From Common Dreams
Time for Occam's razor
There are three general theories to explain Trump's behavior toward Russia (and other hard-right broadly autocratic regimes), and for unknown reasons the two most likely ones are almost entirely absent from our electronic media. The three theories, in ascending order of likelihood, are:
The Manchurian Candidate: He's being blackmailed or has been a Russian asset for years.
The Wannabe Dictator: He believes that countries should be run like companies -- essentially autocracies.
The Deadbeat: He's not only not rich, but he's badly in debt, and Russian billionaires are among his main creditors.- Advertisement -
The Manchurian Candidate theory was largely the one Democrats implied during the election, and most have implicitly embraced since then, along with many commentators on MSNBC and CNN. It's the least likely, although if it's true Robert Mueller will probably be letting us all know soon. But there's little in Trump's past that would suggest this is the case other than his embrace of Russia over the Obama administration's reactions to the annexation of Crimea and activity in Ukraine.
But it's far more likely that his support of Russia during the Obama administration had everything to do with hating on anything our nation's first Black president had done (impose sanctions on Russia and expel diplomats, etc.) as well as wanting to trash the presumed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Even his dislike of NATO is the sort of standard-variety right-wing stuff that's been promoted within the Republican Party from the days of the John Birch Society to Steve Bannon's recent reign, and reflects an isolationist fear of alliances rather than an affection for non-NATO actors like Russia.
The Wannabe Dictator theory has a lot more credibility, and explains much of why Trump gravitates to strongman types like Putin, Turkey's Erdogan, the Philippines' Duterte, Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman, and China's Xi.
Trump knows very little about the history behind democratic republics (it would be shocking if he could even identify Thomas Hobbes or John Locke, or define the Enlightenment) and virtually nothing (based on public pronouncements) about the fundamental reasons why "Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Businesses are basically serfdoms. The CEO is the king, the board and senior executives are the courtiers and landed gentry, and the workers are the serfs. This has been Trump's experience ever since he inherited his daddy's business, and he's never in his life been accountable to any principle (like "democracy") or to any persons.
So, much like George W. Bush's "joke" that, "If this were a dictatorship it would be a heck of a lot easier... as long as I'm the dictator," Trump not only may think it would be easier, but, even more ominous, may think it's desirable for the country.
Republicans have long used false analogies of "government as business or home" (particularly with regard to debt) that completely distort the real reasons for the existence of, and functions of, government. So it wouldn't be at all surprising if Trump were to believe this nonsense, out of both ignorance and temperament.
The Deadbeat theory is the most likely, although it doesn't preclude either or both of the above.