posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 12:52 PM
I saw a great documentary about US-Russian relations on the BBC the other night, I'll try and dig out the name of it.
The gist of it was that if you look at the world from Russian eyes, the Nato-isation of former USSR states and the installation of nuclear defense
shields in Poland etc is viewed as a huge threat, and not just by the government but by the people. Most people in Russia would like to put communism
behind them and move on (they've embraced capitalism in a big way and a lot of Russians are quite well off these days). But the argument is that if
NATO isn't there as a deterrent to Russia, then what's it for? Therefore if NATO builds missile defense systems on Russia's doorstep of course
they're going to have something to say about it.
There's no doubt in my mind that Russia is going to emerge as a rival superpower to the US in the next 5-10 years, and on most points Mr Putin's
ideologies seems to fit with those of the US: Free trade and enterprise and freedom of the individual within the rule of law. The key difference is
the D word, which many Russians don't seem to care about much anyway. People I've seen interviewed adore Putin and think he's the best thing to
happen to the country in 50 years.
Maybe some people would prefer a strong and capable leader to a bunch of elected beaurocrats?
I'm fairly sure that if Putin and the next occupant of the Whitehouse were to sit down and have a few beers and put the world to rights, you
wouldn't find much ideological difference between them. Which makes all the current anomosity a bit sad and dare I say it unnecessary, in my humble
What's also interesting is the different perspectives on the war with Georgia. Speak to a Western politician and it was a vile and blatant
demonstration of old-style Russian military oppression. Speak to a Russian (or a Russian Ossetian for example) and you'll get a completely different
story where actually Georgia was the aggressor and Russia took the only action available which was to defend its own people against what it saw as
I guess the truth always lies somewhere between two peoples' opinions and the only way to find it is through discourse and attempting to understand
(and sometimes challenge) each other's world views.
Well, at least we live in interesting times