A fracture of the international right may seem minor given everything that is going on right now. But it is worth loitering over.

Because in recent years an interesting divide has grown among conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic. On one side are the Cold War warriors and their successors, who have continued to view Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a strategic threat. Meanwhile, a new generation has arrived at a different view.

While the West has deranged itself with assaults on its own history, on biology and much more, an assortment of conservatives has come to...

A fracture of the international right may seem minor given everything that is going on right now. But it is worth loitering over.

Because in recent years an interesting divide has grown among conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic. On one side are the Cold War warriors and their successors, who have continued to view Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a strategic threat. Meanwhile, a new generation has arrived at a different view.

While the West has deranged itself with assaults on its own history, on biology and much more, an assortment of conservatives has come to see Putin as some kind of counterweight. A bulwark — even an admirable corrective — to the madness of our own societies.

As a guest on Steve Bannon’s talk show recently said: “The Russian people still know which bathroom to use.” Of course, knowing which bathroom to use isn’t everything. Certainly it is no basis for a foreign policy. But such shorthand has become commonplace.

There are those, for instance, who admire Putin for his embrace of the Orthodox Church. Why do our own political leaders not stand up for the Christian faith in such a sincere and uncynical way? they wonder.

On it goes. As the West goes woke-mad, Putin doesn’t even recognize the most basic rights of gay people. And as our political and cultural elites turn our own history into one of shame, Putin presents a version of Russian history filled only with pride.

At the furthest extreme is America’s tiny white-nationalist fringe, such as those at the America First Political Action Conference at which Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke at the end of February, days after Russia invaded Ukraine. That conference was made up of wannabe fascists who follow an especially repugnant little antisemite called Nick Fuentes. The crowd actually chanted “Putin, Putin, Putin” before the ignoramus congresswoman took to the stage. She pretends to have heard none of this.

More significant figures also tread close to this. In the immediate aftermath of the invasion, Donald Trump made comments which sounded ludicrously admiring of the “genius” Putin. Of the “peacekeeping” force Putin was threatening to send, Trump said that it was “the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen.”

This has become a theme on part of the American and European right. We are weak, Putin is strong. We are dumb, he is smart. We obsess over stupid minutiae, Putin gets the big picture.

At a conservative conference in Florida last November a fellow panelist compared the US military’s ridiculous “intersectional” recruitment ads with the crazy-tough-robots recruitment ads for the Russian army. As I pointed out then, such conservatives unwittingly fall for part of the Kremlin’s propaganda. Yes, our societies have problems. Yes, at times we can seem almost unsurvivably stupid. But it does not follow that we have to drool over the Kremlin’s version of itself.

Douglas Murray is associate editor of The Spectator and author of The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity. This article is one excerpt fromFight for the right,” a symposium on the future of American conservatism. Read the full series here.