Something strange has happened over the last couple of months: the most outspoken leftist politicians and “journalists” have suddenly presented themselves as foreign policy hawks who hate, among all countries on earth, Russia with a vengeance. That’s remarkable because it was the left who, several years ago, applauded Hillary Clinton for pushing a “reset” button with regards to the relationship with Russia, and because Democrats had a long history of working with Moscow when Russia was still called the Soviet Union.
Nowadays, however, you only have to mention the name “Vladimir Putin” and leftists truly go insane, especially if you also utter the words “Donald Trump.” The result? One angry tweet after another, and one “shocked” article after another in the mainstream media because Trump isn’t sufficiently hating on Russia.
But why? Yes, Putin is an autocrat. And yes, he has wiped the floor with Ukraine’s sovereignty (and that of the state of Georgia in Eastern Europe), but look at the regimes the left loves to cuddle: Iran and Cuba. Those regimes aren’t just “not any better than Russia,” they’re positively worse.
Initially, I thought that the problem may be that Putin is often described as a “traditionalist.” He’s against gay marriage (and the entire pro-gay movement). He has zero respect for feminism. He has elevated the Russian Orthodox Church back to the level it was way back when the tsars were still in power in Russia. But that can’t possibly be the answer because of one word: Iran. The mullahs of Tehran are far more conservative in the cultural sense, far less tolerant of gays and women who demand equality, and they haven’t just “elevated” religion’s role in politics, they’ve made it the supreme authority. What’s more, Putin has always been this way; he hasn’t changed his policies in any significant way since, say, 2008 when the left hailed Clinton and Obama for trying to cozy up to him.
The only possible answer is, then, that the left hates Putin because Trump and Putin don’t hate each other. To the left, Russia isn’t the enemy, Trump is. And so if he and Putin get along just fine, well, that just means that Putin is their enemy too. The friend of my enemy is my enemy. That’s all there is to it.