All Solid on the Western Front

Vladimir Putin as Josef Stalin

Most Americans have never been aware of “patronizing nonsense from Western Europeans,” as former Estonian Toomas Ilves succinctly put it in barbed, told-you-so tweets yesterday. Unless it was the EU’s opinion of Trump, of course, because that became an “embarrassment,” and representative of some form of loss of face/status in the world. That always struck me as ignorant partisan silliness.

A New York Times article about Eastern Europe’s alarm over Putin pulled my face into a know-it-all’s smirk:

“Mr. Ilves announced this week on Twitter that he was ‘accepting apologies’ for all the ‘patronizing nonsense from Western Europeans’ who complained that ‘we Estonians were paranoid about Russian behavior.’

In a telephone interview, Mr. Ilves said he had not received any apologies yet but was gratified to see Russia’s ‘shills and useful idiots getting their comeuppance.’

Western Europeans who once scoffed at his dark view of Russia, he added, ‘have suddenly become East Europeans’ in their fearful attitudes. ‘This past week marks the end of a 30-year-long error that we can all come together and sing kumbaya.’”

I would add ‘condescending’ to that assessment of Western European nonsense. After mopping up Europe’s splatterfest in the 20th century, disbanding both fascism and communism, Europe’s most notable contributions to that era, our government’s policy about their opinions about us is more like, “Are their lips moving? They must be chewing with their mouths open again.”

I don’t include Britain in that. Still, we have little time or patience for her beyond great TV shows. Armando Iannucci’s ‘In The Loop’ brilliantly underscores our government’s general attitude toward Europe and the amount of influence it holds in Washington. I would also recommend Iannucci’s ‘Death of Stalin’ right about now, a film that frames Russian political culture with the accuracy of the sharpest satire. Although she’s loath to admit it, Britain is generally both proud of, and comforted by her Bamm-Bamm.

What is more of a viable embarrassment is how ignorant too many Americans on both sides of the same ideological coin can be about global dynamics. The assault on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, for instance, has been disgraceful, as willfully ignorant of, and arrogant about, the racial makeup of rest of the world as you can get. Here, have another bump and stay woke, publicists.

What is truly embarrassing is how, as a British academic and former antiracism activist put it, “the maws of Hell opened up” in America in 2013 and unleashed the misnomered social justice movement on the world, effectively killing the true antiracism movement, among many other outrages. But, hey, trained Marxists deserve Topanga real estate, always have, always will.

Just as Trump was a stress test for the resilience of American democracy, the invasion of Ukraine is proving to those chronically embarrassed, handwringing, ever-so-worldly monolinguists just how solid Western cohesion really is, as if there was ever reason for doubt. These are people who are so woke to the complexities of the rest of the world, yet they can’t even be fussed to learn Spanish, despite the Ibero-American culture by which we are surrounded and supported, preferring to lazily trust AOC’s specious assertions about “communities of color,” and other wacky, crypto-racist inventions.

I made fun of Liberals fretting about how we looked to the rest of the world during the Trump years. I knew Europe couldn’t look at her behavior during the 20th century through the prism of the glass pyramid outside the Louvre, and throw stones. It’s ridiculous, worthy of mockery.

Now I say, especially to those who would blame NATO’s expansion for provoking Putain Putin: Sit the fuck down, and finish your peas. To those comparing American military actions in the Middle East to what is going on in Ukraine: Time for a modern history class refresher course. And here’s a bump so you don’t sleep through it, again.

I know that my own Ameropean privilege is hanging out like glue-sniffing mallrats in a Costco parking lot right now. I am lucky to have a great deal of firsthand experience of the cohesion and fortitude of West, as well as experience of Asia — but I’m nothing exceptional compared to the brilliant minds at our Department of State, and in our foreign intelligence services. I know that bickering within the broader Free world community is indicative of healthy democracies, not fragmentation. Always has been.

Russia’s government has never, ever been good. Nor does China have good intentions, throwing tantrums as they do every five minutes, putting us in a cultural bind about “saving face,” making us apologize for the slightest truthful observation, or we’ll lose all that lovely, filthy lucre. China has become the definition of a fascist state at this point, not Texas. You don’t kowtow to their offended faces, to their constant bristlings about our hegemony and racism, sins they are far guiltier of than we are. You slap the shit out of them, for their own good. And leave the lazy susan spinning on the dining table — Chinese food is better outside China, anyway.

Yeah, we might be looking at Cold War II. But it’s not the West’s fault, just like the first one wasn’t. Not one bit of it.

Uncle Joe is right: We will prevail, as ever. As for his shitty poll numbers, to quote Joan Rivers, “Oh, grow up!”


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