Headline of the Day..If not the year.
This is the Headline in a column by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times.
The article may be incisive and informative. But the Headline says it all.
Excerpted from New York Times – 2.2.2021 Thomas Friedman
For a country with so much human talent, that’s pathetic. Russia today is a Czarist economy with a space station — Dr. Zhivago with nuclear missiles and hackers. Meanwhile, scientists who fled Russia have made Israel and Silicon Valley tech superpowers. A rare success is Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine, but it is difficult to mass produce.
When did you last buy a computer, smartphone or app from a Russian company? A Russian car? A Russian watch? Russian-made commercial aircraft? I’d rather take a bus than fly on one. The only Russian exports that appeal to Westerners are caviar, vodka and nesting dolls — and we’re full up on all three.
The recent discovery of a massive, highly sophisticated hack, almost certainly by Russia, of key U.S. technology companies and government agencies puts the new Biden team in a real quandary: How, when or even whether should they retaliate against Russia’s president? I have a lot of sympathy with that quandary — because Vladimir Putin has become America’s ex-boyfriend from hell.
There was a time when Russia — formerly the core of the Soviet Union (a country with double the population of the one Putin now rules) — was very important to us. It once threatened to conquer all of Europe and spread communism across the globe. That time was the Cold War. That time is long gone. Our most important global rival today is China.
Putin is not very important to us at all. He’s a Moscow mafia don who had his agents try to kill an anti-corruption activist, Aleksei Navalny, by sprinkling a Soviet-era nerve agent, Novichok, in the crotch of his underwear. I’m not making that up! Russia once gave the world Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Dostoyevsky, Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn. Putin’s Russia will be remembered for giving the world poisoned underwear.
But to distract his people from his corruption and maintain his grip on power, Putin presents himself as the great defender of the Russian Motherland, and its Orthodox Christian culture, from godless, pro-gay Westerners. And to inflate his importance — in his own eyes and in the eyes of Russians — he keeps stalking us. He meddles in our elections, hacks our companies, while denying it all with a smirk and relishing the notion that so many Americans think he installed Donald Trump as president.
Top photo – Vladimir Putin and then President Bush take a spin together.