Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

A favorite movie of mine is The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Regretably, I haven’t seen it in years, though I have a videotape copy I just came across. Perhaps I’ll pop it into the VCR in the next few days. But really, who needs to view a comedy about a mythical Cold War invasion of America by Russians when we have the real thing going on half a world away in Ukraine? 

But seriously, people, there is some humor to be found in this Cold War throwback. For instance, Russian president Vladimir Putin has justified the takeover of Crimea by his troops as simply a defensive move to protect Russians who live in the Ukrainian peninsula that belonged to Russia until 1954 when it was peacefully transferred to Ukraine. Which makes me wonder, if there are some Alaskans who can trace their roots back to the time when Russia owned that frozen state (okay, this winter Alaskan weather has been milder than temperatures in the Lower 48, but we’re talking historical records here, so give me a break), could Putin justify an invasion of Alaska if any of them feel insecure (even if that insecurity comes from worrying about Russia being just across the Bering Strait)? Does it make you feel any safer knowing Sarah Palin is on watch? Remember, she can see those Russkies from her window. 

I’d be worried if I were New York City mayor Bill  de Blasio. Could we possibly see a Russian submarine surface off the coast of Brighton Beach if police crack down too hard on the Russian Mafia reputedly at large at the southern tip of Brooklyn?  

It was also quite comical to hear Secretary of State John Kerry admonish Putin thusly: “It is not appropriate to invade a country and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve.” Comical that similar sympathies were not expressed and voted accordingly, by then-senator Kerry and his colleagues, when President George W. Bush sought and won Senate approval to invade Iraq in 2003.

Staying with the Bush Administration, how funny was it to hear Dick Cheney lambaste the Obama Administration for proposing a 5.9% reduction in size for the Army on budget grounds when Cheney, as secretary of defense in 1991, proposed a 25% cut in military forces as a means of balancing the budget? 

How not funny is it that the regular news media did not provide the context for that last fact. It came from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.