Former Danish foreign minister Uffe Elleman-Jensen clearly didn’t appreciate the comments I made at the conference in Copenhagen on Monday. In a review of Marie Krarup’s book The New Cold War, to which I contributed, he has written the following:
Some of the contributing experts should probably be more fully presented. Otherwise, you might easily take the title of professor as an expression of some form of objectivity. But it is useful to know that Professor Paul Robinson of the University of Ottawa, Canada, is an employee of a notorious source of Russian misinformation – “Russia Insider” – where Western authors publish criticism of Western governments and praise the Kremlin. Find “Russia Insider” online, and read about the charges that it has propagated anti-Semitic propaganda.
I am, it hardly needs to be said, most definitely not an ’employee’ of Russia Insider, nor have I ever been. Russia Insider has republished some of what I written on this blog, but it has never asked me before running any particular piece, or even told me once it had done so, and it has certainly never paid me. Moreover, I have myself denounced Russia Insider and made it clear that I do not encourage people to read it.
Mr Elleman-Jensen puts my name in the same paragraph as the phrase ‘anti-Semitic propaganda’, an attempt to smear me by association. This is not only unjustified, but quite outrageous. He also complains of Russian ‘misinformation’ while clearly spreading misinformation himself. This, sadly, is all too indicative of the current climate concerning things Russian – too many people seem to be unwilling to accept disagreement as reasonable, and instead of countering arguments and facts with arguments and facts of their own, resort to ad hominem attacks and smears.
I actually have a problem understanding why Mr Elleman-Jensen found my comments so objectionable. I didn’t say a single thing praising Russia in either the conference or Marie Krarup’s book, and I made it clear that Russia had to share some of the blame for current international tensions. I merely made the point that Russia wasn’t solely to blame and that the West needs to obey the rules of the international order. How can Mr Elleman-Jensen object to that? Does he think we shouldn’t?
On Monday in Copenhagen, I argued that a lot of what is said in discussions of Russia is greatly exaggerated, and on occasion even entirely untrue, and that people therefore shouldn’t believe every scare story they come across. Elleman-Jensen’s comments about me prove the point.