The Washington Post is publishing “a series of editorials on the damage President Trump has caused — and the danger he would pose in a second term.” The series is titled, “A second Trump term might injure the democratic experiment beyond recovery.” The second of the series appeared yesterday, Sunday, August 30. It’s titled “Global freedom would suffer grievous harm in a second Trump term.”
The emphasis in this installment is Trump’s friendliness for autocratic leaders and hostility to democratic ones. It concludes, “If the 21st century is to be a time in which human societies are grounded in individual freedoms, rather than dominated by an all-powerful state, Mr. Trump must be defeated.”
The article dwells briefly on Trump’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, “who aided Mr. Trump’s 2016 election and whose foreign policy is laser focused on weakening the United States.” It points out that “Mr. Trump has never uttered a word of criticism of Mr. Putin, even after receiving U.S. intelligence reports indicating that Moscow paid bounties to the Afghan Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers.”
I’m struck by Trump’s partiality to Russia. Why? Granted, Russia is a dictatorship, and we know from Trump’s words and actions that despotism appeals to him. But he favors Russia more than any other autocracy. I’m stumped to unearth the source of the attraction.
The best theory I can come up with is that Putin has something on Trump, that he is able to pose a threat to Trump’s wellbeing that forces Trump to do his will—including withdrawing military forces from Germany, Syria, and Afghanistan. But what Putin’s ace in the hole might be eludes me.
So I’ll pay close attention to the Post’s editorials to see if they name—or even hint at—what Putin’s hold on Trump might be.