Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Sane Hitchens on Russia

Peter Hitchens, the younger (and saner) brother of the late Christopher, offers a refreshing view of the entire Ukraine mess, writing in the Mail on Sunday. Excerpts followed by my comments:
Any visitor to Sevastopol will find it contains many monuments to genuinely heroic defences of that city against invasion (one of those invasions was our more or less incomprehensible incursion into the Crimea 160 years ago, which achieved a good deal less than nothing and cost a great deal of lives). The biggest memorials commemorate the 1941-44 invasion by Germany, which was resisted and eventually expelled at great human and material cost, in battles whose names and nature are unknown to most in the ‘West’.

If they knew more about it, they might understand why Russians are ‘paranoid’. The country has no natural defensible borders. A street in southern Moscow, Ulitsa Bolshaya Ordinka (the street of the Great Horde) commemorates to this day the five-yearly visits to Moscow of the Great Horde, to collect tribute from that frontier city. We tend to think that the Urals, supposedly mountains but really rather unimpressive hills, form Russia’s eastern boundary. But it isn’t really true. From every direction, the heart of Russia lies open to invaders. Moscow has been invaded or occupied by Swedes, Poles, Lithuanians, The Golden (or Great)  Horde, Crimean Tatars, Napoleon,  No wonder the Russian word for ‘security’ (Byezopasnost) is a negative construction (‘Byez’ means ‘without’ ; ‘Opasnost’ means ‘danger’). The natural state of things is danger.
Contrast this with the British and American world view, predicated on having a large body of water as a moat securing them from any attack. In the Anglo-American mind, war is something that happens "over there". Russian wars generally begin with someone invading Russia, and generally end with the Russians gloating in the defeated invader's capital.
One might add that states which supported the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the attack on Libya, cannot really get very hot under the collar about Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.
But they are - because their worldview is Who/Whom, where they can do no wrong, and the designated Other can do no right.
It’s also interesting that Ukraine, while giving Crimea a great deal of autonomy, always strove to prevent a referendum on the region’s future, knowing for certain that it would lead to open calls for a return to Russian rule. Were I a Ukrainian politician or citizen, I would actively support the return of Crimea to Russia, because it was always bound to lead to trouble...
In fact, a fellow blogger suggested just yesterday that Russia may not want to take Crimea out of Ukraine, as that would only strengthen the Banderovtsi.
What continues to strike me about this whole row is the inability of most people to view Russia as a country, or Russians as people. Russia is portrayed as a bogeyman, and its people as either oppressed or as tools of a new Hitler.
This should actually not be so surprising. Isn't the key characteristic of the postmodern Western mind the lack of actual empathy, and the tyranny of the false one? Other people are never seen as having agency, they are either oppressors or oppressed.
Let me remind readers that Russia existed as a civilisation long before Lenin turned it into a Communist slum.... Russia still contains a large, educated, cultured middle class, who of necessity care more about history, literature and patriotism than their complacent, spoiled, semi-conscious western equivalents.  They, their parents and their grandparents have seen with their own eyes what can go wrong with a happy life, how suddenly it can happen, how little you can do about it, if invaders come, or if fools are in charge of your country, or both.
This is why "Pussy Riot" is rightly condemned by most Russians for what it really is - a group of spoiled, entitled brats acting like animals in public to get attention. Meanwhile, the "liberals" - the kind of Russians favored in the West, who don't even like to call themselves Russians - go so far as to complain the Nazis had lost the war, because had Germany won, they'd all be driving BMWs and making German wages. I kid you not.
For years now, trivial-minded, historically ignorant, efficient, glinting people have tried to turn Ukrainian independence into an attack on Russia. They did it in the ‘Orange Revolution’ and failed because the victors turned out to be as corrupt and divided as those they replaced (a problem which may well emerge again now they have had a second go). And now they have done it again.
As I've said before, this is not about the Ukrainians, just as Kosovo was not about the Albanians. This is about the Empire seeking to destroy Russia. And Imperial officials have admitted as much.
...I suspect that Mr Putin, and most Russians do not really regard Ukraine as a proper sovereign state, and I think they may be on to something.  They view its existence  as an artificial and accidental result of a moment of Russian weakness, which has since been maintained, for cynical reasons, by Western interference. Is Ukraine really sovereign, economically, diplomatically, militarily or in any other important way? Has it ever been?

I might add that Russia, bound by the modern rules of diplomacy, has refrained from compelling Ukraine to return to Moscow rule by naked force, as it would not have hesitated to do 50 or 100 years ago.  Instead the Russians have sought to ensure that Ukraine remains very much under their influence, while Kiev retains formal independence. Something very similar can be said of the EU’s treatment of many of the former countries now under its rule, including our own. The polite fiction of sovereignty is maintained for the convenience of ruler and ruled.
But, because of the EU’s (and NATO’s, and the USA’s) aggressive and repeated attempts to disrupt this tactful arrangement,  Russia feels the need to take some firm concrete action, both to stop this going further, and to deter future attempts to disaffect areas which Moscow believes are in its sphere of influence.
Compare and contrast: the West (Empire, EU, etc.) keeps meddling, keeps pushing for "reforms" that enrich (their) oligarchs and impoverish everyone else, keep treating Ukraine as a puppet or a piece on the gameboard. Yet Russia, that does nothing of the sort, is accused of "meddling" and "aggression." Typical propaganda tactic, blaming the target.
Such disaffection has gone quite far enough already, thanks to the weird, selective anti-Russian prejudices of so many in the USA. What exactly do these people see as the concrete reason for their hostility to Russia? What is it actually about?
This is about globalism versus national sovereignty, and the curious anomaly of Russia, an old-fashioned European country that is too big to be sucked into the EU, too small to be a superpower (and so invulnerable, like China) , too patriotic to be persuaded to dissolve itself. 
Spot on. There are other factors involved, to be sure - a Russophobia prevailing in the Anglo (and later American, by extension) ruling circles since the 1800s; a passionate hatred for the Orthodox nurtured by Rome for a thousand years - but Hitchens has zeroed in on the intersection of both.

The current Western model of "liberal democracy" and "capitalism" is said to be the pinnacle of human political evolution, the "end of history" and the inevitable state of Man. Yet the existence of Russia - almost vanishing under Yeltsin's wholesale adoption of the Western model, then flourishing rapidly as soon as Putin abandoned it - proves this is not so. As with any system based on blind dogmatism, any deviations from the dogma must be eradicated, lest someone start doubting. So even though Russia is not seeking to export its system, or impose its values, or control the world - its very existence is a threat to those that do. In a world of meddlers, minding your own business is the cardinal sin.


Dave said...

Interesting comment i found on zerohedge.com:

"Russia does not violate international agreements on safeguards the integrity and security of Ukraine.

Think about what I say, from the standpoint of international law.

1. In Kiev, was a coup d'etat. So-called "new authorities in Kiev", seized power undemocratic, unconstitutional way, by force of arms, through mass murder and deception. These people are illegitimate. Moreover, they are criminals. It does not depend on the opinions of Washington and Brussels. It depends only on the rule of law. For all the norms of law, these people are criminals .

2. Via actions of these criminals in Kiev, Ukraine as State, actually was split into two parts. One part of this is part of the captured coup, including Kiev. And the second part - this is the part where the population and local authorities have remained faithful to the Constitution of Ukraine and the legitimate, democratically elected President of Ukraine.

And now think please: which of these two parts of the country, today has the right to represent Ukraine as a legal entity?

I mean: What today is the "Ukraine", in terms of the Act:

- It's the rebels who had committed an armed coup in Kiev?

- Or is the region to remain faithful to the Constitution and laws of the state government?

Well, go further.

Russia, according to an international treaty is obliged to observe the integrity of Ukraine and its safety. State - is primarily population. In this situation, Russia not only has the right to impose its troop, but must do it.

Because the deployment of troops to maintain the integrity of Ukraine and at the request of the legitimate President and the people of Ukraine - for Russia is a duty arising out of an international treaty. Furthermore, in the current situation coup sending troops is the only way for Russia to conscientiously fulfill their obligations under the international treaty for protection Ukraine as a state and legal entity.

In addition, the legal concept of "invasion" is contrary to the introduction of troops to restore constitutional order, at the request of the legal, legitimate, democratically elected President, with the support of 80% of the population.

We often hear from the western media that "Ukraine's parliament dismissed Yanukovych from power." But the parliament has no right to remove from power the President. Parliament can only declare impeachment. Impeachment was not.

And finally:

At the time of the vote, it was no longer a "parliament." At the time of the vote, it was a bunch of criminal rebels and accomplices criminal rebels.

Because they supported an armed rebellion coup and has expelled forcibly all those members of parliament, who was did not agree with them.

You want to see how to vote these criminals? See here:




MP can not vote without a personal ID card. It is technically impossible. In the first shot we see as one of the criminals haved and holding 5 or 6 personal cards of other deputies. They took these cards by force and threats.
On other shots we see how criminals vote with both hands. One hand, they vote in my own name. But the second hand, they vote on behalf of the other deputies, which at this point are not present in parliament. This deception of voters and it is a crime.

This is called the rule of law and US democracy, is not it?"

Witch-king of Angmar said...

The other day prof.Stephen Cohen has been described by NYT no less as "dissenting villain" for not jumping on the "hate Russia" bandwagon. One of the commenters called Hitchens "a KGB sleeper agent". This is what the level of debate of the Imperial proponents.

Luckily, less and less people are buying this IMO. In fact, I believe that the majority is beyond such base propaganda.

robert49rml said...

Russia is an inspiration to those who are still able to be inspired.

garasanin said...

"After the collapse of the USSR, the main enemy of the USA will be the Russian Orthodox Church."
Zbigniew Brzezinski

enactjudo said...


Looks like you pissed off the right people. Good work! I wonder if Bieber understands the hypocrisy of listing those he listed. Oh what am I saying, he's an anti-Serb. He's lucky if he's sentient.

You know, making a giant list of anti-Serbs (both past and present) might not be such a bad idea.

Dave said...

"The former security head also said that according to the intelligence those snipers could be foreigners, including mercenaries from former Yugoslavia as well former Special Forces employees from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry."

Let me guess. Albanians?

source: http://rt.com/news/ukraine-snipers-security-chief-438/

CubuCoko said...

Could be anyone, really. I guess the point is, they were working for the Empire.

enactjudo said...

If I remember correctly you had a spat with a woman on this very blog over the identities of the snipers that fired into the Sarajevo rally which was utilised by Izetbegovic as a casus belli.

CubuCoko said...

There is nothing to argue about in that case, though: there is overwhelming evidence, including video footage, clearly showing members of the criminal gang of Jusuf Prazina, including Prazina himself - who would soon thereafter become a warlord in Izetbegovic's "Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina" - shooting at the rally. This enabled Izetbegovic to hijack the protest, that initially called for his resignation, and present himself as the defender of "multi-ethnic democracy" (while being nothing of the sort).

Dave said...

@CubuCoko What boggles my mind is why would Angela Merkel go along with the Americans by imposing sanctions on Russia? I understand Germany is complicit in the Kiev coup, but won't sanctions hurt Germany the most? Maybe the NSA have something on her; after all they did wiretap her private phone conversations.

CubuCoko said...

Wouldn't be the first time politicians act against the interests of their countries, but in their own.

panix Panixgr said...


just like a mortal man cannot go against his Creator, similarly Germany cannot go against USA/UK/Israel.

For a person giving lectures the other day about the dis-unity of Slavs, i guess that would be trivial to know.

CubuCoko said...

Not sure where you get the idea that Israel is Germany's "creator." Nor do I think Israel has a hand in this. Using the Atlantic Empire to its own regional ends, sure - but being some sort of secret mastermind behind it... I don't buy it.

It would be in Germany's best interest to strike a deal with Russia, and stop being the Atlantic Empire's stooge, sure. That is a choice before them, if they dare take it. But considering all the history the Serbs have with them, pardon me if I don't much care whether they do or not.