Mitt Romney: His ‘flattering’ comments that
Russia is America’s
leading strategic enemy had some odd repercussions in Moscow.
‘Hysteria’ over Romney’s ‘Naked Flattery’ of Russian Influence (Gazeta, Russia)
“Most Russians found it flattering that during an interview, Romney, the most moderate Republican candidate for president, called our country America's 'geopolitical enemy number one.' But the the Russian government's reaction to this naked flattery - a government that seeks to plant a militaristic and imperial consciousness in the country’s collective mind and persistently attempts to convince the population that we are once again 'cool' and have an impact on global affairs - verged on the hysterical.”
The face of Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney: Has he been speaking carelessly about global affairs, or is he intentionally appealing to the peoples' penchant for a 'salty word'?
The inadequate Russian response to a statement about
America’s enemies by Republican Party presidential favorite Mitt Romney is the perfect
time to discuss the politics of language. Political leaders often hammer into
the heads of the people frankly idiotic suppositions that determine the world
view of those who tend
to take an uncritical approach to words.
Most Russians found it flattering that during an interview, Romney,
the most moderate Republican candidate for president, called our country
America’s “geopolitical enemy number one.” But the reaction to this naked flattery by
the Russian government - (since it is an obvious exaggeration) - a government
that seeks to plant a militaristic and imperial consciousness in the country’s
collective mind and persistently attempts to convince the population that we
are once again “cool” and have an impact on global affairs - verged on the hysterical.
Journalist AlexeyPushkov, who rose all the way up to become chairman
of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, even uttered the phrase
“American hegemony,” which I last heard on the state TV show Time about thirty years ago.
Current President Dmitry Medvedev felt that Romney’s words “smelled of
Hollywood” and the 1970s, when, by the way, the Cold War was already winding down.
Meanwhile, even Medvedev, not to mention Putin and lower-bore Russian
politicians, constantly issue statements on America and the West that are far
more aggressive than the language used by Mr. Romney. These are statements entirely
reminiscent of the pre-Perestroika,
Let us imagine that suddenly, Romney called Russia,
America’s “friend number one.” In disbelief, Russia would immediately begin to yell
about the insincerity and cynicism of U.S. imperialists.
Incidentally, while answering follow-up questions during
that “scandalous” interview, Romney immediately recognized that the nuclear
programs of Iran and North Korea are far more dangerous to peace than Russia. He
also said, however, that when America appeals to the U.N. to stop such
countries from endangering the world, these “worst players” in the global arena
always have a defender – and that defender is Russia, whose side is often taken
by China. Isn’t that correct? Russia’s habit of defending to the last, at the U.N.
and the state level, the most odious regimes and conduct that is at times
downright criminal, is alas, a fact.
But this is not about our wonderful foreign policy, which
deprives us of even a single decent ally in the world. The problem is precisely
the language of politicians. “Enemy states,” like “friendships between peoples,”
are mythical constructions signifying nothing. Nations, of course, are still
able to feud (by the way, this in no way applies to the Russian and American “peoples,”
which have never fought one another - and neither does such a thing appear
possible anytime soon). At the same time, “peoples” can hardly be friends – only
individual people can be friends. And a country cannot be the enemy of another
country - it is only specific political regimes that can be enemies.
In reality, in terms of international relations, we are dealing
with competition and partnership, not with friendship and enmity. Friendship
and enmity are the realms of individuals, not societies and states.
Russia and Japan have no peace treaty. Periodically,
politicians in both countries exchange harsh statements about the Kuril Islands. But is it
correct to say that Russia and Japan are enemies? Or that the Russian people
are enemies of the Japanese? It is the same with “friends.” Even the most seasoned
Russian imperialist hardly considers all Venezuelans or Abkhazians “friends”,
although officially, Venezuela and Abkhazia are Russia’s closest allies. Our
imperialists inside their own country can’t even tell members of one Caucasus
nation from another, to say nothing of their “friends” abroad.
A change in the language of politics, as well as a gradual
shift in emphasis from competition to cooperation - is vitally important to the
survival of humankind. Of course, the masses love a “salty word,” and politicians,
particularly in the heat of an election campaign, want to demonstrate their capacity
for brutality. But attempts to write off such excesses as just election foibles
and the need to be liked within the country are unfounded.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
The language of politics must become more accurate, fair and
nonaggressive. This does not mean that evil cannot be called evil. But politics
is a profession in which one should choose words especially carefully.
Let us leave “friends and enemies” to private life. In
politics, it would be desirable for governments to speak exclusively about
partnerships in the common cause of developing and preserving the human race.
Naturally, among such partners there are those who are pleasant and others who
are not; those who are more capable of agreement and those who are less so. But
only on the basis of non-aggressive rhetoric can anything approaching so-called
universal human values be worked out. In the end, if people bring matters to
the point of nuclear war or a global ecological catastrophe, everyone will die -
both the “good guys” and the “bad.”
*Semen Novoprudski is executive
editor of the Moscow News
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