Zhirinovsky has something of a point, however malevolently he expresses it. All the Russian Jewish émigrés I’ve met loathe the people among whom their ancestors lived for centuries. And none of these emigrants would hold back from expressing their anti-Russian sentiments at the drop of a pin. Unlike the older generation of German Jews who fled to the US in the 1930s, Russian Jews never indicate the slightest disappointment with the country they left. Russian totalitarianism was not the problem for them. It was the Russian national alternative and the eruption of Russian anti-Semitism.
Having raised this problem about who reports what, we may ask whether the Russian Parliament is justified in calling attention to “American Human Rights Abuses.” It may be if we accept the premise that the proclamation of human-rights grievances usually has a political purpose—more specifically, the exercise of power by one state over another. In this case, Russians are resisting an American power grab in the form of getting in their faces with a claim to superior goodness and an attendant right to influence Russia’s internal affairs. Although the US may not be the most vicious great power in human history, it is by far the most insufferably righteous.
I’m still reeling from Romney’s statement in the third debate that Obama badmouthed his country when he suggested that we’ve “dictated to other nations.” Romney explained with his characteristic Cheshire cat grin that “America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.”
Tell that to those we firebombed in Europe during World War II or to the Japanese after the destruction of Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. I’m not defending the Axis powers, I’m noting the utter brutality with which our country has incinerated helpless civilians while pretending to “liberate” them. It’s not that we’ve acted more oppressively for a longer period of time than have other imperial powers. We’re simply more tiresome and have a tendency to judge other countries by our constantly shifting cultural standards.
I can’t blame the Russian Parliament for throwing our medicine back at us. They are not about to hand over their country to American morality custodians.
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