LOS ANGELES – Decades after the global standoff between capitalism and communism ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ascension of the United States as the world’s greatest superpower, Americans recently have come to suspect theirs was a hollow victory in the Cold War, as evidence mounts that the Russians interfered not only with the 2016 United States presidential election but continue to meddle in national affairs in ways that seem like an absurd throwback to last century, according to experts.
“It’s kind of ridiculous, when you think about it,” said Taylor Stepanov, a 40-year-old lawyer, and one of countless U.S. countrymen alarmed by recent revelations of Russia’s involvement in daily American discourse. “I grew up in the 1980s, when movies like Red Dawn captured the imagination, and many people were crazy enough to believe that any serious problem facing the nation – the rise of gas prices, the spread of AIDS – could be rightfully blamed on the Russians.
“Then, the Berlin Wall fell in 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved, and for decades most of us thought that the threat of Russian interference in our lives had been resolved.
“I guess we were the crazy ones, after all. Not only are the Russians back, but apparently they never really went away.”
Stepanov’s comments concerned a recent news story he read in which major social media companies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook, had been called to testify before Congress over Russian campaign ads.
Some experts suggested that even President Trump himself might not be immune to the influence of the Russians, as another recent news story claimed:
- Trump has retweeted bots on Twitter hundreds of times.
- He has endorsed or quoted bots both before and after his election.
- More than 14 million of Trump’s followers on the platform are fake.
- A huge network of bot accounts now exists largely to trigger a response from Trump by repeatedly tweeting at him messages they think he will like.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S presidential election and instances of alleged tampering with American social media is ‘just some kind of hysteria.’
Experts familiar with the issue offered not only a bleak picture for Americans, but also their Russian counterparts regarding the meaning of these events.
“The truth is, the Russians never stopped fighting the Cold War,” said David Alistrone, a professor of international relations at the University of Southern California. “Their national identity since World War II has been caught up in trying to make America look bad. Well, capitalism prevailed, and they haven’t figured out a greater purpose for themselves since then. Unfortunately, all their government seems to know how to do is piss us off.”
Other experts, on the other hand, disagreed with the scope of Alistrone’s analysis.
“I’m not sure we need Russia to make America look bad,” said Amy Chris, a historical researcher at the University of California Los Angeles. “Our President is much more capable of undermining U.S. standing than the Russians ever will be. Then again, who knows what kind of relationship he might have with them — that is, if you’re brave enough to believe what the media says. For all we know, they could be working for the Russians, too.”
Such insights, however, offered little reassurance to Stepanov’s faith in his country or its old adversary.
“I live in a cramped apartment and work a sixty-hour week and despite all that my wife still wants to buy everything she sees and so I have trouble getting our kids over the pile of junk in our living room, out the door and on time to school every morning, just so I can work and my wife can spend and the vicious cycle can continue,” said Stepanov. “Not only do I have to deal with that headache forever but now China has a quantum computer, North Korea is talking about lobbing a nuclear missile into my parking lot, and then there’s the out-of-control housing costs, earthquakes, traffic, global warming, in-laws stranded in Puerto Rico, a lame POTUS, and to top it off, now I have to be concerned the Russians are fucking with my life, again!
“Sorry, my dear Cold War commie conspirators and arch-nemesis, I’m not sure I have any room to worry about you nowadays. In fact, your re-emergence into American life is kind of a joke that makes me wish the 1980s returned with you. Life was a lot simpler then. We were the good guys saving the world, you were the bad guys trashing it. The Cosby Show ruled, and Bill Cosby was not a creep. Now my mind is all fuzzy as if I spend too much time sitting behind a computer all day stressed out and typing out legal briefs and masturbating at porn and laughing at political memes and starting to believe all of the fake news I read …
“Proshchay, oh great antagonist of last century! Hope you make something of yourselves this century besides trouble, because we have plenty, without your help.”
April Green, Oct. 1, 2017