Trump Loves Putin, or Putin Loves Trump?
Everyone knows Putin loves Trump. It’s like a dating game. One has to approach the other. With 2016 mercifully in the rearview mirror, it is natural to reflect on what has been, for most of us, a kidney stone of a year — painful in its passing, and we’re glad when it is gone along Hillary swept into history. I would like to shine a spotlight on a man who has done more to make this year miserable than any other member of the human race, a man without whom last year would not reached the depths of overall suckiness that it has.
To begin at the beginning, Putin used homophobia to create a class of victims in Russia. The purpose of establishing an “enemy within” is to unite the country around a strong leader. We’ve seen this time and again throughout history. If it isn’t the blacks, it’s the Jews or some other minority who can be treated as subhuman because they aren’t really like “us.” Putin is using Russia’s natural social conservatism to enhance the homophobia that already existed within the culture for political ends.
Then, he turned the Olympics into a nationalist bribe fest, ensuring that his cronies benefited from the spending. He spent $50 billion on the Sochi games, which was more than all the previous Winter Games combined. While we were all so charmed by the Russian Police Choir singing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” the guys who really got lucky were those lining their pockets through graft and corruption.
Naturally, the whole kerfuffle with Ukraine would be enough to make Putin the Biggest Bastard of 2014. European peace is a rare condition. Historically, peace is not how Europe operates. While I wouldn’t characterize the Cold War as a period of peace, it was a period in which Europeans weren’t killing each other in large numbers and incinerating their cities. The disintegration of Yugoslavia was an ugly return to the violent norm, but the annexation of Crimea and the support for the unrest in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts (provinces more or less) in eastern Ukraine has undermined the stability not only of eastern Europe but also of the continent as a whole.
The aggression stems directly from Putin’s desire to rebuild the Soviet Empire — he called the collapse of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century (surely World War II was worse). Like the ex-KGB man that he is, he has engaged in intimidation in Ukraine as well as the Baltics. He causes trouble in Poland and the Balkans as the opportunity arises. It is only the reaction of the West that has prevented the violence in eastern Ukraine from expanding across several borders.
This is aggravated by his irresponsible economic policies. Russia has survived the past few decades as an exporter of natural resources. Russia’s oil wealth has been squandered, and the diversification of the economy just hasn’t happened. With the price of oil collapsing, Russia faces a grim economic future, and the real incomes of real Russians will plummet. Putin has already arranged to blame the West and Russia’s minorities (and especially gay Russians).
In Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey wishes he had never been born, and an angel shows him how much emptier the lives of others would be because of his absence. If the same thing happened to Vladimir Putin, the only people whose lives would be emptier are those who have plundered Russia.
For all of these reasons, Vladimir Putin is TheBlot’s Biggest Trump Admirer.