Jingoism, patriotism’s ugly cousin, usually ramps up right before a powerful country invades a weaker one.
In Russia, a news anchor on state-run TV described Russia as the only country capable of turning the United States into “radioactive ash” while standing near a graphic of a mushroom cloud, reports the oldest news agency in the world.
The announcement by popular newsman Dmitry Kiselyov came as early results of the Crimea referendum were announced.
Kiselyov is probably right. Russia has almost as many active nuclear warheads as the U.S.
Because nuclear weapons are so powerful, thousands are not needed. The U.K., France and several NATO partners have enough nukes to deter Moscow from nuking anyone, according to deterrence theory, but that theory assumes all world leaders with nuclear arsenals at their disposal are both sane and in control of their military.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has found a way to get re-elected since taking office in 1999, is a real sanity wildcard.
A former KGB agent who was not very good at finding spies to infiltrate the U.S., Putin is likely emboldened by the Americans that praise him for “being tough” and for his anti-homosexuality stance.
George Orwell, after World War II, said some politicians seemed “envious” of authoritarian leaders like Stalin who showed “strength” despite disastrous politics.
You can hear echoes of that in statements by today’s politicians and media figures.
“[Putin] makes a decision and he executes it, quickly. And then everybody reacts. That’s what you call a leader,” said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Maybe Obama needs more shirtless photo ops?
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