With everything going on in the world, Berlingske’s leftist lickspittle in America and his editorial handlers have decided it’s never out of tune with the times to sling a little mud at the American right.
The stars of the American right wing flirted with Putin—suddenly that got dangerous
Mikkel Danielsen, Berlingske.dk, Feb 26
Danielsen has been attending the annual CPAC convention down in Orlando, Florida.
For the punks in the back row, CPAC stands for “Conservative Political Action Conference.” Its conventions are a reliable bellwether for where the American right is standing.
And if you’re Mikkel “Pass the Leftwing Memes” Danielsen of Berlingske Tidende, it’s an outstanding opportunity to malign the American right.
He opens the article by recounting how while prowling the conference he managed to corner America’s former U.S. ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, for a few questions.
Sands is currently a candidate in the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. He tells us she was posing for selfies with a few followers, “sparkling smile as always” (damn her!), then chronicles his approach:
I introduce myself as a journalist with Berlingske and ask if I can ask a few questions. The smile hardens.
“You Danes are more interested in American politics than Americans are,” she sighs.
No American ambassador in Copenhagen has been asked more critical questions by the Danish press than Trump ambassador Carla Sands.
Not even here in Orlando, Florida—at the conservative mega-meeting, CPAC—can she be free.
Danielsen’s first question is predictable: “Donald Trump has called Putin’s push in Ukraine ‘genius.’ Do you agree?”
I debunked the living shit out of that malicious lie last week—in “Our Media Deceive Us Because They’re Sick People Who Hate Democracy,” the title of which was paraphrased from an Atlantic headline about the same Trump “statement”— and am therefore utterly unsurprised that Danielsen should be doing his best to perpetuate it because he’s a deceptive and malevolent hack and entirely worthy of the disgraced name “journalist.”
Danielsen doesn’t provide Sands’s answer in English, so I have to translate from his Danish account of it: “At least Russia didn’t invade other countries while Donald Trump was president.”
Danielsen notes that Sands “didn’t really answer the question” then informs us she thanked him for his interest and moved on.
In other words, he hit her with a textbook “Have you stopped beating your wife?” question, she refused to take the bait, and therefore we’re supposed to assume that the premise of Danielsen’s malicious and dishonest question was true.
He provides a little background on what CPAC is all about, then lets us know what he’s doing there:
Berlingske is on the scene to investigate a split that’s emerged within the Republican Party over the course of the past few weeks.
It’s about Vladimir Putin.
Here’s how he eases into that claim:
Most Republican politicians believe that Vladimir Putin is an “evil guy” and a brutal autocrat who should be punished with brutal sanctions as a result of the attack on Ukraine—as the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said on Thursday.
This view is echoed by a clear majority of Republican voters.
In January 2022, The Economist conducted a poll showing that 15 percent of Donald Trump’s voters had a positive view of Vladimir Putin—three times as many who had a positive view of Joe Biden, but after all, not a gigantic amount.
Quite remarkably, several of the right-wingers’ most powerful stars and loudest voices have praised Vladimir Putin, arguing that he’s not even that bad.
Praised Putin? I thought I’d been following most of the right wing’s “most powerful stars and loudest voices” but I wasn’t aware of any of them praising Putin. Had I missed something?
Danielsen’s first example is a return to the disgusting and deceptive leftist propaganda that Trump was “praising” Putin last week:
When Donald Trump watched television and learned that Putin had recognized the Ukrainian breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent republics, the ex-president thought, “That’s brilliant!”
That was explained by Trump in a podcast interview on Tuesday—well, before Putin launched the massive attack.
“I said, ‘how smart is that, right?’ He’s moving in with his peacekeeping force… We could use that on our own southern border,” said Donald Trump.
See my post from last week, which I’ve already mentioned and linked, for a complete assessment of what Trump actually said. That post contains a link to the actual audio so you can judge for yourself the extent to which Trump was “praising” Putin.
So we’ll throw this example out as an obvious fabrication.
(Although we should also point out that Trump wanted to decouple Europe from dependence on Russian energy, which is suddenly the goal of every European head of state. Trump did everything in his power to shut down Nord Stream 2; Biden reversed his sanctions and has now had to reverse his own reversal; even Germany itself “decertified” the pipeline last week. Trump made America energy independent, in part to reduce our vulnerability to Russia and OPEC. The Keystone XL pipeline was an important step toward increasing that independence: Joe Biden killed it with a stroke of his pen. Donald Trump harangued the nations of Europe for failure to contribute enough to their own defense; suddenly European heads of state—Germany inclusive!—are all vowing to increase their defense spending to the levels that have always been required by NATO. Long story short: Trump was the guy making the arguments for containing Russia while it was still containable: it’s a hell of fucking thing for everyone who spent half a decade comparing him to Hitler and Satan to suddenly be embracing his ideas now that the threat has become a reality. I realize this has been a tedious paragraph, but these things have to be said over and over because it’s absolutely unconscionable that the guy who was making all the right calls about Russia is suddenly being accused of cheering on the guy that Europe itself was empowering and emboldening all along.)
Next up for a Danielsen sliming is Tucker Carlson:
On Fox News, the channel’s biggest star, Tucker Carlson, has for weeks defended Vladimir Putin , claiming that he is just in a “border conflict” with Ukraine—which, incidentally, is “strategically irrelevant” to the United States.
On Tuesday, Carlson asked viewers to think about why everyone “hates Putin so much?”
“Did Putin ever call me a racist?”
“Did he threaten to fire me because I disagreed with him?”
“Did he create Fentanyl? Does he eat dogs? “
“No,” Tucker Carlson could answer all his questions. (Those were not “all” his questions, but Danielsen is cherry-picking because the others are much more damning of the Biden administration. -GN)
The message was clear: Putin is not your enemy, dear viewers. The enemy is the woke Democrats and their damned cancel culture.
The next day, Tucker Carlson called Ukraine a “client state,” actually controlled by the US State Department.
It sounded like Russian state propaganda in one of America’s most watched news broadcasts.
Tucker Carlson has certainly been vocal about his opposition to putting American boots on the ground in Ukraine or otherwise engaging in direct military conflict with Russia. That’s a position supported by just about all Americans, by the way, including myself and even Ole Puddinhead, but I’ll confess that I myself have found Carlson’s energetic insistence that we ignore Ukraine to be short-sighted.
The points Carlson was making on the February 22nd broadcast from which Danielsen got his excerpt—which you can find in its entirety right here—weren’t in praise of Vladimir Putin, however, but in contempt of the hysteria being ginned up against him by an administration that had taken no real steps to prevent his aggression.
It was on the following broadcast, on the 23rd of February, that Carlson called Ukraine “a pure client state of the United States State Department.” (And he elaborated: “again, that’s fine. We are not mad about that, go ahead and run Ukraine if you want if you think you can to a better job than Ukraine is, just don’t tell us it’s democracy.”)
Let’s fire up the wayback machine to almost exactly eight years ago (February of 2014), when Reuters ran an article entitled “Leaked audio reveals embarrassing U.S. exchange on Ukraine, EU“:
The leaked conversation appeared certain to embarrass the United States and seemed designed to bolster charges – from Russia, among others – that the Ukrainian opposition is being manipulated by Washington, which President Barack Obama’s administration strenuously disputes.
U.S. accusations that Russia helped publicize the taped conversation also threatened Washington’s already tense relationship with Moscow.
The audio clip, which was posted on Tuesday but gained wide circulation on Thursday, appears to show the official, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, weighing in on the make-up of the next Ukrainian government.
Nuland is heard telling U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt that she doesn’t think Vitaly Klitschko, the boxer-turned-politician who is a main opposition leader, should be in a new government.
“So I don’t think Klitsch (Klitschko) should go into the government,” she said in the recording, which appeared to describe events that occurred in late January. “I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
If you don’t remember the whole affair, give the Reuters article a read to refresh your memory. It may have been impolitic of Carlson to have dismissed Ukraine as a client state of the U.S. State Department last Wednesday, but it was hardly an outlier interpretation of American relations with Ukraine.
And speaking of impolitic, let’s not overlook this detail:
Nuland and Pyatt are heard discussing strategies to work with the three main opposition figures: Klitschko, Arseny Yatseniuk, former Ukrainian economy minister, and Oleh Tyahnybok, the far-right nationalist opposition leader.
Nuland referred to getting the United Nations involved in a political solution in Kiev.
“So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the U.N. help glue it and you know … fuck the EU,” she said in the recording, which was accompanied by still pictures of people mentioned in the call.
Pyatt responded: “Exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.”
“Fuck the EU,” says the American assistant Secretary of State.
(“We need to glue things together so if they gain altitude they don’t get torpedoed,” says her interlocutor. Also interesting, if only because it may be the worst constructed metaphor you’ll ever encounter.)
But never mind all that: Trump and Carlson are Danielsen’s big guns, the Herculean pillars of his contention that “right wing stars” have been “flirting” with Putin.
Before moving onto his next Putin flirt, Danielsen acknowledges that “No one should think that the CPAC has become a home for Putin apologists. They may not be in the majority, but they are here.”
He then tells us that “right-wing influencer” Julie Kelly opened up her own speech with a quiz: “There’s an authoritarian world leader who’s been in the news lately. He puts his political opponents in jail. His last name has five letters and it ends in N. Can you guess who I’m talking about?”
Danielsen reports that the audience shouted back: “Biden, Biden, Biden.”
And then he moves right on, as though he’d made a point, as though that were an example of anything other than politics as usual.
Think about it: she opened a political speech to a conservative audience with an oblique comparison between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden.
Is that a problem? If so, does Danielsen have any idea how many political speeches delivered to leftist audiences began by comparing the Dread Tyrant Trump to Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin, Pol Pot, Ghenghis Khan, or Satan?
Never mind: she was flirting with Putin. Obviously. So we glide effortlessly on to our next insidious flirtation.
Among the audience, I meet David Duffy. A local artisan walking around the conference halls with a Trump flag as a cloak.
“I would much rather have Vladimir Putin as president than Joe Biden. Putin’s a much stronger leader.”
He hands me a small plastic badge with the text Joe and the Hoe gotta go. The Hoe is Vice President Kamala Harris, he explains.
David Duffy says he is well aware that Vladimir Putin is a “bully”:
“But he did not want to destroy our country with socialist ideas like Biden.”
A local artisan in a Donald Trump flag prefers Putin to Biden, even though he knows Putin is a bully. Good to know.
But David Duffy isn’t a “right-wing star.” He’s a weirdo wandering around a poltitical conference in a cape. Quick, let’s get an interview with the guy dressed up as Chewbacca at Comicon so we can blow the lid off the dangerous insanity of the Star Wars franchise.
Finally Danielsen cites a Wednesday podcast exchange between Steve Bannon and Erik Prince that he characterizes as “a Putin tribute” because both men point out that Putin “isn’t woke.”
He then asks: “Why are parts of the far right flirting with Putin?”
But who’s flirting with Putin? Who’s praising him? What “part” of the far right is he talking about?
(Besides David Duffy—but I doubt there’s more than one David Duffy for every ten thousand leftist idiots waddling around in Che Guevara tee shirts or hammer-and-sickle hats, or for every ten journalists wishing that American presidents could be more like Chinese Communist Party chairmen.)
In any case, Danielsen has two possible theories to support his idiotic hypothesis. The first is that some right-wingers believe “Putin was on Team Trump.” The second is that “Maybe they are idolizing Putin’s perfection of power?”
I have a third theory: the American right isn’t flirting with Putin at all but Mikkel Danielsen is a deceptive partisan hack who wants you to think they are because those were the marching orders from the American left.
Danielsen then informs us that following Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, “virtually everyone who praised Vladimir Putin has been busy backpedaling.”
He notes that Tucker Carlson said on Thursday that “It’s Putin’s fault… Vladimir Putin started this war.”
And he notes that Hillbilly Elegy author and current Ohio Senatorial candidate J.D. Vance on Thursday called Putin an “evil man” and said he had “triggered a tragedy,” even though just days earlier he’d said he “did not care if one thing or another happened in Ukraine.”
And former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Putin “a dictator who is terrorizing the Ukrainian people,” even though OMG, you guys, just last week he’d said he had “enormous respect” for Vladimir Putin and called him very shrewd and very capable.
The big dummies! Can you even? I can’t even. Aren’t we all literally shaking at all the hypocritical back-pedaling of all the Putin flirters?
Now that Vladimir Putin has started killing the Ukrainians, the flirtation has apparently become too dangerous.
On Saturday night, Donald Trump will speak at the CPAC. I wonder if he still thinks Putin’s move to Ukraine is “genius?”
Disgusting, disingenuous, and deceptive.
On the 24th of February, Danielsen’s colleague Kristian Mouritzen observed in the very same newspaper that:
The Russian president plans all his tactical and strategic moves with the utmost care and pursues his goals—to conquer Russian territory—without the West being able to hit him militarily.
He seeks to realize his visions of a Russian great empire with military power and knows the weaknesses of the West and knows when he can do so with the fewest possible consequences.
By Danielsen’s logic, that right there is some hardcore flirtation: Mourtizen speaks of Putin as though he’s some kind of evil genius—wait! What am I saying? Don’t we need to retire the whole “evil genius” cliché, now that any acknowledgement of an adversary’s skills is a tacit bit of treason?
People have the right to assess reality as they see it without being described as sympathetic to the adversary they’re describing. Back in the day, for example, if Tom Brady said that Eli Manning was a clever quarterback with a talented team around him, no one would would have called him a Giants fan. He could praise another coach’s savvy play-calling without being accused of betraying Bill Belichick or the Patriots. Same principle. It’s not very complicated.
It wouldn’t bother me if Mikkel Danielsen simply didn’t understand this, or if this were just his own desperate attempt to make sense of things that were all just a little over his head, but that’s not the case. He’s telling deliberate lies (“Trump said it was brilliant to invade Ukraine!” and “Tucker Carlson has a man crush on Vladimir Putin!”) in the furtherance of his own childish politics.
I’m sure he’s only doing so because those are the shots being called by the establishment American left (see the Atlantic article alluded to above, for example). Danish journalists don’t have the expertise required to manufacture leftwing lies about American politics: they have to import them.
On Sunday the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that state-owned Russia Today would be blocked within the EU.
That’s so those outlets “can no longer spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and sow division in our union. We are developing tools to ban the toxic and harmful misinformation in Europe.”
There’s an old American saying that truth is always the first casualty of war. There are good reasons to block Russian propaganda from the European Union right now. My free speech absolutism doesn’t embrace hostile foreign actors, but it does require my support for Mikkel Danielsen’s right to push his insidious and corrosive lies.
So what can be done when so much of the fourth estate has become a fifth column? When they themselves are “sowing division” with “toxic and harmful misinformation?”
Mikkel Danielsen is telling his readers that America’s former president, America’s top-rated television news personality, and a variety of other conservative voices have been supportive of Vladimir Putin, his invasion of Ukraine, or both.
None of that’s true. We’ve been through all of his examples, and they’re all bogus (with the possible exception of David Duffy, who’s not even a public person).
I’ve also illustrated the ways in which the Dread Tyrant Trump was working against Putin, and to prevent his invasion of Ukraine, and to decouple the west from dependence on Russian energy—efforts that we must now assume were correct, in that they’re finally being embraced by the US and the EU even though they’re obviously now being deployed as punishment rather than prevention.
Which brings me to Danielsen’s last examples of Putin flirtation: the actor Robert Davi, who played the villain in the last James Bond movie, and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
The conservative actor does not have much left for Vladimir Putin. Still, he does not believe the United States should spend a lot of money and troops fighting Putin in Europe.
“What is Europe doing? Germany? It’s time for Europe to take care of Europe’s problems,” he said.
The Bond actor describes an attitude I encounter with many at CPAC:
No more international policeman.
“America First” has gone into right-wing foreign policy.
“The southern border of the United States means far more than the border of Ukraine,” says conservative radio host and Trump supporter Charlie Kirk from the stage.
“I am more concerned that drug cartels are trying to infiltrate our country than a conflict 5,000 miles away that’s about cities whose names we can not pronounce anyway.”
What’s even remotely controversial about any of that? In what way does it represent any kind of support for Putin, Russia, or the invasion of Ukraine? In my own opinion, as I think I’ve made clear over the past few weeks, the defense of Ukraine is critically important to the west, but reasonable people ought to be allowed to disagree with that without being slimed as traitorous Putin sycophants.
And is Mikkel Danielsen actually suggesting that the world should be policed by America? Is he suggesting that Germany doesn’t have more at stake in Ukraine than America does? That Americans should be more worried about Ukrainian sovereignty than they are about their own?
What on earth is his point?
We don’t have to guess: he tells us.
In Denmark and Europe, we will probably have to get used to the fact that in future there will be one American foreign policy when the Democrats are in power, and another when the Trumpist Republicans have it.
In the terrible future imagined by Mikkel Danielsen, American foreign policy will differ depending on who’s in charge.
So based on available data, I assume he means that Democrats will muddle and fiddle and blather their way into disasters that they must ultimately fix by falling back on Republican policy proposals they previously opposed, and “Trumpist Republicans” will offer robust foreign policy solutions grounded in American interests that will be shot down by Democrats who describe them as racist, misogynist, and transphobic—right up until they’re back in power and need them.
I couldn’t agree more.