At the instigation of my much-admired colleague at Sublime Oblivion, we’re going to take a closer look today at La Russophobe’s revulsion for the Obama government, as well as her longing for the good ol’ days when Ronald “Saint Ronnie” Reagan – that godhead of conservative ideology – was ringmaster of the American political circus. Were Ronald Reagan’s hawkish policies toward the Soviet Union really that effective? We’ll see. I expect I will attract a degree of criticism for picking the low-hanging fruit from the Idiot Tree, but what can I tell you? I’ve always been a low-hanging-fruit kind of guy.
Really, you can’t be a passionate lover of Reaganite philosophy without being also a lover of conservatism, because much of the adoring nostalgia surrounding Reagan’s policies is felt by those who don’t really remember his government all that well. Ronald Reagan ran deficits for the hell of it, because he didn’t really have to. So, being a disciple of Reaganite philosophy today likely means you are a Republican, as La Russophobe evidently is. Without getting too deeply into American politics, Republicans will sell their siblings into indentured servitude before they will advocate for raising taxes (although Ronald Reagan raised taxes – he just did it quietly, and Democrats let him), and feel that deficits don’t matter until everything has gone decidedly pear-shaped on the economic front, to the degree that ordinary Americans have become convinced you can buy a 5-bedroom house when you don’t have a job. At that point, it’s Democrats’ fault.
We’ll get into some of that a bit later, because selective memory of the way Republicans run things is a malady much more recent than Reagan and the Soviet Union. But for now, we want to take a look at the present government’s policies toward what is now Russia, because Russia is the only thing La Russophobe hates more than Obama.
The specific criticism is that the recent statement by the Obama government on the arrests of Strategy 31 protesters in Russia was “mealy-mouthed, craven gibberish” that should nonetheless have been delivered by the President himself; or, at a minimum, by his Secretary of State, instead of by “an anonymous underling deep in the bowels of the State Department”. For the record, Philip “P.J.” Crowley is the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, a 26-year Air Force veteran with service in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, who retired with the rank of Colonel. He also served as Director of Homeland Security with the Center for American Progress. I can see, though, how those accomplishments might seem insignificant to, say, a crackpot internet make-believe journalist from New York who writes nonsense about Russia. Anyway, the substance of the complaint, besides it not having come from the varnished dead lips of Reagan’s corpse, was that it did not name names, like Nemtsov’s.
Again with Nemtsov. Christ on a skateboard; how many times are we going to have to go over this? In Russia, which is the country he’d like to take over as leader, Boris Nemtsov is just not that popular. His “Solidarity” movement enjoys little public support, and its leaders (Nemtsov and Kasparov) are “not perceived by the vast majority of the population as representing the average person’s interests”. When he was leader of the Union of Right Forces in 2003, the party did not even achieve the necessary minimum of 5% of the vote required to enter parliament, and lost all its seats in the Duma. As a candidate for mayor of Sochi, his home town, he polled less than 15% of the vote, despite having once been Russia’s most popular and recognized politician. You can’t tell me the Kremlin has so intimidated the entire population of Russia that they will not vote for the man they know in their hearts to be the true leader and representative of their deepest desires. What nonsense! If they voted him in, all that intimidation would disappear, and they’d get what they wanted! It’d be happy days, right? Do you think Russians are stupid? For what I devoutly hope will be the last time, Boris Nemtsov is an attention junkie who gets arrested to get attention; as a millionaire, he can easily afford the $15.00 USD fine, and since he is not employed as a salaryman, he can afford the half-day or so he spends in jail, too. It’s worth it, to see the western press make a big deal out of it in their attempt to influence future elections. For a group that gets as testy as Americans do about the sanctity of American elections – no outsiders’ opinions welcome – they sure seem to feel their input in elections held in other countries will be important.
The Union of Right Forces was supported by the International Democrat Union (IDU), an (obviously) international coalition headquartered in Oslo, Norway and numbering as members former British PM Margaret Thatcher, former President George H.W. Bush, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and former French President Jacques Chirac. How do you think the United States would like the idea of one of its political parties taking advice from the French and the Germans? Boost their domestic popularity? I guess not.
If you want to hold a peaceful protest in a major Russian city, you have to have a permit. If you get a permit to hold a rally, and then decide to turn it into a march through the streets of the city, is that okay? No, of course not. Can you hold a rally in New York without a permit for a public assembly? NO!! If you get a permit to hold a rally in New York, can you decide on the spot to turn it into a march instead? NO!! Note also, for all those who suggested it was barbaric to deny Yury Shevchuk the right to use amplifiers to broadcast his protest songs about the evil government far from Pushkin Square – if you want to use amplified sound for a public event in New York, you will require a permit from the NYPD, 5 days in advance; Section 108 of Title 10, Administrative Code of the City of New York. Police presence at demonstrations throughout North America and Europe is routine – not because the police can’t wait to crack your skull with a baton, but because peaceful demonstrations of all types are regularly inflitrated by hooligans who want to heave bricks through windows from the cover of a crowd, and because even peaceful demonstrations attract those opposed to your agenda, and who may become violent. You just know that if Nemtsov got roughed up at a rally by civilians who disagreed with his politics, the first question plaintively posed by the western press would be, “where were the police who are supposed to prevent this sort of savage attack?”
Anyway, we got kind of sidetracked; sorry about that. We were going to talk about La Russophobe’s contention that touchy-feely assholery like Obama’s way of dealing with Russia didn’t happen under great leaders like Reagan. Reagan called a spade a spade, as it were. Well, maybe so. It’s true Reagan introduced what came to be known – for obvious reasons – as the “Reagan Doctrine”; a policy of confrontation with the Soviet Union through economic pressure, military buildup and support for anti-Communist insurgent groups. It’s also true that one of those supported anti-Communist insurgents was later responsible for flying a couple of airliners into the World Trade Center, sending the United States on an orgy of war and unaccountable spending. As we’ve previously mentioned, Reagan wasn’t afraid of deficits. He increased defense spending 35% over his two terms, and spent billions on the Strategic Defense Initiative – sometimes called “Star Wars”, it was a chronic failure and money pit at the expense of social programs and the debt; in 1986, the U.S. National Debt hit $1 Trillion.
Did all that accomplish anything? Not according to Foreign Affairs Magazine, who wrote in 1983 that “Despite various adjustments and adaptations, both the domestic and foreign policies of the Reagan administration, like the Reagan campaign, continue to display the characteristics of an ideological crusade”. The result of this, we’re told, was “…a sharp worsening of U.S. – Soviet relations to a level of serious new confrontation and mutual suspicion”.
An ideological crusade. Hmmm….can you think of a more recent situation, again involving a Republican president, that strums a mental chord of memory when you hear that phrase? Such as, perhaps, the one who presided over a proposed $60 Billion junket in the desert that ended up costing better than $3 Trillion? Still think it’s the guy who inherited that debt – and who’s doing his best to fix it – that is the idiot, the weakling? At a time when the voters emphatically declare in poll after poll that the economy is their biggest worry, and not Boris Nemtsov or who is the next leader of Russia? Are you sure?
Yes, when they made Ronald Reagan, they broke the mold. Just to be sure, they should have beat the crap out of the mold-maker, too. To discourage him from making any more.