Tuesday 24 April 2018

West's indecision is an invitation to Putin to strike at Nato members

Russian President Vladimir Putin Picture: PA
Russian President Vladimir Putin Picture: PA

Charles Moore

Donald Trump is not consistent on many things, but he always sticks by Vladimir Putin. Even when forced to concede that Putin might have done something bad, such as ordering murder, he qualifies it.

He goes in for bogus moral equivalence ("Well, I think our country does plenty of killing"). Hillary Clinton, he said in the TV debate last week, is a "nasty woman". But the fact that Mr Putin is a nasty man seems to hold a sort of allure for Mr Trump. Putin "outsmarts" Mrs Clinton, he jibes.

How have we got to the point when a Russian leader can be a role model for someone who might become president of the US? Partly because of American weakness. In the 2012 presidential campaign, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney challenged the incumbent, Barack Obama. When Romney described Russia as a hostile power, everyone smart laughed. What a preposterously Cold War mentality he was exhibiting! Didn't he realise we live in the 21st century?

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