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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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Ames
Browse author
Email Mark Ames at editor@exile.ru.
 
 
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