Squelching the Noise about the Ukraine

2022-09-21

There are more interesting things for me to write about than this, and I am working on it, but in the meantime here is a quick note on happenings in the Ukraine that will most likely contradict what people can glean by listening to Western mass media sources. Not only that, but some useful idiots right inside Russia have started to hyperventilate as soon as Russian troops pulled back from the Kharkov region, claiming that “This is now a war!” They should go off and read Resolution 3314 of the UN General Assembly from 14 December 1974. That should temper their enthusiasm for declaring wars. It’s a Special Operation; if you call it anything else, you are not only mistaken but committing a crime under Article 207.3 of Russian Criminal Code.

I’ll just list some facts about the conflict and leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.

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Of Cats in a Dark and Cluttered Room

2022-09-12

I’ve been getting requests to comment on the recent Ukrainian counterattacks, with some people musing that perhaps “the tide has turned.” There have been two counterattacks, one in the Kherson region in the south, which was repelled, with the Ukrainian forces suffering casualties in the thousands, filling every hospital and morgue in the region and requiring emergency blood drives. That little caper cost the Ukrainian side around 100 tanks and other vehicles, 4000 dead and 8000 wounded. Rest assured, some people are quite happy with this turn of events—especially those who profit by cutting livers, lungs and kidneys out of the corpses and shipping them off to clinics in Israel and points beyond for transplantation (given the large number of casualties, this has turned into quite an industry at this point, along with money laundering and weapons smuggling). In another attack, supposedly much more successful, the Ukrainian side recaptured areas around Izyum and Balakleya, with equally impressive losses.

Since this is the only instance of Ukrainians actually gaining ground since the start of the operation, some people instantly started to hyperventilate and claim that now the Russians will surely be routed from Crimea. I will do no such thing and instead explain why Russia, having committed perhaps as much as 16% of its professional soldiers (no draftees or reservists but increasing numbers of volunteers), is actually succeeding in its mission to demilitarize and denazify the Ukraine, provide for the security of the Donbass region and, beyond that, to shift its relationship with the West (if any) to a more equitable basis. Everything is going according to plan, and although we don’t know the details of that plan ahead of time (it is normally a state secret) we can discern some of its details as it unfolds.

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The Case for a New American Civil War

2022-09-06

Will the USA hold together through 2024? Earlier this year Covid-related complications took the life of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the bombastic perennial leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party. He was known not just for his inimitable oratory but also for the uncanny accuracy of his predictions. For example, he predicted the start of Russia’s Special Military Operation in the Ukraine almost to the day—months before the fact and at a time when nobody else had much of a clue as to what would happen. Another prediction of his reads as follows: “There won’t be a US presidential election in 2026 because there will no longer be a United States.” Will he turn out to be prescient on this count too? Let’s watch!

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What is a “Gorby”?

2022-09-02

Of the dead, the saying goes, speak well or say nothing at all; and while I’d be happy to commit “Gorby” to instant oblivion, my readers have asked for an opinion, so I will oblige with a brief obituary. There may be some residual value to be extracted from the tired old “Gorby” meme. As I will argue here, he is not so much a person as a handy unit of organizational dysfunction within a collapsing empire.

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Ukrainian terrorists assassinate daughter of Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin

2022-08-22

On Saturday, August 20, 2022, in Odintsov neighborhood of Bolshaya Vyaz’ma, near Moscow, a car bomb planted under the driver’s seat took away the life of journalist Darya Dugina, 29, daughter of Russian philosopher and politologist Alexander Dugin. The bomb was planted by Ukrainian citizen Natalya Vovk, born in 1979, who had arrived in Russia on July 23 together with her daugher Sofia Shaban. They had rented an apartment in the building where Dugina lived and followed her around in a Mini Cooper under three different license plates: from Donetsk, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine. The day of the terrorist attack Vovk and her daughter were present at the festival “Tradition” attended by Alexander Dugin and his daughter. After triggering the explosive device, the two fled via Pskov to Estonia. Alexander Dugin was following Darya in another car and witnessed the explosion. He is now in a hospital, being treated for psychological trauma. He and his daughter were very close and worked closely together on various projects.

Although Western media hacks rushed to call Dugin “Putin’s advisor” or “Russian nationalist” or any number of other nonsense epithets, that’s just the usual Western media nonsense. Dugin is a philosopher and, being rather controversial, is not in any sense close to the Kremlin. He has produced a very impressive body of work and it may be a bad idea to summarize it in just a few sentences, but I’ll try.

The specifics of the Russian state have to do with the vast Eurasian landscape and are independent of ethnology, religion, economics or ideology and require for its preservation a single strong leader whose power rests on the approval of a vast, conservative, locally self-governing, patriotic majority. When Russia had such leadership, especially under Prince Vladimir [~915-1015], Ivan IV the Terrible [1530-1584], Peter I the Great [1672-1725], Joseph Stalin and now under Vladimir Putin, its realm expanded rapidly. Even under not so great leaders, it grew steadily because its model of governance, with an authoritative center safeguarding the interests of far-flung communities large and small regardless of ethnicity, language or religion, gradually gained adherents among neighboring populations based on the principle of self-evident ethnic complementarity. The two counterexamples of massive incompetence are Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, who brought Russia to the brink of economic collapse and political dissolution. Following the passing of America’s unipolar moment a decade or so ago, Russia has been steadily expanding its reach and stands an excellent chance of joining other great nations of Eurasia in forming a Eurasian center of power that will cast off the burden of external control and exploitation by Western nations. Dugin sees Moscow as the Third Rome and the inheritor of both the Eastern Roman Empire and the Mongol Empire. He is a Russian patriot but calling him a nationalist is pure nonsense since Russia is not a nation but a federation of many nations.

As seems usual with the Ukrainians, the heinous act of assassinating Dugin’s daughter was for them a potently self-destructive act. Before this event, Dugin labored in relative obscurity and his ideas were widely known in rather narrow circles and considered controversial. But now his name is everywhere and tens of millions of people are looking him up and studying his work. His daughter’s martyrdom has elevated her, and him, to the status of national heroes and how their names, and his work, will live on forever.

The Ukrainians could hardly have done more to advance the cause of Eurasian sovereignty and to hasten the demise of their still-born, foreign-controlled fake mono-ethnic nationalist clan. Assassinating the daughter of a philosopher is an act of Ukrainian national humiliation and its leaders, who ordered the hit, will now wallow in perpetual ignominy and shame.

How to Oppose Unhealthy Narratives

2022-08-18

One of the mainstay techniques of contemporary psychological warfare is through the enforced use of narratives. A narrative sets out a set of definitions which then serve as reality-filters: any step off the narrow path these definitions provide is regarded as automatically offensive and requiring disciplinary action, while disputing the accuracy of these definitions is as pointless as disputing geometric axioms. Some narratives amount to hate speech and as such can be opposed through legal means as extremist, for promoting social division and strife. Others are based on a sort of false moralizing, appealing to our better natures and berating and seeking to punish those who refuse to go along with the program.

Such narratives are difficult to oppose because those who try to oppose them often make one and the same fatal mistake: they attempt to fight the narrative within its confines and its definitions. But the moment you accept the terminology of the narrative you become its prisoner. From that point on any struggle to free yourself from it becomes futile. The correct approach is to deprive the narrative of all of its validity by refusing to accept its key terms. Let us work through a few examples.

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Absolutely Horrible Things

2022-08-18

This is about the worst possible time to be a Ukrainian Nazi. I hate to have to bring them up again and again. Luckily, I won’t have to keep doing so for much longer: they are going extinct rather rapidly. But while they are doing so, truly horrible things are going on. To recap, the purpose of Russia’s Special Military Operation in the Ukraine, is demilitarization and denazification of the Ukraine… and providing security to Donetsk and Lugansk regions… and Kherson region, and Zaporozhye, and Kharkov, and Nikolaev… and Odessa… and then holding referenda in any and all of the above on them joining the Russian Federation. Call it mission creep. But it’s the right kind of mission creep from the Russian perspective: Russia’s borders are creeping in the right direction and encompassing more and more of the historically Russian lands. These were part of the Wild Field first settled by Russians under Catherine the Great, putting an end to foreign incursions by Poles and Turks and raids by nomadic tribesmen.

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House Renovation Made Complicated

2022-08-18

It is late summer here in the Russian countryside. The nights are getting a bit chilly but the days are pleasantly warm. Bikini-clad women stroll around in the gardens bending down to the garden beds to pick newly ripened cucumbers and other fresh produce. Apples are ripening, berries are ready for the picking and the potato fields out back are full of delicious fresh spuds. Further west people may be courting disaster in any number of ways, but I am taking a break from writing about any of that (though observing it all from a safe distance with a great deal of concern). Instead, I am busying myself with setting up a country estate of sorts in the sunny and hospitable Republic of Karelia, in its southernmost section, located between Lake Ladoga (Europe’s largest lake) and the Finnish border.

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Summer Boating

2022-08-05

No matter what is happening in the wide world of mice and men, if summer weather is nice enough, it is time to go boating. Previously, I have sailed the wine-dark seas of the Eastern Seaboard of the US and the rivers and the canals of the Intracoastal Waterway in several seaworthy craft. But now I find myself next to a rather small river. It is shallow, strewn with rocks and boulders left over from previous ice ages, overgrown with pond scum and water lilies and with patches of white water alternating with smooth, with large shallow sections alternating with deep, wide sections. In some places the current is too swift for any rowboat to match; in others is it so sluggish as to be barely perceptible. And so I built a boat for just such a river.

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Introducing: Moscow World Standard

2022-07-29

…Russia proposes to create a market for gold, platinum, etc., which will be regulated by countries that control the resources for these metals. This would be, simply put, a revolution. On the basis of this new market, it intends to further the system of bilateral trade in national currencies that specifically excludes dollars, euros and pounds…

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