Imagine, for a moment, you are the leader of an “anti-establishment” political movement. You thrill your followers by sticking it to the “liberal elites” and the “global order.” There’s nothing more “anti-establishment” than showing two fingers to such elite, aloof projects as NATO or the EU, and giving props to the man who wants to undermine them — Vladimir Putin.
What better way to milk the outrage of the “liberal” media than by siding with a Kremlin that has made attacking “liberal values” its motto? And wouldn’t you welcome attacks from liberal elites for associating you with the sort of disruption you wish to emulate?
For the “anti-establishment” Right, giving Putin the thumbs-up has become the equivalent of what pulling on a Che T-shirt has long meant for the Left.