.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
The Expansionist
Monday, April 23, 2007
 
Uncle Boris Dies. I was shocked and profoundly saddened today to read of the death of a great hero of Western civilization. Boris Yeltsin, the man who destroyed the Soviet Union, has died at age 76. He had been in very bad health for many years, so his death should not have come as a surprise, but it hit me hard anyway.
+
I have long felt a special connection to Russia even tho I am not the slitest Russian myself. All my ancestors are from Western and North Central Europe. But when I visited Russia briefly (5 days in 1984), not only did I feel very comfortable but I was also taken for Russian. I think people asked me directions, and I could merely say, slowly, "Ya nye gavarit pa-Russki" (I don't speak Russian). I get asked directions a lot, in places I've never been till minutes before.
+
I have long been very indignant that the West has been so nasty and unhelpful to the Russian people in their struggle to adapt to democracy and the free market. It's as tho we are punishing them for the crimes of their Soviet masters. A transition that could have been eased and could have succeeded fully by now if we had rushed 100,000 technical advisers, Peace Corps volunteers, and educators, has instead been a nitemare of failure and hardship. Some Russians have actually frozen to death, or starved to death, because the West refused to help. Madness.
+
Now we have a Russian President who is even more indignant than I am about the bad treatment the West has heaped upon the geographically largest country on Earth, and who is both in position and inclined to hurt us. Serves us right. Because it's not just the leadership of the United States but, unfortunately, also the people who have let old prejudices from the Cold War era cause us to stand aside and watch Russians suffer, as tho "it serves the Russki, Commie bastards right!"
+
We dared to criticize Russian authorities for attacking Islamist Chechnyans and retaliating for the terrorism they brought to the capital of the nation, seizing hundreds of theatergoers in Moscow, and killing hundreds of schoolchildren, as tho it happened on a distant planet and had nothing to do with us. We didn't even express sympathy for Russians' loss, even tho these attacks may well have been planned and aided by al-Qaeda. Small wonder, then, that Vladimir Putin's heart has turned cold against us.
+
Tho much diminished, Russian power is great enuf to cause us real problems. For one thing, Russia has a veto in the United Nations Security Council. If it chooses, it can prevent the U.S. from acting legally against Iran. That does not, of course, mean that the Bush Administration will not attack Iran illegally. Legalities didn't stop the attack nor occupation of Iraq. And I'm frankly a bit surprised that there have not already been attacks on Iran, since Israel plainly wants the U.S. to fite its war against Iran just as it ordered the U.S. to fite Israel's war against Iraq.
+
What it does mean, however, is that if Russia decides it is more than a little tired of the contempt and condescension it receives at the hands of American policymakers, it can cause us a whole lotta trouble. It can help Iran with nuclear weapons. It can supply Taliban and other Afghan rebels with arms, ammunition, and training, to turn the tables on our aid during the Soviet occupation that so humbled the Russian leadership as to shake the regime to its foundation. Make no mistake: Taliban and al-Qaeda forces will take Russian aid if it's offered. The atheists of the Soviet era have been replaced by the pious Orthodox Christians of modern Russia, so their aid would be less objectionable on religious grounds. But even if top officers in the Russian military were still atheists, al-Qaeda would still accept their help, on the basis that "The enemy of my enemy is my friend". Of course, al-Qaeda doesn't really have friends, because to have friends you must be a friend, and al-Qaeda is no one's friend. But "Politics makes strange bedfellows", and "War is a continuation of policy by other means", so al-Qaeda, as a matter of policy, would accept any assistance Russia might offer, openly or covertly, be it to act in Afghanistan or Iraq. The Russian military, and a goodly portion of the Russian populace, would love to see the U.S. humiliated in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
+
When I visited Russia I realized that there is nothing "Eastern" about it except the name of the communion to which the Russian Orthodox Church belongs, the Eastern Orthodox Church . But the "East" in "Eastern Orthodox" is the Eastern Roman Empire, not the Orient. Some Russians do bear some Oriental/Mongoloid genes due to the presence for hundreds of years of the Golden Horde, a division of Jenghis Khan's Mongol army, and the presence in Siberia of nomadic Mongoloid peoples. But Mongoloid people are not numerous in today's Russia, and the Golden Horde's contributions to Russian culture were trivial.
+
Russian is written in an alphabet derived from Greek, the language of Constantinople. Russians have historically seen Moscow (or Russia as a whole) as "the Third Rome" (or, in the case of the whole nation, the third Roman Empire) after the fall of the Second, the Byzantine Empire, to the Turks in 1453. The name of the Russian emperor, tsar or czar, means "Caesar". That would be Julius Caesar, the man who ended the Roman Republic and gave his name to the first Roman Emperors.
+
Bizarrely, then, the division in Western civilization that Roman Emperor Diocletian made, in 292 A.D., when he divided the Roman Empire into two sub-empires, East and West, remains to this day. The United States is the heir to the Western Empire; Russia, to the Eastern. The two parts are unequal and barely speak to each other. We even use two different alphabets, ours the Roman, theirs the Greek.
+
History means much more to Europeans than to Americans, so whereas Americans might think this all just idle play with the past, a meaningless, romantic nostalgia for 'the good old days', it means much more to Russians, and much more to a few Russians. We can't know how many people in positions of power see Russia as the True Rome, keeper of the True Religion, and us in the West as pretenders and heretics. Our Capitol is plainly a Roman building, and the Church of Rome is the communion for all Western churches, which either continue the Apostolic Succession as it is seen from the City of Rome or rebelled against the Catholic Church in some particulars while continuing to cleave to its core tenets. Protestants did not return to the first principles as held out by Eastern Orthodoxy.
+
Serbians too once regarded themselves as the New Rome, and Serbian attacks upon Bosnian Moslems and then Moslem Kosovars were an attempt to avenge the humiliation of Christian Europe at the hands of the Turks. Ever in mind, if unspoken, in Serbia's attacks was the hope of retaking Constantinople from the Turks.
+
Altho "realists" in the West may dismiss such a hope as preposterous, stranger things have happened. The Jewish reconquest of Palestine springs to mind.
+
Is it really preposterous to think that the concept of "Christendom" could rebound and latter-day Crusaders retake Constantinople just as the Jews retook Jerusalem? Plainly not. Usama bin Laden and other spokesmen for al-Qaeda call us "Crusaders". They fear such a resurgence.
+
The Jewish conquest of Jerusalem, which has been a catastrophe for world peace, need be no more permanent than the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. And plainly the powers of the West are more than capable of ripping the Christian "Holy Land" from the Jews and Constantinople from the Turks anytime they might choose.
+
Would a Christian reconquest of Constantinople and Jerusalem spur world religious war, or end it, by imposing modern, multiethnic and multireligious tolerance upon that fractious region?
+
Indeed, aren't we already in a world religious war, in which Islamists are on the offensive and face nothing more than limitations on their aggressions? What if we raised the stakes? "You attack us, we retake Constantinople and Jerusalem and both allow and encourage Moslems to convert to Christianity. Hell, we can nuke Mecca if we want." Might such a threat cause Islamists to scale back their aspirations for fear of catastrophic destruction of all Islam?
+
Instead of aspiring to unity with the West and assistance in its struggles against Islamic terrorism, Russia has been tempted in the opposite direction: away from its Western roots into a closer relationship with China, Central and South Asia, and Iran. And the U.S. is to blame.
+
Past cruelty and present ignorement and condescension by American policymakers have pushed Moscow into relationships with genuine Oriental societies that could be very dangerous to U.S. interests and, indeed, to world peace.

Though the declaration on the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation contained a statement that it "is not an alliance directed against other states and regions and it adheres to the principle of openness", many observers believe that one of the original purposes of the SCO was to serve as a counterbalance to NATO and the United States and in particular to avoid conflicts that would allow the United States to intervene in areas near both Russia and China. Some observers also believe that the organization was formed as a direct response to the threat of missile defense systems by the United States, after the United States reversed course in its nuclear policy and began promoting National Missile Defense.

The United States has applied for observer status to SCO and was rejected.

Russian behavior may embolden Iran to step up its cooperation with the Taliban in Afghanistan and insurgents in Iraq. Russian arms and disinclination to interfere may embolden Communist China to attempt to conquer Taiwan.
+
The Putin government again this very day openly warned the U.S. that creating a missile defense shield for European members of NATO, even if intended as defense against Iranian missiles, could spark a new arms race with Russia.
+
That's not the new relationship with Russia we should have forged after Uncle Boris destroyed the Soviet Union. There's still time to bring Russia back into the Western family. World peace may well require that reunion.
+
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 3,324 — for Israel.)

Amazon Honor System



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Powered by Blogger