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Monday, February 28, 2005

CNN said it, so it must be true

Bush made a stop in Russia, probably because he wants to stock up on diamonds and nuclear scientists before the Iron Curtain falls again. As a result, every major news source did a piece rehashing what we already know:

  • Vlad used to be the head of the Federal Security Service, and was also a high-level KGB guy. If he were a hard-core Soviet, he would've been purged, right?

  • Vlad is shutting down political and media opposition and consolidating his power.

  • Bush promised to promote democracy.

  • Russia has nukes. Lots and lots of nukes. They are a nukyular juggernaut.

Since all of this is old news, there's really no need to cover it, but since there hasn't been a natural disaster or celebrity murder trial for a few weeks, we have to report something. I'm a bit less alarmist over the return of the Soviet Empire, though.

Orson Scott Card's character Ender, in Ender's Game, said that "In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves."

And the Pokedex said, "Know thyself, know thine opponent, and you hold the key to victory."

Although Vlad the Imputin is not strictly speaking the enemy, after my half-democrated analysis, I find that he is not really a powermonger. As half the MSM noted, Putin really does not believe that freedom and democracy exist. He was raised in the world of Soviet propaganda. His consolidation of power is a natural reflex, and actually, he hasn't done a bad job. Since the flat tax was passed, Russia has had decent economic growth and a decrease in tax evasion, which could trickle up to reduce institutional corruption. With affluence comes leisure time to think, the tendency to disobey authority, and higher IQ due to proper nutrition. Of course those things take decades, and Russia is in good shape compared to the third world anyway. (Isn't the third world Earth though? I'd hate to live in the first word, ie Mercury.)

Well, Vlad and Bush are supposedly friends, although both are fairly good politicians, so it's hard to tell what the truth is. Everybody who knows him says he's a nice guy. Sergey Stepashin said so, so it must be true. (I know if I were a Leftie, I'd be suspicious of the Bush-KGB-Saudi-Moon Lasers for Oil-UK connection.)

I hope, and think that there's a reasonable possibility, that Vlad will see the light and his authoritarian tendencies will be reduced, or perhaps staked through the heart entirely. Since he does seem to be working for the best interest of Russia, and somewhat interested in democracy, things may work out for the best. Am I biased because with understanding comes compassion? Eh. Probably nyet. If he nationalises Oil, then I think we should worry.


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