Before the Soviet Union collapsed, Russian women were deprived of makeup, high heels, feminine clothing and eating disorders. Giant, sexless Comrades, they were no different from men. Even the great James Bond quaked in terror at the sight of them.
The fall of Communism transformed Russian's women in a single generation. Now Russian is renowned for prostitutes in every corner of the globe. America is happy.
In addition to nationalizing industry, ending gambling, and hogging all the best cigars, Castro stopped prostitution in Cuba. America has been pissed about this for fifty years. One day soon, it is hoped, Cuba will regain its former glory, the tourists will be back, the casinos will be open, and the prostitutes will be fully employed. Then America will be happy.
Chinese women are no longer all forced to dress in the same unflattering Mao suit. The average upwardly mobile young woman in China has become as brand conscious as the average Beverly Hills matron. China isn't there yet, but it's making progress. America is happy.
America has failed in liberating women of the Muslin world. We took on the Taliban, but the Burka is back. America is unhappy.
Which brings us to Governor Elliot Spitzer. He could have gone on a sex tour of Asia disguised as a "fact finding" mission. He could have hit the "red light" districts of Europe where prostitution is legal. He could have used an immigrant prostitute for what would have undoubtedly been substantial savings with fewer objections to his requests. Instead, Elliot Spitzer paid top dollar for an American prostitute working for an American firm. He's upheld the values we hold dear.
Why isn't America happy?
Beth Birnbaum is a New York-based editor and writer.