that Western institutions are as dysfunctional and Potemkinite as the institutions of post-Yeltsin Russia.

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