I’m no expert on Russia. I’ve known a few over the years, was even related to one by marriage for awhile, but they are still a mystery to me.
Like most of us western boomers, I was elated when the Soviet Union collapsed. The “evil empire” after all, was the source of our anxieties all the way back to our duck and cover days in elementary school. Even so, I had a lot of respect for the long-suffering Russian people. They managed to overcome crippling poverty and a brutal leader to fight their way to Adolph’s bunker in WWII, and they managed to beat us Yanks in the early rounds of the space race. They were smart and resourceful, considering their handicaps.
So when that wall finally came down, I saw it as the beginning of a golden age. I wasn’t worried about the former eastern bloc nations joining NATO. Heck, I thought Russia would join NATO, seeing how the alliance would benefit both sides economically and strategically. Who could possibly stand against such a juggernaut?
Yeah, so I was among the starry-eyed idealists who believed in the reset. It seemed worth the risks; to prove to our former adversaries that we could all prosper from cooperation and maybe make the world a better place for all humanity. It was a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, Vlad Putin turned out to be the one with no brain, or at least a brain that was still stuck in illusions of empire: An unrepentant homophobe who sends girls to gulags for a crime that would earn you a $100 ticket and a few hours of community service in the west. And then there’s this business with Ukraine.
Even worse, the majority of the Russian people appear to be on board with this bullshit. Thanks a lot. You’ve just given a whole new generation of Americans a negative stereotype to hang onto for another seventy years or so.
And you’ve given the Cold Warriors another reason to ramp up defense spending; money that could have been used to clean up the toxic mess left over from Cold War I, and maybe feed and clothe the millions of people who still live in wretched poverty and filth in the 21st Century. Instead we’ll get Star Wars and thousands of shiny new nuclear warheads to keep the bear at bay. Such a deal.
Yep….every time we seem on the edge of enjoying a ‘peace dividend’ we manage to find a new enemy to defend against. Not enough to have 13 nuclear carrier task forces to face the worlds 1 functional one, which is French, we are ramping up to 16. I wonder when people will recognize that this is welfare for the defense industrial complex and start asking those who benefitted from it over their careers why.
I would think Boomers would find this neo-Cold War familiar and comforting.
After all, the United States just pointed its war machine from the Evil empire towards terrorism mode. Gotta keep ‘dat Military Industrial Monster well fed.
The “fall” of the Eastern Block was an illusionary comfort. In fact, we might have been safer under the East/West hegemonies. Perhaps Putin is just trying to return us to a more sensible time? [sarcasm, sorta]
With visions of Nathan Hale and John Wayne dancing in their heads, those who seek to hide their insecurities march in locked step, with their own particular modern mythology on their side, to the orchestrated drumbeat fabricated by the repugnant souls who profit immensely from combat. We have seen the fury of conflict go full circle; from tribe vs. tribe, to country v country, to all out world war, and slowly recede back to what is now ALL tribes locked in never-ending hostility, where evil is to be seen everywhere and none, not even here at home, are to be trusted.
Wherever there is a difference in people, there is money to be made, with the exception of the wealthy; who do not fight, die, or suffer from the hostilities of their own design. No, to them homage must be made for creating jobs, feeding our families, and keeping us safe through the ever-increasing effectiveness of modern warfare.
From The Outlaw Josey Wales: “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.” Or, to use a modern euphemism: trickle-down economics.
At least 50K Russians in Moscow alone are not on board: http://news.yahoo.com/thousands-moscow-protest-russias-action-crimea-003037662.html
Please be wary of equating a government/head of state with the people of a nation …
I didn’t, Diane, but it is up to the Russian people to right this wrong before the Oligarchs push them into a war, or boycott, that will serve no one. Pussy Riot had the right idea. Now they need a million pussy march.
Yes! with Irina Mikhailovna Virganskaya leading the Grannies for Peace delegation …
Well, it’s not the million pussy march, but it’s a start in that direction… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/25/dont-give-it-to-a-russian_n_5028743.html
Si vis pacem, para bellum
Putin has rescued the Russian Sudetenland, let’s all hope for peace in our time. We can even smear as “isolationist” anyone who won’t risk WWIII by rattling sabers.
Some wag has noticed Russia is an oil company masquerading as an empire, and the best way to spank them is to embrace unfettered domestic US oil production to drive down the world price of oil (and especially our own), but that would put our born ag’in CO2 crusading EPA in much the same position as a Christian Scientist with acute appendicitis.
Not to mention Mother Earth with full-blown cancer.
Oil, gas, world currency, water, and keeping military industrial complex are all at play. Our ill advised ventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, and entire region all have these issues at their core. The BRICS nations are trying to set up a new world in their favor instead of being under the boot of the US.
I recently discussed this issue with a friend of mine in Moscow. She was so emotional about the whole thing that I could barely understand her as my Russian is not what it used to be. Her take was that it is none of our business. She rightfully pointed out that Crimea had historically been a part of Russia until Krushchev (a Ukrainian) gave it to Ukraine in the 1950’s. She stated that at the time it did not matter, because it was all part of the USSR. Her analogy in connection with ethnic Russians living in Ukraine is this…imagine a house with 15 rooms and the individuals in the families move from room to room freely. Then one day, someone says whatever room that you are in is your room and the individuals in that room are now your family. I feel that her take on the situation in Ukraine is common among Russians. My fear is that using her analogy (if common among Russians), Putin could use this rationale to take over any area where many ethnic Russians live regardless of which country. If my fear is true, Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Georgians, et al should be very nervous right now.
I told her that I did not think that Obama would do anything. Her response was scary and true. She said that Obama cannot do anything. She stated that the Russians have real force in the region and will use it.
She also stated that the troops in Crimea were not Russians. My response to that comment was simple. Bullshit.
It’s as though someone had given California back to the Mexicans in the 50’s, but maintained the Naval station at San Diego, and eventually took it back. Crimea is Russia’s San Diego, and that’s why it’s 90% Russian people. Simple as that. And with Ukraine being pressured to join the EU, Putin said, “Fine, but you can’t have the naval base.”
What nation leader would not have done the same? And nothing has changed so, who cares?
Yeah…Putin’s just doing the patriotic thing. Then there’s those Russians in Estonia, East Ukraine, the Russian River…Huh?
Interesting commentary from ‘Roosia’. Thanks for posting.
Yes. Putin is getting the band back together and he is not doing it for the penguin and he is not on a mission from God.
There’s a good chance that his recent imperialist maneuvers are an attempt to improve his domestic approval ratings in light of the massive corruption and cronyism he perpetrated during the Sochi Olympics.
Seems Putin did not like the way the political winds were blowing following the Ukraine Spring – so he is trying a little climate change of his own.