I recently watched the Rocky movies with my boys (through IV, the rest are don’t count). They enjoyed, but I am not sure they appreciate much of the theme of Rocky IV. Ivan Drago’s communist backing and the clear rift between the USSR and the United States is pure 1980’s. The tough, but dumb and self trained, Rocky Balboa goes against the entire machine of Soviet technology and power. Ivan even killed Rocky’s best bud, Apollo Creed with a single punch.
The tension in the movie is more than the politics, of course, and is a theme that shows itself in pretty much all Rocky movies. But the politics, as captured in the movie, shows the hatred between the USA and Russia. As Rocky battles through, the Soviet audience, and Ivan himself, start appreciating Rocky’s resilience. Eventually, they start to cheer for him.
I choose this movie to demonstrate the mood of the USA towards our Russian counterparts in a couple generations prior to this one. Ronald Reagan famously declared Russia the “Evil Empire”.
He was roundly ridiculed for using such language by liberals at the time. In fact, liberals largely wanted to befriend Russia. This continued through the 90’s and 00’s, through about 2016. Russia was cool, it was friendly. Conservatives did not oppose building a relationship with Russia after the fall of the USSR, but liberals were far more likely to push that idea. Conservatives, even, have always been suspicious of Russia.
What changed? In a word: expediency. Russia became an expedient excuse to revisit the bad Russia from the 80’s because Trump actually won.
Its not a dislike of Russia that is driving events today. Liberals, I am sure, care less about Putin. They do, however, care that Clinton lost. All this hoopla amounts to is a simple dislike of the outcome of the 2016 election.
And it demonstrates the lack of a cohesive philosophy from the left, and how it really only cares about power.