Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Cold War

Reagan had nothing to do with it. When he called upon Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" he was making mockery; a comic equivalent of Falstaff imploring "Let the sky rain potatos, let it thunder to the tune of Greensleeves."

Glasnost and Perestroika were the doings, yes, of Gorbachev, but the beginning of the end of the U.S.S.R and the cold war occurred in 1972, when Fischer routed Spassky for the world chess championship. Though without violence, Fischer did to the Russians what the 9/11 attackers did to the United States after Bush's summer vacation in 2001. Let's hope that our shock will not be as everlasting as the one Fischer gave to the Soviets.

He began by skipping the opening ceremonies and losing the first game; this, of course, after his last-minute demands about more prize money. Then came the notorious complaints regarding the cameras, for the joust was televised. Though these were completely silent and immobile, they "bothered" Fischer, and the venue was changed to accomodate his totally irrational demand.

Because those cameras were not yet removed, Fischer didn't even bother to show up for the second game, which he forfeited. A few games later he startled the Soviets by playing opening moves he had never previously used in the 700 or so previous tournament games of his career, thus catching his opponent unprepared.

Even off the board he was playing the Soviets.

After the tournament Fischer refused all challengers to his title as World Champion, throwing the chess world into disarray which still persists.

By ending Russian domination of chess, Fischer cracked the walls of Soviet empire. That lost empire fizzles yet.

Fischer became an outlaw later, when he played a rematch with Spassky, during a time when "trade" with Yugoslavia (where the match played out,) was banned by U.N. and Treasury Department sanctions. International warrants led to his arrest and subsequent release in Japan. Iceland has now claimed him as one of theirs. And so it goes.

Fischer is a genius. Bush and his accomplices are not.

Too bad. We might have simply bought off all the world's terrorists for less than the price we have so far paid for Bush's wars.

No comments: