'Cancelling' Russia: Robert Reich explains why Putin, Trump and Tucker Carlson parrot the same 'culture war' rhetoric

'Cancelling' Russia: Robert Reich explains why Putin, Trump and Tucker Carlson parrot the same 'culture war' rhetoric

When President Vladimir Putin’s words are translated into English from Russian, his rhetoric sounds a lot like the rhetoric that comes from MAGA Republicans in the United States — and according to liberal economist Robert Reich, that is no coincidence. In an op-ed published by The Guardian on March 29, Reich explains why rhetorically, Putin, former U.S. President Donald Trump and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson sound so much alike.

“In a speech delivered last Friday from his office in the Kremlin,” Reich observes, “Putin criticized the West’s ‘cancel culture,’ which, he charged, is ‘canceling’ Russia — ‘an entire thousand-year-old country, our people.’ It was the third time in recent months Putin has blasted the so-called ‘cancel culture,’ which is exactly what Trump, Tucker Carlson, and the Republican Party have blasted for several years.”

Reich recalls that during his acceptance speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention, Trump told fellow Republicans, “The goal of cancel culture is to make decent Americans live in fear of being fired, expelled, shamed, humiliated and driven from society as we know it.”

The 75-year-old Reich, who served as secretary of labor for the Clinton Administration during the 1990s, adds that Carlson “has charged that liberals have been trying to "cancel everything from Space Jam to the Fourth of July.”

Another thing Putin has in common with MAGA Republicans, according to Reich, is a “fixation on transgender and gay people.”

“Republican state bills aimed at limiting LGBTQ rights or discussion in schools are soaring,” Reich observes. “Last fall — months before Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to criminalize parents who give their transgender children gender-affirming care — Putin argued that teaching children about different gender identities was ‘on the verge of a crime against humanity.’”

By obsessing over culture war subjects, Reich stresses, Putin in Russia and Trump and Carlson in the U.S. are able to “distract attention from the systemic economic looting that oligarchs have been undertaking, leaving most people poor and anxious.”

Reich writes, “Reduced to basics, today’s oligarchs and strongmen — along with their mouthpieces and lackeys — are trying to justify their wealth and power by attacking liberal values that have shaped the West… Ultimately, the oligarchs and strongmen will lose. Putin won’t succeed in subduing Ukraine, Trump won’t be reelected president, and Carlson and his ilk won’t persuade Americans to give up on American ideals. But the culture wars won’t end anytime soon, because so much wealth and power have consolidated at the top of America, Russia, and elsewhere around the world that anti-liberal forces have risen to justify it.”

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