by Inna Rogatchi
Twenty years ago, when Boris Yeltsin, customarily drinking in his customary Soviet underwear, was wondering through the White House premises at two in the morning as a semi-mad bear in search for extra-liquid, the then master of the highest residence in the world, the youngish Bill Clinton, was genuinely terrified, according to his own and other insiders’ public recollections. Who could blame him – there are no polar bears in Arkansas, not to mention violently drunk ones.
Lucky Bill was so impressed by Boris’s performance that it left a stain on his mind branding all Russians, Jewish or otherwise, as ‘a dangerous and un-ruly thing’. It seems it is far easier to deal with the habits of ‘understandably shady’ Asians and ‘donors, who are quiet and cause no troubles’ while ruling the world.
And what an annoying obstacle – no, not an imaginary, furnished with candied demagogy mirage pronounced as ‘peace’, but to the real, so nicely palpable and close-at-hand Nobel Peace Prize, with its money equivalent not bad either – are those Russian Jews from Israel who dare to object to one so nicely attired in the Emperor’s New Clothes.
The luckiest of American presidents did not bother too much on Russia during his terms in the Oval Office, he had become immune to that odd mess, and then, there were those good and trusted pals around, such as Strobe Talbott & Co, who dealt with that bazaar, and even spoke that unpronounceable language.
Mr Clinton did not bother himself too many times with that weird wilderness and went there only a few times for really quick visits. Who knows what they might include in the programme, those stubborn drunkards.
He never got to know that country, not to mention its predecessor the Soviet Union, or anything connected with it, except perhaps some useful tricks exercised quite successfully on the Bank of New York and related entities during his reign. According to his very self through his infamous tirades on ‘the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East’ at a fringe conference he had managed to organise on the UN Summit premises (hey, does someone dare to mention something about nepotism at the US State Department’s Events Policies?..), Bill Clinton still has no clue about Russia’s Soviet and post-Soviet realities, about the life of several generations of Jewish people there, about the circumstances that led them to return to their – their, Mr Lucky Head – land, Eretz Israel.
So, according to general practice in the civilised world, a person who has no clue about the subject he dares to talk about publicly does not have the slightest authority to do so. No authority, no audience, no attention, no shocks in political and public corridors. “Look who’s talking!..” as they are say.
Is anybody really surprised with Bill Clinton bragging with his customary super-confidence of things that never happened? As he did another time, claiming he had talks with Natan Sharansky that simply did not take place at the time and location that the former American president was throwing at journalists around that table at the UN fringe conference of so-called Clinton Initiatives for does-not-matter-what-for. It would never have happen anyway as we all know.
How full of himself this tarnished to eyebrows leader is who dares to remind Natan Sharansky, and thus to all former Soviet ‘refusniks’ and their families, that Sharansky had ‘just left the prison cell which was far smaller’ in comparison to the concessions which Clinton was twisting out of the Israeli leadership at the time; and what for?
A Kingdom of Hamas? Or that still-so-desperately desirable Nobel Prize? Well who could blame him for that though; it is so painful for the victorious Bill to feel abandoned by the Nobel Committee, especially when his worst friends Al and Barak Hussein were both honoured by it.
What on earth has that former American leader who saw super terrorist Arafat as ‘a viable partner for peace’ known of prison cells, and in particular, of those in the former Soviet Union?.. What is his expertise on these things which were defining human lives? Real lives, not his customary empty, easy, and smooth talks. Zero as usual. Here again – authority to speak is completely lacking in him who dares to make figures of speech on whatever he likes. By everyone’s standards, the things in the Middle East process and its obstacles which Bill the Peacemaker was bragging about to a stunned audience in New York, are simply low. A natural reaction to what he said should be to ignore it – but not before sending a crystal clear message to those who seek attention having as their only credit their profound, larger-than-life ignorance.
The only matter of this man’s expertise and real interest is in size; the size of cigars. But there were no such luxuries in Soviet prison cells, Mr Smoothie. They were killing people for their wish to belong to their own nation and its traditions. They were ruining lives completely because of people’s simple wish to leave the prison cell – a huge cell, as a matter of fact, the size of the entire Soviet Union. They were crushing human beings and destroying families in unimaginable numbers for three generations because of people’s natural inclination to be free.
They did not make us experts in the sizes of cigars, what a pity. But they – and those political and otherwise oh-so-macho men, in all their pathetic arrogance – did instil in us a very firm desire for a real peace, not to bow to terrorists, and to love the land of our people dearly. Real love of a strong and devoted people means readiness to defend what and whom they love, both in spirit and with arms when and if necessary. This is not an obstacle to peace as it is seen from a very small and entirely opaque window by off-stage politicians who are dying to get back on stage by all and any means possible. This is an obstacle to the provincial vanity of him who believes that the crowd around does like his New Emperor’s Clothes.
Just one thing, Mr former president: they do not produce emperors down there, in Arkansas. And you should know that.
Inna Rogatchi is the author and the president of The Rogatchi Foundation.