A gentleman described as "a leading Russian political analyst" - and how acute do you have to be to analyze rigged elections? - says the United States is in the throes of a collapse that will result in us fragmenting into six separate nations.
Professor Igor Panarin is said to have made these predictions in an interview with Izvestia, and it has to be true because it's all over the Internet and featured on the Drudge Report. There's even a photo of him on the Russia House Web site, a stolid-looking guy with a burr haircut. What more proof do you need?
Assuming Panarin is for real, it is only fair to warn him that he is treading into dangerous literary territory.
There is a large body of literature on the collapse of the United States, predicated on several doomsday scenarios - we are swamped by immigration and become North Mexico; we are swamped by the Chinese economy and become a wholly owned subsidiary of Beijing; Al Gore was right and we make the whole country uninhabitable through environmental carelessness; we are enslaved by space aliens.
But wrecking the United States is the province of American authors, and they're not going to look kindly on some Russian interloper.
Panarin says that the dollar will soon be worthless and that as a precaution the United States, Canada and Mexico reached a secret agreement in 2006 - an achievement that President Bush somehow neglected to mention - to scrap their currencies and replace it with something called the Amero. You know that's not true just because the name is so stupid.
Here's the relevant part of his theory:
"He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific Coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic Coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong."
That's so ignorant it's breathtaking.
Panarin also claims that Russia only leased us Alaska and that they should get it back. Listen, Igor: Sarah Palin is ours.
There were some tongue-in-cheek postings after the 2004 election that the country should be divided along electoral lines: The blue states - the West Coast, the Northeast and Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota - should join with our northern neighbor to form the United States of Canada, and the red states would become Jesusland.
With the U.S. no longer the world's dominant economic power, who would regulate world markets? China, he said, which someday might be sort of plausible, and "Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia." Earth to Igor: Given the Kremlin's recent history of confiscating foreign-owned assets and investments in Russia, no one is going to trust Moscow to hold the money - unless, of course, it's Ameros.
Dale McFeatters is a columnist and editorial writer for Scripps Howard News Service. Contact him at McFeattersD@SHNS.com.