Chechens, who at their peak could barelyrnpopulate an American city, while usingrnthe sternest possible measures o cr arnperiod of roughly a centur- and a half,rnperhaps we should rethink the notionrnthat a few Big Macs, a pair of Nikernsneakers, and some Madonna CDs, togetherrnvyith enough English to makernone’s way through K-Mart, arc enoughrnto eonycrt untold millions of Mexicans,rnChinese, and Nigerians, among others,rninto Americans. The I.os Angeles riotsrnand the behayior of certain Latino organizationsrnduring the Proposition 187rncampaign should serve as a reminder tornus of what any iliage idiot knows: whenrnthe crunch comes, blood calls to bloodrnand people line up with their own kindrnagainst outsiders.rnWayne AUensworth is an informationrnofficer at the Foreign Broadcast InformationrnService in Washington, D.C.rnI’he views expressed are his alone.rnCrooning OverrnChechnyarnby Eugene NairettrnLeonard Bernstein was a fine midcenturyrnAmerican composer andrnconductor. I le also achieved notorietyrnas one of the postwar period’s Brst andrnmost visible celebrants of extreme leftwingrnattitudes. Bernstein’s garden partiesrnfor the Black Panthers in their baddcstrndays evoked the phrase radical chic,rnwhich entered our language as an carivrnmarker of what since has become knownrnas lifestyle liberalism.rnRebellion in the Russian province ofrnChechnya recently has elbowed asidernBosnia as the foreign segment of ourrnmedia diet, and it is this rebellion thatrnhas provided the latest occasion forrnradical chic. In fairness, it is not onlyrnlifestyle liberals who are engrossed withrnthe Chechen. Republican internationalistsrnnostalgic for the Cold War haverntaken an interest in Russia’s stumblingrnresponse. Bob Dole, who has been lurchingrninto one hollow “statesmanlike” posturernafter another as preamble to hisrndoomed presidential bid, has mutteredrndarkly about resurgent Russian imperialism.rnThis grumbling is familiar andrnthoroughly bogus. Those who dancedrnwith Brezhnev cannot plausibK claimrndistress about the suppression of a tinyrnprovince of Muslim fundamentalists.rnBut it is precisely the Che’ehens’ exoticrncthnicit that liberals find sornthrilling. Brezhnex’s erushing of thernCzech spring in 196S may have discomfitedrnthem a bit, but in the midst of thernVietnam War they did not want to criticizernthe Russians overmuch. Besides,rnthe Czechs were so boringly Western,rnpart of our culture for 2,000 years. Howrncould liberals with hearts aflame for thernVietcong glamorize white people whornlove Mozart and the Catholic Church?rnThe Chechens arc a different matter,rnjust the kind of dasliing hoodlums thatrnliberals find attractic, at a distance.rnConsider some of the breathless commentaryrnfrom a newly minted “expert”rnin the Northeast’s most liberal paper.rnOur freelancer recalls the glamorousrnhiiam Shamil, “a holy Muslim warrior”rnwho proclaimed a fihad against therntroops of the czar. “I lis horsemen werernuncc]ualed!” enthuses the cub reporterrncjuoting from her Worldbook. “Navigatingrnthe high terrain like mountainrngoats”—what an inentie simile—rn”they swooped down with reins betweenrntheir teeth and hacked the Russian soldiersrnto pieces as thev struggled up thernnarrow mountain passes.” How excitingrnto envision the slaughter of a bunchrnof incompetent Christian white boys,rnscions of men who for 500 years foughtrnto protect themselves, and people furtherrnwest, from the onslaught of ‘I’artarsrnand Mongols.rnBut politicalK correct attitudes arernnothing new to bored middle-class attitudinizers.rn”Shamil was a heroic figurernin European capitals. Victorian ladiesrnembroidered his black banner in needlepoint.”rnSo radical chic was alive and festeringrnin 19th-eentur England. It wasrnjust that mixture of aesthetic and imperialrnattitudes that led some English tornglorify and assist the Confederate statesrnduring our own Civil War.rnThere is more in this matter thatrnreflects the liberal habit of losing abroadrnwhat they hate at home. Listen to thernpack; “Violence and carrying weapons isrna Chechen w a of life. In the Caucasus,rnwarriors wrote poems to their daggers.”rnEven better, “blood feuds and vendettasrnstill exist.” I’hose infatuated with thisrnportrait of violent, gun-toting nativesrnare the same liberals who demonize thernNational Rifle Association and anyrnAmerican who seeks to retain his right torna rifle. Such double standards are a signaturernof radical chic and the reasonrnnormal folks resent it.rnLast but not least are careerist reasonsrnfor idealizing the Chechens. If there is arnprotracted battle with many deaths,rnthere will be a lot to write about, manyrnpicturesque and horrid scenes to be describedrnwith piquant sympathy for thernThird World rebels. “Already volunteersrnarc signing up for a holy war,” our cubrnwrites with an almost lubricious fervor.rnChechen brutality and fanaticism willrndissolve into visions of turbaned horsemenrnwriting poems to their daggers andrnjigging in the village scjuare.rnC)ur own national interests will becomernobscured as well. While the Russianrnarmy flounders as it did duringrnWorld War I, and Yeltsin’s control of hisrncountry fractures as did the czar’s, arncoup becomes dangerously possible.rnOur goal must be stability in Russianrngovernance, with or without BorisrnYeltsin. If we will not go to the mat forrnthe Czech Republic or Poland with theirrnintegral links to Western culture, wernmust not pick fights for Chechnya, arnprovince the size of Massachusetts andrna republic only in name.rnWith our limited political influencernand energ) and our need to reform ourrnown government and cultural values,rnone can only hope that the odd alliancernof Cold War reflexes and radical ehiernwill not obscure our maiir interests concerningrnChechnya. There as elsewhere,rnwc need statesmen who can distinguishrntravelogs from history and who declinernto satisfy the transient fascinations ofrnour jaded elite.rnEugene Narrctt is a professor of Englishrnat Framingham State College and arncolumnist for the Middlesex News.rnECONOMICSrnThe Flat Taxrnb R. Cort KirkwoodrnWhen the new guru of the GrandrnOld Party waddled up to thernSpeaker’s chair and took his oath, thernclock began ticking. The GOP had 100rndays to fulfill a good measure of itsrn”Contract with America.” Since Housern46/CHRONICLESrnrnrn