Being temporarily stationed on holiday in Bulgaria, I receive a diet of CNN and BBC news. I can only take so much of it (I will have returned to Russia before anyone reads this), but in case you are missing it at home, I can assure you that the "Russia stole our election" theme is still running hot and heavy.with the Americans and their British sycophants. All sorts of lugubrious plots are imagined, and the specter of rampant "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!" imperialism is looming over them. (Never mind that the US has just planted troops in Poland to keep the world 'safe for democracy'.) No, it's the Russians that the rest of the planet must be aware of.
Of course, the ruthless ínvasion' of Ukraine is held up as the proof of these malevolent intentions. Soon the Baltic nations will fall, and, well what next???
Guys, let me just cut to the chase on this. I grew up in America during the Cold War. I was not around when the çommie' witch-hunts started by Joe McCarthy began in 1948, but I certainly knew what was going down during the era of Lyndon Johnson (who escalated the Viet Nam War to stop the threat of communism -- and succeeded only in dividing his country and ruining a generation of young men), Richard Nixon (if you look up the words 'scumbag' and ásshole' in the dictionary, you will find photos of this crook)), J. Edgar Hoover (head of the FBI who hated homosexuals but sucked cock himself), Douglas MacArthur (the most egoistic and arrogant bastard in the history of the egoistic and arrogant USA)) and Henry Kissinger. (another war monger whose voice seemed like a bad imitation of Arnold Schwarzenegger.) These were the policy-makers; they were among those who created the image of Russians as 'godless' and ëvil"people. And there were many more who came pouring out of the same vat.
Yet these dark clowns and their ilk -- for all their terrible influence -- knew absolutely nothing about Russians.It was all hysteria-generating hearsay. And, sad to say, I see that nothing has changed. It is amazing that, as we live in the so-called Information Age, such ridiculous stereotypes still run wild. Why is it so?
You would need to understand the mentality of the Americans to answer that question. For one thing, despite its Super Power status, the people are stunningly provincial and narrow, if you take the country as a whole or speak strictly of the rank-and-file Americans, you would be shocked by the general ignorance, the lack of world awareness and sophistication. For all their superficial hospitality to foreigners, including Russians (which has given many of my Russian friends who have set foot upon those shores a false impression), Americans believe deep-down that Ámerica'' (meaning the US) is all that matters. Everyone else is just camping out. Push an American just a little bit and he will pull rank on you every time. For them it is all about the USA. This is what Putin meant when he spoke of American ëxceptionalism." It was the perfect word to describe it.
Don't forget that the US was founded by rough settlers and religious zealots --puritans. Even today, a couple of centuries plus change later, these influences still persist: the frontier-cowboy' mentality with its propensity for violence, and the fundamentalist religious lunacy. Alive and well, trust me. The indomitable belief that they are the good guys and everyone else potentially a bad guy dominates the whole misperception. The American feels the need to be the biggest, the best, but simultaneously the most moral. If force must be used to enforce God's will, then the Americans feel it is their responsibility to do it. So, beyond the money and the Big Business, what you need to remember about Americans is their ultimate sense of righteousness. And it follows naturally that if you are the ones doing God's will, you have the obligation to weed out and punish the many enemies that lurk in the bushes everywhere. It is the basic core of fundamentalist thinking that God has spoken and anyone who disagrees is God's enemy.. This is why, in my own brief lifetime, I have seen God's enemies variously identified as Germans, Japanese, Russians, Cubans Koreans, Viet Namese, Iraqi, Iranians, and Afganistanians, God sure has a lot of work to do, doesn't He? And yet the people making these divinity-inspired judgments offered did not progress beyond the 3rd grade in school. In my opinion, if you were to create a Book of America, the face on the cover would belong to somebody like Chuck Norris (remember him?). In other words, one step below an ape.
Thus, here we are in 2017 and the Russians are still the bad guys. The stereotypes remain the same, fomented by stupid politicians and swallowed whole by a populace most of whom will ever see anything of the world beyond Disneyland and Daytona 500 stock car race.
I have lived in Russia for a long time, and I know better. In fact sometimes I even forget that I am NOT Russian, that I am still American, at least according to the passport... Sometimes, after long experience, I express my views on Russian "mentality." What do I know? I am not Russian and so my opinions are only naive opinions. Probably, most of my Russian friends simply view me as a (sometimes) kinda cool American ''ëxpat" who does not follow the company line American-style. So I suppose that I stand somewhere in the middle, if reality serves.
But I do know this: the American perception of Russian people is wrong, and is based on Cold War hangover garbage promoted by old-fart politicians and by a sensation-craving Western media which is often so crass and puerile as to make me vomit up not only yesterday's breakfast but my guts and heart as well. That much I do know, and I am aggrieved to see that nothing has changed since Eisenhower was in office in the USA. Born in America, with any luck I will die in Russia, my cherished home, full of people I love. End of story.
====Eric Richard Le Roy===