Mitt Romney has gone on record with the crackpot idea that the Russians are America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” To my knowledge, no noted Kremlinologists have bothered to weigh in on this topic, so it is left to me to untangle his curious word-pretzel. My credentials for this task consist of reading the news, dating a couple of devushkas, and taking a pleasant vacation in the Crimea in nearby Ukraine, where I was fortunate enough to speak with a few intelligent cabdrivers. This humble expertise apparently makes me better informed than Willard Mitt Romney on US-Russia relations.
The Russian Federation was founded on Christmas Day 1991. Early developments were encouraging. The Russians were willing to take American advice on reordering their decaying economic system. American economist grandees were dispatched, and their ideas were acted upon with what appeared to be artless credulity.
The result was that the Russian economy imploded. Russian men’s life expectancy suddenly fell by years, vast swaths of the economy were given away to sinister oligarchs, and the entire nation was thrown into chaotic gangsterism. What is worse, some of the American economists hired to help the Russians profited from all of this, and the gangster oligarchs were often supported by powerful American interests.
“Romney’s plan to further alienate the Russians serves no purpose other than pleasing the crackpots who run our senile military-industrial complex.”
I’m no diplomat and have no certificates in the political sciences. As such I am unsure of the correct protocol for accidental economic extermination of a friendly nation. The actual diplomatic response was along the lines of, “Ha ha, you trusted us.” Most Americans involved in that debacle were promoted. Larry Summers, who masterminded the operation, was eventually made Treasury Secretary and president of Harvard. While I do not think our government set out to deliberately vaporize Russia’s economy, I wouldn’t blame a Russian for suspecting so.
In 1999, the US and NATO engaged in a war against the Serbs, whom the Russians look on as “little brothers” due to their linguistic and religious ties. NATO, which appears to have invaded nonbelligerent nations on…more…than…one…occasion, has since expanded right up to Russian borders.
In spite of this American perfidy, the Russians gave the green light to the US and NATO to set up bases on their border after the 9/11 attacks. How did we repay the Russians for their trusting generosity? In 2002, Putin suggested Russia might be invited to join NATO. Numskull diplomats told him to wait in line with Latvia. Later in the year, the US withdrew from the ABM Treaty, ostensibly to build defenses against Iran…in the Czech Republic and Poland. The Russians offered the US one of their radar facilities in Azerbaijan, which is a lot closer to Iran than the Czech Republic is. The US said no, fueling Russian paranoia that this missile defense was aimed at weakening their remaining nuclear deterrent.
In 2004, something called the Orange Revolution happened in Ukraine. The American media framed it as a battle between Tatar despotism in the person of Viktor Yanukovych against the forces of democracy and disco music in the person of Victor Yuschenko. If you believe the Western media, the brave Ukrainians stood up and put disco-democracy in charge. The reality is, this was a fight between American and Russian intelligence agencies, each attempting to put their favored proxies in charge of Ukraine. The Ukrainian people eventually realized this and threw Yuschenko out of office as soon as they were able. He remains the most unpopular president in Ukrainian history. His wife is widely suspected of being an American spook. Who is in charge in Ukraine now? The alleged villain of the Orange Revolution, Viktor Yanukovych.
The nadir of US-Russia relations came with the Georgia Abkhazia/South Ossetia war. Mikheil Saakashvili, the US-backed numskull from the Rose Revolution, decided to shell Russian troops. The Russians told them to cut it out. The Georgians didn’t. The Russians invaded Georgia and put an end to the shelling. Saakashvili was hoping the Americans would send in the Marines for a shooting war with the Russians. You’d never know our Georgian proxies started this war from listening to the American media, who were madly whooping for the Georgians. Fortunately, some adult decided that fighting World War III because we put a gun-happy bubblehead in charge of Georgia would be a poor use of American resources. The American media wailed that Soviet tyranny had returned. After about two months the Russians withdrew, just like they said they would.
The Western media has hailed the color revolutions as a blossoming of democracy in former Soviet states. The Russians perceive them as hostile American interference in their local affairs. Georgia had been part of Russia since 1801. Eastern Ukraine had been part of Russia since 1795. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based in Sevastopol, which is a city in Ukraine. Kiev contains the spiritual center of Russian religion, and the Kievan Rus were the cultural origin of the Russian people. The Russians have more interests in Ukraine and Georgia than we do. If the Russians or Chinese were meddling in Canada and Mexico’s political affairs, we might suspect them of ill intentions. Naturally, the Russians resent our preposterous attempts to interfere with matters on their borders.
While candidate Romney’s magical underpants are in a bunch over Obama’s Russia policy, US-Russia relations have improved over the last three years. Obama managed to wring a nuclear reduction treaty out of the Russians. The Russians have saved our bacon in Afghanistan by allowing us the use of their airspace to ship supplies to fight the Taliban. The Russians even allowed US troops to march in their 2010 Victory Day parade. They’re still bent out of shape at the US for our recent treacheries, but things have realistically never been better.
Romney’s plan to further alienate the Russians serves no purpose other than pleasing the crackpots who run our senile military-industrial complex. The Russians aren’t going to invade anyone. They can barely deal with their vast internal problems. The Eastern European missile-defense system “against Iran” is useless and it would make the Russkies happy if the US would abandon it, or at least let Russian inspectors visit. While people complain about the Russians possibly assassinating people, complaining about it seems rather odd as the US presently reserves the right to openly assassinate its own citizens.
Russia is not the Soviet Union. Russia is more like France, with more natural resources and worse food. The sooner our politicians realize that the Russians are more like Frenchmen with a peculiar affection for beets, the saner our policies will be.
© 2012, agentleman.