Does the United States Have a Future?: Collected (Nonconformist) Essays on Russian-American Relations, 2015-17 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
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In many respects, the United States has made the destruction of the Putin “regime” and of Russian power more generally, a test of its ability to direct the world according to its own preferences, without compromise or serious discussion with other powers. The articles in this collection guide the reader through the action-reaction between the US and Russia over the time covered as the USA arguably began losing the tug-of-war with the Kremlin. The overarching genre of essays in this collection is reports on events and personalities in the news that the author saw firsthand. These essays are not a daily chronicle. The author did not join commentators on the scrimmage pile-up. He concentrated on impressions drawn from personal activism. One of the greatest virtues of this collection is the details on how we approached a catastrophic military confrontation with Russia, especially in the final months of the Obama administration. We are still not out of the woods. This would not have been obvious to most readers because of the blackout on Russian-sourced news imposed from Washington, working hand in glove with major media. A number of essays demonstrate this blackout and its tendentiousness very clearly. There are always two or more sides to an issue, and the author has applied all of his talents and contacts to bring out what the other side has been saying and why, to separate out cause and effect. Essays in this collection draw upon the author’s experience during a nine-month period of “stardom” from May 2016 to January 2017 as one of a handful of foreigners, and of Americans in particular, who were invited to appear on Russian political talk shows for the domestic television audience to comment on the American presidential campaign through the inauguration of Donald Trump. The author’s time on Russian domestic television was more important for what he heard than for what he said. He was able to see up close some of Russia’s most articulate and impressive legislators, educators, think tank directors and television hosts. In these essays, he shares his impressions of what is a far more vibrant and sophisticated political and intellectual life than one might imagine.