Putin, who was speaking at the Russian Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, said he would work with any of the presidential candidates, but specifically lauded Trump for his comments on improving relations between Russia and the United States, according to the Associated Press.
Trump has welcomed Putin’s comments in the past, calling the Russian strongman’s praise “a great honor” in December.
Tyler PagerIt is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond, Trump said.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.
I can just picture Putin and Trump in a couple of years dividing the world among them, Yalta-style – maybe with the collaboration of the Chinese.
In the meantime, the Russian president downplayed these remarks, attributing them to a poorly chosen translation of a word with ambiguous connotations.
Trump doesn’t talk much about policy and is incoherent when he does. This makes it difficult for the pundits to make useful policy contrasts with the other candidates. This is by design. When Trump’s lies and flip-flops are pointed out, he presses on twice as loudly as before. What Trump does talk about relentlessly, instead of policy, are simple words with positive connotations. “Strength”, “power”, “greatness”, “energy”, “winning”, “huge”, “amazing”. Trump delivers these words, over and over, with the bravura of a carnival barker and the righteous anger of the oppressed, the trademark combination of the populist demagogue.
All of these rhetorical habits are quite familiar to me and to anyone who has listened to Russian media—all state controlled—in the past decade. The repetition of the same themes of fear and hatred and racism, of victimhood, of a country beset by internal and external enemies, of how those enemies will be destroyed, of a return to national glory. How the Dear Leader apologizing or admitting error shows weakness and must never be done. Inspiring anger and hatred and then disavowing responsibility when violence occurs. It’s a match. As is the fixation with a leader’s personal strength and weakness, intentionally conflated with national strength and weakness.Garry Kasparov