by Alan Simpson
The Bear is out of Hibernation
In amongst the wall to wall news about Hurricanes and suspect memos from 30 years ago few noticed the ominous signs of a return to the old ways from the Kremlin.
In the eyes of most Americans Russia is a broken country who lost the Cold War, and being kept alive by hand outs from Washington.
They are to be derided for not falling in line with the Bush decision to invade Iraq, and mocked alongside the French. Unfortunately there are no Russian Fries to mockingly call Freedom Fries to rub it in their faces.
There is a belief that all the world wants to be like America, and that people should adopt the American system cold Turkey.
The poor of America do not have a voice in this debate for they can't afford computers to post their views on the Internet, don't buy $1,000 a plate at fundraiser's, and can't afford to make their views known. They have a well planned diet of television crime dramas to ram home the power of the government, and how those who challenge law and order get killed, or imprisoned.
The poor of Russia have radio, or traditional local entertainment, and haven't been "Cask Conditioned" with senseless law and order television. They look around and see the bad guys are capitalists that have destroyed their way of life, by following the American model.
They see street violence that was not there under the Communists. They see no jobs. They see factories closed and prices rocketing.
Then they see hundreds of young children massacred by terrorists supported by the US and Britain. They hear that the terrorist leaders have been given refuge in London and Washington, and the US politicians demand they compromise with the terrorists who murdered their children.
Riding this wave of anger, and nostalgia for the old days, Putin has announced the creation of a new Dictatorship with him as the head.
He has been quietly neutralizing all opposition, and silencing all independant media who dare criticize him and his methods. Whilst the world was occupied with watching Afghanistan and Iraq he began dismantling the democratic structure imposed by the US on the collapsing Soviet Union. Even the Regional Governors will be effectively appointed by him, and anyone running for the Parliament will have to be approved by his political apparatus.
Putin has learned from George Bush that terrorist incidents can be played like an old Stradivarius Violin to dismantle even the most basic of constitutional rights. Just keep the masses scared, on edge and you can rape the economy for your own agenda.
It won't be long before the old Soviet satellites start feeling the pressure, and on the present track it won't be long before the old Soviet Union returns in a new suit of clothes.
But consider that the Bush Regime has alienated a very powerful and geographically similar group of countries, France, Germany and Russia. They have been ridiculed in public by the amateur politicians in Washington, and when proved correct with their opposition to invading Iraq, were ridiculed again for being cowards and not supporting the folly.
They see Britain as not really European, and smart at the irritation of Britain and the USA spying on them with the Echelon network.
Could an alliance be made between France, Germany and Russia for a new left leaning centrally organized power block, to challenge America?
Rubbish, say most US politicians, the US saved the French from the Germans, and the US beat the crap out of Germany, and taught them a lesson. They do as they are told and if they don't like it tough, we are the only Superpower around.
Unfortunately that does not resonate well with the populations of France, Germany and Russia who from their study of history know they were once Super Powers themselves and deserve a little respect, not just ridicule and endless orders to toe the US line.
Much of the current structure of Europe was created by strong leaders leaning towards the US. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is a good example. The current British Prime Minister Tony Blair is seen as a Poodle, pulled along by Bush.
Margaret Thatcher was the Iron Lady that stood no nonsense. She took back the Falklands and told President Reagan he was wrong, you could do business with Mr. Gorbachev.
The question is will Mr. Putin be the new Strong Man of Europe who can tell the US President he is wrong. If that happens millions in France, Germany and the struggling old Soviet satellites will follow his lead.
Beware of the Russian Bear. It defeated the aggressor Adolf Hitler. It defeated the aggressor Napoleon, and the world would be happier if it could reign in the aggressor George Bush.
But what about the thousands of Americans who died defending Europe in WW1 and WW2? Most of the European voting public were not born then, and unlike the US voters can't be swayed by what the candidates did, or didn't do 30 years ago. They also believe they paid a high price to America as the US stripped their industries and resources, and shipped them over to build up the US industrial base.
It's the Economy Stupid! The economy tomorrow.
Unlike the US the Military- Industrial Complex do not rule the roost. (For further reading look at the warnings of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.)
There is more to life than fighting wars. The Europeans want peace and prosperity, and everyone behaving themselves. Freedom to destroy, deface and commit crimes at will is not what they want. A strong leader is preferred to anarchy as in Iraq and Afghanistan.