YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

'But Seriously, Comrades'--Presenting the Sinatra Doctrine

November 05, 1989|Bruce McCall | Bruce McCall is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker

NEW YORK — Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadi I. Gerasimov said on Oct. 25 that the Soviet Union had adopted the "Sinatra Doctrine" in its policy toward Warsaw Pact nations. "He has a song, '(I Did It) My Way,' " Gerasimov explained. "So every country decides on its own which road to take."

Now, a speech, alledgedly delivered by Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, has come to light.

Comrades, delegates to the 43rd Plenum, observers from the friendly socialist camp, hero veterans of the Great Patriotic War, ladies and germs:

What is the Sinatra Doctrine? I will explain. The interpretation of Marx whereby we got Karl . . . and Frank . . . got Barbara! (Rim shot.)

But seriously, comrades. Mistakes . . . I've made a few . . . but Yeltsin . . . he made a few more! (Rim shot.)

Speaking of mistakes, Frank never would have sung "Come Fly With Me" if he had to fly Aeroflot! (Prolonged applause.)

We keep Aeroflot's crashes a state secret, of course. Also what they put in their in-flight meals ! (Rim shot.)

Whem Comrade Eduard Shevardnadze spoke in Helsinki of the Sinatra Doctrine, certain stooge elements of the kept Western press interpreted it as mere "My Way-ism."

What is the Sinatra Doctrine? Is it a sacred right to consort unmolested with hooligans and goon elements whenever one chooses, without accountability to anyone? We like to think so! (Rim-shot.)

Frank sure does! (Double rim-shot.)

Although Frank never got bear-hugged by Kadafi!

We interpret the Sinatra Doctrine to guarantee the freedom to crush, like a Baltic independence parade, any parasitical journalist muckraker who dares deviate from the correct sycophancy and puffery line. As we were recently forced to do in the case of the criminally unsycophantic Vladislav Starkov, soon to be ex-editor of the pestilential tabloid rag, Argumenty i Fakty . This one's for you, Ol' Blue Eyes!

And let us just see Kitty Kell--er, Vladislov A. Starkov--Argumenty with that Fakty!

Does the Sinatra Doctrine place its practitioner somehow above the law? Whenever possible. Let us postulate that we are beating a man senseless in a restaurant in retaliation for a mildly critical comment, while our bodyguards hold him down. Applying this to a nation such as Afgahnistan or Angola, anyone can see the dramatic possibilities of the Sinatra Doctrine for world peace. If not, our bodyguards--in this case the Red Army--will elucidate the situation for them.

The Sinatra Doctrine encouarges 180-degree U-turns in political direction, as The Chairman of the Board has achieved in moving from liberal Kennedy Democrat to hardline conservative Republican, and as we have done in moving from Lubyanka-bound KGB apparatchik to globe-trotting, glad-handing perestroika flack.

The Sinatra Doctrine means the solidarity of a Rat Pack, nodding like puppets at everything you say and rubber-stamping your every decision.

But it's quarter to three, there's no one in the Hall of Delegates except you and me. So set 'em up, Arkady, I got a little Five Year Plan you oughta know. (Rim shot.) Thank you comrades. You're a beautiful bunch of Communists. Safe home. Shooby dooby doo . . .

(Red Army Cocktail Orchestra begins "New York, New York.")

"Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you."

--NIKITA SERGEYEVICH KHRUSHCHEV talking about capitalist states, at a Polish Embassy receptionin Moscow, Nov. 18, 1956.

"You're all dead, every one of you. You're all dead."

--FRANCIS ALBERT SINATRA to reporter Barbara Hower and assembled press at rehearsal for Ronald Reagan's inaugural gala in Washington, Jan. 17, 1985.

Los Angeles Times Articles