Alexander Golts is, to my mind, the best columnist writing from Moscow today. He presents interesting opinion based on facts that are new to the reader. That is, to me, the true art of the columnist. Simple opinion belongs in the saloon bar, and simple facts in a news report. It is the mixture of the two which really works, especially when an important topic, like the Russian military world, is under discussion..I say this because today Mr Golts has excelled himself. In a piece entitled The Miracle-Industrial Complex, he describes how my old friend, Dmitri Rogozin (see post: 10 February: Statements of the Obvious #1), has made news again, this time by telling the world that Russia still wants to manage its relationships with the rest of humanity on the basis of military threat.
“A Russian version of the [American] Defence Advanced Projects Research Agency will soon be created… [Rogozin said] The idea is to create something of a research predator that would hunt among university research centres to identify the most promising, groundbreaking and innovative proposals with potential defence applications.”This was in response to V.V. Putin’s promise, before the election, that if the Russian people had the good sense to elect him for a third term as President he would oversee the development of “weapons systems based on new principles (beam, geophysical, wave, genetic, psychophysical and other technologies)”.
|Two Russians on their way to the airport: |
is there anyone who would not follow them?
(click to enlarge)
My first point to Gospodin Rogozin is that he is behind the times if he thinks that “university research centres” are the best places to look for “promising, ground-breaking and innovative” thinking. That may have been the case in his youth, back in the days when Khrushchev was banging his shoe on the table at the United Nations (which, incidentally, produced the best British put-down ever: “If this sort of thing is going to continue,” Harold Macmillan said with a twinkle in his eye, “I shall be obliged to demand a translation.”). Today, innovative thinking lurks in the blogosphere and can be bought for just a couple of billion roubles. I know: I’m selling.
I will let Gos. Rogozin know my bank details when he writes to me privately, but in the meantime, in order to establish copyright precedence, I want to make public the scheme I have been working on for the last twenty minutes, which will totally alter the strategic balance between Russia and the United States. It will render the US nuclear arsenal completely useless at a stroke. The idea is so simple that one wonders why it has not been thought of before. But perhaps it is the nature of genius to capture the light of truth and beauty where other men, and universities, see only darkness, complication, ugliness and research funding application procedures.
Here is my idea: once the Russian government has moved to London (see post 12 April), you simply allow all other Russians to follow. That's it.
Most Russians that I know would be all too willing to move, but if there are any “last-ditchers” who need persuasion, gangs of Tadjiks can be hired to go round digging potholes in the roads, erecting shashlik kiosks on every patch of green grass in Moscow and making other similar forms of infrastructure disimprovement. This will not require a very great expenditure, nor much in the way of planning skills. It is, as they say in American business schools “eminently do-able”.
The only people left in Russia, apart from the Tadjiks, will be the Americans, Brits and other foreigners who are operating the oil and gas industries, at which point the Russian government in Whitehall will be free to threaten American in any way it sees fit.
The mass of the Russian people will be protected by a “human shield” in the form of the non-Russian populations of London, the Costa Brava, the Haute Savoy, Tuscany, Cape Town, the Bay of Plenty, Florida, etc. The only people the United States will be in a position to threaten realistically with its rockets will be the Western technicians in the Siberian oil industry, plus a large number of wolves, bears, stray dogs, homeless forest-dwellers and Tadjiks. They might even catch Prince Harry in their cross-hairs if my suggestion on 18 April about the new Tsar is acted upon.
Can any high-tech solution to Russia‘s strategic dilemma be as sure to work, and as cheap to install, as this one? Could anything be more ecologically sensitive or more technologically robust than the simple process of issuing 140 million заграничные passports? Who needs Glonass, missile shields and all the rest if you have Aeroflot, Lufthansa, Quantas, Air New Zealand and others ready to draw a blanket of impenetrable security over the entire Russian population for the price of a one-way ticket outta here?
Once I have banked Gos. Rogozin’s (biodegradable) cheque I, too, will be off, though I am not saying where in case he comes after me asking for a loan. I anticipate his needing money when his government in London has run out of cash, which it will undoubtedly do after the Americans have blown up the Russian oil fields or, more likely, sold them to the Chinese and then blown them up.