Welcome to the Mark in Russia Podcast Network and Episode # 042. I try to work with Russian learners of English in terms of language and cultural understanding, while also publishing interesting material for others. I’m Mark and today I’m going to take you for a journey back in time.
I recently made an episode called The Year in review, 1981, back in episode # 37. I did this based on an Adam Corolla podcast where he mentioned that “Year in Review” stories are not that interesting, because these are based on the year we just finished. It’s still pretty fresh in our minds; we can probably do without a refresher.
So, instead of 2011, I went back 30 years and reviewed 1981. Now, I was 24 back in 1981, so I remember the events that took place, but it was still really interesting for me to make that podcast and review the events fresh, from a perspective 30 years later.
I thought that perhaps it was a fluke that that year was such an interesting and eventful year, so I thought, “How about 20 years ago?”
Turns out that 1991 was also a very interesting and eventful year, actually it was a year which saw the political and geographical landscape change radically. I was 34 years old in 1991 and remember all of these events quite well. As I mentioned in episode #37, I’ve been blessed to live during such an interesting and eventful period of time in human history, and wouldn’t trade it for any other period of time.
Let’s set the stage for the beginning of 1991. After Ronald Reagan served two full terms, or eight years as the US President, his Vice-President, George Bush (the senior George Bush) was elected as president.
In late 1990, the late Sadam Hussane of Iraq invaded and took over the small neighboring country of Kuwait. This was bad enough, but we also believed that his next move would be to invade and take over the country of Saudi Arabia, an important American ally, and also the source of a great deal of imported oil to the US.
Let’s put things a bit into perspective. Back in 1991, Iraq had the world’s 4th largest army (the US was the world’s 3rd largest), so we are not talking about some small ragtag army and his elite corps, the Republican Guards had a reputation of being very strong and also 100% loyal to Sadam.
During the last part of 1990, President Bush, along with a large coalition, put together a quite large force in Saudi Arabia with the intention of protect this country and also evicting the Iraqi army from Kuwait. There were more than 500,000 American troops alone.
During part of January of 1991 I was traveling on a business trip to Cincinnati, Ohio and noticed that the airport security was on a much higher level than I had ever seen before. Having black hair and a moustache at that time, I swear that I was followed around while in the airports; perhaps just my imagination, but I’m not so sure. The date was January 17th, 1991.
I went to my hotel that evening after arriving in Cincinnati and turned on the television. The following is what I heard which was actually the first time that the media was present to cover the start of a war and the coverage took a little known cable news network and launched it into the big leagues. The name of the cable network was CNN.