We have been fed over the past few years entirely contradictory views of Russia.
Could this have something to do with it being appropriations time, the annual fight over who gets what in next years federal budget? Considering the U.S. can’t pile up debt fast enough to suit its enlightened leaders, this also means lubricating the public mind for increasing the already humongous pile of money which goes into military spending, that being the major component of discretionary spending.
Of course, military spending, besides being intrinsically good regardless of how much it distorts our national values and bankrupts our economy, is about making American safe from the entire panoply of threats. It seems everyone is at our throats, ready to chop off our benevolent heads. Besides terrorists, rogue nations explicitly dedicated to destroying us like Venezuela and Cuba, and major nations like China — which lent us over a trillion dollars to buy military hardware to prevent them from attacking us — there is always the little discussed potential for an invasion from outer space.
Having said that, it’s Russia that seems to get all the headlines. We have former VP Joe Biden concurring with current FBI Director James Comey that, without a doubt, even without any corroborating evidence, Russia is out to get us!
Yet, it wasn’t that long ago that Russia was being dismissed as a second-rate power. Obama mockingly announced it’s economy was in tatters. Sure, it might have some leverage regionally but certainly wasn’t a player on the big stage of world geopolitics.
So what is the truth? Is Russia a wild and woolly beast? Or an affable and tame dancing bear?
Maybe we need some veterinarian advice to sort all of this out. Can bears get rabies?
Because while over the past several years Russia has consistently been getting folks from all across the globe to the peace tables, trying to resolve diplomatically the crises created by the West in Ukraine, Syria, the Middle East in general, we are now told that under the spell of their crazed leader Vladimir Putin, the country is foaming at the mouth, haunted and possessed with diabolical visions of world conquest. Did Russia get bitten by a rabid ground squirrel?
To add to the confusion is this recently announcement, a highly thought-provoking one at that, which should — but won’t — result in some serious soul-searching in the U.S.: Russia has just recently announced it is dramatically cutting its defense budget for 2017! As this excellent piece of analysis points out, you are very hard pressed to find mention of it any where in the Western media.
Try to make sense of it.
Russia is 24/7 vilified as a rogue nation, an out-of-control empire-hungry aggressor, with a madman at the helm who longs for the glory days of the Soviet Union’s dominion over vast stretches of the Euro-Asian continent, but in fact only has 15 military bases in 9 foreign countries, AND is cutting its military budget by 25% next year.
The U.S. breathlessly peddles itself as the purveyor of peace, the spreader of democracy, the guardian of justice and a harmonious world, yet it has about 800 bases in at least 63 countries in the world — depending on your definition of ‘base’, some put this figure at over 160 — AND is increasing its military expenditures by almost 10% in 2018.
What are we to think?
Is Russia a scary bear . . . or barely scary?
And what about America?
Much of the world seems to think we’re the truly frightening ones!