How we See Things
There are those who think that the sort of direct confrontation of Russians practiced by this blog is counterproductive. They naively think it will only make Russians recoil into their nationalist shells like turtles, giving them confirmation that the world really does hate them and justifying their rabid xenophobia. They think Russians need kindness and understanding from the outside world to coax them out of their shells like timid forest creatures to nibble at the tender morsels of civilization in our outstretched hands.
This is how Chamberlain saw Hitler.
To the extent these are folks who actually know the Russians, as a result of living cheek-by-jowl with them (we think precious few such persons are among them), as opposed to abject fantasizing morons with no more idea of the real Russia than of the real Mars, they’re entitled to their own opinion.
We, however, beg to differ.
We believe that although Russians talk a good game, they’re not at all comfortable with the idea that they’ve engendered hatred and animosity among the powerful nations that make up the NATO alliance, and they’re made especially uncomfortable by the notion that such contempt is percolating down to the ordinary citizens that make up those countries. What Russians like is to spout of endlessly about how much foreigners hate them, using this spouting to justify abandoning civil society, all the while sleeping soundly at night knowing that in reality the world couldn’t care less about Russia and couldn’t be bothered to attack it.
It was much easier for Russians to get away with this during the time of the USSR, because they were cut off from real information about the West and the West was largely ignorant about them, making them mysterious and making it easier for Russians to create the illusion of being something too dangerous to be messed with. Now, as the true and horrific limitations of Russia as a society begin to be widely known, and as Russia’s barbarism both internal and external is displayed for all to see, it’s possible that Russia’s pipe dreams may be burstable.
If Russians were to begin to understand, we contend, that the world is getting as mad a wet hen at Russia’s thug-like efforts at imperialism in the former USSR and its even more egregious crackdown on civil society with in Russia (including a massive military buildup and the continuation of universal conscription), then the Russians might just have to reconsider their bully tactics and pipe down. Russians, as their literature and history will attest, are awfully good at constructing fantasy worlds but not so very good at all at making things work in practice.
Which makes this blog a real poser for the Russians. Here are found folks with deep, penetrating knowledge of Russians and their history, folks who cannot be bamboozled by the ridiculous parade of neo-Soviet lies trotted out by Russian propagandists to dupe the West’s (very scary) Russia neophytes, like those we described (and condemned) in today’s lead editorial.
Russians must face the fact that we see them as they are, and that we don’t like what we see, and that we’re prepared to do something about it. They must face the fact that their outrageously irresponsible failure to reign in their government has immediate and tangible consquences, and that worse — much worse, may be in the offing.
We think that if John McCain had been elected president and put his plan to boot Russia out of the G-8 in to motion, as well as pushing ahead with plans to admit Georgia and Ukraine to NATO and install a ballistic missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, we might now be seeing a whole new side of Russia.
And what’s more, we know the people of Russia rather well from extensive personal experience and we think that Russians view foriegners who talk to them as if they weren’t behaving like dangerous maniacs, when anyone can see that’s what they’re doing, as hopeless fools. They, and especially their leader Vladimir Putin and other KGB of his ilk, view such a response only as weakness, and what’s more as a patronizing insult. There is no evidence — none whatsoever — that “cooperating” with Russia has ever led the West to any destination other than disappointment and betrayal. By contrast, not once in the entire Putin era has the West directly confronted Russia on anything, much less anything important (Russia was allowed to gobble up Ossetia and Abkahazia, for instance), so those who claim that confrontation will not work have no evidence at all upon which to base their silly suppositions. Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire” confrontation, however, laid the USSR low and set the Russian people free.