Whether Donald Trump is indeed a Putin sympathizer as charged by Democrats and even some Republicans, one of his speakers is definitely supportive of the former KGB spook.
Pat Buchanan, who was decidedly anti-Soviet when serving in the Reagan administration, has expressed admiration for Putin and attacked Obama’s sanctions on Russia over Putin invading neighboring Ukraine.
More than Buchanan’s infamous isolationism was at play here; the social conservative Buchanan has found commonality with the Stalin-praising Putin for cracking down on Russian homosexuals. Not only were Russian security interests at stake in the Ukraine, according to Buchanan, but also at stake was the health of Russia’s Christian foundations against a morally infecting neighbor. In Buchanan’s worldview, any American aid to the Ukranian people would have funded the Slavic version of Act Up.
Some could find this inconsistent with Buchanan’s Cold War era behavior. After all, wasn’t he a fervent supporter of covert aid to Polish dissidents while in the Reagan administration?
But if one followed Buchanan’s writings over the last twenty years, it would be evident that Buchanan and Putin were destined to find each other; for he has long been supportive of Putin-style imperial fascism. His soft-on-fascism is most evident in his praise of Adolf Hitler. In a book arguing against American involvement in World War II, he peddled the same propaganda voiced by Josef Goebells in rationalizing the regime’s behavior. Buchanan asserted that Nazi Germany was encircled by hostile powers; that they deserved colonies like the rest of the world; that Churchill was a war-monger who caused World War II; and the relatively fresh defense that the Allied war effort brought on the Holocaust. Most importantly Hitler was trying to save Christian Europe from secularism.
However rickety these arguments, they are predictive of Buchanan’s support of Putin. Like Hitler, Putin is ‘rightfully’ waging war against the “moral degenerates” within his country, whose American cousins have already overwhelmed our own. As with Hitler, Putin is camouflaging his blatant imperialism as a rescue effort for his countrymen being persecuted by the Ukrainian government.
Buchanan’s previous opposition to the Soviets is not inconsistent with his support of Russia today. For he never portrayed the Soviets as fascist during the Cold War, but as the kind of secular immorality run amok then, and now in our country. Nothing less than Christianity was at stake in the Cold War. Now has he placed his hopes for his social conservative beliefs in Putin and supports him not in spite of his attacks on America but because of them. His shift from blaming the atheist Soviets first to now blaming the “morally corrupt” Americans first convicts him of the same kind of “iron father” worship that secular Communists once evinced toward Stalin.
For Buchanan, “father knows best,” even when dad is at heart a KGB agent.