As “Russia v Ukraine” heats up for the West’s Christmas Holiday — the significance of historical dates plays high in Moscow’s planning, for the Soviet Union dissolved on December 25, 1991 and you may bet that Vladimir Putin has never forgotten it (nor, for that matter, Felix Dzerzhinsky’s birthday on September 11, 1877)
Pakistani ISI and some portion of Islam as well appears to walk down both sides of the street. Arms and materiel supplied to the Taliban were in any case of Russian origin — https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/04/24/russia-is-sending-weapons-to-taliban-top-u-s-general-confirms/ (there are other confirming reports online) — and when Kabul fell, the Taliban were quick to guard the Russian Embassy (https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/world-news-russia-says-taliban-guarantees-security-to-its-afghanistan-embassy/391802). Moscow was then just as quick to seal defense sales with Afghanistan’s neighbors who would themselves fear Taliban power: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/russia-says-boosts-arms-supplies-central-asia-amid-afghan-conflict-2021-08-05/ .
Around the world, Putin’s Russia engages in a spectrum of unpleasant activities designed to destabilize its targets, foremost EU/NATO (for its businesses, democracy, humanism, and rule of law), and control and produce power in its own interests. Also, Russia has been long a state about appearances — military and political theater — and the longest looks backward will fine the Viking, Varangians, Slavs, and Rus, and all perhaps have come together in Putin’s mind and the related diplomacy, leadership, strategies, and tactics devised to perpetuate what he may be believe to be Russia’s essential soul.
Recommended for the curious: Kings & Generals on YouTube (“Russian History”); for the politically inclined, “Atlantic Council, Russia”, e.g., https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/russia-is-the-worlds-leading-exporter-of-instability/ (10/19/2021).
Regarding my characterization of Putin’s perspective and the related destabilization of EU/NATO: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/08/world/europe/unit-29155-russia-gru.html 11/16/2020 | https://www.justsecurity.org/64327/countering-russias-malign-influence-operations/ 5/29/2019 | https://www.csis.org/blogs/post-soviet-post/countering-russian-disinformation 9/23/2020 .
Regarding our own rightfully proud nationalism, that too may be traced to 9/11 and the strongly intimated sojourn of mastermind Ayman al-Zwahari in Russia during the winter of 1996 to 1997 (https://www.businessinsider.com/exploring-al-qaedas-murky-connection-to-russian-intelligence-2014-6). He would leave for the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal region to produce the compact with Osama Bin Laden that would then culminate with the attack by hijacked jets on the symbols of American and western power.
It’s All Good — Or Is It? About Information and Popular Public Perception
The American Public, imho, gets the news toward which it gravitates, Fringe Left, Far Left, Left, Center, Right, Far Right, Fringe Right. As we are now familiar with terms like “social media algorithms” and “echo chambers”, we — and others in other nations — may have also an obligation to ask more questions and test and corroborate what we find, so that we ourselves are not digging our own cultural, political, or social holes but rather finding the essential histories and narratives that prove inerrently reliable however criticized or scrutinized.
My own quest as regards perspective: Next Century Post-Modern.
Of course, I hope there is a “Next Century” (not that I’ll be around to care) and that the generations arrive at it with tidily packed away medieval baggage and altogether more appropriate intellectual and language tools as well as integrity (most of all) for addressing the challenges of that day to come as found.
J. S. Oppenheim