The Geopolitics of Love and Hate: Dr. Jamal Wakim | An-Nahar

The Geopolitics of Love and Hate:

Will We See Russian Troops Parading One Day in Washington?

Dr. Jamal Wakim | An-Nahar

Like the Germans and the French before them, the Americans are attacking Russia through Ukraine –  despite a love affair which is at least a thousand years old.

Russian president Vladimir Putin chose to leave the G20 summit held in Brisbane, Australia early after being ill treated by the hosts and by the leaders of the Western World, “because he refused to give ground” in the Ukraine crisis.

The declarations of these leaders adopted the same old “innocent tone” to distance themselves from any responsibility in causing the crisis, or in solving it by accepting any agreement with the Russians.  

One more time there echoes the traditional western rhetoric, whenever faced by a “non-western” challenge: Why do they hate us?

Do the Russians, hate the Westerners? – Are the Russians to blame for the crisis in Ukraine?

It is a given that the mainstream western culture thinks that it is better than other cultures. This sense of superiority which relies on achieving world hegemony in the past two centuries seeks to root itself in the middle ages when the Popes, heads of the Roman Catholic Church claimed supremacy over other Christian centers including Constantinople, “because Rome was the initial Capital of the Roman world”.

This claim was rejected by other churches which refused to accept the suzerainty of the bishop of a tiny town, which is Rome during the Middle Ages. This resulted in the schism between Western and Eastern Christianity in 1054. The Western Hostility towards Eastern Christendom preceded the Hostility to Islam itself.

And the hostility to them both served to create an anti-Europe which served eventually to forge a European identity in a western Europe that consisted of hundreds of ethnic and national groups, hostile to each other.

The crusade wars served to increase the rift with the Arab-Islamic and with the Slavo-Orthodox worlds, and hence served to create a common ground among western Europeans. As a result, hostility towards eastern Christianity and Islam became an integral component of Western European Identity.

Geopolitics is another reason for Western hostility towards Russia. If we look at the map from an Asiatic angle, we will see that Western Europe lies on the western outskirts of the huge Eurasian landmass. This touches to the core of Europeans perception as the center of the world. Hence, Russia should be expelled from Europe.

Yet the Russians love the West

Still the Russians want to be part of the Western World. In the tenth century, Vladimir Duke of Kievian Russ chose to convert to Orthodox Christianity rather than to Islam or to Judaism. One reason was his amazement by the sight of Hagia Sofia upon his visit to Constantinople, another reason was that unlike Judaism and Islam, there was no ban on alcohol nor pork in Christianity.

Eight centuries later Tzar Peter the Great would assert the Russian tendency to belong to the “civilized West”, by adopting social and cultural norms of Europe and imposing them on his countrymen. Russians had to shave their beards, shorten the sleeves of their dresses, and adopt European social norms. A century later Tzar Alexander adopted Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French, as his role model. Meanwhile, French was adopted as the language of the court.

By the end of the 19th century, Russian revolutionaries looked to Europe for salvation and adopted either liberalism or Marxism as a means for Russian salvation. Another Vladimir, nicknamed Lenin, glorified two German Philosophers, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and made them the Saints of the Russian Soviet World which was born in November 1917.

No Matter What you do … We will still hate you …

Alexander’s fascination with Napoleon Bonaparte did not spare his country from French invasion in 1812. The French Emperor, who wanted to be sole master of Europe, discovered that the eastern borders of Europe were open to Russian influence. Hence the Russians had to be expelled.This led Napoleon all the way to Moscow, however also exhausting the French war machine and to the annihilation of Bonaparte Grand Army. By 1814, the Russians were parading their troops in Paris.

A century and a half later, Soviet fascination with German culture did not spare Russia from Nazi invasion. German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, dreaming to become sole master of Europe saw that he had to expel the Russians, whom he considered as sub-humans and semi-Asiatics, East beyond the Urals. His war machine led him to the outskirts of Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad, yet it was short of providing him with victory over the stubborn Russians. Four years later the Russians were parading their troops in Berlin after achieving a costly victory over their enemies.

The Americans, consider themselves as an extension of western Europe, and like Hitler and Napoleon before them they dream of being masters of Europe because it is Europe that provides them with a bridgehead into Eurasia.

But to be masters of Europe puts the Americans in the same conundrum that France and Germany faced before this current challenge:

They have to determine Europe’s eastern borders by expelling the Russians out of Europe.

Integrating Ukraine into Europe would isolate Russia from European affairs and renders it fully an Asian power.

This is what Zbigniew Brzezinski stated in his book “The Grand Chessboard”. This explains much of the Ukrainian crisis. So, it is not about human rights, nor about spreading democracy. It is a pure geopolitical game.

Like Bonaparte France, Like Nazi Germany, Like USA?

In spite of the American hostility to the Russians, the latter were fond of American culture even during the cold war. Russian President Boris Yeltsin adopted American political and economic models to the detriment of Russian interests. The Parliament was named “the White House”, and public institutions and factories were privatized and sold to rising oligarchs. Yet this did not spare Russia from American hostility which was expressed in expanding NATO eastward and forbidding Russia from joining Europe.

Russian protests did not stop the Americans and their western allies, and Hungary, Poland, Romania, and The Baltic Republics all joined NATO, disregarding Russian fears.

Last came Ukraine, a country with a failing economy which had to disregard its interests and join the European Union and NATO.

This threatens to get NATO very close to Moscow, had it not been the major point of disagreement between Stalin and Hitler in 1941, and between Alexander and Napoleon in 1812?

It was this that led to the French-Russian War of 1812-1814, and to the German-Russian War of 1941-1945.

In both cases the Russians started the war on the retreat and ended parading in their enemies’ capitals.

In 1814, Russian troops were parading in Paris, and in 1945, Russian troops were parading in Berlin.

Now comes the turn of the Americans, they are advancing, and the Russians seem to be on the retreat.

Yet, would these Russians reverse their retreat like their predecessors did with the French and the Germans, and would they end up parading in their aggressors’ capital the way their predecessors did, only this time Russian troops would be parading in Washington?

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 05/23/2018 at 1:43 pm

    Russian troops parading in Washington DC? In this upside-down world we live in, all things are possible. There may even come a time, in the not too distant future, when America may be divided among the victors of planetary chaos.

    Our future depends upon the actions we take today.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/23/2018 at 8:58 pm

    Don’t expect boots-on-the-ground – the Russians can hack, harass and disrupt our way of living, as is.

    Obama administration officials also told reporters that Russian intelligence operatives were behind the cyberattacks that led to the release of emails stolen from political figures and institutions.

    Funny how these leaders tell it, today:

    We knew but we did not want to appear to be interfering with the elections – Obama, Clapper, et al.

    Later, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote a book:
    Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence

    Philip Ewing | NPR – Tells us in his review …

    No wonder James Clapper always seemed so grouchy.

    The long-time spy baron became well-known during his stint as director of national intelligence for his profound scowl and sometimes-Zen-like terseness.

    Now, in his new memoir, Clapper tells why:

    It is the tale of how the world — at least from his perspective — fell apart.

    By the time the grizzled, steely-eyed Clapper we know appears on the scene, the US intelligence community has become infamous for a series of deadly blunders:

    It failed to prevent the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It conjured up Iraqi weapons of mass destruction where none exist.

    Even as it balloons in size and power from the massive infusion of taxpayer support under President George W. Bush, the “IC” becomes no more clairvoyant or even any more effective, with yet more disastrous consequences.

    The sprawling 17-agency mega-bureaucracy was slow to realize in 2015 and 2016 that the Russian government had launched a concerted wave of active measures against the U.S. presidential election.

    American spies watched a lot of it in real time, Clapper writes, and detected some aspects of the campaign early. In fact, nobody remembers this now, but in May of 2016, he announced in a speech that the Russian government was targeting the U.S. presidential campaigns with cyberattacks.

    No one noticed, and this had no effect. Clapper clammed up:

    “I figured at the time that the last thing our country needed was any appearance that the intelligence community was involved in partisan politics.”

    [President Obama was informed and he clammed up for the same reasons]

    By the fall of 2016, Clapper and the intelligence community woke up to the water boiling around them — the Russians were running an enormous scheme that was “unprecedented, aggressive, multifaceted,” he writes, using “cyber-theft and cyber espionage, propaganda across the broadcast spectrum and all of the largest social media platforms, and an influx of Russian money at least for buying advertisements, perhaps even laundered and funneled into campaigns.”

    Eventually, back in 2016, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Clapper did release a joint statement attributing the 2016 active measures to the Russians.

    But, hours later, the Access Hollywood tape of Trump making lewd comments appears. And not long after that, WikiLeaks embarrasses Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, by releasing his emails.

    “Our warning on Russian interference was so effectively buried that, in December [2016], the national consensus held that the intelligence community and DHS had failed to provide any warning about the Russians before the election,” Clapper writes.

    [Again: Do NOT expect Russian boots-on-the-ground]

    Elsewhere, he confesses that he doesn’t know whether Americans didn’t see the warning or didn’t care, but said that ultimately, “I saw that our efforts ended up having all the impact of another raindrop in a storm at sea.”

    The intelligence agencies didn’t make an assessment about whether Russia’s active measures affected the outcome of the election, but the brilliance of the attack was the way it exploited nearly every aspect of social and mass media in the 21st century, including with self-reinforcing amplification by American journalists and Trump himself, he writes.

    “Again, Russia’s aim wasn’t to get anyone to actually believe the crazy stories they were publishing,” he writes. “The point of their influence operation was to overwhelm facts, to SOW DOUBT that facts were even knowable.”

    The scheme, for Clapper, appears to have worked. When he left government service, he barely recognized the United States to which he was returning as a civilian. He struggles to shop for himself in the grocery store after years as a top national security official.

    Clapper almost doesn’t recognize himself; he describes watching a clip of himself on a talk show as part of the preparation for his book.

    “Looking at the recording of that interview, I again appeared tired. This time, I wasn’t tired from working around the clock for months on end. I was tired because my journey of 76 years had led me to a place that should be home, and I’d found that the foundation of that home was beginning to crumble and the pillars that supported its roof were shaking.”

    In Decline …

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