Although President Donald Trump’s past praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn bipartisan concern in Washington, one Putin biographer thinks things will only get really scary if the two leaders’ relationship goes south.
In an interview with Politico, Russian author Masha Gessen — who has written the acclaimed Putin biography The Man Without a Face — says that Trump and Putin’s temperaments could create a volatile mix that could lead to a complete catastrophe for the world.
“We’re already out of the honeymoon phase, and it’s been less than two months,” Gessen tells Politico of the Trump-Putin relationship. “And I think it’s — I mean, the danger of having these two unhinged power-hungry men at their respective nuclear buttons cannot be overestimated.”
Gessen then explained that she’s found herself stunned by the speed at which Trump has been trying to exert authoritarian control. Usually, she points out, rulers such as Putin take a slow-and-steady approach to consolidating power — but Trump, with actions such as his travel ban, has been trying to take control right out of the gate.
“This is just the barrage of disasters, which is something that’s not very familiar to those of us who are trying to report the Putin story,” she said. “In fact, the Putin story, much like, I’d say, the Orban story, right, in Hungary, was unsettling because it left a little too slowly. And then there were like long periods of what passed for normality in between major blows to the world as we know it.”
Gessen did point out that, despite her fears about the two men, she had “a little hope that the nuclear holocaust doesn’t happen” under their watch.