My country’s obsession with enemies
Since time immemorial, Mother-Russia has been obsessed with somebody invading her. True, thanks to our geographical position, we’ve had lots of enemies coming in. It was the Teuton knights, then Mongol-Tatars, then Swedes and Polish, then Turks, then Napoleon, then British and French, then Turks again, then Germans, twice in 25 years… Now it is the mighty US and the Ukrainians-the-betrayers.
We didn’t have a chance to fight the final decisive Mother-of-all-Battles with America but we lost the 45-year long Cold War instead.
With the rare exception of Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, basically every other ruler of Russia has been the defender of Motherland against all enemies, real and imaginary.
Now, unfortunately to me at least, this thing is in the Russian genome now. It is really deep inside. After a short break in the 90s and early 2000s, we’re, again, facing the world to fight. We’ve got fearful NATO to the West. We’ve got Moslem extremists of all kinds to the South. We’ve got China in the Far East though our government is trying to convince everybody that the Chinese are our best friends. I mean we’ve got all kinds of true and fake enemies mixed in one glass, once again.
Lots of people of adult age here in Russia dream of fighting America… I mean, they’re uneducated idiots who don’t know their own country’s history, both modern and more ancient. Of course, Russia’s current ruler exploits it in his best interest… This is how I figured out that getting older doesn’t mean getting smarter when I see those folks… So when I ask such people who claim we’re surrounded by the enemies why didn’t the US destroy Russia in the 90s when it was really easy to do, I hear no answer… The worst thing is that I see now the younger generation that has grown up under President Putin believing the same old BS ‘bout the US and the West. I now think that we need another crisis comparable to the break-up of the Soviet Union for people to start opening their eyes and getting smarter.
Yep, when we invade somebody it is only because of the inevitable situation and it is, sure, a defensive thing. Just like Afghanistan, for example. Or the Ukraine.
So this is my country’s obsession.
Welcome to the show!
A couple of months back, I was in an English Expat’s home and a friend of their’s had dropped by. A turkish speaking Cypriot who, I was informed, knew one single word of english. The man looked at me and a huge grin came over him… TRUMP!!!
It doesn’t matter if an American is pro or anti Trump, all of us, every single day, turn our computers on the the morning to see what this man has said over-night. I can assure you that this has never happened before.
The nation is consumed by the man personally. It’s not about his policies, it’s all about him as an individual. The country has had very liberal and conservative Presidents before, but never has there been a TV soap opera. Like any good television show, there are villains, heroes, sex, power, and big money. Trump revels in the drama he creates. He loves the spectacle and purposely makes outrageous statements to whip up lovers & haters alike.
I’ve been thinking about this article and decided I would make every effort to be non-partisan and try to explain the man and America’s relationship with him. I’ll do three things: first, I make a two parter of things he has done; then I try to explain how he got where he is; and close with why people love him.
Good things Trump has done FOR America:
- ALL Americans are now interested in politics
- The number of people voting has/will sky-rocket
- People now care what happens next
- The former “fly-over” states are now central to the future
- There is an interest in the health of Republic
Bad things Trump has done TO America:
- He may have destroyed the Republican (conservative) Party – it’s the Trump Party now
- The chasm he has opened runs so deep it will take decades to heal
- He has lowered the standards a President used to be held to
- He has destroyed the ability for most of us to have a civil conversation on politics
How did the U.S. get here?
This is also a bit of a two-parter. The Democrats had Hillary Clinton as their party standard-bearer and the Republicans had Trump. Clinton really wasn’t a good candidate; she simply didn’t excite her party. Like Trump, her husband was also a controversial President and she had a lot of baggage. American’s wanted change and that wasn’t it. Trump’s only baggage was his personality and lack of experience; much beyond that was a blank slate. Despite all this, even the Trump campaign thought he would lose.
If the above is true why did the man run at all? There have been multiple accounts in the press about this. A major Television Network sacked Trump as the host of a reality TV show and Trump was extremely angry. He decided he would show these SOB’s just how stupid they were and he knew if he ran he would receive gobs of free press. Another Network would pick him up and NBC would know they were pathetic losers. To my ear, this has a Trumpian ring of truth.
So he ran… and his mouth also ran. As I have stated many times in these pages, a great many Americans are pissed (slang for angry, not for drunk – which may also be true) and they liked, no loved, his loud, crude, fighting style. So he started winning.
As the story goes, he and the people around him didn’t believe he could go all the way so plans were laid for a Trump News cable TV network. It would be a reflection of the man and they would kill Fox! Most likely they would have but he just went on winning! As stupid as this sounds, he may be an accidental President. It’s safe to assume now that it will be years before the people around him will say if these stories are true or not.
Why do people support him?
Folks in the U.S. don’t seem to understand how deeply unpopular this President is around the world. So why do Americans like him? As I said above, he is loud and willing to shake things up. Love him or hate him, he represents change and change is sorely needed. His hard-core base seems to hover at around ⅓ of the population with another 15% or so that come into the fold when he has a couple of good weeks. His popularity never exceeds the upper-forties. But that base is rock-solid and adores him.
They love it that he’s willing to fight and they believe he fights for them. The man is a rock star with his followers. He appears at stadiums to adoring crowds and gives the believers faith that everything will be alright.
Another important aspect of his support is the Evangelical Community. The group seems clear that Trump is no Christian but they support him for the same reason his secular base does: he’s a fighter and he is out there fighting for them.
This TV show is filled with twist and turns… hell most of us Americans can’t even agree on who the heroes and villains are. But we all agree on one thing, we have never seen anything like this and we are glued to our TVs. Strictly Come ain’t no good TV — now THIS is a show.
The British obsession with weather.
It’s hardly surprising really – given where Britain is situated, the fact it is surrounded by water, and other factors ensures that our weather is extremely changeable and unpredictable.
So, us Brits always talk about it. There’s always so much to talk about – rarely is a day ever the same, in whatever part of the country you reside. You can get all four seasons into just 24 hours, regularly.
If you watch our news bulletins on the TV, you will be amazed at how much time is given to weather forecasts. Because it’s always changing. And we all want to know what’s happening.
I was lucky enough to present the breakfast programme on BBC Radio Jersey for some two decades – I always remember being told what was most important to my early morning listeners – what time is it, and will I need a coat?
Mind you, we’re pretty useless at coping with what we would call extreme weather. A couple of inches of snow, and the whole country comes to a standstill. The trains stop running, the schools all close, and all you hear are stories about being stuck in a car all night on the motorways.
Or two weeks of continuous hot-ish sunshine, and a hosepipe ban comes into operation.
But, as we love moaning about the weather, that’s all ok.
The rest of the world, who experience far, far worse conditions, quietly laugh at the way us Brits mismanage the vagaries of our weather.
But it’s so much more than just wanting to know whether it’s going to rain today. Us Brits use the weather as a means to breaking the ice when talking to strangers. It helps us overcome our social inhibitions. “Raining again” is both a statement of fact, and a form of question.
We use it to fill awkward silences, or even to change the direction of a conversation, should it become uncomfortable. We use it to also gauge other people’s moods.
But there are rules. As I have said, the topic of weather will be introduced as a question, even if it done by just the use of intonation… So, not “Rather unseasonable weather” but “Rather unseasonable weather?” – and if that comment is disagreed upon, “Actually, I don’t think so…” – well, that is the height of discourteousness as far as us Brits are concerned.
The thing is, other cultures will start some small talk as an icebreaker – subjects as wide apart as age, or weight, or what do you do for a living. Subjects that most Britains might find rude, or at least being insensitive – but us, we just use the safe and sure subject of the weather – we’ve been doing it for hundreds of years, and are actually very good at it. Just don’t disagree with us.