Putin’s propaganda has roused what he doubtless sees as “useful idiots.” This term was used by Lenin to describe a person propagandizing for a cause without fully comprehending the cause’s goals. Some Americans see Putin as reflecting their anti-democratic political beliefs, discounting whatever else they know about him.
The growing appreciation for Mr. Putin was captured in recent polling from the Economist and YouGov, which showed he was viewed more favorably by Republicans than Mr. Biden. — Davey Alba and Stuart A. Thompson in The New York Times on Feb. 25, 2022
In all, pro-Russian narratives on English-language social media, cable TV, and print and online outlets soared 2,580 percent in the past week compared to the first week of February, according to an analysis by the media insights company Zignal Labs. Those mentions cropped up 5,740 times in the past week, up from 214 in the first week of February, Zignal said. — op. cit.
A minority of the minority party is still a minority, but perhaps able to make a difference in a close election.
From WAPO, 2/24/22–
“By 1939, parts of Czechoslovakia had already been carved off and taken over by Nazi Germany, which claimed that millions of ethnic Germans were being persecuted there.
The previous September, European powers, seeking to avoid war, had acquiesced and done nothing.
But six months later, German troops were massed on the Czech border, as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler railed and threatened the country with destruction.
On March 15, 1939, the sickly Czech president, Emil Hacha, was in Hitler’s study surrounded by the Führer’s henchmen.
“Hitler was at his most intimidating,” historian Ian Kershaw wrote in his 2000 biography of the Nazi leader. “He launched into a violent tirade against the Czechs.” The Nazis needed to take over Czechoslovakia to protect Germany. Hacha must agree or his country would be immediately attacked and Prague, its capital, bombed.
Hacha fainted, according to Kershaw, but was revived and gave in to Hitler’s demand. German troops marched in a few hours later. Hitler said it was the happiest day of his life.”
It’s all happened before and it will all happen again.
Today, Putin is simply following the autocrat’s playbook.
As to the aggrieved Americans who eagerly swallow Putin’s propaganda?
They dislike our country and cannot abide its racial diversity, modern culture or free press and they have much in common with a white christian autocrat who wants to return his country to its glorious past.
They VOTE! And we know who they like for president of the USA. And why.
Putin’s Russia may be a danger to its neighbors, a threat to world peace, and a saboteur of international order without Putin being Hitler. If we imagine that Putin is Hitler and little has changed since 1939, we risk misunderstanding the current crisis. Policy should be based on today’s facts.
The anecdote concerning Hitler was intended solely as an illustration of the power of propaganda used in the service of autocratic strongmen.Given your first sentence, I think that you may have missed the point.
To your point that “policy should be based on today’s facts.” I would contend that there is much to be learned from history. Particularly, in this case, European history.
Let’s take Poland for instance. If you remember your world history, you know that on August 4, 1772, there was a country called Poland. On August 6, 1772, it was still there, but smaller. On January 23, 1793, it was still there, but smaller still. On October 24, 1795, there was no more Poland until after World War I.
Can you recall a recent instance of this type of international behavior? Perhaps in February/March 2014? Or maybe more recently?
We Americans seem to be oblivious to the lessons that can be learned from history. Perhaps that is why we are so skilled at making monumental mistakes.