Memo To: Website Fans, Browsers, Clients From: Jude Wanniski Re: Vladimir Putin, a New Mussolini?
In case you didn’t notice, the neo-cons and their neo-lib allies have decided that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the latest "fascist" on the world scene. He isn’t yet being labeled a "New Hitler," which is still Saddam Hussein’s distinction, but NYTimes columnist Nicholas Kristof has practically sized him up as the New Mussolini!! Sure, Putin is fair game for our political columnists, especially those like Kristof who have discovered what fun it is to make waves. But something else is going on here, when we have the national media applauding the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine with the same enthusiasm we saw in the march to war with Iraq. American imperialism, it seems, is fun. In his brilliant AntiWar.com column Monday, Justin Raimondo had it about right:
Kristof is selling to the liberals what the neocons have been retailing to the American right-wing: the story that Russia is rising, reverting to Stalinism (or "progressing" to fascism). The next step will be to raise a hue and cry over Russian "rearmament" as we encircle the Kremlin from the Baltic Sea to the Caspian, fomenting "democratic" revolutions on the periphery while moving inexorably toward the center. A renewed arms race and the return of the cold war all launched under the rubric of exporting "democracy" and "free markets." This new Russophobia has something for everyone.
If Russia is not headed for fascism, then the neocon-progressive alliance of Russia-haters is determined to push them into it or, at least, to raise such a ruckus over the alleged rise of Russian national socialism that the American public will fall for it long enough to get a new war of civilizations going.
I wouldn’t worry so much if it was just Nick Kristof trying to cook up a new Cold War, or at least a "Cool War," but right behind him is another neo-liberal I greatly admire, Zbigniew Brzezinski, also sizing up Putin as a throwback to Stalinism. Both Kristof and Zbig were passionately anti-war when it came to Iraq. But remember it was not long ago that conservatives and liberals were united, more or less, in their opposition to Russian communism. Maybe that old coalition can be brought together, if only we can provoke Moscow into playing along.