Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How a medieval concept of ethnicity makes NATO commit yet another a dangerous blunder

Acting as one - which of course they are - President Bush and the US House of Representatives announced yesterday that they both favor the entry of the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. That Dubya would take such an idiotic position is of no surprise of course, but that the House would pass such a resolution unanimously is quite shocking: not a single Representative had the brains to understand what kind of message such a vote would send to Russia. Either that, or they did not care. I am not sure which is worse. Not even the fact that most Ukrainians want nothing to do with NATO could influence the crazed Neocons who nowadays run the USA: as always, knew they were right. So let's look at the bigger picture here and consider what exactly is going on.

NATO was founded with the unequivocal mandate to protect its member from any aggressor i.e, the Soviet Union. Considering that Stalin had just absorbed all of eastern Europe into his communist empire the establishment of NATO made sense. For all the bombastic statements about D-day, the RAF, Patton and Montgomery western strategists knew full well that it was the Soviet Union which had defeated Hitler and that the Western Front was little more than a sideshow to the real thing.

The only thing which the West could oppose to the might of the Soviet Army was the power of the US nuclear arsenal. It was therefore absolutely essential to demonstrate to the Soviets that any attack on Western Europe would involve the vital interests of the USA. Thus "a nuclear tripwire called NATO was laid down along the Iron Curtain to draw a line in the sand" (at least this is how the media pundits and the talking heads would have phrased it). Soon, however, the Soviets detonated their own nuclear device and it became clear to all the parties involved that a war, any war, could potentially rapidly escalate into MADness, as in Mutually Assured Destruction. Later, MAD was revised to a more elegant "flexible response", but the underlying ideas always remained the same: making a war unwinnable.

The thing to remember here is that NATO was created as an organization of last resort, something like the sniper's hand grenade: something which could only be used in a truly desperate, hopeless, situation; something which only an existential threat could justify.

When in the late eighties the Soviet leaders agreed to withdraw from Europe and to dismantle the Soviet Union they were given all sorts of promises by the West about how the West would never take advantage of this situation; they were given solemn promises of Western support and they were told that new democratic Russia would forever be considered a friend and a partner.

Not a single one of these promises has been kept. Not one. Quite to the countrary, the West embarked on what can only be called a systematic campaign to encircle and threaten Russia.

The USA withdrew from the ABM Treaty, the US Navy continued to aggressively patrol right off the Russian territorial waters, and the The West has not only absorbed all of eastern Europe into NATO, but it has even admitted the Baltic countries (nevermind that two of the latter endlessly violated the human rights of their not-so-small Russian minority). The West bombed Yugoslavia, a Russian ally, in a clear violation of the UN Charter. The West has even given full support to the crazed Chechen separatists even though the latter committed numerous atrocities reminiscent of the worst moments of the civil war in Sierra Leone. After 9/11, when the American public suddenly discovered Wahabi terrorism, this pro-Chechen stance was rapidly abandoned in favor of the new priorities of the GWOT.

Now US Neocons are pushing for the deployment of elements of an anti-ballistic missile system (clearly directed against Russia) in eastern Europe. Frankly, short of declaring war on Russia on behalf of Yakut separatists I don't see how the West could have been more vindictive, provocative and hostile to Russia.

But why does the West hate Russia so much?

First, it's of course not "the West". What we are taking about here are the western political establishment or, in other terms, the Neocons which now are firmly in power in most key western nations.

And what is a Neocon, if not a former Trotskyite? (just need to google 'neocon' and 'trotsky' and see for yourself). Of course, the Neocons have adapted their ideology to new circumstances, but the core of this ideology and the psychological makeup of its proponents has not changed very much since the times of Trotsky. But then, what is a Trotskyite?

Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the term "Trotskist" really only had one possible meaning in the Russian language: it simply meant a Jewish Bolshevik.

While most Russian Jews were not Bolsheviks at all (many were Mensheviks, Bundists, Anarchists, etc.) a majority of Bolsheviks was Jewish and a super-majority of members of the secret police, the infamous ChK, were Jewish Trotskists. These were the folks who butchered the Russian peasantry, the Russian nobility, the Russian intelligentsia, the Russian Orthodox clergy in what can only be considered a systematic campaign to exterminate any expression of the Russian culture (which, at that time, very much included the Ukrainian culture and people too, hence the many years of terror in the Ukraine and the carefully orchestrated "Golodomor" or famine).

There are many theories for why these Jewish Trotskists hated everything Russian or Orthodox with such a passion, some of them good, and many of them nonsense. Whether the Ukrainian pogroms are the cause of this hatred, or the Czarist discriminatory policies towards Jews, or whether there are far more fundamental religious reasons behind this hatred is besides the point. What matters is that Trotskists indisputably suffered from a Russophobia of a truly genocidal magnitude and that this hatred made them kill far, far more people than Hitler could have ever dreamed of exterminating.

The modern Neocons, who are the descendants and intellectual heirs of the Trotskists (primarily in an ideological sense, but sometimes even literally) still very much feel this hatred - hence all this talk about a "resurgent Russia" and the danger it presumably represents for the West.

The crucial thing to understand here is that far from seeing themselves as the butchers of Russia, the Trotskyite/Neocons see themselves as greatly victimized by the Russians. Why is that? Because, as any history book well tell you, the original Trotskists were eventually themselves persecuted (and often executed) by Stalin and his goons.

Stalin himself was a Georgian who could not even speak Russian properly, and his accomplices, whether ethnically Russian or not, can hardly been seen as a manifestation of Russian identity. Still, Stalin skilfully used the Russian national sentiment to promote his policies and, later, to get the Russian masses to fight the Nazis (who had originally been greeted as liberators from the Red Terror). Following the Soviet victory in 1945 Stalin never returned to the original Bolshevik "internationalism".

Stalin's purges did imprison and kill many Jews, but there were still plenty left in the Party apparatus. The point here is not to make ethnic distinctions, at least not at this stage, the point is to realize that when one Bolshevik group replaced another one of these groups had a very strong ethnic component. Here is how I would characterize the two groups:

a) The Trotskists: they were primarily intellectuals who truly believed in the ideas of communism; their aim was to spread communism to the rest of the world; they viewed terror as something which accelerates the course of history towards the inevitable triumph of communism; they believed in the Party as the collective vanguard of the people. Lastly, though Trotskists had no interest in, or need for, Judaism (or any other religion) most of them definitely saw themselves as culturally Jewish, communist 'internationalism' notwithstanding. While this might sound rather bizarre to the modern reader one needs to remember that the Russian Empire was in its nature and structure multi-ethnic (just as the Byzantine or the Ottoman Empires had been) and that at the turn of the 19th century 97% of all Jews of the Russian Empire spoke Yiddish and not Russian in their homes. There was no such thing as a "Russian Jew" in 1917. There were Jews, and there were Russians (a baptised Jew was, by the way, considered as Russian; even more interestingly, Karaites were not considered Jews at all).

b) the Stalinists: they were basically criminal thugs who believed in nothing besides power, and while they were more than happy to use the communist ideals as a justification for their struggle for power they did not care in the least about "world communism" and any other ideological nonsense. What they wanted is power in the Soviet Union. Period. For them terror was both a means towards the goal of absolute power and an end in itself, a method of ruling over Russia. Stalin understood that as long as the Party could exist as an aggregation of factions and individuals (as it had been originally; see democratic centralism) his power would not be absolute, he therefore aimed at transforming the Bolshevik into a party which he would absolutely control. Since many, if not most, top Party officials were Jews, Stalin's purges did, of course, affect many Jews, but it would be a mistake to think that these purges were aimed at Jews as such - they were aimed at the Party and its internal diversity. Ethnicity did not matter in the least to Stalin at least as long as he did not feel that some ethnic group might threaten his power.

We can observe exactly the same psycho-political divide among the Nazis, by the way. In this case, the ideologues, the "true believers" would be Goebbels , Himmler, SS and Hitler himself and the "petty thugs" - Roehm, Goering and the SA. I suppose that the same types can be found in any revolutionary movement which combines "intellectual terrorists" with petty criminals.

This digression is important because Stalin's purges and the gradual erosion of the influence of Jews in the CPSU between the 1930s to the end of the Soviet Union has left a very bitter sense of victimization in the Jewish circles which eventually spawned off the Neocon movement. This sense of victimization culminated in the mass emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel and the USA which was only made possible by a major political confrontation between the West and the Soviet leaders. The fact that non-Jews had no right to emigrate at all was given no attention whatsoever by the western political elites. Neither was the fact there were still plenty of Jews inside the Soviet elites. The order of the day was clear: "let my people go!!" said the US Congress lead by Neocon Senator "Scoop" Jackson and Representative Vanik and let go they were indeed.

The historical facts are important here, but they are not crucial. What is crucial is the Jewish/Trotskyite/Neocon narrative about Russia: pogroms, Stalin's purges, "anti-Semitism", the "dissident movement" and struggle over emigration, the Soviet assistance to Arab countries and the Soviet nukes aimed at the USA - this is what shapes the Neocon worldview. The fact that no pogrom ever took place in Russia proper (they all occurred in the Ukraine), that Stalin's purges were not anti-Jewish at all, that Jews constituted high proportion of the Soviet Nomenklatura right up to the fall of the Soviet Union, that non-Jews had even less rights to emigrate than Jews or that US nukes were also aimed at the Soviet Union (and that influential generals suggested that only ethnically Russian areas of the Soviet Union should be included in the SIOP) did not matter: this simplistic anti-Russian narrative fully permeated the worldview and cultural fabric of the Neocons. Today, this narrative is still the prime factor defining Neocon policies towards Russia.

Whether the Neocons nowadays hate everything Russian or Orthodoxy Christian more than they hate everything Arabs or Muslim is debatable (it probably depends on the individual Neocon anyway). What is sure is that these two hatreds are of a similar order of magnitude and that they are without equivalent. Once this is fully understood, the West's policies towards Russia since the end of the Soviet Union suddenly make perfectly good sense: Russia, just like Iran, is considered as an "existential threat" by the Neocons, although political expediency does not make it possible for them to openly say so.

It is important to note here that for a typical modern person, "ethnic politics" just make no sense and any analysis based on ethnicity just sounds too bizarre to be true. The danger here is to assume that because one believes that ethnic policies are plain racists, everybody else must think likewise. Sadly, this is not the case. There are plenty of people out there who very much think in ethnic or even racial categories, and Jews are amongst those most inclined towards this kind of thinking (for an earlier article on this issue please check out Daddy, what's a Neocon? Ethnic mafia wars in the USA).

The late Israel Shahak used to say that Jewish extremists have reversed the old Friends of the Earth slogan "think globally - act locally" into a far more omnious "think locally - act globally" (locally' should not be understood in a strictly geographical sense here, but also as a parochial, 'single-issue priority setting' meaning). The truly crazed idea of admitting the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO can only be understood in the context of such an Neocon ideological mindset.

Could there be a pragmatic reason to admit the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO? Of course, not! Both of these countries are highly unstable politically, their ruling elites are corrupt to the bone, their military forces are not even close to meet NATO standards and their geographic location truly begs the question of what kind of threat an entry into NATO would protect them from. Of course, Dubya explained that NATO was not an anti-Russian alliance at all, but that is laughable. NATO can *only* be anti-Russian as nothing else can justify its existence.

By the way, American strategists fully realize that NATO is becoming meaningless in any other context besides a war ("cold" or "hot") against Russia. This is why they talk about "coalitions of the willing" or a "league of democracies". From the Neocon point of view NATO has become useless (see the mess in Afghanistan) and only ad-hoc coalitions can work jointly for the promotion of the interests of the Neocon Empire. Thus NATO *sole* role remains to isolate Russia politically and threaten it militarily and that can only be explained by the Neocon's deep hatred and fear of Russia. The fact is that a medieval concept of ethnicity shared by a very small group of people has been allowed to become the determining factor in the formulation US and Western policies towards the only major nuclear power besides the USA. This is both frightening and sad because, as with any policy based on threats and violence, this will result in even more blowback for the US and its European allies.