I get it. In 1989 we should have enjoyed a peace dividend. The Cold War was over. The End of History had arrived ahead of schedule. It followed that there was significantly less demand for the gadgets and toys Pentagon brass demand and the military industrial complex is only too happy to supply. All, of course, at taxpayer expense.
I get it. The former Soviet Bloc was supposed to blossom into a family of Benelux-type social democracies. Gone were the days when KGB and Stasi agents monitored the behavior of citizens eager to enjoy their freedoms to speech, press, and association.
I get it. Precisely with the heavy-handed help of World Bank and IMF “experts,” gangster capitalism — which looked a whole lot like Soviet era socialism — the Eastern Bloc and Russia instead seamlessly transitioned into the dystopic oligarchies so familiar in the Americas and Southeast Asia.
What I don’t get is why my fellow lefty friends feel obligated to defend the oligarchic, expansionist, militarist, homophobic, ultra-nationalist, misogynist, anti-democratic former Soviet Bloc nations who are a spitting image of the oligarchic, expansionist, militarist, homophobic, ultra-nationalist, misogynist, anti-democratic western nations they have no problems laying into daily, hourly, on social media.
It strikes me that this might be the perfect moment to take Russia and its extensive worldwide intelligence community as a perfect illustration of how free market capitalism reshaped (and didn’t reshape) the former Soviet Bloc. Instead, much of the left appears to have taken the bait. They end up defending the indefensible (Putin and Russia) so as not to give the appearance of defending the indefensible (Trump and the USA).
It is deja vu all over again. 1968. We are cold warriors still.