I hate presidential election years, the massive volume of self-serving lies delivered with the assumption that we will believe them because we are stupid; the leaving aside of any important issue because those are too complicated to fit into thirty-second pre-packaged negative TV ads; the absurd promotion of non-issues and meaningless code-words. But it’s not as though we had to wait for an election to witness such exquisite foolishness.
Consider Russia. Nothing un-foolish is ever said about Russia. Faced with the miraculous disappearance of the Soviet Union, we, the West, embarked on a decade plus of confusion, steadfastly refusing the logic of welcoming the great Russian people into the community of nations. One of the great lost opportunities: consider the United States and Russia, shoulder to shoulder, working together for mutual security and prosperity, there’s nothing that we could not have accomplished. Instead, we chose to treat Russia with benign neglect, waiting patiently for any sign that they had not really changed, that the Soviets were not really gone. Demonizing them, hating and fearing them, had worked so well for American politics and business that we hated to let it go.
You may not like Putin, you may not like the level of state control and cronyism that still exists in Russia, but please, let’s face it, it’s all worlds apart and infinitely better than the brutal state fascism of the Soviets. Even the Soviets were afraid of Soviet Communism! No one misses it, except maybe five or six non-Jewish, party member, decorated veterans of the Great Patriotic War. It’s over, Johnny! We can all get over it. But we can’t.
South Ossetia and Abkhazia, are there any two places on earth that are less important to American national security? No one would suggest, though, that they are not important to Russian security. In the current controversy involving Russia and Georgia, one version of events has filled the news coverage. The Georgian version of events. In hysterical tones and hyperbolic language we hear about how the Russian Bear is back, invading and occupying neighboring democratic, “Christian” countries, trying to rebuild the old Soviet empire.
After weeks of this one sided, propagandistic approach, some of the essential facts are coming out. In the final version of events, Georgia does not sound so blameless and Russia does not sound so unreasonable. And would any sane person even talk about the possibility of putting Georgia in NATO? Let’s give it time, and hold it all up to the light, before we re-consign Russia, and America, to Cold-War-Hell.
In the immortal words of Rodney King, why can’t we all just get along?
STOP THE PRESSES!
Pat Buchanan agrees with me! Kind of! On a site named antiwar.com no less! Boy the Twenty First Century is weird.