“Why Die for Danzig?”: What Trump Has In Common With Other Far Right Leaders

Throughout the Western world, there have been groups sympathizing with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s return to “traditional values” and utilization of bellicose activity to alter conditions in other countries.

This has included a rejection of anything remotely “Western”, be it existing borders, or the well established fact that condoms severely limit the transmission of STIs.

This appeal to “traditional values” jives very well with other populist right parties in the West, who believe their way of life is under assault from: immigrants, the LGBT+ movement, and the world order established in the aftermath of the Second World War.

France’s National Front has advocated for: overturning French recognition of same sex marriages and adoption, severe strengthening immigration controls, and a strong rolling back free trade in favor of French made products.

The National Front also advocates for reorienting away from most of its European allies in favor of Russia.  Incidentally, Russian banks have loaned National Front millions of euros.

The American nativist movement, including the infamous “Alt Right”, share many of the views of their French counterparts.

The American nativist movement has a strong interest in carrying out Mr. Trump’s proposed: temporary ban on Muslim immigration, general tightening of the southern border through increased barriers to immigration, skepticism of the merits of free trade, and hostility to honoring American security guarantees in both Europe and in East Asia.

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UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), is one of the least radical of the populist Right parties, as one of its only defining issues is withdrawing from the EU.

However, party leader Nigel Farage has expressed some admiration with Vladimir Putin in the past, and an appreciable fraction of rank and file UKIPers share this view.

Other populist right parties share these views, and methods.  Some, like National Front’s Jean-Marie Le Pen have endorsed their colleagues in other countries.

This mutual affinity among ideological fellow travelers carries over to Vladimir Putin.

A well documented game of international footsie has taken place between Putin and Trump, due to their mutual dislike of the European security system, and appreciation of “strong leaders”.

On other issues the populist right concur, to the detriment of European security. Trump has given some signs he would be open to Brexit, Marine Le Pen, intends to campaign in Britain for Brexit, and while the Kremlin has been largely silent, disintegration of the European system may lead to an unraveling of other portions.

On the issue of the war in Syria, the populist right stays in relative lock step.

Nigel Farage, who has previously expressed disdain for R2P inspired efforts, has supported cooperation with both Al-Assad and Russia in combating Islamic State, despite the Syrian regime being consistently the number one killer of non-combatants. Donald Trump has also said he “back’s Putin 100%”.

As the civil war in Syria is ongoing, and the Putin backed Assad regime continues to target civilians, this vast coalition is endorsing the continuation of the refugee crisis, which fuels anti immigrant sentiment in the West.

All parties benefit from this arrangement.

Europe’s far right gets into power, and the Russians create fissures in the Western security apparatus.

The words of French Neo-Socialist, and Vichy France official, Marcel Déat may be repeated with their original intent if the collaboration movement continues on its dangerous path.  “Why die for Danzig?”

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About the Author
"John Massey has a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Alabama. His primary interest is in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but he also finds time to study French and political theory. "
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