July 14th, 2024


The bear smiles

Paul Greenberg

By Paul Greenberg

Published Jan. 12, 2016

The Sunnis and Shiites may have found a way to resolve their differences. The Kremlin has offered to mediate any divisions between Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Sudan and their allies on one side, and the mullahs in Teheran on the other.

It's like the Bear Who Walks like a Man inviting himself to the picnic of the animals, already judging which would make the tastiest appetizer. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here are reduced to trusting the Russians to be an impartial mediator. For the Bear has his own objectives, all of which serve his own ends, not that of any other nation. Do not mistake his talk of good will for anything but the opposite. Those teeth are sharp.

Russia did not become Great Russia again by mediation but aggression. Whatever one says about the long twilight struggle the world came to know as the Cold War (1947-1991), you could tell the players without a score card. But now all is in flux. Nothing is the same when the Kremlin is confused with a helpful neighbor rather than one with his eye on your life, liberty and property. Mediation is not the word for it. Aggression is.

Ronald Reagan once compared the Kremlin to a hotel burglar who proceeds down the corridor, testing each door until he finds an open one. And proceeds with his nefarious business, even as the house detective falls asleep at the desk downstairs. Those who entrust themselves to the mercy of The Bear deserve what they get, which is plenty. And how.

Who would walk into the cage of a bear who for years has been doing nothing but going back and forth, like our old friend from the nether regions who goes to and fro in the land, seeing what mischief he can stir?

Do not feed the Bear, for you will become only his first course. You don't have to be crazy to invite a bear into your house, but it certainly helps. This is not an English country garden, landscaped and manicured, through which we stroll. It is a world without law or order or predictability. At each bend in the path, a lion's jaw waits to snap. That growl you hear is fair warning.

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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.