Beyond Flynn, other ties bind the White House to the Kremlin

Ishaan Tharoor writes: Long gone are the days when Communist Moscow backed leftist movements around the world. Instead, Putin’s post-Soviet ideologues see Russia at the vanguard of global Christian nationalist conservatism. In this struggle, they’ve found common cause with Europe’s far-right parties as well as key figures within the Trump administration.

In 2014, current White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon told a gathering of European conservatives that “we, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what [Putin]’s talking about as far as traditionalism goes — particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism.” That same year, a group of fringe American white nationalists joined a conference in Hungary that featured Russian nationalist Alexander Dugin, a philosopher sometimes dubbed “Putin’s Rasputin.” Dugin hailed Trump as “the American Putin” last year.

American journalist Casey Michel has assiduously tracked the connections between right-wing American evangelicals and kindred spirits in Russia, who both champion anti-gay laws and the primacy of Christianity in the identity of Western nations.

“In the same sense that Russia’s [anti-LGBT] laws came about in 2013, we’ve seen similar sorts of laws proposed in Tennessee, for example,” said Cole Parke, an LGBT researcher with Political Research Associates, to Michel last week. “It’s difficult to say in a chicken-and-egg sort of way who’s inspiring whom, but there’s definitely a correlation between the two movements.”

Western “traditionalists,” whether in the U.S. or Europe, now style themselves as Putin’s fellow travelers.

“Putin may be seeing the future with more clarity than Americans still caught in a Cold War paradigm,” wrote Patrick Buchanan, the right-wing, ethno-nationalist American politician, in 2013. He went on to suggest that the new fault line in global politics would be between “conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite.” [Continue reading…]

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