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Feature Story May 19, 2006
How Dick Cheney Got His Cold War On
A Cold War Timetable By Mark Ames Browse author Email
Page 2 of 6

Bush gets wood over Aliyev's oil wealth.

They say Americans' memories are short, but that's like saying a Nazi's sense of compassion was fleeting. Americans literally rewrite their memories over and over in real-time. Case in point: Just 4-1/2 years ago, Vladimir Putin was treated as a rock star in America. You probably forgot about it, so I'm going to remind you because it's not a pretty memory.

After 9/11, Putin became our biggest, bestest friend in the world when he made his famous first-to-the-phone call to Bush and green-lighted American forces entering Central Asia for the war against the Taliban.

I was in America at the time I remember all too well how happy Americans were to have the mysterious, morally-ambiguous yet effective evil guy joining our side.

In fact, I can say that I've never, ever in my lifetime seen a foreign leader more adored than Putin was in that brief period, from September through December of 2001. Articles like the November 21st "To a Russian, with Lust," by Boston Globe staffer Joanna Weiss, capture the rather embarrassing Pootiemania: she described the man who had shut down NTV, quashed the free media and consolidated power as "Compact and athletic, with a Mona Lisa smile"."visibly buff"."balding, in a cute Jean-Luc Picard sort of way"..."or maybe a Thorn Yorke sort of way." Even heavyweights like the Los Angeles Times, which now tries to out-anti-Putin its rivals, wore out their kneepads fawning over Putin. In its November 24th editorial, "In a Word, Zdorovo," the LA Times concluded, with full Spielberg happy-ending and John Williams score accompaniment, "Never mind for now the remaining political and policy differences between the two countries and the savvy public relations. ...If Americans could feel real terror at times about an opponent's evil 50 years ago, then there's nothing wrong with reveling for a warm moment in the changes today. 'Wow' is one word for it. 'Zdorovo' is another."

Ah, it's so vile it's is fun. For me anyway. God I hope the lickspittle who penned that has to read it again. Read it and weep, folks. Yes, Putin had literally charmed the socks of America, because, well, let's admit the shameful truth: we were scared shitless then. We had a big yeller stripe running up our backs. We didn't know if we'd actually win in Afghanistan, or if we'd be plunged into a new Dark Age of fire and plague and submission to swarthy, bearded savages. In that sense of insecurity and existential crisis, a man like Putin was exactly what Americans, even liberals, felt they needed. Strange, but Russians, who experienced total collapse over the past 20 years, are called savages for supporting Putin for the same reasons. But at least Russians support him without that sphincter-twisting sentimentality found in that LA Times Op-Ed.

* * *

When Putin reached out to Bush and gave him everything he asked for post-9/11, his base was furious. Particularly the siloviki, who saw it as yet another in a series of betrayals, a repeat of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, whom they believed had betrayed Russia's interests in order to earn a pat on the head from America. They argued that Putin was being naive and foolish just as his predecessors were; and that in the end, the Americans would fuck him like they fucked Gorby and Yeltsin. Russia would get nothing for helping, neither would Putin; nothing but problems, just like what happened in the 90s.

Aliyev re-creating the Saddam photo.

The argument wasn't simply a matter of pride. The Gorbachev-Yeltsin years were among the most catastrophic of any nation in peace time. Russia was literally dying off. Another repeat of that could destroy Russia for good, they argued.

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The Grapes of Wrath : Down & Out With Moscow’s Tajik Gastarbeiters

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Reklama Review
Russian House Parties Are Cool Again : Is clubbing as dead as disco?


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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