And the author is right. Lavrov does ‘get it’: The Obama administration is drunk on power and listens to no one but their own inner circle.
Therefore, it’s no shock when the Russian military is sending out more bomber patrols and incursions around the globe, among many other hints, for example. If the White House won’t listen, then they have no choice but to scare the pants off the Pentagon and U.S. military circles with hints of war in hopes they will listen, and in turn force the American intelligence community to hammer the Obama administration into listening, and maybe do something in America’s favor for once. If the Pentagon can’t get through to Obama administration, then no one else will. What’s more alarming, and another story, is that Obama has decimated and purged the U.S. military intentionally, so one can one only wonder what’s left in the military leadership that has any sense left.
When the point of no return in Russia’s perspective has been reached and the Obama administration continues to pay no mind, and only the Russians would know when, then the U.S. is in grave danger.
Make no mistake, the U.S. is a far better place than Russia will ever be, but it’s irreparably throwing the greatest nation in world history away along with its admiration. This isn’t about bashing America, but coming to the pragmatic realization of what it’s doing to itself.
One disconcerting thing I have noticed amongst some “liberty-minded” people I follow, is a knee-jerk tendency to pick a side in this affair. When it comes to powerful men running centralized nation-states with nuclear weapons, there are no church boys involved. I have noticed a desire to defend Russia every step of the way in what appears to be a simple-minded emotional reflex birthed in justifiable disgust with what they see happening in their home nations (the U.S. and UK in particular).
This behavior has always made me uncomfortable, and reminds me very much of how people get upset with one fake political party and then vote for the other guy simply because they are not a Democrat or a Republican. The best choice is to accept they are both useless and not vigorously defend either party. I take the same tact when it comes to battles between nation-states. Just because I am disgusted and horrified with what is happening in these United States, doesn’t mean I need to slavishly defend Russia, Vladimir Putin or pick any sides in a conflict in which the primary losers will always be powerless civilians.
I’ve never been to Russia, thus my opinion of the country is basically worthless. Nevertheless, based on what I have read and observed, I’d still much rather live in the U.S. than Russia despite all of our society’s failings and decay in recent decades. While this view could certainly change as time and events unfold, that is how I strongly feel at the moment. Putin is by all accounts an authoritarian cult-like leader who wants to ban Bitcoin, journalism can be a deadly affair, and oligarchs continue to run free (as long as you are friends with Putin). Recall my recent post: American Upper Middle Class Share of Wealth is Worse than Every Country Besides Russia and Indonesia. Yes, “besides Russia and Indonesia.” Russia is no economic utopia.
Nevertheless, this piece isn’t meant to be a pointless debate about which overly-centralized, archaic and corrupt nation-state is better than the other. Neither place has a political or economic structure that even comes close to providing a fertile environment in which human existence can reach its highest potential. Rather, both nation-states are controlled by a small group of ambitious, authoritarian and, when necessary, ruthless and violent men and women. That said, there are two reasons I think the following remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are so important.
First, as someone who spends much of his time analyzing and critiquing the many destructive policy decisions made by American “leaders,” I was shocked to find how accurate his description of the U.S. power structure’s mindset seems to be. He gets it, and he is more or less trying to warn the world that America’s leaders are basically power-drunk children. I concur.
Second, Lavrov also describes the negative impact that this behavior has had on the Russian psyche generally. He expresses dismay that the U.S. status quo sees the world as unipolar, and attempts to tackle every problem from the perspective that might is right. In no uncertain terms, Lavrov makes it clear that Russia will not stand for this. I don’t think the Russians are bluffing, so this is a very dangerous situation.
If there was actually someone in the U.S. State Department capable of such introspective and clear thinking, we might actually diffuse this situation. Don’t hold your breath.
Here are some excerpts from Mr. Lavrov’s remarks at the XXII Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy in Moscow on November 22, 2014. The whole thing can be found here, which I strongly suggesting reading in full.
I’m happy to be at this annual Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy (Russian abbreviation SVOP). It is always a great pleasure for me to meet people and feel the intellectual potential, which enables the Council, its leaders and representatives to respond to global developments and analyse them. Their analysis is always free from any hysteria, and its members offer well-grounded and solid arguments, taking a step back, since those caught in the midst of events can hardly adopt an unbiased perspective. We are inevitably influenced by the developments, which makes your observations, analysis, discourse and suggestions even more valuable to us.
Naturally, I will start with Ukraine. Long before the country was plunged into the crisis, there was a feeling in the air that Russia’s relations with the EU and with the West were about to reach their moment of truth. It was clear that we could no longer continue to put issues in our relations on the back burner and that a choice had to be made between a genuine partnership or, as the saying goes, “breaking pots.” It goes without saying that Russia opted for the former alternative, while unfortunately our Western partners settled for the latter, whether consciously or not. In fact, they went all out in Ukraine and supported extremists, thereby giving up their own principles of democratic regime change. What came out of it was an attempt to play chicken with Russia, to see who blinks first. As bullies say, they wanted to Russia to “chicken out” (I can’t find a better word for it), to force us to swallow the humiliation of Russians and native speakers of Russian in Ukraine.
Honourable Leslie Gelb, whom you know all too well, wrote that Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU had nothing to do with inviting Ukraine to join the EU and was aimed in the short term at preventing it from joining the Customs Union. This is what an impartial and unbiased person said. When they deliberately decided to go down the path of escalation in Ukraine, they forgot many things, and had a clear understanding of how such moves would be viewed in Russia. They forgot the advice of, say, Otto von Bismarck, who had said that disparaging the millions-strong great Russian people would be the biggest political mistake.
President Vladimir Putin said the other day that no one in history has yet managed to subjugate Russia to its influence. This is not an assessment, but a statement of fact. Yet such an attempt has been made to quench the thirst for expanding the geopolitical space under Western control, out of a mercantile fear to lose the spoils of what they across the Atlantic had persuaded themselves was the victory in the Cold War.
Talks about Russia’s isolation do not merit serious discussion. I need hardly dwell on this before this audience. Of course, one can damage our economy, and damage is being done, but only by doing harm to those who are taking corresponding measures and, equally important, destroying the system of international economic relations, the principles on which it is based. Formerly, when sanctions were applied (I worked at the Russian mission to the UN at the time) our Western partners, when discussing the DPRK, Iran or other states, said that it was necessary to formulate the restrictions in such a way as to keep within humanitarian limits and not to cause damage to the social sphere and the economy, and to selectively target only the elite. Today everything is the other way around: Western leaders are publicly declaring that the sanctions should destroy the economy and trigger popular protests. So, as regards the conceptual approach to the use of coercive measures the West unequivocally demonstrates that it does not merely seek to change Russian policy (which in itself is illusory), but it seeks to change the regime — and practically nobody denies this.
Full article: Tensions Between the U.S. and Russia Are Worse Than You Realize – Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Liberty Blitzkrieg)