Moscow and Company — the dictatorships of the world — require that their loyal patriotic subjects live in a feudal information bubble (that’s what state-controlled press is all about) and view themselves as defending their homeland and majority religion. The encouragement of nationalism and religiosity — and the suppression of political competition and criticism — sustains the despotic in power, and that whether nominally “Brown” or “Red-Green”.
To manipulate the western competition — EU/NATO — I believe Moscow has “played” terrorist organizations or media (like Kavkaz Center) to produce the “Allahu Akbar Terrorism” that induces or pushes democracies toward nationalism.
In military and political science circles — and KGB — a part of the the technique of getting an enemy to do what is wanted without firing a shot is called “Reflexive Control”:
If you are democratic, freedom loving, liberal, politically engaged and you have bought into extreme conservative or ultra-liberal politics in the past ten years, you may just have been — as I believe I have been while traveling in the conservative ranks — duped and possibly partly so by “Active Measures”, another lovely term of art for political agitation and propaganda.
Now look again at America’s Trump Administration and its “Russian Question”, the subject of ongoing FBI investigation.
Active Reflexive Control Hypothesis
Stimulation of “Allahu Akbar Terrorism” –> “Patriotic Nationalist Response” (“Brown”)
Complement: “Defensive Socialist Response” (“Red-Green”) to Threatened Reappearance of Fascism)
Moscow’s intention: concentrate power and wealth in the familiar oligarch manner “above politics” as supported by an immense KGB/FSB political control element while producing sufficient division and turmoil in the EU/NATO states to degrade cooperative democratic politics and return power to wealthy and ruthless feudal cabal.
While Russia’s hand in Ukraine has hardly been a secret, the emails, if genuine, provide fine-grained detail of Mr. Surkov’s office in setting up separatist enclaves in Ukraine’s east.
They also shed light on the workaday activity of a propaganda shop, including a rare example of a draft text apparently edited in Mr. Surkov’s office that can be compared with a final version.
The Ukrainian group, calling itself CyberHunta — a mocking reference to the Russian assessment that the Kiev government is a fascist junta — released 2,337 emails from the address firstname.lastname@example.org, many from 2014 as the eastern Ukrainian separatists established their mini-states.
Perhaps most frightening is how Pussy Riot sees Moral America, which is actually pretty good as regards the creation of the civil society that the deeply anti-authoritarian Pussy Riot needs as audience and consumers of its entertainment. Nonetheless, it too appears to have perceived in Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s demagoguery similarities with Putin’s now rapidly developing ultra-nationalist politics.
Many make themselves living hell for others, unfortunately.
Successful states — plenty of cash across the geopolitical space and plenty to do as regards work — seem to me often well put together combines of public commitments and privately realized opportunities. As all things are worked out between actual persons and organizations, the general rule — public-private compacts, from the provision of infrastructure to area-wide tax policy to real estate development through to public regulation of production (environmental and labor legislation) and trade (controls on distribution and tariffs) — dissolves into improved qualities in living x area-sq.
In good societies, “qualities of living” (economic, physical, psychological, social, spiritual) should produce the benchmarks (casually stated: “are you better off today than you were so many years ago? And how so? And why?) to which constituencies and politicians respond.
The despotic evade popular judgment.
I think we focus too much on the “isms” and not enough on leadership and related social practices, but that feature in cultures need the poets out front. Depending on where one lives, the critics of power, especially despotic power, may be made to suffer in situ or in exile a long time.
Re. education — avoidance of indulging too many in the humanities and social sciences, or doing so through too much of a Far Right / Far Left professoriate, may make a political body too easily disinformed and misled. As I have no relevant power in that realm, or elsewhere, reparative action seems way beyond my reach.
I think generalists among writers have at best subtle influence over time.
A good conversation may be mild and yet moving.
The conversational partner had called for the removal of former communists from Russian politics; however, and President Putin included, the whole have transformed from the Soviet outlook and ditched the CPSU worldview, a process well underway but out of sight in the 1980s when the privileged of the Party had begun work on plans for afterward. The “afterward” — December 26 of this year will mark 25 years of “afterward”) — has returned to Russians a deeply centralized national security state: FSB | Putin | Oligarchs.
Where the same has run the world into disturbing issues: Syria.
Barbarism, Corruption, and Cronyism v Rule of Law and Meritocracy
Medieval Political Absolutism vs Modern Democratic Distribution of Power
State-Based Development and Exploitation of Terrorists (as in the medieval realpolitik theatrical “Assad OR The Terrorists”) v Progressive Humanist Discipline in Military / Paramilitary Assessment and Response (as in modern Israel)
The items presented in “That v This” form need not be black-and-white in reality (or “realpolitik”) as the blend may be more the thing, but what’s on display in Russia- and Iran-enabled Syria is so bad as to make modern invention of the political themes involved very easy. Stopping at an expanded “Medieval v Modern” three should suffice.
Through President Putin, certain features (like that KGB/FSB thing) of the Soviet Union have enjoyed a period of “Soviet Reunion”. A number of characteristics associated with the period of dissolve around 1991 have been reversed, and the leader has returned to the people a certain boisterous quality. However, the ambitious neo-medieval neo-imperial state’s “numbers” — military expenditures, reduced oil revenues, incidence of corruption throughout, capital inflows, reduced reserves — may be keeping internal development comparatively suspended. That may do Putin’s popularity and reputation some damage over time.
. . . the majority of the population sees the Kremlin not as the reason for the current economic recession but as the central power making a relatively successful attempt to consolidate society against external enemies that seek to strangle Russia economically. Somehow, it is not hard for the Kremlin-controlled media to find proof and symptoms—Western sanctions are presented as a major instrument of destruction, causing severe harm to the Russian economy; the oil price decline is declared to be the result of an anti-Russian plot; and even the situation around Ukraine is treated as an attack on Russian foreign trade, on Russia’s ability to cooperate with a neighboring market of 45 million people, and on the traditionally close economic ties between Ukraine and Russia. Over time, economic hardships have become a reason for the increase in public support of the president and his policies, not a reason for protesting.
Moscow — post-Soviet, neo-feudal, neo-imperial — has invested its politics in a medieval view of the world with commensurate criminality and authoritarian state leadership. Some have in eastern Europe referred to Putin as “Putler”. Notably, Moscow will not designate either Hezbollah or Hamas as terrorists organizations to this day. In the Syrian theater, I believe ISIS was incubated deliberately to assault, bribe, and goad the west while also serving now and then for “target practice” using Russia’s latest war fighting technology.
In Turkey, Erdogan refuse to apologize to Putin for the downing of an aggressive Russian jet, but a few weeks ago, he turned around, issued his apology, then conducted a countercoup against a coup I believe he helped draw into action, and, not least, he has reengaged Moscow over a powerful energy project, “Turkish Stream”.
Using terrorism as a tool, and doing so by indirect manipulation — e.g., if one knows what ISIS wants to do, why not let it have its way and take advantage of its program? — Putin, no less than ISIS and others, has pushed the liberal democracies toward authoritarian nationalism, the natural reaction to assault by an alien force. Our problem is that while we have been focused on Islam or “islamist Islam” another monster — sometimes I call it the “Phantom of the Soviet” — has gotten to its feet.
Inspiration for the post:
Posted to YouTube 7/15/2016.
I often feel I could do with a roundtable of Islamic and Russian Studies experts, conservative side, of course, to has the data and the conclusions I’ve drawn. Indeed, Putin knows that in the face of perceived (!) assaults from Islam, the traditional patriots of nations must rise to meet that threat. What he hides — or perhaps not so much as I write about it — is the effect that has on global politics as regards reinstalling a medieval and divisive mentality in modern states.
I do not wish to be at war with Muslim who have no desire to be at war with me. Most who are modern have now to demonize and repudiate al-Qaeda, Baghdadi, Hezbollah, Hamas and others as belonging to another and long gone age, and they have to find there way into a future that is not their past.
In place of that barbarism? — all those good RFE/RL values: classical liberalism for individuals; democracies that work; and fairness, responsiveness, and responsibility through all the mechanisms of government.
Putin has kept the architecture of the Soviet in place but changed its meaning (very Orwellian, that), but the end remains what is was for the Party: absolute power.
Writing about Russia can be like that: Focus on a crime, follow it into more general corruption, arrive at the “mafia state”; overview energy and economics, move on to “hybrid warfare” and other aggressive military and paramilitary activities, and it dawns that there is an imperial state at work; have a glance at history, then get the nose out of the books and have a look around at present Putin & Co. relationships, disinformation, domestic information control, and global propaganda.
What may be most dangerous about Russia today is the slowly developing surround in alliance and axis accompanied by the seduction of the popular mind (in Soviet-speak, “the masses”) by way of the promotion of confusion.
For its part, this blog has pressed the idea that defending Putinism, much less spreading it, devolves to sustaining a deeply feudal-medieval worldview that in turn undergirds the power of state elites: the “New Nobility” that is the FSB; the “Vertical of Power” that is this most singular Russian President around whom other elements revolve; the Oligarchs that produce and enjoy the state’s wealth, albeit with a nod to the permit provided by their political mastermind.
With numerous stolons — plant-generated surface and underground runners that propagate some of the species that use them — the Moscow hub appears to support an immense array of illicit and licit relationships.
Here’s a nugget pulled from the illicit bin, which, of course, is the one that most bothers the west:
The leaked files suggest that Roldugin is not keeping this wealth for himself, but is funneling the money to Putin’s inner circle, the reports say. Although Putin is not mentioned in the documents, he appears to be at the center of a web of Russia’s most influential and powerful men who owe their posts and fortunes to nothing but their friendship and association with him.
“It’s possible Roldugin, who has publicly claimed not to be a businessman, is not the true beneficiary of these riches,” the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists wrote. “Instead, the evidence in the files suggests Roldugin is acting as a front man for a network of Putin loyalists — and perhaps for Putin himself” (Mirovalev, LAT, April 4, 2016).
How deep go these relationships?
How many are there?
Can you see the tree? The trees? The forest?
The Syrian Tragedy, as BackChannels refers to that horrific process in which it appears Damascus with tacit approval from Moscow and Tehran pursued a course certain to produce “The Terrorists” by preferentially bombing more moderate Free Syrian Army forces and refraining from curbing the early development of al-Nusra and ISIL, needs no introduction: the human spillover is either encamped or migrating all over the Middle East and Europe.
Posted to YouTube April 14, 2016.
Moscow, however, has been also busy from the Baltic Sea (as depicted in the above naval incident) to the Black Sea. Crimea and Ukraine, Lithuania, and Moldova, among others moan with the impositions or threats posed by the phantom of the Soviet alive within the Russian Federation.
Given Moldova’s limited economic potential, the country struggles to maintain its defense capabilities. It only allocates 0.3% of its GDP for military purposes, which amounts to about 25 million dollars per year. Furthermore, Moldova presents limited interest to the West. Its strategic and economic importance is negligible. To make things worse, Moldova is highly dependent on Russian energy supplies, export and labor markets. Russian media control a significant share of Moldova’s informational space. Finally, Kremlin has been instrumental in using Russian speaking minorities in Moldova to advocate interest that often go against the will of the majority of the local population.
Whatever the Soviet was thinking — arms sales? Expansion of forced influence? — it sure wasn’t thinking about the lives and needs of either either Ethiopians or Somalis. In effect, in the promotion of the Ogaden War, The Bear wrapped an arm around the Somali leadership and offered to help the same acquire a fair patch of earth as redress for earlier grievance — and then with that accomplished, it did the same on the other side.
What works, unfortunately, works.
If you now see the Ogaden in history — you have seen one tree.
Nothing has changed: now as then, one may wonder at the character and mentality of the post-Soviet neo-imperial Russian leadership, the same that has treated Russia as it has other states: create chaos and danger, drown the masses in propaganda (ah, those good old Party days are here again!), and for power — and the protection of so many money making enterprises, licit and illicit — promise the super nationalist’s version of greatness, security, and stability.
Note: Putin-Erdogan — politically opposed (there’s that Shiite vs Sunni thing + NATO) but psychologically aligned (and Erdogan has the White Palace to prove it).
This is just not a story about a hothead who had an argument with someone at work, steamed home to get his gun, came back, and shot the bastard with whom he’d been fighting. This is a story about a couple with a developed arsenal, pipe bombs, and bomb-making supplies. Add: her passport; his recent beard; foreign travel.
The White House has consistently refused being drawn into the position of the “crusader west”, and we as a nation, so I hope, have refused agitation from the Left / Far Left and the provocation of division such acts promote; however, people take steps that aggregate to alter the political landscape.
The Putiin-Khamenei assault on NATO involves — just my opinion — the encouragement of fascist nationalism (as has been seen in Hungary throughout Orban’s leadership and made more clear in relation to that state’s treatment of the Syrian refugees) in line with the feudal statement implicit in Russian, Syrian, and Iranian politics — “mafia states” each one. Few things promote a Far Right response quite like events associated with “Islamic Terrorism”. The “Feudalists” use someone else’s terrorist ambitions (model: “Assad AND The Terrorists”) to manipulate the political atmosphere in the states they have targeted.
While one may wish not to endorse a racist national socialism – one that seeks the destruction or subjugation of all others everywhere – I’ve always stood behind the prerogatives of ethnolinguistic cultural survival and self-determination. The possession of culture (with beliefs, calendar, customs, institutions, and rituals) suspended in and transmitted through language is a precious gift, and one that man cannot create except in the natural course of living together in some human space and in limited numbers, i.e., a social subset of the species in its totality.
American multiculturalism works partly because of the English-borne classical liberalism passed down through its constitution through time and a combination of privacy, resources, and space such that every cooperating culture may and has found some place to plant itself and struggle along or thrive on the American quilt. Most other states, if not all, including those of the British Commonwealth, have a legitimate part of old feudal interest in the survival of, indeed, both a national way of life (x beliefs, calendar, customs, institutions, and rituals) and the adjusted survival of indigenous contributing cultures within.
The correspondent had shared the video with BackChannels. Plainly, the complaint devolves to geospatial cultural realities — Let Sweden be Swedish! — and how those interests may be handled today.
Among other observations, Talar notes on his Angry Foreigner page, “I don’t hate blacks, arabs and jews. No idea why some of the comments are like that. I am not against immigration as a phenomenon. Of course Im not saying that every country should close it’s borders. Im just asking that other countries take more responsibility with asylum seekers so that we in Sweden don’t have to take as much. It’s fucking killing us. Our politicians are too scared to integrate immigrants properly and it’s causing problems for both the ethnic population and us who have come here over the past years.”
Pat Condell, “Sweden – Ship of fools” (posted to YouTube October 13, 2014):
On the other side of asylum and immigration issues of serious scale are conditions in other lands. Mexico’s ever lumbering economy and narcoterrorism literally drives its population to border-running desperation. The same may be noted where mass lowest-level employment draws labor into foreign enslavement. In other quarters — but I have Syria and Iraq immediately in mind (however, watch out for an increase in Ukraine’s newly dispossessed) — open conflict (poorly addressed) has produced “internally displaced” and “refugee” (homeless, either way) numbers ranging far into the million (by way of Syria alone, above nine million).
Swedish good nature and goodness may account for folly in acts of grace that would take in the immigrant (tired, poor, wretched, and culturally militant), but the challenge to the world (perhaps: get the coming numbers down; get resources up; and move internal economies and trade into strong development) dwarfs even its best potential gestures.