Wednesday, March 05, 2014


For someone of my generation there is something reassuring about this sudden resurgence of near-forgotten east-west showdowns. How cheering indeed to see John McCain urging us to recognise the contemporary relevance of hoary old stereotypes, whilst of course lacking the self-awareness to realise that he might have been talking about himself. And what a relief to see the nation which once blithely and with utter impunity invaded neighbours like Panama and Grenada turning the strategic hypocrisy levels back up to full. 

Having twice visited the good ol' CCCP in the mid-eighties I find it hard not to feel almost warmly nostalgic about that unreconstructed empire. This new Russia, a nation of dangerously misplaced illusions ('First we learned that everything the communists told us about communism was untrue and then we learned that everything the capitalists had to say about capitalism was untrue...') has been rather harder let off the hook. But now we have McCain out there to remind us that Putin* is nothing less than a former KGB colonel and that Mitt Romney was right after all, and suddenly this century's seemingly intractable geopolitical discombobulation is resolved back into the simple polarities of yesteryear...

*What is it about Yanks and their terminal vowel sounds? Ramón is delivered as Ramoan, but Putin gets a Mayan glottal stop and becomes Poot'n. 

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