Here’s what esteemed Economist analyst Edward Lucas says on his blog about wacko Russian nationalist Mike Averko‘s e-mail “newsletter” — which Averko started sending out because of his belief that David Johnson’s e-mail newsletter didn’t contain enough pro-Russian propaganda:
Lucas was commenting on Averko’s argument that America is just like Russia, killing off famous journalists like Politkovskaya right and left, so there’s no reason for Americans to get all worked up about her killing.
I disagree with every word in it. [His] oddly forgetful approach to important facts may undermine in some eyes Averko’s argument about “censorship” in “Anglo-American mass media”
Here’s how Averko characterized Lucas’s statements about him on Sean’s Russia blog, where he’s now apparently come to roost, without linking to to them so readers could see the full context:
Please give my regards to Edward Lucas, who (at his blog) endorses my Quick Takes mailing list on Russia and other international issues.
In other words, typical Averko dishonesty and propaganda. Lucas clearly stated that he disagreed with every word in Averko’s posts and that they were not reliable because of Averko’s “oddly forgetful” approach to facts. So although Lucas did write that ” I strongly recommend [Averko's email] for anyone interested in Russia and the neighbourhood,” it seems quite clear that, in context, he meant that it’s a rich resource of crazed Russophile propaganda which those interested in Russia must contend with when they screen information about the country.
The fact that Sean Guillory has attracted the interest of Averko is not surprising given Sean’s amazing recent statement that America is a threat to Russian security, ignoring any possibility that the opposite could be true, and his statement that America isn’t a democracy. Sean writes: “After how the US treated Russia in the 1990s and the history of American foreign policy, I really don’t see that ever happening. I think that Russia views the US penetration in Central Asia and the Caucauses as a threat, and rightly so in my opinion.” Indeed. US penetration at Normandy on D-Day was a threat to Hitler, too. And rightly so, in La Russophobe‘s opinion. Perhaps Sean thinks Hitler ought to have been left well enough alone.
David McDuff exposes the shockingly anti-American attitude of academics like Sean (who has recently called President Bush and “idiot” and said “take a look in the mirror, sister” to Secretary of State Rice). McDuff reports:
Shmuel Rosner has a post on a new survey of attitudes to world affairs among U.S. university and academic staff. As he says, the results are either funny or sad. They certainly make for reflection. Excerpt: Faculty see the United States as a greater threat to world stability than Russia by a ratio of 7-to-1. Nearly half of humanities faculty, 46%, see the United States as a threat to international stability, as do 34% of social science faculty. Faculty attitudes toward America look very similar to the attitudes of Europeans. A recent poll for the Financial Times reported that 36% of Europeans identify the United States as the greatest threat to international stability. About 12% of faculty see Israel as a great threat to international stability. Looked at another way, 41% of faculty see the United States and Israel combined as the greatest threats, compared to China and Russia combined, with 23%. For humanities faculty, 56% list the United States and Israel, compared to 20% who name China and Russia combined, or 41% who list China, Russia, and Iran combined.
Isn’t it strange how these folks think Americans commit a crime when they express Russophobia, but see no problem in their own anti-Americanism? Perhaps this is the reason that Republicans have dominated American electoral politics for so many years. These people are so far out of touch with the people in their own country that they might as well be living in a different one, but they haven’t got the courage to make one of their own so they are left stewing in their own hatred, which is really self-loathing. An academic like Sean might ask in response what America has done to provoke all this ire. Yet, he doesn’t ask that question of Russia when it comes to America’s “penetration” in Central Asia, now does he? What has Russia done to make America think it must take such action? Sean apparently couldn’t care less (or maybe he thinks Russia is simply innocent as a lamb). He doesn’t mention whether the U.S. should see Russia’s providing of massive economic assistance to Cuba and massive military assistance to Venezuela as a threat, either. If they are, perhaps Sean thinks Russia is perfectly justified in threatening the US in this way, if the US has the audacity to try to help the former Soviet slave states break free from Russian imperialism.
Sean states: “[A]nyone still believing that there is still democracy in America is still stuck on gazing at the trees despite the forest.” His source for this shocking news? Why, it’s the that heavyweight journal of democratic politics Rolling Stone magazine and the brilliant “analysis” of Matt Taibbi, former “reporter” for eXile. Taibbi’s view of the U.S. Congress, which Sean finds worthy of extensive quoting, is that it is a “Belarus-style rubber stamp” and that Republicans exhibit “some of the most mind-blowingly juvenile behavior seen in any parliament west of the Russian Duma after happy hour.” It’s not surprising that the only outlet for “analysis” of this kind is Rolling Stone.
Neither Sean nor Matt nor Mike seem to have even a basic grasp of the American Constitution; under it, Congress is supposed to be highly inefficient and unproductive. That’s why it creates an elaborate system of two radically different bodies which must both agree before any initiative can be taken. The purpose was not to advance policy agendas but to prevent dictatorship. Most of the legislative power is reserved by the Constitution to state governments. This is, of course, very frustrating to left-wing socialists types with grandiose schemes for national salvation, but in two hundred years they’ve not succeeded in altering it because it’s what the vast majority of the people in the country want.
La Russophobe is prepared to make a little wager: She bets that Sean can’t name his representative in the California assembly, and has never tried to communicate with her/him on any policy issue. She bets he’s never attended a local school board meeting, never campaigned for a candidate for his city council or attended a council meeting, never worked in a democratic way one single day in his life to solve any kind of real problem in people’s lives. In other words, he doesn’t have a shred of real information about whether democracy exists in America or not. He seems oblivious of the fact that control of the corridors of power in Washington DC has peacefully switched back and forth dozens of times between rival American parties over the past two hundred years, while neither Russia nor Belarus have ever done that once in their whole histories, and that most of the real political power in America lies at the state and local level, not in Washington, the level to which Sean pays no attention whatsoever.
Sean’s seething, mouth-frothing hatred of Republicans (in the classic model of scholarly, enlightened discourse he calls them “incompetent, lazy, and corrupt assholes that have driven American democracy into the ground”) is rather ironic — his attitude towads them smacks of exactly the attitude he purports to condemn in them. Sean’s problem isn’t that the U.S. isn’t democratic, it’s that it is. In other words, what he objects to is not that the government doesn’t do what the people want, but that it does. His actual problem is that the government doesn’t do what Sean wants. Sean is an unusual person, dramatically different from most Americans, who don’t choose to spend most of their time studying Russian history. The vast majority of Americans are religious, Sean is an athiest. The vast majority of Americans give different answers to key political questions than Sean gives, think differently than he does, and he just can’t stand that. If Sean had his way, the vast majority of people in the U.S. would feel that the country wasn’t democratic, but it seems that wouldn’t bother Sean one little bit. Perhaps he’s a “democrat” in the same way Lenin was; he thinks he knows what’s best for Americans and that they themselves have no clue. He thinks America is a bigger threat to world security and democracy than Russia is, and he wants to declaw America for its own good. And he’ll “handle” anyone who thinks differently, branding them an “idiot” or an “asshole” and sending them off for reducation, all the while claiming he’s a “democrat.”
It’s more than a little ironic, too, that America’s America-hating academics like Sean continually preach the gospel that America is evil and yet continue to profit from it by working in universities sponsored by that government, and meanwhile hypocritically continue to castigate America for preaching the gospel that any other country is evil, arguing such an attitude is narrow-minded and ignorant. Sean’s blog has a counter showing the rising cost of the war in Iraq (what this has to do with a Russia blog is anybody’s guess, Sean hasn’t got a counter for the rising cost of the war in Chechnya), yet he attacks America in exactly the same way that he claims America has attacked Iraq, harshly and recklessly. Where’s the counter for the damage done by that?
The seething contempt Sean seems to have for present-day America can’t help but color his judgment where Russia is concerned, and it clearly does. That’s why he’s attracted the likes of Mike Averko as a commenter to his blog. But Sean’s a smart guy in many ways and his blog contains a good deal of helpful information about Russia, so perhaps he’ll reverse course before it is too late and Averko starts quoting him in his emails. We shall see.