In the United States, it would seem the Federal state has some retrograde constituencies, politicians, and now Supreme Court judges who would rather not have a credible and mighty democratic republic but rather a collection of backward and parochial cesspools operating along callous and ignorant–or ignorant and sadistic–lines of power, and at that the kind of power accustomed to imposing suffering on others in the name of religious righteousness and related malign and narcissistic will, for religion serves often as a cover for hypocrites, their abuses, and the crimes.
In Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, there was no real reason–forget the hair-splitting with the Constitution: the earlier Roe v Wade had been affirmed and reaffirmed across more than 50 years of equally contentious debate–but that involving the political lust for power and magically-thinking Christian zealotry. What I refer to in general as the “American Medieval Christian Front”–there are a lot of organizations that may be included in the nation’s “Far White Right” and “Christian Nationalist Movements”–has proven that America’s extraordinary secular-humanist democracy (start with Thomas Paine‘s writing) may be degraded and perverted in purpose by a medieval mob fully willing to impose its will on less passionate others, i.e., ordinary Americans of many faiths, quite absent of any consistency in reason.
Putin’s Trump naturally played the medieval card and in packing the Supreme Court left an odious present that fairly gutted common faith in the protections of the Constitution. In effect, the former president returned power to the kind of people–and the kind of scoundrels–who didn’t really like it in the first place.
Soviet/Post-Soviet Russia and Attempted “Positive Channeling”
The Cold War Is Over
The cold war of poisonous Soviet-American feelings, of domestic political-hysteria, of events enlarged and distorted by East-West confrontation, of almost perpetual diplomatic deadlock is over.
The we-they world that emerged after 1945 is giving way to the more traditional struggles of great powers. That contest is more manageable. It permits serious negotiations. It creates new possibilities–for cooperation in combating terrorism, the spread of chemical weapons and common threats to the environment, and for shaping a less violent world.The New York Times. “The Cold War Is Over”, April 2, 1989.
The Cold War may not have ended quite as well as the hope and optimism displayed and promoted in the west had promised and, to a large extent, operationalized. In fact, Western-launched investment and cooperation were set in place with earnest good feeling all the way to the ferocious eruption of civil war in Syria in 2011, after which it appears detente served to defend western stability. Ten years later — and do note the significant years 1991, 2001, 2011, 2021/2 — the invasion of Ukraine transformed any sense of enforced balanced in power that the west had believed in into plain containment and push-back through a western-leaning alley.
Of course, all of that above might be the crayon, large and messy, version of history. The details turn up cooperation masking the greater arc linked to criminal KGB and their soon-to-be President–Vladimir Putin.
Within the Soviet/Post-Soviet sphere, I have used the following references to suggest the Big Picture “narrative arch of history”–i.e., the 30 years of taking revenge for the Soviet Army’s retreat from Afghanistan and the dissolving of the Soviet Union that followed three years later:
Nekrasov, Andrey. Director. Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File. 2007. The documentary suggests disaffected KGB had pried their way back into power by the mid-1990s.
Politkovskaya, Anna. A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Before her assassination, Politkovskaya had reported on the brutalizating of Chechen villages by an unbridled and somewhat deranged Russian Army.
Satter, David. “The Unsolved Mystery Behind the Act of Terror That Brought Putin to Power.” National Review, August 17, 2016. Satter details the KGB false-flag operations undertaken to heighten the demonization of the Chechen People while framing Vladimir Putin as the hero who would defend Russia from them.
Schindler, John. “Exploring Al Quaeda’s Murky Connection to Russian Intelligence.” Business Insider, June 10, 2014. Ayman al-Zawahiri would return to Afghanistan from “detention” in Russia over the winter of 1996/7 and make compact with Osama bin-Laden for the staging of the attack on the United States referred to as “9/11”, i.e., September 11, 2001 (in Wikipedia, “September 11 attacks”).
Wikipedia. “Felix Dzerzhinsky”. Putin has made his affection for Stalin and the Soviet Union quite clear, but the head of the Cheka secret police has held a special place in his heart, e.g., “Putin Renames Police Unit After Bloody Cheka Founder Dzerzhinsky”. So why include the note here? Felix Dzerzhinsky was born September 11, 1877. Coincidence? Or just very interesting?
No intellectual somersault should be needed to connect 9/11 with the heightening of awareness and focus on Islamic Terrorism worldwide as well as with the concurrent development of western patriotism, nationalism, and xenophobia that would in turn become the “New Nationalism” in EU/NATO, the foundation for the strengthening of politicians on the Right and movements further to the Right in support of authoritarianism, isolationism, cultural chauvanism, racism, revolution, and terrorism.
Related defense and security related term of art: Reflexive Control.
Reprise: Medieval or Modern?
On Facebook and Twitter, I have now and then posed the rhetorical question, “In which world do you wish to live: Medieval or Modern?
The feudal-medieval realm of absolute and exclusive power often commanded by brutality on one hand and excessive unaccountable reward (but without power) on the other?
Or democracy or constitutional monarchy in which power has been attenuated by balancing the interests of the powerful and wealthy of the state with the views and powers of elected legislatures and courts, including high courts, nominated and confirmed through elected representatives?
If you’re of the 21st Century and cognizant in relation to its other issues, the most clear, reasoned, and responsible answer to “medieval or modern?” would seem that of rejecting the “charms” of the medieval mode.
For the most part, our species leans — and needs must lean — forward into the future.
Alas, some portion develops elaborate fantasies about a yesteryear in which their ancestors were great in battle and at leisure in wealth, perfectly comfortable with the degradation and enslavement of others to keep themselves as if gods deeply admired and always obeyed. These days, those who try to impose that archaic, delusional, and ugly-for-others reality on the space around themselves encounter in the west resistance loaded with derision. Those who may accept it where they have been made to feel they must have only to feel their own souls diminished, enslaved, and rendered meaningless.
In the family . . . it might work, but most people may remove themselves from an oppressive family and have the protections of the state to forestall recapture.
Within and surrounding an entire state: disaster!
Cited Above (Inconsistently) or Also Related Online
Gutterman, Steve. “The Week in Russia: ‘Ghastly Zealot’ Or Medieval Prince? Neither One Will Stand On Lubyanka Square As Statue Vote Abruptly Stopped.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty (RFERL), February 26, 2021.
Oppenheim, James. S. FTAC: Middle East Conflict: Back to Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter and Forward to the Plundering of Palestinian Misery by Palestinian Leadership Elites.” BackChannels, December 29, 2017.
“First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” Putin said. “As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.
“The epidemic of collapse has spilled over to Russia itself,” he said, referring to separatist movements such as those in Chechnya.Associated Press. “Putin: Soviet collapse a ‘genuine tragedy’.” NBC News, April 16, 2005.