Podcast / The Time of Monsters / Mar 24, 2024

The Roots of Trump’s Dictator Fetish

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, Jacob Heilbrunn on the American right’s long history of opposing democracy.

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The Roots of Trump’s Dictator Fetish | The Time of Monsters
byThe Nation Magazine

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, Jeet Heer talks to Jacob Heilbrunn about the American right’s long history of opposing democracy.

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, US President Donald Trump, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, link hands during the Opening ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in Manila on November 13, 2017.

(Noel Celis / AFP via Getty Images)

Donald Trump recently hosted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, praising the would be autocrat to the skies as “fantastic” and “a boss.” Of course Trump’s love of autocrats is nothing new. As CNN reports:

In general, Trump has been more willing to engage leaders the previous administration froze out because of antidemocratic practices. Trump has cultivated ties to global strongmen such as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Chinese President Xi Jinping—not to mention his two summits with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un or his general warmth toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

CNN

Jacob Heilbrunn has written a valuable new book, America Last: The Right’s Century-Long Romance with Foreign Dictators, that places Trump’s love of dictators in a larger historical context. I wrote about the book in this column, where I summarize his arguments and take issue with a few of his claims.

I was happy to talk to Jacob both about his findings and also places where we disagree.

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Jeet Heer

Jeet Heer is a national affairs correspondent for The Nation and host of the weekly Nation podcast, The Time of Monsters. He also pens the monthly column “Morbid Symptoms.” The author of In Love with Art: Francoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman (2013) and Sweet Lechery: Reviews, Essays and Profiles (2014), Heer has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The American Prospect, The GuardianThe New Republic, and The Boston Globe.

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