Category Archives: FTAC – From The Awesome Conversation
If — in my own head — I hit a universal note just about right in Facebook or other conversation, I may simply wrench it from context and publish it here in this category as a mix of observation and, I hope, a writer’s wisdom.
After the dissolving of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, some KGB elite found themselves driving cabs, i.e., out on the streets, stripped of power and privilege. It didn’t take long for part of that set to determine to regenerate themselves, perhaps through their former networks (I’m mythologizing but keeping to milestones in the greater narrative arc), and set about taking revenge against the west.
9/11/2001 – I would call the event a Russian “Reflexive Control” operation by proxy against NATO. Whatever the truth of the matter, it provoked the proud flesh of a wounded west into a far rightward motion, i.e., the “New Nationalism”. In France, and with Putin’s blessing, Marine Le Pen picked up on the pride.
I’ll add another one or two touchstones here.
2011 – the Arab Spring and desertification lead to protests in Syria against a callous regime quick to respond with violence to any challenge of its authority. The same had also a mighty lever in enjoining the “War on Terror” against any enemy it wish to call a terrorist. Spillover: mass migration -> NATO, starting with Turkey, the same became a stimulus for greater nationalism accompanied by xenophobia. Most affected: Hungary, Italy, Poland, and the United States.
In the listing of years as the perhaps KGB penchant for clever aggression, the whole has gone with the “ones” — 1991; 2001; 2011; and if the invasion of Ukraine had been squeezed in right, 2021.
Putin’s Russia has been cooking on all of the medieval burners, numerology somewhat included, and, indeed, NATO has now to catch up with the array of conditions and threats fashioned by Moscow since the end of the Cold War, and Moscow, representing the Russian “Mafia State”, has some advantages given European and North American appetites for every illicit good and service moving around the planet. It and its buddies among dictators and thugs view the west both as turned toward nationalism (sadly true in part) and morally degenerate — but in Ukraine it has drawn a response remarkably different from what it had imagined. The key to that has been its criminality and barbarism. The cruelty displayed over time and across the post-Soviet Russian space of interest has been effective as regards inspiring hate for everything associated with Moscow. Whether the New Nationalists, Le Pen included, view themselves as part of the problem in light of Putin’s behavior, we shall see. One thing they won’t want will be domination by the Stalinist Russian.
The West had perhaps thought the Cold War over on December 25, 1991 with the announcement at noon of the Soviet Union’s dissolving itself in bankruptcy, but here with are with a post-Soviet KGB/FSB President Putin in power who while demonstrating his idea of logical reasoning repeatedly proves himself barbaric, inhuman, and irrational and only best in his expression of unhelpful and wholly destructive madness. He appears to have no insight as regards his own malign and narcissistic disorder, but his army knows it, his generals see it, his inner circle suffer for it and none appear able to stop him.
For Ukrainians, who are but the latest to catch Tsar Putin’s cross-hairs, the question comes up as to why EU/NATO so far refuses Ukraine offensive weapons sufficient for controlling its air space. The Atlantic Council circulated a germane answer in the form of a survey of experts and simple chi-square chart, and this morning when both plea and question came up on Facebook, I felt bound to respond.
From the Awesome Conversation
In what follows, I’ve added URLs where they would be otherwise absent in plain text.
Out of laziness, perhaps, I’ve chosen to plant surprises, helpful ones, in the URLs and forego the creating of standard reference (a “Related Online” section has been otherwise a BackChannels desktop publishing tradition).
Here’s the thinking regarding NATO’s official avoidance of war with Russia beneath the black cloud of Mutually Assured Destructed attached to any exchange of nuclear weapons and related and possibly out of control (worse: computer-controlled, according to Putin) escalation.
Putin has cause to believe he has the edge in defense and energy assets as well as global positioning and latency or staging (as global defense assets existing in peace may be turned toward war with an order). As “gifts” to the developed world, Putin also has 2000 tactical nuclear weapons and a number of hypersonic (hard to hit) missiles, and at the very least, he will plant those assets on NATO’s border to sustain his program of intimidation.
By the west’s measured response to Putin’s aggression, it is merely enabling the same while giving up on its principles and values by keeping itself in the respondent mode when the more powerful option, which will come due, will be to seize the initiative and take Putin’s power from him–and, frankly, that for the sake of the Russian People too who have been deeply subjugated by Putin’s governance.
Whoever or whatever it was — or remains — if it was evil, we should collectively appreciate its import, ameliorate its damage, if comparatively recent, and pack it away not to be repeated if the semblance of the same may be prevented or damped.
As lies are told to hide something or to get something, those who counsel the excising of history — erasure of the past, in essence — would seem most of all ashamed of themselves and sensitive to their own hidden predilections for control and conquest. Only the pulling down of the despot’s statue at the time of the revolution proves liberating and signal of liberation. Yanking old generals off their pedestals? That’s something else.
While the Modern West most certainly appears to be at war with feudal-medieval, narcissistic, and totalitarian forces and tendencies worldwide, there seems a part in which the Modern face off with the Modern over the management of corruption and greed. This note From the Awesome Conversation may be accompanied by a minimum of inline or separate references, but I do believe each claim or implication easily substantiated with a little bit of online research effort on the reader’s part.
From the Awesome Conversation (Now Growing Old as I Grow Old) 🙂
Inline URLs have been added to the original plain text.
Moscow’s “Absolutism”, “Active Measures”, “Hybrid Warfare”, and Medieval “Realpolitik” have been somewhat proven against EU/NATO, which by “Reflexive Control” (see “Business Insider, Zawahiri, Russia“) has itself been pushed toward the “New Nationalism” with Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Turkey motivated most of all to march forward into the feudal-medieval past.
Add the arc of Soviet / post-Soviet alliances x Areas of Control x Regions of Influence, and one may glimpse the persistently barbaric and feudal world Moscow has in mind for the global future.
Not only Zawahiri but Jeffrey Epstein as well had Moscow stays in Russia], and the medieval emphasis on “kompromat” — and potential public embarrassment — may have come through most clearly during the Trump Administration (and Trump especially had relationships involving criminal elements and substantial sums of Russian money — start with Craig Unger on all of that).
From the Awesome Conversation, A Note Placed with the Rationalist Society of Pakistan (Facebook)
Because there is no compulsion (is there?), the modern secular guaranty is a roof beneath which all faiths and religious practices may be engaged by choice peacefully and securely.
By the numbers, our planet supports fewer than 7,000 living language cultures and approximately 4,200 separable religions and related sects.
For the blood thirsty, religion may be regarded as a gift, for wars related to creed or dogma favored by one powerful house or another (x clan, family, or tribe or by caliphate, kingdom, or empire) tend to be the least resolvable drivers of wars: nothing has ever been proved or disproved by them. For the most part, the employment of religious rhetoric by the powerful traces most of all to the want of personal aggrandizement and the presence of messianic ambition, and limitless greed.
Today’s post-Reformation Europe supports a dozen historical monarchies, all but two of them constitutional monarchies tempered by empowered and popularly elected legislatures and courts independent of churches once regarded as all powerful (there are no compassionate, democratic, humanist, or liberal theocracies. All theocracies remain deeply medieval, primitive, and suffocating, and especially so where subscription (loyalty with payment extracted) has been compelled.
One Earth and Our Own Little Worlds
The Taliban, among other of the world’s absolutists, scolds, and scourges will learn, whether they like it or not, that modern complexity in financing and trade demands ever higher levels of human cooperation and integration across cultural, economic, and geopolitical boundaries. The lone ancient bureaucrat with his snicker and his hand out for the bribe that lifts the gate he guards has now the power befitting make-believe trolls. Really getting things done — big things: accession to favorable security organizations; extensive infrastructure creation, re-engineering, and repair (after war, especially, but obsolescence over time demands the same regenerative efforts everywhere), ports, transnational communications — require good relationships with a whole world. Otherwise — and examples are numerous (start with Zimbabwe and work backward through the world’s dictatorships) — one’s people may be reduced to eating dust and worms.
For those with the full spread on a table in a palace, where’s the worry?
Today’s responsible government needs must become a partner in the achievement of modern standards contributing to its own prosperity and stability — or the same may choose to remain heavily guarded in its keep and otherwise a vulgar backwater demeaned and reviled worldwide.
Political leaders may have today the puzzle of perpetuating the strength of their own cultures and families and related self-concepts while participating in the development of complex global diplomatic and legal systems bearing on the practical business and technology systems intended to secure a global tomorrow in which the earth and all her cargo may thrive.
Qualities of Living — The State of the State
War is easy.
It is living — and managing for the living — that has become challenging.
I believe for avarice, greed, and vanity, failed and failing states — generally absolute power systems that grind against their own constituents as well as the grain of humanity as well as decaying societies either disinterested in or incapable of damping the rise of their own fascistic elements — fail across measurable dimensions. Absolute and corrupt or decadent powers have despoiled their own environments and societies mightily in the cause of their own glorification. The same have produced a barbarism wondrous to behold and often beyond the bounds of any collective natural or normal human tolerance.
As I’ve written about Qualities of Living (QOLs) before and may come to dwell on the same as a principle for global political, practical, and spiritual competition — who would live best x conditions x population x area-squared? — I’ll reprint here the outline from August 25 this year –>
QOL: Qualities of Living
Biological: Environmental and Human Health
Financial: Actualizing, Beyond Basic, Individual and Family Sufficiency
Psychological: Dignifying with High Degrees of Freedom, Positive Outlook, Potential for Fulfillment, Good Self-Concept, Reliable Community and Personal Security
Spatial: Bases and Boundaries x Person x Family x Clan x Tribe x Nation x Ethnic x Transnational Cultures / Defenses and Retreats
Spiritual: Broad Awareness, Consciousness, Conscience x Comprehension of Community and Personal Place in Time
We may each have our separable dreams — but why not with clean air and water and good soil while in pursuit of contentment, place, and security?
Universally: may we and will we do that much for one another without reference to cultural or political identification and location?
Why not while we dream our dreams do so within the bounds of secured community and personal spaces?
Why not for each person with futures dreamed that may be in part accomplished, comfortable,and enlivening set and sustain the stage for positive accomplishment?
Accentuate Good; Diminish Evil
How good may we be across our species’ one biological platform: Earth?
And how rotten?
The Taliban in pursuit of absolute obedience has made a great to-do of burqa and hijab . . . but are not the virtues desired actually modesty and piety?
As an American of Jewish descent, I would not (yet, though sorely tempted) think of myself as an atheist: I am neither that brave nor cocksure. I would however suggest as virtues worthy of individual consideration and contemplation of possession without religious reference, the following: compassion; courage, empathy; fairness; foresight; fortitude, integrity; patience; temperance.
Worthy of appreciation and occasional experience but better served by diminishment over time: avarice; dishonesty; gluttony; greed; hubris; hypocrisy.
Put another way (more parallel and less awkward): have we — or just our solitary selves — compassion, courage, empathy, fairness, foresight, fortitude, integrity, and patience in all we do with ourselves and with others?
And if and when less noble and we find ourselves avaricious, controlling, corrupt, criminal, dishonest, fanatical, gluttonous, greedy, full of hubris, and hypocritical, should we not wish to have been by character and ethical and moral quality better?
One may ask what may be the balance within as well as politically and socially, for it may be that balance — that mixture in personal and communal or tribal character — that becomes the atmosphere in which we choose to reside or may be doomed to wander.
Hamlet had in part the experience of the medieval world, a most treacherous political and social space in time. Well, here is our still early 21st Century, and we may ask whether life must be or should be as horrifying as it may have been then.
Whether in Moscow or in Washington (or Beijing) – the three almost Orwellian anchoring points in global security — Big Defense and related “protection” rackets gin up a lot money, the perception of threat driving economies and societies in part or whole, but here one may wonder what if the world’s more apprehending, forward-looking, and good natured souls simply moved to address greater global challenges, leaving the dictators, extremists, hotheads, and malignant narcissists (“MaligNarcs” here) to wallow around a while longer in their own fantasies while they themselves become further displaced by time.
True scope: East-West Rivalry; Moscow v Washington; Political Absolutism – i.e., the power of the sovereign to destroy property and persons alike with impunity – v Democratic Distribution of Power & Rule of Law. Flies in the ointment: black markets; corruption; guerrilla wars; low intensity conflicts; wars by proxy.
For fair good reason, the nuclear powers seldom directly confront one another. Financial and political arrangements and families have become deeply entangled above the table and below it, and there’s not much we ordinary people can do about it but ride out the storms with awareness that ultimately the modern world, as we would know it, is well at war with feudal-medieval power as well as barbaric and primitive forces in nature expressed through history.
And the Taliban?
The Taliban are already failing Afghanistan, and Afghanistan, by way of our investment and presence across 20 years, has now to choose for itself — out of sight but in the hearts of Afghans and through resistance — what it wishes to be.
One may hope the warlords and others have no wish to become or remain themselves irrecoverably backward.