Donald Trump shares many of Vladimir Putin’s ideas. For example, Trump is against gay marriage, which is outlawed in Russia. Trump also shares Putin’s hard line stance against ISIS (Daesh). CBS News quotes Trump’s views on Putin’s air strikes in Syria.
“Putin is now taking over what we started and he’s going into Syria, and he frankly wants to fight ISIS, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos confronts Donald Trump over his praise for Vladimir Putin https://t.co/h3RAzIDdkm
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) December 20, 2015
In fact, Trump and Putin have plenty in common as stern businessmen who are not afraid of the politically incorrect. But this is only the means of their influence and power. What is more instructive is what these two men believe and what we might expect Trump to do when he becomes president, going from his admiration of Putin.
There is a word for Vladimir Putin’s color of politics: “Putinism.” Putinism is the subject of academic studies worldwide. One recent article goes into detail about the particular style of rule and ideology of Putin. Putin is an authoritarian.
“During the last several years, the polycentrism of Russian politics under Yeltsin has been replaced by monocentrism, as all other influential institutions have been drawn into the system of support for the single center of power headed by Putin.”
From Putin’s collectivization (forced government ownership) of the energy sector to Putin’s intervention in the Ukraine, Putin has earned his reputation as a strong leader unafraid of world public opinion. Russia is, like it or not, established as a major world power and is slowly returning to its former days under Soviet rule, at least as a significant international player.
Putin is a cult figure. In fact, the merchandising of Putin’s image is very profitable as images such as a naked Putin riding a bear has the effect of keeping him in everyone’s mind in the way that he wants: masculine, strong and dominant.
— Angela Langlands (@teach4Travel) December 7, 2015
Cult figures can gain popular support as people look to their political leaders for their own self esteem, associating a strong figure with a strong country. Putin’s success in his endeavors has added fire to the flames of this popularity.
It is clear that Trump admires Putin.
What are Trump’s ideas? What might we expect if Trump becomes president? First, Trump could reverse gay marriage, as he does not agree with it. Trump would also seek to defund Planned Parenthood, as he has himself made clear. Trump would also increase ties with Russia and use the full power of the US military to increase military intervention in the Middle East, particularly against ISIS (Daesh). Trump also wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico as he believes that illegal Mexicans are rapists.
Some less controversial ideas of Trump are his plans for overhauling the tax system increasing the tax allowance for lower earners and creating a so-called “flat tax” for everyone else.
Trump would seek to overturn Obamacare, replacing it with his own version.
— VirtueSignal (@VirtueSignal) November 13, 2015
But Trump, worryingly, denies climate change and would increase funding to oil exploration in Alaska. Due to the recent crash in oil prices, however, one positive benefit, as seen by Democrats, is that it is less profitable for companies to set up the expensive infrastructure in the arctic regions as recovering these costs is less likely in a time when the glut of cheap oil on the market makes such efforts redundant.
One thing is for sure. Although Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are likely to become bosom buddies if Trump is elected president, it is not so much the ideology of the Russian leader that Trump admires, but rather his leadership skills. And this means that the plans outlined above are likely to by vehemently argued by Trump and perhaps adopted as Republicans attempt to reunite after their pre-election in-fighting and devastation over the last seven years by a Democratic president–Barrack Obama–who has been effective using his own brand of leadership, which has been criticised as too soft by some Democrats.
Trump, like Putin, will be anything but soft.
[Image by Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons and Kremlin.ru [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]