Vladimir Putin is a believer in nationalism, not neoliberalism. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
“The liberal idea has become obsolete. … (Liberals) cannot simply dictate anything to anyone as they have been attempting to do over the recent decades.”
Such was the confident claim of Vladimir Putin to the Financial Times on the eve of a G-20 gathering that appeared to validate his thesis.
Consider who commanded all the attention at the Osaka summit.
The main event was Trump’s meeting with China’s Xi Jinping and their agreement to renew trade talks. Xi runs an archipelago of detention camps where China’s Uighur Muslims and its Kazakh minority have their minds coercively “corrected.”
A major media focus at the summit was Trump’s meeting with Putin where he playfully admonished the Russian president not to meddle again in our 2020 election. The two joked about how both are afflicted with a media that generates constant fake news.
At the G-20 class picture, Trump was seen smiling and shaking hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom U.S. intelligence says ordered the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump called the prince “a friend” who has done a “spectacular job.”
Trump then left for Seoul, traveled to the DMZ, and crossed into North Korea to shake hands with Kim Jong Un, who runs a police state unrivaled for its repression.
Negotiations on Kim’s nuclear weapons may be back on track.
Among other G-20 leaders present were Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi of India and President Recep Erdogan of Turkey, who has imprisoned tens of thousands following a coup attempt in July 2016.
In his interview with the FT’s Lionel Barber, Putin appeared as much an analyst of, as an advocate for, the nationalism and populism that seems to be succeeding the 20th-century liberalism of the West.
Why is liberalism failing? Several causes, said Putin. Among them, its failure to deal with the crisis of the age: mass and unchecked illegal migration. Putin praised Trump’s efforts to secure the U.S. border:
“This liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. … This liberal idea presupposes that … migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected.”
Putin deplored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to bring into Germany a million refugees from Syria’s civil war.