Streetwise Professor

December 8, 2007

A Knight’s Tale

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 10:09 am

This interview with Amy Knight in the Globe and Mail on the Duma election is a must read. Ms. Wright lays it out bluntly and forthrightly.

I also congratulate her on keeping focused on the main issue, rather than indulging in the gratuitous anti-Americanism of several of the bedwetting questioners, a couple of whom epitomized a phenomenon that is becoming distressingly common: namely, to sympathize with, support, or rationalize Putin’s steadfast march to authoritarianism because (a) Putin doesn’t like the US, and (b) anybody who doesn’t like the US must be OK!

One questioner, a certain Wilfred McIntyre of Maple Ridge, BC, uttered a phrase that really sets me off: “Bush regime.” There is a Bush administration, and although one definition of “regime” is “a government in power, an administration,” the more common use of the term is “a form of government.”

In that sense of the word, the “regime” in the United States is the Constitutional form of government that has been in effect since 1789; and the Bush administration was elected twice–albeit one time amidst tremendous controversy–under that “regime.”

Moreover, this word often connotes an illegitimate form of government that attained or holds power by illicit means–and that connotation is clearly present in Mr. McIntyre ‘s snotty question. It is fair enough to dislike Bush personally, or his administration, or to disagree with his policies. Indeed, its fair enough to do all of these things quite intensely. But it is beyond the pale to suggest that the current American government is somehow illegitimate. And that goes for Americans as well as Canadians and anybody else.

To quote Merle Haggard, say that in my presence, and you’ll be On the Fighting Side of Me.

And on the substantive point of Mr. McIntyre’s question–and I am being more than generous to credit it with any substance whatsoever–he pukes out the Putin line: “The Bush regime in Washington should give up on trying to undermine Mr. Putin.”

If only. Bush and the State Department have been far too gentle with “Mr. Putin.” (Note the use of “Mr. Putin”–no “Mr. Bush.”) I’m sure you heard of the hue and cry emanating from Pennsylvania Avenue and Foggy Bottom over the Clampdown, the arrest of Kasparov, etc. Yeah. Me neither. In point of fact, Bush has turned his other cheek to Putin time and again. Putin has been able to use the US as one of his many bogeymen firm in the knowledge that the bogeyman isn’t real.

So Ms. Wright’s interview is illuminating in two, distinct ways. Her answers about Russia reveal a deep understanding of what goes on there. And her questioners reveal that many Useful Idiots didn’t disappear with the end of the USSR, but just changed their allegiance to United Russia.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress