The prize of science: prediction with increasing certainty AKA “predictive validity”.
Why should models in the social sciences, much including political science, differ from those proven useful in biology or physics?
And what if apparent terrorism — the act as defined by the most immediate actor — were to mask another design altogether?
When the Fireman Sets the Fire
In 1999, the KGB appears to have been caught close to the elements involved in rigging an explosion to bring down an apartment building, an event that would have matched similar attacks blamed on Chechen rebels and that provided the causus belli for the Second Chechen War. Candidate for president Putin then praised those alert enough to notice the dead-of-night activity but eluded suspicion. Over time, the persistent of the press and academe combed back through the event and developed independent conclusions adverse to Moscow’s telling.
Journalist David Satter has recounted the event well in The National Review (“The Unsolved Mystery Behind the Act of Terror that Brought Putin to Power”, August 17, 2016).
Miami University scholar Karen Dawisha, author of Putin’s Kleptocracy (Simon and Schuster, 2014) and others have weighed similarly on the subject of the “Moscow Apartment Bombings”, and although the attempted bombing may never be dragged before a jury in Moscow, the sleuths of academe and the press have submitted their public versions of amicus curiae.
What is one to make of the fireman who sets the fire — or the candidate whose probably true false flag operation sets up the greatest national protection racket ever witnessed?
And why stop there?
In 2015, journalist Kyle Orton published “How Russia Manipulates Islamic Terrorism” (September 8). In that piece, Orton focused on Assad’s exploiting terrorism to manipulate greater public perception in his own favor:
Last year I wrote about the murky role Russia was playing in the Syrian war, bolstering the Assad tyranny while facilitating the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and other Salafi-jihadists as a means of dividing and discrediting the Syrian opposition. Moscow’s action were in line with the strategy it had used to defeat the separatist movement in Chechnya, infiltrating the insurgency, driving it into extremism, and facilitating the arrival of al-Qaeda jihadists who displaced the Chechen nationalists. In Syria, Russia’s actions accord with the strategy adopted by the regime and its Iranian masters to present Assad as the last line of defence against a terrorist takeover of Syria and a genocide against the minorities. New evidence has emerged to underline these points.
BackChannels has also long noted Assad’s incubating of ISIL, e.g., “Syria – Assad – ISIL – Background” (December 9, 2016), and the use of the same as a tool for blackmailing and goading the west (forced mass migration works in much the same way).
At the time, so focused seemed the western public on “Allahu Akbar Terrorism”, then Syria — and President Putin’s own return to what President Obama referred to as the “KGB Playbook” — and then Ukraine, that it may have missed Moscow’s ends or purposes in bringing barbarism back to the front pages.
Application of Reflexive Control – The Inspiring of Renewed Patriotism (and Nationalist Fervor)
None who ran off to fight jihad with al-Baghdadi could have imagined the same drawn into existence by being allowed to express itself under the watch of the more powerful, but that may have been what happened, for along with the development of ISIS accompanied by a healthy network of “jihad portals” or “jihad media”, the west has been made to respond repeatedly to “Allahu Akbar Attacks” and in part with predictable authoritarian, patriotic, and xenophobic nationalism.
Those pro-BREXIT and anti-NATO may commence with feeling duped not only by Moscow but by the projection of Islamic Terrorism as the Great Bogie — not that it isn’t an issue — on the part of conservative authoritarian leaders certain to justify the kind of defenses to be launched in transitioning the world’s most open democracies into the more distinct Feudal Estates preferred by Moscow: seal the borders; eject the foreigners; end broad cooperation with the stupid (and liberal) neighbors (if there are any left [after having been colonized by Islam]); pull up the national portcullis, such as it may be, and commence with renewed national “competition” for world domination.
There’s a rub: the knowledgeable of the open democracies and NATO and elsewhere (as in Ukraine) may well comprehend Moscow’s game and gotten just ahead of it, enough so to contain Moscow’s military flexing while it continues drawing down its cash reserves in the self-destructing limbo in which it has gotten itself in both Ukraine and Syria.
Still, Navalny’s most recent revelations tell about how Moscow works, and what it wants in the world and from it, i.e., an Orwellian politics designed for the support of excessive privilege and wealth through the expanded ownership of key assets in other states.
Moscow’s display and approval of brutality on two fronts — Syria and Ukraine — and the developing spirals of poverty in Russia itself tell how the regime regards “the masses” — ordinary people — as being of little account.
Wealthy of the World: Unite!
No need to shout — private global business competition and cooperation are today fait accomplis as regards the deals of the wealthy made while their nations appear at peace.
As has been apparent with transnational corporation for decades, the money goes where it is best suited, i.e., most productive (profitable), most safe (best parked), best entertained, and best enjoyed. In the condition of peace, there would seem no cause to keep an ambitious neighbor from investing in one nation’s own uranium mine or another’s vineyard.
Interpretation: screen capture from Navalny’s documentary on Medvedev’s reach and control of expensive personal assets within Russia and beyond. Source server for capture: UAZMI citation listed in reference. Image edited for color by BackChannels.
How should an American president (sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America) respond to the challenges posted by the reinvigorated upstart of a 19th Century imperial aristocracy?
Better still: how should the American public respond to the prospect of the development of a “post-constitutional” feudal state in which private business dominates government and a small cabal of wealthy dictates to the public what its interests are and will be?
All kinds of things spin through our minds with but a little information — or too little information. “The rich rub each other’s backs” or “The rich look out for one another” or “The rich make sure they remain so as a class” — true? Let’s not be so certain. What BackChannels may suggest is that Moscow’s “political absolutism” and related architecture — secret police state | centralized control | aristocracy and its systems of patronage — requires keeping cemented in place the feudal worldview: wealth is beautiful; people may be treated as a cheap commodity without intrinsic worth, much less inherent dignity or rights.
As so often mentioned here on BackChannels, the proofs of those assertions appear on display in Syria (undeniable barbarism) and Ukraine (continuous and “hybrid warfare”) — and often as well in old communist aligned states (Zimbabwe, South Africa) whose governments remain ever kleptocratic and for the leadership personally self-aggrandizing beneath the banner of one or another messianic cause (BackChannels trope regarding dictators: “Different Talks — Same Walk!”).
The American writ in governance has been (so far) very different from the feudal path, and so it may behoove America’s own transnational wealthy to keep in mind the ideals, values, and ends of their home nation’s modern democratic and ultimately humanist ends.
Bershidsky, Leonid. “There’s No Separating Wealth and Power in Russia.” Bloomberg, March 3, 2017.
Dewan, Angela. “Russia: The problem Trump can’t escape.” CNN Politics, March 3, 2017.
Goodman, Ryan. “How to Connect the Dots Between Trump and Russia.” Newsweek, March 11, 2017.
Higgens, Andrew. “New Commerce Secretary Was No Friend to Russians at Cyprus Bank.” The New York Times, March 6, 2017.
Maddow, Rachel. “New Commerce Secretary at nexus of lucrative Trump Russian deal.” MSNBC, February 27, 2017.
Nechepurenko, Ivan. “Kremlin Critic Says Russian Premier, Dmitri Medvedev, Built Property Empire on Graft.” The New York Times, March 2, 2017.
UAZMI. “Palaces, yachts, vineyards of Russian PM, – Navalny issues report on Medvedev’s secret empire. PHOTOS+VIDEO (in Russian)”. March 2, 2017.
Weiss, Michael D. “Russia’s Long History of Messing With Americans Minds Before the DNC Hack.” The Daily Beast, July 26, 2016.