Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times, ‘This tendency to conceive of the west in civilisational or even racial terms — rather than through ideology or institutions — also helps explain the Trump team’s sympathy with Vladimir Putin’s Russia and hostility to Angela Merkel’s Germany. Once the west is thought of as synonymous with “Judeo-Christian civilisation” then Mr Putin looks more like a friend than a foe. The Russian president’s closeness to the Orthodox church, his cultural conservatism and his demonstrated willingness to fight brutal wars against Islamists in Chechnya and Syria cast him as an ally. By contrast, Ms Merkel’s willingness to admit more than a million mostly Muslim refugees into Germany make America’s altright regard her as a traitor to western civilisation . . . These views are not confined to the political extremes in France. François Fillon, the centreright’s candidate in the presidential election, recently published a book called, Conquer Islamic Totalitarianism, which contains the Flynn-like declaration that: “We are in a war with an adversary that knows neither weakness nor truce.” Pierre Lellouche, France’s former Europe minister, has also just brought out a book called War without End, which argues that Islamism is the 21st-century equivalent of Nazism.
. . . The polemic over Mr Trump’s “Muslim ban” will not be an isolated event. On the contrary, it is a foretaste of the future of politics in the west. [Writing in the Financial Times, 15 February 2017]