Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Putin, Obama, Dark City, and Rat Experimentation

Dark City (1998)

The best Dark City (IMDB) review is from Roger Ebert (RogerEbert.com). Ebert goes on and on about the visual content, the blending of genre and the visceral feel of the movie.

Small Spoiler Alert (will not ruin the movie)

Dark City uses midnight as a timing element for re-staging reality. In an early scene the doctor is running rats through a maze in what appears a typical experiment. The maze is set on a round table, and the doctor has a prod to encourage the rat. 

This construct serves as the larger metaphor for the movie, where humans are trapped in a city-sized maze. Each night at midnight the maze is reset, the test conditions reset and the test subjects are reset. John Murdoch breaks the pattern... and (I'll  not spoil the ending).

US Rat Experimentation (Foreign and Domestic) 

"As he [Putin] put it, the US has interfered in Ukraine “from across the pond in America as if they were sitting in a laboratory and running experiments on rats, without any understanding of the consequences." (Forbes, 3/4/2014)

While I might digress to say that the Administration is testing rats domestically as well (that would be you and me), let's stick with the foreign angle. 

What does Putin see? 

When President Obama drew and then erased the red line in Syria, Putin was watching. Juan Williams may be technically correct arguing that President Obama did not have congressional backing to go to Syria. Williams' clear omission is that Obama did not have the political capital (even in his own ranks) to draw the red line in the first place. 

When we claimed we would get out of Afghanistan and Guantanamo, and ignored Egypt, Syria, Venezuela (etc.), Putin watched. The disaster at Benghazi.  Weaponizing the IRS against the opposition. The Obamacare launch - total fail, with so much "fine tuning" going on that it is hard to know what's really real. We dithered on Keystone, and are now talking about reducing our military. Remember the US bid for the Olympics? 

Putin sees plenty of talk, plenty of bluster, plenty of complaining, and plenty of retreat. He sees a US Administration that is OK with failure, willing to create excuses and diversions. He sees the mistake of thinking that Obama's persona will carry the day. 

Putin is not a Mad Scientist

The Strangers in Dark City were searching for something specific... the human soul. Is mankind nature, or nurture, a collection of our memories, a collection of our collective memories, can you change the true nature of a person by changing his memories, or his environment? They need to understand how our soul works in order to save their race. 

Putin is not searching for something intangible like the human soul. As Romney and Palin clearly presaged, Putin is ACTING to get what he wants. Whether it is Georgia or Ukraine, Putin is acting to expand Russian dominance. Proof? How about a couple of maps showing oil pipelines in Ukraine and a detailed discussion of pipelines through Syria

I  still wonder what George Bush saw when he looked into Putin's eyes. 

Putin does not care about our soul. The current administration is too busy experimenting with social justice to care about our soul.

We need to care.