Janus, the god of the gate looking in and looking out, might suit the passage made by former President Donald John Trump in relation to his appointing as his first campaign manager the world’s most notorious flack for dictators–and then or now–as his legal troubles mount beyond his managing–a lead lawyer for his team (for a short term) with a clientele in Venezuela.
Russia Paid Off European Politicians In Relation to Ukraine and Violence Elsewhere
Since Russia launched its brutal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s overseas aggression has reached a fever pitch. Yet Russia can still rely on the occasional friendly voice in Europe: Last November, for example, far-right Italian local legislator Stefano Valdegamberi penned an op-ed decrying the EU’s decision to designate Russia a terrorist state as “a serious mistake” that “foments conflict by denying historical truth.”
But what Valdegamberi didn’t mention was that he had long been collaborating with a secretive Russian lobbying group with a direct link to the Kremlin. Since at least 2014, that group had designed plans to channel cash to European politicians to help it legitimize Russia’s occupation of Crimea and promote pro-Moscow policies inside EU countries.
America Has Lost Its Objectivity Over “Spy Balloon”, Says Chinese Pundit–And He’s Right
Influential commentator Hu Xijin blamed American “politicization” and “hype” for preventing the incident from escalating, saying that competition to look tough on China meant that the United States “has already lost its objectivity.”
In the normal course attending diplomatic incidents, investigations ensue, and with “spy data” presumed already transmitted, there would seem not much point in destroying the technology involved in the overflight. Of course, there was Gary Powers too, so Biden did what ranting Republicans appeared to expect in the way of “tough” leadership. It was not a good decision nor display of national air and space defense–the object should have been addressed and turned or interdicted on or just past arrival in American air space.
China has already apologized for the incident–“On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the balloon was theirs, but called it a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes,” that had gone off course. And the ministry expressed rare “regret” for the incident.” Beijing should now follow up with details regarding the research mission and its technology, in general, while the U.S. Navy attempts retrieval of the drowned payload.
The Silencing by Removal of Ilhan Omar From the Foreign Affairs Committee
Omar herself had asked (same article), “‘Why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the (National Rifle Association), or fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policy?'”
Conservative and liberal Americans have now to ask this question: what else is off the table?
Who hasn’t an ox?
Our American system relies on compassion, education, intelligence, open discourse, earnest problem-solving abilities, and respect, not religious or tribal hate.
Apparently, some Jews–not this one although I have become with experience very much an American of Jewish descent–believe Ilhan Omar’s election and voice should be nullified where it most counts, and suspicion, for that is what is expressed by, “. . . pretends not to be an antisemite”, put in place of of argument, education, and reason. The only lesson imparted: don’t mess with the Jews, even if and when they are wrong.
Here, Anna From Ukraine in her daily broadcast lets the world know how war with Russia has been experienced and weathered in her nation.
My view: for those who believe in human dignity and freedom–especially freedom from autocrats, dictators, tyrants, perhaps as well deeply impersonal bureaucracies and systems, and one might also add for Moscow corrupt and criminal systems–courage, endurance, faith, and resilience matter. In the realpolitik between states, alliance, commitment, determination, and ferocity seen as well as off-stage matter too.
This one analysis by French international affairs and security analyst Nicolas Tenzer sets a certain, different, high, and independent standard for diplomatic community and lay readers alike.
The reality is that Moscow is not in a position to seek a balance with the democratic world. It does not set itself limits that could prefigure any compromise, even one that is not very acceptable to us, and the search for a give-and-take on the basis of which a more or less lasting peace could be envisaged. An allegedly “prudent” approach to Russia would be the worst form of imprudence—the history of the last twenty-three years bears witness to this—and any prospect of negotiations a fool’s game. To continue to hold such a discourse about the end of the war in Ukraine is a serious mistake, because it is part of the Russian hope of reaching a compromise, even if it is less than its initial ambitions. To make such remarks would be to do exactly what Moscow is looking for: to present itself as a supposed partner with whom it is possible to reach an agreement, to believe in its signature—which is constantly flouted—and to suggest that the Russian regime is not an absolute enemy. This would again trivialize its crimes. To pretend to give any credence to Russia’s supposed interests as expressed by the regime would be to question the fundamental principles enshrined in the international treaties drawn up in the aftermath of the Second World War. There is certainly no possibility of stability with a power that seeks instability through destruction.
Russia and its culture and language are in no danger as regards their contributions and sustained presence in the world. All that is at stake for Russia is a political criminal–one Vladimir Vladimirovich “Vovo” Putin, in fact, a murderer of ordinary Russians–his associates and cronies and as yet unknown criminals in the transnational crime trades.
Putin’s “Malignant Narcissism” with its “messianic delusions of grandeur” has his coconut set to defend his projection of heroic courage, a cover for early deep humiliation. He neither defends nor represents the interests of a modern Russia but rather the medieval psychosis he shares with similar criminal former KGB and sordid mafia. That’s it. Challenge the thesis, but I believe he won’t stop until stopped. Cancer, internal rivalry, uncooperative FSB and other security might suffice, but for now–for the west and for the world–“containment” will have to do. Putin has got a world in his head that no longer exists in either any shared nor viable fashion. He has only plundered Russia and led her into the void.
Malignant Narcissism: Links & Terms of Art for Exploration
We’re not going to be stuck with “authoritarian” knuckleheads in office in the United States of American or anywhere else in the Atlantic Alliance or, for that matter, in the world, but the transition from the world of medieval belief, fear, and greed requires of both constituencies and governments a modern update related to comprehending retrograde politicians and political missions. In modern parlance, the holy (and secular) grail of characteristics desired may be “high-integrity, responsible, and responsive” governance with improving “Qualities of Living“–village x city x region–the worthy cause of power.
At the moment, the EU/NATO fold has within it disappointing reversions–examples: Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Viktor Orban; Donald John Trump–to feudal-medieval society in which the power of the leader becomes conflated with the existence of the state while related associates, family, and personally favored figures own and rule the businesses and industries hosted across the land–and the general population be damned. For such “leaders”, continuance in power and “unlimited narcissistic supply” are all that matter.
Related for Exploration: Narcissistic Mortification; Covering/Splitting; Gaslighting; Psychological Manipulation; Narcissistic Supply.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the church received official privileges including the right to import duty-free alcohol and tobacco. In 1995, the Nikolo-Ugreshky Monastery, which is directly subordinated to the patriarchate, earned $350 million from the sale of alcohol. The patriarchate’s department of foreign church relations, which Kirill ran, earned $75 million from the sale of tobacco. But the patriarchate reported an annual budget in 1995-1996 of only $2 million. Kirill’s personal wealth was estimated by the Moscow News in 2006 to be $4 billion.
During this period, the church has been silent about genuine moral issues, such as Russia’s pervasive corruption and the indiscriminate killing of noncombatants in Chechnya. As Kirill begins his reign as patriarch, there is little reason to expect this to change.
In the Feudal-Medieval Mode, there is no potion as toxic as that which couples belief and piety in the common spirit with financial, martial, and political power in an aristocracy of thugs: only in still medieval Russia has Kleptocracy an Emperor and a most loyal (and enriched) Patriarch, both formerly KGB and therefore today criminal FSB.
As has become too much my habit, reference follows, and while I read all that I cite–and have read or perused all that I have cited, and this for age or martinis–little stays with me but principles. For Putin-Kirill as an Infernal Dyad, the two appear to share the deepest relationship in corruption, crime, fascism, malign narcissistic covering, persecution of minorities, especially the LGBTQ set, profit from “sin taxes” on alcohol and tobacco, and God (whose existence each seems to be disproving), only knows what else fills their pockets out of the shadows in which the two actors more authentically reside.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Patriarch Kirill I, the leader of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, had an awkward Zoom meeting with Pope Francis.
The two religious leaders had previously worked together to bridge a 1,000-year-old schism between the Christian churches of the East and West. But the meeting, in March, found them on opposing sides of a chasm. Kirill spent 20 minutes reading prepared remarks, echoing the arguments of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that the war in Ukraine was necessary to purge Nazis and oppose NATO expansion.
BUDAPEST, Hungary—When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban unleashed a racist tirade during an annual address to ethnic Hungarians in Romania on July 23, in which he argued that his supporters do “not want to become peoples of mixed race,” the international community recoiled in horror at the vitriol being espoused by the leader of a NATO and European Union member state. One of Orban’s longtime advisors, Zsuzsa Hegedus, resigned after the speech, calling it a “pure Nazi text … worthy of [former Nazi leader Joseph] Goebbels.”
Amanda Coakley’s article also covers Orban’s deliberate development of dependence on Russia for Hungary’s energy supply. His disingenuous position within the European Union suggests he has had but one outcome in mind, i.e., to become premier in Europe’s “New Nobility” as encouraged by Vladimir Putin. At the base of the autocratic feudal-medieval bond–the same “Malignant Narcissism” that has so characterized former American President Donald Trump’s careers and politics that have turned out disasters for banks, contractors, and citizens.
In late November 2022, Ukrainian special forces arrested a suspected Russian agent at the Ukraine–Hungary border. The man had been attempting to smuggle secret information into EU member state Hungary on a flash drive that he had allegedly concealed in his anus.
The flash drive contained stolen personal information about senior figures and staff at the Ukrainian domestic secret service SBU and the Ukrainian military intelligence service GUR, as well as sensitive data on Ukrainian army bases, weapons and logistics.
Global Security‘s remarks fit the brotherly love model of modern despotism in Hungary: “Orban played tough, which might not turn out well for him in the long run. His games were turning into a high wire act, threatening to keep Brussels off balance. At times Orban made half-hearted promises to uphold the EU’s policy toward Russia; at other times, he allowed himself to be flattered by Putin, his self-declared political role model. Or, when it came to economic interests, he allowed himself to be put under pressure (Global Security, “Hungary-Russia Relations” as quoted January 7, 2022).
Putin’s realpolitik, plain old mafia leverage, came through for Russia this past year. From The Guardian—
Hungarians voted in general elections just weeks after the invasion, in April, and it seems reasonable to assume that the war next door had an influence on the result. Given the climate of fear that the devastating “special military operation” created, Hungarians voted to keep Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz in power rather than risk an untested six-party coalition. This assumption also underlies Orbán’s response, which is to stay out of the conflict to the point of being “exempted”, a position that has been condemned as a betrayal by Hungary’s western allies. Hungary refuses to allow arms shipments destined for Kyiv to transit Hungarian territory and blocks the extension of EU sanctions against Russia to the energy sector. This latter stance is intended to enable an already controversial Russian-Hungarian project to build a nuclear power plant on the Danube (Paks II) to go ahead unaltered.
György also notes the “similarities between the two leaders: authoritarian posturing and illiberalism underlying their respective concepts of the state.”
Since then, Orbán has been accused of fostering resentment. Tensions flared in 2018 over a video that apparently showed diplomats illegally issuing Hungarian passports to people in Transcarpathia. Later, in 2019, Hungary was accused of trying to influence the outcome of elections in the region, and blocked Ukraine’s NATO membership negotiations over the row. |
Today, from the Donbas to Kosovo, events are again proving the potency of nationalist narratives over lost territory and peoples separated by the claimed injustices of history. Yet, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the simple fact that many Hungarians have negative views of both Russians and Ukrainians is pertinent.
The wholly reactionary New Nobility (a member of which Orban might wish to be counted) rather like the old, appears fascinated by its own super-duper bloodline and culture, enough so to demonize hosts beyond their own boundaries, engage in passportization, and when possibility arises, redraw maps by way of wars driven by the conviction of racially-based cultural supremacy.
Comparing Orban to Putin might once have been hyperbole. But when Fidesz seems determined to expel a high-quality educational institution from the country on the grounds of political views of its funder, it is hyperbole no longer.
The attack on CEU, furthermore, is not happening in isolation. It is part of a broader effort to squeeze out “Soros and the powers that symbolize him,” to use Orban’s own words.