On Wednesday, KGB spokesmen began trying to mitigate the public relations disaster connected with the attack on Alexander Litvinenko, whose condition dramatically deterioriated, by putting out the word through state-controlled media that he was too small a fish for them to be interested in (a bad sign was that Kommersant, recently taken over by state-controlled GAZPROM, joined this fray). At the same time, British doctors confessed they were unable to precisely identify the poison that had been used in the attack. Sean Guillory, seeming to spiral out of control, used these two events as an excuse to lecture the West on judging Russia too harshly, implying that it was jumping to errant conclusions about KGB complicty without “evidence,” that he thought the Kremlin might be blameless in the attack and arguing that the West is in no position to judge Russia’s form of social organization since theirs is not objectively better. Sean even made a joke in incredibly bad taste about Litvinenko perhaps just getting some “bad sushi.” On Thursday, Litvinenko succumbed to the toxins in his body and perished. The next day, we learned that a truly diabolical radioactive toxin had been utilized, making it even more clear that the Kremlin was involved and leaving Sean with considerable egg on his face. Here’s La Russophobe‘s advice to Sean, and all of us, in the form of an open letter.
Not that I really mind watching someone who expresses so much contempt for my country make a total fool of himself, but continuing this pathetic drumbeat about Russia’s system of social organization being “not worse but simply different” is making you seem to be a childish simpleton to a degree that makes even me uncomfortable, because you’re capable of contributing value and insight to analysis of the Russia problem when you’re not completely off your nut. But it really is beginning to seem that you sometimes don’t think at all before you post, that you often have no fully formed ideas, but just spew out your raw emotions like a teenager whenever you feel like it, unable to confine yourself to discussing the range of topics you actually understand. You yourself seem to indicate you think you posted to soon about this topic, but if you think your second post is more carefully considered you are quite deluded. XYZPDQ.
First of all, Russia is a total failure as a society, at the most basic level of biology (in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s literally dying off) and the West has every right to judge it. If Russia doesn’t reform, it’ll create a global economic catastrophe and refugee crisis that will make Africa look like a 4-H project, and the West will end up holding the bag. Or maybe you’d personally like to underwrite it out of your savings account if it happens? On top of that, Russia is aggessively challenging Western security by providing support to Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, to say nothing of maintaining a vast nuclear strikeforce and universal conscription. The mere possibility that Russia is reaching out to snuff out defectors on Western soil is more than enough justification by itself to respond with vehemence.
Second, your hypocrisy is just plain lame. Do you say “hey, you can’t judge America, it’s not worse it’s just different” when the Europeans criticize it over Iraq? Do you say that to Democrats when they judge Republicans? Of course not. What you’re actually saying is that it’s just fine to judge imperiously, but only when Almighty Sean Guillory says it is. That kind of hypocrisy is unworthy of respect. Moreover, at the same time that you patronize Russians, saying they’re confused little kids who haven’t learned their manners and therefore give offense without actually meaning to, you condemn the West for looking down on (or writing off) a country as uncivilized that by any metric you can name is decades or centuries behind them in development. That kind of hypocrisy is simply breathtaking and mindboggling.
And on top of all that, suggesting that the West needs to have “evidence” before it takes action to protect itself from Russia defies your own discipline. I suggest you read Santayana some day, followed by an actual volume of Russian history. If the West had been more aggressive after the Bolshevik revolution, the lives of tens of millions of Russians who perished in Stalin’s camps might have been saved. If it had been more aggressive when Bolshevism collapsed, not through any courageous action of the Russian people but simply because of its utter failure, we might not now be dealing with a country that is governed by the secret police who spent decades brainwashing themselves to hate us. If you follow this same advice in protecting your family (should you ever get one) from the local pedophile or street gang, I pity them.
In short, it’s really transparent that your thesis is based on your haughty and utterly empty academic contempt for American society rather than any true belief in Russia; were it otherwise, you’d relocate. You choose to live with the West’s benefits while proclaiming that Russia is no less legitimate, and that’s rhetoric easily as empty as the worst you can find from George Bush.
And all of that begs the actual point, which is that no evidence whatsoever, of any kind, has been produced since your first post on this topic to exonerate the KGB in the killing (how you “think” that sophisticated doctors being unable to determine the type of poison used to kill the victim makes it LESS likely that the KGB was involved boggles my mind, and you certainly don’t explain). The only way they weren’t at least indirectly responsible is if someone killed this poor guy just to make them look bad, which is like saying George Bush bombed the World Trade Towers just to have an excuse to invade Iraq. The fact that you think we should ignore the Kremlin’s record based on this possiblity indicates that you aren’t concerned first and foremost with Western security and are prepared to risk it for your own personal “ideals.” If that’s so, you ought to have the guts to say so openly. If you do, it will utterly obliterate your credibility in the West.
In the end, it turned out that what actually killed Litvinenko was far more KGB-like and terrifying that what was at first wrongly speculated about. You should have eaten your words, but you only chewed them a bit and spit them out. I expected better.
Oh, and one more thing: your comment about the West having an unreasonble belief in the “magical powers” of Stalin is grossly offensive and hideously ignorant. The man built concentration camps and murdered more people in them than Hitler did in Germany, yet unlike Hitler nobody lifted a finger to stop him. If you think that’s not terrifyingly inexplicable power equivalent to magic, it can only be because you lack the imagination necessary to understand what it would be like to be arrested by his secret police, whose direct descendants now run the country, and thrown into a gulag. If you think the West should just sit twiddlying its thumbs waiting for “evidence” you can personally approve of that the killing has started again, you scare me and don’t deserve to be taken seriously by anyone interested in living in the real world (as opposed to some Foucaltian acid trip). And as for your childishly irresponsible remark about sushi . . . if Litvinenko was your father, would you have written that? If not, you have as little regard for human life as you attribute to George Bush.
You can do better, kid. Time’s running out.