https://conflict-backchannels.com/…/links-russia-in…/ I’ve been using some of these Back-Channels pieces as boilerplate. The the two powerful dictators — Putin and Khamenei — and the tyrant in the middle — Assad — may be making a statement about their natural right to exist as they do: colonel, president, emperor, ayatollah, or tyrant. As criminals do, they’re refusing the authority of powers other than themselves; they’re acting fully without compassion or empathy for others, except, perhaps those favored through their patronage; and, as the malignant among narcissists do, they’re putting on a show using a simple self-serving script, “Assad vs The Terrorists”.
In the time-honored ways of the tyrannical, each has “exceeded limits” by practically any standards (save those of ISIS, perhaps), plundered their own states, and reveled in their own glory surrounded by those who cooperate in their madness.
In business, feudal arrangements involving inner circles, private and proprietary methods, and profit seem a confirmed part of how we do things. With “state capitalists” — in Putin’s own words, “New Nobility” — why should the possession of power and wealth prove different?
I don’t think these kinds of guys stop until stopped. There are few avenues of appeal to humanity or sentiment (Putin was spending about $50 billion on Sochi while Assad was preferentially bombing his moderate opposition and large noncombatant communities: no funds were applied for the general relief of Syrians caught in this version of Hell).
The thread starter: a CBS This Morning video:
Posted to YouTube 9/29/2015.
Plainly, and even if representing a post-Soviet neo-feudal Russian, President Putin, as unkind as language may be to him, is himself a power with whom to be reckoned. How that has had to have been approached may speculative, but, certainly, caution has been a large part of it. In 1991, when the Soviet dissolved itself, NATO and the Russian People had had in mind a different kind of Russia. The Cold War then seemed over — and it should have been over.
Behind each state government and system, democratic or despotic, exists an array of winners and losers, insiders and outsiders, privileged and needy. Each government handles the business of life, justice, and fate differently. Where the democratic open societies cultivate the distribution of political power along with the cultivation of individual ability and private fiefdom (we call them “businesses”), the medieval leadership concentrate power in the Great Leader and related favored and privileged insiders (for whom a “loyal lie” most certainly trumps “an inconvenient truth” — the child’s story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, always applies). The transitioning of such societies seems to have to come from within (as much has played out in British history) and probably will, but with the Big Red Tantrum Button — the unspeakable in latent power — always close by, change may have to come about indirectly and slowly.
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