Sunday, August 24, 2008

The superpower

The events of the last few weeks reminded me of a moment in my school years in Russia.

Our geography teacher gave us a following speech:

"Many people complain that we don't have enough trousers. Trousers, however, are not important. They, like all the other textiles, are light industry. What's really important is the heavy industry, like iron and coal, so that we can produce enough tanks and win in Afghanistan."

This was, in fact, a bit surprising, because although the Powers That Be wholeheartedly shared this attitude to the heavy and light industry, open militarism was somewhat frowned up in The Most Peaceful Superpower. Not to mention all the talk about "winning" the event those official name was along the lines of "friendly help to the people of Afghanistan".

"I think trousers are a lot more useful than Afghanistan," said one kid who didn't have much sense of self-preservation. "Why did we invade Afghanistan anyway? Do they," he added hopefully, "maybe have trousers?"

The teacher resorted to yelling and didn't answer the question, of course. But later I realized that the war-ravaged Afghanistan of the Eighties most probably did have more trousers than our mighty superpower.

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