Friday, July 7, 2017

Trump's meeting with Putin shows two men cut from the same cloth. By Richard Wolffe

It’s tempting to think that Trump and Putin are cut from the same cloth. They both like to style themselves as strongmen, crushing dissent and critics with varying degrees of violence. Trump encouraged his supporters to get into fistfights with protesters, and seems to fantasize about doing the same to CNN. Putin appears to prefer a more deadly and inventive approach that includes bullets and polonium.

They both pride themselves on their physical prowess, whether real or imagined, and go to unusual lengths to establish superior status over rival leaders in one-on-one meetings. Putin brought his giant hound to his first meeting with Angela Merkel, who had been attacked by a dog and was known to be afraid of them. Trump believes he can literally jerk people around with a few handshakes.

They both consider themselves devastatingly attractive to the opposite sex. Putin may have taken the Berlusconi path of plastic surgery to enhance his already irresistible charms. Trump has constructed an architectural gem on top of his cranium to pretend like he still has a head of hair.

They both have little time for international norms of diplomacy and statecraft, preferring to stand outside the western consensus to strike a nationalist pose. Trump seems determined to trash the global trade system and the European Union, and is ambivalent about Nato. Putin would be happy trashing all three. And for some reason they both like to push around poor little Montenegro.

They both see little distinction between their national interests and their personal business interests. Trump claims he is the most ethical president ever. At the same time, he also claims to be the president with the most complicated commercial ties that cannot reasonably be revealed or unwound. Putin has had a few years to perfect this business and political model, and may just be one of the world’s wealthiest men. They both seem to have a strange attraction for one another.. read more: