putin trump
Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump interacting in 2017. [File photo]Reuters

A fawning Donald Trump made slavish comments in Helsinki on Monday, praising and justifying Vladimir Putin and disowning his own intelligence agencies. A day later, Trump made a U-turn and held Putin responsible for the US election hacks. By then he was back home and in 'safe' terrain. Does this simply mean that Trump fears Putin? Does he at least harbour a subliminal fear of the more dominant counterpart?

Does Donald Trump really fear Vladimir Putin? Does he have to? Doesn't Trump possess traits of a dominant personality? Yes he does but so does Putin. And that leaves us with two world leaders -- they also happen to be THE two most powerful individuals on earth at the moment -- who share many personality traits. In such a scenario it's quite logical that one of them has to play the second fiddle when both are on the stage together. It's almost impossible the other way round.

So, to understand why Trump is fearing Putin, we need to find out what differentiates both of them. Well, that can happen only when we know what they both share in common.

Let's look at the Trump-Putin similarities first 

  • They are both arrogant, intimidating people with the 'strong man' image
  • They both have few scruples over morals
  • They would be the last people to please anyone just for diplomacy
  •  They are both unashamed and unapologetic about what they need in life -- whether that's women, fame or unlimited terms in power
  •  Past, no way, they don't know what past or history is. They only look at the future.
  •  They learn from mistakes? Hell no, they don't know what a mistake is.

So what makes them different? Or what, according to Trump, makes Putin stronger?

  • Basically Trump's insecurities play a role in this.
  • Trump's seat of the pants approach to running the nation is starkly opposite to Putin's cold-blooded, calm and collected approach.
  • Trump knows his weaknesses shine bright seen in the backdrop of Putin's Machiavellian efficiencies.
  • Trump is, after all transparent in his misdeeds but Putin's chief weapon is his ominous silence.
  • Trump wants to make America Great Again but knows in his heart he isn't going to do it. After all he knows he has only another two years to do so.
  • Putin is making Russia great all day, though he isn't saying so. And Trump intuitively knows who among the two of them is on the road to success.
  • Putin, a scheming, malevolent dictator, knows how to stay in power permanently, has always been a Kremlin insider and he will hold on to supreme power for a lifetime, for all you (and Trump) know.
  • Trump, a scheming, malevolent businessman, can't. He's going to be booted out in a couple of years. And finally he knows that his four years in power -- the ultimate ego boost to the narcissistic showman -- was a gift of Putin.