Just after Putin helped elect D----- T---- as President, higher ed's highest bastion of Trumpism invited Christopher Caldwell, Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute, to deliver the keynote at the Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona on February 15, 2017, less than a month after the T---- inauguration (remember the record crowds?).
The speech was entititled "How to Think about Vladimir Putin." The President of Hillsdale College leadership was so impressed that, when he returned to campus, he had the College's ideological organ, Imprimis, to print an adapted version of the speech.
Below is a tiny excerpt, but it offers a strong whiff of the corrupt, xenophobic, white nationalist, anti-intellectual stench that attracts corrupt, xenophobic, white nationalist, anti-intellectual governors like Bill Lee from hundreds a miles away:
Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] is not the president of a feminist NGO. He is not a transgender-rights activist. He is not an ombudsman appointed by the United Nations to make and deliver slide shows about green energy. He is the elected leader of Russia—a rugged, relatively poor, militarily powerful country that in recent years has been frequently humiliated, robbed, and misled. His job has been to protect his country’s prerogatives and its sovereignty in an international system that seeks to erode sovereignty in general and views Russia’s sovereignty in particular as a threat.
. . . if we were to use traditional measures for understanding leaders, which involve the defense of borders and national flourishing, Putin would count as the pre-eminent statesman of our time. On the world stage, who can vie with him? Only perhaps Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey.
. . . .
Why are American intellectuals such ideologues when they talk about the “international system”? Probably because American intellectuals devised that system, and because they assume there can never be legitimate historic reasons why a politician would arise in opposition to it. They denied such reasons for the rise of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. They do the same with Donald Trump. And they have done it with Putin. They assume he rose out of the KGB with the sole purpose of embodying an evil for our righteous leaders to stamp out.