Pat Buchanan lays out the demise of the Soviet Union and suggests that we take a look at the breakup through the eyes of Mr. Putin and the Russian people. Pat’s point is rarely if ever made here in America, but it is well worth more than a passing look.
As the old saying goes, you cannot truly understand a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.
Perhaps Americans, a fortunate tribe, should try to see the world from the vantage point of the Russian people and Vladimir Putin, and, as the poet Robert Burns said, “see ourselves as others see us.”
At 35, Putin was a rising star in the elite secret police, the KGB, of a superpower with a worldwide empire.
The USSR was almost three times as large as the United States. Its European quadrant was half of the Old Continent. The Soviet Empire extended from the Elbe River in Central Germany to the Bering Strait across from Alaska. It encompassed thirteen time zones.
North to south, the USSR reached from above the Arctic Circle down to the Middle East. Beyond the contiguous empire were Soviet bases from Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam to Tartus in Syria to Cienfuegos in Cuba.
Consider, then, what the last dozen years of the 20th century must have been like for proud Russian patriots and nationalists.
The vast territorial losses suffered by the Soviet Union would be like the amputations America would have endured had the secession of the 11 states of the Confederacy succeeded in 1865.
Our situation would be comparable to Russia’s if we had lost all our states on the South Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and our ports of Norfolk, Charleston and New Orleans all flew foreign flags.
And how would we have reacted if a Soviet Union, victorious in the Cold War, effected the expulsion of all U.S. troops and bases from Europe and brought Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua into the Warsaw Pact?
State’s Victoria Nuland says we invested $5 billion in re-orienting Ukraine away from Russia. How would we respond if we awoke — as Putin did in February — to learn a pro-American government in Mexico City had been overthrown by street mobs financed by Beijing, a pro-China regime installed, and this unelected Mexican regime wanted out of NAFTA in favor of joining an economic union and military alliance with China?
A U.S. president who landed Marines in Veracruz, as Wilson did in 1914, and sent a 21st-century General “Black Jack” Pershing with an army across the border, would be over 70 percent in the polls, as Putin is today.
And if he seized Baja, as Putin seized Crimea, it would be a cakewalk to a second term.
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