Everybody knows someone who is terrible at a particular hobby or chosen field of interest, but who stubbornly continues their pursuit of it in the face of considerable evidence that they have no aptitude for it. Motorhead and music, for example. Steven Seagal and acting. Sarah Palin and public speaking. Anybody from the Indianapolis Colts and football.
To the list, add Yulia Latynina and military strategy. Yulia Latynina and psychology. Actually, Yulia Latynina and everything to do with writing except for fiction, at which she is allegedly not bad.
It’s been some time since Yulia Latynina and this blog crossed paths; ‘way back in August of 2010, to be precise. On that occasion, as on this one, Yulia showcased her largely imaginary familiarity with military affairs. The effort resulted in an exemplary departure from reality which saw Yulia excoriating Viktor Bout for being a shitheel unscrupulous arms dealer while rapturously praising the CIA for giving Stinger missiles to the Mujahedin in Afghanistan. It proved extremely hard to draw any conclusion from her angry barking other than that Viktor Bout is a filthy criminal because he is a Russian, while the CIA is a good example of responsible social engineering because it is American.
Have the intervening months marked a sobering of judgment in Ms. Latynina; a more even-handed approach to international affairs and domestic politics? Not so you’d notice. By way – with thanks – of Moscow Exile, here is Yulia’s recent Moscow Times piece, in which she attempts to persuade the reader that Vladimir Putin intends to go to war with Georgia immediately after the March 4th presidential elections in order to silence his opposition with a patriotic distraction. I wish I were making that up, but I’m not.
I have no talent for spontaneous fiction myself, and am seldom tasked with unsupported invention more challenging than, “Does this make me look fat?” Latynina, on the other hand, is apparently a frustrated serial storyteller, and makes dizzying connections based on factors that are not merely coincidental, but which seem to have no causative relationship at all. That’s because, often, they don’t. Let’s take a look at it; I’m sure you’ll see what I mean.
The piece starts off mildly enough; political trouble in South Ossetia, although Latynina’s dramatic declaration that “How you vote in the tiny republic is less important than the number of machine guns you own” is a bit over the top. But it appears to be true that not once, but twice in the run-up to the elections, armed men made demands that had nothing to do with democracy; the first that the president be allowed to serve a third term – presumably without the messiness of an election – and the second that a candidate be allowed to stand for election who does not live in South Ossetia, but lives in Moscow. All indications also seem to suggest that Alla Dzhioyeva did indeed win, and that Kremlin favourite Anatoly Bibilov only began to complain of “voting irregularities” when it became evident he was losing.
But let’s not leave this point; not just yet. It makes some interesting arguments that resonate far beyond South Ossetia.
Consider. According to western media accounts, Dzhioyeva won in the first round on November 27th, with 57% of the vote. However, that’s not exactly what happened. That was actually a run-off, because neither candidate won enough of the vote in the real first round – held November 13th – to score a conclusive victory; they split the vote with just over 25% each. But Georgia and the west dismissed it as illegitimate; therefore, according to the narrative, it never happened. The first election was that of November 27th, which the western-preferred candidate won handily.
Before that, however, the U.S., NATO and the EU made it clear they did not recognize the elections as legitimate.
Whoops!! that was before Alla Dzhoiyeva appeared to have won, but the Supreme Court annulled the results. Now, the story is completely different. It transpired that the election which the west announced it would not recognize as legitimate was nonetheless attended by international observers, who all agreed the vote was fair: “In comments to RFE/RL’s Georgian Service also shortly before the Supreme Court decision was made public, Dzhioyeva said the election results were valid and had been confirmed by the Election Commission, by observers from both campaigns, and by international monitors”. Here’s Maurice Bonnot, an observer from the Paris-based Institute of Democracy and Cooperation: “The election for president of South Ossetia was conducted democratically and this cannot be ignored…The electoral process and the protocols were in order — I hear that there are complaints now, but I don’t see any cause for them. We did not see any efforts to pressure voters. This election was democratic and the election should be validated. This is the choice of the people.”
So now, now it’s the choice of the people, which cannot be ignored, and the election should be validated, according to a representative from a democracy-advocacy agency based in a country that announced in advance that the elections did not matter because they were illegitimate.
I agree the conduct of the elections probably was fair, likely in both the original election and the run-off, and that Alla Dzhoiyeva probably is the duly-elected president of South Ossetia. Any “campaigning” or “pressuring” by her volunteers at polling stations, if it occurred at all, was likely inconsequential to the result. But the larger point here seems to be the west’s evident excitement over her big win, and a new willingness to get involved in the legitimizing of it. Forgive me if I find it hard to form any impression from it other than it is seen to be an opportunity to put a thumb in the eye of the Kremlin.
Is there any other country – anywhere on this planet or those yet to be colonized by Newt Gingrich – that the west so goes out of its way to antagonize?
The remainder of Latynina’s argument vis-a-vis South Ossetia’s elections is just silly; that the incumbents enjoyed an advantage over the opposition in that they had stolen so much of the South Ossetian grant money from Russia that they could use it to “bribe their benefactors”. That their benefactors are the Russian government, whom they would presumably be bribing with their own money to help candidates they already wanted to win, apparently makes perfect sense to her. I guess it would to you, too, if you approached every set of circumstances with the preordained conclusion that it somehow spelled disaster for the Russian government.
But it is Latynina’s next swing for the fences that made laughing out loud go from possibility to certainty. Putin is clearly, we are told, planning for another attack on Georgia, timed to follow on the heels of his presumed success in the presidential elections, with the designed purpose of “stirring up a patriotic frenzy” and sidelining his “radical opposition” so that any protests will fail to gain traction.
How can she possibly know this? Connections, baby; it’s all so simple when you see it laid out before you as only Latyninaesque epiphany could do. There has been a recent change of command at 58th Army – some of whose brigades went into Georgia in 2008 to throw them out of South Ossetia when Saakashvili tried to retake it by military force, as he had promised to do during his candidacy for the Georgian presidency – and “almost all of its weaponry has been modernized.”
I know it’s cheap to resort to patronization and mockery. But that’s just the way I roll. Yulia, the need for modern military equipment for the Russian army was identified by scores of analysts from around the world almost before the dust had settled; although the Russian counterattack was an unqualified success, four aircraft were lost that did not need to be, mobilization was not as fast as it could have been and positions of enemy artillery and rocket launchers were not known with the degree of certainty they likely could have been. The President of Russia specifically spoke about modernization of military equipment during a visit to 58th Army headquarters in Vladikavkaz four months ago. As one of the few military units actually involved in combat in recent years, 58th Army could reasonably expect to have its equipment modernized early. As to the state of its weaponry, it was also the only army in the Russian Federation to have expended any of its weaponry in a manner other than routine training in the last few years, and shares a border with an enemy who attacked its people. Not to resupply the 58th Army would be a cause for comment, for sure.
A new Commanding Officer, you say? I couldn’t find a history of former commanders of 58th Army, which has existed in its present configuration since 1995 (with its headquarters at Vladikavkaz, although it has existed with its present divisions or very similar capabilities since 1942), although I did try, but I promise you it has not had the same Commanding Officer since 1995. But the North Caucasus Military District, of which 58th Army is a subordinate unit, has had 5 different commanding officers since 2000; the current commander has been in charge since 2008. Looking at their rotation – around 2 to 3 years – suggests he also is due for relief by a new CO.
During the counterattack which was a response to Saakashvili’s grab for South Ossetia – which began in the form of mobilization (see “Georgia’s Propaganda War and the Georgian-Russian War, Gordon M. Hahn) even before Saakashvili declared a unilateral cease-fire, the Commanding Officer of the 58th Army was wounded by a shell splinter. What would have happened if he had been killed, and it had been army policy to keep the same commanding officer for years and years? For this reason, among others, officers with command responsibility are changed out every couple of years in armies around the world – to build a pool of experienced leadership. In fact, unless the new Commanding Officer served previously as the Executive Officer in the same unit, replacing the Commanding Officer only two months before launching an attack – in which he would lead a unit whose strengths and weaknesses were still largely unknown to him – would be the kind of decision only a fool or someone who was out of options would make. The changeover now argues against a military campaign rather than for it.
I don’t think I want to say a lot about Latynina’s interpretation of the findings arrived at by the EU Commission headed by Heidi Tagliavini. The notion that some stringer for Novaya Gazeta and the Moscow Times has a better appreciation for the facts than an investigative body which included 30 legal, military and history experts , among them four former ministers of foreign affairs or of defense, speaks for itself.
The litany of complaints by this wire-haired whackjob against her government and her country is seemingly endless, and it seems Russia can do nothing to suit her. Her beliefs as expressed by she herself encourage her readers to accept that Alexei Navalny should be leader of the Russian Federation, and that while the poor are perfectly adequate to the heavy lifting necessary for revolution, once the revolution has achieved its goal of overthrowing the government, decision-making ought to fall to the wealthy. The USA – the polar opposite of Russia in her eyes – can do no wrong.
Since her beliefs so closely mirror those of the conservative element in the country she idolizes, it seems not too much to ask for them to grant her some small American protectorate – Guam, perhaps – to rule over as she sees fit. Maybe we could visit it in a few years, see what kind of democratic utopia she has made of it. All in favour?
The UK Daily Telegraph:
“An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people gathered on Saturday for the peaceful demonstration on Novy Arbat, a boulevard to the west of the city’s centre.”
I think the journalist should have his eyes tested. Does it look like 20,000 people assembled in the photograph accompanying the DT article?
15,000 to 20,000?
Moskovskiy Komsomolets says that authorities gave permission that a meeting be held on Novy Arbat with a maximum participation of 50,000 people. The town hall also gave permission to close the thoroughfare to traffic if the need arose, but it didn’t: the protesters only occupied the paved area where the stage had been erected.
Take a look at the phots and especially the video at the end of this MK article linked below. How many demonstrators do you think took part?
Dear Moscow Exile,
Thanks again for this.
If I was to judge the rally by the video at the end I would put the number at well below 10,000. In fact if I had not heard other much higher numbers I would say 3-5,000 at most. However we do not know at what point in the rally the film was made. I cannot believe that the police would say that turnout was higher than it was so I would guess that 10,000 must be the bare minimum and 20,000 the absolute maximum. Let’s split the difference and say 15,000 or roughly the same as the number who turned up on Monday. Certainly we are looking at far fewer than 50,000 and as for the million that Navalny spoke about on 24th December 2011 and Udaltsov announced for future rallies today, that is for the birds.
A few further points:
1. Though the protesters have claimed that Putin’s supporters are bused in to his rallies here we have the clearest possible evidence that the protesters are doing exactly the same thing. There are several coaches in clear view and two coaches with more protesters seem to be drawing up towards the end.
2. Who is that extremely tough and frankly unpleasant looking young man with the rather sinister arm band we saw at the start of the film who seemed to be handing out leaflets? I wouldn’t want to meet him alone in a dark place.
3. I gather that Udaltsov again tried to lead a break away of about sixty followers to Pushkin Square for another sit in only to be detained again by the police. This is becoming tedious. It looks to me as if he is going down the same route of irrelevant exhibitionism as did Limonov before him.
We have seen time and again that the western media exaggerates the size of anti-Putin/anti-United Russia protests and downplays the size of pro-Putin/pro-government rallies in roughly the same measure, by at least half. They backed away from it a little bit around the time of the single large protest, when it seemed as if the anti-government “movement” was picking up steam and they might not have to exaggerate. But they have continuously minimized pro-Putin rallies as “a few thousand”, while demonstrations like this one are billed as “thousands”. The same thing, actually, but simple literary tricks make the one seem meager while the other seems huge.
Anyway, the worst that anyone could do now would be to mock them or make fun of them. Without a focal point for their anger – which might be conveniently offered by mockery – the whole thing will just crumble and fall apart. A tone of conciliatory forgiveness would be best, and understanding that they just lost their way for a minute. It would have the advantage of taking the moral high road, which just makes the western agitators look worse. It looks like La Russophobe called Navalny correctly right from the start, while many, many analysts well above her pay grade dropped the ball in favour of Navalny crushes.
On the subject of Navalny here I too have to make a confession. I never thought he was an imminent danger and I did expect him in time to burn himself out but I did think he was a much more powerful force than he has turned out to be. Looking back his best moment was at the rally on 24th December 2011. Ever since he has failed to have anything like the impact I expected. Given the publicity he gets this cannot be because Russians don’t know enough about him. It must mean that they are far less impressed with him than I thought they might be. Good for them! I gather there was a survey of the people who turned up at the 24th December 2011 that made that clear.
“Given the publicity he gets this cannot be because Russians don’t know enough about him.”
Doesn’t that sound like Nemtsov? He, too, feels bitterly cheated that Russians don’t grab hold of his anti-Putin message, and whenever he loses at some bid for office he claims it’s because the state monopolizes advertising. But the comparison doesn’t carry all the way, because Navalny was just a “rebel leader”, and had no political status. Nonetheless, he certainly eclipsed Nemtsov, for a brief moment in time.
I wonder what Navalny will do now? Considering he’s vastly more revered in the west than he is in Russia – except for a small core of adoring supporters – perhaps he will move to the west to become another agitator-from-overseas. I’m sure the west won’t give up this easily, but it must recognize that there is little potential for overthrowing Putin based on broad dissent, and will have to settle for nibbling at his policies and pouncing on any signs of discontent with them. Apart, I mean, from John McCain, who is sure only of Sundays because that’s the day he appears on conservative-friendly talk shows. In his addled mind, there’s still a chance.
There’s an “opposition” supporter over on the RT thread about today’s meeting that says “…most russians, especially the educated, intelligent ones and also the working class does not support the current regime. Especially Putins most criminal party, United Russia, which is made of billionaire oligarches, criminals and hypocrites”.
I commented as regards majority support remaining for Putin and United Russia even if one makes adjustments to compensate for the highest alleged perentage of fraud in both elections, but it’s there again: that which Alexander Mercouris mentioned above: that class antagonism, that bourgeois sneering at those who voted for Putin.
I am sure he just tagged on as an afterthought “and also the working class” so as not to sound too obnoxious in saying that most Russians, especially the educated and intelligent ones, do not support the regime. If, however, his comment about the working class is not an afterthought, then that means he believes that all working class Russians, but only most of the educated, intelligent ones, are against the regime, namely that the Russian working class as a whole is smarter than educated and intelligent Russians are as a whole.
Perhaps it’s his command of written English that caused him to write his curious statement. Be that as it may, he is definitely wrong in believing that most Russians are against the regime. Perhaps he reads and believes too much of what is written in the Western news media.
Or he thinks, as Latynina does, that the poor betray the nation with their voting choices – voting for the leader who promises to throw a chicken in the pot from time to time – and thus should be restricted to pick-and-shovel work while the heady intrigues of political maneuvering are left in trust to the elite, who are less apt to vote their stomachs.
Strangely, that’s just about an exact encapsulation of the sort of thinking the west rails against when it’s trying to get a revolution off the ground. Imagine Paul Revere arguing for a political system in which the court of privilege made all the weighty decisions while the rabble squabbled over the price of potatoes. I know I’d certainly like to see the opposition articulate this philosophy, because nothing would kill it stone dead faster.
Most interestingly the BBC itself seems to have mellowed a bit. The day before the March 10 protests I remember hearing them report that even the organizers of the protests were downplaying expectations of a 50,000 turnout and they questioned whether the protest movement was running out of steam.
Couple that with a surprisingly balanced (as one can get in the British media) discussion on Putin on their World Have Your Say program some days ago (which can be heard here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/whys as “WHYS 60: Is Putin a great leader?” and downloaded here:http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/whys/whys_20120305-1912a.mp3) and the conclusion I’ve come to is that for the Beeb at least they are either:
1. slowly becoming bored of the topic
2. they’ve seen the writing on the wall and are coming around to reality even if they don’t like it (which I think might be the case given this tweet: http://inagist.com/BBCTimWhewell/176720710721474560/)
The discussion program in particular was surprising as in addition to the usual cast of anti-Putin types who quite often sounded quite disconnected from reality they had expat Russians (in London!) who had few or no problems with Putin and supported him over other candidates and John Lockland, Director of Studies at the International Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris, who seems to be a Brit with a fairly level head when it comes to Russia – particularly surprising was when he pointed out that he was disappointed with the debate so far and expected a much higher level of discourse since up to that point all the anti-Putinistas were harping on about were Putin’s personal characteristics (“he’s authoritarian”, “a dictator”, yada yada yada) as opposed to specific policies that he implemented and which were disagreeable. That bit floored me to be honest.
I too have noticed how much more sober BBC reporting of Russia has suddenly become. It has always of course been much more sober than that of the printed media, which isn’t saying much.
Dear Alexander Mercouris,
In answer to your question No. 2 that you posed above: I don’t know. I was wondering about him myself. You see, where he is being filmed is not on Novy Arbat but at the entrance to Arbatskaya metro station, which is a good half mile from where the stage on Novy Arbat was erected and is the station that most would have used to arrive by metro for the meeting.
When I saw the photos like this…
…I too thought attendance had plummeted. As the police were claiming 8000, and the protesters 30,000, and since the Law of Averages had worked so well in the past, I assumed real attendance was at around 15,000.
However, the geodesic engineer Nikolai Pomeshchenko, whose estimates we have no reason to distrust (previous estimates: Bolotnaya I – 60k; Sakharov – 56k+; Bolotnaya 2 – 62k) gave a much higher than consensus estimate of 26,000.
Well, be that as it may, it’s still less than 50% of the size of the previous rallies.
I have just commented on this on your Facebook page. I think the geodecisist’s numbers may be too high. I say this with whilst recognising that he is a professional and that this is his field, whilst I of course am not a professional and can only make a guess. I also have to say that my impression (and it can be no more than that) is that Sakharova was bigger than Bolotnaya I and II though he claims it was smaller.
There is an interesting graph on Mark Sleboda’s Facebook page that shows the total number of people who registered on Facebook for each demonstration. The peak by quite a large measure (60,000) is for Sakharova which tends to support but of course does not prove the possibility that this was the largest protest.
Here is the graph from Mark Sleboda’s Facebook page. Obviously it does not provide direct information about the size of the protests but it is suggestive and anyway it is interesting for itself
I’m afraid I’m going to have to call bullshit. His geodesic dilithium crystals appear to be resonating at the wrong frequency, because there’s no way the western press would report it at “maybe 15,000 to 20,000” if there were the slightest chance it might have gone higher, since their instinct is to double the best estimate. That’s unless there were no western journalists there at all, and I think we can agree that’s unlikely.
Maybe Mr. Pomeshchenko has a spot of dirt on his screen that looks like 10,000 people. But it does highlight that we need a better method of measuring crowd size, because western sources will continue to exaggerate wildly when it suits their purposes.
The BBC was certainly there. I have seen their broadcast.
Though as I have said I have my doubts about Pomeshchenko’s figures I do not doubt his professionalism and good faith. Bear in mind that his estimates deflated the claims made by the opposition for the Sakharova and Bolotnaya II rallies whilst basically vindicating those of the government’s supporters for the size of their rallies especially the one on 4th February 2012. At the end of the day we are not talking about an exact science but rather about an opinion science so there is always scope for disagreement and error.
Anyway the important point (as Anatoly has pointed out) is that even if Pomeshchenko is right this is much the smallest rally so far apart from the one on Monday and momentum has definitely gone. Udaltsov has talked wildly of a million people turning up before Putin’s inauguration. In his dreams!
“Anyway the important point (as Anatoly has pointed out) is that even if Pomeshchenko is right this is much the smallest rally so far apart from the one on Monday and momentum has definitely gone. Udaltsov has talked wildly of a million people turning up before Putin’s inauguration. In his dreams!”
Indeed…the momentum is gone. I think those who initially joined earlier larger rallies have some of the following sentiments(or a mix of these):-
1.) A sense of futility and acceptance of reality – i.e. the majority of Russians support Putin.
2.) That the wild claims of vote-rigging and cheating have turned out unsubstantiated.
3.)A realization that the police will not tolerate anymore untoward protests(the police had been very patient with previous protests but now that the elections are settled, these protests are seen as provocative and a hindrance to peace and daily activity).
4.)A minority may have even realized that they were manipulated upon by Navalny et al and realized Western interest in destabilizing Russia. I wonder if such minority contributed to the upswing of Putin’s popularity?
As for this:-
“Udaltsov has talked wildly of a million people turning up before Putin’s inauguration. In his dreams!”
He and (Navalny, Nemtsov, Kasyanov etc.) will be happy ‘leading’ a few hundred and thousand hardcores in their routine ‘protests’ so that the Western media can continue reporting ‘ many Russians are very unhappy with that dictator, Sauron-like Putin ….see the consistent protests?’. The one million ‘supporters’ can come from a virtual computer game ……
Thought of sharing with all of you a Malaysian perspective(from a pro-Government Malaysian newspaper) regarding the Arab Spring madness and the anti-Putin protesters in Moscow – all instigated upon by those imperialist in Washington-London. Not that I am pro-Malaysian government(in fact I dislike both Malaysian opposition and government) but perhaps this article represents a shift of the English-speaking elites in my country away from making USA idol #1. Most Malaysians know little about Russia though. But I think the world over is tired of American meddling the affairs of other states. Here it is:-
I’m sorry if this comment is lengthy – but I thought some selected ‘quotes’ would reduce the hassle of actually going to the website for most of us busy people.
Some selected ‘quotes’:-
“US, Israeli and European cheerleaders of Arab “regime change” through street politics have realised by now that the naive notion of ousting dictators does not travel in a straight line. Among other things, the new regimes that emerge have tended to be more independent and less Western-friendly.”
“Nonetheless, neither religion nor showy forms of piety is the issue: it is a country’s unwillingness to comply with Western requests and demands that is. The stakes are raised when such a country is oil-rich and occasionally snubs Western concerns as well.
Currently the most conspicuous example of this is Russia, or rather president-elect Vladimir Putin’s Russia. This is a country that happens to channel the West’s worst “fears” today: being big, rich in oil and gas, independent-minded, “uncooperative” with the West over Libya, Syria and Iran, and even opposed to Nato’s eastwards expansion right up to Moscow’s doorstep.”
“Now weeks later, opposition claims of vote fraud favouring Putin is still without substance. Opinion polls before the election indicated a two-thirds majority support for Putin, and the results have since shown 64%.
Even Putin’s opponents had agreed that he had no problem securing enough votes to win the election. Until now his opponents and critics have not explained why he needed to cheat to win, and furthermore they failed to show that he had cheated.”
“Interestingly, the OSCE observers indirectly rebuffed opposition claims of multiple voting by Putin supporters, and instead reported on the negative perceptions that attended the voting. The Europeans had no evidence of vote fraud and declared that there were no significant violations, but they still hankered after attaching a negative spin to the election and its result.”
“If anyone had any “actionable” evidence of fraud it would have been the OSCE observers, yet they served up nothing. Their position would in effect have been a workable endorsement of the election’s credibility.”
“At the heart of such reporting and editing is a tendency to approach opposition claims with less scepticism than government ones, although both sides are equally interested parties in an electoral contest. It is an approach typical of the Western media in the Third World.”
(sinotibetan’s note: this is a subtle suggestion that the West supports Malaysian opposition like they do in Russa – and it’s TRUE. That’s one reason I dislike our opposition. However, my government is ruled by ‘a party of thieves’ – which Putin and his friends would appear like saints if he[Putin] were to be compared to the buffoons we have in our Government).
“Essentially, the protesters did not endorse any particular candidate but were instead just being anti-Putin. The very fact that they have been doing so openly without being packed off to a gulag in Siberia for life shows the distance Russia has travelled since the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
(sinotibetan’s note: Due to the fact they are actually just anti-Putin show the liberal opposition’s lack of ingenuity, facts and credibility. It seems to send a message that they wish they can replace Putin rather than being interested with the concerns of the average Russian on the street).
Thanks for interesting link, Sino-T. Proves that common sense still exists in some editorial offices in some parts of the world.
Hey, Sino-T; this is indeed interesting. However, I think it makes the early mistake of assuming that stable, western-friendly democracies was truly the aim of U.S./UK interventions, and that the west is truly surprised when the result is a ferment of ethnic hatreds and cut-and-thrust coalition building. It is not. The people who supply the money for regime change – the taxpayers – maybe. But the people who allocate and spend the funds and select the military objectives – the government – don’t believe that varnish about humanitarian concerns and dictators. In fact, the west would be the most surprised if prosperous stability turned out to be the result, and makes little effort to achieve it once the leadership of its victim has fallen. The aim is stability for the USA and a few selected friends, and instability for everyone else. Like a tired old magician pulling battered paper flowers from his sleeve, the west imagines these redirections are still invisible to everyone even after multiple repetitions of the same trick.
I give Yeltsin credit for one thing – when he decided to go the western way and build a “market democracy” with competition and private ownership, he probably believed the west really would help to achieve that goal. He probably believed Russia could not put off modernization any longer – and he was right about that – and that it should be done now when he could count on the guidance of powerful international friends. He probably honestly meant it all for the best.
And now there are still people who wonder why Russia will not trust the west.
First of all, I am sorry for our disagreements on certain issues and I hope that you will not(as I have not) taken some of the comments where I ‘voice’ out these disagreements to heart! Thanks for patiently replying even when we disagree resolutely! 🙂
However, I somewhat agree with your criticism of the article:-
“However, I think it makes the early mistake of assuming that stable, western-friendly democracies was truly the aim of U.S./UK interventions, and that the west is truly surprised when the result is a ferment of ethnic hatreds and cut-and-thrust coalition building.”
As I have alluded in my ‘disagreeable’ comment, the Western Imperium want states that fulfill its every demand and states that don’t are ripe for ‘internal destabilization’. I agree that the desire of a stable, western-friendly democracy is not OFTEN true. They want a western-friendly or more aptly western-DEPENDENT regime – whether ‘stable’ or ‘unstable’ is not the main intention.
As for Western ‘selection’ of ‘certain Muslims’ vs ‘other Muslims’, I can see that somewhat in my own country. Here in my country, the West ‘implicitly’ supports the opposition -which include an Islamist party(which would prescribe Syariah and Hudud to replace secular laws once they are in power) inconveniently ‘politically married’ to secular parties vs the so-called ‘moderate Islamic ruling party’ – which strong hold in the reins of Government parallels that of Mubarak or Assad. Whichever ‘Islamic party’ come to rule would not negate the discrimination towards non-Muslims in my country, in my opinion….in fact, I am apprehensive of the more Islamist one but am fed up with the racism and discrimination of the present one. The editor – being pro-Government alludes to the superficial ‘semblance’ the current regime has towards fallen regimes in the Middle East and also(to their erroneous assumption) towards Putin’s as well. I remember the former Russian Ambassador to Malaysia comparing United Russia to BN(the National Front) in my country. The semblance is there – albeit superficial only. I thought I’d put the article in perspective.
As for the mistaken assumption of the editor – well, the West has projected herself as a defender of democracy, egalitarianism, freedom – the new social gospel – and that her military interventions, sanctions and UN vetoes are to that end – it’s no wonder that many, even among the most erudite, could be deceived.
Hey, Sino-T; not at all. I welcome disagreement, although I am at a disadvantage when discussing religions as I am not particularly religious myself. Not an atheist – just not particularly religious.
I was only responding to the suggestion that I and other commenters here are “soft on Islam”. I agree it is considerably more conservative than Christianity, but my point was that western media sources simply will not leave Islam alone and want to “rescue” all those under its cruel yoke. My position is that those who wish to be rescued will tell you so.
“Up to 10,000 protesters flocked to a central Moscow avenue today to demand Vladimir Putin’s resignation and protest electoral fraud.”
Associated Press, The Independent (UK), Saturday, March 10th 2012.
“More than 20,000 protesters streamed through Moscow yesterday denouncing Vladimir Putin’s presidential election win,… ”
The Independent (UK), Sunday, March 11th 2012. (No source given)
If there were 20,000 at Novy Arbat on Saturday, I’ll show my arse in front of Lenin’s tomb!
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin accuses Libya’s (unelected) Prime Minsiter, el-Keib, of supporting terrorist insurgents in Syria. El-Keib just happens to be Chairman of The Petroleum Institute, an international organization funded by British Petroleum.
The major players who conspired to assassinate Gaddafi all seem to have ties with either Goldman Sachs or British Petroleum… hm… I am starting to see a pattern… I guess I’m just being paranoid though…
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