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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Understanding the Evil Dr. Putin

The Evil Dr. Vladimir Putin, of course, doesn't want his countrymen to be many, or healthy.

Isn't is obvious why?

Which is easier to control for a dicator, a small number of sick people or a large number of healthy people?

The small, sick group, of course.

Now, to be sure, this presents an annoying frustration. Because, after all, if you are a crazed nationalist dictator then surely you want your country to be as large and significant as possible, the better to bolster your own prestige and power (to say nothing of your bank account).

But if you have to choose between your country and your power, and you're a crazed dictator, that isn't really any choice at all. It's what the silly Americans call a "no-brainer."

What's more, many dictators in history have had a marked penchant for the idea of "purification." In other words, if the Evil Dr. Putin simply lets the sick and infirm in his country die off, he may think he's purifying the nation in some grandiose Darwinian way, leaving on the strong and clever (and the sycophants). In that case, he'd just as well ignore (and even tacitly encourage) attacks on all persons (say, dark-skinned foriegn students, for example) who don't fit his notion of purity, thus they would either be killed or driven out of the country.

So letting his countrymen get sick and perish really, so to say, kills two birds with one stone. First it weeds out the "inferior" element of society, and second it weakens and terrorizes the remainder, making them so conveniently much more pliable and fodder for taking instruction. One needn't worry about a declining tax base, since it's pretty clear already that the only thing that can produce reliable income in Russia is the sale of natural resources, something that doesn't require a huge population to accomplish successfully, as we see in Saudi Arabia.

Of course, the dearth of population would give rise to certain problems beyond mere "significance" and "prestige." The country would be less able to defend itself from a conventional invasion in the East at the hands of overflowing China, for instance, meaning that the country would have to rely on its nuclear strike force. A nuclear strike on China to repel its invasion of Siberia would lack credibility, so the logical option would be appeasement of China similar to what Stalin tried with Germany. Dr. Putin no doubt considers himself smarter than Stalin and to have benefited by learing from Stalin's mistakes. He no doubt sees the Chinese as racially and intellectually inferior, and believes he can play off their antipathy towards the United States to strike a proper bargain, ceding a certain amount of Russian territory in return for hegemony in his own realm. And, after all, Dr. Putin himself will likely be long gone before the Chinese ever get close the Urals much less Moscow. Apres moi le deluge!

One might even suppose that Dr. Putin sees a bit of justice in letting his population get sick. After all, Russian leaders have viewed their countrymen with pure contempt since the dawn of time, always as an obstacle to progress rather than a means of achieving it. It can hardly be gainsaid that there was some of that mentality in Stalin's erection of the gulag archipelago, certainly in Peter's use of slave labor to build St. Petersburg. After a while, watching your countrymen just sit idly by while all manner of atrocities happen around them is bound to get under your skin.


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