20 July 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Trump, Russia and Putin

19 July, Trump tweeted out a video of Hillary Clinton saying this: "We want very much to have a strong Russia because we think that a strong, prosperous, stable Russia is in the interest of the world."
Tweet here.

His comment with the tweet was: "When will the Dems and fake news ever learn? This is classic!"

And in that tweet we have everything we need to know about Trump and Russia.

Russia, the country, is weak. Certainly not militarily but economically. Americans make 6.5X as much and live a decade longer. Russians don't have the same rights as Americans. Many reporters, politicians, and activists have been killed for opposing Putin. (Contrast that with the US where there has been a veritable industry in opposing American presidents since Bill Clinton's presidency. Nobody gets killed for speaking out against our president but quite a few have gotten rich.)

Hillary saying that it would be a better world if Russia were strong is spot on. A more affluent, more open, more democratic Russia not only makes for a better trading partner for the West but makes it less of a threat to the West. A genuinely strong Russia is less likely to invade the Ukraine or Estonia or disrupt elections in France, Italy, and the US.

Trump, though, thinks that this sentiment is proof that Hillary and the Democrats are being hypocritical in criticizing him. He sees no difference between Russia and Putin.

Trump's mind is not capable of abstractions, of statistics that represent a group. He's like a child in that he only knows personalities and stories about individuals. At some level he seems incapable of distinguishing between Russia and Putin.

Putin is very strong. CNN is going to do a "Most Powerful Man in the World" segment on him. Estimates of his wealth vary from $50 to $200 billion. Putin can have anyone killed. He can influence elections in countries throughout the West and apparently even control the American president. Trump admires all of this and is - at the least - eager for Putin's friendship and at most terrified of upsetting Putin. Putin may be the only person Trump has not insulted.

That Hillary could think it both good for Russia to be strong and Putin to be weak does not even compute for Trump. (History suggests that the weaker a leader is relative to his people, the stronger the people.) For him a country is simply the supporting cast for a leader. He's not really interested in Russia. He's fascinated by Putin. And of course he's not really interested in the US but he is fascinated by Trump.

No comments: