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Putinism and the Anti-WEIRD Coalition

April 7, 2014

Vladimir Putin’s slow-rolling conquest of Ukraine has restarted openly today, with calls for an “independence referendum” for the newly declared “People’s Republic of Donetsk” in the East. It’s clear that Moscow intends to conquer something like half of Ukraine – through quasi-covert means if possible, by overt invasion if necessary. Regardless, this will place the West on a course for something like the Cold War 2.0 I’ve written about.

That notion is not accepted yet by many in the West, who seem not to understand Putin’s agenda. Among the doubters is President Obama, who dismissed the idea of a new Cold War with Russia, on the grounds that Putin has no ideology, so what’s there to fight about? As Obama put it recently“This is not another Cold War that we’re entering into. After all, unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no bloc of nations. No global ideology. The United States and NATO do not seek any conflict with Russia.”

While it’s certainly true that the U.S. and NATO don’t seek confrontation with Russia, it’s worthwhile remembering Trotsky’s line that you might not be interested in the dialectic, but the dialectic is interested in you. As for the rest of Obama’s statement, it’s simply wrong, and that matters, because the U.S. and many of its allies at present are unable to see the rising conflict with Russia and its friends for what it actually is. And it’s hard to craft a counter-strategy when one side doesn’t even understand the stakes or the issues.

Putinism is a far cry from the Marxism-Leninism that animated the Soviet Union, Putin’s Sovietisms and undisguised affection for some aspects of the USSR notwithstanding. That said, it’s good to remember that Soviet ideology, as practiced, was a pretty cobbled-together edifice too that only had intellectual coherence if you were standing firmly inside the bubble.

I’ll elaborate what Putinism actually is, but before I do, it’s important to understand why President Obama and countless other Westerners cannot see what is right before them. Putin and the Kremlin actively parrot their propaganda, they are doing anything but hide it, yet we still cannot make it out.

This is simply because we are WEIRD. That’s social science shorthand for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic – and nobody is WEIRDer than Americans. In the last several decades many Americans, and essentially all our elites, have internalized a worldview based on affluence, individualism, and secularism that makes us unique, globally speaking. So much so that we seem unable to comprehend that there actually are opposing viewpoints out there.

Barack Obama, by virtue of his diverse ethnic and religious background and elite education, is almost an ideal stand-in for the WEIRD demographic, as he embodies so many things WEIRDos admire: education, affluence, diversity, progressive social views, etc. He comes close to being almost the perfect post-modern American, which perhaps is why so many Americans of that bent adore him deeply. Thus when President Obama says he detects no ideological rivalry with Putin’s Russia, he undoubtedly speaks the truth as he sees it.

Americans of all stripes have a well-honed ability to ignore inconvenient facts, and our better educated citizens seem particularly prone to this (as I noted with our “expert” inability to see what North Korea believes, even though they aren’t shy about it). At root, I suspect Obama and many Americans refuse to accept the in-our-face reality of Putin and his regime because they represent a past version of ourselves, caught up in retrograde views that are entirely unacceptable to our elites, therefore they pretend they do not exist, because they don’t actually exist in their world.

Simply put, Vladimir Putin is the stuff of Western progressive nightmares because he’s what they thought they’d gotten past. He’s a traditional male with “outmoded” views on, well, everything: gender relations, race, sexual identity, faith, the use of violence, the whole retrograde package. Putin at some level is the Old White Guy that post-moderns fear and loathe, except this one happens to control the largest country on earth plus several thousand nuclear weapons – and he hates us.

Of course, this also happens to explain why some Westerners who loathe post-modernism positively love Putin, at least from a safe distance. Some far-right Westerners – the accurate term is paleoconservatives – have been saying for years that the West, led very much by America, has become hopelessly decadent and they’ve been looking for a leader to counter all this, and – lo and behold – here he is, the new “leader of global conservatism.” Some paleocons have stated that, with the end of the Cold War, America has become the global revolutionary power, seeking to foist its post-modern views on the whole planet, by force if necessary, and now Putin’s Russia has emerged as the counterrevolutionary element. Cold War 2.0, in this telling, has the sides reversed.

I’m skeptical of all that, but it is important to note that the post-modernism about cultural and social matters that has become the default setting in the West in the last couple decades has had a hard time putting down roots in Eastern Europe. It’s an odd fact that living under the Old Left (i.e. Marxism-Leninism) inoculated Eastern Europeans from much of the New Left of the 1960s and after, with its emphasis on gender, sexuality, and race. “Critical Studies” didn’t get far with people who had to live under the KGB; indeed, East Bloc secret police in the 1980s viewed all this – the feminism and the gay rights stuff especially – as bourgeois deviance and a subversive Western import. Since 1990, Western countries have made actual efforts to import that, but it’s met a lot of resistance, and doesn’t make much of an impression outside educated circles; which is why when educated Westerners meet, say, educated Poles, “they seem just like us” – because they have accepted, verbatim, what we’ve told them is normative in a “developed” society.

Resisting Western post-modernism on a cultural level is but one component of Putinism, albeit an important one. What comes first, however, is an emphasis on national sovereignty, meaning a more traditional, indeed Westphalian, view of state power and non-interference in others’ affairs. That Putin has stolen Crimea indicates that Moscow’s views on this are highly conditional. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Putin’s regular incantations of the need for respect for sovereignty, which are of course aimed directly at the United States, which Russia views as a hypocrite of the highest order in international affairs, are popular among other regional powers who fear U.S. military might, especially China and India. Moreover, Putin would no doubt argue that his seizing Crimea is in no way a violation of sovereignty since Ukraine is not a legitimate country in the first place (an interview last year where Putin referred to Ukraine as a mere “territory” did not get the attention abroad that it merited). For most Russians, all this falls under the need to restore national honor after the disasters of the 1990s, and is to be applauded heartily. Additionally, there are plenty of people in the world who don’t like Putin or Russia, yet who are happy that someone, somewhere is standing up to American hegemony.

Nationalism matters too. This is a tricky issue in Russia, which possesses some 185 recognized ethnic groups and many religions, with ethnic Russians making up but four-fifths of the population, and that figure is declining. Until recently, Putin had done a good job of promoting state patriotism and a Muscovite sort of multiculturalism that celebrates citizens of the Russian Federation, of any ethnicity or religion, as long as they accept Kremlin rule; that this bears little resemblance to post-modern Western notions of “tolerance” and “diversity” should be obvious. All the same, hardline Russian ethno-nationalists, local equivalents of David Duke, have regularly faced arrest in Putin’s Russia, which has feared setting off ethnic disputes that could turn explosive quickly.

Yet the reconquest of Crimea has caused a clear change of tone in Moscow, with celebration of old fashioned Russian nationalism coming into fashion. In his speech to the Duma announcing the triumphant annexation of Crimea, when speaking of Russians, Putin specifically used the ethnic term – russkiy –  not the more inclusive rossiyskiy, which applies to all citizens of the Russian Federation. This came among incantations to the full Great Russian program, with a Moscow-centric view of Eastern Europe seemingly endorsed by mentions of great Orthodox saints. Unstated yet clearly, this was all of a piece with “Third Rome” ideology, a powerful admixture of Orthodoxy, ethnic mysticism, and Slavophile tendencies that has deep resonance in Russian history.

Westerners seemed shocked by this “Holy Russia” stuff, but Putin has been dropping unsubtle hints for years that his state ideology includes a good amount of this back-to-the-future thinking, cloaked in piety and nationalism. Western “experts”  continue to state that a major influence here is Aleksandr Dugin, an eccentric philosopher who espouses “Eurasianism,” an odd blend of geopolitical theory and neo-fascism. While Dugin is not irrelevant, his star at the Kremlin actually faded a decade ago, though he gets some Kremlin attention because his father was a GRU general. Far more important to divining Putin’s worldview, however, is Ivan Ilyin, a Russian political and religious thinker who fled the Bolsheviks and died an emigre in Switzerland in 1953. In exile, Ilyin espoused ethnic-religious neo-traditionalism, amidst much talk about a unique “Russian soul.” Germanely, he believed that Russia would recover from the Bolshevik nightmare and rediscover itself, first spiritually then politically, thereby saving the world. Putin’s admiration for Ilyin is unconcealed: he has mentioned him in several major speeches and he had his body repatriated and buried at the famous Donskoy monastery with fanfare in 2005; Putin personally paid for a new headstone. Yet despite the fact that even Kremlin outlets note the importance of Ilyin to Putin’s worldview, not many Westerners have noticed.

They should, however, because Putinism includes a good amount of Ilyin-inspired Orthodoxy and Russian nationalism working hand-in-glove, what its advocates term symphonia, meaning the Byzantine-style unity of state and church, in stark contrast to American notions of separation of church and state. Although the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is not the state church, de jure, in practice it functions as something close to one, enjoying a privileged position at home and abroad. Putin has explained the central role of the ROC by stating that Russia’s “spiritual shield” – meaning her church-grounded resistance to post-modernism – is as important to her security as her nuclear shield. Meanwhile, Kremlin security agencies have publicly embraced Orthodoxy too, with the FSB espousing a doctrine of “spiritual security,” which boils down to the ROC and the “special services” working together against the West and its malign influences. Where Chekists once persecuted the church with fanatical fervor, now it’s de rigeur among Russian intelligence officers to be religious, at least publicly. The FSB basically kept the old KGB logo, the famous sword and shield, with St. George slaying the dragon in place of the former red star.

Putin, of course, is a public believer, and while there’s been skepticism expressed in the West about how this onetime mid-level KGB functionary suddenly became a pious Orthodox, it’s clear that, whatever he may believe privately, Putin’s regime benefits from the ROC giving it assistance for its neo-traditionalist state ideology. The Moscow Patriarchate, to use the proper term for ROC leadership, has been anything but shy in its support for Putin and his Kremlin, offering regular expressions of what exactly it believes about the West, often quite vehemently.

ROC propaganda portrays a West that is declining down to its death at the hands of decadence and sin, mired in confused unbelief, bored and failing to even reproduce itself. Patriarch Kirill, head of the church, recently explained that the “main threat” to Russia is “the loss of faith” in the Western style. The practices of “sexual minorities,” to use the Kremlin term for LGBT lifestyles, come in for harsh criticism. Fr. Vsevolod Chaplin, who is the MP’s frontman on these matters, explained about homosexuality, “it is one of the gravest sins because it changes people’s mental state, makes the creation of a normal family impossible, and corrupts the younger generation. By the way, it is no accident that the propaganda of this sin is targeted at young people and sometimes at children. It deprives people of eternal bliss.” Moreover, Chaplin explained, the triumph of same-sex marriage means that the West doesn’t even have fifty years left before its collapse, and it will be up to Russia then to save what can be saved,  to “make Europe Christian again, that is, go back to the ideals that once made Europe.”

Gay activists in the West have latched onto all this, but it’s important to note that Russia’s ban on “homosexual propaganda” ought to be seen as part of a full-spectrum assault by the ROC, and therefore the Kremlin, on Western post-modern values. (Westerners seem not to notice that Russia’s anti-homosexual laws are mild compared to many in the Islamic world and Africa, and Moscow continues to have a thriving LGBT scene.) Putinism rejects Western-style feminism just as strongly as homosexuality. As Patriarch Kirill explained recently, “I consider this phenomenon called feminism very dangerous, because feminist organizations proclaim the pseudo-freedom of women, which must appear firstly outside of marriage and outside of family,” adding that it’s no coincidence that most feminist leaders are unmarried and childless.

Faith aside, it’s not hard to see why Putin wants to fight off Western values based on individualism in the sexual realm that have unquestionably led to lower birthrates, which is something that Russia, which is already facing demographic disaster, cannot afford. The existence of the country itself is at stake, so we should not expect Putin to back off here, especially because he may actually believe all this as a matter of faith, not just natalist practicality.

The West, and the United States especially, have helped cause this by active promotion of the post-modernism that Russia now rejects. It is not a figment of Moscow’s imagination that the U.S. State Department encourages feminism and LGBT activism, at least in certain countries. When Washington, DC, considers having successful gay pride parades a key benchmark for “advancement” in Eastern Europe, with the full support of U.S. diplomats, we should not be surprised when the Kremlin and its sympathizers move to counter this. My friends in Eastern Europe, most of whom are comfortable with gay rights and feminism, have nevertheless noted to me many times that it’s odd that the U.S. Government promotes such things in small, poor Eastern European countries it can intimidate but never, say, in Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, there remains the question of just how universal post-modern Western values actually are outside educated elites. There is ample evidence that many average people in Eastern Europe who fear Russia nevertheless are closer to the Kremlin’s positions on cultural matters than to America’s. In Georgia, where loathing of Russians generally and Putin particularly is universal, resistance to LGBT rights and feminism remains deep and broad, with the support of the Orthodox Church, while much the same can be said of Moldova, where fears of Russian invasion are acute, but so are fears of Western social values. Neither is this resistance limited to the East. It can be found as well in Central Europe, among NATO and EU members. In Poland, the Catholic Church continues to resist post-modern sexual values – what they collectively term “gender,” meaning feminism plus gay rights - leading one bishop to term this “ a threat worse than Nazism and Communism combined.” Strongly Catholic Croatia last December in a national referendum rejected same-sex marriage by a two-thirds margin, to the dismay of progressives across Europe. One of the big talking points from the Kremlin and the ROC is that Russia represents the actual global consensus on such matters, while the West is the decadent outlier. Its postmodernism, proclaimed Fr. Chaplin recently, “is increasingly marginal,” adding that “it cannot cope with modern challenges,” while Orthodox Christian, Chinese, Indian, Latin American and African civilizations share opposite values and will play an active role in building peaceful relations between civilizational systems. Given recent trends in sexual matters globally, with India and countries in Africa enacting harsh anti-gay laws, it is worth considering if Moscow has a valid point.

We are entering a New Cold War with Russia, whether we want to or not, thanks to Putin’s acts in Ukraine, which are far from the endpoint of where the Kremlin is headed in foreign policy. As long as the West continues to pretend there is no ideological component to this struggle, it will not understand what is actually going on. Simply put, Putin believes that his country has been victimized by the West for two decades, and he is pushing back, while he is seeking partners. We will have many allies in resisting Russian aggression if we focus on issues of freedom and sovereignty, standing up for the rights of smaller countries to choose their own destiny.

However, too much emphasis on social and sexual matters – that is, telling countries how they must organize their societies and families – will be strategically counterproductive. Some Americans already believe that Putin, not Obama, is on God’s side in this struggle, and this will only get worse as Europe elects more far-right parties to power, many of which are sympathetic to Putinism, and some are secretly on the Kremlin payroll. If we choose to resist Russia because Putin rejects gay rights and feminism, we will have fewer allies and well-wishers than if we instead focus on matters of national sovereignty and dignity. The choice is ours. The Internationale famously promised, “this is the final struggle” (c’est la lutte finale), and now perhaps we are in that very conflict; there is no doubt that post-modern Westerners feel their social beliefs are the endpoint of all human development, and we may soon find out if they are right. The first step is accepting that we are in fact the WEIRD ones.

[As always, the opinions expressed here are the author's alone.]

124 Comments
  1. Hyper brilliant article. It touches all historical and religious aspects, though financial side is not mentioned

    We are in an state structure mode where Janet Yellen and Jacob Lew are more important than Chuck Hagel and John Kerry.

    Americans and Europeans seem to believe that Federal Reserve has replaced the Department of Defense.
    Weaponry would subsequently no longer be needed since Federal Reserve is supposed to fix all problems, local and international.

    Putin killed that crack smoke virtual reality
    We’re back to crude reality
    Unfortunately we are leaderless. White House refuses to lead.

  2. John J. permalink

    “However, too much emphasis on social and sexual matters – that is, telling countries how they must organize their societies and families – will be strategically counterproductive.”

    To what extent is the problem Washington’s pushing of unwelcome post-modern cultural values on unwilling countries, as opposed to the USA (through the open functioning of the democratic process) being a prominent example of the embrace of said values? In other words, if Washington immediately ceased all forms of cultural coercion, wouldn’t the USA still be every bit as useful a bogeyman to Putin & co. by virtue of its own, very public and largely mainstream feminist and gay rights movements?

    Surely it doesn’t help things to impose culturally progressive values on unwilling nations. But I do wonder whether the perceived stigma of post-modernity has more to do with the USA’s inherent and currently growing cultural progressivism, and less to do with the external promotion of such values.

    • Great question there …. I suspect it’s both, we could debate the percentages, perhaps endlessly. :)

  3. Douglas A. Perkins permalink

    This may well be your best essay yet.  Well done.  

  4. MarqueG permalink

    This is profoundly important analysis, John. But it seems that for the time being, we’re being led from the top down by a set of elite WEIRDos who have blindfolded themselves against the history and its forces still shaping the world today. It’s hard to recognize the challenges posed by the eternal march of history if you believe it ended some time ago. Some may think that Putin is the disfigured one-eyed guy, but he’s king so long as we’re blindfolded.

    As we while away the days consumed with domestic political battles, we lack any response to threats our leaders appear to deny exist. Unfortunately, your take-off-your-blindfold analysis seems to go unheeded among our FP leaders, all too consumed with pursuing their own postmodern WEIRDo unicorns.

    If folks like you and Tom don’t manage to get them to remove the blindfolds themselves, I’m afraid that when VVP does it, the results won’t be quite so positive.

  5. Incredible ! This is the sort of thing we should have been reading about .
    Some people will hate it-and for that reason alone, it is worth passing on !!

  6. Sean Phillips permalink

    I mainly agree with you, so no arguments to present here, but two notes:

    It’s no surprise to me that FSB now cleaves to the Orthodox Church, since the Church was effectively infiltrated and controlled by KGB even in the Soviet era. I figure you already know this, but thought I’d point it out.

    Although I recognize that few Russians want to hear it, national birthrates are correlated in lockstep to national infant mortality rates and have little to do with “sexual individualism.” People have fewer children when they can be sure most of them will survive.

  7. I don’t really have anything to add to this, other than that I agree wholeheartedly and that this is a fantastic piece. I think my favorite bit is where you describe Eurasianism as “an odd blend of geopolitical theory and neo-fascism.” Couldn’t have put it better myself!

  8. John permalink

    I am a white, WASP, married, straight, upper middle class American male. In other words, the enemy of Vibrant America. Fuck America.

    • I support your right to say what you feel, whether I agree or not.

    • Max permalink

      “I am a white, WASP, married, straight, upper middle class American male. In other words, the enemy of Vibrant America. Fuck America.”

      Same here. I agree with the analysis in this blog post completely; unlike its author, however, I side unequivocally with Russia and Putin. America Is A Communist Country, and it needs to be utterly destroyed.

      • You are free to feel that way … in America.

      • Hereward permalink

        “You are free to feel that way … in America.”

        Not really. Note the comments are pseudonymous. Note that witch-hunts to root out racists, sexists, transphobes, etc. have become markedly more frequent in the past months alone.

      • I certainly agree that the trend is not towards more freedom of speech, but less. Banning unpopular speech began on campuses 20+ years ago and has spread far and wide. This is a bad sign.

  9. This is great, thank you.

    I actually don’t think the issue with Obama and company is their reluctance to believe that there is evil out there and they are WEIRD and they project. I actually think there are two things at work that induce in them a believe that this very determined and evil enemy is nevertheless a good thing:

    1) old sectarian Marxist beliefs that saw something “progressive” in the Soviet Union and out of habit continue to see the Kremlin as “progressive”

    2) oh, you say, how can that be, because Communism collapsed and nobody believes in Marxism, above all Putin? Well, there’s another aspect of Communism that isn’t just about collectivizing property, and that is an inherent belief in how you deal with imperialist evil — struggle, deterrence, konspiratsiya, etc.

    And it’s no. 2 that is really at play in the minds of Stephen Cohen or any of them now — they concede that Communism isn’t the real issue so much anymore but they ardently believe that every state, no matter how good, including their own, needs to have balance or deterrence. They think that the need for deterrence trumps the nature of the regime (it’s why they refuse to do anything about Iran, either, and keep speciously citing Israel’ s nuclear power status).

    Ever since Hiroshima, the mindset has been: no one power can be the sole nuclear power to trump others, or they will automatically do evil with it.

    No matter that the explosion at Chernobyl was greater than Hiroshima, and that was caused by Communist mismanagement and suppression of information — the default for all disasters that might embarass the state.

    No matter that Soviet and Russian nuclear power status hasn’t in turn conferred rationality on the Kremlin — just the opposite, and increasingly more so.

    So the problem is how to argue that universality, and applying universal norms equally (so that those who are worse are worse, and we don’t pretend there is moral equivalence) becomes the fulcrum instead of the believe that “any power requires balance, no matter how evil that balancing power is.”

    The nature of the regime does matter. And that’s the argument to make.

  10. Colin permalink

    A few thoughts:

    – Very well put. There is much nuance and primal emotion behind the Kremlin’s strategy to be the beacon of social conservatism. In the USA where these progressive views are widely accepted, it is stunning how blind we are to the impact they have on the rest of the world. They are quite scary! The tolerance and openness espoused by progressivism should take in to account (and respect) that other cultures may not be as accepting to these ideas.

    – Putin is fashioning himself as the wedge driving in to the ideological wedge between progressive and conservative America. I occasionally see this in the conservative blogs/websites I follow when RT propaganda pieces are used as evidence for conspiracy theories.

    – While I won’t go as far as John, I will say that I feel a certain nostalgia for the old-style manliness and more traditional values. As heterosexual WASPs who aren’t mega rich, we stand to lose the most in this brave new world of empowered women, minorities, and homosexuals. I admit to being annoyed with the endless parade of tolerance and diversity. In that regard I have some respect for Putinism. However, I am a proud American and extremely wary of the Kremlin Kool Aid.

    Thank you for the thought-provoking piece.

    • Brad2971 permalink

      All this presumes that “social conservatives” will Always And Forever be looking for a champion for their values. Most “social conservatives” are either:

      a. Too local-centric to pay attention to what a leader from a previously beaten empire (Russia) thinks about their “cause.” Or:
      b. Treat “social conservatism” as but another form of entertainment. Much like they treat politics in general.

      Putin wouldn’t be the first Russian leader/commisar to misread American ideological debates if he took the course suggested above.

  11. You don’t have to go to Russia, or India or Africa or China to find large swaths of people who resent the self anointed ‘progressives’ push to make their WEIRDness (in all of it’s manifestations) appear normal. I’m unhappy to say that for the first time in my life, I’m glad I’m not an American.

  12. Very thoughtful writing John. I’m still sorting it out in my own head, but much of it does ring true. A Jamaican friend told me he felt democracy in Jamaica certainly does not yield receptivity to the kind of postmodern grab-bag envisioned by the State Department. Saudi Arabia remains perhaps the best example of the uneven application of such principles, and a kind of monument to the limits of such FP “idealism”. Also Uganda, which has been critical in retaking Mogadishu from Al Kebab ;) and then enacted anti-gay codes that Putin can only envy. Boom. What is someone named Rice or Power or Kerry to do? *cut to Kerry parasailing in the sunset*

    • Thanks….it’s pretty clear, when you look around the world, that the WEIRD worldview has limits, even in societies that somewhat want to practice it; many other places, ie Saudi Arabia, have no interest at all.

  13. V Uil permalink

    Here’s a thought. Perhaps Putin and Russian assessment of the West is correct. The WEIRD crowd seem utterly unable to see that 90% of the world does not share their values and deeply resents America bullying them into accepting values that they despise.

    And as the West’s influence declines the animosity will grow. My estimate is that about 6.5 billion people oppose the Western ideology and agenda. As the old saying goes: they may not be strong, but count them.

    Tough times lay ahead for the West.

  14. tigertiger permalink

    Facts are on your side, on the American side. Some people still can wake up if they are being told what happened in Russia in the last 20 years (well, 100 really). Litwinienko died in consequence of delivering his message, so did Politkowska, so did elite of my country in Smoleńsk – they were strategic kill (strong circumstantial and physical evidence lay around, described in extenso here: http://www.smolenskzespol.sejm.gov.pl/zespolsmolensk.nsf/dokumenty.xsp).

    I’m not a WEIRDo – although I reserve my right to ‘E’ and partly ‘W’, at least in the past – but the situation is very similar in Eastern Europe, people are asleep, people don’t care and will forget about Ukraine and what it stands for. What I do is I just ‘adopt the useful idiot, one a day’ just like said here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&list=UUmxRh3CobqeOHzN-L15fNrg&v=GA88B0c5ftw

    All in all, very good read, thank you!

  15. mattw0699 permalink

    I’m thinking of a word, but it’s not WEIRD. Let’s try “wrong.” WEIRD is really the rise of modern liberalism. And it’s not just wrong, but wrong as wrong can be. While Putin may be the godfather of a virtual mafia state, there is some truth in his criticism of the West. However, these complaints are an excuse, not a reason.

    Here is a link to a talk from 2007 that some have called the unified theory of modern liberal thinking:

    HERITAGE FOUNDATION: “How Modern Liberals Think” – YouTube – http://goo.gl/0LxUDi

    The modern liberal flips the world upside-down using the following rules:

    How the Modern Liberal Thinks

    1. All outcome for an individual or nation can be no better or worse than any other.
    2. If an outcome is found to be better, then they must have cheated.
    3. If an outcome is found to be worse, then they must have been victimized (by #2).
    4. The amount a victim lashes out is directly proportional to the victimization.

    From the above rules we learn that the US, Israel, Europe and the relatively successful countries are the cause of the world’s problems. Countries behaving badly (Russia, China, Iran, …) are only doing so in response to those successful countries. If the successful countries would just disarm and be nice, then eventually everything will get much better.

    How can a modern liberal possibly understand Putin’s agenda?

    Lately I’ve been picking up a lot more reports about a crumbling world order as Russia and China move to cement their spheres of influence. It’s looks like things are going to get worse before they get better.

  16. markgubrud490204058 permalink

    John, I note the “disclaimer” which at least admits that what are displayed above are your opinions, but I wonder if, in putting forth such a sweeping (not to say rambling) and, I dare say, subjective analysis of such a broad and complicated issue (i.e., do Putin’s actions in Ukraine demonstrate that he and the Russia he rules represent a powerful and implacable enemy of the West which will have to be met with military force), you cling to your usual “I’m an expert” stance as sufficient evidence that your opinions should be accepted as superior to those of other observers?

    If not, let me just offer a different take, very briefly. I think you have pointed out some very real ideological currents. However, I don’t think the present confrontation between Russia and the West is ideologically driven, nor was the Cold War. Both were and are manifestations of the clash of empires, of which ideologies are mere wrappings.

    Of course, the Soviet empire suffered severe internal weakness and rot due in part to its ideology but more due to the rigid, fundamentalist and repressive way it was imposed and implemented, concentrating all power in a small elite. Similarly, the US and Europe, as well as Russia, are today suffering from weakness and rot due in part to the ideology of market fundamentalism and the resultant concentration of wealth and power.

    When the Soviet system collapsed, for a time Russia was too weak to confront the US in its military adventures (however we may think them justified) in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or its meddling and expansion in Eastern Europe and even within the former Soviet republics. Putin has sought to reverse that and now he is asserting Russia’s ability to play very dirty tricks and to back them up with the implicit threat of, well, nuclear annihilation should it come to that.

    So now, we can either ratchet up and further militarize this clash of empires, or we can seek to cool it down, emphasizing global common cause. I don’t think it is helpful to try to sharpen an ideological divide. Russia has its liberals and liberal thought, and as you point out, we have our conservatives, too. Putin may be a prick, but he’s also pretty cool and intelligent, and if we offer him a better deal, he might take it. In any case, he won’t last forever. In the mean time, let’s continue trying to build a better world than his.

    • Putin is “cool”? Ok then.

      • markgubrud490204058 permalink

        Umm… if you take that word out of context, no, but I meant cool-headed. You disagree?

      • Hardly how I read it.

    • tigertiger permalink

      By saying that Putin is ‘cool’ I think what you really mean is ‘cold’, as in the phrase: ‘murder with cold blood’? That would make sense.

  17. Chris Jefferson permalink

    I can’t say how illuminating this column was for me. What I didn’t get before was the increasingly powerful role of the Orthodox Church, especially in the Security Services.

    Oddly enough, I think Solzhenitsyn himself anticipated a revival of Belief in Russia even during the Seventies, when he was going through his publication of “Gulag”.

    Westerners, with their notions of strict separation of the clergy from the state, have not understood the importance of the Clergy in Russia, and your emphasis on its central role is a valuable tool for understanding the thinking of Russia’s leadership classes.

    Lastly, a word on the demographic issue. Westerners have no idea of the demographic catastrophe inflicted on the Great Russian, Byelorussian, and Ukrainian populations (primarily) by the Wehrmacht from 1941-1945. Between 25 and 30 million people perished in the East at the hands of the German Army, the SS, and the SD. At several points during the Patriotic War, the Red Army was having the equivalent of a Passchendaele every two weeks. The postwar governments of Stalin and Khrushchev did little, if anything, to address the problem of “restocking” the population. For his part, Putin is a declared “natalist” and has worked relentlessly with the Church to solve the problem of falling birthrates caused by the demographic “hole” that was left over from the early Forties.

    Once again, John, outstanding essay.

  18. njdoc permalink

    Before you seek justice in Ukraine, you should seek justice at home. Has any banker been convicted from the financial crisis. Obama said they were merely unethical, not doing anything illegal. He seeks justice for gays and elites, and the little guy is merely left to be pacified by the huge welfare state. While the bankers plunder the country with the complicity of the federal reserve, he asks for justice elsewhere. The family has been the center of gravity for the world for thousands of years, yet they seek to redefine it. What is their vision of family? It’s no family! Just like 40 years of the great society has destroyed the black family, these other crazy liberal policies will destroy the rest. People will be left to gravitate to the state for sustenance. This is the international socialist dream. A few elites with massive wealth, and all others the ward of the state. Not the America that I know.

  19. John, this is your best piece thus far on the topic. As a non-American with strong ties to the USA, the push to coerce or force countries, particularly those in Central and Eastern Europe, to adopt prevailing American mores and cultural values have pushed me away from the support for the USA I once had.

    It’s great that you illustrate the point in respect to the damage that the Cultural Jihad waged by the US State Department has on natural American allies in the region.

  20. It used to be that the primary values that our country promoted abroad were Democracy and Self-Determination. Now it seems that we promote predominantly social and cultural values and we are less judgmental about a country’s governance than we are with how closely it models our social norms. Our forays into nation building seem to have a better chance of positive outcomes when we assert and build upon the first two values. These days our DoS seems to be going in too many directions at once to arrive anywhere…

  21. Monigatti Daniele permalink

    First, thank you for this brilliant analysis!
    I think the Kremlin and especially their leader are highly criminal guys!
    They act with many clichés, but in principle as the well-known Russian Mafia.
    They make raids on businesses first in the mainland. After Maidan in Ukraine now raids in an rude neighboring country! Why? Because they feel besieged, as they’ve fear of their early demise.
    The Russian regime is more dangerous than a North Korea for me. It is a killer gang 1. Class.
    With no visible ideology, but the ideology of a despot “Zar” with the ettikette from a strong ethnic Russian imperium, to lead over Europe! Putin need new slaves for his target.
    Target is indeed the Eurasian Union, from the Atlantic to the Pacific …! It will be a Putinunion!
    Probably “the secret way”, a secret long-planned war against Western Europe!
    Putin thinks a weak Europe & America is helpful just now! We must stop him!

  22. cdcas permalink

    Reblogged this on Philosophy and Mimetic Theory.

  23. Mandatory permalink

    Wow. Great article all around. Deep and sound analysis, congratulations!

  24. Klaus D. permalink

    So Putin’s a jackass and the Russian government is a weird hybrid of mobsters and clerics, and somehow that’s all because of American gays and liberals? Are you trying to get a gig on Fox News Channel or what?

  25. Muromets permalink

    Well, that was… as i expected it will be.

    “It’s clear that Moscow intends to conquer something like half of Ukraine – through quasi-covert means if possible, by overt invasion if necessary. Regardless, this will place the West on a course for something like the Cold War 2.0 I’ve written about.”

    Well, West should not have interfered with Ukraine in the first place – should take it’s time, let Yanukovich officially blew the elections and it could swallow Ukraine fully, as it was intended. Good for us (Russians) that greed took best of the West. Ha, it rhymes!

    “That notion is not accepted yet by many in the West, who seem not to understand Putin’s agenda.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with that.

    “Among the doubters is President Obama, who dismissed the idea of a new Cold War with Russia, on the grounds that Putin has no ideology, so what’s there to fight about? As Obama put it recently”

    He said it, yes. US leaders were saying this for years. And doing just the opposite. Amount of military bases, military budget and military “peaceful” operations all around the globe for the last twenty years are proof enough.

    “Putin’s Sovietisms and undisguised affection for some aspects of the USSR notwithstanding.”

    “Some aspects of USSR” are popular among millions of our people. Because, unlike Western experts, we , on a deep personal experience, can compare “Evil Empire” of the past and the “capitalist democracy” we enjoyed during Yeltsin.

    “That said, it’s good to remember that Soviet ideology, as practiced, was a pretty cobbled-together edifice too that only had intellectual coherence if you were standing firmly inside the bubble.”

    A few years after “freedom” crushed Russia almost into dust during Yeltsin rule a sad saying spread among my people – “Communist party maybe lied to us about socialism. But everything they told us about capitalism turned out to be true.”

    “Putin at some level is the Old White Guy that post-moderns fear and loathe, except this one happens to control the largest country on earth plus several thousand nuclear weapons – and he hates us.”

    He does not. He simply sees the truth – the only Russia, that will suite USA leaders (I am not saying West – since it’s not monolithic and with Europe we can have peace) is Russia crippled, obedient and silent. Not because they Super Evil – it’s for comics books – no. Simply because from their point of view any potential threat or rivalry must be eliminated and it’s Pax Americana reality.

    “ “Critical Studies” didn’t get far with people who had to live under the KGB”

    Yup, we were lucky.

    “ indeed, East Bloc secret police in the 1980s viewed all this – the feminism and the gay rights stuff especially – as bourgeois deviance and a subversive Western import. “

    I wonder – what author/authors of this article actually know about women rights and sex equality in USSR? Do they actually realize how progressive (in a true meaning of this word) USSR policies towards women rights were? That there were lot’s of women on leading positions in , say, science and education (with exception of military)?

    “Resisting Western post-modernism on a cultural level is but one component of Putinism, albeit an important one.”

    It’s not component of “putinism”. It’s component of our culture and experience we endured during 1990-1999. As out great poet and patriot Tutchev said more that 150 years ago – “Everything good of Europe we could take, we already took”

    “That Putin has stolen Crimea”

    Rightfully took back.

    “which Russia views as a hypocrite of the highest order in international affairs”

    And it’s wrong wrong because… ?

    “For most Russians, all this falls under the need to restore national honor after the disasters of the 1990s, and is to be applauded heartily. “

    Exactly so. Because it’s true.

    “that this bears little resemblance to post-modern Western notions of “tolerance” and “diversity” should be obvious. “

    Yes, it should. What for West – with it’s history of “white man burden” – looks like an achievement (“OMG, black president!!! Can you imagine that??!!”) – is not a breakthrough here. Look at the Abram Petrovich Gannibal biography, as an example.

    “All the same, hardline Russian ethno-nationalists, local equivalents of David Duke, have regularly faced arrest in Putin’s Russia, which has feared setting off ethnic disputes that could turn explosive quickly.”

    “Hardline Russian ethn-nationalists” have as much power here as Ku Klux Klan in modern USA.

    “Yet the reconquest of Crimea has caused a clear change of tone in Moscow, with celebration of old fashioned Russian nationalism coming into fashion.”

    Anytime when Russia will stand up for it’s vital interests, it will be labeled a nationalistic and warmongering. No surprise here, though.

    “ In his speech to the Duma announcing the triumphant annexation of Crimea, when speaking of Russians, Putin specifically used the ethnic term – russkiy – not the more inclusive rossiyskiy, which applies to all citizens of the Russian Federation.”

    Russkiy narod – Russian people – is a core of Russia. Simply to acknowledge that without it there will be no Russia at all is a logic thing to do.

    “Westerners seemed shocked by this “Holy Russia” stuff”

    But they are not shocked by “stand tall nation”, “indispensible nation”, “beacon of freedom” and other… eh… notions. Fascinating.

    “Western “experts” continue to state that a major influence here is Aleksandr Dugin, an eccentric philosopher who espouses “Eurasianism,” an odd blend of geopolitical theory and neo-fascism. “

    “Neo-fascism”? Maybe Western Experts should look in to the mirror.

    “he believed that Russia would recover from the Bolshevik nightmare”

    “Nightmare”. Well, we all agree to disagree.

    “Putin’s admiration for Ilyin is unconcealed: he has mentioned him in several major speeches and he had his body repatriated and buried at the famous Donskoy monastery with fanfare in 2005; Putin personally paid for a new headstone. Yet despite the fact that even Kremlin outlets note the importance of Ilyin to Putin’s worldview, not many Westerners have noticed.”

    He is a politician. When needed, he will admire Kadyrov, when needed – will praise Solzhenitsyn and Saharov, when needed – he will play devote Christian.

    “now it’s de rigeur among Russian intelligence officers to be religious, at least publicly”

    I am afraid we are talking about different “Russias” here.

    “The FSB basically kept the old KGB logo, the famous sword and shield, with St. George slaying the dragon in place of the former red star.”

    St.George “logo” is a fine and ancient symbol.

    “Putin’s regime benefits from the ROC giving it assistance for its neo-traditionalist state ideology. “

    And yet, ROC has no real power. They talk – some listen – but nothing more. Surely, according to social polls there are millions of Christians – for example my neighbor considers himself as one. Though, last time he was in church was few years ago.

    “The Moscow Patriarchate, to use the proper term for ROC leadership, has been anything but shy in its support for Putin and his Kremlin, offering regular expressions of what exactly it believes about the West, often quite vehemently.”

    Moscow Patriarchate is also constantly verbally defecates on our soviet history – and gets lots of contempt from those of our people who disagree.

    “ROC propaganda portrays a West that is declining down to its death at the hands of decadence and sin, mired in confused unbelief, bored and failing to even reproduce itself.”

    I am an atheist and not a fan of ROC. But they are right to some point.

    “The practices of “sexual minorities,” to use the Kremlin term for LGBT lifestyles”

    It’s a direct translation from standard definition of homosexuals in Russian language, not “Kremlin term” – sexualniye menshinstva.

    “Gay activists in the West have latched onto all this, but it’s important to note that Russia’s ban on “homosexual propaganda” ought to be seen as part of a full-spectrum assault by the ROC, and therefore the Kremlin, on Western post-modern values.”

    I guess, it’s almost impossible for the USA citizen to understand, that west-post-modern-values are greatly disliked among many of my people not because “full-spectrum assault by the ROC, and therefore the Kremlin” but because we had a chance to actually see what these values are made of. On our own. With free access to information – original and unchanged.

    “Putinism rejects Western-style feminism just as strongly as homosexuality.”

    Well, it looks like overwhelming majority of Russian women rejects Western-style feminism. With a passion.

    “which is something that Russia, which is already facing demographic disaster, cannot afford.”

    Thankfully, no longer. First time in 20 years, after “demographic pit” of 1990-1998 a native-born ethnic Russian populace stabilized and demonstrated slow growth.

    “In Georgia, where loathing of Russians generally and Putin particularly is universal”

    Let me guess – it’s another strictly-Russian-fault?

    “We are entering a New Cold War with Russia, whether we want to or not, thanks to Putin’s acts in Ukraine”

    The fact, that Cold War is/was-never not over, became crystal clear when NATO dropped first bombes on Yugoslavia. It was turning point – I remember , how quickly pro-USA and pro-Western views were fading away among our people. And yet, we could do nothing. Russia watched, how military bases grew along it’s border, how talks about “anti-iran” missile shield grew into reality… That, was when New Cold War started. “Whether we want to or not”. Of course you do. At least, those, who rule over you.

    “Simply put, Putin believes that his country has been victimized by the West for two decades”

    And millions our my people are agree with him. Obviously, I am among them.

    “ We will have many allies in resisting Russian aggression if we focus on issues of freedom and sovereignty, standing up for the rights of smaller countries to choose their own destiny.”

    I wonder, do you sense hypocrisy in this statement or not?

    • Thank you for the FSB viewpoint.

    • Monigatti Daniele permalink

      to –> Muromets, this is rubbish, Putin = MAFIA not more, a street boy made career! That’s it!

    • markgubrud490204058 permalink

      Thank you for expressing what appears to me to be a mainstream Russian viewpoint, and for your tart responses to some of John’s analytic and rhetorical excesses.

      What I would be interested in, though, is whether you deny that Russia used military force (minimal, but backed by the implicit if not actually explicit threat of much greater force if forcefully resisted) to annex territory formerly within the recognized (including by Russia, e.g. in Budapest memorandum) sovereign borders of Ukraine, in clear and egregious violation of the UN Charter and fundamental principles of international law?

      If you reply, please do not cite US disregard of international law in Iraq, Libya or even Yugoslavia. That’s all true, although, as President Obama cited, there was never any expectation or attempt at territorial annexation in those cases.

      Also, please do not cite the fact that Crimea was formerly, for a long time, part of Russia. By that logic, the whole world will go up in flames as competing claims of historical sovereignty and ethnic irredentism are fought out.

      What I want to know is, how do you reconcile Russian actions with, for example, Chapter 1, Article 2, paragraph 4 of the UN Charter, or with Chapter 6 or Chapter 7, or do you admit that Russian actions were illegal and (as subsequent events continue to demonstrate) a grave threat to international peace?

      • Doug permalink

        Only a WEIRDo believes the UN to be of any consequence anymore. Somehow I picture Putin saying to someone, somewhere: “you can’t spell ‘eunuch’ without the EU or UN.”

      • markgubrud490204058 permalink

        What do you mean “anymore”? The UN has never had a standing army, and has always been consequential only to the extent that its members, especially the P5, could use it to find ways out of crises or agree to collective action. It remains essential because it is all that we have. Its Charter is the supreme document of international law. We are not going to survive in a lawless world.

  26. samuelburke permalink

    Thanks for your article, it is instructive.

    “America has become the global revolutionary power, seeking to foist its post-modern views on the whole planet, by force if necessary”

    Instead of the Comintern, the west led by the U.S.A are the NeoconInternational, and this force has their network of fellow travelers in the media to propagate their narrative in influential news outlets around the globe. We seem to be led by the Ideological descendants of Trotsky and Lenin. The NeoconInternational is much more sophisticated than the Russian Bolsheviks, our revolutions are designed and managed in think tanks that target countries to introduce Democracy Neocon style. Like the Comintern the NeoconInternational believes in fomenting revolutions to capture other countries and bring them into their sphere of influence, in keeping with the language of the day the NeoconInternational has perfected the revolution, they use the Soft power idea to bring about their coup d’etat’s in order to spread their beloved liberal democracy. This is how the new western intelligentsia seems to prefer to operate. God help the country that buys that tale, just like those poor souls who believed in the proletarian paradise, they get sold out.

    The comintern promised and never delivered the proletariat paradise, turning every state they took over into economic devastation zones and erecting intrusive spying police states to surveil the very citizens that followed their . The NeoconInternational promises Democracy and delivers their conquests into the hands of the IMF and the multinationals.

    “We are entering a New Cold War with Russia, whether we want to or not, thanks to Putin’s acts in Ukraine”

    Maybe, but this cold war II if it does develop is a creation of the NeoconInternational and it’s policy of using NATO to goad the Russians.

    The Americans are the new Bolsheviks with a humanitarian face. The illusion is fading though and by virtue of the revelations of our recent past that delusion has caused at least the pensive amongst us (paleos, libertarians, progressives) to take a new look at the world and take note that the signs have changed. It is what it is. They don’t hate us because we eat chocolate chip cookies and can watch endless episodes of our favorite programs. Freedom fries is for the Bolshevik aficionado.

    Gov’t constrained by laws that favor me is all i wish for.

    • Chuck Nimitz permalink

      Anyone want to guess how long a “paleo” a “libertarian” or a “progressive” would last in (any) Russia?

  27. dougr100 permalink

    Was it only 10 years ago when Karl Rove maneuvered to have anti gay marriage initiatives put on as many ballots as possible to drive social conservative turnout? It was a big deal to the older generation But the kids don’t care. Not to say that we’re not going to see a backlash but Putin and his ilk are on the wrong side of history

    • What does ‘wrong side of history’ actually mean? The linear view of history is a minority one, and one which is alien to most of the globe.

  28. Ciarán Mc Mahon permalink

    You only have to watch half an hour of RT to see that this ideological position is at the heart of Russian strategy – insist that the West is in decline and support for all who attempt to destabilise it.

  29. rmrealcom permalink

    As a WEIRD-do, old white American male-progressive. I enjoyed the article and cringed when you discussed the ROC being in bed with PUTIN. I think you may have overlooked one point. Rich power brokers in all parts of the world use religion to control the masses, it makes the masses feel self righteous to be poor and hungry while holding on to their faith and they will follow the religious leaders almost anywhere. The rich power leaders really do not believe what they profess. Example 1: Koch brothers in US, two of the 10 richest people in the USA. They started the Tea Party and funded it. They may now have majority control of the Republican party in the USA political system. They have used religion and the right to have uncontrolled guns as their means to control the uneducated and poor who vote for their candidates. Example 2: The Saud Family, in Saudi Arabia, is in bed with the Wahhabi Muslins. They have their own social police patrol. The people are currently happy to let the Saud Family have all of the spoil of the oil. History says this won’t last. Eventually the hungry and cold will rise up against the wealthy bureaucrats. Examples: the Russian Czars are gone, the Ruling Monarchies of Europe are gone ( some figure heads still around), unions in the USA controlled the robber barrens ( they are fighting to get power back– Koch Brothers –Tea Party), the civil rights movements have made progress in the USA. Education is the best weapon against this type of tyranny. I guess that is what makes me a WEIRD o. The poor and hungry will rise up when the power brokers go to far. Man has not change any since the Roman, Ottoman, and British empires.
    FYI most of the anti social progress in Africa is do to the Church Street gang. Evangelical American politicians that have supported missionary work in Africa and wrote most of the new anti gay laws that were passed there. Yah the USA has its problems.

    • Thanks for your feedback. I think Chesterton had it right when he said, with the decline of traditional religion, people wouldn’t believe nothing – they’d believe anything.

    • Doug permalink

      The moment you mentioned “the Koch brothers” is where I saw the stamp of ‘lunatic’ written all over you.

  30. Marko permalink

    As the member of a nation which was “enriched” with depleted uranium in the humanitarian act of selfless sacrifice by “The land of the free and home of the brave”, I can just say some counterbalance is not just welcomed, but needed.

  31. Van Phauc permalink

    When you start Cold War 2.0 and return threat of nuclear annihilation to the world, you might want to re-think your ideological crusade. This one might not go so well for the US.

    Russians wholeheartedly believe that they need to get out from under our thumb or face humiliation and/or 90s style destruction.

    But only a tiny minority of extremist Americans actually care about the imposition of the so called “WEIRD” values on the rest of the world. Some demographically significant percentage (20? 30? 40?) of Americans oppose those values in their current incarnation. That demographic group supplies a disproportionate percentage of the people who would be called upon to fight this cold war. Will their hearts be in it?

    Mine sure wouldn’t be. As a white, heterosexual, cis-gender, culturally (but not even religiously) Christian male, I find myself pushed more and more into Putin’s camp every day.

    See the thing is, Putin doesn’t have to be the face of global conservatism or anything as high minded as that. He just has to be the face of the resistance to the poison that the people in Washington are pushing and people will flock to his banner.

    Americans ought to think long and hard about whether or not this is what we really want.

  32. Rupert permalink

    To read your column, one would never know that the United States has been extending NATO right up to the borders of Russia after promising not to when Gorbachev pulled Soviet troops back from Germany and other Eastern European countries. You’d never know the US has been fomenting revolutions where necessary to advance this agenda. You’d be ignorant of the fact that the new interim prime minister of Ukrane, in the revolutionary government that shot its way in to power in Kiev on 2/25 after US supported another revolution there was all over the television saying they were going to bring Ukraine in to NATO.
    Could it be that Russia is reacting to the threat of a NATO Ukraine, a US seizure of its naval base in Crimea, and the specter of a hostile Kiev government, untouchable, with US tank divisions free to mass on the Russian border?
    To read your column, Putin is the aggressor, something impossible to believe unless you are firmly within the Western bubble.
    If the US were to get its way and create a NATO lickspittle state in Ukraine, can a policy of regime change and destabilization in Moscow be far behind? Isn’t that the ultimate US goal, to get rid of the Putin government and replace it with one that takes orders from the US, and to put the natural and other resources of Russia at the disposal of US companies?

    • Putin is the aggressor here. Welcome to Planet Earth.

      • samuelburke permalink

        You are either with them or against us but you can not have them both.
        Shall we vote on loyalty oaths?

        “That’s not the way the world really works anymore, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. (famous unamed aid to president Bush).

        I see pendulums swinging.
        Bill O’reily is still spinning realities into a narrative which is fed to the american people like porridge.

        So the 60 plus NGO’s were in Ukraine fanning the flame of faith and hope with the feather of democracy?
        and the Nuland Pyatt conversation did not reveal anything?

        Narrative isn’t everything.

        David Copperfield does not really make a plane disappear.

      • Ummmm…ok

  33. It seems unclear to me what Russia wants to be or what her identity is. It’s clear some things are wanted, but based on what? Putinism stands as a reaction against the West and a list of grievances, many of which may be quite legitimate. Religion always must be tempered with grace or it will destroy, not build up. It can be a monster, especially when combined with racism. And I say this as a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe the US government has become very arrogant and abusive in their way of leading, and they do not behave like a servant, instead manipulating or using force to get exactly what they want. Breaking agreements and dishonoring nations is part of the way the world has always worked, but I DO expect more of this country. The false tolerance that demands that everyone must look like our vision absolutely must go. It is a lie that will rightly stir up rebellion in people’s hearts.

  34. William Dunkirk permalink

    LOL! Here’s how we are going to beat those pesky Ruskies: Moral Pragmatism(TM)! Do you not realize that this very piece itself is evidence of the corruption Putin claims to be a problem in the modern West? And pray tell, who is more experienced in writing apologetics for a creed: traditional Christianity or post-modernism? At least we realize what we are doing; your flock – thanks to their stellar Western “education” – don’t even know what they are doing!

    Your going to lose because you’re stupid and your own worst enemy. You’re going to lose this struggle because it is a spiritual one and you don’t understand the nature of what you are struggling against! For you and your fellow “WEIRDos” it is baffling mystery!

    In vain, in vain – the all-composing hour
    Resistless falls: The Muse obeys the power.
    She comes! she comes! the sable throne behold
    Of Night primeval, and of Chaos old!
    Before her, Fancy’s gilded clouds decay,
    And all its varying rainbows die away.
    Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires,
    The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.
    As one by one, at dread Medea’s strain,
    The sickening stars fade off th’ ethereal plain;
    As Argus’ eyes by Hermes’ wand oppressed,
    Closed one by one to everlasting rest;
    Thus at her felt approach, and secret might,
    Art after Art goes out, and all is Night.
    See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled,
    Mountains of Casuistry heaped o’er her head!
    Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before,
    Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
    Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
    And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense !
    See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
    In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
    Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,
    And unawares Morality expires.
    Nor public Flame, nor private , dares to shine;
    Nor human Spark is left, nor Glimpse divine !
    Lo! thy dread Empire, Chaos! is restored;
    Light dies before thy uncreating word:
    Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
    And universal Darkness buries All.

  35. Bob Alkema permalink

    It’s astonishing than not one of the main stream media has figured out, or reported what you have so eloquently laid out. Well done!

    What a sad choice Russian neighbors have, ally with the west and accept WEIRD, LGBT, and Feminism, or ally with Russia and accept serfdom.

    Being a melting pot with a Judeo Christian foundation/morality made the U.S.A. powerful. It’s just sad to see the progressives success at re-dividing us. We’re on a very dangerous path.

    Throughout history ethnic divisions have been the primary reason for wars. And so it continues…

  36. Reblogged this on Ara Maxima and commented:
    Another great post on Russia.

  37. Wait a second: no ideology? So, if we’re not idiotically fighting abstractions there is nothing to fight about? So, we should not pursue measurable, achievable goals, we should fight against abstractions for abstractions? I think this guy is less of a politician and more of a member of the mob.

  38. xkn permalink

    The issue with natality is not about Russia becoming smaller or larger, but becoming a majority Muslim country if present demographical trends continue. Putin must know that, and he must know that such threat is not something he can fight. A simple look at Kosovo, a part of Serbia since there was Serbia, now no longer a Serbia, is an example. No shot really needed to be fired, a simple election would suffice. This leaves few options for him, or better said those who come after him, since true problems will appear long after he is gone. One would be to divide Russia into Muslim and non-Muslim parts before it becomes majority Muslim and cede at least 1/3 of Russia’s territory to a new Muslim majority, second being entire Russia becoming a Muslim country. Either would be disastrous for Russia. The only way to fight those options is to increase the territory and most importantly non-Muslim population, to either postpone the inevitable or to acquire new lands as a replacement for those he must eventually loose.
    Short-term risks are that he has opened the Pandora’s box of borders in Europe, which have been up to now treated as final, with various associations or unions trying to make them essentially transparent. Putin says not so! Well, 1/3 of Poland is Germany and another 1/3 of Poland is in today’s Russia, as an example. There are countless more in Europe, and once cat is out of box, a seeds of WWIII can easily be sown. Putin probably believes that he can take a chance, as Russia is most powerful force there, and could deter any potential European conflict from spilling over. At this moment he may be right, but there is number of factors which could change that fact as time goes on.
    The blabbering of ROC about natality, and Putin’s concern will not make Muscovites suddenly have 6-7 children – ever. They damn well know that.

  39. Reblogged this on The Outrider and commented:
    h/t to WRSA for the link to the following. Visit them by clicking to the lower right.

  40. Reblogged this on A Life Un-Lived and commented:
    A worthwhile read.

  41. bilejones permalink

    And the bullshit never ends:
    “Vladimir Putin’s slow-rolling conquest of Ukraine has restarted openly today, with calls for an “independence referendum” for the newly declared “People’s Republic of Donetsk” in the East. It’s clear that Moscow intends to conquer something like half of Ukraine”

    The US’s aggression to toward Russia,: expanding its NATO tool of aggression (despite the 1989 agreement with Bush the wrinkled) right up to Russia’s borders finally met the point of resistance.

    That it may finally be the trigger that destroys the Petro-dollar- the Reserve currency, that finally bankrupts the US is fitting.

  42. Doug permalink

    Your description of WEIRDOs is spot on and as evidenced by many of the comments above which can only be viewed as intellectually provincial and further proof that the west is in complete political, intellectual and moral disarray. No chance it could stand up to a truly formidable challenge. At best, the US would be conquered, at worst the conflict would devolve into nuclear chaos.

  43. Keith J Lepak permalink

    What goes along with this excellent analysis of the WIERDos are strategic views in Moscow that can only see the West (principally the US) as hypocritical and imperial, but doomed because of its gratuitous and dysfunctional materialism (something that Vaclav Havel, even as Czech president saw many years ago; Solzhenitsyn goes without saying). There are legitimate reasons for such views. The “West” has insisted on the progress inherent in the expansion of the global economy, and has encouraged Russia to “become more involved” in that system for the good of Russia and the world. Has anyone recently asked why Russia has not been asked to be party to the TAIPP or TPP talks or the past several years? Russia is both a European and Pacific player in a big way, yet these US “initiatives” do not include them. Can anyone seriously question Moscow’s concern for its strategic position in and around Ukraine where the Black Sea might possibly turn into an American lake? It goes along with the discussion of anti-missile defense systems in Eastern Europe allegedly aimed at “Iran”. Seen in the context of the Pentagon’s insistence of a posture of “full spectrum dominance” and this can only be interpreted as continued American pressure on Russian domestic and national security. And when the American administration complains about “spheres of influence” having nothing to do with 21st century international relations, that the Russians should not indulge in these antics, it is simply forgetting the hemispheric “sphere of influence” that the US has enjoyed since the enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine. And this says nothing about the cross-Pacific presence of American power. And we are supposed to find Mr. Putin’s moves in Ukraine not understandable. Once again, we are not only WIERD, but we have some very incorrigible figures burrowed away in D.C.

  44. You might want to read this debate (http://www.theinteramerican.org/blogs/olavo-de-carvalho/286-olavo-de-carvalho-debates-alexandr-dugin-iv) between Eurasia’s chief mastermind, Aleksandr Dugin, and philosopher Olavo de Carvalho on the topic of “The USA and the New World Order.” If Dugin’s strategy prevails in Russia, we are headed to a full-scale war against the States.

  45. Reblogged this on Free Range Reason and commented:
    I agree with the majority of your post. Until factors change, I think Ukraine is lost to us as far as American/Western wishes are concerned. Unfortunately, while the sentiment supporting this move in Russia has been building, I believe we ourselves were the trigger. As Crowl asked in The Strategist’s Short Catechism, “How strong is the home front? Does public opinion support…?” As our early 21st-century “long wars” wind down, the American population is war-weary, and even if there were a compelling national interest (other than humanitarian) to go into Ukraine, I don’t think the public would support it. I think this widespread and widely-broadcast national feeling is the reason the Russians are going into Ukraine and the Chinese are aggressively expanding in the South China Sea; they know the US doesn’t have the stomach for it right now. If the administration wants to have any effect at tempering (notice I didn’t say “solving”) this situation, they need to come up with better execution of the other components of DIME-FIL than the military one, because they won’t have the backing for it. Unfortunately our diplomatic and other skills seem to be out of practice.
    On another note, the move into Ukraine is the culmination (so far) of one heck of a Russian nationalistic build-up over the past few years; mostly military, with increased defense budgets and the resumption of air, surface and submarine maneuvers not seen since the 1980s. However, the Russian economy is still a catastrophe; how long will Putin be able to distract the masses with the Western bogeyman beating at the door before the Russian economy implodes a second time?

  46. Putin stole Crimea? Can he come steal Massachusetts too? I’ll leave the door unlocked.

  47. Hi,
    Very interesting article.
    I wonder, can you name American progressives (preferably politicians) who understand and internalized the ideas you made in the article (mainly regarding to not imposing cultural values)?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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