Mutual lack of critical introspection

Every so often, the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) in Moscow publishes a forecast of where Russia and the world are headed in the near future.  At the end of last year, the Institute of International Relations in Prague published an English-language version of the latest IMEMO forecast in its journal New Perspectives. Now the journal has issued a set of responses to the forecast by several Western scholars and a member of IMEMO. They’re worth a brief look.

A common theme runs through all the responses. The authors all agree that when analyzing current East-West tensions, Russians have a tendency to see their own country as essentially reactive – that is to say that they portray Russia as simply responding to Western provocations. In doing so they deprive Russia of agency, and so deny that it may be in part responsible for the current crisis in Russian-Western relations. Instead, the West is held to be entirely at fault.

Thus Mark Galeotti, in the first response to the IMEMO forecast, remarks that, ‘What is most striking is that Russia is presented throughout this report as object, not actor. It may be a victim or a beneficiary, but the initiative is always elsewhere.’ This, he continues, ‘demonstrates a determination to paint Russia as the geopolitical victim, which is in itself a form of passivity, a sense of a country as lacking the capacity to influence, let alone master its fate.’

Likewise, Tuomas Forsberg of the University of Helsinki accuses the Russians of ‘attribution bias’, which ‘conveys the image that the criticism of Russia in Europe is mainly an outcome of malevolent intentions and not related to Russia’s own behavior.’ And Ruth Deyermond of King’s College London speaks of a ‘strengthened perception amongst Russian analysts and politicians that the US political establishment is irredeemably Russophobic’ and notes that Russian elites view foreign affairs through a ‘prism of grievance’.

I have some sympathy with these complaints. As IMEMO’s Irina Kobrinskaya writes in the final article in the journal, ‘While external factors certainly act on Russia, Russia also acts.’ Portraying oneself always as responding to the actions of others is a useful way of declining responsibility for one’s own behaviour, but also self-deceptive and liable to prevent one from a proper analysis of why one has ended up where one has. If Russians persist in viewing themselves solely as victims, then they’re unlikely to come up with constructive solutions to their problems.

But, as the saying goes, ‘it takes two to tango’. In another article in the journal, Minda Holm of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs speaks of a ‘mutual lack of introspection’. Holm complains that according to IMEMO,

the Russian state merely reacts to an antagonistic partner defined by ‘anti-Russian hysteria’, and nothing is said of where that sentiment, however exaggerated or unfair, emanates from. Whilst the roots of the ‘Russia factor’ lie in both past stereotypes and strategic needs, Russia’s own actions are also clearly part of the cause.

‘This form of one-sidedness is an impediment to any hope for an improved relationship’ says Holm. At the same time, however, she notes that Western analysts are equally guilty of the same intellectual failing. As she writes,

The current desire, and/or reflex, to cast Russia as an external enemy is strong in liberalWestern epistemic circles. Unwanted domestic political developments are often connected to Russia based on circumstantial evidence, and/or a reduction of the agency of others.

Thus, Holm concludes, ‘I am sympathetic to their [Russians’] critique of the tendency in self-defined liberal states to cast Russia as the enemy with little critical introspection.’ Russia-West relations’, she says, ‘seem locked in a mutual negative dynamic where nuances are increasingly left out of representations of the Other.’ Each side views themselves as purely reacting to the malign activity of the other. Each side therefore fails to understand its own responsibility for the breakdown in relations. What can done about this? ‘For a start,’ says Holm, ‘academics working on these questions have a particular responsibility not to fall into the traps of unproblematically reproducing simplified enemy images.’

Regular readers of this blog will hardly be surprised to learn that I completely agree. I would say also that it’s not enough just to understand that one has committed mistakes. Returning to the attribution error, it’s all too easy to designate one’s own misdeeds as ‘mistakes’ while attributing the misdeeds of one’s adversaries to their malignant character. Critical introspection has to go beyond admitting error and also involve admitting wrongdoing. The only caveat I would add is that in engaging in this critical introspection one shouldn’t overdo things. It’s one thing to understand that one’s own side has behaved badly; it’s another to then conclude that one’s own side is always wrong and the other side always right, and end up going full-blown Noam Chomsky or Gary Kasparov (a comparison which is probably a bit unfair on the former).

That caveat notwithstanding, let me finish by quoting the Gospel of St Matthew:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Every now and again I come across something I wish I’d written myself. ‘Mutual lack of critical introspection’ is a case in point. It hits the nail firmly on the head.

 

28 thoughts on “Mutual lack of critical introspection”

  1. “And Ruth Deyermond of King’s College London speaks of a ‘strengthened perception amongst Russian analysts and politicians that the US political establishment is irredeemably Russophobic’ and notes that Russian elites view foreign affairs through a ‘prism of grievance’.”

    Totally baseless, yup! I mean, James “Russians Are Almost Genetically Driven to Co-Opt Penetrate Gain Gavor Whatever” Clapper is CLEARLY a big fucking Russophile! But, hey – he’s just a former head of the NSA, semi-deplorable as the things fly.

    Bah, humbug! Tim Ryan’s a Democrat! That like +100500 points to handshakability and liberalness.

    P.S. Quoting fantasy writer Marc Galeotti about anything real-world related is so drôle, Professor!

    “Portraying oneself always as responding to the actions of others is a useful way of declining responsibility for one’s own behaviour, but also self-deceptive and liable to prevent one from a proper analysis of why one has ended up where one has.”

    Fine, Professor, in the spirit of the sudden honesty and straightforwardness, could you pretty please ennumarate clearly pro-active, even “aggressive” actions by Russian state carried out since early 2014. Just to see what you really think about it. Oh, and in the name of promoting mutual understanding. Because vague well-wishing is all fine and good and… useless.

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    1. P.S. Ultimately, both IMEMO writings and responses from sufficiently pro-Western “academics” to them are not some useful objects worth of debate and scientific study, but just ideological statements of opposing sides. This kind of wishful-thinking:

      “‘[A]cademics working on these questions have a particular responsibility not to fall into the traps of unproblematically reproducing simplified enemy images.'”

      is based upon a naive-stupid idea that “academics” (“intelligentsia” if you like) have some sort of agency of their own in shaping the fates of the world. No – they are not. Sides are at conflict not because of ill-written papers. There are ill-written papers (which are not regarded as such by their own side) because there is a conflict. Conflict, which feeds those who produce such… hot air.

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      1. ‘trees swaying cause the wind blow’ – I’m not so naive as to think that academics have a huge direct impact on state policy. That said, their writings and sayings do enter public debate and do help to legitimize certain discourses and policy options. In this way, they do have some impact, though it is hard to measure. The academia-policy interaction is not all a one-way process.

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      2. “The academia-policy interaction is not all a one-way process.”

        “Academics” are very much fireable by the Powers That Be (or they could become unhandshakable non-persons for voicing politically incorrect… opinions). The reverse is not possible though. So, yeah – that’s all a one-way street.

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      3. First, I appreciated your post, but good, considering I should not be here, the latest IMEMO forecast isn’t online yet. I read part of an earlier. Highly Interesting. But considering I cannot read the forecast first, I am not sure if I should look below the quotes you selected right now. 😉

        Due to the delayed publication of that year’s forecast
        we also published a special update – ‘The Autumn of Our Discontent’. Now, as in previous years

        ‘The Autumn of Our Discontent’
        http://perspectives.iir.cz/download/imemo-2018-update-the-autumn-of-our-discontent/

        International law grants the right to self-determination, but that right is limited to ‘peoples’. Most international lawyers define ‘peoples’ very narrowly, and would say that the population of Crimea don’t constitute a ‘people’.

        Quite some time ago, as nitwit, I tried to get a grasp of self-determination in international. I gave up but was left with the impression that it is hotly discussed and sometimes highly emotionally too. What made me take a closer look, was, the Balkan wars seemed to be used as if they were some time of paradigm signifying progression towards a better world. …

        Irony Alert: Maybe the Crimea should have declared independence first. Then write a constitution in which its historical relationship to Russia was recognized and confirmed. At some later point in time they could then have re-united.

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      4. Correction: “Quite some time ago, as nitwit, I tried to get a grasp of self-determination in International Law. I gave up but was left with the impression that it is hotly discussed and sometimes highly emotionally too. What made me take a closer look, was, the Balkan wars seemed to be used as if they were some type of paradigm signifying progression towards a better world. …”

        Is there more?

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    2. The annexation of Crimea and the support provided to the rebels in Donbass are clear acts of aggression by Russia against Ukraine.

      As it happens, they don’t particularly exercise me because compared to the acts of aggression committed by the Brits and Americans, and various other Western states – e.g. invasion of Iraq – they’re relatively minor infractions. But aggression they are nonetheless. They easily fit within the definition of aggression passed by the UN General Assembly in 1974, which has been incorporated into the statutes (Article 8 bis) of the International Criminal Court. These state that aggression includes inter alia:

      ‘any annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof.’

      That pretty much takes care of Crimea, though it’s also covered by over articles, e.g. one which covers the Russian argument that it didn’t ‘invade’ Crimea but used troops which were already there – Article 8 bis 2(e), aggression includes:

      ‘The use of armed forces of one State which are within the territory of another State with the agreement of the receiving State, in contravention of the conditions provided for in the agreement;’

      Then, of course, there is the well documented presence of Russian troops in Ukraine at the battle of Ilovaisk, the distinct possibility that Russian artillery fired over the Ukrainian border into the ‘southern cauldron’ in July 2014, and the movement of ‘volunteers’, ‘vacationers’, etc over the border throughout the conflict, all covered in the definition of aggression, 8 bis 2(b), (f) and (g):

      ‘(b) Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State;

      (f) The action of a State in allowing its territory, which it has placed at the disposal of another State, to be used by that other State for perpetrating an act of aggression against a third State;
      (g) The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein.’

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      1. I am not so sure that it is the clear case of aggression that you maintain as it could easily be argued that there is a bit of “wriggle room”- to wit, there had been a coup in Kiev, the regional government in Crimea seems to have been constitutionally elected, and the International Court of Justice muddied the water with its opinion on Kosovo. In retrospect perhaps the most surprising thing about the whole Ukrainian episode seems to be that the West ever thought that it could wade into the country and not provoke a Russian response. Unfortunately, there are always losers , but given that, the moral case, in my opinion, is very much on Russia’s side. Anatoly Karlin’s article seems very much to the point about these issues.
        https://www.unz.com/akarlin/what-if-no-crimea/
        The following article, for example, is also interesting
        https://rsa.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15387216.2019.1593873#.XK5jdegzbIX
        Sorry, I shouldn’t be telling you how to suck eggs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. David, international law is such that there’s pretty much always some ‘wiggle room’. Russia maintains it didn’t ‘annex’ Crimea – Crimea declared independence, after which Russia and the independent state of Crimea voluntarily united, which states are allowed to do. But then again, it’s highly debatable whether Crimea had a right to secede. International law grants the right to self-determination, but that right is limited to ‘peoples’. Most international lawyers define ‘peoples’ very narrowly, and would say that the population of Crimea don’t constitute a ‘people’. Russia can put forward a legal case re. Crimea, but in my opinion it’s doubtful it’s one an unbiased set of judges – if such could be found – would accept.

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    3. “The annexation of Crimea and the support provided to the rebels in Donbass are clear acts of aggression by Russia against Ukraine.”

      Thank you for confirming my initial assumption about your potential response (i.e. falling into a pittrap). I asked you to list examples of “pro-active, even “aggressive” actions by Russian state carried out since early 2014“. And I just KNEW you will get trapped by the “aggressive” word here, and from here proceed to list examples of “Russian aggression” ™

      No. The real quibble of these two positions is not about “aggression”, but whether or not Russia is pro-active or re-active. One can re-act in aggressive way – like when a SWAT team takes down a terrorist with extreme prejudice. But for this event to happen, there ought to be a terrorist in the first place. Russia did not out of the blue decided to “annex” Crimea – a West- backed coup in Kiev resulted in a bloodshed and ousting of its internationally recognized excuse of a president. Meanwhile, there were examples a-plenty of what “civil rights activists” (belonging to svidomite nationalist gangs) had been doing while capturing Western Ukrainian city administrations, police stations and even military bases. Promises of “trains of friendship” ala early 1990s had been made. These kind of sick shit requires a reaction sufficiently strong to deter. Which indeed happened.

      Besides, Russia’s formal reunion (blink two times with your left eye if They make you write “annexation”, Professor!) with Crimea happened after the referendum – again, a case of re-action to some previous action. There were no “annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof”.

      As for the now token accusations of “support to the rebels in Donbass” – I think your memory plays tricks with you, Paul. Glorious ATO began with sloganeering and firm belief that, indeed, uppity untermenchen from the East are, indeed, alone against the unstoppable might of the Revolutionary Army. First people to resist direct action of the couped-in Kiev based government came from the Ukrainian citizens of Donbass. “North wind” blew only in August. And there is no need to put scary quotes around “volunteers” and “vacationers” – yes, there were such people, who decided to re-act in such way to what happened in the Ukraine.

      But I think your answers are genuine, good Western ones. Which tells us all one thing – that any kind of re-action by Russia is equated with the term “aggression”. And “aggression” is only what illegitimate international actors do (no pundit or think tankers ever can dare to call the US out on that). So there is nothing to talk about – the West denies Russia’s right to exercise any kind of foreign policy running against West’s interests as illegitimate. It’s like autistic libertarian dream come true – when taxes are, indeed, equated to the theft and arrest to kidnapping!

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      1. You’re not seeing this rationally. If Russia started messing around in Canada and Mexico, moving nuclear missile batteries to the borders with the US, fomenting coups and threatening war how do you think Washington would react?

        Stop pretending the west occupies the moral high ground and has any right to lecture other nations about use of military aggression. How deeply propagandized must one be to remain so obstinate? Had the US/NATO not encircled Russia, and regime changed governments in countries they want to dominate or destroy, would Russia have suddenly taken Crimea back in order to protect its Black Sea naval base or prevented the fall of the Syrian regime?

        I think you know the answer to that.

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      2. “We have excuses for our acts of aggression too…”

        […]

        That’s the equivalent of saying “Beh-beh-beh”, Professor. Shame on you.

        We know how you (the Westies) call “excuses” – “Saddam’s WMDs”, or “the Gulf of Tonkin” or “RapeRight to protect doctrine”. We also know that you fully expect to be forgiven for them… and then start again. Now, only honest, Professor, how these are even remotely comparable to what Russia did as a re-action to what had been transpiring in the neighboring country, caused (in large part) by the West’s meddling?

        Can you finally bring yourself to admit (in the name of “dialog” and “mutual understanding” of course!) that IMEMO’s point is 100% valid no matter what these shameless(ly?) pro-Western hacks that you cite (and approve) say – that Russia re-acts? You might not like the form that this re-action takes form, but that it is first of all a re-action to other’s action you must admit.

        But, yeah, sure – let’s pretend there is some Holy “international law”, made as if not by the people and for the people, that could be maintained by semi-mythical “people of good will” ™. In other words:

        Newsflash! Either you can have a functioning system of international relations regulated by laws OR you can have Hegemony of one superpower, that doesn’t give a crap about any laws when its interest demand it. Appealing to the “moral sense” of a Hegemon is dumb – an that’s what you and other shy and conscientious intilligents are suggesting.

        You speak about the “international law” – but which one? Besides the statutory law — international treaties and such – there is also (undeniably) such thing as the international common law. The body of this “common law” had been developed not by the ill-defined “international community”, but by the history itself. It’s also the one that works constantly, no matter what kind of system of international relations governs the globe at the moment. If the US basking in its “moment of unipolarity” proved to all low and sundry, that, indeed, nothing is true and everything is permissible, then going all “Nuh-nuh-nuh! Two wrongs does not make right!” is either hypocritical or dumb. International laws are for civilized circumstances where people can be deterred by punishment. Now, pray tell me – what international court, what sort of thing can ever punish the US, the collective West, their clients and parasites for all kinds of shit they had been perpetuating for decades? “Moment of unipolarity” didn’t exactly prove (it’s been apparent long before that), but driven home with extreme prejudice, that the ill-defined “international community” (“people of goodwill” or any other pathetically sounding name) is toothless as far as furthering its stated purpose of furthering peace and understanding and abiding to the international norms… or whatever.

        So, the lines are drawn, Professor. The so-called “international legal framework” cannot be enforced by any court, ever… against those, who are powerful enough to resist it. If “universal principles” are not universal in their application you have a crisis of the system that produced and insists on maintaining. That’s what we all should be really talking about – about the crisis of the global system of the international relations. We still live in the world of sovereign states with conflicting agendas and interests. The stakes in their competition are often high, and to manage, somehow, the conduct of these conflicts and the ways the states pursue their foreign policy, there is only one way – universal and relentless promise of reprisals to everyone who steps out of the line. Now, the reprisal must be of such severity that that, under “normal circumstances”, would itself constitute a breach of the (statuary) international law. But, given that there are rarely if ever “normal circumstances” present, its totally legal and legitimate under the international common law to do just that in order to counter or deter. It is all we have, all the world has, to make the law (any law) work.

        The international law, btw, statuary or otherwise, is very un-Western in its applicability – it assumes collective responsibility, and, thus, applies collective punishment. Thus ordinary Ukrainians who decided in 2013-2014 to sit on the fence in the typical moya hata s krayu time-honored fashion must suffer for the actions of Maidowns ever since. Thus Maidowns should not whine “we didn’t jump up and down for THAT!” and must reap the full bounty of the newest iteration of zlochinna vlada brought by their actions. Thus the current regime in Kiev that decided to say its ostatochno proschevay for umpteenths times to Russia and “return to the European Family of the People” (aka USA and their quislings, who have existential hatred of non-weak Russia) they should expect to be fucked – hard.

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  2. In terms of getting propped, Mark Galeotti is among the most overrated of analysts on Russia related matters – which in part explains why the coverage continues to lack. .

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  3. Also speaks Minda Holm of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs:

    > it has been compellingly established that a Russian information campaign directed at the US 2016 Presidential Campaign took place

    By the way, you have reviewed the reviewers in this post. What about the forecast itself?

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    1. So when America and NATO interfere in elections, orchestrate coups and wage illegal wars where are the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and other think tanks with their “compellingly established” facts? Oh that’s right they’re not honest or impartial observers. Russian interference was never on a scale large enough to throw the election to Trump and people like you simply have no credibility left. Everybody who is not in thrall to, or paid by, American interests knows what is going on here. Stop embarrassing yourself.

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      1. Eric, I hadn’t noticed you before. But had a fast look at your site. If that is yours?

        Without the necessary time to understand:
        Chomsky’s work in this latter capacity is so well-documented that it’s not necessary to recapitulate too much—however, a few choice high notes include decades of criticism of US foreign policy, some decent commentary on then-President-elect Barack Obama at a time nearly all of the Western commentariat had turned into a deranged Borg-like collective, and producing the second comprehensive study of corporate constraints on the media along with Edward Herman.

        Were did you pick up the Borg. And what’s your definition?

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      2. Hi there! I was just directed by a colleague to this discussion. Thanks a lot to Paul for the mention. Can highly recommend reading the whole forum, including IMEMO’s original report (also from previous years – they’ve been having this dialogue for some time).

        Regarding US breaches of International Law and electoral interreferences, and more generally the persistent gap between the self-image of self-defined liberal states and their actions (also a topic in this short IMEMO article – albeit with reference to torture and extraordinary rendition programs), I deal with that frequently in both academic publications and op-eds, though mostly in my native Norwegian so far, with some in English soon forthcoming. As I write in the next sentence to the one you quote – “Though it has been compellingly established that a Russian information campaign directed at the US 2016 Presidential Campaign took place, the tropes mobilized were mostly existing grievances that the Trump campaign could capitalize upon. I don’t mean that one shouldn’t focus on external influence campaigns; obviously, though, that problematique does reach far and more systematically beyond Russian actions (cf. Levin, 2016).” I can highly recommend Dov Levin’s work on US and Russian electoral interferences, alsofor the empirical back-up. To quote myself from an op-ed last year,

        “Criticizing Russia for interfering in US elections while tacitly looking the other way when the US meddles in other countries’ elections and regimes raises some tough questions for Western intellectuals and policy makers. The US-based researcher Dov Levin has investigated electoral interferences by the US and the Soviet Union/Russia during the period 1946-2000. Levin counts at least 81 interferences by the US, 36 by Russia. After 2000, the USA has interfered in elections such as in Kenya (2013), Lebanon (2009) and Afghanistan (2009). He defines election interference as “a costly act which is designed to determine the election results [in favor of] one of the two sides”.

        Is the action itself good as long as the intention is ‘good’, and is the intention good as long as we consider the actor to be intrinsically good? Some seem to argue that US interferences are legitimate due to the liberal foundation on which they are based rhetorically, despite the often highly detrimental (and illiberal) outcomes of their actions, such as the wars in Iraq and Libya. The attempt to remove president Karzai from power in Afghanistan in 2009 was, as another example, primarily about US self-interests, not a larger moral good.”

        That doesn’t mean that Russia doesn’t do bad things as well, if what constitutes ‘bad’ is here defined in terms of International Law and a rules-based international order. But the liberal international system that is now described as being in crisis has been undermined more by the US than any other state, a point that is more often than not missing in the current liberal Western discourse on the ‘liberal world order’.

        All the best from Oslo,

        Minda

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  4. Every country in the world with any military or economic clout whatsoever seeks, with varying degrees of aggression, to influence other countries and protect its perceived interests within and outside of its borders. Russia is no exception here. But when compared to the blatant aggression of the United States and its sycophantic “allies” there is no comparison. Does anybody with a working notion of geopolitical reality really think that Russia would have taken Crimea back, sent its military into Syria and advisors to Venezuela if the US/EU had NOT facilitated a coup in Ukraine, had the US/NATO NOT terminated Gaddafi and turned Libya into a Mad Max hellscape, had the US/GCC NOT sought to regime change Syria into a client (failed) state of warring religious thugs and had the NOT instigated an going coup attempt in Venezuela to oust its leaders and make the country subservient to Washington?

    Before all this happened NATO had already been expanded to Russia’s doorstep and Russians had already endured an American led frenzy of looting and corruption post-1991 that drastically reduced life expectancy and quality of life/standard of living for most of the population while a handful of thieves and grifters enriched themselves at their expense. Time magazine in 1996 even ran a cover story bragging about the Clinton administration “helping” Boris Yeltsin get re-elected despite his being deeply unpopular and loathed by Russians for facilitating the asset stripping free-for-all that was destroying their country.

    The things I mentioned above are all facts. It is also a fact that one country, the United States of America, has decided it has a divine right to rule the world as it sees fit and the right to destroy any country that desires to remain independent of the all-consuming American economic, military and cultural juggernaut that turns countries into generic shopping mall clones of rampant consumerism forced to play a subservient role to Uncle Sam. This is not controversial stuff.

    The United States is leading a declining empire but instead of accepting the inevitable and preparing for it, it doubles down on the aggressive craziness sanctioning and/or bombing countries for the crime of wanting to stay in charge of their own affairs. The paranoid and vitriolic Russophobia and conspiracy mongering that currently grips the United States is off the charts. It is approaching World War I propaganda “the Huns are eating our bayoneted babies!” levels of crazy.

    Where are the Russian examples of this kind of behavior? Sometimes one side really IS worse than the other and no amount of critical introspection can change that.

    One comment about that other favorite tactic of American power, accusing other countries of not being sufficiently democratic. The obvious answer is if American democracy is so great why is America riddled with anger and tension and falling apart in front of our eyes? Who wants their country to end up like that. Of course “democracy” in Pentagon/DoS Speak means accepting American rule over your economy and military and opening up your markets so we and our friends can flood your country with crap and prevent you from stopping us via “trade agreements” which enshrine the right of multinational banks and corporations to rob you blind. Jean Bricmont, in his book Humanitarian Imperialism, offers an additional take. He argues that during times of war countries cease to be democratic and the US by sanctioning, bombing/threatening to bomb its “foes” and undermining their governments and societies via covert intelligence operations and stirring up racial, ethnic or religious animosity between people is waging low level war and effectively keeping these nations from opening up their societies because an open, western type society would be easily infiltrated and destroyed. So a strong state that limits dissent is necessary for continued survival.

    There is really no comparison between the deliberate aggression of the United States and the actions of Russia and other countries that resist being turned into American client states. Frankly, I find it baffling that anyone who is not an agent or useful idiot for American interests would try to make this an issue of “balance” or “both sides are at fault.” It does’t always work that way.

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  5. “But then again, it’s highly debatable whether Crimea had a right to secede.”

    How is it debatable? I don’t understand. It happened in the context of a ‘revolution’, the unconstitutional change of central government. When the central government is overthrown, do provinces still need ‘the right’ to secede? What authority should grant this right?

    Liked by 1 person

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