On a Roll

I’m on a roll this week, with two more things for you to read and listen to.

First, I am interviewed on the Curious Task Podcast on the ‘Is Russia a Threat to Democracy’. You can listen to it here: Ep. 85: Paul Robinson — Is Russia a Threat to Democracy? (podbean.com)

Second, I have written yet another article for RT, this time marking the 7th anniversary of the annexation/reunification of Crimea. You can read that here: Seven years after Crimea rejoined Russia, Western leaders are fooling themselves if they hope peninsula can ever return to Ukraine — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

Happy listening and reading!

38 thoughts on “On a Roll”

  1. Why would Western leaders hope peninsula returns to Ukraine? Leaders of Turkey may have some interests one way or the other, but people like Macron, Johnson, Biden-Harris?

    By itself, it makes no difference to them. And for geopolitical games, surely they would much prefer having it ‘annexed’ and ‘occupied’, being the bone of contention between Russia and Ukraine — rather then being returned to Ukraine, Russian client state.


    1. Er, actually, there is a very good strategic reason why NATO wants Crimea. Something called “Sebastopol” and something called “The Black Sea!”
      You are correct that Turkey thinks Crimea belongs to it. But I think NATO as a whole (i.e., America) would prefer it goes back to pro-NATO Ukraine. So they can build their American naval base there and control the Black Sea.


      1. Right, but that’s a catch22: NATO-client Ukraine – no Crimea in Ukraine. Russian-client Ukraine or Ukraine part of RF – well, it’s a possibility. Like I said: by itself, it’s neither here nor there.

        Of course if they really do hope so desperately to return Crimea to Ukraine, they probably should try to facilitate unification of Ukraine and Russia.


      2. Of course if they really do hope so desperately to return Crimea to Ukraine, they probably should try to facilitate unification of Ukraine and Russia.

        That’s a bit tongue in cheek, isn’t it? Is Ukraine a NATO client? Or a wanna be member? What do Ukrainians think? Is their foremost desire to have nuclear weapons on their ground targeting Russia?

        How many Europeans “old” versus “new” Europe still consider NATO membership one of the most important issues?


    2. Not sure if I can follow you, Mao, more likely I cannot. Knot in my brain wires?

      Hmm? Ok? If I may, geopolitical games nowadays from within my limited mental horizon seems to suggest two overlapping interests, economic expansion accompanied by military expansion and/or security aspects.

      Ok, personally I find the Russian argument Kosovo vs Krim/Crimea pretty convincing. Otherwise, international law, the right to self-definition versus territorial integrity?

      The crux may be that Crimea is import militarily. 😉


  2. Professor Robinson in podcast: “Russian democracy is more flawed than, say, Canadian democracy…”

    Haha, oh well, I guess I can’t blame you for being a patriot!
    But in what kind of democracy (playing the devil’s advocate here) do the citizens not even get to formulate their own foreign policy?
    I kinda look back nostalgically to 1812 when Canadians actually whipped American butts and made their point: “Stay out of our business!”

    Since then, not so much….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Meanwhile, in other breaking news:
    Putin just challenged Biden to a live debate that would be beamed around the world! This is the modern equivalent of Achilles vs Hector live duel in front of the gates of Troy.
    Except that one of them is a demented plagiaristic fool.


    1. That is why the debate will never happen.

      Which is just as well. Putin’ reply to Biden’s insult was simply brilliant:

      Sometimes VVP really nails it!


      1. Lola, I can’t view the video, probably ’cause I live in the U.S., it says it belongs to NTV and is copyrighted. Can you tell me what Putin said? I saw some quotes, but not sure which one you mean. Thanks!


      2. Wow, strange. It was definitely opening in the US yesterday! Here’s another one, from Sputnik – this one should open:

        In case it doesn’t, the part that impressed the hell out of me was “будьте здоровы”. ‘Cause it’s so multilayered! First, there’s the obvious Christian layer – “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”; then there’s this whole layer of Russian folk wisdom (“с дураками не спорят”, “на дураков не обижаются” – that’s what a Russian parent would often say to a child complaining about name calling :). Finally, of course, there is a bit of implicit trolling (poor Joe, he’s so out of it he doesn’t understand what he’s saying) – although Putin reiterated “I am serious, it’s not a joke” – you can’t miss the irony.

        And, of course, this is what you say when people sneeze. Which makes it extra funny.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Godspeed Moon! Learning languages is fun. Sorry, I didn’t bother to translate some snippets above since I figured Google Translate should be able to handle it, should anyone become interested. And Putin’s words translations will be all over the net anyway.


      4. Thanks Yalensis, on MOA, I keep spelling Bernhard’s name wrong, there was an extensive discussion about the translation: ‘It takes one to know one’. The vast majority seemed to be supporting the official Kremlin translation: ‘whatever you call me is what you are called yourself’ that Bernhard used.

        I like the Dutch version, and I would assume you can understand as linguist:
        “Wat je zegt,ben je zelf!”

        Or the French:
        “c’est celui qui dit qui est”

        I checked translators over here and was amused when I saw they as me understand, but have troubles to find a fitting equivalent that is as familiar on kids playgrounds over here as the above versions seem to be. But we would use the British and French indirect approach too, I guess.

        I am admittedly leaning towards the position supporting the official translation. Sometimes something is lost in using a not completely fitting idiom/adage. What did he originally say, and is it the precise equivalent in Russian to the above, English, Dutch and French version?


      5. Yes, the official translation is technically more correct from the semantic point of view, I just don’t think any American would utter that exact phrase, with the words in that particular order, or at least I have never heard it said that way. So, as a translator myself, torn between a technically (and semantically correct) translation vs an idiomatic one.

        I have heard Americans utter cynically, “It takes one to know one.” But, obviously there is an unwanted semantic addition there to the Russian phrase. It adds a semantic slice of almost admitting that the original utterance is a true statement.

        For example: “You’re a thief.”
        “It takes one to know one.” [almost conceding that I AM a thief, but asserting that you are one as well].

        Isn’t semantics lovely? Scientific Linguists, by the way (in the post-Chomsky era) posit that Scientific Linguistics itself is a subset of a much broader field which includes Semantics, Semiotics, etc. The science of meaning, in other words, which is strictly not limited to human communications. (Also includes animals, although Chomsky did perform a great service in this respect, when he mocked away the assertion that gorillas are capable of learning human sign language!)

        Liked by 1 person

      6. “Moon, I saw this piece , which translates Putin’s “playground taunt” into English as “It takes one to know one.” Which is actually a pretty good translation of his retort.”

        If you really consider this to be a “good” translation, well, it only shows that you are starting to forget Russian, yalensis.

        More precise translation would be: “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Your words bounce off me and stick to you”. It conveys the same meaning with the equally “childish” idom, while avoiding implications of (presumed) admission of guilt of the “it takes one…”


      7. His examples of US murder could’ve been more direct to that blowhard of a prez.

        Like noting Biden’s cheering for the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) which BTW included some bigoted anti-Serb comments from him.

        Later with the diplomacy is back BS.

        Stalin and Khrushchev were bigger killers than what Putin could ever be accused of. Ditto LBJ and Nixon. No active Western leader referred to these folks as killers.


  4. @yalensis
    I had this discussion regarding the phrase on MoA. What they do not seem understand – but what you apparently do – is the “almost conceding”.
    To say that “it takes one” does imply that I take your accusation as a projection, because I know that I am not the person you claim me to be, but in order to project this image you have to be the original.

    If you insist I am what you claim, you can only do that because you are what you claim me to be.


    1. Yes, the semantics here is very subtle. Actually, I like Mao’s example of the childish taunt, “I know you are, but what am I?” I think that says mostly the same thing, but excludes any semantic possibility that I actually am what you say I am!


    2. Peter, I may have misread you, speed scanning the comment section. That’s why I didn’t mention my first impression was you triggered the debate. YDid you? Did I miss something? You forgive?

      I was distracted by this reference and dug in deeper. Not least since I didn’t a´quite get a reference by Paul. In the end I wound up with the apparently quite important declassified intelligence report.
      two very insightful posts: patrick armstrong @ SC & spengler (david goldman) @ asiatimes: both on kagan, neo cons & putin. to all a good weekend.
      Posted by: emersonreturn | Mar 19 2021 23:46 utc | 65

      Most of his hints are open source, some aren’t though. And there you wind up with one of my not so favorite neocons. Might have been one of my earliest encounters? Europe Venus, America Mars? As German. Seems we aren’t back to the post 9/11 it’s once again 1938 but we might be somehowt back in 1939? Considering that article is offered as context to readers? Maybe???

      Spengler drew my attention too around that time, not the least on First Things First. His article is open source:
      Asia Times, Life after death for the neoconservatives Biden’s embrace of neocon dogma will accelerate a Chinese-Russian-European coalescence that will dominate the world , Spengler (David P. Goldman)

      Concerning Patrick Armstrong, don’t ask me why, I had the strong desire to lend a helping editorial hand. But yes open source too:

      Strategic Culture, Why Do They Keep Doing It?, Patrick Armstrong, March 19, 2021

      But here is what Patrick buried a little deeper down about my old “dear friend” Kagan, he is indeed the husband of Fuck Europe Nuland:


      What’s curious about Kagan is his larger preoccupation with “the German question” and the larger debate he triggered. Considering what the Foreign Policy Archives offer as reminder, not least an article from 1939 by one “C”, putting matters in the appropriate context for US readers? I guess. Linking to archives is not really something I wasn’t puzzled about before once in a while. As someone that has been quite fascinated by newspaper archives both current and historical ones:

      The New German Question What Happens When Europe Comes Apart?, by Robert Kagan, May/June 2019


  5. Sorry, badly proofread. And I would assume as hard to understand as comment exchanges in comment sections, sometimes …

    But this was no invention, it showed up in context. Brought up for the reader with more time. `For me, yesterday. Apparently it caught other people’s attention earlier, since it was first saved on Archives on: 15 Feb. 2021 11:36:03 UTC.

    I didn’t really understand what was happening at first. One would expect to be lured into a clickbait from ages ago on Foreign Policy? Would one?

    Will Hitler Save Democracy?, By C, April 1939

    But then, I do experience some serial IT oddities. And strictly once you are inside it might not be that difficult to manipulate what shows up as linked article.


  6. I would like to let you all know that commenter Lyttenburgh sent me a freaking DEATH THREAT. It is in the comments thread to the previous post, “STORIES ROLLING UP LIKE LONDON BUSES”. The comment was posted by Lyttenburgh on March 20, 2021 at 4:49 AM.

    After accusing me in “… repetition of the Western talking points masked as “concern about fate of Russia” for the purpose of “psy-op targeting “adversarial population” in order to degrade its resistance and will to fight”, he addressed directly to me (“Oh, and one more thing, Lola”) a video entitled “Execution of an agitador by firing squad”. The link is embedded into the last sentence of his post, and you all can see it here:

    What a freak.


      1. Thanks Paul. You are the boss, of course, but I think that post should stay up. People deserve to know.


    1. Point One.
      I’m not a coward to deny or refute things that I posted being in calm mood and sound mind. Given opportunity, I’d repost my “offending post” in a sec.

      Point Two.
      Strangely (no, not really) enough, but userperson Lola does not quote another key part of my “offending post”, namely, the definition of the “concern-troll”, which is:

      “Someone who posts to an internet forum or newsgroup, claiming to share its goals while deliberately working against those goals, typically, by claiming “concern” about group plans to engage in productive activity, urging members instead to attempt some activity that would damage the group’s credibility, or alternatively to give up on group projects entirely.”

      I said it loud and clearly and am ready to repeat – I consider your comment tactics here, “Lola”, to be a form of “concern trolling”

      Point Three.
      I do not work for the security or law enforcement forces of the Russian Federation. I’m also a person, who, repeatedly, insisted on the absolute legitimacy of the state monopoly on the violence.

      As person (allegedly) born and raised in the USSR and former USSR you, Lola, must be familiar with the TV series that I video-quoted here (Ep. 7). You are the one here, Lola, that are 100% convinced that the West is waging an existential war on Russia with the end being the destruction of the Russian state. You do it most vociferous and in the open. You are also very shallow on suggestions on how to fight the West effectively, while (baselessly – by your own admission) exaggerating the West’s power.

      Imagine your fate after said war with the West turns “hot”. *I* will have nothing to do with your fate, “Lola”, should you ding yourself in such situation. Some abstract “comrade major” would.

      That’s not a threat – that’s a statement of a fact, of an object reality. Me saying: “Don’t participate in the unsanctioned protest and agitate others to join it” and then posting a video clip of similar unsanctioned protest forceful dispersal by the riot police does not equate to me “threatening” someone with the body harm, “kidnapping” and “theft” (i.e. arrest and fines for non-libertarians).

      Yet – our situation is quite different now from the year 1941, depicted in the TV series. To deny that is either to demonstrate one’s lack of understanding or of consistency at making an argument.

      OTOH, I fully concede that Mr. Robinson is a Master and Commander of his own blog. He can do whatever he please, deleting whatever comments (or blogs from his blogroll) he likes or thinks most prudent for his bodily existence in Canada. He can ban me from posting completely, and I won’t try to sneak in whinnying about “cancellation”. One way or another, sooner or later, that’s the ultimate fate of us all.

      Finally, I’m not offended by Lola’s calling me a “freak” in the least and of her projecting all sorts of long suppressed negativity at me. Isolation, restrictions and epidemics consequencies had been very taxing for all of us.


      1. Lytt, personally I find the diverse definitions of trolls of limited value. But in our context your attempt to use it for a member of this “forum” feels even a little absurd. You define this “internet forum or newsgroup[‘s] …group projects”? Nitwits like me, would want to know.

        The source of your anger seems to have escaped me. The video, that is.

        Noli turbare circulos meos?


  7. Okay, I am pretty sure nobody wants to hear my opinion, and I should probably stay out of this, but…

    In trepidation (because I truly hate conflict) I went back to Il Professore’s previous post and caught myself up on that fateful comment thread between my old friend (until he rejected me) Lyt; and the new girl Lola. Here is my take on it:

    I didn’t see anything in Lola’s comments which would indicate that she is insincere, dissimilating, or secretly NOT rooting for Russia.
    All she did was post an analysis of the geopolitical challenges facing Russia, that’s all. On the surface her comments are not intended to demoralize the Russian people or cause them to lose the next war to Westie invaders. I mean, people need to look the truth in the face and deal with it; which is what Russians are actually good at doing. People who point out unpleasant truths or tough challenges are not necessarily Fifth Columnists.
    I saw nothing in Lola’s vocabulary or syntax that would indicate she is dishonest troll or secretly rooting for Russia’s enemies. In conclusion: My sense is that Lola is an honest commenter, a decent person, and not one of those “paid influencers”. Who we know exist. But they are usually fairly easy to spot, and I don’t think she is one of them. So, let’s all be civilized and kind to each other, okay? (And please let us also follows the rules of chivalry, we do not harm women….)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Lyt! 🙂

        My previous offer stands, by the way. If you want to email me whatever screeds you write, I will print on my blog, unedited. That way you can get your POV across to my vast number of followers (actually, about 1,000 estimated).


      2. Thank you for responding to my comment, yalensis. As a rule and practice consistent over the years, you instead often opt to ignore them altogether (e.g. – this very comment section). Shows that either circumstances (or some words in my comment hitting close to home) made you reconsider for once. I’m also glad that now, apparently, you’ve overcome sufficiently the dark night of the soul, afflicting your posting for the past several months.

        Your invitation is duly noted.


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