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The Finlandisation of the United States

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THIS week, President Donald Trump will visit Europe to call on allies, get in some golf and then meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. He will no doubt feel more comfortable with the Russian leader, whom he considers "fine", than with free-loading Nato partners who, he says, treat Americans as "schmucks". If the issue were purely mercantile - European allies do not pay enough for their defence - it might be manageable, even salutary. It is not. Mr Trump's ideological sympathies lie with Mr Putin's autocracy and its democratic veneer. He is in the Putin camp against the Western liberal democracy of, say, Angela Merkel in Germany. Mr Trump's a paid-up member of the growing illiberal authoritarian international movement.

© The Business Times