On January 20th the world will come to a screeching change. On this day, the world’s two Super Powers will again be led by two grown-ups instead of one grown-up and one geopolitical mental adolescent.
His precipitously awarded 2009 Nobel Peace Prize notwithstanding, President Barack Obama will forever be remembered as the most notorious neophyte to have ever served in the Oval Office.
Former Nobel Committee member Geir Lundestad, who says he now regrets the decision, revealed the award was made in hopes that Obama would follow through on his lofty campaign promises of hope and change. In the end, the Nobel Committee’s long-shot bet on the come didn’t work out so well, as Barack Obama turned out to be the only president in US history to have been in a state of war every single day of his term in office.
Contrast this amateur hour with the leadership exhibited from the Kremlin. Like him and his politics or not, it’s indisputable that Vladimir Putin is a strong and decisive leader. It is for these character traits that the American people have been so starved for the last eight years. So starved, in fact, that many red-blooded Americans have found themselves actually rooting for our old enemy and holding Russia’s president in a very lofty regard.
This dichotomy has posed a crisis of conscience for many Americans, who have found themselves identifying with a foreign public figure they’ve been bred to mistrust and dislike when he makes a habit of doing so many things that they agree with. In my case, this crisis of conscience prompted me to do a serious reevaluation of my opinion of President Putin and Russia in general.
Like most Baby Boomers who grew up in the West, I was conditioned since birth to think of the leaders of the Soviet Union as the personification of the Communist “Evil Empire.” As such, they were by definition horrible people and the enemy of freedom.
The West’s collective opinion of Russia’s leaders began to soften a bit back in the late-1980s when Mikhael Gorbachev, knowing full well he would be out spent into oblivion by President Ronald Reagan if he were to keep up the nuclear arms race against the United States, began to fundamentally reform Soviet policy.
Within two years of Reagan’s famous “Tear down this wall!” speech in June 1987, the Berlin Wall – symbol of a half century of the Cold War Iron Curtain – came crashing down and the people of Eastern Europe were liberated from the shackles of Communism. It was also the death knell for the Soviet Union as a political entity.
In 1990, Mikhael Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in ending the Cold War. The Nobel Committee (true to its leftist agenda, as we were to see 19 years later with its award to Obama) conveniently ignored the fact that had it not been for President Reagan’s uncompromising hardline stance against the Soviet Union there would have been no motivation for Gorbachev to change anything. Had the United States had an Appeaser-in-Chief in the White House such as Barack Obama, the Cold War would have continued on for decades. But at least Gorbachev’s Nobel Peace Prize made him look like a nice guy.
Up until a few years ago I didn’t know all that much about Vladimir Putin. I knew he had been in charge of Russia since the late 1990s or so, was a former KGB man, and that he had a penchant for… unconventional, shall we say, photo-ops involving motorbikes and shirtless poses.
I had heard the criticisms, of course, that his policies showed a marked tendency towards autocracy. But since a) this was Russia and thus autocracy would hardly be out of the norm and b) President Putin’s most outspoken and public critics at the time appeared to be a troop of anarchist female “musicians,” I put little stock in such criticisms. I thought of Putin as a Russian strongman, nothing more and nothing less.
My attention, however, was grabbed in September 2013, when agents from the pseudo-environmentalist group Greenpeace attempted to force their way onto a Russian drilling platform in the Arctic Sea, endangering their own lives, the lives of the workers on the platform, and even the local ecology they claimed to be there to “protect.” President Putin’s Russia impressed me greatly when it made a response that was immediate and forceful, but by no means unfair. The Russian Coast Guard was dispatched and the so-called “activists” were arrested and subjected to the full rigor of the Russian criminal justice system.
The resulting international row was furious. The very idea that peace loving environmental “activists” might actually be held to account for their criminal antics like any other criminal was simply unheard of in the decadent West!
President Putin apparently felt otherwise. He wound up keeping them locked up for two months, at which time he must have felt like he’d made his point and released them all on the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The impact of this debacle on left-wing environmental activists was devastating. Pete Willcox, the captain of the Greenpeace ship that was detained by the Russians, told The Guardian in a recent interview that while he has never turned down a mission from Greenpeace, “If Greenpeace said, ‘We’re gonna do that oil rig again’ I’d say, ‘I really respect that but I’m not going.’”
Two months as a guest of the Russian Federation’s penal system apparently convinced Willcox that next time around Putin won’t be such a nice guy. And spending 10-15 years in a Russian Gulag is not how he wants to spend his golden years.
Willcox and his comrades at Greenpeace will soon have reason to be worried about similar repercussions in the US. The eight-year honeymoon the radical left has enjoyed under President Obama will end on January 20th. Eight years of turning a blind eye to the sophomoric antics of anti-capitalist, left-wing troublemakers will come to an end when the no-nonsense Donald J. Trump and his cadre of adults take over the Romper Room that Washington has become.
President-Elect Trump’s intention to expand US exploitation of fossil fuels, along with his skepticism of climate change theory, will lead to more and more protest opportunities for leftists with nothing better to do than disrupt the legal operations of corporations that provide thousands of jobs around the world. And they will not be getting a sympathetic ear from Washington anymore.
This was made glaringly clear when Trump nominated former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. It is hard to imagine a more diametric contrast to Hillary Clinton and John “Swift Boat” Kerry than this steely-eyed Texas oil man.
To say the environmental left was horrified at Tillerson’s nomination is beyond an understatement. His confirmation, if it comes through, will surely send them all over the edge in a fit of hair pulling and teeth gnashing second only to that witnessed in the early hours of Wednesday, November 9th.
But Tillerson’s critics are not limited to the radical left. The American mainstream media and a number of Russia hawk Republicans in the US Senate, most notably erstwhile Trump nemesis Florida Senator Marco Rubio, have expressed concern about his friendly relationship with Putin and his past criticism of sanctions against Russia.
When these concerns were raised during Tillerson’s confirmation hearing last week, he assured the Senate he was willing take a tough stand against Russia in some circumstances but stopped short of committing to sanctions.
Besides the fearsome prospect of Tillerson’s friendliness towards Russia, the left is in a dither over his position on climate change and ExxonMobil’s support of climate change denial groups when he was CEO. Tillerson testified, “The risk of climate change does exist. The consequences could be serious enough that action should be taken.” When pressed he added, the “ability to predict that effect is very limited.”
Tillerson’s testimony on his views on climate change and his relationship with Russia will do nothing to assuage the ire of the left. We most assuredly will continue to see propaganda and direct action campaigns against the fossil fuel industry both at home and abroad, especially as it involves increased cooperation with Russia and the exploration for Arctic oil.
But while they will not be going away any time soon, the left-wing environmental movement has been eclipsed on the world stage by an evil not seen since the days of the Nazis, which threatens the very core of Western civilization. Fighting this evil will be the primary focus of the new US-Russia alliance.
So while the world will not be spared further silly antics by Greenpeace, skyscraper climbing and banner hanging just don’t have the same shock value they used to. Those days are long over.
Greenpeace has lost its radical edge and has segued firmly into middle age.
As Willcox himself said, “In a world where you have 15-year-old girl suicide bombers, it’s pretty hard to compete.”
By: Benjamin Wolinski