Mon centre cède, ma droite recule, situation excellente, j’attaque. (Ferdinand Foch)
From my personal point of view, 2017 was pretty good. From the point of view of the main topic of this blog – Russia-Western relations – it certainly was not. This time last year I commented that the good thing about being at rock bottom was that you can only go up. Russian-Western relations were so bad, I felt that they had to start improving.
Well, I was wrong about that. I completely failed to predict the way that Donald Trump’s opponents would latch onto the Russian interference/collusion narrative and turn it into a tool to undermine the Trump presidency by continually shouting ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’. The idea of improving relations with Russia has now become so politically toxic that I fear that things might actually get somewhat worse. The prospect of the US Congress imposing harsh sanctions against Russia in early 2018 is very real. I am hopeful that it won’t happen, but one cannot be sure of anything any more. Reason and evidence have been thrown out of the window as a result of an atmosphere of hysteria unlike any I can remember even in the early 1980s.
Given this, I won’t make any predictions for 2018. In the meantime, all of us who care about making the world a safer place should all do our own tiny little bit to calm people down and restore a bit of sanity. Our efforts are unlikely to make much of a difference, but we have an obligation to use what little strength we have to try. Eventually, a window of opportunity will open and, if you’ll excuse the plethora of mixed metaphors, it’s important that somebody prepares the ground in advance.
For that reason, in the spirit of Ferdinand Foch, this blog will continue on the offensive throughout 2018. The worse the situation the more vital it is that we press on forward. One blog is, of course, just a small drop in the ocean of the internet, but every little counts. Readership of Irrussianality increased by about 40% in 2017. Let’s hope for similar progress in the year to come.
I encourage all of you to do what you can to spread the word of reason.
Happy New Year!