"Ed is known at the paper, as even he would admit, as a bit of a loon.”
—Anonymous Economist Correspondent
If you’re reading this from the apparent safety of your Western country, then the Economist’s Edward Lucas has bad news for you: You are not safe. Vladimir Putin is on the verge of conquering and enslaving you. Your nation is under attack by the full might of Russia’s petro-fascism, and what’s worse, the game is just about up. We’re in Saigon, 1975, and we don’t have any room for retreat when the barbarians come crashing through the gates.
The fact that you are unaware of your impending doom is, according to Lucas, the scariest thing of all, part of Putin’s brilliantly evil stealth strategy—part Sun Tzu, part Wermacht. But there’s hope: if you buy Edward Lucas’ new book, The New Cold War: How the Kremlin Menaces Both Russia and the West, you might be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The promo for the book makes no bones about it: if you read it, you’ll discover “Why we are perilously close to defeat—and how we can still win.”
If you value your freedom, then you know what you have to do.
There’s only one problem. Edward Lucas’ book won’t be released until next February. That’s four months from now. Can the West hold on that long? Should we consider waterboarding him for the info?
The man; the book.
According to Lucas’ harrowing narrative—laid out in different degrees in the Times of London, the Economist, his personal blog, and, coming soon, his book—Cold War II began alternatively either with last year’s unsolved murder of Alexander Litvinenko or with the 2003 arrest of oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and it will be settled in the battle over the tiny Caucasian state of Georgia. There is more to it than that, of course, but those are the marketing bookends.
For Lucas and the New Cold Warriors, the crimes committed by a resurgent Russia—real and imagined—warrant a return to policies and attitudes reminiscent of the most expensive and dangerous conflict in world history; a conflict we all survived with a lot more luck than most of us realize, luck that’s unlikely to be repeated in the upcoming remake. At a time when the world needs urgently to start reversing the nuclear trend-lines, the New Cold Warriors want a return to the confrontation that gave us the thousands of thermonuclear weapons now sitting so patiently on hair-triggers.
Since the first Cold War is supposed to be a thankfully closed book, convincing people to get a new one going is a tricky sell. Lucas’ solution is to borrow the neo-Churchill trick used by Washington’s neocons. As he explained in an Oct. 13, 2006, Times op-ed, Georgia is more than just the New Cold War’s Berlin—it is also its Munich. Translated into Team America’s multiplication table, that means that the New Cold War = the Old Cold War x World War II. Scared yet?
“Names like Abkhazia [Georgia] may sound unfamiliar, but the Sudetenland, and before that Sarajevo, once sounded preposterously far away and unimportant to Western ears,” explains Lucas, invoking two world wars and threatening a third in a single idiotic sentence.
Recent events—combined with his less Russophobic foreign editor at the Economist—have forced Lucas to back off the idea that the Kremlin is solely to blame for unrest in Georgia. But it took the spectacular explosion of the Saakashvilii good-boy myth for Lucas to stop hyping the massive stakes of defending his pro-NATO government. As Lucas explained in his apocalyptic Times op-ed: