After I narrowly missed being nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Donald Trump, it’s doubtful that he would pick me to be the next ambassador to Russia.
I say this because lots of people are calling for current Ambassador Jon Huntsman to quit and come home.
Near as I can tell, the call is a result of a meeting in Helsinki during which many say Trump publicly sniffed with interest the nether parts of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Calm down. I didn’t say the president did it. I’m only repeating what I’ve heard. Hell, I didn’t even know he went to Finland.
Even if Huntsman resigned, it’s unlikely that Trump would have to dig too deeply to find someone so utterly shameless to replace him.
But I’d take the job. Officially. For the most part. In my spare time.
The truth is I’ve always wanted to check out Russia. It’s my understanding that ambassadors get to do it for free. Oh, I imagine there’s some work involved. But it’s not like I would have to pay to go there.
Besides, I have a lot of experience with Russia and communism. I might as well make this my resume:
Being American and Mormon, I always saw Russia as the enemy. In 1958, when my father was in the Air Force, we moved to a Strategic Air Command base in Spain to, among other things, provide a strong military deterrent to the spread of communism.
B-47 Stratojets flew over our apartment all the time, keeping America free by keeping the Commies in their place, which, until I was in first grade, was somewhere called the “Sov-yit Onion.”
Later, when we moved back to the U.S., my classmates and I periodically scrambled under our desks during bomb drills in case the Communists ever tried to kill us with nuclear weapons.
As faithful Mormons, we stored food against the day when war and famine — caused by Communists — engulfed the world.
I heard a lot about communism in church — that it was the creation of Satan and nothing at all like our own United Order, which never really got off the ground.
My Uncle Larry was a staunch member of the John Birch Society. He railed about the “damn Commies” for most of my childhood. He was always giving my parents books about how “Rooshuns” were going to take over the world if we didn’t get righteous.
One of the books was “The Naked Communist” by former Salt Lake City Police Chief W. Cleon Skousen. It was a salacious-looking tome that graced our bookshelf for years next to “Mormon Doctrine” and the scriptures.
I was only 6, when Skousen’s book was printed, and 10 before I got a chance to peruse it. My disappointment was profound. There were no naked pictures of anyone in it, much less Communists.
Skousen eventually got fired by Salt Lake City Mayor J. Bracken Lee for having his officers raid a card game in which Lee participated. That and because Lee believed Skousen was nuts.
However, Skousen remained a celebrity among many right-wing Mormons until the 1970s, when the LDS Church formally declared itself independent of his redbaiting tactics.
By then, I had my own near-death experiences with Russians. In 1971, the draft board came looking for me to help out in the fight against the Moscow-backed Communist forces in Vietnam.
I managed to dodge that fight and lived to see the U.S. boycott of the Olympics, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the importation of cheap vodka.
Whatever. The point is that I’m sufficiently knowledgeable about Russia to qualify as a replacement for Ambassador Jon Huntsman if he chooses to resign. “U.S. Assbamador to Russia Robert Kirby” has a nice ring to it. I could hardly do worse than the president.
Now might be a good time to resume the periodic practice of ducking under our desks.
Editor’s note • Ambassador Jon Huntsman is no relative of Robert Kirby, but he sure as hell is a brother of Kirby’s ultimate boss, Paul Huntsman owner and publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune.