A cloudless sky, crunchy spring snow, longer, warmer days. I’ve finally got in some good skiing, twisting around moguls like an arthritic champ. It’s all in the mind, as my old wrestling coach used to tell me. If you think the other guy’s better, you’re bound to lose to him. The same goes for the slope. If it scares you, stay in the club and have another drink. Otherwise, attack it with gusto and feel like a champ again.
The same applies to the fairer sex. If you’re too nervous to speak to her, keep moving. We have four of the prettiest young women at The Spectator, all taken alas, and I’ve managed not to make a fool of myself with any of them (well, a tiny bit with one of them, but what the hell, no one’s perfect). And speaking of girls, at our last summer party, towards the end, when I was well fuelled, I met Olga, a very pretty Russian who works for Russia Today. Olga has perfect manners, something her male counterparts are not famous for, and is well spoken and graceful. Even the MoMC thought her too good for me when they met at my birthday party.
I’ve recently been reading rather a lot about RT. My friend, the film director James Toback — who directed the greatest movie of all time, Seduced and Abandoned — tells me it is the only news channel he watches in New York. I may be biased against the BBC and American networks because of their hypocritical claim of impartiality (as impartial as Saudi clerics judging a Jewish smuggler), but I love RT as it doesn’t do fake news. And, unlike American broadcasters, it has a sense of humour.
What amazes me is that if you bring up Russia in America and Europe today, people react the way academics used to back in the 1930s if one criticized Stalin and his purges. Fifty to 100 million died in the gulags, and lefties the world over turned a blind eye; now you say one nice thing about Putin and you’re toast. Let’s take it from the top: from the establishment of the Truman Doctrine in 1947, until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, only conservative journalists and a few policy-makers demonised Russia — no one more so than the greatest Greek writer since Homer.
Towards the late-1980s, the Soviet ambassador to Athens befriended my father, the coldest warrior of them all, and convinced him that all Gorby wanted was to conduct business with the West. He also reminded him what Georgi Arbatov had told dad when he had been a guest of the government during the Moscow Olympics of 1980: the greatest danger Russia faced was not America and the West but the 40 million Muslims within the Soviet Union.
One hundred years ago, after the Tsar’s murder, westerners thought of Russia as a savage, benighted land yearning to become a second America. That was a crock, if ever there was one. Russians are a spiritual people who yearn to connect with Christ, not Wall Street. After the collapse of communism, America committed its greatest mistake until the Iraqi invasion 11 years later. Instead of listening to George F. Kennan, a Russian expert and diplomat extraordinaire, and to Richard Nixon, who both advised helping the new state financially as well as politically, Uncle Sam heeded neocon siren voices and encircled Russia via Nato. Neocons then doubled down on their folly by convincing an idiotic president and his poodle Tony Blair to invade Iraq. A trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of dead later, not a single neocon has been jailed or tried for their crimes. But Putin has been demonised by those same neocons and their networks, and by newspapers such as the Mexican-owned New York Times.
The Nato expansion into the former Soviet block is now being called a ‘tragic mistake’ by those of us not taken in by neocon propaganda. There was bound to be an authoritarian backlash in Russia as a result. And then there is the monstrously corrupt privatisation, sanctioned by a drunken Yeltsin. (Chelsea fans and other beneficiaries in London and New York should put up a statue of the drunk. Swiss and Bahama-based bankers pray for him daily.)
And now we come back to Trump and Putin and the fact that the media cannot accept the fact that their dominance is over and that the Trump regime wishes to dismantle them. Needless to say, they are resisting, and the best way they can do that is by linking the Donald to Vlad. But take it from Taki, anything that comes out will be fake news, planted by those hysterics who oppose Trump and disregard the truth.
The deepest challenges facing America and the West do not come from Russia and Putin. Anti-Russian epithets are a cover for the class warfare taking place in the West. It is not an economic warfare but a moral one, and one that needs Christian understanding and Christian wisdom and love. I know, it sounds corny, but there you have it. This is moral exploitation of the people disguised as their liberation. If Putin is seen as a dictator by the West, what are we to call the unelected oligarchs of the EU. Watch RT and compare.