Sunday, January 4, 2015

Zuckerman: Stuck in the USSR?

Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the West behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
That Georgia's always on m-m-my mind
Oh, come on
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boys
Back in the USSR

Beatles - Back In The U.S.S.R Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Mort Zuckerman

In the first McLaughlin Group episode of the New Year 2015, US News and World Report editor Mort Zuckerman gaffed a few times, identifying Russia as The Soviet Union, even though the forced political behemoth of Eastern Europe and Asia had disintegrated de facto in 1989, then official in 1991.

ZUCKERMAN: I think the U.S. energy boom has been underreported. We have had a huge breakthrough in the technology of fracking. It’s changed the whole world and the economy the whole world. It's changed our dependence on foreign oil. It’s changed our alliances in terms of their value to us. It's weakened the Soviet Union, Russia, to an extraordinary degree. 


ZUCKERMAN: Yes, the worst political tactics have been the way we have been relating to the Soviet Union, now Russia, OK? There are all kinds of things we should do. This guy who is running Russia can create havoc for the United States because he has no fear of what the United States will do. 

\Later, Zuckerman self-corrected:

ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I was going to refer to the great leader of Russia whom I don’t think is underrated and I don’t think he’s overrated. He’s done an amazing job with very little, very little other than fear to help him managed his way through a very weak Russian economy.

Was the more liberal, yet Independent commentators lapsus more informed and prophetic than superficially realized?

Russian President Vladimir Putin

With Putin's invasion then annexation of Crimea, followed by military assaults along the Eastern border of Ukraine, the Russian President, psychologically imposing on a weakened global community, is behaving like a Cold War thug, intent on military aggression and self-promotion to hold himself in office. Attacks on free speech, the press, capitalism, and currency manipulation have defined his latest year in office.

Indeed, the expanding energy boom has crippled Russia's economy, but the dictator with democratic trappings in Moscow will not be side-lined so easily.

Zuckerman may have seemed stuck in the past with inadvertent references to Russia as the Soviet Union, but the current putative leader Vladimir Putin (a former KGB official) is replaying Cold War politics. Perhaps Zuckerman's hang-up is prescient rather than absent-minded.

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