THIS was the REAL USSR… any questions?
When I first visited Russia more than 30 years ago, it was still part of the USSR. The idea of any independent or critical press, of open debates in a parliament, or of popular demonstrations against government policies that would bring scores of thousands of people into the streets of Moscow, was inconceivable then. Today, Russia has many critics in the West, who accuse it of sliding back into dictatorship. What is their proposed solution? Usually, it is to criticise Russia and its leaders and try to strong-arm them into adopting policies of greater democracy and alleged greater respect for human rights.
These attitudes stem from a pervasive faith shared by liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans in the USA that’s so pervasive, that its greatest believers are totally unaware of how much they’re in thrall to it. They believe that democracy is the only acceptable political system around the world, and that, consequently, the USA should wage a ceaseless ideological crusade, not resting until, at least, all the major nations of the world share the same limitless blessings of a perfect democratic system.
Now, I’m all in favour of democracy myself… I prefer living within a fully-democratic system rather than under a communist, fascist, or repressive theocracy. However, I’m against waging wars to imposing the American, or any other, democratic system, on other nations. I’m equally opposed to a purely-ideological foreign policy that would treat the governments of the world purely according to how Freedom House and similar bodies grade them according to how it assesses their freedoms. This is hardly an anti-American position. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Quincy Adams, and modern Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, and Bill Clinton believed and acted exactly the same way.
Ironically, the history of the West and the USA over the past three-quarters of a century exposes the dangerous folly of such self-righteous fantasies. Britain and the USA only won World War II against Nazi Germany because they were allies with the USSR under Iosif Stalin. I believe that not one in 100,000 Americans alive today knows or remembers that it was the Red Army, not the American or British forces, which liberated the Nazi extermination complexes of Auschwitz and Majdanek in Poland.
Nor did Western pragmatism… or hypocrisy… end with the destruction of the truly-evil Third Reich. Many still hail President Nixon as an American statesman and peacemaker for his détente policy with the USSR and his outreach to China. Not all the repercussions of the Watergate scandal that forced him to resign can take that away. Yet, Nixon, like Reagan after him, supported the two most corrupt régimes on the planet for decades, which ground hundreds of millions of their unfortunate peoples into degradation and despair. These were the kleptocratic dictatorships of Indonesia under President Suharto and Zaïre (today called the Democratic Republic of the Congo) under President Mobuto Sese Seko.
Russia has come an amazingly long way since I first visited it in the spring thaw season of 1982. That doesn’t mean its political system is the same as those of the USA or the major nations of Western Europe. However, it’s no Indonesia under Suharto or Zaïre under Mobutu either. What’s more, the USA never had any trouble getting along with them. All the moral lecturing of Russia by Western critics misses two crucial points.
First, even if Russia were to relapse back into some form of strict authoritarian government… and so far it hasn’t… that wouldn’t make war or conflict with the USA or the West inevitable. The USA, the British Empire, and the communist USSR were reliable and exceptional successful allies to each other throughout World War II. Then, the USA and the USSR successfully steered clear of any direct conflict in the 44 years of the Cold War from 1945 to 1989. It wasn’t easy; at times, they came dangerously close to war. Second, ensuring Russia remains a democracy won’t be a guarantee of peace with Russia, even if such a starry-eyed, ill-defined, reckless, and irresponsible policy such as intervening in Russia’s internal affairs could ever succeed. For throughout modern history, democracies have often waged war on other countries, including on other democracies. The idea that the best guarantee of world peace is a world filled with, and dominated by, democracies is just another myth.
What the USA and Russia really need is a serious dialogue between their top leaderships aimed at defusing tensions and managing real and unavoidable conflicts of interest. Both nations need to work hard on identifying their areas of mutual interest, and expanding them. The last thing American and other Western leaders need to do is to cave into the mounting hysteria from the think-tanks and the armchair strategists churning out their endless morally-outraged columns for the op-ed pages, and embrace a policy of ideological criticism and name-calling against Russia. The two thermonuclear superpowers need to respect each other and improve their cooperation… the peace of the world demands it.
9 March 2013
Voice of Russia World Service
Orthodox people should note that Victor Potapov, Alexander Webster, James Paffhausen, and Rod Dreher have sold out to the American Consumerist Dream and to the American Democratic Fantasy. They’re Sergianists (those who suck up to the powers-that-be for the scraps that fall from the high table) of the foulest and worst sort. They’re part of the “mounting hysteria from the think-tanks and the armchair strategists churning out their endless morally-outraged columns for the op-ed pages, and embrace a policy of ideological criticism and name-calling against Russia”. Potapov was/is an open US government propagandist. Webster and Dreher are “stink-tankers”; Paffhausen is tied to the American Enterprise Institute (one of the most Far Right stink-tanks in the District). In short, these people are traitors to the Orthosphere, and we must treat them accordingly.
You can follow HH and his support of Social Justice… or you can follow the above sell-out jabronies who’re supporters of “Greed is Good” and “The Race Goes to the Swiftest” (that’s what support of the contemporary Republican Party means). I’ve chosen… it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know where I stand… by the way, I’m far from alone…