Russia Wants to Negotiate

Listened to an interview with Putin where he asserts that Russia is eager to negotiate with the US on arms control, regulation of the cyber space, and information sharing and other measures for combating terrorism, but the US is nowhere to be seen.  Why?

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Tolstoy’s War and Peace

There recently was a contest on television rating the 100 best ever works of fiction.  To Kill a Mockingbird was the final winner, but, in my opinion, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace should have been the winner as the best work of fiction ever written — perhaps that will ever be written.

It weaves together various aristocratic romantic as well as, at times, sinister and self-seeking relationships in a backdrop of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and ultimate defeat at the hands of the Russian military and the Russian winter.  The central character is this somewhat credulous but very humane character Pierre who seems to always find himself in the middle of things — both the various romantic relationships as well as the French invasion itself.  One finds Pierre committing one folly after another, but going through a learning process and ultimately gaining a deeper humanity for it.

There was a television miniseries based on Tolstoy’s novel that’s now available on Hulu.  The screenplay and staging are both excellent, the acting superior, and the miniseries really does this classic novel complete justice.  Yet the miniseries when it was first aired received little recognition and applause for all of that.  But then again there’s no underestimating American taste.

Nevertheless, Paul Dano played the role of the bumbling but appealing Pierre Bezukhov, the pivotal lead character of the novel, to perfection.  He got both Pierre’s early stupefaction and his later enlightenment and character development just right.  Bravo to Paul Dano for bringing this wonderful Tolstoyan character to life.

War and Peace

War and Peace (2016 TV Series)

Pierre Bezukhov

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Russia Initiative

Back in the late 60s and early 70s — when the Cold War was really hot and very threatening —  Nixon was faced with two giant communist countries forming a very intimidating ideological alliance against the United States.  He did a very smart and diplomatic but unexpected thing by broaching a thaw with communist China, and actually went to China to cement the new relationship.  The obvious benefit was that communist China would be less of an ally to the then Soviet Union and more neutral in its dealings with the United States.

We face the same potential alliance between Russia and China today that Nixon faced, even though Russia is no longer communist and so the two countries are not all that ideologically compatible.  But with the relentless bad mouthing that the American press has voiced toward Russia, as well as the State Department’s endless negative tactics toward Putin’s Russia, we have done the reverse of what Nixon did, and actually driven Russia into the welcoming arms of China — the two countries have actually participated in joint strategic games, and it goes without saying who their enemy is.  Our rigidly hostile attitude toward Russia is responsible for all of this.

What I think the United States should do is take a page out of Nixon’s playbook, and try to splinter this alliance or at a minimum neutralize one of the two countries.  But instead of China — still a communist country, one with a very domineering economy, and, in my mind, the greater long-term threat to the United States — we should rather approach Russia with a new and welcoming relationship 

The truth is that the United States and Russia have very few areas in the world where we are in direct conflict with one another — perhaps in the Arctic region, but that’s about it.  And Russia is a Christian country with the same issue of Islamic terrorism that we face.  It is also an underdeveloped country, but a huge one with tremendous natural resources yet to be fully exploited.

Russia is also a country loaded with nuclear missiles aimed at the United States.  Is it really in our interest to keep poking the Russians in the eye when this nuclear threat hangs over our heads?  I think not.  A more cordial relationship with Russia would go a long way toward safeguarding our nation against annihilation.  Improved relations with Russia could push back the Doomsday Clock a good half hour, if not even more.

That American media is always playing the Russia bogeyman card is no reason why we shouldn’t be doing a smart diplomatic play if it would clearly be in our national interest.  Nixon did it; why can’t we?

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Witch Hunt

Trump is going to be crowing about the Russian collusion hoax for the next 5 years, and will use it at every opportunity to skewer the Dems with a thick coat of nasty ridicule.

Russian collusion is going to be a constant theme in his sarcastic speeches.   He’ll paint a picture of the Dems as dishonest connivers trying to pull a fast one on the American public.  And who is to say he is wrong?

Truth is, it was a farce from the get go, used simply for political advantage by cynical politicians and media — a media interested in promoting a left-wing ideology while goosing ratings with insinuating, who-done-it stories of Trump’s “lackeys”.  Just shows how dominant and controlling media in the US can be when they want to promote a false story, which is more than a little frightening.

But it’s not all a loss.  America learned a new word: “collusion”.

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