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The Cold War Report November 19, 2007
Edward Lucas' Cold War Hustle
By Alexander Zaitchik Browse author Email
Page 3 of 4

So there you have it. A new Cold War is on, one that the West did not start and is “perilously close” to losing. Things haven’t been this bad since Grenada’s Marxists were just a two-day dinghy-ride to Miami Beach. Except this time it isn’t just weak liberal governments and fifth columns of peace activists and pinko professors that have allowed the West to fall behind the Russians. This time around, greedy global capitalists are partially to blame. In a strange ideological reversal, the otherwise free-trade loving Lucas appears very concerned about Russia’s penetration of “easily accessible European businesses”—those naughty, vulnerable little sluts.

Even if you give Lucas all of the unknowns he takes for granted as knowns—the unsolved murders of prominent Putin critics, the cyber-attacks, an alleged stray bomb landing undetonated in a Georgia haystack—and even if you ignore all of the crucial omissions—the provocations of open-ended missile defense and unfettered NATO expansion; America’s “preventative war” doctrine in theory and practice; the fact that geology, not politics or conquest, has made Russia an energy giant with corresponding regional influence—even if you give Lucas everything he’s asking for in his case, he and his new Cold Warriors still have the burden of explaining why this rather uninspiring list of evil infractions justifies a return to the costliest and most dangerous conflict in human history. Lucas provided one answer in an interview with a Latvian blogger, when asked why he writes columns for the trashy rightwing Daily Mail: “[I]t helps pay for my children's education.”

Saying that the New Cold Warriors crash their knees into the hurdles of logic and proof doesn’t make one a fan or stooge of the Kremlin. Lucas is right about the return of Russian autocracy, the curtailment of the media, and the fact that the country is run by some scary people. And it has reengaged in the age-old practice of brutal sphere-of-influence politics.

But it’s hard to take moral outrage over, say, the unsolved death of Politkovskaya very seriously when it is so selective. The new Cold Warriors have nothing to say about the intentional 2003 U.S. bombing the Al Jazeera studios in Baghdad, killing Jordanian reporter Tarek Ayoub; or the U.S. shelling of the Palestine Hotel, which resulted in the deaths of two journalists, a Ukrainian and a Spaniard. The list of Western murders of journalists goes on and on, and it’s always met with the same hurrumph you get from most Russians when confronted with the Politkovskaya murder, but I’ll stop there. The New Cold Warriors love to mock their critics for playing the “Yeah, but what about…” equivalency game. To which we respond, “Yeah, but what about it?” Lucas and his ilk are heaving some large and righteous stones in Moscow’s direction, unaware than Western bombs have turned their drywalls to glass.

To be fair, Lucas has acknowledged murdered journalists in the West. After Politkovskaya’s contract-killing last year, he wrote an op-ed dismissing those who point to similar events in the U.S. “None of [the dead] remotely matches Anna in importance or stature,” he huffed, as if fame was a metric of one’s deserving a bullet in the brain. [In fact, as most Russians will tell you, Politkovskaya wasn’t nearly as famous or important inside of Russia as she was in the West—she was considered more of a human rights activist than a journalist. This isn’t to minimize her, it’s just to put it into proper context.] The fact is that Edward Lucas would never be caught dead praising the “importance or stature” of Politkovskaya’s closest British counterparts—people like John Pilger. Politkovskaya was similar to Pilger in style and substance, both of them lonely radical critics of power and hypocrisy powered by honest outrage. Had Lucas been born Russian, he would have dismissed Politkovskaya, if he ever found time to mention her at all between hyperventilating op-eds warning of tightening NATO encirclement.

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Alexander Zaitchik is an editor at The eXile. Email him at

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

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