Trump shocked both his detractors and supporters when he admitted to FOX news spinmaster Bill O'Reilly that Putin was a 'killer' but that the United States was guilty of the same and something less than innocent.
O'Reilly was clearly dumbfounded and tried to suggest that no American political leaders are killers.
Trump wouldn't back down and he was right.
This is the most honest thing he's said yet.
The media has launched into attack mode, listing the numerous deaths Putin is responsible for. Of course the criteria they're using to determine Putin's responsibility would be dismissed as conspiracy theory if applied to Western political leaders.
They're right. Putin probably did have a hand in the deaths of these people.
But at the same time it's equally valid to say that many American political leaders and in particular presidents are guilty of not only as many deaths as Putin but numbers so vast as to make him look like an amateur. Putin is a dabbler, the Americans are masters.
Trump's statements represent a growing divide within the US ruling Establishment. One faction believes the enemy is Middle Eastern terrorism and China. In addition they would generally like to see Europe weakened. They fear that in being an economic rival, the political challenge from Brussels (and more likely Berlin) is inevitable. In such a scenario, Putin is a natural ally.
For many of them who also embrace a modified Huntington-narrative of Christendom vs. Islam, Secularism and Confucian Asia... Putin is an ally.
But there's another bloc that believes Russia must be forever destroyed and the post-1991 project of dismantling and destroying Russia has been left incomplete. Putin's rise represents a threat. China through globalisation is a natural ally... for now. China needs to be contained but Russia needs to be destroyed. The fight of the moment is with Moscow and rather than stabilise the Middle East, the firestorm needs to grow. Middle Eastern war is the path to victory in Eurasia.
The Leftists in the Establishment media hate Putin because of his social conservatism and his failure to bow to Western supremacy. The majority within Wall Street supports the Anti-Russia narrative and their views are also being echoed by the media.
Both factions are of course repugnant, warmongering and anti-Christian. Putin is an evil man. But I cannot honestly think of a US president who is not guilty of mass murder, is a liar, cheat and thief. These are not moral people. They're not heroes and they aren't people to look up to. They have no moral authority. The United States has absolutely no moral authority. In fact it is clearly arguing from a position of moral inferiority, hypocrisy, and decadence.
Moral equivalence will be denounced by the US ruling class and I already know the Christian Right will denounce these words as representing the subjectivism and bankruptcy of moral relativism. At best they'll use his words as an occasion to spin and pivot... and tack the moral dubiousness on Obama.
One academic on Al Jazeera which clearly has taken a strong anti-Russian tack, suggested Putin is divorced from reality and has no credibility. The George Mason professor demonstrated his own compromised judgment as well as his intellectual and indeed moral blindness when it comes to understanding world events, let alone interpreting them.
While hardly a Trump fan, I had to chuckle when I heard him today. Even a blind squirrel gets an acorn every once in awhile.