Archive for December, 2022

The Last Crusade, Part II


We are, most of us unwittingly, bearing witness to a momentous development: the end of the thousand-year Drang nach Osten—the relentless eastward march of the reanimated corpse of the Western Roman Empire, with the Pope as its symbolic head and Vatican as its symbolic capital—known as the Crusades. Of these, the Southern Crusades are far better known in the West, while the Northern Crusades, launched in 1147, are far less widely known. But they were kept going the longest—until February 22, 2022—because, unlike China, India and just about every other non-Western country, Russia has never surrendered to anyone.

The gauntlet was thrown down in 1252, when Alexander Nevsky accepted an official document, called yarlyk, from Khan Batyj of the Golden Horde (part of the Mongolian Empire), allowing him to reign as the Grand Prince of Kiev (and thus the ruler of all of Russia), rather than ask for a blessing from the Pope in Rome, as was required of all Western kings. To these Western potentates, their claim to be ordained by God was based on approval by His head office at the Vatican; to the Russians, the Pope was just some heretic usurper. The religious distinction played itself out over time, but the notion that there is an exclusive club of Western nations who deserve to wield authority over the rest of the world has remained to this day.

There followed a series of onslaughts on Russia spanning many centuries, all stemming from the same simple principle: that which the West cannot control must be destroyed. The Germans and the Swedes kept on attacking it until 1709. Then the French attacked again in 1812; and then the Germans in 1941. The Americans were poised to attack in March of 2022, via their Ukrainian/NATO proxies, but were preempted by Russia’s Special Military Operation. Thus, the last Crusade has been aborted and further attempts seem unlikely, since, at this point, there is no question of destroying that which the West cannot control, and not just Russia but also much of the rest of the world. Even tiny North Korea can stand up to the collective West and wag a finger in its face. The thousand-year show is nearly over.

Over the previous centuries, every time after Russia expelled yet another crusader, some other Western nations would take the lead and attempt to march on Moscow: it was the Germans (as the Teutonic Knights, then the Swedes, the Poles, then some more Swedes, then the French under Napoleon, then the Germans under Hitler, and now the Americans (disguised as some hapless, clueless Ukrainians) under Biden. (Yes, the last act of this drama is most definitely a farce.) But who could possibly rise up as the next crusader du Jour? Nobody! There isn’t anyone left in the West to continue the project.


The Last Crusade, Part I


There is a marked divergence of opinion on ways to characterize the military action currently unfolding in what remains of the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic: is it a Russian special military operation to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukraine, or is it an unprovoked Russian invasion leading up to World War III, a nuclear exchange and the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAKI for short)? Perhaps it’s a little of each; or perhaps it’s none of the above…

And is Russia winning or is the Ukraine losing? On the one hand, Russia just officially expanded its sovereign territory by a hundred thousand square kilometers and a few million citizens and has launched on a massive building spree, fixing up its new territories, which are a bit run down after decades of late Soviet and post-Soviet neglect followed by nine years of Ukrainian shelling. That would indicate that Russia is winning.

On the other hand, the US just promised to give the Ukrainians some Patriot air defense batteries (or not; details vary). Are these the same Patriot batteries that failed so embarrassingly over Saudi Arabia when they couldn’t shoot down ancient Soviet SCUD missiles fired by the Yemenis? And are these the same Patriot batteries whose operators, in Poland, recently failed to see incoming Ukrainian missiles (which were also of venerable Soviet vintage) and only learned of them later from news reports? Never mind that! They cost $1 billion per launcher and $3 million per rocket, so they must be good for Raytheon, and what’s good for Raytheon is good for America, or something like that. So what if they don’t stand a chance against any of the Russian state-of-the-art weapons? Don’t be negative!


The Goldilocks War


[Войната на Златокоска]

[La Guerre de Boucles d’Or]

Are you happy with the way the war in the former Ukraine is going? Most people aren’t—for one reason or another. Some people hate the fact that there is a war there at all, while others love it but hate the fact that it hasn’t been won yet, by one side or the other. Bounteous quantities of both of these kinds of haters are found on both sides of the new Iron Curtain that is hastily being built across Eurasia between the collective West and the collective East. This seems reasonable; after all, hating war is standard procedure for most people (war is hell, don’t you know!) and by extension a small war is better than a big one and a short war is better than a long one. And also such reasoning is banal, trite, platitudinous, vapid, predictable, unimaginative and… bromidic (according to the English Thesaurus).