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While there very well might be something to the idea that Donald Trump is being blackmailed by Vladimir Putin and/or has a pressing financial obligations to Russian oligarchs, which explains Trump's pathetic and relentless defenses of the Russian dictator, there's something a lot more troubling going on.
In 2012, Vladimir Putin was returned to power as Russian president after a four year hiatus, and was met by a chorus of Russian protesters, who suspected his "election" was in fact a coronation of him as the new "Tsar" with a life time position of absolute authority.
Putin, frighteningly, soon proved that the protesters were right. He quashed his opposition by killing, jailing or exiling it's leaders, and portraying all resistance to his "leadership" as denying "moral principles" such as nationalism, religion and heterosexuality.
Like all machiavellian politicians and dictators, Putin knew his people, and knew that he could tap into their homophobia and their aversion to same-sex marriage, wrap it in his phony, new found religion, and tie the bow of fear of Islamic terrorism to it; then attribute all this to his opposition, and they would not only be neutralized, but become pariahs in their own country.
Once Putin's authority was secure, he could proceed with his dictatorship and kleptocracy, and enrich himself and his oligarchs beyond their wildest dreams, which he has done.
But Putin is hardly satisfied with being the dictator of Russia, his ambitions run far wider than that. Putin saw that his brand of white supremacy, nationalist jingoism, homophobia, and phony "Christian" religious appeals had currency throughout Europe and America.
And European, right wing, nationalists have been beating a path to Putin's door to be seen shaking his hand, praising his "leadership," and basking in the smile of this Russian "Grand Wizard," who only lacks the white sheet and pointed cap of the KKK to reinforce what he truly represents.
In the past year, Russia has given millions of $$$ to the right wing, Marie La Pen candidacy in France, since she promotes the kind of white-nationalism, Islamophobia and homophobia that Putin seeks to export.
He has also been praised by many other right wing, fear-mongering authoritarians world wide, including Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Nigel Farage of Britain, and Donald Trump of the USA.
In effect, Putin has flipped the old USSR political appeal of the godless state, which seeks to bind all workers together in some kind of economic paradise, into a white-supremacist, ultra-capitalist society, that seeks to promote and impose "Christian" religious sexual orthodoxy on the world.
So when Trump praises Putin, it may not be out of fear of some kind of Russian retribution, but because Trump, like his closest advisor, white-supremacist, Steve Bannon, have an affiliation and admiration of Putin's repackaged and regurgitated KKK ideology.
Putin must be laughing to himself everyday, as he realizes that his worst enemies, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who were onto him for the brutal dictator, and war-criminal that he is, have been swept out of power, and Putin was able to undermine Clinton's candidacy, and install his ideological soul mate, if not his puppet, Donald Trump into the WH.
And as the Donald Trump administration flounders in ineptitude and fraud, Putin can only be deliriously happy, realizing he has installed his Siberian Candidate into the WH, who is alienating the very Western European countries that Putin covets. Putin will soon be able to control Western Europe without firing a shot, and the NATO forces there will become impotent, and possibly removed by an incompetent Trump, giving Putin a free-hand not only in Western Europe, but Eastern Europe and the Baltic area as well.
The Putin plot has been obvious for several years now, but the American mass media has portrayed the Trump/Putin bromance as some sort of suspected financial quid pro quo, under-the-table kind of relationship, when in fact, the relationship is probably based on something far more insidious and dangerous.
A belief that they could rule the world by appealing to the racist, xenophobic and conservative religious feelings of many people in the West, but in the long run, it will be Putin who rules, while Trump self-destructs on his narcissistic insanities, pathological lies, and perpetual disasters.
Thus leaving America and the American people in dire straits, which is just where Putin and his plotters want us to be.