According to this article in Slate, Vladimir Putin has been somewhat responsible for the rise in European Right-Wing Populists in Europe. And Trump is his kind of chump
Over the past decade, Russia has boosted right-wing populists across Europe. It loaned money to Marine Le Pen in France, well-documented transfusions of cash to keep her presidential campaign alive. Such largesse also wended its way to the former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, who profited “personally and handsomely” from Russian energy deals, as an American ambassador to Rome once put it. (Berlusconi also shared a 240-year-old bottle of Crimean wine with Putin and apparently makes ample use of a bed gifted to him by the Russian president.)
There’s a clear pattern: Putin runs stealth efforts on behalf of politicians who rail against the European Union and want to push away from NATO. He’s been a patron of Golden Dawn in Greece, Ataka in Bulgaria, and Jobbik in Hungary. Joe Biden warned about this effort last year in a speech at the Brookings Institution: “President Putin sees such political forces as useful tools to be manipulated, to create cracks in the European body politic which he can then exploit.” Ruptures that will likely multiply after Brexit—a campaign Russia’s many propaganda organs bombastically promoted.
The destruction of Europe is a grandiose objective; so is the weakening of the United States. Until recently, Putin has only focused glancing attention on American elections. Then along came the presumptive Republican nominee.
Unfortunately, even if Hillary is elected, we’ll be moving closer to Russia.
Our old Cold War efforts to avoid confrontation between the superpowers by fighting through proxies like Vietnam, Cuba, Saudi, Iran, etc. has failed. The Syrian Civil War has drawn America and Russia into direct conflict with each other. If we want to avoid nuclear war, we’re going to have to change the way we do things.
It’s in our best interests to change our relationship with Russia, but it’s also in our best interests to set boundaries for Putin. He doesn’t want war any more than we do, but right now, he knows his provocations will have no consequences. The Democrats and Republicans have gotten so fat and lazy, bringing in money by whining about victimhood, calling themselves ‘courageous’ for winning little catfights with each other — neither has the stomach to deal with Putin. They can’t even confront their own, much weaker, ‘allies’ (Qatar, Saudi). It’s going to be up to the voters to get them off their asses and into shape.