USA vs. Russia - Bruce Sterling
From the „pre-covid19” yearly mailing list thread „State of the World 2020: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky”:
It’s just not the Republican apparatchiks who have abandoned all previous moral convictions for a mess of pottage – all the US population is like that. The Americans used to be self-assured, mobile, visionary, inventive; now they’re hunkered-down, dogmatic, disinterested in any consensus; they’re 100% American-Dream-Free.
The American life expectancy is in decline: they can’t keep death at bay. The American health care system is so astonishingly bad that black Americans escaped being murdered with opioids, because the racist American sickness-industry refused to prescribe them any of the pills. This is the domestic narcotic biz version of voter suppression. That is an unhealthy polity.
The Russians, by contrast, have learned to drink less vodka. Their birthrate has even popped up a little. Physically, they’re improving, and I’m glad at that news Yes, the Russians are diligently waging all kinds of asymmetrical warfare, they have built their own domestic Splinternet to subvert, repel and destroy the Internet, and they will pitch any dreadful thing over their firewall from nerve-gas to barrel-bombs, but I feel happier about them. They scared me, because I thought they would die en masse of sheer disillusionment, hapless spite, weltschmerz and morbid despair.
Probably the Russians will manage. They’re a great nation which is not suicidal. Their fearless leader will dump the wife of the children for a sexy gymnast, but they aren’t kamikazes, and they don’t need belt-bombs. The Russians in MMXX are Putin-Czarist hick fundies whose ultra-illusory worldview make literally no sense, and deliberately so, but at least they’re not dead on their feet. Even a dopey GRU assassin from the backwoods of Siberia is less scary than a hollow-eyed zombie.