Russia historian Simon Sebag Montefiore tells CNN's Fareed Zakaria that Trump has a crush on Putin because he "wants to be the first American czar."
December 31, 2017

CNN's Fareed Zakaria sat down with Russia historian Simon Sebag Montefiore to discuss the history of tensions between the United States and Russia and what it could tell us about the relationship today with Donald Trump at the helm.

Zakaria asked Montefiore about Trump's man-crush on Vladimir Putin and his refusal to criticize him, while having no problem starting feuds with our allies. Montefiore attributed Trump's infatuation with Putin on our Twittler-in-Chief wanting to be just like him:

“Donald Trump wants to be the first American czar,” he explained. “He wants to be the American Romanov — he rules by decree, very small circle, he treats ministers like personal servants, he promotes his family to positions of power, they’re the only people he really trusts. So in this sense, he really is the first American czar.”

Montefiore said that there are checks and balances that have so far kept Trump from behaving wholly like a dictator, but he argued that we should still be alarmed by his ambitions and his admiration for Putin.

“He looks at Vladimir Putin and he sees a man who… has control of violence, who can order interventions into foreign countries at the click of a hand,” he explained. “I think that is a slightly boyish crush on the idea of the gangster boss.”

He left out one other obvious motive -- the very real possibility he's being blackmailed. It's likely Trump fears Putin as much as he admires him. And the notion that the Congress has been any kind of check and balance on Trump is laughable.

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