I’ve lived through a few coups. They’re insane and terrifying, like watching sports, except your future depends on the score.
In 1981, when I was a kid in Eastern Europe I woke up on one frigid December Sunday and there was no television, no radio but tanks on the street.
The army took control of the nation and they didn’t let it go ever since.
The military is always the most powerful force in any nation, a good thing to remember – these are the guys with heavy weapons.
Back then schools were closed for weeks and a curfew was imposed. Anyway, I was never a TV fan and we had only two channels at the time, the second one being a bit fuzzy.
These were happening times. Just over the border, in Russia, when the KGB in 1991 tried to reassume control of the crumbling Soviet Union by placing Mikhail Gorbachev under arrest and attempting to seize Moscow, logistics ruled. Boris Yeltsin’s crew drove to the Russian White House in ordinary cars beating KGB coup plotters who were trying to reach the seat of Russian government in armored vehicles. Then Yeltsin realized that he needed a strong man to rule.
His name is Putin and he is in charge ever since, following the greatest rule of them all: if you want to beat a Grand Master at chess never let them make the first move.
Back to current happenings - the problem as I see is that democracy is truly dead, people are no longer willing to accept it.
Recently pro-Brexit British MPs had to be escorted to Parliament by police to protect them from violence.
If you think that our society is progressing – it is reversing. We’re witnessing plain intolerance rising on a massive scale.
The very purpose of civilization is when everyone comes together to produce a society that is greater than the sum of individuals. We have lost that purpose for now.
The Canadians voted in national elections October 21.
The vote breakdown is not encouraging - the Liberals lost every seat they previously held in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The Canadian system is splitting along provincial, economic, demographic and ideological lines, and there is no one in the Trump administration who likes Justin Trudeau personally, ideologically or politically.
Alberta has the means and motive to destroy Canada. Washington has the means and motive to destroy Canada. And the likely format of the new Trudeau government is providing the opportunity.
Back home, on a lighter subject, I was driving the BMW the other day and it is insanely fast, a pleasure. I was looking through the back window and thought: “is there a Mercedes G-Class behind me, or am I dragging a garden shed?”
“You’re good”, said my younger son, “its just the square Mercedes”.
“They call it ‘folded paper school of design’ for a reason.”
Then I was staying in Warsaw over a sunny weekend, in a Sofitel hotel just across the big plaza from the imposing presidential palace. The hotel used to be called “Victoria” back in the day, and I still like the old name better. It’s possibly the best place to stay in town, if you want my recommendation.
I walked into the posh reception and the girl behind the counter spoke English with better accent that I can ever do.There was delicate music around and I knew right away what it was: Jealousy Tango with Katica Illenyi playing the violin.
"I love tango," I said to the young woman.
"There are no mistakes in tango," she said. "If you're tangled up, you just tango on."
"This is a great advice, young lady."
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler