Many of you have taken time to point me to excellent articles I missed when they first appeared and are worthy of renewed attention.
First up, a prescient piece by Patrick Armstrong. A good friend reminded my of this piece, which is 6 years old, and still relevant. That is the genuine sign of brilliant writing and analysis. Here are his opening paragraphs (please click here to do the full monty):
First of all, let me start by saying I don’t know why the American Establishment is so obsessed about Russia. I can’t think of any good reason why it should be. All Russia wants is a quiet life so that it can rebuild things – as Putin himself said, back before he was President:
- The current dramatic economic and social situation in the country is the price, which we have to pay for the economy we inherited from the Soviet Union.
That was not said by someone whose principal purpose is to re-create the USSR or the Russian Empire; it’s someone who wants to re-construct the defective “economic and social situation” of his country. And that requires peace and quiet. In the real world, Russia isn’t any kind of threat whatsoever to the USA. And, one would think, when the “Terror threat looms across the world” it’s a useful and necessary ally.
I do know, and my quotations collection shows, that hostility to Russia never stopped – or even moderated – after the USSR collapsed. Even in 1990 there were people insisting that nothing was real was happening because Russia, in its very essence, was expansionist, dictatorial and hostile to “our values”. Any so-called changes were only illusions calculated to gull the simple-minded. The only possible Russia was an Enemy Russia: all Russians qua Russians – never mind the absence of the temporary Soviet carapace – imagined, thought about, dreamed of, was enmity to Us and to Our Values.
Like I noted above. Six years old and aging like a fine bottle of wine, Kudos to brother Armstrong for his keen foresight.
Next up, Professor Michael Brenner. He provides a similarly engaging look at why Russia is doing its thing in response to western provocations during the last thirty years by employing some entertaining Mafia memes.
The Mafia is not known for its creative use of language beyond terms like “hitman,” “go to the mattresses,” “living with the fishes” and suchlike. There are, though, a few pithy sayings that carry enduring wisdom. One concerns honor and revenge: “If you are going to humiliate someone publicly in a really crass manner, make sure that he doesn’t survive to take his inevitable revenge.” Violate it at your peril.
That enduring truth has been demonstrated by Russia’s actions in the Ukraine which, to a great extent, are the culmination of the numerous humiliations that the West, under American instigation, has inflicted on Russia’s rulers and the country as a whole over the past 30 years.
They have been treated as a sinner sentenced to accept the role of a penitent who, clad in sackcloth, marked with ashes, is expected to appear among the nations with head bowed forever. No right to have its own interests, its own security concerns or even its own opinions.
It looks like Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are now in touch with their inner Twisted Sister. I am not sure what the Russian phrase is for “WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT”, but I am certain some of the subscribers to this blog will chip in with the correct translation.
This video from forty years ago is a great metaphor for the present. Think of angry Dad as the collective leaders of the west (of course, Joe Biden would sell his right testicle to be this coherent). They have spent the last thirty years dedicated to humiliating and bullying Russia. Well, guess what? Russia Ain’t Gonna Take It Anymore.
And Russia’s push back is starting to pay dividends. Remember Lithuania’s audacity a few weeks back when it halted overland resupply to Kaliningrad? Lithuania backed down yesterday (Friday) and lifted it ban on the rail transport of sanctioned goods in and out of the Russian area of Kaliningrad. The leaders of western Europe–Germany, France, and Italy in particular–are staring economic disaster in the face. Sanctions they thought would bring Putin to his knees are doing the exact opposite–the sanctions are ravaging Europe:
Europe is melting under 40C heat. But it’s also facing a winter economic meltdown as gas and electricity prices explode. And that could end its union.
“Some energy utilities in France and Germany are already bust; bailouts are looming. Next up will be industrial firms stricken by rationing,” warns Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) senior fellow Edward Lucas. “Germany shelters its consumers from market prices, but it cannot protect their jobs.”
Gas has proven to be a potent weapon for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Toying with the taps to pipelines carrying the fossil fuel from Siberia to Europe has done more damage to the economies of his enemies than a cruise missile strike.
The insanity of the dire economic picture is underscored by Europe’s insistence that their suffering is because of some malevolent act by Vlad the Impaler Putin when the opposite is true–Europe and the United States imposed the sanctions that caused the gas/energy shortages. They remind me of the teenage girl who slashes her wrists and then blames the parents for the bloody mess.
While the west persists in its refusal to engage on some self-reflection regarding it irrational hatred of Russia, the west is giving the Russians quite a long list of grievances that will account for Russia’s distrust, if not hatred, of the west. They Ain’t Gonna Take It Anymore!!