Category Archives: Eurasia

A Motto of the Alt Left, Via Liberation Theology

La gente, unida! Jamas sera vencido!

The people, united! Will never be defeated!

– An old Castroite Marxist revolutionary chant from Central America and South America, with roots back especially to the great Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the FMLN in El Salvador (who I used to buy guns for), the URNG in Guatemala, probably the ELN in Colombia, and probably the great FARC in Colombia.

All of these movements except the FARC were “Christian Communists” or “Catholic Communists.” Most of the rank and file guerrillas all the way up to the leadership were Catholics. In Nicaragua, leader Daniel Ortega was and still is a practicing Catholic and one of the top leaders of the Sandinistas was Tomas Borge, a Catholic priest. The ELN was led by a former Catholic priest named Camilo Torres, who traded his frock for an AK-47 and led a guerrilla group in the mountains of northwestern Colombia. He was killed soon after he started the ELN in 1964. The ELN has never renounced its Catholic roots and is a de facto “Catholic Marxist” organization.

 

The Eastern Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox have been much more progressive than the  Catholic hierarchy, but that was not so at the  beginning of the century when the Cheka executed over 12,000 top ranking Orthodox officials in first several years of the Revolution. The Russian Orthodox Church or at least many believers are quite leftwing these days. They often hobnob with Communists, Leftists and even monarchists. Even the monarchists are pretty leftwing in Russia today.  Russia is a place where everyone is leftwing. There is no Right in Russia. Well actually there is,  but the Right has only 10-15% support. Putin’s party is defined as “Russian conservatism” but Putin says he still believes in the  ideals of Communism and socialism which he regards as very similar to the Biblical values of the Russian Orthodox Church. This marriage is not unusual and high ranking Church officials even today regularly make pro-socialist and pro-Communist remarks. Sort of ” Jesus as a Bolshevik” if you will. Stalin himself was studying to be a priest in a sen\minary of the Georgian Orthodox Church when he gave it up to be a full-time bank robber/revolutionary.  The thing is that you cannot understand Stalin at all until you understand his deep background in the Orthodox religion. Although Stalin called himself an atheist, he remained deeply Orthodox in  his mindset until he died. He ever revived the Church during and after the war for patriotic reasons. Stalin was very much a social conservative and his social conservatism was deeply inflected by his Georgian Orthodox seminarian roots, which he never renounced.

The Orthodox Christian churches of the Arab World have always been leftwing, along with the Church in Iran and Turkey. George Habash, founder of the Marxist PFLP in Palestine, was a Greek Orthodox. Many of the rank and file even of the PFLP armed guerrilla have always been Orthodox Christians. The Greek Orthodox SSNP in Lebanon and Syria are practically Communists. Interestingly, this was the first group to widely use suicide bombings early in 1982 and 1983 in the first years of the Lebanese Civil War. Most of the first suicide bombings, up to scores or hundreds in first few years, were by Communists, often Christian Orthodox Communists. Many of these suicide bombers were even women. It was only later that the Shia adopted the technique.

The man who created the Baath Party, the Iraqi Michel Aflaq, was an Orthodox Christian. The party had Leftist roots as an officially socialist party. Tariq Aziz, high-ranking member of Saddam’s Baath party, was an Orthodox Christian and a Leftist. Assad’s party in Syria is a Leftist party. Most Syrian Orthodox Christians are strong supporters of Assad, the Baath Party and Leftism. Recently the Syrian Defense Minister was a Christian.

The few Orthodox Christians left in Turkey are typically Leftists.

Many Greek Orthodox are Leftists. Serbian Orthodox laypeople and hierarchy long supported Milosevic, who was a Communist.

The Russians who violently split away from Ukraine in the Donbass were so Leftist that they called their new states “people’s republics.” Most of the leadership and the armed forces are Orthodox Christians. The armed groups had priests serving alongside in most cases. They often led battlefield burials for the troops.

There are deep roots of this sort of thing in Russia. Tolstoy is very Christian in an Orthodox sense, but he is also often seen as a socialist. Dostoevsky’s work is uber-Christian from an Orthodox point of view and he is not very friendly to radicals. However, before he started writing, he was arrested for Leftist revolutionary activities and sentenced to prison in Siberia. Most of his colleagues were hanged and Dostoevsky only barely escaped by the tip of his nose. Dostoevsky was not very nice to the rich either. No Russian writer of that time was, not even Turgenev. The rich destroyed 19th Century Russia. Anyone with eyes can see that. It would have been hard for any artistic heart above room temperature to not hate the Russian rich and feel sympathy for the peasantry. Turgenev’s first books were paeans to the Russian peasantry, and he was raised on an estate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alt Left: 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution

Today, November 7, is the actual 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. They call it the October Revolution, but actually occurred in November because the Russians use a different calendar than we do.

I do not have a 100% negative view of the October Revolution. I think there were some good things about it. However, it was a military coup and it certainly was not democratic, but the Leninists never intended to be democrats anyway. The excesses of the Cheka, in particular the executions of 12,000 officials of the Russian Orthodox Church (12,000 priests and 500 bishops) must be condemned. Lenin started executing his political opponents pretty quickly. I don’t necessarily object to putting those folks in prison, but once in prison, they should have been afforded basic rights.

A high ranking member of the Bolsheviks, a Jewish man, was in charge of Legal Affairs. He interviewed an opposition member in prison and then went to talk to Lenin to ask what was to be done with this man. He was expecting Lenin to grant him the typical rights of the accused, but the man was shocked when Lenin was outraged at the suggestion that this man deserved any basic rights at all. To Lenin, he was a counterrevolutionary, and as such he was going to be shot. Lenin failed to understand what was so controversial about that.

I will never support the use of the Cheka, the organization of the firing squad, in killing opponents of the Revolution. Of course I will never support the Whites, but the excesses of the Cheka should not be supported by any fair-minded person.

With that said, I think the Alt Left should not see the October Revolution as 100% negative, and we should not support the Whites. And only 15% of Russians today say they are better off now than they were in the USSR. Anti-Communist propaganda in the US and the West leaves much to be desired. In particular, it is at odds with the testimonies of most people who actually lived under Communism. At the very least, most people think that they had it better under Communism than they do today based on polls taken in Eastern Europe and the former USSR. Communism wasn’t paradise, but whatever replaced it doesn’t seem to have been any better and most people think it is worse.

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Filed under Christianity, Eurasia, Europe, History, Left, Marxism, Modern, Orthodox, Regional, Religion, Revolution, Russia, USSR

What Language Is This?

You guys will never get this one. But if you can get even the region where it is spoken or better yet, the language family it belongs to, that should be good enough as it only has 29,000 speakers, although it is vigorously spoken – 98% of the ethnic group speak it at home.

I will give you a couple of hints:

  • It is spoken in Eurasia.
  • It is spoken by White people, believe it or not.
  • It is an official language of the nation where it is spoken.

ˡisaji punaja geburisi: – Du’gˡe ak’e mištti: “Dad, Ve ttur girami x’uraj; Ve Paččag’vel adiraj. Tˡalab ark’aja čin Vakes g’er jag’as guni. G″il g’ušen če gunag’arilas, činna g’il g’uršandu kˡildi čas ˡajvelar ark’attarilas. Xˡa temexˡera x’as amarta čas.

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Filed under Eurasia, Linguistics, Regional, Spot the Language

Alt Left: Happy October Everyone!

This October was the 100th anniversary of one of the greatest moments of the 20th Century – the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in October, 1917. I recently rewatched the movie Reds. If you want to know what really happened at this time in Russia, you ought to watch that movie. There had been an election and the Mensheviks or Social Democrats had won. The Bolsheviks also took part, but they did not gain a majority. Despite antisemites ranting about how Jews caused Communism in Russia, in this election in 1917, 70% of Russian Jews voted for a Zionist party that was running at the time. So the vast majority of Russian Jews did not support the Bolsheviks (or even the other socialist parties for that ). So much for “Jewish Communism.”

Yes, Trotsky was a Jew, but he was a secular atheist Jew. He actually refused to identify as Jewish and said instead that his ethnicity was world proletarian. Lenin was 1/4 Jewish, but a lot of  people have a bit of Jew in them and it doesn’t make them Jewish. In Germany they have a saying, “There’s a little bit of Jew in every German.” This was actually such a problem in the Nazi era that they had to make all sorts of strict rules about who was a Jew. Nevertheless, ~150,000 half-Jews (not considered Jewish by the Nazis) not only served in the Wehrmacht but were actually members of the genocidally antisemitic SS!

There were a number of Jews heading the revolution but as you can see they did not even have the support of the majority of Russian Jews, or at least did not have that support in the earlier election. And there were as many Latvians of all people leading the revolution as Jews.

The Bolsheviks actually seized power by force. They had the help of masses of demobbed soldiers, home from the Front where they were running out of food, clothing, ammunition, everything. To say they were disenchanted would be an understatement. Rallies were being held all over Moscow and Saint Petersburg. These rallies were often joined by large numbers of industrial workers who also helped take part in the coup. So it was not a democratic takeover. It was actually a putschist regime. However,  I would say that they had huge and possibly even majority support at least when the Civil War got started. The Reds only won the Civil War because huge numbers of peasants went over to their side.

The Bolshevik Revolution was both good and bad. I agree that there were some bad things about it. I am appalled at how Lenin’s Cheka started murdering people very early on. An early Bolshevik, a Jew at that, was an attorney. After a prominent contra had been arrested, he visited the man in jail and then went to Lenin and asked what his plans were for the man.

The attorney, who worked for the Bolsheviks, thought the man would be granted the protections of the rule of law.  He was shocked when Lenin was outraged that the attorney thought that the man deserved such protections in the first place. Lenin said the man, along with all of the rest of the contras, should be executed. This was a Revolution! It was time for revolutionary justice. There was no time for the niceties of the rule of law and so forth. The attorney was stunned at Lenin’s brutality.

The Cheka executed a number of people in the early days by firing squad. Anti-Communist kooks give very high figures in the hundreds of thousands (including 50,000 Orthodox priests) but that cannot be correct. Instead a better figure may be ~4,000 executions.

While I am not happy at all with the brutal turn of the Revolution, I think there were some good things about the Russian Revolution. It definitely changed the course of history and humanity has not been the same since. It was surely one of the great events of the 20th Century.

I think most Alt Leftists, at least those on the Leftist (not the liberal) wing of the movement, would find at some positive things about the Russian Revolution. It is part of our heritage on the Left, for better or for worse.

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Filed under Anti-Semitism, Eurasia, Europe, Germany, History, Jews, Left, Marxism, Modern, Nazism, Political Science, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Revolution, Russia, Zionism

Paul Manafort Just Got Arrested

Surrendering to the FBI right now.

Charges are related to work he did for a pro-Russian candidate in Ukraine. Manafort was paid millions to help get the man elected. He may have  been paid $10-20 million. Another man named Gates, Manafort’s assistant, is also charged.

They are charged with attempting to defraud the United States. He never declared the money and instead Manafort laundered it through all sorts of other entities. He also never registered as a foreign agent in relation to this work. One of the charges is tax fraud or tax evasion.

I am pretty sure there are going to be more later on this week.

 

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Mueller Files First Indictments in the Trump-Russia Investigation!

Breaking news right now. Robert Mueller has just filed the charges in the Trump-Russia scandal he has been investigating for some time now. The investigation is wide-ranging and covers all sorts of things not necessarily related to either Trump or Russia, but they are all related to either Trump or his staff or associates.

I am thinking this is about Michael Flynn. I can’t recall too much about this particular Orc other than that he was always one of the worst of a crowd that’s been The Bad, The Worse and the Ugly from Day One. I believe he was some sort of general? I know he was in the Obama Administration, but I am not sure as what. I am thinking some Pentagon – National Security State Deep State psycho. I do know that Obama fired him, saying he was incompetent, which he probably was. I know that he was furious about being fired, and then Trump hired him, I believe as Chief of Staff? He was particularly awful in that role even by the zero standards of this Misadministration. Apparently he angered Trump like everyone does and then got fired by Trump like just about everyone does who makes him mad.

I do know that the Virginia Grand Jury has been after this rogue’s ass for some time now.

I am thinking that this has something to do with the Turkish rendition case, where the Turkish government demanded rendition for Gulen, the opposition leader falsely blamed for the bizarre coup that resulted in the maggot known as Erdogan decaling himself officially Sultan.

Gulen is a Turkish citizen who sought refugee status in the US due to obvious persecution. It was granted to him. The US refused to extradite Gulen to Turkey on the obviously fake charges of fomenting a coup that he had nothing to do with. Yet somehow this Flynn character, whatever his position was at the time, met with the Turkish government to discuss illegally kidnapping Gulen, spiriting him out of the country and handing him over to this crooked bastard Erdogan. Apparently this plot never went down and I don’t understand how just talking about it was illegal, but apparently it was.

I understand that this is one of the issues that Mueller has been investigating.

I believe that the execrable James (Mr. Deep State) Woolsey, former CIA (of course), ultra neocon and all around despicable reactionary, was somehow a witness to this nasty illegal extradition effort. Woolsey apparently committed an actual crime in the process or around the same time. This crime was not a part of the Deep State crimes against humanity he has been committing for decades now, which are of course not illegal, as these crimes are the pillars that the facade known as America, land of freedom and democracy, rests upon. I mean he committed an actual violation of some US penal code.

I believe the following:

  • Woolsey was at the meeting where the plot to kidnap Gulen took place, was horrified by what he heard there, and went to Mueller with his information.
  • Woolsey has agreed to testify against Flynn in this case.
  • Mueller plans to use Woolsey’s testimony to bust Flynn in the rendition case.

Let’s wait and see if I am right about this. I hear that the arrest will probably come Monday; however, if Mueller felt that the person was a flight risk, the person named in the indictment may already have been arrested. On Monday, this person will either surrender, be forced to surrender or be handcuffed and taken away.

This really is just the first domino. After this, I believe a cascade of events will be set into motion which will rapidly cause this investigation to explode with many more players looking into the crosshairs of the law.

At any rate, this is definitely explosive news.

As an aside, Republicans all over our land are scurrying about, gesticulating wildly, screaming and hollering, and generally losing it. Sean Hannity’s increasingly unhinged tweets point to that, but he’s just the first. Roger Stone also melted down. Donald Trump also bellowed forth some sound and fury about Hilary Clinton in response to news of the indictment, echoing Hannity’s desperate attempts at distraction.

And so it begins.

Stock up on the popcorn, folks. It might just be a long autumn this year.

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Filed under Crime, Democrats, Europe, Government, Obama, Politics, Regional, Republicans, Russia, Turkey, US Politics, USA

About that Coup in Turkey

Remember the bizarre coup a year ago in the summer, which Turkish President Erdogan said was fomented by his arch rival Gulen and his network?

This coup is an example of just how dirty and evil geopolitics really is. The truth is that geopolitics is a dirty game where only sociopaths need apply. If  you’re not already a sociopath, you will have to act like one in order to play this nasty game. If you’re not a sociopath, I have a hard time seeing how you can even engage in geopolitics considering all the dirty business you will have to engage in.

Back to the coup.

Actually Gulen and the Gulenists had nothing whatsoever to do with the coup. The coup was actually staged by secular Ataturkist Turkish nationalists in the military over Erdogan’s attempt to Islamicize a secular state and his disgusting corruption. It looks like Erdogan was warned about the coup beforehand by someone, possibly the Russians.

It also looks like the US was involved in the coup and definitely had foreknowledge. The US motivation for the coup would have been to punish and remove Erdogan for his recent moves cozying up with the Russians, as Erdogan had started making friendly with them only a week before the coup. This infuriated the Deep State, so they activated their coup network in the Turkish military. This network already had their own reasons for wanting Erdogan out.

It looks like Erdogan knew that the coup was going to go down and simply allowed it to happen so he could use it to his devious advantage. Erdogan already had lists with tens of thousands of names on them of his enemies to be arrested in case of a coup. Obviously these lists had been made up long beforehand and were sitting in some drawer just waiting to be used.

So he whipped them out and arrested ~40,000 of his enemies, mostly people who were part of this Gulen Network, which actually had nothing whatsoever to do with the coup. Gulen is an Islamist just like Erdogan and in fact, he was close to Erdogan until they had some sort of falling out, which resulted in Gulen’s becoming Enemy #1. Gulen does indeed have a network in the military and all around society, but they are not secular and were not involved in the coup. We can tell who the coup plotters were by the language used in the statements they issued during the coup. The wording used would only be used by Turkish secular Ataturkist nationalists. Many of Erdogan’s enemies were killed in the roundups. Much more were arrested and thrown in prison, where many of them were tortured.

Anyway, Erdogan immediately blamed Gulen (falsely) and then set about dismantling his network in Turkey while also shutting down most of the opposition press and arresting most of the opposition politicians. As of now, Erdogan is simply dictator of Turkey. Turkey is also an untouchable member of NATO of all things.

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Filed under Eurasia, Europe, Geopolitics, Nationalism, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Russia, Sociopathy, Turkey, USA

What Is This Building?

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What is this building? Where is it located?

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Filed under Eurasia, Regional, Russia

Suicide: The Ultimate Enigma

Becoming suicidal is often but not always indicative of mental illness. Philosophically, it simply means that you do not want to live anymore, and you don’t have to be nuts to feel way. Life’s hard for everyone, and at some point, a lot of people just can’t take it anymore and want to bail out or end the pain. Indeed, a person certainly feels no more pain after suicide.

People kill themselves for all sorts of reasons. Only 70% of suicides are clinically depressed. A lot of people commit suicide simply out of boredom, believe it or not. Some people seem to do it for absolutely no reason at all. It’s as if they did it for shits and giggles or as a way of trolling the human race. I suppose in a way, suicide is the ultimate troll. Suicides are trolling the whole damn world, every one of us.

Suicide is a mystery.

We have been studying it forever, and we still hardly know a thing about it. A man wrote a big book on suicide a while back, and at the end of the book he said he didn’t understand suicide any better at the end than when he had started.

Some countries have high suicide rates, and no one seems to know why. Other countries have low suicide rates, and no one knows why.

Hungary had high suicide rates under feudalism, monarchy, fascism, communism and now democracy. People killed themselves at the same rate in all systems.

The Japanese have always had a high suicide rate, and no one knows why. Impoverished North Korea has an extremely low suicide rate while next door ultra-wealthy Japan has a very high rate. There is no good explanation for the difference.

 

It may be cultural. Some societies may be more pro-suicide than others.

Anti-socialists like to say that Swedes have a high suicide rate. They claim that Swedish socialism gives people everything they need and maybe want, but it leaves them bored and unmotivated and hopeless to improve their lot, so they end it all. But all places on Earth at that latitude have a high suicide rate. It is so dark half the year that the sun only comes out for a few hours a day, and it is cold all the time. There are high suicide rates in Norway, Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Russia (especially Siberia), Alaska, Northern Canada, and Greenland. Anyway, the Swedes had a high suicide rate even before socialism. Other countries have an identical system to Swedish socialism, and they have low suicide rates.

Actually, the suicide rate was comparatively low in the USSR and Eastern Europe under communism. However, with the transition to capitalism in 1990, suicide rates skyrocketed over the next 10-15 years as did forms of slow suicide such as drinking oneself to death. So the Communism/socialism causes suicide theory seems to be washed up. If anything, suicide seems to be linked to capitalism a lot more than it is linked to socialism or Communism.

Nigeria is one of the most hellish and nightmarish places on Earth at least from my perspective, and from any point of view, it’s basically a shithole. In fact, it is probably one of the foulest shitholes on Earth. Yet Nigerians typically among the happiest people on Earth. They’re smiling amid the stinking, crime-infested, ultraviolent ruins, while the Swedes and Japs are blowing their brains out in lavish apartments drowning in luxury.

Go figure.

Bottom line is that a lot of human behavior is either not easily explained or simply doesn’t seem to make much sense at all. People feel however they do for whatever reasons they do, and it’s often hard to figure out why.

At the end of the day, human behavior is largely a mystery.

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Filed under Africa, Asia, Canada, Capitalism, Culture, Economics, Eurasia, Europe, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Left, Marxism, NE Asia, Nigeria, North America, North Korea, Norway, Psychology, Regional, Russia, Siberia, Social Problems, Socialism, Sociology, Sweden, USA, USSR, West Africa

“Russia in Ukraine: Enemy or Friend?” by Eric Walberg

My good friend Eric Walberg sets the record straight on the Ukraine War. Bottom line is every single thing you are being told in the Western media is propaganda of some sort. It’s either a distortion, misleading or out and out false. The number of Western media outlets offering the truth of what is going on over there is zero. This is what I mean by our controlled media and why I say that there is no dissident press in the West.

Russia in Ukraine: Enemy or Friend?

Eric Walberg

Putin is either an aggressive schemer, to be opposed and vilified at all costs, or a wise, restrained real-politician, balanced irreconcilable forces next door. Which is it?

The 2014 coup in Ukraine succeeded due to the fierce campaign led by neo-fascists, heirs to the Banderistas of 1940–50’s, now lauded as freedom fighters, but seen at the time as terrorists, murdering Ukrainians and Jews, and sabotaging a Ukraine in shambles after the war. They had almost zero support then, having collaborated with the Nazis to kill tens of thousands, but their hero, Stepan, was honored with a statue in 2011, erected by the godfather of the current anti-Russian coupmakers, the (disastrous) former President Viktor Yushchenko. Ukraine’s Soviet war veterans were outraged and the statue was torn down in 2013, just months before the coup, bringing the Bandera-lovers back to power.

The eastern Ukrainians, mostly native Russians, centered in Donetsk and Lugansk, saw the coup as a surreal rerun of WWII, this time with Banderistas triumphant. They had no real plan, but panicked at the thought of what was to come, and seized government buildings and declared themselves mini-republics, calling on Russia to come and rescue them, as was happening in Crimea.

A tall order. Putin empathized with his fellow Russians, now being bombed and boycotted by the Ukrainian forces, with a death toll of 10,000 so far. Between 22 and 25 August 2014, Russian artillery, personnel, and what Russia called a “humanitarian convoy”, crossed the border into Ukrainian territory without the permission of the Ukrainian government.

This state of stalemate led the war to be labelled by some a war of aggression against poor Ukraine, a “frozen conflict”. The area has stayed a war zone, with dozens of soldiers and civilians killed each month. Close to 4,000 rebel fighters and the same number of ‘loyalists’ have been killed, along with 3,000 civilians. 1.5 million have been internally displaced; and a million have fled abroad, mostly to Russia.

A deal to establish a ceasefire, called the Minsk Protocol, was signed on 5 September 2014 but immediately collapsed. It called for reincorporation of the rebel territories under a federal system, with full rights of the Russian-speakers and open relations with the Russian Federation. Russia stands by the principles of the protocol, calling for Ukrainian borders to stay as they are, despite the pleas of the rebels. This restraint pleases neither side. The Russians clearly will not abandon their fellow Russians, but at the same time, refuse to invade and start a war with their unpredictable, basket-case of a neighbor. Russians are surely thinking: Ukrainians — you can’t get along with them or without them.

The Russian position is clear and firm: give Russian Ukrainian their rights, make our borders porous for locals and their relatives, revive shattered economic links among common peoples with a thousand years of common history. Get on with it.

The Ukrainian position is mostly hysterical, calling for NATO and Europe to fight off the Russkies, salvage the bankrupt economy, and ignore the creepy fascists. WWIII if necessary. The coupmakers are unrepentant as Ukraine slides deeper into insolvency, and corruption is getting worse (if that’s possible). Poroshenko is as unpopular as a leader can get, and only the threat of a Ukraine shattered in pieces gives him a life preserver among his citizens.

WWII replay

The West incited the coup and quickly embraced it, ignoring its unsavory origins in nostalgia for fascism. While it feigns shock and anger at Russian actions, it certainly can’t ignore that the Russians really had no choice, that their actions were/are both necessary and measured.

It looks suspiciously like the West is sitting back and enjoying the fisticuffs, reminding one of how the West sat back and let the Russians do the dirty work in WWII, defeating the Nazis, with the ‘Allies’ joining in the last year to warrant their claims (now the official story) that the US won the war — with a little help from its friends and even the nefarious Russians.

A messy conclusion to that war, the ultimate ‘frozen conflict’, the Cold War, that spawned the current many mini-frozen conflicts (Trans-Dniester, Abkhazia, Ossetia, Kosovo, not to mention ones farther afield, like Taiwan and Somaliland — all legacies of the Cold War).

‘No Pasaran!’

The plan is evolving, depending on what the Russians do. Putin’s red line is that Ukraine cannot – will not — join NATO. The NATO creep eastward, a violation from 1991 on of the implicit understanding with Gorbachev and Yeltsin, will not be tolerated.

The Ukrainian coup created a new scenario. If Russia had moved to support the rebel territories, form a customs union with open borders, aimed at eventual incorporation in the Russian Federation, that would have given the NATOphiles their trump card, and NATO and the EU would be hard pressed not to move in and try to salvage a bankrupt dysfunctional state, with the final coup as its prize: NATO now lined up surrounding Russia, the last real holdout against US world domination.

The Baltic ministates and (almost all) the Balkan ministates are now in the NATO fold. There are a few loose ends for the EU in the Balkans, but EU hegemony economically and US hegemony militarily are the new playing fields. Then there’s Turkey as a key NATO ally.

Whether this is an actual conspiracy or not only Russian hackers can tell, but the logic is there. Putin sees this logic and is not biting the bullet. Better a tolerable federated Ukraine where Russians are left in peace or another frozen conflict than NATO breathing fire on Russia’s borders.

The West played the ‘shock and anger’ card over Crimea, ignoring the fact that Crimea has been a key part of Russia since Catherine the Great incorporated it in 1783, the heart of Russian naval power, thoughtlessly given to Ukraine when Soviet internal borders were meaningless, populated by mostly Russians and Tatars.

As Ukrainian nationalism heated up after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia still maintained its bases there, paying rent to Ukraine. But dreams by Ukrainian Russophobes to join NATO and the desire of NATO forces to occupy Crimea or that somehow Russia and NATO could share Crimean bases are nonsensical. Russia’s only option was to accede to Crimeans’ pleas.

‘Remember 1856!’

As if to taunt the Russians on Crimea, a British missile destroyer and a Turkish frigate docked at the port of Odessa in July for a joint NATO maritime exercise , several days after the US, Ukraine and 14 other nations deployed warships, combat aircraft and special operations teams for the ‘Sea Breeze 2017’ exercise off the Ukrainian coast.

It looks like a reenactment of western policy following the Crimean War in 1856, when Russia was denied its naval presence in the Black Sea, as Britain and France were preparing to take the Ottoman territories for themselves and keep Russia out in the cold. Combined with the NATO creep in the Baltics and Balkans, it also looks like a replay of the build up to WWII but without the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. To Stalin’s (sorry, Putin’s) discomfort, there is no split among the imperialists anymore. Germany et al are postmodern nations, nations without a foreign policy, beholden to the world hegemon, the US. There is only one thousand-year Reich (sorry, Pax Americana) on the table these days. History may repeat itself but in its own ways.

Frozen conflicts have a bad reputation, but peace is always better than war. Tempers cool over time, and past wrongs can be ironed out with reason and compromise. Donetsk and Lugansk will not hoist a white flag to Kiev given the bad blood. They will continue to get electricity and gas from Russia and revive their economies by reviving trade and industry with their real ally. Kiev should be careful in its game of trying to starve the rebels into submission. Russians as a people have never backed down when faced with a hostile enemy.

The longer the freeze continues, the more willy-nilly integration with the Russian economic sphere will proceed. Or rather the Eurasian Customs Union (EACU) that Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan formed in 2010, eliminating obstacles to trade and investment that went up after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Moscow stands to benefit as a natural hub for regional finance and trade, and Ukraine is welcome. Win-win. A free trade pact as an economic strategy elevates the prospects of the entire region where Russia is a natural center of gravity. In 2015 the EACU was enlarged to include Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Russia imports labor from the ‘Stans’ and could well help Ukraine by inviting Ukrainians to work as well.

Sensible realpolitik by the West would take NATO away from Russian borders and push Ukraine to make an acceptable deal on a federal state structure to keep its own Russians and its neighbor happy. Sensible realpolitik by Ukraine would be to join the EACU, bringing ‘Little Russians’, ‘White Russians,’ and plain old Russians back together. This would be welcomed with relief by EU officials who have no military ax to grind and are not happy about the billions it would take to get Ukraine off life support.

More here and here.

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