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Channeling Rasputin

          If you find yourself at work with not much to do sometime, and the boss isn’t around, take a look at The Economist’s website. If you happen to be an economist, you can probably look at it – in fact, you probably have – with impunity, but the rest of you just wait until the boss’s back is turned. At you’ll find a most interesting feature called “Global Electoral College: What if all the world could vote.” There, all the world is, indeed, voting either for Barrack or John. When I visited the site the feature was pretty much brand-spanking, and only some – o.k., exactly – 8,011 electoral votes had been won, but those represent votes cast all around the world, from Egypt, Australia, Russia and the entirety of Europe to Tierra del Fuego and a couple of minor principalities in the Pacific, not to mention Nunavut, and of all those 8,011 electoral votes from all those countries, only 12 were for our friend John. Poor guy. It’s the same as if he had won every single electoral vote from Tajikistan, but no more. I wonder if people could have voted for Sarah instead, more red votes would have been cast. She is, after all, hot. Until she speaks.

          When I first visited the site I wasn’t sure if I understood how to read it because half the nations in the world were colored blue, with the rest being white, which represents “not enough votes to count yet”. Of course Iraq is white, since I doubt very much that many Iraqis have an internet connection. Kenya is a solid blue, with 100% of votes going to their errant half-son. As is the case in Indonesia – do they think, perchance, as do so many recipients of specious email –  that Barrack is Muslim? South America, Poland and Equatorial Guinea are the only places (that I noticed, anyway) with more than 20% of the vote going to John. Who can say why. Its like trying to imagine what it would be like to be smarter than you are.

          I guess that this means either that the readers of cheeky academic publications are terribly liberal, that these readers are particularly frightened of John’s putative hawkishness, or that they don’t need any more snarky foreign policy out of the late, great lion of geopolitics. Here in the belly of the lion, the electoral votes are more evenly divided, with most pollsters handing Barrack about 182 to John’s 158, so I guess the locals aren’t as concerned about regaining goodwill from the geopolitical sandbox as the rest of the world wishes they were. John’s decision to dash off to Washington instead of forging on with his campaign led to a sell-off of shares in the political decision markets which are international, so maybe the locals will stubbornly ignore that, too. Perhaps not as the Wall Street Journal asked, of John’s suspension of the campaign “This is supposed to be leadership?”

      I don’t have a TV, so I can’t report directly on the debates that were held at a time when I was quietly and happily reading a book, but all I can say is that I hear is that it was a close call, since my sources disagree on who gave the stronger performance. Headlines range from “Obama Wins the Tie”, “PM Obama, Prez McCain”, “Grumpy Old Man” and “Sen Been There” to “No Knock Out Punch” and “Winning by Not Losing.” None of which inspires a terrific yen for perusal. Apparently John called Barrack a sort of Sarah Palin who “doesn’t understand” the issues of foreign policy, while Barrack told John “you were wrong” a lot. 

         And if John’s idea of kicking Russia out of the G-8 as punishment for the whole Georgia mess is any gauge of how wrong he can be, it’s no wonder the world is blue. But if you want a geopolitical prophet (who doesn’t?), look to Russia’s Alexander Dugin. He predicted just ages ago that the fracturing of the mono-polar world which followed the Soviet Union’s collapse would begin in …. wait for it…… Georgia. He says that Russia is a not a country, but a civilization, and that his civilization is fundamentally at odds with that of Americans, who similarly believe that their system is suitable for everyone. It reminds me of the Roadrunner and the Coyote; you’ve got to root for the Coyote, not matter how carelessly he neglects the obvious solution of suing Acme, hauling in a huge judgment payout and just buying dinner. It’s the American way. Dugin’s way of the Russian Coyote is, to say the least, different. Dugin is exceptionally popular in Russia, and why not? They’ve always been the Coyote to the American Roadrunner. Anyway, he’s got a point in that both the Coyote and the Roadrunner tend to cast aspersions on those whose methods of getting along on the geopolitical stage diverge from their own. And Dugin was prescient about the Georgia thing, so, well, maybe. And I know you want to know, so I’ll tell you that his next prediction is that the next battlefield will be in Ukraine (when, exactly, did we stop saying The Ukraine?) where President Yushchenko  and PM Tymoshenko are duking it out, one pro West, the other pro Russia. I, for one will be watching with bated breath. I just love seeing prophesies unfold, don’t you?

          Even so, I think Mr. Dugin has been channeling Rasputin, the 19th century “mad monk” who advised Czarina Alexandra (ohmigod! His name is Alexander and hers was Alexandra! Oh. My. God! It must be true!!!) disastrously on the basis of his reported supernatural powers. Dugin does brag about his connections to the Kremlin, saying that Putin and Medvedev are now “looking to Eurasianists” for answers. I don’t know if Dugin coined the term “Eurasianist” or if it was some weird translation frass, but in that term our modern Rasputin is also prescient. Eurasia is the place to be, if you, like me, enjoy a good game of rugby diplomacy.

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