Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Who can forget the Cuban missile crisis. That's when good old Jack Kennedy eye balled those red devils and sent them packing. Mind you, it didn't stop them trampling all over good old Czechoslovakia in 1968, and keeping an iron grip of most of Europe (the poor part) for another 20 years.
We owe it all to Ronald Regan (and his UK cheerleader Mrs T) for killing off the Communist threat....by forcing the Russians into an unwinnable and bankrupting arms race. The Reds just didn't have the economic efficiency to compete mega-death wise.
Then there was the peace dividend. The end of the Cold War meant less spent on arms and armies. Except no one told the rest of the world. Especially those parts of the globe where western arms companies made huge profits. So a few years after the Berlin Wall came a tumbling down we were into the Levant and we've been fighting an unwinnable war there ever since.
Some will say the West has gone soft; that we're war weary after the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. I suspect we've lost focus. Western politicians have shied away from the difficult questions. Complacently we believed that we had won the war, that we ruled the roost: not only militarily but also economically.
Well if we have it was a Pyrric victory. Haven't you noticed that since 2008 we've had a real problem with our economic system. Not only have we've been struggling to balance the books, we've found ourselves faced with increasing inequality as a result of the "success" of our economic model. What with our financial institutions mired in all sorts of misdeeds and incompetence, our politicians have been shown to be unable to address those misdeeds, and are part of the problem. While a few grew incredibly wealthy, many more suffer and the politicians say either it's not their fault, their problem or things are so much better - just look at GDP. None of this rings true.
As a result the electorate have given up on politics as the mechanism to adequately address society's concerns. Politicians now ape politics. They are, and believe themselves to be, powerless. They can only threaten but not follow through.
No wonder therefore that a thug like Putin can set the West quivering.
It's ironic: the West is paralysed because it fears upsetting the economic basket. Encouraged by those in the West who have much in common with the oligarchs in Russia who fear a West that might, at last, kick over the barrel.