I usually don’t waste my time with babble but Daniel Silva’s “President Obama and a 3 am Phone Call about Russia” struck a cord. It’s just another example that Russia is one thing American liberals and conservatives can embrace over.
Silva’s argument is simple. “Russia is now a fascist country,” he writes. He hopes soon to be President Obama takes this assertion to heart and “uses his first meeting with Russia’s leader–whether it be Putin or the diminutive Dmitri Medvedev–to deliver a clear and sobering message. Russia can no longer have it both ways. If Russia wants to be a member of the club–that is to say, the civilized world–then it must act like a member of the club.” Oh, God.
I admit it. I read the HuffPost. I enjoy its entertainment reporting and links to newspaper articles. Plus, I kinda have a crush on political cougar Arriana Huffington. I rarely indulge in its political commentary, though. It’s Obama deification is downright annoying. So much so I sometimes feel my bowels struggling to keep my lunch down after even glancing at its gushing pro-Obama headlines. All the hoopla over the New Yorker Obama cover is just one example of how many liberals have forgotten how to laugh (if they ever knew how to) even when the joke is aimed at their political enemies. Get a clue people. This man is not the second coming. He’s not John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, MLK or any other American liberal folk hero. He’s a Democrat and history has shown that the Democrats are pretty damn good, some say even better than the Republicans, at managing American empire.
A telling sign of this is the fact that once again the American presidential debate is not about dismantling the empire but a contest over who will manage it better. Given how the HuffPost is flaunting Obama’s Mideast voyage and how Arab leaders are flocking to speak with the prez hopeful, you’d think that people actually believe all of the Bush Administration’s dirty deeds will simply vanish as soon as Obama sets the imperial crown on his head. I’m not one to make predictions, but I will stick my neck out and predict this: It’s not gonna happen. After all, its not like the Democrats have clean hands in all this. . .
I know, I know, I’m digressing. But I needed to say it, especially to those who might consider me an Obamamaniac.
As for Daniel Silva, he’s just kinda dumb and not even in a charming way. Silva, who is a novelist by trade, has a new book out called Moscow Rules, which according to a blurb on Amazon is an espionage novel and “searing cautionary tale about the new threats rising to the East.” If his storytelling skills are anything like his commentary, Moscow Rules will certainly be a fanciful tale chalk full of sneaky Russians hiding in shadowy alleys look to spring evil on unsuspecting defenders of the free world. I certainly won’t be running to the bookstore. I read enough pulp fiction about Russia from the academic presses.
So does Silva. Or so it seems. His main source of knowledge about Russian affairs comes from a recent “research” trip to Russia and Edward Lucas’ The New Cold War. As for the former, Silva clearly learned nothing. His impressions are sloppy regurgitations of often repeated Western commentary. Complete with observations like: The FSB/KGB “have infiltrated the top ranks of Russia’s government;” “the organization that oversaw the Great Terror, administered the Gulag Archipelago, and locked dissidents away in psychiatric hospitals, is now running Russia;” “Russia would like its empire back. Putin made that abundantly clear in 2005, when, in his state of the nation speech, he referred to the collapse of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.” Russia is once more attempting to project power. It is using its new found energy muscle to bully and blackmail its weaker neighbors;” “The print media, lively during the Yeltsin years, has also been brought to heel;” and “Any Russian brave enough, or foolish enough, to confront the regime runs the risk of being arrested, beaten, or even killed.” You get the picture.
As for his second “source,” okay granted, I haven’t read Lucas’ book nor will I. His reporting in the Economist and elsewhere is far more bile than I can stomach. Silva apparently buys Lucas’ belief that danger is brewing in the East. Not the east-east, i.e. China, but the good old Cold War east, i.e. Russia. Perhaps even more scary is that Silva thinks that though Lucas’ “sky is falling” rants might be a bit premature, they nevertheless could serve as a Russia primer for Emperor Obama:
And though it would be alarmist for President Obama to start talking about a new Cold War, Edward Lucas, a reporter for the Economist, argues in a persuasive and passionate new book–titled, interestingly enough, The New Cold War–that Russia is already waging it. Lucas warns that the United States and Europe must set aside their differences over Iraq and resuscitate the old Atlantic alliance in order to confront the new threat rising in the East. The Kremlin will attempt to divide any such coalition with its oil and its money, Lucas predicts, but Western European countries must steadfastly resist the temptation to betray the alliance for thirty pieces of Russian silver. Good luck trying to sell that strategy to Russia’s special friends in Germany and Italy.
Ooooh! Good reference to the Axis Powers! All updated and repacked for a new generation! Germany-Italy-Russia! Where did you get that? The History Channel? I wonder if its in his book . . .
But that is not all. He concludes,
Better to challenge the bear now, while it is still a paper one. It might keep that White House telephone from ringing at three o’clock in the morning. And President Obama might be able to get some much-needed sleep.
What a boob. Well, Silva should be happy that Obama has Michael McFaul at his side to advise him in such affairs. His hopes just might come true.