Friday, November 23, 2007

Putin the Czar tries to restart the Cold War

By Rick Morris

As Mad Vlad Putin goes through the motions of the farce called Russian “democracy,” he has demonstrated yet again that his move from president to prime minister will change nothing and he will continue to wield the real power. His latest campaign stunt shows the price the world will pay for the route he has chosen to hang on to power.

The denunciation he made of the West (read: America) for alleged meddling in internal affairs in the 1990s is part and parcel of what has been an unfortunate strategy: earning the sympathy of the public by scapegoating foreign powers. As a child of the Cold War, I believed at the time that the Russian people were a noble folk oppressed by a vicious dictatorship. Sadly, I look back now and see a very naïve attitude on my part. Throughout history, the Russians have traditionally yielded to authoritarian governments of one type or another. Now, less than two decades after throwing off the yoke of the Soviet Union peacefully and in unprecedented fashion, the people of Russia are serving as willing co-conspirators in a backslide to a police state.

Putin’s emerging Hitler Youth equivalent has been chronicled here previously and is a vital part of his wicked plan. And the rhetoric about the conspiracies of other nations has been lapped up like vodka by the denizens of this arrogant nation.

If the America-baiting was simply serving as red meat to pacify the people and neutralize internal opposition to the Putin Cult of Personality, it would be bad enough. But Putin is also walking the walk in international affairs, forging agreements with the tyrants of China, Iran, Venezuela and every other entity determined to jab a sharp stick in the eye of Uncle Sam. Everything takes a back seat to an anti-American agenda, from preventing the horrors that may arise from nuclear proliferation to keeping oil prices stable to prevent hurting innocents in the Third World to keeping international terrorists in check.

I will maintain again, though, that the unilateralism of the Bush administration played right into Putin’s hands. Clearly, Putin wanted to go down this path all along, but an American policy of trying to install military bases in former Soviet satellite countries did not help matters. When dealing with an insidious head of state who is acting as a de facto enemy, the United States must muster every bit possible of craftiness. By this definition, we have not acted in our best interests in a long time and we need to start as soon as possible.

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