The passing scene – October 10, 2015

Excerpts from the works of Nobel winner Svetlana Alexievich by the Associated Press.

Boys In Zinc by Svetlana Alexievich for Granta.   The title refers to the zinc-lined coffins in which bodies of Soviet troops were shipped home from Afghanistan.

Nobel laureate Alexievich on Putin and Soviet trauma for the France24 TV network.  (Hat tip to O)

Svetlana Alexievich captured the psyche – and trauma – of a Soviet people and nation by Elena Gapova for The Conversation.

Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich

I never heard of Svetlana Alexievich until she won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  She is a non-fiction writer from Belarus, which before 1991 was part of the USSR and Russian Empire.

Her theme is said to be the spiritual vacuum left by the fall of Communism.  She seems like a writer worth getting to know about.

The average Russian has a little Red Man inside who longs for the return of a strong, authoritarian ruler, she says; that is the secret of Vladimir Putin’s power and the reason for his aggressive policies.

Game On!  For Abe in Asia by Peter Lee for China Matters.

Peter Lee thinks the Trans Pacific Partnership is part of a U.S. strategy to checkmate China by building up Japanese power and influence in the Pacific region.  Specifically, he thinks Japanese companies could use the TPP to block Chinese infrastructure projects in Vietnam and Malaysia on the grounds that Chinese companies enjoy unfair government subsidies.

Leaked (final?) TPP intellectual property chapter spells doom for free speech online by Corey Doctorow for Boing Boing.

The Return of the Middle American Radical by John B. Judis for The National Interest.  (Hat tip to naked capitalism)

John B. Judis argues that the supporters of Donald Trump, like the supporters of George Wallace, Pat Buchanan, H. Ross Perot and the Tea Party movement in earlier eras, are a voting bloc he calls “middle American radicals.”   They are white people with high school or community college educations, working in blue collar or clerical jobs, who think that the USA is in decline and that the American middle class is under siege.

The fact is that the middle American radicals are right.  The USA really is in decline and the American middle class really is under siege, although, in my opinion, not for the reasons most of them believe.

How Did the Democrats Become Favorites of the Rich? by Thomas B. Edsall for The New York Times.  (Hat tip to Mike the Mad Biologist)

And the middle American radicals also are right in saying the Democrats don’t represent them any more than Republicans do.

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