Realpolitik as a Digestif
I will hand it to those loyalists to Vladimir Putin who will at least cop to his being a strongman in the Great Russian Chauvinist tradition. When George W. Bush declared, after a visit with the ex-KGB premier in 2001, … Read More
I will hand it to those loyalists to Vladimir Putin who will at least cop to his being a strongman in the Great Russian Chauvinist tradition. When George W. Bush declared, after a visit with the ex-KGB premier in 2001, that he managed to glimpse Putin's "heart and soul", fans of "managed democracy" in Moscow couldn't stifle their laughter. That Volodya took to wearing a crucifix on his state visit to Texas was a very fine touch indeed. Worthy of Gogol.
But now Putin is coming to Bush the Elder's domain in Kennebunkport, Maine, raising a number of interesting questions about what else besides lobster and imported Caspian caviar will grace the menu of this odd holiday gathering. It seems like only yesterday the cold war was in revival. The BBC states the matter as coyly as possible:
"This really can be considered to be the Bush family's inner sanctum," one former senior official told the BBC News website.
Putin is the first world leader to be invited by George W to the family home during his presidency, he says, and this in itself can be seen as a "symbolic gesture."
In other words, let's do away for a spell with the neo-Brezhnev bluster and the Scoop Jackson homilies about spreading democracy. The murder of journalists and exiles, the elimination of regional elections, the imprisonment of politically antagonistic oil tycoons and sundry other measures of a consolidated autocracy are small beans in comparison to a mutually administered missile shield in Europe. (Given that our enemies are Russia's friends, I'd pay real money to sit in on the war games this installation gets up to.)
The Bush administration has not lacked for tragic historical ironies of its own making. The most tragic, however, may turn out to be that its hard-nosed brand of neoconservatism has finally given way to the more tender-headed variety of dictatorships and double standards. Only this time it's the fascists in the Middle East we're rightfully opposed to, while toward the bigger and more powerful Stalinoid regime in Russia, we're all smiles.