Who is the top person here?

It’s old news now but I’m still kind of fascinated by it – Trump’s hostility to democratic allies and comfort with authoritarian rivals and enemies. He’s repelled by the one and drawn to the other.

Those who have witnessed the president’s phone calls and meetings with foreign leaders said he had a weakness for monarchs and leaders with absolute power, because that is how he would ideally like to govern. He could be contemptuous of democratic allies, on the other hand, if they had done poorly in elections or opinion polls, and generally viewed them as supplicants asking for personal favours. “Catch Trump at the wrong moment, when he has a fresh grievance (ie most days) and he can be pretty charmless,” a former European official said.

It’s not ideological, it seems, it’s more instinctive and personal than that. He likes bullies and dislikes non-bullies.

“It’s not that it’s like a fascination with Putin and Russia per se. It’s the image of the person itself, and what they stand for,” the former aide said. “He wants to be seen as somebody who can completely have his own way. And he wants to be seen in the company of people who he sees that reflected in. People with ultimate authority, swagger.”

“It was the same with MBS [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman],” the former official added. “And he’s super deferential to the Queen – unbelievably deferential and obsequious to the Queen.”

In other words it’s terribly terribly simple. Horrible, and simple.

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