For the US White Nationalists and Supremacists, Russia and Putin Are Allies
Those who cannot fathom how Trump’s base is fine with their leader’s embrace of Vladimir Putin miss the point. Putin is a white nationalist and champion of European culture and “civilization.” Putin is one of the iconic white nationalists sweeping Europe — and, alas, with Trump the US.
Originally published in July, 2018
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH
Emboldened in the era of Trump, new international alliances are connecting white supremacists on both sides of the Atlantic, resulting in US right-wing support for governments and movements of the right in Europe.
NPR recently reposted, for instance, how Steve Bannon is creating a foundation called "The Movement" to be based in Brussels. Bannon was inspired, he says, by Marine Le Pen and the Front National, a notorious xenophobic and white nationalist political party with significant support in France. Le Pen lost the most recent French presidential election to Emmanuel Macron. According to NPR:
Bannon wants to help Le Pen and other European leaders on the political right in future contests, including the coming European elections. In his speech this spring, he urged populist leaders to stand firm in their positions.
"Let them call you racists. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor," NPR reported [him saying] in March.
Following November's midterm elections in the U.S., Bannon said he will spend half of his time in Europe laying the groundwork for his foundation.
The National Front is not just pro-white, it is also anti-Semitic and particularly anti-Muslim. Its Islamophobia is evidence of how many on Europe's political right share a strong affinity with Trump's policies. The notion that Trump's signature slogan MAGA ("Make America Great Again") is a euphemism for "Make America White Again" helps shed light on the current US right-wing backing for white nationalist movements in Europe.
A July 20 Foreign Policy article noted Bannon's particular interest in Eastern Europe right-wing regimes and organizations:
He may have been cast out of the White House, but Steve Bannon isn’t giving up his far-right crusade. U.S. President Donald Trump’s former strategist visited Central and Eastern Europe in May to call on Hungary and the Czech Republic to join the United States in defense of Judeo-Christian culture.
Bannon’s message echoes much of the rhetoric in a region that is becoming a beacon for the radical right thanks to its xenophobic resistance to immigration and what it considers the European Union’s “cultural Marxism.”
This also helps explain how many of the GOP and US white nationalist groups speak out favorably about Putin. The transition is complete: Marxist ideology and state policies are now the enemy of the former Soviet republics and Russia itself.
After all, at the infamous Helsinki news conference this month, Putin openly admitted that he wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. Russia's Soviet Union history of the last century has been transformed into an oligarchy, kleptocracy and white nationalist nation. These are reasons that Putin has found a natural alliance with Trump and the Republicans and vice versa. Contrary to stereotypes remaining from the Soviet years, contemporary Russia has an affinity with the policies of the GOP, not the Democrats or socialist advocates. Putin is an ally of the GOP, by his own admission. We do not know the findings of special counselor Mueller yet, but it is safe to say the Russians, under Putin, did what they could to back Trump.
A 2017 article in The New York Daily News is entitled, "Why radical racists revere Russia." It asserts:
Neo-Nazis see Russia as the heart of white nationalism, with former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke describing it as "the key to white survival." Richard Spencer, a prominent white supremacist figurehead, and spouse of pro-Russia blogger Nina Kouprianova, described the nation as "the most powerful white power in the world," while many others in these circles now see Putin as the de facto "leader of the free world...."
Kremlin-funded outposts such as RT and Sputnik continue to espouse views typically taken by the extreme right-wing, repeatedly inviting Spencer and Kouprianova to appear as geopolitical analysts....
While there are no direct links between Russia and the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville, the flagrant support that Moscow enjoys from the organizers of the Unite the Right rally cannot be missed.
This month, the Washington Monthly shed more light on the increasing shifting GOP fan base to favor Putin:
The simplest explanation is also perhaps the most terrifying: U.S. conservatives align ideologically much more closely to Putin than to their domestic opponents, and aren’t bothered by an open alliance with him.
Putin’s interference in U.S. elections troubles them no more than right-wing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unprecedented diplomatic and political efforts to hamper Democrats and bolster Republicans. A form of global partisan bond between conservatives across nation-states in defense of white nationalism has begun to transcend any particular allegiances to fellow citizens within their nation.
Consider this: in just four years, Gallup shows Republican approval of Russia and Putin has increased from 18% to a whopping 40%. CBS polling shows a 27-point swing toward a majority seeing Russia as an ally in just three short years. To be sure, voters overall are still quite skeptical of Putin’s regime, but that is fast changing among Republicans.
As far as far-right US organizations, The Daily Beast revealed this month,
One day after Trump’s disastrous summit with Putin last week, the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group, announced that it would launch a Russian-language site. The southern secessionist group’s crush on Russia is the latest appeal by U.S. white supremacists to Russia and Putin -- an alliance that has strengthened during the Trump presidency.
For the white nationalist movement -- and its implicit notion of white supremacy and homogeneity -- Russia is an ally. Putin represents part of a growing solidarity among individuals and groups who are advocates of white nationalism.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH