The artless fools running our American federal government over the last 8 years have been substantially preoccupied with petropolitics and deconstruction of the goverment handed to them by the previous administration.  Leading up to the 8 Bush II years were 6 years of a conservative congress who paid more attention to the lurid and scandalous behaviour of Clinton/Lewinski than to the international scene.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, the USA has been internally preoccupied with: a pageant of neoconservative social engineering proposals; privatization of nearly everything; political consolidation of dominionist megachurches; impeachment of a president for lying about sex; a buildup of militarism following the 9/11 attack; attacking the wrong country (arguably) in response to 9/11;  the re-election of a president who has proven to be considerably less than useless; a global financial trainwreck; and, finally, the handoff of a platter of shit sandwiches to the next administration. What a time it has been.

And since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the USA has squandered its substantial goodwill and failed to summon international leadership by Presidents 42 & 43 in the constructive engagement of new Russia. Magic moments in history have come and gone, unused. In the mean time, Russia has experimented with capitalism in their unique way. But the experiment has not been much of a success.  So, Russia did what Russia tends to do- it has advanced strongmen into power. And they are KGB alumni as well. Golly, what a surprise. 

It could be that Russia might have been refractory to whatever help we might have offered. But we didn’t really try much beyond helping them decommission nuclear warheads.

So, now we see that Russian sentiment is falling back nostalgically towards Joseph Stalin- Uncle Joe. The government is actually confiscating materials archiving the atrocities of Stalin. The rationale is that Stalin made them a superpower, so his indiscretions and sins can be overlooked. Putin and Medvedev- king and rook- are gradually consolidating power the old fashioned way- they’re taking it under the blustering pretense of security. It’s like a game of chess. You advance enough pawns to get control of the middle of the board. Then you castle your king (Putin) and begin the projection of power across the board.