Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Meet the Chechens

Americans tend to be rather bad at geography, and often find out that a country exists, and where it is on the world map, only after their troops invade it. That's how it used to be; now that America is too broke even to pay their own air traffic controllers, never mind stage military invasions, the moment of discovery will occur when people from some country or other come over and settle scores by attacking Americans. What goes around comes around. America's latest voyage of geographic discovery has taken it to Chechnya, where, following the collapse of the USSR, unbeknownst to most Americans, their government offered covert support to “pro-independence forces,” “separatists,” “insurgents,” “terrorists,” or whatever the increasingly tongue-tied US State Department decides to call them next.

Since Chechnya is in the news, now that two of its best and brightest have been accused of bombing the Boston Marathon, I would like to assist Americans on their voyage of discovery and enlighten them about the Chechens—the amazing people their wise government chose to befriend on their behalf in order to hurt their other friend, Russia, in its hour of need. After all, is there ever a better time to kick a friend than when he is down?

I now turn it over to someone who knew the Chechens very well. If, in the course of reading this, you discover that you don't like your friends the Chechens, here is a word of advice: stop complaining.


Sergei Maslenitsa was a simple Russian lad who was born and grew up in Chechnya, in Shelkovskaya Stanitsa, a Cossack encampment, into a family of Cossacks and hereditary warriors. Born in 1972, he went to kindergarten with Chechen children, then went to school with Chechens, and fought with them even as a child. And then, in 1991, the Chechens slaughtered his parents, along with most of his relatives. At the time, Sergei was far away in Ryazan, studying at a military academy. After graduation he went back to Chechnya, to take revenge. He fought in both Chechnya campaigns, was repeatedly wounded and received highest military decorations, but after Captain E.A. Ulman, another Captain in the Chechnya campaign, was sentenced for following explicit orders to shoot Chechen civilians, he submitted a very rude report in which he referred to Putin as “Commander in Shit,” gave back all of his medals, and went into the reserve.

After concluding his military service, Sergei became a successful builder, transferring a share of his profits to the families of fallen comrades. He also worked with troubled youth, drug addicts and alcoholics, getting them to quit, getting them involved in sports, teaching them Russian history, language, taking them on expeditions into the mountains. This he considered the most important work of his life.

On September 1, 2010, Sergei and his wife were driving on a federal highway when an accident occurred ahead of them, in which one of the cars flipped over and started burning. Sergei pulled two passengers out of the burning car, and when he went back to pull out the third, the car exploded.

I found the following text in a collection of Sergei's Internet forum posts. The translation is my own.


I was born and grew up in Chechnya, in Shelkovskaya Stanitsa, Shelkovsky Region, Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. I crossed paths with the Chechens from early childhood. And even then I was impressed by how much stronger they are in spirit. In the kindergarten, there were constant fights between Russian and Chechen children, after which their parents were summoned. On the Russian side, it was invariably the mommy who came, and nagged her son: “You shouldn't fight! Fighting is bad!” On the Chechen side it was invariably the father who came. He slapped his son upside the head and told him: “How dare you lose a fight to a stinking Russian—the son of an alcoholic and a prostitute? Tomorrow you thrash him so hard that he pisses himself from fear any time he sees you!” In school, hardly a day went by without a fight. I usually had to fight against superior numbers, in spite of the fact that in my class there were just five Chechens and fifteen Russians. And while I alone was swinging back at the five, the other fourteen stood around gazing at their shoes.

We were constantly being pressured psychologically, tested for weakness. One sign of weakness, and it's the end—they thrash you so hard that you never get up again. Once I was ambushed by a group of Chechen upperclassmen. In fighting them off, I cracked the skull of one of them using a steel pipe. They stopped fighting and dragged their casualty away. The next day in school I was approached by some Chechens I didn't know, who challenged me to a knife fight—to the death. When I showed up, there were fifteen of them waiting for me, all grown men. I thought that they would simply kill me.

But they respected the fact that I came alone and didn't show fear, and they put forward one fighter. They gave me a knife, while the Chechen approached me unarmed. Then I tossed the knife away and we fought with bare hands. As a result of that fight, I ended up in hospital with fractures. When I was released I was met by the father of the lad whose head I smashed in with a pipe. He said to me: “I see that you are a warrior and that you do not fear death. Be a guest in my house.” After that we had a long talk. He told me about adats (Chechen tribal customs) and about the upbringing which turns Chechen boys into warriors. He told me that we Russians are faggots who forgot their roots, stopped listening to their elders, turned into alcoholics, degenerated into a herd of cattle and stopped being a people. That was the moment when I started to change, or, if you will, to become myself.

And then the good times arrived. Russians were being slaughtered in the street, in broad daylight. I saw with my own eyes how a group of Chechens surrounded a Russian lad in a bread line. One of them spat on the ground and told him to lick it up. When he refused, they cut his belly open with a knife. Another time, in school, a group of Chechens stormed into a classroom in the middle of a class, selected the three most attractive girls, and dragged them away with them. Later we found out that the girls were presented as birthday presents to a local Chechen criminal authority.

And then the times got even better. Fighters came and started to cleanse the Russian population. At night we could hear the screams of people who were being raped and murdered in their own houses. Nobody came to their help. Each person was alone, quivering with fear. Some even proposed an ideology for their inaction: “my home is my fortress.” (The person who said this is no longer alive; the Chechens draped his guts over the fence in front of his house.) That was how they could eliminate us, cowardly idiots, one by one. Tens of thousands of Russians were killed, a few thousand ended up as slaves or in Chechen harems, hundreds of thousands fled Chechnya in their underwear. That was how the Chechens solved the “Russian problem” in their separatist republic.

And the only reason they succeeded in doing so is because we were total shit. We are still shit, but not quite so liquid, and in that shit there are some steel particles. And when these particles coalesce we have incidents such as what happened in Kondopoga [a famous incident in a town in Karelia, a region next to Finland, where, after Chechen migrants murdered several locals, the locals staged an old-fashioned pogrom and the government had to evacuate 100 Chechens]. There aren't that many of them yet, but the Chechens are doing an excellent job of reforming us. Russians now are fundamentally different from the Russians of 1991. In 1991, in Shelkovskaya Stanitsa, a single armed Chechen killed more than a hundred Russians, walking from house to house, calmly shooting and reloading. Nobody dared oppose him. But just 15 years later, in Kondopoga, in Tver, in Stavropol the Chechens got thrashed. They are first-class predators, and as a result of their mission of cultural enlightenment Russian cattle is once again becoming a people.


And now it's time for one final excerpt—about the role of the Chechen mafia in Russian organized crime during the lawless 1990s—from The Five Stages of Collapse, which is finally done being printed and will start shipping in another couple of weeks.

Yet another group that swelled the ranks of racketeers was the Chechen mafia. The Chechens’ success in forming criminal organizations had much to do with their tribal structure and practice. In Chechnya, land has always passed from the father to the eldest son, forcing other sons to leave home and become raiders. While they were at home, they had to pay absolute obedience to the tribal elders, but while away their freedom of action was absolute. When they brought home the loot, they were received as heroes and the most famous (or infamous) ones came to be celebrated in song and legend. Thus, in Chechen society, predation on their neighbors evolved into a high-status occupation. It was not seen as morally reprehensible on any level, because according to sharia law enrichment at the expense of the infidels is an honorable activity. The Chechens were never known for loving their neighbors, but the Russian conquest of the region under Alexander II was by far the most humiliating event in Chechen history and gave rise to an eternal and implacable hatred toward the Russians. These sentiments were only further deepened when Stalin exiled four hundred thousand Chechens to Kazakhstan after World War II, as punishment for their dalliance with Hitler. All of these factors made the appearance of a Chechen criminal class eager to heroically settle scores almost inevitable.

The Chechen mafia started preying on the kooperatívy during the perestroïka years, eventually becoming the largest and best-organized criminal organization in Moscow. They survived several rounds of violent conflict with local Slavic criminal groups, but most of their original members are now either dead or in jail. Nevertheless, over the course of the 1990s they not only ran Moscow’s largest racket but also ran illegal, underground banks and traded precious metals, oil and weapons. Eventually the Chechen mafia moved away from racketeering and diversified into hotels, banking, shell companies and money laundering. It now operates a large number of diversified trading companies in commodities such as oil, lumber, gold and rare earth minerals. On paper these companies feature Russian figureheads, making them difficult to spot. During Chechnya’s separatist rebellion, the vast sums they amassed were used to finance the separatist regime of Dzhokhar Dudayev.



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33 comments:

skinnermichael said...

The story in the first part of the blog shows how, what The Archdruid refers to as, The Myth of progress covers for so many imperialistic crimes. As a British man I dread to think how badly we would be treated if the victims of our former empire got their hand on us in the way the Chechens have done in Russia.

Kevin Frost said...

This post was a body blow, knocked me back a few steps. But this is very helpful, really. Steping back makes for distance; you get a broader view.

‘... the amazing people their wise government chose to befriend on their behalf to hurt their other friend, Russia, in it’s hour of need. After all, is there ever a better time to kick a friend than when he’s down?’

Reply: back in the early forties it was clear that the Nazis had to be fought - and were. The Russians fought the men (24/7) while the Americans and Brits (by day and by night) fought the women and children.

With friends like these ...

It’s all true, but still, there’s got to be a reason.

I used to read a lot of Arnold Toynbee who acknowledged his debts to Nikolay Danilevski - who was translated into German back in the twenties but not yet in English, figures. I came across a passage that went something like this: When Russians try to warm up to their European neighbours they get the cold shoulder. When they keep their distance and attend to their own cultural business this is taken as a threat. No win. But maybe it’s just as well. As the Slavists recognised the West is poisoned. I think so to. They were right, maybe right for questionable reasons, but still ..

For a long time I’ve tried to understand this toxic spirit. My main guide in all this has been Max Weber, in particular his Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. I read Weber’s theory as a Buddhist. Buddhist teachers heavily emphasis the importance of vows. When you make vows .. don’t break them because they’re powerful. I’m sure guys like Sergei would understand this. You don’t just calculate your marginal utilities, you make commitments and keep them regardless. That way you grow strong. If people can do this together ...

500 years ago everybody understood this. Taking an oath meant something, whether it was doing right by the brothers of the guild, a vassals loyalty to his lord, or the holy orders of the first estate, all the same. But along came Luther and within a few years the monasteries of Germany were emptied out as individuals came to ‘work out their salvation in the callings of life’. The spiritual force of vocational commitments takes a worldly and ultimately materialistic turn. Look at America. A nation of salesmen, believers, which is to say liars because to lie to the world you first have to lie to yourself if you want it to pay. And they do. Hence the bubble world, completely insulated from the rest of planet earth. There’s something here that goes beyond ordinary greed, cynicism, cruelty which might be encountered just about anywhere where corruption is the inevitable fate of past virtues. This something has a spiritual dimension and thus beyond the avaricious lies we encounter a chronic and increasingly acute insanity. It’s not just the ordinary materialism of force and fraud, or even the more sophisticated psychological materialism we find with the economists with their ‘incentives’ and ‘disincentives’ but something more, a spiritual materialism that has strongly shaped the course of modern Western history and finds its contemporary personification in this beast we call America. I believe that’s what Weber was trying to get at, the ‘exceptional’ trend found only in Western modernity: the ‘spirit’ of capitalism.

Thanks once more, Kevin Frost

Pleas Lucian Kavanaugh said...

Dmitry,

How do you foresee tribalism playing out in the soon-to-be former United States?

Beyond the often repeated, and nearly certain, "there will be blood" scenario, do you expect large-scale inter-tribal conflict on par with the gruesome account described here? Do you see a potential for genocide caliber violence between divergent tribes in the US?

My own take, having lived in various parts of the Union, is that each state is essentially comprised of its own customs and traditions and language (as anyone who's ever been to Appalachian Kentucky or the Gulf Coast can attest). In other words, despite the assertion of most standardized American history books, this is, in fact, several nations rather superficially bound together under the weight of a federal juggernaut…something like inmates in a chain gang. If so, what do you expect, in terms of violence, once the gloves come off?

I anticipate the book. Much appreciated.

Andy Brown said...

No offence to Dmitry, but anyone who wants to understand Chechnya should take what Russians say with a grain of salt (and what Chechens say with a grain and a half). The Chechens proved themselves ungovernable and the Russian state razed the place to the ground. There is no remotely tidy story of punishments deserved or justice served, whatever stories people want to tell.

Publius said...

@Kevin:
Nice quote: "A nation of salesmen, believers, which is to say liars because to lie to the world you first have to lie to yourself if you want it to pay. And they do. Hence the bubble world..."
So true. If you question this, you are considered to be "negative," or "unrealistic," or a "loser."
Certainly not a winner!
The only people who actively still resist this are odd groups, often religious, such as the Amish, Quakers, Menonites, Buddhists (the real ones, not the pop ones), some neo-hippie kids, etc.

Amy La Gato said...

Dmitry:

As I read this post I thought of the Boston Terrorists and their family, who took over $100k from the very people they would eventually bomb, DTA payments are for the time being how they "Bring home the loot" and take from the infidels. Of course once the welfare state collapses the old fashioned methods of "wealth redistribution" will make a come back.

I think of how wounded Chechen turned the city and inner suburbs into a locked down armed camp, and how publications like the Boston Globe portray them as just average Americans kids who for some reason went crazy.

As someone who was born and lived in Boston for thirty years, it is my belief that after the coming collapse a place like Massachusetts will be fodder for the likes of these Chechens. The people will again shelter in place, as the terrorists go from house to house and the disarmed sheeple of Eastern Massachusetts would fare about as well as the Russian farmer who had the guts draped over a fence.




Harry J. Lerwill said...

Interesting perspective, its uncomfortable to read the details of what we hide behind the label of "ethnic cleansing".

One of the concerns I have with collapse is sectarian troubles as Washington loses the ability to project force to this side of the continent.

onething said...

Different cultures apparently have differing ideas of honor. We had similar problems in the schools in Los Angeles, in which the Mexican kids would jump into a fight if their friend might lose, whereas for English culture, this would be a huge shame and dishonor. If a fight is not fair, where is the honor in that? In a challenge to a fight, if your friends jump in to defend you when you begin to lose, how are you not a faggot? How are you not all a bunch of faggots?

I share Kevin Frost's dismay at the behavior of my country. Not only that we have been greedy, rapacious and murderous, but also dishonorable. For example, we made some 500 treaties with the Indians that we had no intention of keeping. If you are a liar and not a man of your word, how can you have honor?

A person might superficially pretend to have some ethic, but it often turns out that they have not ascended to a level of internalizing a value for its own sake. Like the difference between not stealing because you might get caught or God will be mad at you, and truly valuing honesty as a thing in itself.

Now, if you challenge someone to a fight but you have no intention of allowing yourself to lose, then you have behaved dishonorably because you lied in your original challenge.

The problem with this type of tribal morality is that it has not ascended to the level of real humanhood. It is a shame and a real problem for the human race that certain religions, and I can think of at least two, codify tribal morality as coming from the ultimate authority, but yet at the same time have pretensions to be world class religions.

It matters not to me how great a warrior you are if your way of making a living requires predation against other human beings. Naturally you will come up with some silly justification.

Of course, our own empire is a great hypocrite, in that the above is exactly what we do in secret, no so much to survive as to live lavishly.

I do not think that the Russian men or boys aren't good fighters or able to fight when the situation warrants it. I don't know what to make of the scenes described, but I wouldn't be so quick to scorn an internalized ethic of fairness and honor that has reached a level of abstraction to an idea, applies to all human beings, and is not just limited and self serving.

kollapsnik said...

onething -

You are missing something. As H.L. Mencken put it, in America honor applies to members of Congress and the physical integrity of women. And in both cases it is quite a rarity these days. The words you use, "challenge someone to a fight," are misplaced in the scenes described, where the point is to thrash someone precisely because they have no honor. And if the thrashing doesn't go according to plan, then you need more thrashers. That is probably what's behind the actions of the Mexican kids. The idea of fairness doesn't even enter into it, as the action is taking place on occupied Mexican territory. Everybody wants the world to operate on their own terms, and it generally doesn't.

The Universe said...

@Amy La Gato

"I think of how wounded Chechen turned the city and inner suburbs into a locked down armed camp.."

It wasn't the Chechen kids that did that. The government did that in response to the Chechen kids.

Razer said...

No need to run the other side of this murderous story... The eXiled already has... "How to Spot A Chechen"

With a total population of 1.5 million, Vainakhs form one percent of Russia’s total population of 145 million, and so would seem a natural presence in the capital. Still, a lot of people think, “What the f**k are they doing here! Let them go back to their Chechnya and die under our bombs!”

Who is that average, one-in-a-hundred Vainakh lurking among you, and how can you spot him or her? I will help you answer that question. Because it’s important that you should be able to spot in a crowd the very species that’s survived a grinding 15-year war...

Andreas Walsh said...

RT had a short documentary about how pacified Chechnya is now. In one scene a young man tells us how anyone who is not Muslim is damned to hell. And in the next they showed him learning to shoot a machine gun with his father and grandfather at a firing range. This is "pacified?" No, these people are just biding their time.

kollapsnik said...

Andreas -

Have you seen the one where Russian clergy (priests, monks, etc.) go on maneuvers with the Russian army, learn to shoot a machine gun, throw hand grenades and launch rockets? Being unarmed and helpless is certainly "peaceful," but then so are cemeteries.

forrest said...

This warrior/bandit ethic has a very long history [think Beowulf, the various Norse sagas, etc etc], is a common cultural element among aristocracies, where 'a gentleman' is someone who will kill you for badmouthing him -- or as GB Shaw observed, someone who makes his living from warfare and looting or at least from the labor of people enslaved by one's ancestors and would be shamed at having to survive by trade or honest labor. It tends to get softened over time, as the offspring strive to convince themselves and others that there's some service -- protection -- they're providing their slaves to make the arrangement fair.

Although the upbringing of a warrior tends to involve brutalization and encouragement to be a thoroughgoing bastard, barely able to distinguish enemies from rivals or wives from captives, you do occasionally find chivalrous sentiments -- in Europe these seem to have come from certain heretics who got massacred in Southern France some years ago, leaving us with an inconsistent mixture of noble ideals and savage practice.

Islam is no more the problem than Christianity; people find distorted versions of any religion very useful for justifying unjustifiable behavior.

Respect for people who don't see things quite the same way? -- a difficult concept for any tribe, whether small & savage or large & cosmopolitan.

The USian attitude towards violence? -- very confused, partial, unconsciously hypocritical and torn between civilized rationality -- the reality of dead people to bury, injured to patch, repair, carry indefinitely on the gimp rolls -- and the nihilistic indignation high celebrated by our favorite movies.

onething said...

Well, you have a point Kollapsnik, but then you've also got the setup where younger sons have to live as raiders, and justify it by calling the other people infidels.

I'm really sympathetic to religion in general and think that most of our anti Islamic rhetoric is projection.

H.L. Mencken was not correct. Honor has always meant several different things, according to the context. The people of the British Isles, for example, are very keen on the rules of a fair fight.
Perhaps Mencken was saying that we did not really care about honor in matters of import but I am focusing on the personal.

I'm not terribly sympathetic to the argument that the southwest US belonged to Mexico. Mexico of the time was none other than Spain's attempt at colonialism. The US at one time had several European presences, notably France. It was all colonialism. The ancestors of the indigenous in Mexico did not live in the territory that is now the southwest US. If we were to do the right thing and give the land back, we should give it to the Navajo and Hopi and so on.

Robin Datta said...

Whether befriending,or otherwise dealing with them, prudence would suggest being adequately informed.

Incidentally, the word "adat" is common to Urdu as well, where it means "custom" or "habit".

Stanislav Datskovskiy said...

Dmitri,

I understand that the traditional wisdom for a "Chechnya scenario" is to stay out of range, but this is clearly not an option available to everyone. It certainly wasn't easily available to the unfortunate Russians described in this article.

IMHO, one of the most unfortunate aspects of the American situation is that the more civilized segment of the population appears to loathe all things military, and "polite society" types would feel less ashamed to be seen in a brothel than at target practice. Would you advise your readers to acquire a basic familiarity with small arms? Would you care to share some of your personal experience in this matter? What kind of arms, if any, are permitted aboard a U.S. boat, for example?

k-dog said...

Geography lesson, got it.

'Americans tend to be rather bad at geography'.

So the Czech Republic is not Chechnya and while minority Poles of the Czech repuplic may not like Czechization that would be something altogether different from Chechenization. The capitals of the two republics Prague and Grozny being 1542 miles apart. Czechs are not Checnians and Russians are not Checnians either since Moscow is 932 miles from Grozny. And for anybody interested, Boston is 5346 miles from Grozny.

Capo Regime said...

Oneness,

One is hard pressed to find examples of American honor currently or historically. Vietnam? Drone Strikes? Hiroshima? Gitmo? As for whether one is sympathetic or not to a historical events it does not matter. What matters is that history as far as mexico u.S does not agree with your perspective nor do millions of Mexicans. Ulyses S. Grant was there and he called the U.S. Mexican war for the sham that it was. Mexico was independent from Spain from 1836 and lo had border treaties w the U.S. and the Texans at the Alamo had sworn allegiance to Mexico and were Mexican citizens--that's honor for you....

DeVaul said...

Having grown up in Louisiana, I can relate to a lot of what this Russian experienced in school. The schools there were run like military camps, and fights between bullies and victims were a daily occurrance. Because I fought back, I was targeted a lot. The difference being that I got no respect for fighting back, except from my grandfather.

The part of this article that just sends shivers down my spine is the idea that people would lay in bed at night and listen to others scream for help and do nothing. I now live in Kentucky, and I assure you that the first scream from a woman would bring every man and his gun out into the streets (even the fat ones) in hopes of nailing the rapist. It would be more exciting than an elk hunt. There would be no hesitation. Some would be shot in the back for just getting in the way.

I personally could not lie in bed and do nothing. Even if it meant certain death, I would kill as many as I could before I went down. To do nothing is shameful and teaches your own children nothing about how to live.

Perhaps I could understand it more if the Russians were outnumbered or in concentration camps, but that does not appear to be the case. I never viewed Russians as "non-violent", so this article is really eye-opening. Did they have no access to firearms? Even then you can make steel weapons easily from scrap metal.

Based on what this man recorded, the typical Russian would view me and my neighbors as "Chechens".

I really am surprised.

Howard Skillington said...

With due respect for the undoubted ferocity of the Chechens, most parts of this country will have an ample supply of home-grown savages to contend with as the immediate problem – brutes with guns who will be disinclined to starve, and will find that taking food at gunpoint requires less effort than growing it themselves.

Regarding the Boston police chief’s request for drones for the next marathon and the city’s newfound enthusiasm for martial law, it’s important for us to understand that Homeland Security is not gearing up to protect our homes and families; its explicit mission will be to protect the One Per Cent.

Think about it: the raison d'être of the Imperial Guard is always to protect the government and its plutocratic patrons from the public. When things really get interesting the elite “security” troops will implement well-rehearsed procedures to shield officials and executives from accountability to the rest of us.

To be sure, the precincts of wealth and power are likely to be heavily guarded – at least at first, but my guess is that beyond the financial districts of major cities security forces will soon find that they are getting their butts kicked by local warlords who always have the advantages of the guerilla: knowledge of the terrain, local alliances, and fervor to defend one’s turf that always trumps mere “duty.”

Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon aren’t dummies. They know full well that, after the most resentful and determined victims among the ninety nine per cent overwhelm Homeland Security forces, only their own elite private security guards will stand between their heads and well-deserved pikes.

For my part, I know who I’ll be rooting for.

Capo Regime said...

DO,

Recently read Vassily Grossmans "Life and Fate and "Life Flows". Very instructive on how the world works--not just the soviet era. As a Spaniard born in 1960 lived through Franco, Monarchy and the present state (though I spend a lot of time in U.S. and Mexico) both your work and Grossmans resonates with experience and reality in ways not comprehenisible to simplistic U.S. thinking.

Unknown said...

About mexicans and fights at schools, my experience living in México is diferent, fights are tipically one on one. Sometimes a friend may fight in place of other if the fight seems unfair due to size diference. Friends from both sides may separate the fighters if one is obviously ´´wining´´ and hurting the other to much.
Then again, second generation mexicans in the US are considered and self conside themselves to be chicanos and they have a somewhat diferent culture of wich I don´t know much.

nosuchthingasshould said...

This post will veer widely off topic before I get anywhere near it, and will be long, so I leave to Dmitry the decision what to do with it. It's just that I don’t really have anyone else to share this with, and it's been building up for a while. So here goes, my accumulated thought-diarrhoea:

First, may I suggest that perhaps we have missed the Former-US point? Let me remind you, many, many posts ago it was Dmitri I think who compared Obama to Gorbatchev, and it occurred to me back then to ask, in that case who will be Yeltsin? The answer to this came in the form of another question: which part of the USA corresponds to Russia in the Soviet Union. The prevailing opinion tended to be Texas. Now let's recap the last few years. You have an administration which after the big push for the Obamacare(in itself a filthy corrupt compromise of what their supporters expected) was unable to get anything else done. Obama was a lame duck for quite a while already, even as he was getting re-elected, and he continues to be.

The 'soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan' point has also been reached, even before Obama's election, and we seemed to have missed it, because it wasn’t a withdrawal from Afghanistan. It was when Cheney/Bush administration decided to withdraw from Iraq,(carried out by O) With the Iraqi parliament giving them the farewell boot by first refusing to hand over all the oil (remember they wouldn’t pass the law) and then demanding to try American personnel in Iraqi courts (that bit happened under Obama I think, not that it matters). So, with the bank broken, the pentagon and even the UK bitches in mutiny, refusing to BomBombiran, the oil barons of Texas had to hand over power to the wall street banksters.

The side effect of this withdrawal, by the way, is the current proxy war between the Sunni monarchs and Iran (the dictators, descended from the era of pan-Arabic nationalist-socialist military coups, were dealt with first, and their countries now provide the venue). This btw is more important than any manoeuvring around gold, to the position of dollar and therefore continuation of the US govt. As having own functioning military tended to end in a coup, monarchies in the region rely on constellations of mutually checking and balancing, family run paramilitaries, useless in conventional war. They were reliant on US military power for protection of their own interests. In exchange, even after 1970 US-peak and the power reversal within the US-Saudi relationship, dollar continued to be backed with Sunni oil and enjoy its reserve currency status.
In Iraq, this strategy ended with Iran being able to expand its zone of influence right up to the Saudi border, using little but several truckloads of explosives and a few suitcases of cash. US navy still holds the gulf, and is at hand to provide air support in the proxy wars, but their military position in the area and therefore the dollar's global standing is precarious, as the locals decided to resort to own means in sorting out their own affairs.

Stanislav Datskovskiy said...

Howard,

Blankfein & co. have very little to worry about. At the first sign of trouble, they will be an ocean away from the sea of chaos they helped to create. The purpose of the police state is rather different: to maintain the economic pyramid which keeps these fellows amply supplied with mansions, jets, whores, cocaine, etc. for as long as this remains physically possible.

Andreas Walsh said...

@kolapsnik - I did see one Russian documentary about an Orthodox monk who was a chaplain with the Army in Chechnya. Curiously, this is analogous to what happened many times in China, where Chinese Muslims periodically went on a rampage in the North and Northwest and Buddhist monks took up kung-fu style studies to defend their people and temples. And a Chinese Muslim family named the Ma (short for Mohammed) was very big at making trouble in the Warlord period after the fall of the Qing dynasty.

John Graham said...

Dmitry, this post and your comments on childish trust remind me of something Susan Sontag wrote, to the effect that beyond a certain age, people should lose the right to be naive about what people are capable of doing to each other.

onething said...

Capo,

I'm certainly not disagreeing about the dishonorable actions of the US (perhaps you missed my previous post)and I don't particularly think either of us has a right to the territories in question. What I'm saying is that there was a huge land grab from Europe to everywhere else. At one point, England laid claim to 25% of the world's land mass! In all that fray, I don't particularly think that because Spain went to certain areas and annihilated the locals and laid claim to the land and so on, and ten years after Mexican independence the US decided that our country would look neater if we stretched it across to the Pacific, that there is any real deserving side.

Just because you can get some people to feel resentment over it doesn't mean they have a moral case.
So, I stand by my statement, that the original inhabitants are the only ones with a real claim, and that two thugs fought it out, and one thug won - big deal.

As for the Texans, I believe they did not want to be with Mexico, although I'd let them go...

John Graham said...

Here's that quote:



Someone who is perennially surprised that depravity exits, who continues to feel disillusioned (even incredulous) when confronted with evidence of what humans are capable of inflicting in the way of gruesome, hands-on cruelties upon other humans, has not reached moral or psychological adulthood.

No one after a certain age has the right to this kind of innocence, of superficiality, to this degree of ignorance, or amnesia.

— Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (2003)

via http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/regarding%20the%20pain%20of%20others

Amiri said...

Hello Dmitry,

At some point will you be able to offer your books in audio form? I use audible.com and it would be great to have access to your books through this site.

clive mossmoon said...

Perhaps something this is why the Russian people survived a collapse, and why (we) Americans probably don't have a chance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TzBInt4zljQ

rapier said...

The scale of violence among Russians, between Russia and it's former republics and then too among those people themselves suggests to me an a minimum that for all its flaws the US is a much better place than we alt economic critics give it credit for. For instance say what you will about the injustice and violence of the post Civil War racial history but compared to the 20 or is it 30 million killed during Stalin's tenure and it all fades into insignificance.

Capo Regime said...

Rapier,

Who knows if the U.S. is better. Maybe luckier for now. As far as better place tell that to the Native Americans, the vietnamese, iraqi kids, etc. Give the U.S. a chance! History ain't over yet! The lesser of two evils is well still evil. The candadians and swedes and urugauyans now those are nice nations...