It’s sad to say, but some people — and things — just can’t get out from under the negative connotations of a past action or two. In popular parlance, we refer to this as “Having a bad rep.” Think about it. Plenty of people have pit bulls for instance, but a few of them go off the reservation, eat a toddler or two — “Chomper was always such a nice dog” — and suddenly people won’t let their Pekinese play with them at the dog park. Clowns are also victims of this “guilt by association” character assassination. All that these fright-wigged purveyors of mirth want is to make people laugh, but then a few kids are traumatized at a backyard birthday party and the next thing you know you’re making balloon animals at senior citizens’ homes while the residents gum down their creamed corn. As recent events in Lithuania demonstrate, I think the Russians find themselves burdened under the yoke of wary misunderstanding.
I speak of course of the recent admission by the Lithuanians that they barred the construction of a data center within its borders due to concerns that it could be infiltrated by Russian intelligence. Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen the old bumper sticker diagnosis stating, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you,” but can’t we cut these guys some slack? Okay, they annexed Crimea, moved their military into eastern Ukraine and, just maybe, leaked a few emails that the DNC and John Podesta wished hadn’t seen the light of day. But how long are people going to hold this over their heads? If you’re the Lithuanian government the answer is, apparently, a really, really long time.