Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump like each other. That’s not a secret. TheRussian president’s endorsement of theRepublican candidate arrived in the loudest possible way, during the year-end speech. But in the meantime, the Kremlin Sherpas are working hard to promote him in the race to the White House.
With someone like Trump as president of the United States, Putin’s Russia would have everything to gain. After all, the same Trump confirmed it. “I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect”. Nothing to do with the freezing cold between Barack Obama and Putin. Indeed, the reciprocal compliments reached almost cloying tones, that go beyond the normal diplomatic language. “He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that… He is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it”. The Trump answer came shortly. “Putin said I was brilliant. That proves a certain smartness. He hates Obama, Obama hates him. I would get along very well with Vladimir Putin”
While the two sendeach other compliments from the distance, there are those who work more seriously for a Moscow-Washington axis. Trump’s adviser on foreign affairs, Michael Flynn,is a retired general and former military intelligence chief from 2012 to 2014. Flynn long made collaboration with Russia his mantra. “We have to step back and we have to say: ‘Okay, what are the common interests, and what are the common goals that we want to achieve’”, he said in a recent interview with RT, the Russian state channel in English.
Flynn resigned from the secret services a year before the end of his term, without explanation. A bit later he was pictured in Moscow at the same table with Putin at a banquet celebrating 10 years of RT.
On another front, let’s say more ideological, the thread that connects Trump to Putinism passes through David Duke. The former head of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), which gave Trump his endorsement, said among other things that he “is the only presidential candidate who would never start a devastating war with Russia.” Duke, who travels to Russia, has close relations with Putin’s ideologist, Alexander Dugin. The latter, known for his idea of Eurasian empire as opposed to the USA, has also recently held a conference in Texas organized by white supremacist Preston Wigington, a friend of Duke. And Dugin did not fail to express his appreciation for Trump, in his own way. “Trump is the voice of the real right-wing America, which couldn’t care less about foreign policy and American hegemony. In the US elites, those types are rare to nonexistent. Trump is the exception, a normal American in an elitist zoo of abnormal ones”.
There’s more. A curious application of the transitive property of friendship binds Putin to Trump. There are more than few people to have noticed several similarities between him and Silvio Berlusconi. “Donald Trump is a septuagenarian building speculator from New York, until recently known for being very rich, very vain and quite extravagant,” James Hansenwrote. “Even Berlusconi at the end of the 80s was just a building speculator from Milan, rich, vain and quite extravagant.” But then he became Putin’s best friend outside Russia.