Michael Dobie’s column “The tycoon and the tyrant” [Opinion, Sept. 11] could not have been more on target.

For whatever combination of reasons, Donald Trump demonstrates a preoccupation with strength and toughness. He seems to confuse these qualities with the violence and brutality of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Trump’s version of strength allows him to praise Putin’s killing, imprisoning, exiling and invading, as well as his support for another murderous dictator, Bashar Assad.

President Ronald Reagan referred to the then-Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire,” and Putin’s behavior continues that legacy. Reagan engaged Soviet Russia, but was not neutral or supportive of its political system.

Trump calls Putin strong and effective within Russia’s political system. Reagan would never have made such a distinction, in my opinion.

Don Pfeifer, Hempstead