14 December 2006

The More Things Change

I have been finding it exceedingly hard of late to find any subjects worth writing about. Not that there's a lack of things happening world-wide, there simply hasn't been anything that's captured my attention enough to prompt me to pontificate.

One thing that I have been keeping an eye on however is the Russian situation. It seems that the government of Putin is becoming more and more authoritarian and less and less glasnost-ic.

I can't point to any one incident that marks the beginning, but there have been rumblings for several years now. One of the more recent issues was the murder of Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya at her Moscow apartment. Although nothing directly ties her murder with the Putin regime, the type of killing brings back bad memories of the KGB, an organization that President Putin is very familiar with.

Another story that has been making the rounds is the death of Alexander Litvinenko. Once more, ties to the Russian government are tenuous at best, but the manner of his death from radiation poisioning is highly suspect.

Most recently is the shakedown of Shell Corporation by the Russian government. They have been forced to hand over their controlling interest in a large liquified gas project, giving rise to the fears that the Kremlin will use their natural resources as a political weapon.

I have been trying to remember which Soviet leader spoke of a period of openness that would fool the world into thinking the Soviet Union was relaxing it's iron grip, just before the grip tightened again and crushed all resistance. This was the fear in the late eighties when the Soviet Union was disolving before our eyes, that somehow this was a grand deception of sorts playing out to make us complacent. I am also trying to recall the Naval leader that exhorted us Sailors to remember that "the bear is still a bear". I have failed on both accounts, I guess it's old age catching up with me. They say the memory is the second thing to go. I'll be darned if I can remember what was first, though. But I digress.

Time will tell how these events will unfold, but I think it would be ironic to see the rebirth of some sort of Soviet Union. I fear such an event however, because I don't think today's America has the intestinal fortitude to withstand such an event. Search as I might, I don't see a Ronald Reagan standing in the wings ready to take his place on the stage of world events. And from my point of view, we desperately need such a figure.

I hope that I am wrong.
Photo from ThoseShirts.com

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