One Standard for Me, Another for Thee

Uncle Volodya says, "Hey, Rich Iott: great outfit! And with the jackboots? Smokin'!!"

I’m feeling a little lazy today, and since The Power Vertical deigned to supply anything outrageous to write about (I frequently find little to disagree with in Mr. Whitmore’s writing, and Mr. Coalson has been rather quiet of late), and there was nothing outstandingly stupid on Open Democracy or RFE/RL that I noticed (apart from Andrei Konchalovsky’s almost incoherent babble about “reloading Russia’s Spiritual Software”, which was too absurd even for me), I’m going back once more to the well of hatred at La Russophobe.

Among the moon-barking featured today by the Duchess of Dunceland is this piece; “Russia is an Uncivilized Monstrosity”. We’ve learned to expect this sort of inarticulate claptrap from this site, and this “article” is pretty formulaic. Like Rudi Giuliani’s “noun, verb, 9-11” pattern during his unsuccessful campaigning for the presidency of the United States, pretty much every new spate of drivel from La Russophobe features at least one throwaway that might have been generated by a Magic 8-Ball: Russia plus Barbaric or Cruel or Inhuman 0r Uncivilized or blah blah blah. None of them are standouts for any reason in particular. But as you know, once in awhile a piece comes along that, when viewed through the frame of behaviors or events in some other country of which La Russophobe approves and is proud, makes her look comically hypocritical. This is such an article.

Let’s take a look at it. As I mentioned, it’s modeled on a familiar pattern for this author; sort of comfort food for her, as it were. Russia is so evil that even in the Book Of Evil under “Most Evil Country”, it only says “A big big country starting with R and ending with A”, because when they wrote, “R.U.S.S.I.A”, the page began to smoke, and they were afraid the Book of Evil would catch fire. Yes, yes; very amusing. However, this article is about symbols – again, it’s somewhat of a familiar direction for La Russophobe, as she likes to suggest that Germany has atoned for everything horrible it ever did to the Jews simply because they acknowledged it. Russia, of course, not only refuses to acknowledge Stalin did much worse things, but glorifies them by “weaving new tapestries of exaltation to Stalin and his ilk”.

Anyway, the article starts off with a darling little homily about an exhibit in Berlin that “confronts the people of Germany with the adoration given by their ancestors to the maniacal regime of Adolf Hitler”. But you wouldn’t have to travel all the way to Berlin to see that kind of exhibit. You need only turn to some of the strange extremist candidates the Republicans are running for the Senate this year in the United States. For example, there’s Alaska Republican Joe Miller, who as recently as yesterday cited East Germany as an effective example of border control in a discussion about immigration. Quite apart from East Germany being communist, Mr. Miller appears to be advocating (“glorifying”, if you will) a system which placed armed guards on the border who shot and killed hundreds of people attempting to cross. Not extreme enough? Okay, how about Ohio Republican Congressional candidate Rich Iott, who likes to dress up in Waffen SS uniform. Could you possibly get closer to “adoration of the maniacal regime of Adolf Hitler” than wearing the uniform of his personal bodyguard, the Schutzstaffel, bearers of the Totenkopf; the “death’s head” insignia? Said Himmler of these troops, “I know there are many people who fall ill when they see this uniform; we understand that and don’t expect that we will be loved by many people”. That’s an understatement on the order of saying a 747 is too heavy for a person to lift.

It’s important to keep in mind that these are not just Average Joes off the street. These are candidates for office in the U.S. Senate and Congress where – if successful – they will be members of the government, potentially lawmakers and contributors to foreign policy. Not during the time of Stalin and Hitler. Right now.

There’s an American Nazi Party. Some 200 neo-Nazi groups are active in the U.S.; none are particularly large or influential, but taken together, they constitute a fairly large base of support for “glorification of the maniacal regime of Adolf Hitler”. This doesn’t appear to bother La Russophobe, and the United States is far from being an “Uncivilized Monstrosity” in her view. It’s important to point out here that many countries of the world are hosts to neo-Nazi groups, and the U.S. is far from the worst. When those countries start featuring mouthy, sanctimonious bloggers who constantly vilify Russia while polishing their own country’s image as the absolute last word in everything, I’ll be sure to mention them by name.

Hers is also perhaps the last remaining source to receive the information that Dmitry Medvedev is now the President of Russia. According to La Russophobe, Russia’s president is a “proud KGB spy”.  Dmitry Medvedev is a proud former Chairman of the Board of GAZPROM. Vladimir Putin, presumably the “proud KGB spy”, is the Prime Minister. Try to stay up on current events, will you? I mean, Medvedev has been the President since March 2008. 

Anyway, enough of that. New direction. The final paragraph of this nutjob mini-manifesto alludes to Russia “making common cause with the demonic ruler of Venezuela”. Chavez’s Beelzebub Quotient notwithstanding, it’s fairly well-known that Russia is interested in using its energy muscle to expand trade ties, and Venezuela is only part of a generally neglected area that has a good deal of potential. But never mind that. Let’s take a quick look at American association with demonic rulers and their countries. Who’s just about the biggest demon among the world’s rulers right now, from an American standpoint? That’s right; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And he’s the ruler of…? That’s right, Iran. Iran is the Middle East’s Great Satan right now, as far as the U.S. government is concerned. But it wasn’t always that way: oh, no. In 1953, the CIA engineered and supported a coup which overthrew the democratically-elected Mohammed Mossadeq – this was in response to what became known as the Abadan Crisis, in which Mossadeq began the process of nationalising the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Under the previous arrangement, 85% of the profits went to Britain, and the company withheld its financial records from the Iranian government. For a brief period, it looked as if England might invade. The U.S. mediated, and the CIA stirred up a movement against Mossadeq which resulted in his overthrow in favour of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. To be fair, it appears then-President Truman was unaware of CIA involvement in this.

Yes, that's an Islamic Republic of Iran F-14

The USA was instrumental in installing an autocratic dictator who was loathed by Iranians, supporting him with billions in aid and selling him the most powerful Air Force in the region, including the F-14 Tomcat – the only foreign country ever to operate it. The Shah’s brutal and repressive rule continued, with unwavering U.S. support, until he was driven out in 1979 by the Islamic Revolution. In a New Year’s Eve toast to the Shah in 1978, President Carter said, “Under the Shah’s brilliant leadership, Iran is an island of stability in one of the most troublesome regions of the world. There is no other state figure whom I could appreciate and like more”.

Yes, well: the United States might have once supported the Iranian government, with whom it is now the bitterest of enemies. Anyone can misjudge, make a mistake, right? They’d never support the evil regime of Ahmadenijad. Especially considering his demonic attempts to enrich uranium and make a nuclear weapon so he can vaporise Israel.

Except they would. An agreement concluded earlier this year, with the full support of the United States (given it was nearly identical to an American proposal) will see Iran ship a significant amount of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for shipments of higher-enriched uranium from the west. That’s right, the same people who constantly agitate against Iran for enriching uranium at all, even though Iran is entitled to do so under the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and uranium enriched for weaponization must be to a percentage greater than 80%, while Iran has never enriched any to more than about 20%.

As often occurs in foreign policy, it’s do as I say, not as I do.

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16 Responses to One Standard for Me, Another for Thee

  1. Ken Hoop says:

    Sorry to inform you, the candidate in the uniform was doing re-enactments of the war, not expressing affinity.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, I know that’s what he says. Do you suppose that’s what the media would say if a Democrat did it? Regularly, since 2003? Or, more to the point of this article, if a Russian political candidate was fond of dressing up like Stalin?

    • Sorry to inform you, but the re-enactment site has this cute little apologia for Nazism:

      Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a “New and Free Europe”, free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.

      It seems pretty clear that the only thing twisted about Nazism for these ultra-right freaks is that they have socialism in their name and got their asses kicked by the Soviet Union.

      • marknesop says:

        Very well said, Anatoly. I don’t even really care what thugs Joe Miller or Rich Iott are or are not – that was never the point of this post, which was the determined effort of russophobes to link Stalin and Russians to Naziism while ignoring recognition of it in their own country. It’s significant, at least to me, that such war reenactments are illegal in Germany and Austria.

  2. 1. Nor is Joe Miller a DDR fan just in words. His secs illegally arrested a blogger who asked him a critical question, who was only released when the “real” police showed up.

    2. While under normal circumstances I’d have probably been more or less indifferent, I’ve come to like and support Venezuela by virtue of the titanic amount of lies the Western commentariat (aided by Venezuelan elitist liberals) have heaped on it. Go Chavez!

    • Yalensis says:

      Bravo! I like Chavez too. Here are some brief rebuttals to the usual Western stereotypes of him:
      “Buffoon” – No, Hugo is an extremely intelligent and shrewd leader who has enriched his country and raised the standard of living of the ordinary citizen. He has used Venezuelan oil wealth to increase his country’s international standing and to raise the standard of living of its citizens. Whole communities of indigenous Indians who never had access to basic health care and education – now have them. Chavez has just concluded some serious economic deals with Russia and Belorussia, successfully navigating the childish feud between those two countries.
      “Autocrat” – Not so. Venezuela is a thriving parliamentary democracy. Chavez is a scrappy fighter, and he fights hard, but he (mostly) fights fair.
      “Communist” – Chavez is religious, a devout Catholic. He bragged that he would attempt to convert his friend, Fidel Castro, from atheism and bring him to Jesus. Not your typical commie!
      “Corrupt” – again, look at the facts, and how the poor and previously dispossessed have made gains. Families which never even saw a doctor now have free health care. The root of Venezuela’s success was the nationalisation of its mineral wealth, which was a slap in the face to American and British economic imperialism. In the U.S. the “Citgo” gasoline pumps belong to Venezuela, and most of that that money now goes back to the people of Venezuela, instead of into the pockets of some London tycoon. And that, my friends, is why they hate him!

      • marknesop says:

        Hear, hear! I have my reservations about Hugo Chavez as a leader, but then, I don’t have a lot of time for politicians as a body. He’s been known to use strong-arm tactics in the past to hold on to power, but I wholeheartedly agree that his leadership has benefited the poor and middle class of Venezuela, and that he is a populist in more than just his speeches. His distribution of cut-price heating oil to American homes in 2006 – through Citgo – was a master-stroke, and it surely made him a lot of friends in New England, where they had a particularly bitter winter.

        As a good rule of thumb, if you would know what kind of man a foreign leader is, ask yourself who hates him. In this case, the words of American television evangelist Pat Robertson are instructive: “We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability”.

  3. carpenter117 says:

    2 Yalensis
    Re; German Fascism.
    In previous topic, you asked:
    “did the German Nazis use the same model in their economy, or was that a specifically Italian concept?”

    In 1920 NSDAP had adopted The 25-point Program (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_Program). In short, it’s very nationalistic, and, yes, socialist (see p. 10-15). Also, nazi were quite antagonistic toward parliamentarism (see p.6). In 1926 Hitler proclaimed, that National Socialist Program is “inviolable”. This didn’t stop Hitler from courting businessmen for political campaign money, though..

    • rkka says:

      On whether the Nazis were Socialist or not, the voting for the Enabling Act of March 1933 which gave Hitler the power to legislate by decree is instructive.

      The Nazis did, of course, but so did the Center party, which was the political party of the Catholic Church. Socialist? Don’t think so. Also on board with it was the Nationalists, led by the conservative press baron Hugenberg. All the minor parties went along too, and not a Socialist in the lot.

      The one party voting against, to a man?

      The Socialists.

      • Yalensis says:

        @carpenter and @rkka
        Thanks for the additional info. I think some people confuse “socialism” as a political movement with “socialism” as an economic system. Obviously they’re related, but still must separate out economic and political systems for the sake of analysis. Giuseppe had explained to me how Italian fascism was basically a capitalist economic system with some weird vertical-industrial guild-type structures to replace trade unions. German Nazi economy looks to me just run of the mill capitalism, not much different from contemporary American economy, except no trade unions allowed. (I’m not saying that America is Nazi, because American political system is nowhere near as bad as Nazi political system, thank goodness.) The Nazis called themselves “socialist”, but that was a lie. If they really were socialistic, then Hitler would have nationalized Krupp steel works and the banks and other big firms, but he didn’t.

  4. kovane says:

    “Russia is so evil that even in the Book Of Evil under “Most Evil Country”, it only says “A big big country starting with R and ending with A”, because when they wrote, “R.U.S.S.I.A”, the page began to smoke, and they were afraid the Book of Evil would catch fire.”

    How I hope that someday I’ll be able to write as good as you.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, they say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but I don’t see how my comedic talents could survive its abolition. In any case, I thank you for the kind compliment, and look forward to your own upcoming literary effort. If comment is any judge, it’s keenly anticipated by the blogosphere in general as well!

  5. Yalensis says:

    Mark: Ha! Well, we may pretend to look down on sarcasm, but we all love it, really, so please keep it up!
    Going back to the issue of Ohio politician Rich Iott and his Nazi dress-up, I read that he had mentioned he was an ethnic German himself, so this was his ancestors’ Fatherland that he was honoring with his military reenactments. Makes a lot of sense … NOT! If he wanted to honor Germany, then why not reenact a war that they WON? Like maybe going back to Frederick the Great versus Maria Theresa of the Austro-Hungarian empire? As Karlin eloquently points out, the Germans got their asses kicked by the Red Army. If I were an ethnic German, I would never want to re-live such humiliation. Also, Iott claims they were reenacting a battle with the Red Army, but he can nowhere point to any actors portraying Soviet soldiers. So, he was lying about the reenactment, it’s clear these were just grown men playing Nazi dress-up because it turned them on and because they like the Nazis.
    I suggest they should do another reenactment, but this time go up against Russian reenactors and experience the agony of defeat once again. Maybe the tank armies of Kursk? Or the battle of Stalingrad? Just a humble suggestion for these honorable lovers of history.

    • marknesop says:

      Not only that – such war reenactments are illegal in Austria and Germany. But I agree Anatoly’s statement puts the cap on any testy objections that it was all just good clean fun, and that he’s not a Nazi. He’s probably not, but don’t tell me the act is not glorification of the German Army.

      • grafomnka says:

        From what I remember Mr Iott explained that in his opinion Waffen SS was really badass and it had a lot of volunteers who fought for freedom and for their loved ones!
        If someone’s interested there’s nice BBC documentary ‘Weekend Nazis’ about WW2 reenactments in Britain … pretty disturbing actually, most of the people dress up as Nazis, relics from concentration camps are being sold etc.

        • marknesop says:

          This is disturbing. Maybe there’s something to the one fellow’s suggestion that reenacting these battles keeps the memory fresh for the world, and “the worst thing you could do is just forget it”, but to me it just looks like a bunch of guys getting off playing the army that had no rules of engagement, and could satisfy whatever craving for cruelty crossed its mind. Then, too, what kind of “memory refresher” is this going to be for the spectators? They see a bunch of guys strutting about in SS uniforms, having a great time, swilling beer, nobody getting hurt; the kids dressed as brownshirts were a nice touch. Maybe they’d enjoy seeing emaciated people frozen to death in tubs of salt water and ice, with big body-core-temperature thermometers shoved up their asses – that’s where much of the research that went into current naval harsh-exposure environmental suits came from. Think of the data you could collect if you didn’t have to worry about the test subject dying – if that was, in fact, the objective!

          The land battles were just a part of it. If Nazi Germany had not been kept busy fighting a two-front war, they might well have successfully carried out the reduction of the Jews to a few scattered remnants living abroad. Reenacting the glory of armed combat against a clever and determined foe glosses over the horrible things going on in the background; if there truly is a desire to remind the world of that period in history, reenact it all. See how Mom and the kiddies like that.

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