PROBABLY THE BEST THING YOU WILL READ ON TRUMP AND PUTIN – From Tom Stanley in “The Daily Telegraph” (but in the SMH for free) – among many quotable parts:

Conservative admiration for Putin is a symptom of its own loss of hope in what were once boilerplate American ideals. Conservatives are becoming sceptical of free trade. They question the integrity of their own security apparatus. They don’t think the US has a mission to remake the world. So, why not talk to Orthodox Russia?

The problem is that Trump’s realism only goes part of the way – it projects Western cultural debates onto Russia and doesn’t extend its vision to the reality of Russia as it really is. This is a state that has invaded and divided the sovereign country of Ukraine; where journalists and critics wind up dead; and where military hardware somehow got used to bring down a civilian airliner, killing 298 people. And, yes, faith and patriotism enjoy a tantalising renaissance there, but they are also being manipulated by a very cynical regime.

To Stanley’s analysis on why Donald hearts Vlad, I would add this observation: even in politics Trump continues to look at the world with the eyes of a businessman and an entrepreneur. Not surprisingly, what appeals to him are not norms, morality, values, which he sees as the oppressive and unnecessary equivalent of the regulatory framework in the world of business. Instead, he prizes and admires success, ruthlessness, instinct, brand strength and self-made men, who are doers not thinkers.