08 November 2014

So much good stuff recently!

Where to start?

Well, logically, let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start with President Putin’s recent clarion call at the Valdai International Discussion Club to the recognition of the contradictions and collapse of the neoliberal world order, a collapse which he hints could (God forbid!) lead to another world war. Putin speaks measuredly, with care and with precision here, but delivers his blows against the reigning hegemon with all the acuity of a master fencer. He speaks like a classical European conservative, of the dangers of imposing order on the world by ‘universal diktat’. He details the threats facing his own country, and of the threats facing the world order: terrorism, organised crime, extremism of both political and religious varieties, piracy, trafficking in drugs and human flesh – all encouraged by breakdowns in the social order, and often ones following a direct or an indirect intervention by the United States government.

It’s well worth reading in its entirety, as one may do in English here. But the money quote is as follows:
We are well aware that the world has entered an era of changes and global transformations, when we all need a particular degree of caution, the ability to avoid thoughtless steps. In the years after the Cold War, participants in global politics lost these qualities somewhat. Now, we need to remember them. Otherwise, hopes for a peaceful, stable development will be a dangerous illusion, while today’s turmoil will simply serve as a prelude to the collapse of world order.

Yes, of course, I have already said that building a more stable world order is a difficult task. We are talking about long and hard work. We were able to develop rules for interaction after World War II, and we were able to reach an agreement in Helsinki in the 1970s. Our common duty is to resolve this fundamental challenge at this new stage of development.
On the other hand, we have this brilliant postmortem by veteran journalist Patrick L. Smith on the American news media’s non-coverage, or rather selective coverage, of this speech. Here’s one particularly enjoyable highlight:
Here is Schmemann on the Ukraine passages of the presentation: “In Mr. Putin’s version of the Ukrainian crisis, the United States was the instigator of the protests in Kiev that led to a ‘coup’ against President Viktor Yanukovych and the subsequent fighting. One American participant told Mr. Putin she was hard put to recognize her country as the one he was describing.”

Well, confused American participant, you make an interesting point. Washington has created a version of events in Ukraine that amounts to a parallel reality, and people such as Schmemann are paid to perpetuate it. If it is of any help: There was a coup, there were neo-fascists among its leaders, the State Department backed it, and the evidence of all this is indisputable.
And speaking of the lovely Grey Lady. She is quite put out, very clearly distressed and seemingly confused, the poor dear, about how to interpret Viktor Orbán’s successes in Hungary. Is it an atavistic regression toward the Soviet bloc, from a man who won his fame fighting the same? Or is it a new, dark and dangerous ‘right-wing populist’ star rising over the Magyar lands? Saying both at once leaves one with the impression that she doesn’t quite know which way to jump. Well, whatever it is, it is quite clear from her tone of distress that our dear Lady Grey simply doesn’t like it. Which is all the more reason for us to like it – those of us Americans who prefer our nation to be peaceful and law-abiding, that is!

Speaking of peaceful and law-abiding Americans – which is to say, Americans abiding by the eternal law of God rather than by the dictates of tourism-obsessed city governments gone mad – all hats off indeed to the inimitable nonagenarian Mr. Abbott of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who has received his second criminal citation under a new city ordinance for the horrific crime of feeding homeless people. Bravissimo, Mr. Abbott! And Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig has an incredibly profound piece discussing this case.

Lots of positives for today, actually – little glints of hope amongst the flotsam! I’m in a pretty positive mood right now – just finished up with a conference in Nanjing on the topic of the New Silk Web. It was very productive; got to meet a lot of very smart, interesting and good people from China, from Pakistan, from England, from Germany and from my own country, and discuss with them everything from halal food to techno-anarchism, and from Thomas Piketty to Han-dynasty traditional Chinese thought. It’s been an exhausting but remarkably rewarding day.

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