Saturday, February 28, 2009

Russia and its sworn enemies

Michael Kuznetsov posted the following:

Just a few words in addition.

I think Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's opinion about the USA to be worth at least listening to.

Although, I believe it would be a great mistake to take all the Iranian president's words as the sole truth about your country, because he is known as a mortal enemy of America.

Similarly, as it seems to me, it would be a serious blunter to receive as the ultimate truth all the innumerable dirty insinuations and vile slander that have been spread upon my country by Russia's sworn foes.

After all, what if they are to be proved wrong in the long run?
What do you think?


Lawrence responds:


I would need you to be more specific about Ahmadinejad’s “opinion.” He has said a lot of things about America, and I have said a lot of things about him. Here are some things I posted on this blog: , , , ,

In regard to the Ukraine, I accept that they are Russia’s sworn enemy, but why is that the case? I am thinking now about Huntington’s thesis, about the various nations composing a given “civilization” hanging together and agreeing more closely than any given member of that civilization could bond with a nation not of that civilization. So it puzzles me (in that I haven’t quite rejected Huntington’s thesis) to see the Ukraine and Georgia, both “Orthodox” nations, feeling so much animosity toward Russia. And beyond that their wish to join the EU and NATO. Russia, the Ukraine, and Georgia worked closely together through all the years of the USSR. Why aren’t they on better terms?

The same sort of question could be leveled at the United States, but at a much lower level of intensity. The U.S. is the “Core” state of the “Western Civilization” just as Russia is the core state of the “Orthodox Civilization.” Our Western Civilization has not run smoothly over the years, but only in the period since the Second World war can the U.S. be considered the effective “Core State.” Yes I know that we probably should have been from the time of Wilson on, but we weren’t. Now that we are, we get a lot of criticism from some of the other members of our “Civilization.” But I wouldn’t call any of this criticism remotely as virulent as that being leveled at Russia by the Ukraine and Georgia.

Yes I know what the differences are. After World War II, the complaints leveled against the U.S. were along the lines of telling us we should have helped our European compatriots sooner and more whole-heartedly. Stalin too wanted us to help, to start another front to take some of the pressure off of the Eastern Front. We did this. Not as quickly as everyone would like, but we did it. And then after WWII was over we sort of felt we needed to be our Civilization’s policeman from time to time, but we never satisfied everyone. We helped in the Balkans far too late. And we helped in Iraq far too early.

It was at least to some extent because of the influence of the other members of our “Civilization” that we elected Barack Obama. He suited those members much better than John McCain would have. Obama is going to “talk talk talk rather than war war war” to borrow an expression from Winston Churchill. Whether this talk will have any effect on Ahmadinejad remains to be seen.

No comments: