Ed Wasserman

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What links Trump and Putin? Revenge

Ed Wasserman is a 52-year resident of Iowa and a professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at The University of Iowa. The views expressed in his piece are his own and do not in any way reflect those of his employer.

Observers often puzzle over the chummy connection between former President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. What links these two leaders to one another? Largely ignored among several possibilities is their common political philosophy.

In a column for the New York Times in February, Carlos Lozada sharply criticized Donald Trump’s ostensible lack of political philosophy: “The difficulty with Trumpism is Trump himself, who renders any coherent ism impossible.” His assessment echoes the widespread belief that Trump is utterly unschooled in geopolitical history or philosophy. Although few would disagree with Trump’s scholarly naïveté, I fear his political acumen may have been seriously underestimated.

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