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Those deep into the polarization(s) don’t understand that what Putin, Khamenei, and Assad are trying to cement for the future and for themselves is the medieval worldview. The tough decision shouldn’t be where to stand up, i.e., against feudalism and fascism, but rather how to lead or navigate the medieval world into a more productive — helpful, peaceful, prosperous — and modern global reality.

Conflicts consume attention and destroy time, so the drivers and engines leading to political polarization have to be impeded or slowed down as well.


Some BackChannels posts function as markers — brief remarks; “scraped” reference to other publications that become teasers (made you click!); commentary that turns old the moment read but remains as a snapshot of response to a part of the news of the day — and that above serves as a marker.

Via BackChannels — perhaps especially in the section “21st Century Feudal” — one catches a glimpse of 19th Century Russia revisited in Putin’s Moscow, the same as alluded to or referenced in the volumes of “The Russian Section”.  The New Russian Security State is a medieval complex promoting spectacle (like the $51 billion Winter Olympics at Sochi) and political theater (like “Assad vs The Terrorists” AKA “Assad OR The Terrorists”) while failing to produce government responsive to Russians (some would add the term “outside of Moscow”) or responsible to humanity in general.  It has taken BackChannels, which is not edited by an hoary Cold Warrior or newly sprung political science major, some time to see the Great Picture aligning a malignant narcissism with an epic that has laid waste to a nation before a horrified and benumbed global audience.

Projected against the backdrop of this bizarre stage: an image of a Russian bishop (unidentified) blessing rockets intended to kill moderate and modern Syrians, not “The Terrorists” incubated into today’s “Daesh”.  The exact context of the image (in the linked Business Insider piece) has been contested but the message — there mere act of Christian religious authority blessing weapons intended for extremist Muslim targets — cannot but endorse the medieval script, would that history itself have kept its most bloody religious wars contained.

On stage, center and right: an endless, horrific, and obscene stream of the momento mori of war brought to the innocent, infant and adult: beheaded, burnt, crushed, mangled, poisoned, riddled, and sliced.

The post-Soviet, neo-feudal arc of power connecting Moscow, Damascus, and Tehran continues to blame the bloodletting on the west (even though last November — 2014 — it was Moscow entertaining the listed terrorist organization “PFLP”; even though it was then Assad’s, and today Russia’s, bombing priority to preference the mixed and moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) as targets in bombing runs and spare Daesh as hornets to fill up Syria and lash against her neighbors should the Assad regime be plainly overrun).

Responsible oligarchy focused on internal development may survive Syria by way of the complexity of the numbers subject to authoritarian systems and the difficulty, for example, of offering the methods of democracy to such as the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization ever ready for elections followed by proving itself as demonic as advertised (in Egypt in 2013: so done), but the Moscow story now differs quite from that: Bloomberg Business has spotted the contraction of the Russian economy at 4.6 percent (8/10/2015).

Related and published about 30 minutes ago: Kolesnikov, Andrei.  “Russia Chooses Bombers Over Pensioners.”  The Moscow Times, October 20, 2015.

Related: Stadnik, Alexander.  “Russia’s startup migration could help repair relationship with US.”  Russia Direct, October 15, 2015; McKenzie, Malgorzata.  “Why start-ups are Really leaving Russia.”  Russia Direct, October 15, 2015; Murashova, Olesya and Elena Novoselova.  “Employment: Recruitment Shortly Before 2016.”  The Moscow Times, October 20, 2016; Whitman, Elizabeth.  “Russia Unemployment Soars Under Putin Amid Sanctions, Falling Oil Prices: 4.1 Million Out of Work.”  International Business Times, September 23, 2015.

However one may read or skim the above cited articles, business life (and employment) appears simply more tenable, perhaps even pleasant, in the west: more markets for high tech innovators, whether as labor or the heads of new businesses; the power to passively contribute to reduced global oil pricing — by way of North American Energy Independence for Canada and the United States — and, in relation to conflict, imposing sanctions that could only be imposed by the lawful (in banking, business, and trade) on the unlawful — and “unlawful” is what medieval “absolute power” — the rule of the despotic and piratical — has been always about.

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