Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/01/2014 22:30 -0500
Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
“I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.”
– Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
Despite an interest in geopolitics, I haven’t really written anything on the concerning and worsening tension between the government of the United States and the government of Russia. I intentionally wrote government twice in order to emphasize the fact that 99.9% of Americans do not have real grievances with actual Russian people, and vice versa. This is a high-level conflict between powerful “leaders” playing a game of Risk with average citizen as pawns. This is how it’s always been. As human beings, we should never lose sight of this so the mistakes we make in the future aren’t nearly as tragic as those made by our ancestors.
One disconcerting thing I have noticed amongst some “liberty-minded” people I follow, is a knee-jerk tendency to pick a side in this affair. When it comes to powerful men running centralized nation-states with nuclear weapons, there are no church boys involved. I have noticed a desire to defend Russia every step of the way in what appears to be a simple-minded emotional reflex birthed in justifiable disgust with what they see happening in their home nations (the U.S. and UK in particular).
This behavior has always made me uncomfortable, and reminds me very much of how people get upset with one fake political party and then vote for the other guy simply because they are not a Democrat or a Republican. The best choice is to accept they are both useless and not vigorously defend either party. I take the same tact when it comes to battles between nation-states. Just because I am disgusted and horrified with what is happening in these United States, doesn’t mean I need to slavishly defend Russia, Vladimir Putin or pick any sides in a conflict in which the primary losers will always be powerless civilians.
I’ve never been to Russia, thus my opinion of the country is basically worthless. Nevertheless, based on what I have read and observed, I’d still much rather live in the U.S. than Russia despite all of our society’s failings and decay in recent decades. While this view could certainly change as time and events unfold, that is how I strongly feel at the moment. Putin is by all accounts an authoritarian cult-like leader who wants to ban Bitcoin, journalism can be a deadly affair, and oligarchs continue to run free (as long as you are friends with Putin). Recall my recent post: American Upper Middle Class Share of Wealth is Worse than Every Country Besides Russia and Indonesia. Yes, “besides Russia and Indonesia.” Russia is no economic utopia.
Nevertheless, this piece isn’t meant to be a pointless debate about which overly-centralized, archaic and corrupt nation-state is better than the other. Neither place has a political or economic structure that even comes close to providing a fertile environment in which human existence can reach its highest potential. Rather, both nation-states are controlled by a small group of ambitious, authoritarian and, when necessary, ruthless and violent men and women. That said, there are two reasons I think the following remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are so important.
First, as someone who spends much of his time analyzing and critiquing the many destructive policy decisions made by American “leaders,” I was shocked to find how accurate his description of the U.S. power structure’s mindset seems to be. He gets it, and he is more or less trying to warn the world that America’s leaders are basically power-drunk children. I concur.
Second, Lavrov also describes the negative impact that this behavior has had on the Russian psyche generally. He expresses dismay that the U.S. status quo sees the world as unipolar, and attempts to tackle every problem from the perspective that might is right. In no uncertain terms, Lavrov makes it clear that Russia will not stand for this. I don’t think the Russians are bluffing, so this is a very dangerous situation.
If there was actually someone in the U.S. State Department capable of such introspective and clear thinking, we might actually diffuse this situation. Don’t hold your breath.
Here are some excerpts from Mr. Lavrov’s remarks at the XXII Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy in Moscow on November 22, 2014. The whole thing can be foundhere, which I strongly suggesting reading in full.