We live on a world of power, land, strength and resources, not of which pronouns to use or to celebrate diversity. Konstantin Kisin explains the brutal truths we need to hear.
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We live on a world of power, land, strength and resources, not of which pronouns to use or to celebrate diversity. Konstantin Kisin explains the brutal truths we need to hear.
By Artyom Lukin, an associate professor of international relations at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia. Follow him on Twitter @ArtyomLukin
Instead of Bolshevik radicalism, Putin’s preference seems to be the old Tsarist model: No plans to build an overseas empire, just a vast continental autocratic power relying on nuclear weapons, ‘healthy conservatism’, and ‘time-tested tradition’. Putin’s system is utterly opposed to revolution. His rumored spiritual confidant, the Russian Orthodox Church’s Metropolitan Tikhon, has been incessantly warning about the dangers inherent in uprisings and upheaval. The Russian leader himself openly detests instability as a fundamental evil, having said, “Russia’s political system is evolving steadily so as to prevent any revolutions. We have reached our limit on revolutions.” Putin’s words often sound as if they were coming straight from conservative leading light Edmund Burke’s ‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’.
Putin’s Russia has its ideals mainly in the past. That’s a major reason why the ideology of modern Russia appeals to many right-wing conservatives in Europe and North America who see Russia as the last major state that adheres to the values of what used to be European Christian civilization. Putin’s Russia has another advantage. Among the competing ideologies, it is the most appealing aesthetically. This may be because for Putin’s state, order is prioritised over justice. Justice, especially the unlimited justice of the ‘woke’, is often messy and even ugly. Order, especially a hierarchical one, has a powerful beauty. Think of the aesthetics of The Lord of the Rings or Dune. Similar to Hollywood epics exploiting medieval narratives, much of the appeal of ‘the Putin universe’ may be drawing upon the themes of power, masculinity, hierarchy, and miracle.
Another attraction of the Russian system is that, despite being somewhat imperfect in terms of political and civil rights, it probably boasts one of the highest levels of private freedom in the world. The state in Russia is generally reluctant to intervene in the private lives of its subjects, if only because it lacks the capacity to do so – and apparently does not seek this capacity, outside of the most recent Covid-19 measures, which have been opposed and overhauled in equal measure.
The Russian model does have one major drawback. It is ill-suited to deliver economic and technological development. For a decade now, Russia’s economy has been stagnating and it is unlikely to take off any time soon. However, the lack of economic dynamism might be a systemic feature Putin is perfectly aware of, accepting it as a reasonable price for political and social tranquility. To achieve breakthroughs in development, you need to be willing to conduct massive societal-scale experiments, sometimes bordering on revolution. For all the differences in their ideological credos, the West and the CCP-led China share the taste for experimenting with their future. It is an irony lost on few that the new facial recognition system being developed in China to provide security in public places is called Sky Net, echoing the dystopian AI that haunts the world of The Terminator films.
Humanity can now choose between the West’s wokeism, Russia’s neo-feudal conservatism, and China’s slightly dystopian digital socialism. It is far from a wide selection on the menu, but it’s good to have a choice anyway.
As the media go hysterical over Trump and Putin meeting, it is important to ask yourself this question: who gains by making Russia the bogeyman? Instead of, say, Islamic terrorism, Islamic invasion of Europe, mass emigration from Africa or Mexico, or the advent of thinking machines, autonomous cars, and microbiological weapons? Eh?
As Spengler observes, Russia has always been governed by thugs, and on the scale of Stalin or Lenin, Putin’s long list of assassinations is less than the first 3 days following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
President Trump offended the entire political spectrum with a tweet this morning blaming the U.S. for poor relations with Russia. “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity,” the president said, and he is entirely correct. By this I do not mean to say that Russia is a beneficent actor in world affairs or that President Putin is an admirable world leader. Nonetheless, the president displayed both perspicacity and political courage when he pointed the finger at the United States for mismanaging the relationship with Russia.
The hysterical shouts of “treason! Munich! disgrace!” are a sure sign that the Party of Davos is offended, and they are getting really scared that the changes they deplore keep on happening despite their shrill control of the mainstream media.
Something new is aborning, and like all births, it is messy, bloody, shitty and horrible to look at. But wipe off the baby and cut the umbilical cord, tie it up and tuck it in and you have a new baby. The birth of the new will look ghastly for a while but the process of replacing the Post World War 2 American Imperium with something else is underway. As Steve Bannon says, “we don’t want a European protectorate, we want a European alliance.”
Mostly we want to go on living as nations, and not as helots in service of the Davos crowd.
John Brennan, who led U.S. intelligence under Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter: ‘Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors’. It was nothing short of treasonous.’
You may expect more of the same. Unless you realize that the world is changing before your eyes, and that the US Deep State in particular does not want to change its anti-Russian focus, nothing will make sense. As Orwell once noticed, it is hard enough to see what is in front of our eyes. It is not treason, it is the downgrading of the threat from a declining Russia to its actual proportions. In the meantime, beware of Russians bearing soccer balls, but not more than one should be wary of open borders, Davos thinking, intersectionality and the decline of educational standards.
The last time I can remember an event so large was the fall of the Soviet Union, but the important fact is that this time the change is happening here.
Earlier the Economist stated the following about the Catalonian independence.
Mr Puigdemont invokes “the legitimate right to self-determination of a thousand-year-old nation”. National and international law is against him. Spain’s constitution of 1978—approved by over 90% of Catalan voters in a referendum—granted the regions great autonomy. But it affirmed “the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”. Only the Spanish parliament can change the constitution. Catalonia’s own autonomy statute, which Mr Puigdemont’s law would replace, can only be amended by a two-thirds majority of its parliament. And the Council of Europe, which Mr Puigdemont consulted, said in June that any referendum must be carried out “in full compliance with the constitution”.
Globalist, like Economist, should not be so dismissive because every upstanding globalist, are there any other kind, knows that UN supersedes all. Following excerpt is from International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Spain is a signatory.
1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
Germany’s insistence on austerity in the euro zone has left Europe more divided than ever and a break-up of the European Union is no longer inconceivable, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Der Spiegel magazine. (emphasis added)
Gabriel, whose Social Democrats (SPD) are junior partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in her ruling grand coalition, said strenuous efforts by countries like France and Italy to reduce their fiscal deficits came with political risks.
“I once asked the chancellor, what would be more costly for Germany: for France to be allowed to have half a percentage point more deficit, or for Marine Le Pen to become president?” he said, referring to the leader of the far-right National Front.
“Until today, she still owes me an answer,” added Gabriel…..
Is that because Merkel has suddenly realized that there are greater threats elsewhere?
Islamist terrorism is the biggest challenge facing Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said in her New Year message.
Rebel Yell and I repaired to the Fortress of Solitude yesterday, ostensibly to split some firewood. The evening’s discussion turned to the significance of Trump’s election. These were our thoughts.
Changes to be expected include:
At the end of our discussion, Rebel Yell banged the table, and asked: “Tell me, is Trump, President-elect?” Yes, Rebel Yell, he is.
I am reading Erik Larson’s Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. It is an excellent read. One passage early in the book reminds me of the particular German capacity to lose a war for failure to understand what is at stake, to not see beyond their noses, to fail to understand what a tactical decision may actually mean.
The Lusitania was a huge Cunard liner that was sunk in 1915 by the largely successful U-boat campaign, one that came very near to starving the British war effort of munitions. It was broadly thought that the Germans would not be so ruthless as to sink a passenger ship, even if it flew the British flag, on account of the bad odour of targeting civilians. Little did they know of the German military mentality. The ship was sunk with heavy loss of life, which set in motion a series of events that led to the US entry into the war in 1917. By the end of the war the US was pouring 50,000 new troops per month into the war, and there is little doubt that the US entry tipped the scales in favour of allied victory, both by troops, by materiel, and by the certainty that with the United States on the Allied side, victory was inevitable.
A debate occurred back in 1914 in the German high command concerning the extent of discretion to be allowed U-boat captains. The maximalists won. As Larson writes:
The most important effect of all this was to leave the determination of which ships were to be spared, and which to be sunk, to the discretion of individual U-boat commanders. Thus a lone submarine captain, typically a young man in his twenties or thirties, ambitious, driven to accumulate as much sunk tonnage as possible, far from his base and unable to make wireless contact with superiors, his vision limited to the small and distant view afforded by a periscope, now had the power to make a mistake that could change the outcome of the entire war. As Chancellor Bethmann would later put it, “Unhappily, it depends upon the attitude of a single submarine commander whether America will or will not declare war”.
To review the facts for a moment, few can recall how very very close the Central Powers came to winning World War 1. By 1917 the Germans had knocked out the Russian Empire from the war (and successfully implanted Lenin in Russia to infect it with communism) and taken for themselves most of Ukraine for food supplies. They then attacked the Italians at Caporetto in the mountains of Slovenia and drove them back 75 miles out onto the plains of the Po river valley, with heavy loss of life and heavier loss of equipment. Two out of four fronts were in the hands of the Central Powers. The Brits were winning in Palestine and Syria against the Turks- which really was a sideshow -and things were stalemated on the Western Front. The French had been in mutiny and bled white , and were essentially doing no more than holding their lines. Into this front the Germans were able to pour all their resources, including 50 divisions from the east, and Ludendorff attacked the Allies with fresh tactics and more troops in March 1917, driving the British (including Canadians and Australians) back many miles. Once again the Germans doubled down rather than negotiate a peace, as they might well have done.
The Germans had realised that their only remaining chance of victory was to defeat the Allies before the overwhelming human and matériel resources of the United States could be fully deployed.
The very weakness of American military power encouraged Berlin to start its unrestricted submarine attacks in 1917. It knew this meant war with America, but it could discount the immediate risk because the US Army was negligible and the new warships would not be at sea until 1919 by which time the war would be over, Germany thought, with Germany victorious. The notion that armaments led to war was turned on its head: refusal to arm in 1916 led to war in 1917.
The story of the sinking of the Lusitania, and of how close Germany came in both world wars, but especially the first one, prompt melancholy reflections. When civilians are largely excluded from war-making decisions, as they were in Imperial Germany, the people left in charge know only one thing: more and more total war. A war-making culture, such as Germany’s was then, can distort political decisions to favour upping the ante, rather than consider limiting one’s losses. “Go for broke” may be resorted to more by soldiers than by civilians with a business background who answer to electors.
Generals are the only people in civilized society who are socially and legally authorized to kill people in great numbers. It is important to allow and empower them to do this when they have to, and just as important to ensure that civilians decide when and how far generals are to be allowed to engage in their deadly business.
Delegating that kind of decision to young men in their late twenties or early thirties is a bad idea. I think we can all agree on this.
Financial Review presents a provocative article by Gleb Pavlovsky, a former Putin spin doctor, on the workings of the current Kremlin decision-making apparatus and its inadequacies:
Russia, to Mr Pavlovsky, is driven not by a search for external power but by internal weakness — a lack of vision for its impending post-Putin existence. Mr Putin has successfully made any political alternative unthinkable, and his entire country is now trapped by his success. In other words, Mr Putin’s enormous popular support is a weakness, not a strength — and Russia’s leaders know it.
Deprived of a vision for the future, Russian elites are tempted by conspiracy theories and apocalyptic pronouncements. As Aleksandr A. Prokhanov, a writer and leading voice of Russian imperial nationalists, lamented, the elites know that if they attempt a Perestroika II, they will fail. Better, he said, to provoke another world war than try to dismantle Mr Putin’s designs.
Reading Mr Pavlovsky’s book, one realises that what is totally absent in the Western analyses of today’s Russia is this “end of the world” mentality among Mr Putin’s political and intellectual elites. In Mr Pavlovsky’s view, the experience of the catastrophic collapse of the Soviet Union, rather than geopolitical interests or values, is the key for understanding Russia’s strategic behaviour and the inner logic of Mr Putin’s regime.
Vladimir Putin’s peculiar version of ’70s chic isn’t limited to backing thuggish client states and hurling invective at the West. A new generation of useful idiots has been fathered by the Kremlin.
Even the New York Times concedes Russia`s clandestine backing of the anti-fracking movement in Europe:
Anca-Maria Cernea, a leader of a conservative political group in Bucharest that has exposed the prospect of a Russian connection, said that while no documents have been uncovered proving payments or other direct support from Russia, circumstantial evidence shows that “Russians are behind the protests against Chevron.”
The protesters, she noted, included groups that usually have nothing to do with one another, like radical socialists, some with ties to the heavily Russian influenced security apparatus in neighboring Moldova, and deeply conservative Orthodox priests. Russian news media, she added, were curiously active in covering and fueling opposition to fracking in Pungesti. RT, a state-run Russian TV news channel aimed at foreign audiences, provided blanket coverage of the protests and carried warnings that villagers, along with their crops and animals, would perish from poisoned water.
None of this has stopped Gazprom from looking for shale gas and oil itself. Its Serbian subsidiary, Nis, is now exploring prospects in western Romania near the border with Serbia. Unlike the Chevron project at the other end of the country, however, the Gazprom effort has stirred no mass protests.
It is not surprising that an ex-KGB chief of station would resort to the toolkit that gave us the World Peace Council, the CND, and the Greenham Common “peace camp”.
It is both uncanny and unsettling how much of this speech from October 27, 1964 still rings true today. The struggle continues.