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Feature Story September 22, 2006
America’s Pathetic Putin-Envy
The Fear of Falling By Mark Ames Browse author Email
Page 2 of 7

Wait, what? Isn't that what the Journal's point was? Bingo. But you wouldn't need to have read to the end to figure that out: the Post's editorial was headlined: "An Energetic Bully, Kremlin-backed energy monopolies are bad for Russia and Europe." Okay, it's a little strange that America's right-wing paper and its center-left paper repeat each other in ways not predicted by Newsweek. Indeed, the "right" and the "center-left" repeat each other so much--in the leadup to the G-8 summit in July, both the Journal and the Post essentially called on the West to either boycott or throw Russia out of the organization--you'd almost think that the same guy is penning both papers' Russia editorials.

Moreover, one might point out the raw hypocrisy of the Post attacking the Kremlin for mixing geopolitics with energy supplies when, after all...well, I'll just quote the Post's own story:

Politics Of the Pipelines: U.S. Seeks Ways to Route Natural Gas Around Russia

By Steven Mufson

Washington Post Staff Writer

July 11, 2006

"For a low-profile State Department official, Matthew J. Bryza gets around. A member of the bureau of European and Eurasian affairs, he frequents places such as Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. This year, he's also popped in on people in Brussels, Rome and Berlin. One key item on his agenda: persuading governments and energy companies to build natural gas pipelines that skirt Russia.

Right, so there goes that argument.

But anyway, I don't want to dwell here about insane Western double-standards towards Russia, a problem as rampant as oral herpes. We're all sick of hearing about that. This article is focusing on something new: Newsweek's claim that a) the Western press is uniformly touting Russia's power and calling on the West to submit to the new reality, and b) the Western press is wrong, because what neither you, I, nor John Q Public knows is that in fact, Russia is weak. "Really" weak.

So back to our hunt for evidence of Newsweek's claim, let's look at the bane of Republicans and Fox News viewers everywhere, the radical-left-wing New York Times -- you know, the paper that mainstream America is accusing of having committed treason? If anyone's gonna be predictably rah-rah-Russia and pro-appeasement, it's gotta be the Times, right?

Welp, read this recent Times editorial and tell me what you think: "With energy prices high and money pouring in, it would be easy for the Russians to see themselves in a position of strength and refuse to give ground. But behind the facade of strength are long-term weaknesses." Hey! Wait a minute! Did I just quote the New York Times or Newsweek? Let's go back and quote the first paragraph to the current Newsweek story: "News stories about Russia these days follow a predictable theme. The country is resurgent and strong, and the West must adjust to this new reality. But that story line is wrong. Russia is weak and getting weaker." And now the Times: "But behind the facade of strength are long-term weaknesses."

If Newsweek is right about anything, it's that stories about Russia do follow a predictable theme. And that theme is this: they all sound like the Newsweek article. Which is to say, they're all desperately scrambling for a way to convince themselves that Russia is not getting back on its feet, while at the same time, Russia is a menace. That's the point of the Newsweek article, and just about every other American media outlet opinion on Russia, as summed up in the conclusion:

"So, the received wisdom is wrong. What the West must live with is a weak Russia. And history shows that states that talk loudly while carrying a small stick often overreach, creating problems for themselves and others." Hell, who cares if this is completely self-contradictory and illogical. After all, Newsweek's readers probably also read the Bible. The less sense it makes, the more persuasive it is.

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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.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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