I’m feeling a little lazy today, and since The Power Vertical deigned to supply anything outrageous to write about (I frequently find little to disagree with in Mr. Whitmore’s writing, and Mr. Coalson has been rather quiet of late), and there was nothing outstandingly stupid on Open Democracy or RFE/RL that I noticed (apart from Andrei Konchalovsky’s almost incoherent babble about “reloading Russia’s Spiritual Software”, which was too absurd even for me), I’m going back once more to the well of hatred at La Russophobe.
Among the moon-barking featured today by the Duchess of Dunceland is this piece; “Russia is an Uncivilized Monstrosity”. We’ve learned to expect this sort of inarticulate claptrap from this site, and this “article” is pretty formulaic. Like Rudi Giuliani’s “noun, verb, 9-11” pattern during his unsuccessful campaigning for the presidency of the United States, pretty much every new spate of drivel from La Russophobe features at least one throwaway that might have been generated by a Magic 8-Ball: Russia plus Barbaric or Cruel or Inhuman 0r Uncivilized or blah blah blah. None of them are standouts for any reason in particular. But as you know, once in awhile a piece comes along that, when viewed through the frame of behaviors or events in some other country of which La Russophobe approves and is proud, makes her look comically hypocritical. This is such an article.
Let’s take a look at it. As I mentioned, it’s modeled on a familiar pattern for this author; sort of comfort food for her, as it were. Russia is so evil that even in the Book Of Evil under “Most Evil Country”, it only says “A big big country starting with R and ending with A”, because when they wrote, “R.U.S.S.I.A”, the page began to smoke, and they were afraid the Book of Evil would catch fire. Yes, yes; very amusing. However, this article is about symbols – again, it’s somewhat of a familiar direction for La Russophobe, as she likes to suggest that Germany has atoned for everything horrible it ever did to the Jews simply because they acknowledged it. Russia, of course, not only refuses to acknowledge Stalin did much worse things, but glorifies them by “weaving new tapestries of exaltation to Stalin and his ilk”.
Anyway, the article starts off with a darling little homily about an exhibit in Berlin that “confronts the people of Germany with the adoration given by their ancestors to the maniacal regime of Adolf Hitler”. But you wouldn’t have to travel all the way to Berlin to see that kind of exhibit. You need only turn to some of the strange extremist candidates the Republicans are running for the Senate this year in the United States. For example, there’s Alaska Republican Joe Miller, who as recently as yesterday cited East Germany as an effective example of border control in a discussion about immigration. Quite apart from East Germany being communist, Mr. Miller appears to be advocating (“glorifying”, if you will) a system which placed armed guards on the border who shot and killed hundreds of people attempting to cross. Not extreme enough? Okay, how about Ohio Republican Congressional candidate Rich Iott, who likes to dress up in Waffen SS uniform. Could you possibly get closer to “adoration of the maniacal regime of Adolf Hitler” than wearing the uniform of his personal bodyguard, the Schutzstaffel, bearers of the Totenkopf; the “death’s head” insignia? Said Himmler of these troops, “I know there are many people who fall ill when they see this uniform; we understand that and don’t expect that we will be loved by many people”. That’s an understatement on the order of saying a 747 is too heavy for a person to lift.
It’s important to keep in mind that these are not just Average Joes off the street. These are candidates for office in the U.S. Senate and Congress where – if successful – they will be members of the government, potentially lawmakers and contributors to foreign policy. Not during the time of Stalin and Hitler. Right now.
There’s an American Nazi Party. Some 200 neo-Nazi groups are active in the U.S.; none are particularly large or influential, but taken together, they constitute a fairly large base of support for “glorification of the maniacal regime of Adolf Hitler”. This doesn’t appear to bother La Russophobe, and the United States is far from being an “Uncivilized Monstrosity” in her view. It’s important to point out here that many countries of the world are hosts to neo-Nazi groups, and the U.S. is far from the worst. When those countries start featuring mouthy, sanctimonious bloggers who constantly vilify Russia while polishing their own country’s image as the absolute last word in everything, I’ll be sure to mention them by name.
Hers is also perhaps the last remaining source to receive the information that Dmitry Medvedev is now the President of Russia. According to La Russophobe, Russia’s president is a “proud KGB spy”. Dmitry Medvedev is a proud former Chairman of the Board of GAZPROM. Vladimir Putin, presumably the “proud KGB spy”, is the Prime Minister. Try to stay up on current events, will you? I mean, Medvedev has been the President since March 2008.
Anyway, enough of that. New direction. The final paragraph of this nutjob mini-manifesto alludes to Russia “making common cause with the demonic ruler of Venezuela”. Chavez’s Beelzebub Quotient notwithstanding, it’s fairly well-known that Russia is interested in using its energy muscle to expand trade ties, and Venezuela is only part of a generally neglected area that has a good deal of potential. But never mind that. Let’s take a quick look at American association with demonic rulers and their countries. Who’s just about the biggest demon among the world’s rulers right now, from an American standpoint? That’s right; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And he’s the ruler of…? That’s right, Iran. Iran is the Middle East’s Great Satan right now, as far as the U.S. government is concerned. But it wasn’t always that way: oh, no. In 1953, the CIA engineered and supported a coup which overthrew the democratically-elected Mohammed Mossadeq – this was in response to what became known as the Abadan Crisis, in which Mossadeq began the process of nationalising the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Under the previous arrangement, 85% of the profits went to Britain, and the company withheld its financial records from the Iranian government. For a brief period, it looked as if England might invade. The U.S. mediated, and the CIA stirred up a movement against Mossadeq which resulted in his overthrow in favour of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. To be fair, it appears then-President Truman was unaware of CIA involvement in this.
The USA was instrumental in installing an autocratic dictator who was loathed by Iranians, supporting him with billions in aid and selling him the most powerful Air Force in the region, including the F-14 Tomcat – the only foreign country ever to operate it. The Shah’s brutal and repressive rule continued, with unwavering U.S. support, until he was driven out in 1979 by the Islamic Revolution. In a New Year’s Eve toast to the Shah in 1978, President Carter said, “Under the Shah’s brilliant leadership, Iran is an island of stability in one of the most troublesome regions of the world. There is no other state figure whom I could appreciate and like more”.
Yes, well: the United States might have once supported the Iranian government, with whom it is now the bitterest of enemies. Anyone can misjudge, make a mistake, right? They’d never support the evil regime of Ahmadenijad. Especially considering his demonic attempts to enrich uranium and make a nuclear weapon so he can vaporise Israel.
Except they would. An agreement concluded earlier this year, with the full support of the United States (given it was nearly identical to an American proposal) will see Iran ship a significant amount of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for shipments of higher-enriched uranium from the west. That’s right, the same people who constantly agitate against Iran for enriching uranium at all, even though Iran is entitled to do so under the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and uranium enriched for weaponization must be to a percentage greater than 80%, while Iran has never enriched any to more than about 20%.
As often occurs in foreign policy, it’s do as I say, not as I do.