Clinton Gives Too Much Credit to Putin and Trump

It’s a stretch to suggest the Kremlin leader is the godfather of some sort of global KKK

Last week Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of being the leader of the Alt-Right movement. But that wasn’t the only important issue she raised in her big speech. She also tied Trump to Vladimir Putin. Clinton termed Russia’s president “the grand godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism.” Calling the boss in the Kremlin the leader of a worldwide white supremacy movement is a big deal—particularly when the charge is made by the lady who may become our next president in less than five months.

As evidence for this accusation, Hillary noted that Nigel Farage, the British politico who’s thrown his hat in with Trump, appears on Kremlin TV, and that the GOP nominee seems to harbor a serious man-crush on Putin. All this is undeniably true. Moscow’s preference for Trump over Clinton is no secret, and something the Russians no longer bother to hide.

That said, it’s a stretch to suggest Putin is the godfather of some sort of global KKK. The Kremlin boosts far-rightists in many countries, giving them clandestine cash and support—including in the United States. Russian intelligence backs nationalist right-wingers all over the place, especially in Europe, and some of these groups are plausibly placed in the Alt-Right.

It needs to be noted, though, that Putin is ideologically flexible, and Moscow backs leftists abroad, too. In Greece, for instance, the Kremlin has forged ties with both the far-left and the far-right, who share antipathy to NATO, the European Union, and the United States. In many Western countries, Moscow’s ties to leftists are a longstanding Cold War legacy.

Putin’s strategic aim is to harm NATO, the EU, and America’s ties with them. Ideology matters less than a perceived ability to hurt the West and its security structures. Hence the Kremlin’s willingness to get in bed with radicals of almost any ideology as long as they’re eager to play along with what Moscow wants.

Read the rest at The Observer …