Peter the Great's gold layered throne room in St Petersburg's Hermitage Palace.
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When ancient history and a fast-moving present manage to join up in front of the tv cameras, the result is a record of a major turning point.
Yesterday MSNBC broadcast former Fox News anchor Megan Kelley's interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Having been accused by candidate Trump of being unfairly tough on him during the presidential debates, she has been avenged, but she did not live up to the opportunity given her, rehashing the old saw about Russian interference in the US election and affording Putin the opportunity to point out that what the US was accusing Russia of, is what the US does all the time, all around the world.
When Megan shot back with 'So tit for tat?', the Russian president slammed her with 'No, a matter of facts."
Kelly succeeds the hapless Fareed Zakaria as last year's American anchor on the stage of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, also known as the Valdai Discussion Group with the Russian President and his guest of honor who, this year, was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the ever-'breaking' media world, Kelley deserves to celebrate her change of status, while for President Putin it is the discipline of chess and judo that enabled him to schedule a meeting with the newly elected French President in the Palace of Versailles just days before chairing his yearly meeting of business and cultural leaders from around the world. His native city of St Petersburg was built by Russian Tsar Peter the Great on marshland to compete with the Sun King's extravaganza,, and the meeting celebrated the 300th anniversary his trip to Versailles in 1717.
Contradicting Washington's claim that 'Russia is isolated', the Valdai Discussion Forum has been held every year since 2004, systematically ignored by the mainstream international press and most of an alternative press that tends to concentrate on Beltway-designated breaking news.
This year was no different, the msm is all over President Trump's decision to take the US out of the Paris Climate Accord, as if he doesn't not know a carbon kilowatt from a sou's ear, ignoring the equally portentous fact that Europe just left Sam to rejoin Louis and Peter: As the Russian President was flying to Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the most important European leader since the Gaulle/Adenauer duo, declared that it was over with the US.
The subtext of Merkel's statement, that Europeans could no longer count on their allies, but had to take their destiny into its own hands 'as Europeans' was that Europe had reached the limit of its commitment to trans-Atlantic 'values'. America's wars around the globe had dumped hundreds of thousands of Muslims onto the shores of Christian Europe, and now its latest 'value' (Making America Great Again) challenged the survival of the planet. No history book would be able to accuse Europe, tarred by centuries of anti-Semitism and wars of conquest, of being anti-planet!
Following upon the rapprochement between Pakistan and Russia over Afghanistan, India is being invited to join China's One Belt, One Road development project (of which The Economist just became aware http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2017/05/economist-explains-11 )in the background.
Those of us who have felt closer to the Europe of our ancestors than to the land necessity brought them to, and who have despaired of ever seeing it free from its grasp, can finally breathe a sigh of unexpected relief: Europe is coming into its own, realizing that it doesn't have to invade Russia "because it's there", that Germany doesn't have to impose its orderliness on the Greeks, and that once it decouples itself from America's wars of aggression against the Islamic world, it will be able to accept that Islam, the fastest growing religion in the world could rejuvenate the land of Charlemagne as it joins with those of Peter and Confucius, where it has always belonged.