POSTING OUT OF KARAKTER
As seen on Pajamas Media:
The world needs post-Cold War thinking. But Obama is stuck in a world of parochial clichés.
(By Oleg Atbashian. Published on PJM in six parts, here in one piece.)
1 - What change? Everything new is well-forgotten old
Why is this president always doing the opposite of what needs to be done?
Instead of supporting Iranian protesters, he snubs them. Instead of snubbing the ousted Honduran would-be dictator, he invites him to Washington. Instead of leading the world, he apologizes to it. Instead of offering a new vision, he resurrects hoary clichés. Instead of promoting liberty, he bows to kings and hugs tyrants.
Some think he acts like an enchanted prince; others think he's a spoiled brat. But there's a method to this madness; its logic should be obvious to anyone familiar with antiquated leftist clichés, which Barack Obama seems to have smuggled into the White House without as much as pausing to brush aside the decades-old creepy cobwebs.
A Russian saying suggests that "everything new is well-forgotten old" - which may also explain the voting pattern of recent public school graduates who think that nothing existed before they were born. However, as far back as 500 BC, Heraclitus cautioned that you cannot step into the same river twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you. To paraphrase, Obama shouldn't apply old ideas to new circumstances, for the unintended consequences shall expose the absurdity of his leftist doctrine. Yet that is exactly where he is heading - and it could actually be good news.
Back in 1991, when the USSR fell under the weight of its own lies like a house of marked cards, the U.S. remained the only superpower standing in a world twisted by decades of Cold-War-era deceptions, threats, bribes, subversion, and propaganda. It was a world filled with virulent anti-Americanism brought forth by distorted perceptions and fallacies planted by erstwhile KGB spymasters around the globe.
But instead of finishing the job and decontaminating the planet of hostile myths, America relaxed and began to enjoy the relative peace of the Clinton years. The president turned a blind eye to the gathering clouds, treating the growing incidents of geopolitical violence as freak accidents. In the meantime, the lab-grown virus of anti-Americanism multiplied and mutated, especially in the Middle East.
When trouble finally came to American soil, the Bush administration identified its source as twisted ideologies that were spreading in the absence of political freedom and economic opportunities. This problem could not be solved with the archaic Cold War-era stability doctrine, whereby America bribed and supported any government that promised alliance. That approach may have saved the world in the past, but in the post-Cold War era it had become both immoral and impractical, fostering government corruption and causing unnecessary resentment.
The old mentality had to go. It was now America's responsibility as a lone superpower, and victim of the attacks, to repair the world misshapen by ideological warfare. This change in thinking became known as the Bush Doctrine. Predictably, America's attempts to untwist the twisted world caused a painful and hostile reaction, especially from those who benefited from the existing deformity.
Obama has rejected that change; for that he was cheered on by a generation who grew up believing that deformity is beauty and ideological lunacy is the norm. But instead of moving forward, Mr. Obama puts America's gears in reverse and regresses to a romanticized leftist image of the past in which the U.S.A. is typecast as the archetypal reactionary villain battling the forces of progress. Only in this remake of the cult Cold War classic, America finally sees the light, feels remorseful, and surrenders - to critical acclaim from anal-retentive leftists trained to feel guilty for every joyful moment of living in a capitalist society.
Reporting on President Obama's response to the Honduran government's deportation of the would-be dictator Manuel Zelaya, the Guardian writes:
The Obama administration, conscious of the U.S.'s long history of supporting coups against Latin American leftists condemned the overthrow. The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said Washington's top priority was to restore full democratic and constitutional order in Honduras. Zelaya's removal had "evolved into a coup," she said.
Leave it to the left-leaning Guardian writers to recognize their own ideology when they see it. At least they are honest enough to attribute Obama's position on Honduras to his outright acceptance of Cold War-era axioms and the presumption of America's guilt. Apparently for this very reason, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - who in her primary debates had promised never to give dictators a propagandistic platform by meeting with them - invited Zelaya to Washington and issued him a propagandistic platform.
But abandoning pro-American forces and propping up anti-American dictators can't really be what the word "change" meant to most voters during the elections. What is happening now looks more like restoring Cold War front lines and defecting to the other side, presumably in the name of correcting historical injustice. It's similar to the psychiatric method of regressing to an earlier stage of the patient's life in order to relive old traumatic experience with a more positive outcome.
The problem with that is, the ideas of Cold War-related injustice and guilt are the products of false conscience planted by elaborate propaganda. The picture that Obama is trying to reverse is an airbrushed, made-in-the-USSR fabrication. Flipping the wrong picture upside down doesn't make it right - it still is the wrong picture, only upside down.
Generated in the depths of KGB think tanks, the Cold War-era propaganda template is comprised of the following linked axioms:
Evidently, if President Obama didn't share these received views, he wouldn't have felt the need to apologize before the world for America's alleged wrongdoings - a gesture that could only reinforce such stereotypes. If his policies weren't driven by these tenets, he wouldn't be using the powers of the U.S. president to prop up the forces that oppose America's founding principles of liberty while denying support to those who want to live by such principles.
The reason many Americans haven't realized it yet is that most media coverage is also born of the same old yellowed clichés.
And yet no media bias can obfuscate the fact, clearly demonstrated by events in Iran and Honduras, that even in the absence of U.S.-led conspiracies, anti-American tyrants are still not welcome, popular resistance still happens, and even when the U.S. president switches sides and pulls for the other team, people of the world still desire economic freedoms and individual rights - the only constant force that drives real progress.
The same people who chanted the mantra of "change" are having a hard time noticing the real change happening in the world today. Apparently, in their view, any change that contradicts the above template is either not happening, in which case it's a fabrication of imperialist propaganda, or being forced on the world against its wishes, in which case the perpetrator can only be the criminal, capitalist cabal at the heart of American imperialism with its long and ruthless arm of the CIA. Any mention of oil or gas in this context becomes undeniable proof of this theory.
In this sense, Obama's notion of "change" is not change at all, but rather a regression to a mythological past, which impedes the real change the world so desperately needs.
2 - Following Obama's quest into the magic world of mythology
How many of you, upon hearing about an overthrow of a leftist dictator, instinctively thought of a CIA plot?
How many, at least at some point in your lives, believed that aggressive U.S. meddling ignited hot spots on the world map? That any pro-U.S. leader of a small country is probably a CIA puppet? That the American model of individual liberty and capitalism was being imposed on the people of Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East against their will, and they might be happier with leftist tyrants?
These are the attitudes leftist propaganda is designed to create - but they may also be the result of an elitist presumption that people of the world cannot think for themselves and have no room in their souls for individual ambitions and achievements outside of what the government is giving them. Short of stating it explicitly, elitism implies that "the masses" are mindless, spiritless creatures without free will, always in need of the largesse of the state, and for their own good the state ought to nationalize the country's resources in order to feed its subjects.
There is a reason why snobby elites on the Upper West Side of Manhattan generously donate to leftist causes and support leftist politicians. Snobs and radicals often act in accord because they are not opposites, as some believe, but rather spiritual cousins - equally despising "the bourgeois," sharing a low view of humanity as herd animals, and sorting people not on their individual merits but by color, income, occupation, ethnicity, gender, and any other characteristic except the content of their minds. Such beliefs have often served as a veiled excuse for tyranny.
This thinking is the direct opposite of the ideal of individual liberty, on which the United States was founded and which defines this country's exceptionalism. As such, elitist and leftist beliefs are downright un-American - a term that today has become a fighting word, used broadly by both right and left, sometimes with a completely opposite meaning. Not to be outdone, snobs and radicals have also evolved a natural loathing for American "bourgeois" principles.
But the view of America as the command center of the international capitalist conspiracy is definitely not a product of natural evolution, but rather a foreign implant going back to the days of the Cold War.
And since Cold War perceptions continue to have such a negative effect on today's reality, we may have no other choice but to pause and reluctantly follow Obama's quest into the magic world of Cold War mythology to relive old legends. Except for us, a more positive outcome would mean not to place the Minotaur on the list of protected species, but rather to use real historical facts to guide us into the heart of the deceptive labyrinth and to slay this evil ideology that thrives on human sacrifice. Then, hopefully, we can all bid farewell to the painful past and finally move on to more peaceful and productive lives.
First of all, one cannot maintain intellectual and moral integrity while decrying a U.S. presence in the hot spots of the Cold War, if one does not also mention the presence in the same hot spots of the Soviet espionage agencies, the KGB and the GRU. Their job was to ignite the hot spots and then fan the flames, spreading the fire to the rest of the world. The U.S. objectives were quite the opposite - to extinguish or at least to localize the fire - which made American involvement a necessary if often inadequate antidote.
To blame the hot spots on the U.S. presence would be as insane as to blame fires on firefighters because their trucks are always at the scene.
One's perception of America as a hero or a villain in this case depends on whether one thinks that socialism is indeed "progress of mankind." For believers in the leftist version of "progress," America will inevitably come off as evil, arrogant, or at least misguided. The workings of the leftist template are such that when a single axiom is accepted all other axioms follow, being links of one chain. The Soviet non-presence is also an axiom, an invisible and unspoken part of the template that allows deception to advance leftist causes - the end justifies the means.
Using this template is like riding a bicycle - once you learn, you never forget. It is simple and easy to work with. For example, applying its clichés to the American role in WWII, anyone with minimal rhetorical skills can come up with a news story headlined "The D-Day Massacre: Atrocities 'R' U.S.," describing Normandy as an unprovoked attack on a peaceful international resort full of disabled people on vacation from Germany. Try to disprove this news if the Nazi artillery is not even mentioned.
Likewise, it's impossible to disprove the leftist "history of American imperialism" without knowing that just about every Cold War conflict began as a premeditated KGB operation. Ridiculing "red scare paranoia" while withholding information about the Soviet involvement has proven to make the opponents tongue-tied and feeling like fools fighting with a shadow. That is why the substitution of facts with a revised history that minimizes or airbrushes the Soviet role in the Cold War is of such a crucial importance, helping the left to prevail in the larger propagandistic argument and win the hearts and minds of the general public.
Having come here from the USSR - a country whose government invented this strategy and lived by it - I was astonished by the abundance of leftist propagandistic clichés in the American mainstream media. The exclusion of the Soviet connection in any discussion of America's culpability is one such cliché. It is a telltale sign of a prefabricated myth.
Where's the "imperialist propaganda" when you need it? The leftist propaganda encountered so little resistance in the land of the alleged "capitalist conspiracy" that an airbrushed version of history has almost universally replaced the truth in the media, education, and entertainment. The intended result is the widespread notion of America's guilt. One doesn't even need to be a leftist anymore to believe in this country's image as a violent empire controlled by greedy capitalist oligarchies that dictate its policies.
Since such beliefs make one an easy dupe for further leftist indoctrination and potential conversion, the incitement of anti-American hysteria has long become a major focus of leftist propaganda efforts. To this end, the radical left has gone as far as to join forces with Islamic extremists in a series of world-wide anti-American protest marches that blame all the world's violence on "U.S. imperialism." They also cooperate in less obvious areas such as disseminating depraved conspiracy theories or fabricating alleged "U.S. atrocities" in the Middle East and planting them in the media - attributing any bloodshed, regardless of its source, to the U.S. presence in the region. To the radical left, the War on Terror is little more than a convenient excuse to demonize America, proselytize, and recruit new members.
Why don't the "cabal of capitalist oligarchies" move a finger to protect their alleged investments and stop the agitation and propaganda that threatens to ruin all they have worked for and expose their existence? This is not the behavior one might expect from a greedy, all controlling oligarch, is it? They surely don't make capitalist conspiracies like they used to - almost makes one lose faith in their existence.
In the days of the Cold War, as America was being branded as the single source of all global violence and misery, the USSR brazenly continued to sponsor subversion, guerrilla movements, and leftist dictators. It continued to use its enormous global spy network to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars, often in the form of briefcases filled with cash, to finance uprisings, sabotage, assassinations, misinformation, as well as to recruit agents and to corrupt democratic elections in foreign countries. This was all done in the name of spreading Marxism-Leninism and exporting the revolution to other continents. And that was besides the generous donations given to puppet communist parties throughout the world, including within the United States and Israel.
With these facts withheld, America's behavior may understandably strike one as being overly aggressive, irrational, and even schizophrenic. When resistance to belligerent communism gets dismissed as a probable cause, the vacuum is filled with off-the-wall conspiracies involving global oligarchies, a military-industrial complex, maniacal CIA directors, and the preferred bugaboo of the left - greedy American imperialism.
The Afghan conflict didn't begin with the Soviet invasion in 1979. It started a year earlier, when a handful of KGB puppets in Kabul staged a "people's revolution" and declared that the coup was "unanimously supported by the Afghan workers and peasants." Only when the puppets were unable to defend themselves from the people whom they claimed to represent did Moscow reluctantly send in its army. The soldiers - barely trained young conscripts from Soviet towns and villages - were told they would be performing "the duty of international solidarity" on the invitation from the "people's government." Before long, a pile-up of stale propagandistic clichés resulted in an inexcusable, criminal slaughter of tens of thousands of innocents on both sides, turning this previously quiet country into a permanent disaster area and a global hot spot for decades to come.
At about the same time, across the border a pro-American democratic government under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran was being undermined and discredited in a massive campaign of agitation and sabotage designed and coordinated from Moscow. The local leftists, some of them KGB agents, were laying the groundwork for a similar "people's revolution" in Tehran. But the Islamic radicals moved in first, seized the power, and threw the communists in jail, correctly seeing them as the most dangerous competition at the time - without so much as a thank you for helping the revolution. The resulting Islamic Republic of Iran has become a rogue state ruled by an oppressive theocratic regime that sponsors terror, destabilizes the world, and is now developing a nuclear weapon.
The civil war in Yemen in the 1970s - known as the Middle Eastern "Vietnam" - was yet another Moscow attempt to set a foothold in the Middle East. It turned into a long proxy war between the superpowers that split the country in half. In the south, the radical Marxist government of the puppet People's Democratic Republic of Yemen was backed by the Soviet navy stationed in its sea ports. Incidentally, this is also where the bin Laden family lived, one of many Yemeni clans radicalized by this conflict, just as the Afghani clans were radicalized by the Soviet occupation.
Using Cuba as a foothold in Latin America, Kremlin emissaries destabilized this traditionally anti-communist region by subverting its labor unions, brainwashing its students, igniting class hatred, and setting off a series of coups, bloody guerrilla wars, and corrupt elections. Their presence was invariably followed by humanitarian and economic disasters, starting with Cuba and on to Chile, Grenada, Venezuela, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala.
Not exactly paragons of prosperity themselves, the Soviet bloc countries spent lavishly on promoting pacifist movements in the west, while spending even more to finance foreign invasions. Communist guerrillas of El Salvador, for example, received Soviet and East European weapons and military assistance not just from neighboring Cuba and Nicaragua, but even from such far-away Soviet allies as Libya and Vietnam.
Vietnam was, of course, the most prominent made-in-the-USSR hot spot and the biggest success story of the Soviet deception. It fell to communist rule as a result of a victorious worldwide propaganda campaign that demonized America as a violent colonialist aggressor, and quickly became a starving socialist dictatorship with a failing economy.
Setting off one conflict after another, the USSR never failed to blame the resulting violence on American presence and the CIA, while positioning itself as a force for peace and progress. But the fact is, the CIA was created in 1947 only as a response to the worldwide presence of the KGB, which by then had already been in the business of subversion for thirty years. And although the CIA was occasionally successful in repairing the damage and preempting the export of totalitarianism, it was having a hard time catching up with a more experienced and better equipped opponent, all the while being exposed to harsh criticism by the left-leaning media at home.
The use of mass media was grotesquely asymmetrical. Inside the Soviet Union, even mentioning the KGB in the press without government authorization was a taboo. But the KGB itself took full advantage of free speech in the western world, using the free media to incite anti-Americanism and to frame the CIA as a criminal organization.
Only when the KGB archives became briefly open to the press in the times of Glasnost did the Soviet people find out that as they struggled economically their government had been compulsively spending money on wars, civil unrest, and bribes to foreign leaders and opinion makers whose names they had never even heard of. I remember reading at the time in a Moscow paper that even Nelson Mandela, after leaving prison, moved into a new villa built by his wife Winnie with the money transferred to her via KGB channels. Surely that wasn't the only reason for Mandela's anti-Americanism, but what's wrong with a little token of gratitude at the expense of Soviet dwellers of communal apartments?
Decades of subversion and payoffs eventually corrupted the international scene to a point where third world governments were openly profiting from the duel of superpowers by milking both cows and extracting favors for switching sides. Among such political weathercocks were Gamal Abdel Nasser, Saddam Hussein, and Yasser Arafat, just to name a few.
And while the world media never stops blaming the U.S. for training Islamic extremists in Afghanistan, a much greater Soviet role in the rise of Islamic terrorism remains buried in the archives. If the reason for such unequal coverage is other than compliance with anti-American leftist clichés, I'd like to hear it. Until then I'll continue to believe that this information is omitted to keep alive the leftist "America's chickens are coming home to roost" formula, according to which this country is deservedly suffering the consequences of its own "imperialist ambitions."
The unsustainable generosity in sponsoring global anti-Americanism was one of the Soviet regime's many obsessive behaviors that hastened its own demise. If anti-American lies were anthrax, one might say the USSR had left behind enough stockpiles to exterminate all life on earth many times over. Strategically positioned in all corners of the world and left unattended, some of the accumulated deceptions deteriorated naturally over the years, some were moved in bulk for recycling to countries like Iran and Venezuela, and the rest were looted by ragtag bands of anti-American enthusiasts with varying degrees of professionalism.
3 - Keeping anti-Americanism alive
(A U.S. President, Raised on KGB Propaganda)
Anti-Americanism is a relatively recent phenomenon.
The elites may have always despised American passion for individual liberties, but most common people admired America for exactly that. Upon gaining independence, a number of nations - from Uruguay to Greece to Togo to Malaysia - modeled their flags after the U.S. flag. Preambles of most Latin American constitutions closely resemble that of the U.S. Constitution, and the Latin American hero Simon Bolivar himself was an admirer of the United States and a believer in libertarianism and free markets, regardless of how his name and legacy are now being twisted by Hugo Chavez.
The important fact about modern-day anti-Americanism is that it spreads almost exclusively among impressionable cultural elites who are most exposed to ideological clichés delivered through media and educational channels.
It would be absurd to presume that people of the world go to bed every night loving dictators and hating the United States. Obviously, the first conscious thing on the mind of a European, an African, or an Asian as they wake up in the morning is not how to survive another day of "America's economic and cultural imperialism." And since anti-Americanism is incompatible with common sense that guides our daily lives, people must be reminded of it every day to keep it alive. That is the burden that radical intellectuals have taken upon themselves, dispensing daily quotas of leftist clichés to the "unwashed masses" down below.
Thus, Oliver Stone is reportedly making a documentary about Hugo Chavez, whom he describes as an "energetic, principled champion of change in Latin America" and hopes, in Stone's words, to "capture the spirit of his drive to roll back U.S. influence." The ability to claim originality while working for decades from the same moth-eaten template makes Mr. Stone an Oscar-winning genius. Is there a chance that in the process of glorifying what he calls the region's "liberation from the United States," the legendary director might display authentic originality by interviewing, not a leftist, but a hero of anti-Marxist resistance? Can the devastation inflicted on Latin America by socialist policies persuade Mr. Stone to look beyond the worn-out clichés? We can only wish.
If the convention requires this "unconventional" genius to lionize America's enemies, it's what he does - not more and not less. Until recently, Stone was rumored to be considering a similar anti-American documentary with the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the recent insurgency against this man in his own country may have convinced Stone to kill the plan as too obviously absurd.
In the heyday of the Cold War, both knowingly and unknowingly, such radical intellectuals served as a reliable conduit for anti-U.S. propaganda generated in the think tanks of Moscow. The technical details were described by a number of defectors from the Eastern Bloc intelligence agencies, the highest-ranking of whom was Ion Mihai Pacepa, acting chief of Romania's espionage service.
"The whole foreign policy of the Soviet-bloc states, indeed its whole economic and military might, revolved around the larger Soviet objective of destroying America from within through the use of lies," Pacepa writes. "The Soviets saw disinformation as a vital tool in the dialectical advance of world Communism. ... Many 'Ban-the-Bomb' and anti-nuclear movements were KGB-funded operations, too. I can no longer look at a petition for world peace or other supposedly noble cause, particularly of the anti-American variety, without thinking to myself, 'KGB.'
"As far as I'm concerned, the KGB gave birth to the antiwar movement in America," Pacepa continues. "KGB chairman Yuri Andropov managed our anti-Vietnam War operation. He often bragged about having damaged the U.S. foreign-policy consensus, poisoned domestic debate in the U.S., and built a credibility gap between America and European public opinion through our disinformation operations. Vietnam was, he once told me, 'our most significant success.'"
The fraudulent image of America as the "violent imperialist aggressor" was picked up by the Western media, disseminated through activist groups, and found its way into policy making, exemplified by John Kerry's 1971 "Genghis Khan" testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where Kerry almost verbatim repeated the KGB fabrications, later recognized by Pacepa as his own subversive product.
"KGB priority number one at that time was to damage American power, judgment, and credibility," Pacepa recalls. "One of its favorite tools was the fabrication of such evidence as photographs and 'news reports' about invented American war atrocities. These tales were purveyed in KGB-operated magazines that would then flack them to reputable news organizations. ... All in all, it was amazingly easy for Soviet-bloc spy organizations to fake many such reports and spread them around the free world."
Our sensory organs may perceive the same reality, but our knowledge of the world depends on how our minds interpret our perceptions and connect the dots. A successful propaganda campaign modifies that process by inserting, in a manner of speaking, a prefabricated optical lens that redirects incoming information and rearranges the existing dots. It may remain unnoticed for a while because the distortion affects limited designated areas - in this case, political ideology. One still is the same person, except that when he thinks of political, economic, or social issues, lies suddenly become perceived as the truth, right as wrong, good as evil, enemies as friends, and so on.
Ultimately, the most successful, moral, and just country in the history of humanity becomes perceived as a violent monster feeding on the bodies of innocent victims.
Caught off guard by such a procedure and lacking intellectual tools to detect it, any decent red-blooded man will naturally be enraged by America's "injustice," wish for its defeat, and sometimes even join its enemies. Assuming that in 1971 John Kerry was a decent man and his testimony to the Senate Committee was delivered in good faith, he must have had that lens implanted in his brain for a long time. The Vietnam War was won by Moscow, not on the battlefield, but in the information warfare. And that was only the beginning.
This is how Pacepa remembers it:
During my last meeting with Andropov, he said, wisely, "now all we have to do is to keep the Vietnam-era anti-Americanism alive." Andropov was a shrewd judge of human nature. He understood that in the end our original involvement would be forgotten, and our insinuations would take on a life of their own. He knew well that it was just the way human nature worked.
Andropov's strategy must still be working if even today Barack Obama believes in these insinuations strongly enough to apologize before the world for the perceived history of "American arrogance."
During his recent visit to Moscow, President Obama stated:
America supports ... the restoration of the democratically-elected president of Honduras, even though he has strongly opposed American policies.
But didn't Obama himself oppose American policies just as strongly and from the same ideological perspectives? His own history suggests that saying "because he has strongly opposed American policies" would have been a more honest use of conjunctions.
From his communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis to the unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, Barack Obama has always gravitated towards people holding radical leftist views akin to those of Zelaya. He eagerly promoted leftist ideology as an ACORN activist and later at the University of Chicago Law School when he taught and developed theories that opposed the American system of individual liberties in favor of unsustainable group entitlements at the expense of producers - theories that advocated placing the people under the controlling "care" of the state.
And since such views are part of the ideological template that vilifies America and lionizes its enemies, Obama's instinctive reaction was to back Zelaya and throw a lifeline to Ahmadinejad.
Like John Kerry at the Senate hearings, President Obama may be acting in good faith, but his processing of reality is just as impaired by the same "metaphorical deformation." As a result, the leader of the free world strays across the frontlines and joins the Marxist leaders Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, Evo Morales, and Daniel Ortega, at least two of whom - Castro and Ortega - were committed Soviet clients.
The Soviet Union may have self-destructed in 1991, but the seeds of intellectual deception it had planted gave such a bountiful crop that seventeen years later America has elected a leader who is guided by received notions designed to subdue and destroy this country. Apparently, the rumors about America's victory in the Cold War appear to have been greatly exaggerated.
4 - Whose sovereignty is Obama respecting?
In his speech to graduate students in Moscow, Obama opined:
State sovereignty must be a cornerstone of international order. ... States must have the right to borders that are secure, to their own foreign policies.
This sounds very statesmanlike, except that without defining the true meaning of sovereignty it becomes an empty word and a pawn in the games of political demagogues - especially when no distinction is made between a democratic state and a tyranny.
In theory, Obama's position amounts to moral equivalency between a democracy and an autocratic rogue state. In practice, it gives the roguish Iranian regime added legitimacy and protection, while leaving the democratic Honduras exposed to threats from Ortega and Chavez, aggravated by diplomatic pressure from the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and the 35-member Organization of American States.
The idea of unconditional sovereignty is, in fact, a clever ploy used time and again during the Cold War to advance leftist dictatorships and undermine free democracies. The trick is simple - it takes advantage of the decency of those who honestly abide by international law, preventing them from interfering in the affairs of tyrants who abide by nothing except the expansion of their ill-gained power.
While free democracies invest mostly in the creation of goods and services, tyrants invest their nation's capital in the creation and dissemination of propaganda. It pays off handsomely in the form of moral support from the brainwashed "global community" when a tyrannical regime takes over another country allegedly "to advance progress in the interests of all people."
On the eve of every major state holiday, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) used to publish a list of up to a hundred official talking points that covered all aspects of its domestic and foreign agendas. Printed in the form of slogans on the front pages of Pravda and local newspapers, they were meant to be enthusiastically announced on the radio, amplified during the state-sponsored "spontaneous" demonstrations, written on propagandistic posters, and memorized by schoolchildren and college students.
Endlessly rewritten and reshuffled to reflect the "current truth" about the ever changing party line, these talking points were always consistent with one and the same Orwellian template. The socialist USSR and its allies were the forces for peace and progress, while any resistance to their military operations, especially coming from the capitalist U.S.A. and its allies, represented "imperialism, reaction and war."
Below are a few excerpts of such slogans prepared for the 60th anniversary of the "Great October Socialist Revolution." They concern international relations and are addressed to the "people of the world." Compare them to the essence of Obama's statements:
Peoples of the world! Strengthen the efforts in the struggle for the complete liquidation of the results of Israeli aggression, for the establishment of just peace for all the governments and peoples of the Middle East, against imperialist interference in the internal affairs of Arab nations!
Peoples of the world! Struggle for the deepening of the lessening of international tension, for its expansion to all continents! Expose the efforts of the forces of aggression, revanchism, and reaction - enemies of peace and the peoples' defense!
Peoples of the world! Strive so that the unacceptability of the use of force becomes the law in international relations and nuclear weapons are forever banned! Strengthen the struggle to end the arms race and to achieve universal and complete disarmament!
Long live the Leninist foreign policy of the Soviet Union - the policy of peace and friendship of peoples, the unity of all forces struggling against imperialism, reaction and war!
Anyone familiar with the Soviet propaganda methods knew that the same "peoples of the world" would be in big trouble should their governments take these Byzantine formulations at face value. But President Obama seems to believe the template enough to reiterate its points in Moscow - of all places!
It's foolish to expect a fair game from forces whose moral code is limited to "the end justifies the means." That is why the implication that "all sovereignties are equal" is a loss for law-abiding democracies and a win for leftist expansionists, whose only measure of legitimacy is the advancement of their perverted idea of the "common good." Successfully applied by the Soviet communists to bamboozle Western diplomats, it has now become a preferred con of every dictator in the business of advancing socialism, communism, fascism, Islamism, or any other cockamamie heresy of the archetypal collectivist tyranny.
And while Obama's speech was also meant to cover the sovereignties of Ukraine and Georgia, it does nothing to protect these countries from Russia's meddling, but gives the Russian leaders a chance to call Obama on his own word if in the future he raises an issue with their policies.
Abiding by his own declarations, Obama would never have gone into Iraq or Afghanistan, thus allowing both Saddam and the Taliban to violate the sovereignty of their own citizens and other countries, invading neighbors and training gangs of international terrorists. Today this approach practically gives assurances to the dictators of Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and other rogue regimes that the United States will "respect their sovereignty" regardless of their propensity to support terrorism, develop nuclear weapons, and threaten to invade neighboring democracies.
But whose sovereignty is he really respecting? When a free democratic society protects the individual sovereignty of each member, the sovereignties of all citizens add up to the entire nation's collective sovereignty. But in a dictatorship where individual sovereignty is non-existent, where no one is safe from the government's arbitrary powers, collective sovereignty adds up to exactly nothing. The only sovereignty Obama's approach protects is that of the tyrant, who is the single sovereign individual in the entire nation.
The 2003 U.S.-led invasion didn't violate the sovereignty of the Iraqi citizens because it is impossible to violate that which doesn't exist. It only violated the sovereignty of Saddam Hussein and his two sons, Uday and Qusay - and deservedly so. Even Saddam's closest henchmen had no personal sovereignty and lived in constant fear of his whims, just like Stalin's henchmen before them.
Likewise, it would be impossible for America to "steal the Iraqi oil" because it had been long ago stolen by Saddam, who treated it as his personal asset and used the proceeds to build palaces, finance terrorism, develop weapons, bribe foreign leaders, corrupt the UN, and do other things that had nothing to do with the interests of the Iraqis.
But with America's help, the Iraqi people have now regained both their oil and their sovereignty. And this time, their national sovereignty is absolutely legitimate because it is comprised of the sovereignties of millions of free individuals, who elect their government and are protected by law from its arbitrary dictate. And while their democracy is far from perfect, the Iraqis already are a world apart from the lawlessness of Saddam's national-socialist regime.
In contrast, the ousting of President Manuel Zelaya, whose goal was to impose a dictatorship on Honduras, was done precisely to protect the individual sovereignties of all Hondurans. An attempt to return him to power as once advocated by Mr. Obama would, in fact, violate the sovereignty of every Honduran, who would lose personal liberties as a result of Zelaya's leftist policies.
In the end, national sovereignty cannot be unconditional. Its condition is simple: the presence of an elected government that acts in the interests of its people, maintains the rule of law, and respects individual sovereignty of every one of its citizens.
This approach eliminates the false premise of moral equivalency and makes painfully clear that the right course of action with regards to Iran and the right course of action with regards to Honduras should be the exact opposites of what President Obama has chosen.
5 - We are the children: singing in unison to save a dictator
If the American society is constantly torn apart by ideological confrontations, why is it so hard for some Americans to imagine that people in other countries can be just as divided?
Any society, even the freest democracy, has likely autocrats willing to take advantage of others, latent victims willing to give up freedom in exchange for entitlements, and budding free people willing to resist tyranny and defend their liberties. The ratio of these groups in each country may be different, but no nation is ever unanimous - despite all assurances to the contrary by dictators who claim to speak for all people.
Statist regimes need unanimity to justify their existence. If a government's survival depends on unanimity, it will inevitably end up repressing free speech. That alone makes statism an unacceptable form of government. Any government's claim to speak for all people automatically makes it a suspect, just as unanimous voting is a symptom of tyranny.
The unanimity of the Soviet people was a myth. Measuring internal opposition in the absence of freedom may be impossible, but the trickle of dissidents and defectors should have been a good clue. Yet the Western media routinely repeated the regime's official lie that all Soviet people were united behind the Communist Party and its policies.
As false data leads to false conclusions, benevolent Western intellectuals often shrugged off the Soviet tyranny as "the choice of the people," explaining it away with outlandish nonsense like "the mysterious Russian character" or "the collectivist nature of the Slavic soul," which was a patent absurdity, especially considering that not all people in the Eastern Bloc were Russians or even Slavs. The same thinking prompted less benign people to demonize all Russians, imagining them as lazy and bloodthirsty brutes. Ironically, the latter opinion I mostly heard from elitist champions of the collectivist utopia, who despised the USSR for giving communism a bad name by having turned such a beautiful idea into a monstrosity due to some alleged ethnic deficiency.
Apparently they believe it could have worked with a "better" ethnic group!
As a rule, these intellectuals religiously challenged every bit of their own capitalist system, but the one thing they didn't challenge was the myth that the Soviet government spoke for its people, acted in their interests, and had their unanimous support. "I hope the Russians love their children too," crooned Sting, as if there was any connection between what the Russians loved and what the Soviet government did. Further showing a lack of any sense, Sting claimed in the same song that he didn't believe Reagan, that "there is no monopoly in common sense," that "we share the same biology regardless of ideology," and "there's no such thing as a winnable war." In other words, all things being relative and all people being mindless biological units anyway, the free world might as well give in to the tyrants ruling over a gigantic gulag, whose voiceless inmates, Sting hoped, loved their children.
This wouldn't be so pathetic if many Western politicians didn't follow similar logic and form similar opinions - exactly what the myth of the Soviet "unanimity" was meant to accomplish.
No one doubts today that there had been no unity in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. But on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion, activist Western media and radical intellectuals eagerly parroted Hussein's claim of a 100 percent Iraqi vote in his support. Not that anyone believed such an improbable number; the argument rather was that the Iraqis would surely forget their quarrels and unite behind their leader to defend their national dignity from "illegal occupation." Yet the Iraqis didn't put up a serious fight. Apparently, they had little to defend since their dignity and much of everything else had already been stripped away from them by Saddam. But at the time the myth of Iraqi unity made a sizable dent in public support of U.S. policies.
Today, a new, democratic Iraq has become a force for good in the Middle East, having changed the region's ideological balance in favor of democracy and freedom. And yet not a single vocal opponent of the Bush doctrine, including Barack Obama himself, has retracted his prior statements intended to prevent such an outcome.
I happened to be in Denver during the 2008 Democratic Convention. And even though I didn't attend Obama's famous speech at the stadium with Greek columns, I spent some time at the local Civic Center Park observing extravagant political rallies and protest marches, most of them with a marked anti-war bent. The most conspicuous production there was a mosque-like pavilion made of translucent silk sheets with photographs of happy Iranian people going about their daily lives.
In the words of its author, young American photographer Tom Loughlin, the exhibit was intended to "transcend the issue of Iranian-American relations" by reminding viewers of the "significant effect that American misperceptions might have on Iranians and on Persian culture," and to give them "the sense that something beautiful is in jeopardy."
The author stood nearby with a camcorder and recorded the viewers' reactions. I offered mine, saying on camera that, objectively, his artistic talent and the money paid to finance it were being used to prop up the Iranian regime with a propagandistic bait-and-switch trick straight from the Soviet playbook. The handsome, eye-catching Persian faces that supposedly represented Iran were the bait. But the faces of those who would gain most from the positive PR message were not on the pictures. That's because the true beneficiaries of this show were the ugly, America-hating mullahs who oppressed their own people, sponsored terrorism, destabilized the world, advocated the destruction of Israel, and were building a nuclear bomb. And therein was the switch.
No one doubted that Iranians could be handsome and "love their children too." The problem was that the people in the pictures didn't speak for their tyrannical regime and the regime didn't speak for them, nor did it represent their interests. They themselves were hostages to insane policies of their unelected leaders. Many Iranians would surely prefer to be liberated and live in the modern world rather than be sacrificed as human shields by the mullahs pursuing a medieval theology. It was nothing short of depravity to showcase sanitized images of the victims in order to sustain a regime that brutalized them.
I don't begrudge the photographer for not including my comment in the released video. But I was proven right when ten months later the same Iranians - looking much like the models in the exhibit - poured into the streets of Tehran and other cities in massive anti-government rallies, often risking their lives, to protest against the ugly mullahcracy.
That surely shattered any illusion of peaceful unanimity put on by the regime's propaganda. Perhaps Mr. Loughlin may do some good by moving his Iranian pavilion to the White House lawn to give Barack Obama "the sense that something beautiful is in jeopardy," because the U.S. president seems to have chosen to remain uninformed.
Reportedly the Iranian dissidents expected to receive support, or at least encouragement from the American president. But the "warmonger" Bush is no longer in office, and the "peace-loving" Obama isn't interested in rocking the boat, flexing American muscles, or doing anything else that might upset the established leftist narrative and pigeonhole him together with Bush, Reagan, and other "imperialist villains" of yore. Stuck in the parochial past and learning about the outside life from myths, Obama prefers his Iranians sanitized and united behind their own America-hating government, as the old leftist legend says they should.
In contrast, the democratic government of Honduras isn't attempting to put on a show of unity. The Honduran society is openly divided, with a small minority of leftist protesters clamoring for the return of the would-be dictator. Yet the "unanimity" trick is still being played against the Hondurans - not from within, but from outside its borders - as leftist leaders and sympathetic media are trying to present the handful of local Marxists as ones who speak for all people. A pretense that, to them at least, provides a moral justification for their demands to restore Zelaya.
But Honduras has a history of standing its own ground and defending its sovereignty. Researching this story, I interviewed J. Michael Waller, professor of International Communication at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.:
"The Left has always had a grudge against this conservative and anti-communist nation," explains Waller. "Leftists never had a chance in Honduras, because the locals would invariably kill any Cuban- or Soviet-trained radicals who would try to set up a revolutionary movement. The United States or CIA had nothing to do with repressing the Left there; the Hondurans proved perfectly capable of doing it on their own."
And yet, according to the Guardian, Obama's support of Zelaya is motivated by his perceived guilt for "the United States' long history of supporting coups against Latin American leftists." At the same time, renowned U.S. constitutional lawyer Miguel Estrada, who is a native of Honduras, has no such qualms. Having real - not mythological - knowledge of Honduran people, history, and law, Estrada is convinced that the Honduran military and Supreme Court acted within their rights. The only problem, he says, is that instead of deporting the pajama-clad Zelaya to Costa Rica, "they should have just put him in jail."
6 - "The CIA did it": conspiracy theories in the service of the "common good"
Perhaps the most stomach-turning recurrence of Yuri Andropov's anti-American narrative is Osama bin Laden's 2007 taped speech, in which the leader of al-Qaeda recycled Vietnam-era leftist legends, applying them to Iraq:
In the Vietnam War, the leaders of the White House claimed at the time that it was a necessary and crucial war, and during it, Rumsfeld and his aides murdered two million villagers. And when Kennedy took over the presidency and deviated from the general line of policy drawn up for the White House and wanted to stop this unjust war, that angered the owners of the major corporations who were benefiting from its continuation. And so Kennedy was killed, and al-Qaeda wasn't present at that time, but rather, those corporations were the primary beneficiary from his killing.
Compare this to a statement by Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's leftist president, with regards to Honduras: "If the oligarchies break the rules of the game as they have done, the people have the right to resistance and combat, and we are with them." True to the established template, Chavez rejects the possibility of common people resisting a leftist takeover, so the culprit must be some mysterious unidentified "oligarchies." Painting by numbers, he predictably ends up with a picture of a CIA conspiracy.
Only this time, given President Obama's ideological affinity with the ousted would-be dictator, Chavez's caricature of defenders of liberty as CIA puppets isn't working.
An expert in the region, J. Michael Waller, explains that the CIA indeed has been involved in Latin American politics with varying degrees of success:
One of its state-of-the-art operations occurred in the early 1950s when President Eisenhower authorized the CIA to overthrow the elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, who was subverting Guatemala's fragile democratic institutions to set up a leftist regime. The U.S. correctly joined many Guatemalans in fearing that Arbenz would bring his country into the Soviet camp. This was early in the Cold War, and it pre-dated Fidel Castro's revolution.
But that successful operation also happened to be the last of its kind:
Had President Kennedy not gotten cold feet and aborted the CIA-run attempt to overthrow Castro in 1961, abandoning Cuban resistance fighters at the Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro never would have consolidated his power and subverted the hemisphere and other parts of the world, and we never would have had a Cuban Missile Crisis.
Most of the other CIA political operations in Latin America were aimed at defeating the pro-Soviet left; interestingly, the CIA covertly funded the center-left, including socialists, to keep them from falling into the Soviet camp. The CIA almost never covertly supported right-wing forces; those forces were perfectly capable of operating on their own, and many were clumsy and even unnecessarily brutal in crushing the extreme left.
When the Marxists took power in Nicaragua in 1979, with the help of Jimmy Carter, it was the poor rural peasants who led the counter-revolutionary revolt. Campesinos from the countryside took up arms to fight the socialist revolution, because the Sandinistas began taking away their land, forcing them to work on collective farms, and conscripted them into a gigantic revolutionary army with Soviet weapons and Soviet-bloc trainers. The peasant resistance was supported by elements of the old Somoza regime who were the only ones at the time with military leadership experience, but the rank-and-file combatants were overwhelmingly poor peasants. Many of the fighters were former Sandinistas who had grown disillusioned with the socialist ideal.
Waller does not hide his sympathies:
I know this firsthand because I was with the Nicaraguan "contra" fighters at the time, between 1983 and 1989. They got started on their own and, without any foreign assistance, formed Latin America's largest peasant guerrilla army since the Mexican Revolution. The "contras" had a functioning army two or three years before receiving American military support, authorized by Congress and administered through the CIA. They succeeded in preventing the Marxists from establishing a socialist dictatorship.
Today the CIA operates more tightly than ever under strict laws and bureaucratic guidelines, and the oversight committees in Congress are informed of every significant covert operation. Every such operation requires a presidential "finding." The CIA cannot operate on its own. So if the CIA was involved in ousting former Honduran President Zelaya, as Hugo Chavez is claiming, then it was with the personal authorization of President Barack Obama and with the knowledge of the Democrat leadership in both houses of Congress.
The lunatic left like Hugo Chavez need the CIA boogeyman to justify their own extremism. We don't hear such anti-CIA accusations coming from the more mature, "responsible" left as in the leaders of countries like Chile and Brazil. Not even the newly elected president of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes of the Marxist FMLN party, is accusing the CIA of being involved in the Honduran events.
So if the CIA was behind the ouster of Hugo Chavez's Honduran ally, it would be because Barack Obama personally authorized it. The idea is an absurdity on its face.
Sticking with the tradition, Chavez's friend Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also blaming Iran's turmoil on the CIA. Factual or not, the propagandistic value of this charge is obvious. The CIA conspiracy card never failed to mesmerize the left-leaning Western intellectuals, especially those involved in producing the most powerful propaganda vehicles of all: Hollywood movies.
The latter are an especially easy target. Hollywood stars such as Redford, Stone, Clooney, Penn, Soderbergh, and many others may style themselves as unconventional rebels, but their political creativity is limited strictly to the reshuffling of worn-out propagandistic conventions. No matter how entertaining the patterns in their political kaleidoscope may appear, looking at the world though a mirror tube filled with one and the same set of colored pieces hasn't yet helped anyone to understand the reality of existence. If you disagree, try and talk politics to a "truther."
Those who believe that America, not the Soviet Union, was the engine behind the Cold War conflicts are not equipped to understand the current change in world dynamics.
Indeed, if the USSR was not the driving force, then its disappearance shouldn't bring any change. And yet change is significant - but since it doesn't fit their template, it is being axiomatically dismissed as the result of American interference.
If in the past they believed that the Soviet menace was fiction, today this logic leads them to believe that Islamic extremism, Iran, and the 9/11 attacks are merely a new fiction designed to replace the old fiction - all, of course, invented by the CIA and the military-industrial complex in order to justify their existence and perpetuate U.S. imperialism - which is the only absolute, transcendental force in the universe.
The Iranian expatriate author Amir Taheri wrote a spectacular analysis of Syriana - a geopolitical blockbuster starring George Clooney, who also produced it. Made in 2005, the film describes an imagined CIA assassination of an enlightened Arab prince, who was also a progressive reformer. He was killed only because his oil contract with China had displeased Texas oil interests that control the U.S. government.
Leaving out the obvious economic absurdity of the premise, Taheri focuses on the arrogance of the self-loathing American filmmakers who "reduce the Arabs to the level of mere objects in their history."
The elitist Hollywood clichés, Taheri writes, even deny the Arabs "credit for their own terrorist acts as Syriana shows that it is not they but the CIA that decides who kills whom and where. This view denies Arabs not only intellect and free will, it even denies them their history. Pretending to be sympathetic to the 'Arab victims of American Imperialism,' the film is, in fact, an example of ethnocentrism gone wild. Its message is: the Arabs are nothing, not even self-motivated terrorists, but mere puppets manipulated by us in the omnipotent U.S."
J. Michael Waller echoes this verdict in his analysis of the leftist perception of Latin America:
American liberals take such a patronizing, paternalistic attitude toward Latin American countries that they can't fathom the fact that most poor Latinos are anti-socialist and anti-communist. The campesinos just want to keep what little land they have, and keep the fruits of their labor. They don't want handouts. Nobody works harder than a Central American peasant. It is part of their character, and no foreign do-gooder or socialist is going to take that away from them.
It borders on racism for liberals to think that Latin American political leaders are incapable of defending their own countries against socialist subversion of constitutional government and rule of law, and that the Honduran Supreme Court and Congress - including former President Zelaya's own political party - needed CIA support to oust a president who was violating the constitution.
This is the new reality of the post-Cold War world: without the threat of a Soviet-led intervention, free nations no longer require help from the CIA to resist leftist sedition. But reality is beside the point to dogmatic practitioners of the Cold War faith system, whose myths and legends have always supplied them with easy answers quickly identifiable culprits, and required the trashing of the CIA in order to improve their karmas and score points with fellow practitioners.
It doesn't even matter that in the modern day, in the words of Taheri, the CIA has become "little more than a costly leaking device used by rival groups within the U.S. establishment to lump accusations and counter-accusations at one another." What matters is the role assigned to the CIA by the old leftist template; no actions by the agency today can change that. For as long as the template exists, the CIA will be automatically perceived as the enemy of "progress" and suffer regular, mandatory beatings by the left - from foreign dictators to Hollywood filmmakers to mainstream media to Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and the left-leaning members of the U.S. Congress.
One can only imagine the cognitive dissonance in the heads of believers in leftist myths who have campaigned their way into the U.S. government and are now discovering the real world at CIA briefings.
To sum up this series, President Obama's foreign policies reveal a clichéd vision of the world, consistent with anti-American stereotypes disseminated by the Soviet propaganda during the Cold War, which he may have absorbed in his formative years.
A radical departure from American values, this vision compels him to correct what he perceives as America's "wrongs" by regressing to Cold War-era mythology and re-imagining the world as it might have been without America.
All the while, he stays in denial of the real changing world that longs to be rebuilt as it might have been without the Soviet Union.
Obama's approach objectively makes the world a more dangerous place, but it also unintentionally discredits the very leftist assumptions on which it is based - above all, the insinuation that any revolt against collectivist, statist oppression is the result of a U.S.-led conspiracy.
Without this and other Cold War-era dogmas misleading the world, it should now be obvious that the desire to live as free individuals in a democratic society is universal and that people of the world are eager to pursue it, with or without American help.
Commissarka PinkieWell, unlike some of you who seem to waiting for the movie version or mini-series, or even the deluxe widescreen director's cut DVD
Commissarka Pinkiewith deleted scenes, bloopers and the alternate ending where Red Square wakes up to find Yuri Andropov in the shower and realizes he's still in the Soviet Union and never left the Soviet Union because it's still the Soviet Union,
Commissarka PinkieI am his Number One fan,
Silly Leftistarchetypal "Roman-esque" scenario involving the "barbarian
RikaloniusMany people celebrate Halloween at the end of October. Not me. I
Silly LeftistNo. You just don't grasp the point. There's a difference. My
RikaloniusLet’s see, was King Amanullah Khan proliferating destabilization and
Red SquareThe Soviet Union may have self-destructed in 1991, but the seeds of intellectual deception it had planted gave such a bountiful crop that seventeen years later America has elected a leader who is guided by received notions designed to subdue and destroy this country. Apparently, the rumors about America's victory in the Cold War appear to have been greatly exaggerated.
Czar of DefenestrationRep. Pete Stark presents my point exactly as to the glories of our peoples:
Quote:The wait is over!
Red SquareBut before I discovered the real intellectual world I had to break through the bubble walls, and it was traumatic. It involved loss of friends, disillusionment in the intellectual and moral authority I had previously looked up to, alienating people who I had hoped would like me, and abandoning any prospects to fit in the cultural/writing/publishing establishment in this city and, subsequently, in the rest of the country.
ObamugabeI would like to suggest that the PC award our Dear and Glorious Comrade Michael Moore some kind of People's Award for his fantastic contributions to our Cause.
LeninkaHer husband is a partner in a restaurant, and they hosted Comrade Carter. She sent along a photo of herself with him. I thought I was going to vomit. I never answered her correspondence again.
Red SquareIn their eyes I suddenly became a right-wing bigot, a racist, a homophobe, a religious extremist, someone who uncritically followed the dogmas of the establishment
LeninkaHer husband is a partner in a restaurant, and they hosted Comrade Carter. She sent along a photo of herself with him. I thought I was going to vomit. I never answered her correspondence again.
Red SquareAs a young man, I remember hoping to find and join such a great company of like-minded people, but I couldn't find it. I never even dreamed I would eventually create such a company myself with my own work - of all places, in America!
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