Why MAGA Loves Russia and Hates Ukraine

As I type this newsletter, continued American aid for Ukraine is in grave doubt. Tucker Carlson is in Moscow to conduct a friendly interview with Vladimir Putin. And we’re receiving reports from the front lines that Russia is advancing, in part because of Ukrainian ammunition shortages. In short, the war is reaching a critical stage, and Ukraine may lose because Republicans are willing to hand authoritarian Russia a historic military victory rather than supply further aid to a democratic ally.

Ronald Reagan isn’t just rolling over in his grave; he may also lurch from it in a fit of incredulous rage. This is a remarkable and potentially catastrophic reversal by a political party that is in a state of near-total, frequently random ideological transformation.

To explain the intensity of Republican resistance to Ukraine aid, I need to return to a concept I wrote about in November: that of bespoke realities. My friend Renée DiResta, the technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, coined the term, and she wrote that it refers to the “bubble realities” constructed by communities “that operate with their own norms, media, trusted authorities and frameworks of facts.”

Among those who oppose aid to Ukraine, there are certainly several paleoconservatives who object on classic isolationist grounds: It’s not our fight, our support is costly, we might find ourselves inadvertently embroiled in war, and so on. But the mass Republican movement against Ukraine is rooted far less in policy than it is in a particular bespoke reality of the MAGA universe, in which Ukraine is a pernicious villain, Putin is a flawed hero and Russia should have crushed Ukraine long ago.

MAGA Republicans’ hatred and contempt for Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian cause is shockingly vehement. Candace Owens says she wants to “punch” Zelensky. Donald Trump Jr. calls him an “international welfare queen.” Carlson says he dresses “like the manager of a strip club.” It’s all bizarre and unreasonable. And it all fits the broader MAGA narrative.

Non-paywall link

ZK686 ,

This is silly. Republicans, including MAGA, overwhelmingly support Ukraine and don't want anything to do with Russia. It just takes a few bad apples to make everyone start screaming about how MAGA are Russian lovers... however, what often gets ignored in all this is the fact that Ukraine was once considered one of the most CORRUPT countries on the planet. It's not about lack of support for Ukraine, it's about making sure the funds are spent appropriately. Republicans are just making sure the funds are doing what they're supposed too. Apparently, if you ask questions about this type of stuff, you're supporting Russia. At least that's what the Left is trying to say..,.

laverabe , (edited )

Republicans are just making sure the funds are doing what they’re supposed too.

all $44 billion? Where was there concern for the fiscal responsibility during Iraq when we spent $3000 billion?.

Congress specifically allocated a hefty $42 million for oversight purposes. That is plenty to get the job done. If there are problems, it is the accountability structure that should be advanced, but by no means should it be an argument to stop funding Ukraine. As of February 2023, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (OIG) has more than 90 professionals engaged in oversight of security assistance to Ukraine. So far, there have been no reports of major fraud by the OIG. Furthermore, the OIG also collaborates with oversight staff from the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

With U.S. support, Ukraine has demonstrated incredible results considering that Russia planned to take over Kyiv in a few days. Since the full-scale invasion, Ukraine has regained more than half of its occupied territory. Russia now occupies approximately 14 percent of the country’s territory, while at the height of the invasion in March 2022 it had about 27 percent of the territory. In addition, the United States and European Union did not have to lose any active-duty military personnel, and the transatlantic alliance has been strengthened. At the same time, “the war has severely degraded Russia’s military power and its ability to threaten NATO allies,” according to Steven Moore, the former chief of staff to retired representative Pete Roskam (R-IL). UK defense chief Tony Radakin said in July that “Russia lost nearly half the combat effectiveness of its army,” adding that“last year, [Russia] fired 10 million artillery shells but at best can produce 1 million shells a year. It has lost 2,500 tanks and at best can produce 200 tanks a year.” Russian military casualties are near 300,000. In sum, for a fraction of what the United States spends on its military every year, Ukraine has inflicted significant losses on an international competitor with no commitment of U.S. military forces. 1

This war has real costs to the US. Russia has been at war with the US. They were directly responsible for the election of their puppet president who nearly withdrew us from NATO.

We would be fools not to send defensive assistance to an ally who is now running out of a means to defend themselves.

zaphod , (edited )
@zaphod@lemmy.ca avatar

Modern Republicans are like George on Seinfeld when he decides to do the opposite.

Everything they do, everything they believe, is purely in opposition to the Democrats (and the establishment consensus more broadly).

It's pure, kneejerk obstructionism.

Everyone else says Putin is bad? Well shit, he must be good.

Everyone else says Ukraine is good? Then they're evil.

Folks say Biden won? Nope, he lost.

Honestly, the left should just start using reverse psychology to get things done. If Biden came out against the trans community, you can bet the next day Trump would do a rally in drag.

Tilgare ,

You're seeing a little taste of this now at the southern border - the left happily jumped on board with the right's plan to fortify, then suddenly it was "wait, no, not this way..." and they killed their own bill.

frezik ,

Well, they just handed us a new plan for killing bad ideas. So that's nice.

OldWoodFrame ,

People always say this about parties that are out of power. All of your examples come down to Trump aligning with the Russians (for...whatever reason...) and Trump fans get on board with that, which leads to being anti-Ukraine funding. And Trump just has the inability to say he lost and people get on board for that.

There are things like Israel funding which both parties want to pass. Senate Republicans want Ukraine funding still. There was a bipartisan law passed on infrastructure, and a bipartisan law on gun control / mental health services.

Obviously in a two party system, the parties have opposing views on a lot of things, but that doesn't mean it's knee-jerk opposition to everything.

zaphod , (edited )
@zaphod@lemmy.ca avatar

I'd buy that argument if the house Republicans could actually come together and do, you know, anything with their (thin) majority. But they can't because they're now simply the party of "no".

And the root causes are obvious: the house GOP is the least experienced caucus in history with more freshman than ever. Those folks were voted in on a platform of obstruction and reactionary objection, not constructive policy positions.

And so now, with their hands on the tiller, they have no coherent platform or strategy.

You can see this in the recent border debacle where it was more important to deny Biden even the hint of a win than to pass any kind of legislation, even when it's policies they ostensibly support. That's the politics of obstruction at work.

Back when the Tea Party was the minority voice, that was fine. They could throw bombs from the back row and things would still get done.

Now that those folks are in charge, they're directionless.

GilgameshCatBeard ,

TLDR: Because they’re told to.

CopernicusQwark ,

And because Dems support Ukraine.

RememberTheApollo_ ,

TF? Reagan would be right there with trump and the rest of the MAGA idiots. He started all of this.

Chakravanti , (edited )

Significantly dropping taxes on the rich.

Not that any "real" democrat did shit to fix that. They're all on the same team. Fuck 'em all. They're killing everyone by sucking big bill cock.

Money isn't real unless you chose to respect it.

Fuck off for being a sucker or START A REVOLUTION NOW. Or die. By 2030 tops at the current rate of slacking.

postmateDumbass ,

Anti Communism was 90% of Regan's schtick.

RememberTheApollo_ , (edited )

Doesn’t seem to have stuck, does it?

TheWoozy ,

Russia hasn't been communist decades. It's an authoritarian dictatorship. Right up Reagan's alley.

Arthritis_god_of_the_hunt ,
@Arthritis_god_of_the_hunt@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

Same with Putin.

YtA4QCam2A9j7EfTgHrH ,

Fascists love fascists. Tale as old as time. Just like Hitler loved Franco.

jaemo ,

Yeah. This shit is not complicated anymore, and hasn't been since Jan 6.

We're going to OP/Ed it into normality I guess.

ArdMacha ,

Putin helped create MAGA, Trump plays by the KGB disinformation playbook.

YtA4QCam2A9j7EfTgHrH ,

Putin found fertile soil because the right in the us has always been sympathetic to fascism.

moistclump ,

Was listening to an interesting take by Jon Stewart talking to Ian Hislop who’s a UK satirist. Jon was talking about the role of racism in their perceived ideological alignment.


superduperenigma , (edited )

MAGA is a movement, whose origins are greatly influenced by Russian misinformation campaigns, that revolves around Donald Trump, a notorious Russian asset. It's not fucking rocket science.

homesweethomeMrL ,

America made profound and catastrophic foreign policy mistakes in the past. But never in my lifetime have we been on the verge of a mistake so profound and catastrophic that was the direct result of theories and ideas that were so shallow, stupid and, frankly, bizarre.

Ain’t it the truth

BetaBlake ,

Because they've been told to, and because they're idiots they do as they're told like the good little followers they are.

Odd_so_Star_so_Odd ,

Scared into submission while getting squeezed out of every cent.

kmartburrito ,

Because they were told to, as they cannot truly think or reason critically, and because they've subscribed (with their dollars) to the monthly traitor-box to receive and share the enclosed hatred and revenge. Just like Christians are supposed to preach the Gospel, these chucklefucks spread hatred and bad faith misinformation, with arguments that are paper thin and defeated easily by a simple Google search.

lennybird , (edited )
@lennybird@lemmy.world avatar

It's the banner of bullies and abject failures in life. The flunkers and cheaters in school. A lightning-rod for the psycho and sociopaths alike. Of those whose parents failed to teach them character and empathy.

Basically, all the assholes you met in your life since you were a kid and who never had a wake-up call to change are highly likely to sympathize or reside under the maga banner.

They idolize Putin's power and see themselves in Trump (take that how you will; you know they would). They love that fake-it-til-you make it actually works and they can slide by because after all, that's all they have.

Now in fairness there is a subset of these individuals who may be decent people deep-down. But they're so ignorant or apathetic to reality they just know no better. In that respect, external, systemic influences certainly play a part. The right-wing propaganda machine is strong and a hard current to overcome.

Badeendje ,
@Badeendje@lemmy.world avatar

Its mind boggling right?

DarkGamer ,
@DarkGamer@kbin.social avatar

Putin has Republican leadership in his pocket.

Boddhisatva ,

And has since Russia hacked the DNC and RNC servers. They released the DNC emails, no doubt peppered with false entries, but never released the RNC stuff. You just know these idiots in the GOP were dumb enough to put their crimes in email and that gave Putin all the kompromat he needed to take over the whole party.

DarkGamer ,
@DarkGamer@kbin.social avatar

Yes indeed. Thank you for reminding everyone of this. I believe they also financially back a lot of people on the right, Trump and his family are on the record saying that they were financially saved by Russia some years back, which would explain their attempts to create a secret back channel to Putin.

grue , (edited )

I'm sure there are some (maybe many) Republicans who've turned traitor because of "kompromat" or bribery or whatever, but I don't think Trump is among them. Trump is worse: he helps Putin against America because he thinks Putin is his friend. He's a fanboi of dictators in general and Putin in particular; a true believer of autocracy. Trump is betraying America completely of his own free will.

Serinus ,

Putin is largely responsible for turning social media in favor of Trump in 2016. And Trump has absolutely gotten Russian money.

grue ,

I'm not saying Trump didn't benefit greatly from Putin. I'm just saying Trump didn't need to be bribed or coerced to fuck up America 'cause he was going to do that enthusiastically anyway.

orclev ,

While I absolutely believe Trump is in bed with Russia, and has been since the days he got caught using his hotels to help the Russian mafia launder money, the interview you're talking about is a second hand report that has had its legitimacy called into question. It comes from an interview with a sports reporter that claims he was told by Trump junior while talking with him at a golf course that they get all the funding they need out of Russia. Unfortunately that's the only source for that claim so it's pretty weak.

Stronger evidence I would say comes from Trump repeatedly getting loans out of Deutsche Bank when no other banks were willing to touch him at a time when they were also convicted of helping the Russian mafia commit financial crimes as well as finance their operations in countries outside of Russia. I believe at the time those loans were also listed as being secured by a 3rd party whose identity was never revealed. Added on top of that is known members of the Russian mafia literally living one floor below Trump. We know that in part because that's where the FBI arrested them.

Viking_Hippie ,

They released the DNC emails, no doubt peppered with false entries

You guys STILL pretending that the DNC didn't rig it? Nobody in the DNC ever denied the veracity of the emails, they only raged about their secret plotting on behalf of Queen Hillary being published.

but never released the RNC stuff

This part is a fair point though, don't get me wrong.

You just know these idiots in the GOP were dumb enough to put their crimes in email and that gave Putin all the kompromat he needed to take over the whole party.


Socsa ,

Your first baby crush candidate lost a legitimate election. Move on.

Viking_Hippie ,

Your queen lost to the most vile and unqualified candidate in history because she's an elitist warmonger who almost as many people actively dislike. This after primaries that were anything but legitimate. Grow up.

Socsa ,

Bro I guarantee you I spent more time working for Bernie than you did.

Viking_Hippie ,

Then why pretend that the deck wasn't stacked?

It clearly was, no matter how much you call a then-mid 30s guy who happened to support the guy with the best policies a baby..

Socsa ,

Because it wasn't. Bernie lost by millions of votes. Real votes by real voters. Denying the agency of those voters is lazy sour grapes.

Viking_Hippie ,

Pointing out that propaganda works ≠ denying anyone's agency.

People make mistakes.

Such as trusting people who don't have their best interests at heart.

Such as being so terrified of the alternative that they'll vote for whomever the talking heads say is most "electable" regardless of policy positions and regardless of whether or not the talking heads provide any reasonable explanation for why they think that.

And most of these people aren't even idiots or bad people or anything. They're just regular people, some of whom are super smart, who made mistakes.

Just like you are right now making the mistake of setting up the false dichotomy that either everything was by the book or voters had no agency.

kava ,

i think the impressive growth in popularity of both bernie sanders and trump in the 2016 run-up to the election were born out of the same discontent that Americans started to feel towards the establishment wings of the two parties

zizek talks about this where the same people that supported Trump could have been ardent bernie supporters. Lots of areas in the Rust Belt that support unions could have been easily taken by a populist leftist candidate.

Unfortunately, as it so happens in history, whoever is willing to be more brutal typically wins. Trump is willing to do anything to win. Break the law, dip his toe into fascist rhetoric, extort and strongarm both his allies and enemies. He's essentially going all-in - make it or break it.

Bernie simple doesn't have the fire in him. He either doesn't have the desire or the capability. That's the issue - people who should be in power won't be because they don't want to dominate. People who shouldn't end up taking over because of the inverse of that fact.

I'm getting a bit doomer, I think Trump is going to easily win this upcoming election unless the Dems can somehow get him in prison or he has a stroke. And I don't think any of those 3 scenarios are going to be good for us as a country.

boredtortoise ,

Don't care to watch the Putin "interview" but someone quoted a part of it where he basically confirmed that

grue , (edited )

TL;DR: they are fascist anti-American traitors who love dictatorship and hate democracy, and should be treated as such.

Socsa ,

Now explain why tankies Love Russia and hate Ukraine?


thefartographer , (edited )


Sorry, I'm running Windows XP with a really old version of PowerPoint and that's not opening correctly for me. Can someone convert it for backwards compatability for me?

toiletobserver ,

Here ya go!


thefartographer ,

I think there's something wrong with the file you sent me, it doesn't open anything. Just a black box appears in the middle of the screen and then disappears and then nothing...

Even worse, I keep getting all these popups telling me to send money or else they'll release my webcam footage, but I don't think my computer came with a webcam? I found something on the PC that looked like maybe a lens with a vertical line in the middle, but when I press it, my computer turns off.

toiletobserver ,

Your computer is just thirsty. Please share your beverage with it. The mouth is the hole in the side or back with warm breath coming out of it.

Meowoem ,

Don't do what this person says it will damage your computer, computers are delicate electrical devices therefore much more akin to fish and should be submerged completely

joel_feila ,
@joel_feila@lemmy.world avatar

I am going to start naming files that.

autotldr Bot ,

This is the best summary I could come up with:

In short, the war is reaching a critical stage, and Ukraine may lose because Republicans are willing to hand authoritarian Russia a historic military victory rather than supply further aid to a democratic ally.

My friend Renée DiResta, the technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, coined the term, and she wrote that it refers to the “bubble realities” constructed by communities “that operate with their own norms, media, trusted authorities and frameworks of facts.”

Among those who oppose aid to Ukraine, there are certainly several paleoconservatives who object on classic isolationist grounds: It’s not our fight, our support is costly, we might find ourselves inadvertently embroiled in war, and so on.

“On 4chan and pro-Trump spaces on Reddit, on websites like ZeroHedge.com and Washington’s Blog,” he wrote in 2019, “you can find plenty of speculation about evil manipulation by CrowdStrike and secret maneuvers by Ukrainians — often inflamed by Mr. Trump’s own statements.”

Combine that claim with the fact that Hunter Biden had a lucrative business relationship with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, and MAGA found itself with the perfect villain to counter the Trump-Russia narrative.

The culture war, he mused, may be “serious enough to increase the probability that Russia, say, will be motivated to invade and potentially incapacitate Ukraine merely to keep the pathological West out of that country, which is a key part of the historically Russian sphere of influence.”

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