Russian expert, American right wingers drinking the same Kool-Aid?

JISHOU, HUNAN — There’s a Russian scholar who’s been drinking the same water as some right-wing crazies in the US of A.

According to Igor Panarin, an important figure shaping Russia’s future diplomats, President Barack Obama will declare martial law sometime this year, leading to a schism of the United States into six parts. The sudden breakdown of the USA’s government will then enable Russia and China to become world leaders.

If you google “obama martial law,” you will find a host of right-wing-crazy sites that have been predicting the same outcome since last fall, before Obama was even elected. One site even suggests that former President George W. Bush would declare martial law to prevent Obama from being elected!

All wishful thinking, I guess.

I learned about Panarin after one recent English Corner at the old campus, during which two students deviated from the usual routine questions about my birthplace, love of China, etc., and instead floored me with completely surprising questions.

One boy asked me, quite seriously, if I liked Obama and whether I believed the US would split into six parts soon. He explained that his politics professor had read a book by a Russian expert (Panarin), which predicts the eventual end of the USA as we know it.

[The other surprising question was from a girl who asked if I believed Westerners and Chinese can be happily married together. She does not, she says. More about that question later.]

I responded by reminding him that the last splitting of the USA led to a bloody civil war, and the eventual reunification of the United States. (Though I did not mention that some folks in the South are still not convinced Reconstruction was such a great idea.) Despite the pressures on Obama and the USA, I told him it was highly unlikely that Obama would declare martial law and even more improbable that the USA would fission.

Whether I convinced him, I can’t be sure. After all, he has read a book by a prominent Russian scholar.

Panarin is a dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s school for diplomats, a former space agency spokesman, and allegedly a former Soviet KGB analyst. His anti-US screed and recent public predictions of the death of the USA fit in nicely with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-American platform and his dreams of restoring Russian hegemony.

Earlier this month, Panarin addressed domestic and foreign media at a press conference. Noting that he has been predicting the end of the USA for years, Panarin said recent economic and political developments had enabled him to pinpoint when everything would start to fall apart.

According to the AP report on his talk, Panarin did not provide much specific evidence for his conclusions. The scholar instead explained he had been analyzing news reports from the USA.

Panarin argued that Americans are in moral decline, saying their great psychological stress is evident from school shootings, the size of the prison population and the number of gay men.

Turning to economic woes, he cited the slide in major stock indexes, the decline in U.S. gross domestic product and Washington’s bailout of banking giant Citigroup as evidence that American dominance of global markets has collapsed.

“I was there recently and things are far from good,” he said. “What’s happened is the collapse of the American dream.”

Panarin insisted he didn’t wish for a U.S. collapse, but he predicted Russia and China would emerge from the economic turmoil stronger and said the two nations should work together, even to create a new currency to replace the U.S. dollar.

[One wonders if China’s leaders have also studied Panarin’s book. China’s central bank recently proposed that the International Money Fund (IMF) should replace its current currency standard, the US dollar, with the IMF’s own internal currency unit. Then again, they might be worried about the nearly $1 trillion of US debt China currently holds.]

On the US crazy side, the predictions of doom and gloom seem to derive a combined fear of black people, Muslims, liberals and anything not white Anglo-Saxon conservative Christian. (How Alan Keyes fits into this mindset, I cannot fathom.)

During the presidential election, there was the mostly unspoken Republican subtext of “do you want a black man running the country?” There is continued belief of some anti-Obama nutjobs that somehow there is a huge conspiracy enabling Obama, who they believe was not born in the USA, to ascend to the presidency unconstitutionally. Then, there’s the whole question of his middle name, Hussein, which wingers insist means he’s secretly a Muslim and, since all Muslims are terrorists, also a terrorist, too.

Visiting these anti-Obama sites is like peeking into the mind of a seriously deranged mental patient. Obama, a centrist liberal in actuality, is to these people alternately a fascist and a socialist. His master plan — or perhaps it’s the plan of his “co-religionist” Osama Bin Laden — is to declare martial law on some fabricated pretext, and make the USA an Islamist/fascist/socialist state. Christianity will be outlawed, and Obama will forcibly remove white farmers from their lands and give the property to blacks.

[Note: Someone has tried this last tactic already. Robert Mugabe, the president-dictator of Zimbabwe, expelled white farmers several years ago. The results have been disastrous. Only an idiot would suggest anyone else try it.]

Then there’s the whole “End Times” crowd, who see in every news report further evidence of the Second Coming of Christ and the fulfillment of all the nasty stuff in Revelations, whose author was also probably batshit crazy. Gay rights, same-sex marriages, separation of church and state, to name just a few of their fears, all point to the Rapture.

So, Panarin, for all his lofty credentials as a foreign analyst, is just a plagiarist. It looks like he’s been analyzing (copying) the predictions by the scarier fringe elements of the USA. Considering his predictions, and theirs, have failed to materialize for more than a decade, it’s time to shove them into the dustbin where they belong.

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