Interviewing the Son of Nikita Kruschev

And the winner of the "Make the Listener Perk Up and take Notice Award Goes to..."

Listening to NPR's All things Considered, I hear a segment on the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's death. The presenter interviewed the son of Nikita Kruschev and his memories of the (odd to our eyes) spontaneous outpourings of grief in Moscow the day that Stalin died.

Kruschev's son talked about this grief, and how odd it must seem given that Stalin killed so many people during his brutal regime. Despite all, the people at the time still loved Stalin, he said.

To which the presenter asked, "did your father love Josef Stalin?"

KRUSCHEV: (pause) "My father had normal sexual orientation, he--"

There was much chattering after that, as the presenter hurriedly clarified the question.

Early on a Saturday morning, that will wake you up.

Amazingly, Turkey turned down as much as $15 billion in aid and the opportunity to occupy Northern Iraq in voting against allowing U.S. troops to deploy in the country.

This changes things. This doesn't stop an invasion of Iraq, but it certainly alters the situation with the Kurds. With Turkey's refusal, the United States is unlikely to bow to Turkish pressure to put a lid on Kurdistan's nationalist aspirations. If cards are played right, there could enhance the Kurds' position in a federal post-war Iraq. This certainly shakes up my dire end-of-April predictions regarding the Kurdish situation. Maybe. But in a situation as gnarled as this, one looks for hope in every possible place.

As Back to says, this decision is going to cost Turkey dearly. The Bush Administration is certainly not going to be happy. However, again looking for hope in every possible place, this could be a sign that Turkey is establishing itself as a mature democracy. According to polls, 94% of Turkish citizens opposed U.S. deployment. Despite great incentive (and probably great implied threat), the Turkish government listened to its citizens. If the country can hold together and build on this, this might bode well for Turkey's eventual entry into the European Union. You never know.

The Saturday, March 1st entry of this blog is quite funny. Go read it. Thanks to Natasha for the link.

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