Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader and founder of one of Russia’s most popular opposition parties, the LDPR, has long been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump. Upon Trump’s electoral victory, Zhirinovsky said something highly interesting that ought to be explored further. He was asked the now ubiquitous question about how Trump for all of his anti-war policies, can stand up to America’s monolithic military-industrial complex.
Zhirinovsky said that in a time when the industrial civilian economy in America is falling flat, it makes good economic sense to re-tool parts of the military-industrial complex to produce civilian goods. Whilst this sounds novel, it actually borrows a chapter from comparatively recent history. In the 1950s there was an explosion of new consumer goods coming out of America. The plastic age, the age of magnetic tape, wide-screen films and surround sound, cars more abundant and sophisticated than ever before, television, hi-fi, microwave ovens and other ‘space age’ household gadgets; were all a product of the military-industrial complex of the Second World War being realigned to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding consumer sector.
Zhirinovsky, also said that, like many other countries, it is possible for America sell military goods in non-conflict zones instead of exploiting conflict through illegal military interventions in order to expand the markets for the military industrial complex.
It would be fanciful to think that previous American presidents would heed such advice, but Trump is full of surprises and most of them have been pleasant surprises. As a successful businessman, I think Trump could capitalise on this idea in a highly effective manner. His clear intention of being a strong president means that he would likely not be afraid to push new and innovative ideas on a would-be overly cautious and restrained Congress.
Sometimes the most novel ideas are the most obvious ones, but it takes someone willing to state them loudly and clearly, in order to make their manifestation unavoidable. In this sense Zhirinovsky and Trump have much in common. They both tend to talk a lot of common sense that many are too caught up in their own pessimism to see and both men get heard above the fray because of their exuberant style.
Whether Trump is fluent in several languages and possesses a profound knowledge of world history from ancient days to modern times has yet to be seen, but both men have often correctly predicted future events after initially being dismissed by more timid voices.
The consumer goods solution to the problem of the military-industrial complex is not just apropos for this time in history, it could help create new jobs by expanding rather than contracting industry as a whole. It fits well into Trump’s vision of renewing the American dream. The innovative spirit of 1950s America could well be re-cast in the 21st century by a man like Trump.
Trump, like the LDPR, both dream big, think outside the confines of the proverbial box and pursue a foreign policy based on peace through strength. American leaders have often praised unpopular if not unknown Russian ‘opposition parties’, at least now there’s an American president who sees somewhat eye to eye with a legitimate and popular opposition party in Russia.