07 June 2013

When will we learn?

Russia was right about Yugoslavia. Both times.

Russia was right about Afghanistan.

Russia was right about Iraq.

And now, we seem to be slowly getting around to making the discovery that Russia was right about Chechnya. All along.

Any bets on when the US government will admit that Russia is right and has been right all along on, say, Syria? And when will we learn that a true friend is one who will criticise your mistakes, rather than one which parrots everything you want to hear?


  1. The U.S. has had a very opportunistic relationship when it comes to Islamists, supporting them when our leaders felt it would be in the “national interest,” to do so and opposing them when they were perceived to be a threat.

    It is all very hard to make sense of, but Neil Clark and other have argued that the closest thing to a guiding principle is “what is in the best interests of capital?” So we have the U.S. likely supporting Islamists in the former Yugoslavia and Libya because of the possibility of the new regimes privatizing public companies.

    As far as Russia is concerned, it seems to me that much of the public and foreign policy elite cannot shake out of the Cold War mentality of “Russia = bad.”

    There is a long Western tradition of hostility to everything Eastern/Orthodox/Byzantine. Many of the Western descriptions of Russian culture echo those of Western European accounts of the Byzantine Empire with their references to autocracy, a servile church establishment, intrigue, violence, obscurantist mysticism, etc.

  2. Very good point indeed, John!

    Perhaps one of us ought to do a post comparing line-by-line, say, Edward Gibbon's descriptions of the Byzantine Empire to modern mainstream news descriptions of Russia. It might be most enlightening!

    But yes, I think there is an aspect to our relationships with Islamist regimes which is not realist but mercantilist, and our behaviour in Libya (privatising everything Gaddhafi nationalised) speaks precisely to this aspect. That we would have had any kind of humanitarian interest in Libya is laughable, particularly now when we have turned a blind eye to the genocide carried out by the anti-Gaddhafi rebels against the nation's black population.