America's leaders have been deaf to Vladimir Putin's calls for a united front against Islamic fascism because they want to protect the neo-liberal variety, such as the one we installed in Ukraine. Although much of Trump's "grass roots" carry guns, they would more likely be used to defend a rough individualism than a militarized regime. (Yesterday Trump suggested that these guys with guns eliminate Hillary for wanting to take away their gun rights....)
Decoding the slide toward fascism requires ideological literacy, and as the Clinton/Trump battle gets into full swing, never has America's lack of it been so apparent. The media drumbeat about Vladimir Putin's preference for a Trump presidency shows that not even the pundits know the difference between an autocrat and a dictator. The average voter still imagines Russia as a place where an armed soldier stands behind each worker/slave, and even sophisticated Americans ignore that a handful of parties compete in Russian elections, while we have only two, our political class doing its best to keep it that way.
Since even pro-Democratic-anchors admit that Trump could very well be the next President, let's survey the similarities and differences between him and the Russian leader that Democrats are determined to treat as an enemy. It's clear that both Putin and Trump like to get things done - and expect their subordinates to do likewise. But this does not make Putin a dictator, while the United States supports many such across the globe. Some of my friends wonder how Putin, who can be considered a social-democrat, can support a billionaire accused of stiffing his employees. The answer is that while most American politicians play checkers, Putin is playing chess, a game with multiple facets.
US pundits note that Putin supports the right-wing parties that have flourished in Europe thanks to the immigration crisis, from Marine Le Pen's National Front in France, to Viktor Orban's Jobbik Party in Hungary, however, it's clear they do not know why. Vladimir Putin supports the right-wing because it touts nationalism. He believes that globalization -- the financialization of economies that forces austerity upon the majority of citizens -- should give way to independent countries living according to their individual heritage, resisting the global culture of consumption and competition known as 'keeping up with the Jonses'. Challenging American claims that its principles are universal, Putin believes that only God is universal, while peoples are and should remain distinct.
When Donald Trump announces that he would prefer the US to be allied with Russia and China against ISIS, he is showing that he knows the difference between real and imaginary enemies and that Russian belligerence is imaginary, while ISIS's crimes are real.
As I wrote in a July 9, 2013 blog on my website otherjones.com titled "The US chooses Capitalist Muslims":
"Given the need for oil from an area ruled by religion, it's not hard to believe that the United States took the practical decision to work with 'moderate' Muslims, that is pro-capitalist Muslims, instead of trying to secularize them.
Although Sunnis occasionally lean left, as was the case with Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party, leftist Muslims are usually found among Shi'as, such as the Iranian and Syrian governments. The Western media avoids identifying the 1979 Iranian revolution with its predecessors, the French, Russian, Chinese and Cuban revolutions, all of which are associated with equity. When it comes to Syria, it never mentions that Assad's is the only secular Arab regime, that its eduction system is modeled on the French (Syria having been a French protectorate before independence), and that women enjoy Western-style equality, from divorce to education to careers.
Military might cannot ensure a coherent American Middle East policy, given the region's fundamental rivalries: secular vs. religious, left vs. right, traditionalists vs. moderns, 'democratizing' Sunni's vs. socializing Shi'a and Alawites."
Very differently, Russia has co-existed for centuries with the Muslim nations along its southern rim, and Putin's policies toward Chechnya, after ending a brutal Islamist insurgency, show that he prefers to back modernization in Islamic lands rather than convert them to Orthodox Christianity - the equivalent of US efforts to 'bring democracy' to benighted populations.
When Donald Trump says he will build a wall to keep Latinos out, and interrupt Muslim immigration 'until we can figure things out', he is exhibiting the lowest level of political sophistication. But that pales in comparison to Hillary's determination to carve up Russia into smaller entities run by obedient consuls, as outlined twenty years ago by Zbignieuw Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard, a plan continuously updated by America's Neo-Cons.