21 February 2014

Tabloid toxicity

I am very quickly developing a newfound appreciation for the Nation; they’ve been carrying some top-class commentary of late on Eastern Europe. First of all, there was a superb piece by Mr. Alec Luhn in said esteemed publication expressing concern about some of the more insidious elements of the pro-European protests in Independence Square. And a friend of mine from Solidarity Hall, Ms. Grace Potts, has directed me to an interview and to an utterly stunning piece of media criticism by Dr. Stephen Cohen highlighting the disturbing deficiencies in the way Anglo-American media cover Eastern Europe in general, and Russia in particular. It is worth reading the entire article in full, but I would like to quote the main highlight here:
There are notable exceptions, but a general pattern has developed. Even in the venerable New York Times and Washington Post, news reports, editorials and commentaries no longer adhere rigorously to traditional journalistic standards, often failing to provide essential facts and context; to make a clear distinction between reporting and analysis; to require at least two different political or “expert” views on major developments; or to publish opposing opinions on their op-ed pages. As a result, American media on Russia today are less objective, less balanced, more conformist and scarcely less ideological than when they covered Soviet Russia during the Cold War.

The history of this degradation is also clear. It began in the early 1990s, following the end of the Soviet Union, when the US media adopted Washington’s narrative that almost everything President Boris Yeltsin did was a “transition from communism to democracy” and thus in America’s best interests. This included his economic “shock therapy” and oligarchic looting of essential state assets, which destroyed tens of millions of Russian lives; armed destruction of a popularly elected Parliament and imposition of a “presidential” Constitution, which dealt a crippling blow to democratization and now empowers Putin; brutal war in tiny Chechnya, which gave rise to terrorists in Russia’s North Caucasus; rigging of his own re-election in 1996; and leaving behind, in 1999, his approval ratings in single digits, a disintegrating country laden with weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, most American journalists still give the impression that Yeltsin was an ideal Russian leader.

Since the early 2000s, the media have followed a different leader-centric narrative, also consistent with US policy, that devalues multifaceted analysis for a relentless demonization of Putin, with little regard for facts. (Was any Soviet Communist leader after Stalin ever so personally villainized?) If Russia under Yeltsin was presented as having legitimate politics and national interests, we are now made to believe that Putin’s Russia has none at all, at home or abroad—even on its own borders, as in Ukraine.

It is important to realise what is being done in the Western media with regard to Russia, and to realise that it is nothing less than a coordinated campaign of collective defamation against not only the Russian government, but also Russian culture and Russian people. It has been disheartening to say the least to see the wild-eyed rantings of Julia Ioffe and Timothy Snyder, as well as the less polemical but still perennially-wrong ‘decent liberals’ like Walter Russell Mead, elevated in the mainstream of American media-driven discourse to a status of respectability which, very clearly, none of them deserves.

Even when Russian authorities and thinkers prove not to be enemies to the American people, they are portrayed as an existential threat; but it has to be realised (and I hope it will be eventually) that Russia poses a threat only to American hegemonic schemes to shape the world in its image, and not to the American nation as such. (It should also be recognised that not just Russia, but all societies and cultures pointing to pre-modern and post-liberal values, insofar as they are able to successfully articulate those values, also pose such a threat to the Imperium - though not to America herself.) It is indeed a pleasant surprise to see the Nation, of all periodicals, give voice to such insights, but I am very far from complaining! Mr. Luhn and Dr. Cohen, please do keep fighting the good fight!

20 February 2014

On the 17th of February, I was officially chrismated into the Russian Orthodox Church by Fr. Sergey (Voronin) at the Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos in Beijing. Praise and thanksgiving to Our Lord, God and Saviour; to the All-Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary; and to Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew for guiding me this far! And thank you to all of the people who have helped, encouraged and debated with me on this road I’ve only just started walking, especially Fr. Isaac, Fr. Valery and of course Fr. Sergey. I feel humbled and grateful to have been given this blessing; I hope that by God’s grace and by the cooperation of my unworthy will I may keep it with gratitude and right glory.

Thanks again, everyone.

19 February 2014

Now, more than ever

Pray for Syria as the talks fail and as the fighting resumes.

Pray for Ukraine as the death toll from the protests continues to mount.

Pray for Palestine as her people continue to suffer beneath the shadows of development.

And most of all, pray for us Americans and especially for our elites gone astray, who are so hell-bent upon wreaking more death and destruction in all three places. Lord, have mercy upon us all.

And whilst we pray, let us consider the horrific effects of the current alignment of American foreign policy with some of the most ugly and regressive elements of global politics: in the Middle East, murderous Sunni extremists who value the lives of Shi’a Muslims, Christians and Jews at nought; and in Eastern Europe, murderous racists and fascists who value the lives of Poles, Russians and Jews at nought. The voices of the Christians who are every day facing the podvig of simply surviving in their traditional homelands of Syria and Palestine are usually politely ignored and swept under the rug by the American political class, or (less often) viciously savaged. Let’s give of our time and attention and money to causes like this one, and make sure that the currently-voiceless allow their own voices to be heard.

16 February 2014

I can’t believe this still needs saying

Three awesome Jewish philosophers: Shlomo Avineri (l), Martin Buber (m), Amitai Etzioni (r)

Radical social critiques coming out of Orthodox and Catholic spheres, particularly as it regards basic institutions of the modern global economy, have a lot going for them in their assertions of truth. The links between secularist and rationalist ideologies (including both Marxism and liberal economism), the ongoing proletarianisation of practically all aspects of middle-class life, the entrenchment of the ‘new class’ and the triumph of predatory global finance capitalism are all very much worth expounding. And we have plenty of resources for doing this. Distributism and social credit theory have both come out of the British Western Catholic tradition, and are bolstered on the continent by the work of the Christian social movement and the traditions of organised labour. Deep personalist critiques of bourgeois ethics and the materialist world-view, such as those of Nikolai Berdyaev and Fr. Sergei Bulgakov (amongst countless others both in the Patristic tradition and afterwards!), have their roots in an Orthodox anthropology which regards the situated person as a living ikon of the All-Holy Trinity.

So why do these conspiracy theories keep cropping up? Why are these phenomena still so often portrayed as the fault of an international conspiracy of the Jews? What explanatory power does the attribution of global secular modernism’s manifest ills to a shadowy cabal of the ‘international Jewry’ lend us, that we wouldn’t have otherwise? As Austrian social-democrat Ferdinand Kronawetter once said, ‘anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools’; I think the saying applies in equal measure to other forms of anti-capitalism.

And let’s not give those who expound these canards and fables under the guise of socio-theological critique any quarter on this. It becomes too simple for apologists for the globalist order to dismiss us as a bunch of anti-Semitic cranks when we just wink and nod in their direction. Quite frankly, too many promising threads at building a more humane, human-scaled economy tailored to the needs of the whole person have been derailed and discredited by the indulgence of their proponents in anti-Semitic intellectual onanism. The social credit movement of Major C. H. Douglas has been attacked as a whole (as in Janine Stingel’s Social Discredit) on account of Douglas’s conspiracy theorising. The same has gone, though to a lesser extent, for the work of Karl Freiherr von Vogelsang in Austria, whose tendencies toward anti-Semitic mannerisms attracted demagogues such as Karl Lüger.

Not only do such associations allow for ungrounded attacks on the entire body of personalist, populist, radical-orthodox and communitarian critiques of modern global capitalism emerging from Catholic and Orthodox thought, but they also alienate potential allies and interlocutors within Judaism. Emmanuel Mounier himself gladly owned that his philosophy shares more than just a passing resemblance with the existential philosophy of Martin Buber, and even borrowed much of his language (like the ‘narrow ridge’) in expressing his political thought. There are also interesting potentials for mutual reinforcement, critique and shared social action between Christian personalism and other strains pioneered and championed by Jews: the ‘Anglo-American’ communitarianism of Amitai Etzioni and the ‘continental’ one of Shlomo Avineri.

Let me be clear in the other direction as well. None of the above means giving up any part of the creedal Christian anthropology, politics or eschatology. I still believe and will always do in a sociable God, whose sociability is rooted in the inner mystery of his very Triune nature. The Trinity is a necessity if we take seriously the idea of the situated human being in all her modes of being as an ikon of the living God. As such, in their explicit rejections of Trinitarianism, I find that Jewish and Muslim anthropologies share a weakness which can ultimately lead to distorted views of grace and of human psychology. But taking these stances is of worse than no effect – indeed, it is the height of hypocrisy! – if it shuts down avenues of shared social action with Jews or Muslims, or leads us into the spiritual quagmires of pride at their expense. We can do better than that. Indeed, if we claim to be good Christians, confessing the faith that was expounded at Nikaia, we must do better!

12 February 2014

Looking for Kingdom (in all the wrong places)

Cross-posted from Solidarity Hall:

One of the conceits of the Western tradition of historiography is that we do not move in cycles. Humanity is not doomed, as in ‘dharmic’ conceptions of history, to unending cycles of boom and bust, of drive and decadence, of creativity and collapse. Even the most cosmopolitan members of Western or Middle Eastern or North African cultures will affirm in their mode of living as well as in their thinking, that human history has a beginning and that it is progressing toward some definite end. All of the myths and especially all of the secular theories we have generally propped up about the end of history – the ‘eschaton’ – have been haunted by the Christian vision of ‘the End’ as articulated in the Apocalypse of S. John of Patmos.

The Apocalypse is a highly tricky text, and with regard to it, secular ideology and religious heterodoxy have some strange and sometimes counter-intuitive ways of overlapping. For example, the two theories approaching the end of history in Western Protestantism which have gained the most currency over the several centuries of its existence have been pre-millennialism and post-millennialism.

Pre-millennialism posits that we are living in the transitional age, one marked by apostasy and iniquity, before the Second Coming of Christ; that we are currently awaiting that Second Coming as a predictable event subject to historical analysis, in which Christ will come to earth and raise his elect up to heaven; and that this will inaugurate a violent time of tribulation prefiguring the Millennium, in which Christ will reign in an age of perfection for a thousand years prior to the Final Judgement. Pre-millennialism is, in modern America, most closely associated with the theorising of the Irish Anglican churchman John Nelson Darby, American Presbyterian minister Cyrus Scofield and their intellectual heirs. It is propagated most intensely by the Protestant fundamentalists of the American ‘religious right’, such as Hal Lindsey, Jerry Falwell, and of course the infamous authors of the Left Behind series, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. As such, it is most closely associated with laisser-faire economic policymaking, social policy based upon the policing of domestic enemies, and an instrumentalist foreign policy whose primary aims are to inaugurate the Second Coming through (for example) support of the modern secular state of Israel.

The delicious irony of this heretical eschatology, so popular on the American right, is that these ideas – our living in a transitional age marked by iniquity; the eschaton as a foreseeable historical event; the eschaton as preceded by a violent tribulation for humankind – were being propagated at the same time as Darby by a secular ideology which is supposedly its polar opposite. Karl Marx was a pre-millennialist. The development of capitalism represents a transitional age marked by exploitation. In this age, we are awaiting the predictable event, amenable to historical analysis (hence, ‘scientific socialism’!) of the salvific awakening of revolutionary consciousness amongst the urban proletariat. This will ignite a violent world revolution prefiguring the utopian age of a classless and stateless society. The basic forms of Marxist and of fundamentalist Protestant belief are eerily similar, but even more eerie are the similarities in their praxis! Lenin was the first to openly advocate ‘heightening’ or ‘accelerating the contradictions’: an instrumentalist approach which would seek to ignite the revolutionary consciousness of the proletariat by ‘striv[ing] to support, accelerate, facilitate development along the present path [of capitalism]’. One also hardly need mention that Marxism-Leninism built its social policy upon the policing of domestic enemies, nor that it sought to use its foreign policy to inaugurate the coming world revolution.

On the other hand, the eschatology historically most welcomed by liberal Christians is post-millennialism. This eschatology posits that the forces of the Church loosed by Christ’s Great Commission will gradually and eventually save the world’s culture through the spread of the Gospel and inaugurate an era of piety and prosperity in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. Believing in the righteousness of advances in Christian civilisation, the post-millennialists began to apply their eschatology to worthy social movements. To a significant extent, the post-millennialist eschatology inspired the religious vector of the labour-rights, suffrage, abolition and temperance movements of the 19th century, and the civil-rights movement in the 20th. It has generally found a very comfortable alliance with liberal and social-democratic reform movements, parliamentarian and technocratic governance.

The involvement of this eschatology in such manifestly worthy causes as organised labour, women’s suffrage, abolition and the like would prima facie appear to indicate its orthodoxy. But problems begin to appear on close examination: no longer does it look to the outside. Participation in the mystery of Holy Eucharist and in the Symbol of Faith are abandoned for their secular equivalents (does the Holy Spirit speak with the voice of 50% of voters, plus one?). The faith in the culture-transforming power of the Church dovetails a bit too neatly with a naïve faith in civilisational Progress.

It is worth remembering that the American progressives and liberals who supported many of these movements – suffrage, abolition, temperance – also supported the nationalistic struggle over the civilisational burden which had its most horrific consequences in the world wars of the 20th century (the centenary of the beginning of the first of which we are bafflingly starting to celebrate). Worse still, the too-close identification of Church with the culture led to its co-optation by so-called ‘positive Christianity’ in Nazi Germany and the clerical fascism of Franco’s Spain and the Ustaše regime in Croatia. But it has to be noted that progressives still – for the most part – believe in an eschaton which transcends material contingencies (like those of race and social class). Fascists explicitly reject any transcendental grounding of the eschaton, which is to be achieved in violent world-historical terms by a single charismatic bearer of a homogeneous world civilisation. To equate the two is vacuous and morally indefensible.

But one has to note some disturbing parallels. There is a tendency in both to a deracinated, depersonalised ecclesiology. There is a tendency in both to fetishise technology and technocracy in the service of carrying the civilisational burden. There is in each a call to mastery over man and nature which appeals to an appetite for authority without giving authority for the appetite.

And just so that there is no mistake: amongst the ranks of the secular cultural post-millennialists I count also the right-libertarians and neoconservatives (the talking heads of Fox News and practically anyone who has written for Reason magazine, the National Review or the Weekly Standard) who call for national ‘renewal’ and look for world-historical salvation to cultural artefacts of the American founding, such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and to the ‘civil millennial’ promises of the American experiment. It is simply that, for them, the building of the New Jerusalem is to be equated with a return to patriotic fervour and with an ever-broadening range of personal liberties. They no less than the progressives seek to inaugurate the Kingdom through human effort and mastery alone, and to locate it within the ‘shining city upon a hill’. Theirs also is the legacy of colonialism and the mythology of Progress which I highlighted in ‘Awakening to a Nightmare’.

As the Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray, man lives day-to-day upon his daily bread and upon the forgiveness of sins – but bread is found neither in heightening the contradictions nor in technocratic tinkering; forgiveness is found neither in revolutionary tribulation nor in parliamentary prattle. And if the theological pre-millennialism of the American ‘religious right’ has its secular mirror in Marxism-Leninism, and the theological post-millennialism of American religious liberals can be moulded with only subtle secular tweaks to the service of any of fascism, neoconservatism or right-wing libertarianism, what alternative is there?

If the two heterodox models of the heavenly Thousand Year Plan have their ends in such outcomes, perhaps it’s better to look to a humbler model. The Apocalypse shows over and over that victory comes to the humble and to the patient, who keep the works of God to the end. Tolstoy may have been wrong on several important theological points, but his anarchistic theological narodnichestvo had many deeply healthy impulses; perhaps it is well to say that it is not the ‘Kingdom’ itself which is ‘within you’, but the ‘Millennium’. Our job is to stay wakeful, to till and sow earth, to pick weeds and stones, to let the fruits grow; the day of harvest will come like a thief in the night, and no man can hope to know the hour. It will be both world-historical and personal, a true coming again in glory, but our hope can’t rest either in searching the sky for signs or laying the stones of a new Tower of Babel.

The implications of this approach to the eschaton are profound, but they are local and situated. Freed of the world-historical pretensions of both millennialisms, an amillennial eschatology – even a secularised one, insofar as one can be imagined! – throws itself first at the service of community endeavours. ‘Bread for myself,’ as Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev once put it, ‘that’s a material question. Bread for my neighbour – that’s a spiritual one.’ When the End disappears over the horizons of our human reasoning, our politics no longer strives after it by any means; instead, the shared means of bread and forgiveness for our neighbours are the ends.

09 February 2014

Eternal rest and memory for Sister Liudmila

The tragic shooting in the Cathedral of the Resurrection at Sakhalin Island this past Sunday apparently might have been far more tragic if not for the martyric heroism of one woman. Please read, and please give your prayers for the parish of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, for the speedy recovery of the wounded, and for the souls of the two who died there, including Sister Liudmila, who by this account died a beatific death in defence of the men, women and children who were in the church.

03 February 2014

Remembering Pete Seeger

I like to say I'm more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.

On the 27th of January, the world lost a great man, and, more importantly, a very good one: Pete Seeger of folk music fame. His songs were part of the world that I grew up in, of the music my parents listened to, and probably as much as anything else instrumental in turning me toward my eclectic blend of old-style conservative and populist politics. His Christmas album was a Cooper family staple during Advent. There was a time when his Precious Friend album with Arlo Guthrie was on non-stop rotation in my CD player – I loved each and every one of these quirky, socially-tinged folk tunes, every one of the anecdotes, and got to the point where I could quote them from memory. His story of how the Hudson River got cleaned up largely through the efforts of volunteers he inspired by sailing up and down the place on the Clearwater, his gracious but unflinching resistance to the HUAC in the ‘50’s, his engagements with the labour rights movement and with the Civil Rights movement; all were those sorts of things that couldn’t help but rivet my early-teenage imagination.

Seeger’s unapologetic communism was actually one of the things which shaped my own sympathies with Marxist thought, one which lasted from middle school up until my last year at college (when my senior project advisor led me to read Sandel, MacIntyre, Bellah, Honneth and a number of other post-Marxist authors, whom I ultimately found more convincing than Marx himself). And it is one of the things which I can’t help but remain sympathetic with, in spite of having rejected Marx. Those who seek to condemn Seeger for his support of Stalin during the ‘40’s are in some very important ways missing the point. Seeger was an idealist who saw in the Soviet Union an extension of the promise that the little guy wasn’t doomed to be forever trampled underfoot, and one who had a healthy in-built distrust of those in his own country with power and authority. This did lead him to some very wrong conclusions about the nature of Stalin’s role in the Soviet experiment, but there are several things which do heavily ameliorate his record on this point.

These are covered admirably in Amir Azarvan’s blog post remembering Pete Seeger: he officially quit the CPUSA in 1950, supported the anti-Soviet Solidarity movement in Poland in ‘82 and wrote the highly critical anti-Stalinist song ‘Big Joe Blues’. It seems he had been given the grace to, as we say in the Orthodox Church, ‘see his own faults, and not to judge his brothers and sisters’. Dr Azarvan did note that Seeger was, sadly, pro-abortion rights – though that does fit with his progressive stance on most other things, it does seem to run counter to his otherwise unstinting support for the (in this case, literal) ‘little guy’, and he extends the hope that perhaps Seeger would have, given more time, turned from his support of this cause as he turned away from the Soviets.

But it cannot be denied that the man was a musical force – there is no better way to put it – and he left his mark upon millions. Including me. A real mensch, in the best sense of the word.

Memory eternal.

01 February 2014

An insidious continental trend

Eric Draitser has an insightful article up on CounterPunch, about the rise of fascism in Greece and the Ukraine, and the possibly dangerous ramifications for the rest of the continent. (Many thanks both to John at EifD and the wonderful Ms Barbara-Marie at VfR for the link!) Please do give the entire thing a read; it’s important. But, just to get the gist of it, here are some of the key points:
The political formation is known as “Pravy Sektor” (Right Sector), which is essentially an umbrella organization for a number of ultra-nationalist (read fascist) right wing groups including supporters of the “Svoboda” (Freedom) Party, “Patriots of Ukraine”, “Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense” (UNA-UNSO), and “Trizub”. All of these organizations share a common ideology that is vehemently anti-Russian, anti-immigrant, and anti-Jewish among other things. In addition they share a common reverence for the so called “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” led by Stepan Bandera, the infamous Nazi collaborators who actively fought against the Soviet Union and engaged in some of the worst atrocities committed by any side in World War II.

While Ukrainian political forces, opposition and government, continue to negotiate, a very different battle is being waged in the streets. Using intimidation and brute force more typical of Hitler’s “Brownshirts” or Mussolini’s “Blackshirts” than a contemporary political movement, these groups have managed to turn a conflict over economic policy and the political allegiances of the country into an existential struggle for the very survival of the nation that these so called “nationalists” claim to love so dearly. The images of Kiev burning, Lviv streets filled with thugs, and other chilling examples of the chaos in the country, illustrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the political negotiation with the Maidan (Kiev’s central square and center of the protests) opposition is now no longer the central issue. Rather, it is the question of Ukrainian fascism and whether it is to be supported or rejected.

For its part, the United States has strongly come down on the side of the opposition, regardless of its political character. In early December, members of the US ruling establishment such as John McCain and Victoria Nuland were seen at Maidan lending their support to the protesters. However, as the character of the opposition has become apparent in recent days, the US and Western ruling class and its media machine have done little to condemn the fascist upsurge. Instead, their representatives have met with representatives of Right Sector and deemed them to be “no threat.”


Ukraine and the rise of right wing extremism there cannot be seen, let alone understood, in isolation. Rather, it must be examined as part of a growing trend throughout Europe (and indeed the world) – a trend which threatens the very foundations of democracy.


In Ukraine, the “Right Sector” has taken the fight from the negotiating table to the streets in an attempt to fulfill the dream of Stepan Bandera – a Ukraine free of Russia, Jews, and all other “undesirables” as they see it. Buoyed by the continued support from the US and Europe, these fanatics represent a more serious threat to democracy than Yanukovich and the pro-Russian government ever could. If Europe and the United States don’t recognize this threat in its infancy, by the time they finally do, it might just be too late.

For one thing, let the point be considered fully in its own right. For another, let this be the last that the anti-war, sovereigntist left ever hears of ‘appeasement’ (as if our opposition to wars of aggression against third-rate states with antiquarian arsenals whose geopolitical significance is (at best) regional in importance was ever in the first place somehow morally equivalent to the naivety of Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement). If ever the Eustonites and Jacksonites level that rhetorical cannon our way again, let us point them straight to the plentiful photographs of their beloved war-hero and champion of democracy, Senator John Sidney McCain III embracing the neo-fascist leader of the All-Ukrainian Union ‘Svoboda’, Oleh Tyahnybok. (Or to the photos of Victoria Nuland, Kerry’s Assistant Secretary of State and wife of PNAC mastermind Robert Kagan, handing out snacks to the good little jackboots on their field trips from Galich.) And lastly, let us highlight that the rise of street fascism in Ukraine and Greece is not just a second-world problem, but one which can affect countries such as Britain, France and Germany as well. Svoboda’s most consistent political collaborators, along with Greece’s Golden Dawn, are Hungary’s Salafi-sympathetic Jobbik Party, the BNP, Marine Le Pen’s Front National, and Japan’s uyoku dantai movement. And you can bet that all of them are comparing notes.

So far, the Eustonites and the Jacksonites, for all their vaunted (self-declared) support of democracy and militant opposition to totalitarianism and bigotry, have been the ones who have snivelled and squirmed their way out most shamefully when it has come to speaking up against the fascists in Galich and Kiev. Too attached are they to the idea that Russia is the eternal enemy of all that is good and decent, that they cannot help but ignore the evil lurking at the heart of the Maidan.

Catholic neoconservative George Weigel wrote a cringe-inducingly craven piece in the National Review supporting the rioters (Stalin name-dropped by paragraph three, natch, and without a hint of irony). Nick Cohen tied the Maidan to a ‘human rights’ and pro-LGBT agenda and again advanced the blood libel that those who don’t oppose Russia ‘have blood on their hands’. Three guesses where the Weekly Standard comes down, and the first two don’t count. (Hint: the Maidan rioters show ‘courage and commitment’ and ‘liberal democratic impulses’; while the pro-Yanukovych side is a ‘looming behemoth’ of ‘Soviet order’ with a ‘remote-controlled replica of civic protest’… you get the picture. At least the Weekly Standard was willing to acknowledge the existence of ‘nationalists’ on the Maidan, though they downplayed it as far as possible. At the Weekly Standard you can’t say the ‘f’ word unless you’re talking about Muslims, after all!)

Those who continue to support the Maidan are playing with fire. For all our sakes, let’s hope they don’t end up unleashing an inferno.

On a less gloomy note:
恭喜發財!萬事如意!And a great big 馬年快樂!

Happy Year of the Horse, everyone!