Monday, November 3, 2008

"When all of the oil is gone, and our president is dead ..."

BOULDER, Colorado -- The pro-Kremlin Russian youth group Nashi has produced a totally insane propaganda video to recruit people for the group's demonstration on Sunday in front of the American embassy in Moscow, a demonstration that involved a lot of jack-o-lanterns. According to the New York Times, the rabidly nationalist youth of Russia are hoping for an Obama victory, one claiming that if he is elected, "all this could end," referring to the recent antagonism between the United States and Russia.

John McCain is certainly hawkish when it comes to relations with Russia, and that is not a position that I entirely disagree with. What is more troubling to me is where Sen. McCain derives his views on Russia. Many of his public statements belie an antiquated, Cold War sentiment. He is absolutely right that there is nothing much more behind Prime Minister Putin's eyes than "a K, a G, and a B." But during the recent war in Georgia, he failed to grasp any of the nuance or complexity of the situation, nor did he really understand the motivations behind the war on either side. We Americans were not "all Georgians" during that invasion, and it was not akin to the Hungarian Revolt or the Prague Spring.

I do not expect an Obama administration to give Russia any free passes, and I see little potential for a warming of relations between the two countries - this is entirely due to the fact that I do not see any moderate forces achieving even a modicum of power in Russia. The only hope for Russia, as the legendary rock group DDT said, is for the price of oil and gas to plummet (and for the president to die, but we won't wish for that). Then perhaps the gangsters who run the Kremlin will be driven from power, the government will have to stop its binge spending on the military (and the 2014 Olympics in Sochi), and the Kremlin will abandon its dreams of a new, autarkic world order with Moscow at its center.

But if you think all of those things are great, then maybe you will totally agree with this video. The only thing I like about it is that it is fun to imagine George W. Bush speaking broken English with a heavy Russian accent (we call that "Runglish").

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