While the Western press was marking the fiftieth anniversary of the phony invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union, which lasted all of three days and caused no fatalities, the current president of Russia was waltzing at a country wedding with the Austrian Defense Minister.
While the American President tries to drag his hawks kicking and screaming away from confrontation with Russia, and the Congress considers impeachment, his Russian vis a vis continues to implement the FDR era playbook Making Friends and Influencing People.
The Western media signals Austria’s recently elected right-wing government among the increasing number of European anti-immigrant regimes that President Putin is said to favor, the better to divide and conquer the old continent. However, I can’t help but notice a few other things about the country that Hitler took over first.
Nineteen thirties Austria, was a far cry from the multi-national Holy Roman Empire, or its nineteenth century successor, the powerful Austro-Hungarian empire, brought down by the first World War, however it was the cultural center of Europe. During the Cold War, this small country located in Europe’s heart of stone, maintained a policy of strict neutrality between the Warsaw Pact and NATO. Under all governments, it provided refugees from the East, many of whom were headed to Israel, with reception areas and Red Cross facilities. Austria’s neutrality was so hard-wired that it succeeded in having a former Nazi collaborator, Kurt Waldheim, chosen as Secretary General of the UN, those revelations only coming to light when he became Austria’s president. More than simply a signal to Europe’s new right, when the Russian President brings a bouquet to the Austrian Foreign Minister’s wedding, he is acknowledging centuries of European history and tradition.
Karin Kneissl, whose father piloted for King Hussein of Jordan, is a multi-lingual former Professor of International relations specializing in the Middle East, and for her wedding, at age fifty-three, she wore a long, cream-colored gown with crew neck and three quarter sleeves.
While the American President teeters on the verge of impeachment, Putin, who has a degree in international relations and favors old-fashioned families, embraces British historian Halford Mackinder’s Heartland Theory, which designates Russia as the lynchpin of Eurasia:
“Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;