Harmonies of the Nascent Fascist International

It would surprise nobody to hear Donald Trump or even a Republican member of Congress make a remark like this one:

[W]hereas the liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done [about migration, we are taking action]. The migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants must be protected. What rights are these? Every crime must have its punishment.

Likewise, it would be no surprise to hear the same assert that liberalism is "obsolete."

Of course, though, these specific comments were made by Vladimir Putin in an interview just the other day with Financial Times (paywalled, so no link), but their eerie consonance with the dominant voices of the American right is worth noting. In particular, the appeal to resentment around migration is telling, as it's a central means by which Trump has mobilized cultural despair and reaction to his own ends. Both Trump and Putin, though Putin more explicitly (and probably more consciously), have found these anxieties and resentments the basis for a powerful fulcrum by which liberalism, in toto, might be attacked.

Note Putin's explicit use of the migrant question to mount an attack on the notion of universal human rights, a central tenet (at least avowedly) of classical liberalism, simultaneously as he uses the notion of such rights as a bludgeon against his (geo)political opponents. It's a dark rhetorical move reflective of the menacing character of this historical moment. For Trump, I suspect, attacks on liberalism are purely about rallying his base, but the degree to which his rhetoric folds into the contours of Putin's (and that of other reactionary would-be dictators from Bolsanaro to Orban) indicates, to me, the real potential for an emergent, dominant fascist international.

If or when it comes, it won't be nakedly ideological in that it won't dress itself up in the emblems of avowedly fascist parties. Instead, it will emerge in its fullness as a perfect marriage of conservative revolutionary impulses to the craven political instincts of sadists, deadly effective ultimately in its mobilization of generic cultural despair and resentment in tandem with long-running historical anti-democratic projects (of many varieties) --- not to mention massive military-policing and carceral apparatus. The frightening thing about the world right now is that all the pieces and players seem to be more or less in place.