Let's begin with two foreign policy tirades that appeared independently of each other on the same day in two respectable Moscow newspapers.
"Recent world events show that the Russian Federation is continuing to strengthen its position on the international stage. The gloating American vision of a unipolar world is coming apart at the seams. Russia's foreign policy successes and increasing authority on the world scene arouse undisguised irritation over the ocean. Washington is trampling on all international norms in demanding that Russia renounce its cooperation with Iran. American strategists are trying to make out that the strengthening friendship between the Russian and Iranian peoples is a threat to international security. But we will not let anyone teach us how to defend our security and with whom to make friends."
And the second text:
"Russia has been showing itself an ever-more active player on the world stage of late. It's not by chance that Russia's more active diplomatic efforts in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia are increasingly irritating U.S. foreign-policy makers. Moscow's decision to renew full-scale cooperation with Iran after behind-the-scenes agreements between [then Vice President Al] Gore and [then Prime Minister Viktor] Chernomyrdin were divulged has dealt a serious blow to American diplomacy. And that could be just the beginning."
The first of these articles appeared on the Kommersant daily newspaper's retro-parody page under the headline "The world says No' to American globalization." The second appeared in Nezavisimaya Gazeta's entirely serious Dipkurier diplomatic news section. They could easily be swapped one for the other, were it not for the second text's cheekily foolish "And that could be just the beginning," which in its contrast with the High Stalinist Style of the rest of the article, gave away the fact it was written by a modern political thinker.
That reality and parody have become virtually indistinguishable in international-affairs journalism, and in our foreign-policy thinking, is both good and bad news.
It's bad news because it shows just how fast malignant symptoms are overtaking the Russian patient, who has finally received from the caring hands of the makers of cult-film "Brat-2" an ideal national hero, complete with national idea a charming hit man with the rallying slogan "Fuck you, America."
What's good news is that people are writing parodies. So long as "contemptuous twits sully with their parodies" of the national obsessive idea, there is still hope for the patient.
Perhaps, one day the patient will even realize that the aim of Russian foreign policy should be to defend the country's interests rather than try to cause maximum harm to the United States. Strange as it may seem, these two things are not always one and the same.
For almost 50 years, we dealt "serious blows to American diplomacy" and put "hedgehogs down their trousers" all around the world. That is, until we ended up with no trousers ourselves.
Incidentally, this doesn't apply to the unsinkable political elite that ruled and continues to rule us.
This elite emerged from its Cold War defeat more materially prosperous than ever before.
It's said that humanity bids farewell to its past with laughter. This is perhaps true for a more prosperous humanity. But here in Russia, it's as if we literally go around in circles in the endless snowbound plains of our history, always stumbling back upon our past. All we can do then is bid farewell to our future with laughter.
(Andrei Piontkovsky is director of the Center for Strategic Research.)