Editor’s Note: This is another in our new series of guest columns on current events. Rudyard “Duke” Milhaus of the Sports Desk is well-known for his passionate commitment to objective journalism. That we’re publishing his lovely and perfectly neutral article has nothing whatsoever to do with that large-bore handgun he keeps fiddling with.
What’s all this obsession we suddenly have with Russia? Why is the media being so critical of them? This is a country that not too many years ago I remember watching as we cheered their peaceful revolution, watched them embrace democracy and capitalism — and now we’re supposed to hate them?! The new administration apparently wants to get along with them — what’s the matter with that?
Let’s look at the details for a second. So far as I can tell, this new obsession with Russia began with the idea that they helped Trump win the presidency. OK, maybe they had some influence, but so what if they did? It’s no different that we’ve been trying to do over there for years, us with all our self-righteous talk about spreading Democracy as though it was bullshit on a cornfield. Hell, nations and businesses influence elections all the time; anyone else remember the stink when it turned out Red China was helping fund old Slick Willy’s campaign? Big Pharma’s international as they come, and they spent millions on both Bush and Gore. Truth be told, Wall Street bought and paid for each and every one of them since U.S. Grant and you know it. Why would this be any different?
Besides, this thing about Russia comes down to perspective. Did they hack the DNC? No, no they didn’t. Somebody did (Podesta apparently fell for a really obvious phishing email) and maybe Russia helped a bit and maybe not (email came from Ukraine, which isn’t Russia — not yet, anyway), but it was WikiLeaks that dumped the campaign emails on everyone, and last I checked they ain’t a country. Funny thing is, everyone forgets about the content of the emails but they’re hungry for anything that makes Trump look bad.
I guess the prevailing wisdom (so called) is this: Who cares if my side cheated? But if yours did sure God I’m gonna squeal.
Listen up now. Us swinging from enemy over to friendly or at least neutral toward Russia is a smart move, and you don’t need any of these preported election shenanigans to explain it. Russia has friends that don’t much care for us, what with our bombing them off and on for the last few decades. Matter of fact, Russia has leveraged that into becoming arms dealer and major trade partner to a lot of tin-pot dictatorships over the years. Now, if us big boys start getting along all of a sudden, that’s a ton of little nowhere countries that are gonna take notice, sit down and shut up.
And then there’s China, the dragon in the room – or maybe the giant panda. Past few years they’ve been building up bases in the South China Sea, quite literally dumping shiploads of rock to build the islands. They’re doing this to extend their national waters so they can conquer island nations without battle, just absorb them and their oil. (Did I mention the oil? There’s oil.) Now, if we’ve suddenly got an ally in Russia, that changes the whole ball game. Russia could maybe leverage China to ease off a little. Will they? Who knows, but as it stands right now they have zero incentive.
Another thing: Many of the middle eastern states are allied with Russia, and if we cozy up a semblance of stability could maybe appear there for a little while. Down side is, right now we sell guns to one half and Russia to the other half, so we each stand to lose big markets. But something can be worked out; always is. Point is, I don’t even mind if peace breaks out a little, so long as it keeps the whole damn place from blowing up on us. Dead people suck as customers.
And what will all this take? A promise to ease sanctions, that’s all, no more. Hell, the Russian economy went straight to shit back when we first started leaning on them; bet you they’d jump at the chance to fix that. Think about it: Greater trade, with both economies flourishing, ours and theirs. A growing sense of peace in the world, even if only for a little while. A little more control over Russia ‘annexing’ other countries, which really has got to stop, and which right now we can do exactly fuck-all about.
But the media doesn’t like it, and the Democrats keep whining about it, Oh, we’ve got to punish them; oh, they’re invading people; oh, civil rights blah blah blah. You know what happens if we keep doing that, we keep hurting on Russia? Not a damned thing, is what happens. We continue with the status quo, or worse we head down a path with them that could lead to war. We watch the Middle East burn, and the Pacific get slowly eaten up by China.
No one really wants any of that, not Democrat, not Republican. Maybe some old Cold Warriors that didn’t get enough Mutually Assured Destruction under Johnson and Nixon, Carter and Reagan, but nobody sane. Me, I want to believe that we can work toward a better world, but it will require more than just work. It’ll take people caring more about what’s good for the country and not giving a damn about what’s good for the party.
Certain of his detractors have implied that “Duke” Milhaus is a pen name used by a far more famous writer in order to conceal his true identity. We can assure our loyal readers that this is completely without foundation; Duke is not remotely famous.
Image is from the Doonesbury strip dated January 8, 1975 and has nothing whatsoever to do with this article or its creators. It must have gotten in by mistake or something. In any case, it’s the property of its creator, G.B. Trudeau, and can be accessed via GoComics. You should go binge on ancient Doonesbury right now; who needs to work?!