Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From Russia With Love. Or Something.

Mother's son,
    freedom's overdue
Lonely man,
    he thinks of you
He isn't done,
    only lives for you
Mother Russia,
    can't you hear him too?

Our attention has been drawn lately to the discovery of a Russian spy network here in the States. Of particular interest is one would-be New Yorker identified as 28-year-old Anna Chapman (AP photo at right) who appeared at a hearing last Monday with ten others, on charges of "conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the United States Attorney General." (This is not to be confused with "espionage." Don't ask me why.) The undated image at right is taken from the Russian social networking site known as "Odnoklassniki" ("Classmates"). The caption on the website reads "Russia, Moscow. Left 4 dead???"

And guess what, guys, she's still single! (Probably.)

Now, it's a little disconcerting to realize that, roughly two decades after the end of the Cold War, the Russians still feel the need to spy on us, or think they can get away with it. Remember, this little minx, and others like her, have been leading very public lives on Facebook. This leads one to believe that the really good spies from the KGB and other entities of the ancien regime have gone on to other livelihoods, like the black market, leaving the cloak-and-dagger game to amateurs who got their kicks reading bad translations of Tom Clancy novels and want to taste the real thing, and whose parents used to sell Levis knockoffs on the streets of Moscow.

But this is not the real threat posed by these little kittens.

They show up on personals websites with addresses like Kansas City, Missouri, young ladies with dreams of coming to America and meeting gullible young American men who can offer them love, marriage, a home, and a chance to take their benefactors to the cleaners once the green card comes through. It is small wonder. We are dealing with a culture which, for nearly a century, has been essentially godless, and therefore without a collective moral compass.

Ever do business in Russia? I don't know about now, but ten or fifteen years ago, my contacts wouldn't have recommended it. American companies would tell tales of warehouses discovered emptied of their merchandise, later to appear on -- you guessed it -- the black market. Businessmen from the States would tell of Russian enterpreneurs who could lie to their faces as easily as most Americans breathe. This is not a problem with individual Russians, many of whom long to be free of the bondage of moral bankruptcy. This is the cautionary tale of a nation, the very fabric of a society, deprived of God beyond living memory.

Singer Annie Haslam, with the band
Renaissance, in a live performance of "Mother Russia" (the long version, mind you) circa 1975. Lyrics by Betty Thatcher, music by Michael Dunford. Copyright by EMI Music Publishing. Used without permission or shame.

Was the demand of Our Lady appearing at Fatima, that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, actually fulfilled? The official answer from the Holy See is "Yes." The late Sister Lucia, the last surviving recipient of the visions, reportedly agreed. But there are those who say the conditions have not been met to the letter, probably because they think it would happen on their timetable and not God's.

This writer has no position on that issue -- You got that, you Medjugorje maniacs? NO! POSITION! -- only the knowledge of that which is left undone.

Red blood, white snow
He knows frozen rivers won't flow
So cold, so true
Mother Russia, he cries for you.

UPDATE: Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post writes: "Up to their old spy tricks again."

UPDATE, PART DEUX: The Washington Post reports that Marines are being warned about girls like Chapman during routine security briefings -- you know, the old "loose lips sink ships" routine. But as the Los Angeles Times discovers, veteran Russian espionage experts lament that the quality of the players isn't what it used to be.

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