As I mentioned in a post some weeks ago, I’m reading Steven Lee Myers book The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin. I’ve been struck by the parallels between the rise of Putin and the rise of Trump — both improbable presidents, both devastating for the countries they are or will shortly run.
Now, journalist Masha Gessen makes explicit the parallels I sensed. On several key points, Trump and Putin are birds of a feather. Both believe and act on the following beliefs:
Lying is the message. Lying is about power, about saying whatever, whenever, and demanding that people believe you — no matter how preposterous or disputed by evidence the leader’s claims might be.
The media is the mirror. “It appears that Trump receives a view of the world that is vastly different from that not just of the “liberal bubble” but of the majority of Americans: on one hand, The New York Times seems not to figure in his world, but on the other hand, neither does network television and, it would seem, CNN. There is no reason to think that Trump will broaden his world view once he is president. He has shown a notable lack of interest in daily intelligence briefings and in the State Department, whose expertise he has entirely ignored in his initial contacts with foreign leaders. And the utter disdain that he has displayed variously for the FBI (during the campaign) and for the CIA (since the revelations about its findings on Russia and the election) suggests he will insist on seeing only as much of the world as is convenient for him, through a prism that pleases him.”
The world is largely boring, other than the chance to enrich oneself and one’s cronies. Intelligence briefings are for fools.
Interests count — mainly the opportunity to enrich oneself and consolidate power. Priorities are things career politicians have, and they matter little.
The president stands behind enemy lines, behind a government that doesn’t work and must be controlled.
Great leaders are chosen people, admired by the masses for their power and strength.
This is an excellent piece, well worth reading. Trump’s bromance with Putin will make much more sense once you do. And it won’t make you one iota more comfortable about Trump being sworn in on January 20th.