Friday, August 23, 2019

Putin and Trump are Both 19th Century Figures, Eidman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 21 – Recent events show that both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are living not in the 21st century but in the 19th, a major reason “why Trump so loves Putin,” even though as 19th century types, they are subtly different: Trump is “a huckster and adventurist” while Putin in contrast is “a bandit and invader,” Igor Eidman says.

            “The first thinks that it is possible to buy everything, including foreign territory with local ‘Indians,’” as in the case of Greenland which is part of Denmark while “the second simply takes whatever he lands in his field of vision” be it Georgia or Ukraine (

            This 19th century mentality explains why the two men get along so well, the Russian commentator says, and why “Trump so loves Putin and tries to reach agreements with him despite pressure from the Congress. Putin also lives in the past, in the era of empires and colonialism where the right of the strong rules and human rights mean nothing.” 

            Trump declared that he wanted to buy Greenland and cancelled a planned visit to Copenhagen when the Danish government said it had no interest in selling it. For most people, “the era of colonialism ended long ago, but apparently Trump up to the present lives in it, somewhere in the 19th or the first half of the 20th centuries.”

            The US president “doesn’t understand that a democratic state is not a serf owner who can sell land together with its residents to another landlord,” Eidman continues.  To propose that Denmark sell Greenland to the US is equivalent to “advising a family to sell a room in a home together with its adult son who has been living in it.”

            As the commentator points out, “Greenland in large measure is an independent state, which has delegated to Denmark certain limited functions in exchange for regular payments from the budget.”  It is not something that can be bought and sold over the heads of its residents as imperialists more than a century ago assumed.

            That any leader can think that way now can only be the subject of mirth and tears. 

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