Wiley Miller unintentionally creates a Juxtaposition of the Day when he was simply commenting on a common saying, mostly because a Russian variation of that saying has been (purposely? ignorantly?) misinterpreted here for years.
That is, when Khrushchev said “We will bury you,” he wasn’t threatening warfare.
He was simply saying that Russia would be around long after the US was gone. It’s a less hostile saying than “I will dance on your grave,” because there’s no expression of joy in it. Just one of fact.
One of the difficulties in dealing with Russians is the duality that is a constant theme in both their literature and their politics, the ongoing, constant conflict between Westernizers, the modernizers who look to Europe, and Slavophiles, the conservatives who cling to the black earth of Mother Russia.
In this case, the black earth of Mother Russia saw them through invasions by both Napoleon and Hitler, absorbing horrific damage and yet stolidly waiting for the chance to bury their tormentors.
It is an international application of the Rope-a-Dope, a real-world application of Kid Shelleen’s explanation: “At first you don’t think you can stand to get hit, then you realize you can take it ’cause the blood don’t matter, and you know you’re gonna live.”
The difference being that the Russians know they can stand it from the very start, which must make hyperactive, unthinking Donald Trump a puzzling figure, though Putin politely said otherwise in his two-and-a-half hour discussion the other day.
It wasn’t a speech. It was a wide-ranging, open-ended interview with questions from a variety of reporters, trade unionists and governmental entities, and, whether you agreed with his views or not, Putin’s ability to deliver detailed responses off the top of his head is reminiscent of Obama or Carter, the difference being that he doesn’t have to joust with a reluctant legislature to get his wishes translated into policy.
Which brings us to Brian Adcock’s cartoon about an erratic nitwit who has no idea what he’s doing, but who also has little trouble getting his wishes translated into policy.
When I heard of his plans to scrap the intermediate/short-range missile treaty, my first thought was that even this spineless, gutless Senate might block the move.
Never mind. Turns out that, while the Senate has to approve a treaty, it doesn’t have to un-approve one.
Putin rather shrugged it off in his presentation at Valdai, but seemingly more from the black earth perspective than the Westernized point of view.
Meanwhile, I was struck by the Chinese proverb his first questioner, a senior research fellow from the Xinua News Agency, cited: “The trees want to remain quiet, but the wind will not stop.”
Putin wove the proverb into his analysis of American sanctions and tariffs:
The US and China exchange blows that cost some $500 million. And if they keep doing so, it will amount to $1.5 trillion, which is 0.4 percent of the global economy.
It will be one of the reasons for a future recession of the global economy. Everyone will feel it and nobody wants it to happen. Therefore, it is possible to stir up a wind at some point, but a moment will come when it will not benefit anybody.
Therefore, I think the Chinese civilization is very old, the Chinese people have a lot of patience and I think the fundamental structure of the Chinese economy will allow them to endure everything.
Of course, the fact that less Western-facing societies are able to withstand the winds does not account for the impact on individuals.
This fundamental belief in the society’s ability to survive the Burning of Moscow or the Siege of Stalingrad is inextricably bound up in its willingness to endure.
And if it were a simple as rejecting the suffering of individuals in the service of the whole, it would be easier to understand. But there is also a depth of grief inherent in their collective memory.
They will not dance on our graves. They feel no joy in survival.
But they fully expect to survive.
So why am I saying that the weather is changeable, and the wind will stop blowing at some point? The fact is that those who stir up this wind, they also suffer from it. — Vladimir Putin
Other Juxtaposition of the Day
Voter Repression is a bit of a puzzle, because there is an understandable need to clean up the rolls from time to time.
I never told the election commissions in Colorado (1974, 1987) or New York (1999, 2006) or Maine (2008) when I moved, and I hope they’ve all figured it out by now.
But the farcical, transparently bogus GOP war on voter fraud is quite another matter, and I’m adding Reveal, the radio show by the Center for Investigative Reporting, to my podcast diet, having listened to an extensive, well-documented piece on the situation in Georgia this past weekend.
It’s not as simple as Bell makes it, but I only mean that, while he illustrates the effect, it’s hard to differentiate between discrimination by race and discrimination by likely voting pattern.
Which is, in this case, a distinction without a difference.
Meanwhile, Luckovich makes a clever reference to the recent kerfuffle over Serena Williams’ response to a judge, and then the response to a cartoon about the event.
Here, too, there are many who feel Abrams should suck it up and play on.
Mostly the same people who felt Serena should shut up and play on, the way Andy Roddick or John McEnroe would.
Prickly City poses the question.
And, judging from what I’ve been reading, the answer is this:
If someone tells lies about where you were born, it is admirably competitive to release your birth certificate.
But if someone tells lies about your claims of lineage, you foolishly play into their hands by releasing the results of your DNA test.
Apparently, the critical factor is not the DNA itself, but whether it’s found on an X or a Y chromosome.