Opinion

A Newer, Better Cold War

March 10, 2014

Vladimir Putin

In case you”€™ve been on vacation in an Internet-less corner of the world, you already know that Russia has a military presence in Crimea. And if you”€™re on Twitter or spend any time torturing yourself with the neocon echo chamber, you know that the usual suspects are reacting like it’s 1968 and the tanks just rolled into Prague. 

Let’s back up and talk a bit about Ukrainian history: It’s not a single country. No fewer than three Ukrainian states battled during the Ukrainian War of Independence. For simplicity’s sake, we can call Ukraine two countries stuck together. One is actually Ukrainian and oriented toward Europe. The other is a bunch of Russians who happen to reside in Ukraine. Crimea was only made part of Ukraine in 1954 by Krushchev.

I”€™m not a fan of expansionist wars. There is a distinctly Soviet flair about tanks rolling into any part of Eastern Europe. If Crimea and Eastern Ukraine want to be a part of Russia, in a perfect world they hold a plebiscite while Russia and Ukraine keep their dirty hands out of it and respect the decision.

“€œVladimir Putin is arguably the only conservative leader of any import in the world.”€

You may say I”€™m a dreamer, but I”€™m not the only one. 

In fact, the Russians seem restrained if anything. Russian troops do seem to be greeted as liberators by Crimea’s Russian population. Just look at all these kids taking selfies with them. Not exactly the Rape of Nanking. 

The same folks who think the invasion of Iraq was “€œChurchillian”€ think there’s something sinister about Russia defending its own quite real interests right next door to itself, as opposed to some totally fabricated interests in some desolate sandpit halfway around the world. 

No, the neocon echo chamber insists that Putin is a Hitler or a Stalin, because muh freedumbs. Glenn Beck froths at the mouth about how a defiantly traditional country is lurching toward becoming the new “€œRed Menace.”€ Grown adults (well, Sean Hannity, anyway) are discussing in the most serious of tones how if only we had listened to Sarah Palin we”€™d be equipped to deal with this neo-Soviet menace. 

Conservative Twitter speaks of Palin in reverent tones as some kind of geopolitical-theory heavyweight. After all, she can see Vlad the Invader grabbing the mail in his pants from her living room in Alaska.

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