On 4 January, US president Donald Trump, in a rambling speech at a meeting of his cabinet, praised the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. “The reason Russia was in, in Afghanistan, was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there”.
In fact, the USSR invaded because the Afghan government of the time, led by a radical faction of the PDP (Afghanistan’s “Communist Party”, chiefly based among armed forces officers trained in the USSR) looked likely to fall. The invaders installed the more cautious faction of the PDP as a government propped up by USSR military might, but failed to stabilise it, and ended up fighting a nine-year colonial war.
This is the same Trump who back in 2016 responded to an interviewer criticising Russian president Vladimir Putin — “he kills journalists that don’t agree with him”, by saying: “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader... I think our country does plenty of killing also!”
The flipside of Trump empathising with Brezhnev and the ex-KGBer Putin is the sympathy for Trump by people who think of themselves as “left-wing” because they admire Brezhnev’s model of society.
Zoltan Zigedy, (the pen name of the blog of Greg Godels), in the Morning Star, 5 January, concedes that Trump is “unpopular” and “right wing”. But the gist of his article is to defend Trump against “the liberal establishment”. Zigedy welcomes Trump’s talk of the USA conceding to Assad in Syria as opening “the prospect of peace”. He exempts Trump from blame for “the recent deaths of two young migrants in federal custody” because previous administrations also harassed migrants. He sneers at “the cable television warriors” denouncing Trump’s government shutdown over his plans for a wall against Mexico on the grounds that (some of) “these same human rights indignados” didn’t denounce Israel’s wall. Zigedy sees the main unfair charge against Trump as “the big lie of Russiagate”.
“The interminable Mueller investigation” is out of order because... the US too has interfered in other countries’ politics. Zigedy wants “an authentic and committed movement against monopoly capital”. But in the meantime his criticism of Trump is cool, his indignation against the “liberals” and “human rights indignados” is hot.