A friend of mine at University was Communist, as in Marxist – even Trotsky, maybe. He was on my debate team and we had an interesting relationship. Me, the Conservative firebrand. Him, the too-Socialist to be Socialist.
I enjoyed crossing verbal swords with him and learned a lot from this quiet student of library science. One of those things was a firm conviction that librarians should never formulate public policy. Another was that Communism was never a threat to anyone.
Communism is that beautiful, even artistic, vision of peace and tranquility. It’s a dream. It also assumes more goodwill than most human beings have a capacity for – which means that it’s pathetic.
So, what about the blather and bluster during the Cold War years? What was this Crusade against Communism? Why were we so worried about these advocates of this pathetic, utopian dream?
Because it wasn’t the ideology that threatened us, but the wielders of that ideology. It wasn’t the idea, but the people who used that idea for personal gain.
When the Soviet Union fell apart, it became sick and pathetic – a third world country with first world pretensions. We felt sorry for the old, toothless monster and rushed to give aid – and hope for its rehabilitation. We looked on as Russia became corrupt and violent and considered it as just the birth pangs of a new democracy. After all, they were Democrats, just like us? Right?
(You must know by now, how much I love wielding that word!)
Oh, they were (and are) Democrats, but were never ‘just like us’.
Just as Communism wasn’t the real enemy, Democracy isn’t the real friend. They are just ideas in the hands of people.
The problem is that Russia has always been a countryÂ with dreams of empire.Â The switch from Communism to Capitalism didn’t change those dreams, and did little to change the people with the position to follow through on them.
Those of us who saw this, consoled ourselves with the observation that Russia lacked the means to do anything about those dreams.
That observation has changed. Russia, infused with oil wealth, has been revitalized and has begun to look beyond her borders and make common cause with those who hate the United States.
For those of you who look out for America’s interests, be worried. The New Russia will always see America as an opponent, but one thatÂ must beÂ accommodated.
However, for those of you who look out for Israel’s interest, the situation is different. Russia has always seen Israel as an obstacle that can (and should) be crushed.