Let's Talk Russia

Jim_Lahey's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,321

I got bored supervising the park today and tuned into the US House Intelligence Committee hearings. After several glasses of Canadian Club and chocolate liqueur, I took to the internet and found myself balls deep in Russian geopolitical philosophy.

A book called Foundations of Geopolitics piqued my interest. Published in 1997 by Aleksandr Dugin (Putin's version of Steve Bannon ), Foundations outlines plans for the construction of a Eurasian-centric new world order, with Russia's use of destabilization and the fostering of global multipolarity as its methods of doing so. The book has evidently been popular among Russia's military elite for quite some time, and the parallels between Russia's actions under Putin and the policy goals it outlined in 1997 are chilling (a few examples - Russian incursions in Georgia/Ukraine, interference in US elections, arms deals with Iran/Serbia, providing assistance to Assad in Syria, Brexit, desired breakup of NATO).

For those of you also curious about the philosophy that underpins the actions of Putin's Russia, get started with the below links.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundations_of_Geopo... http://www.4pt.su/en/content/aleksandr-dugin%E2%80...
https://www.reddit.com/r/geopolitics/comments/5hlg...
These are interesting as well:
https://www.amazon.com/Man-Without-Face-Unlikely-V... https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-True-Everything-Pos...

Good day, shitworms.

Comments (100)

Mar 30, 2017

Looks like I need to get drunk and do some foreign policy reading myself.

I'm mostly concerned about the mid-term dismantling of the EU. Populism is obviously on the rise, and even if populist extremist parties don't win elections, their increased representation in national parliaments and among voters will inevitably put pressure on major parties to accept more ideologically radical agendas. Poland and Hungary seem to be harbingers of this, with Brexit being the immediate case. Maybe the Scottish referendum and subsequent vote to stay in the EU can be used as a rallying call for continued EU support, but we'll have to see how the French election rolls out.

A fractured EU like Dugin suggests would greatly aid Russia, but they'd also have to make sure the EU doesn't make greater headway into alternative energy sources that would limit their dependence on Russian gas.

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Mar 31, 2017

Russia was arming the current regime because the US was arming a coup in almost all cases to cause problems on Russia's doorstep, think back to when we gave billions to Osama Bin Laden in the 80's then suddenly a couple of years later we're hunting him. There is Yemen, and Sudan and on and on.

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Mar 31, 2017

I've tried--I've really tried--to be open-minded to Russia. I've tried to open my mind to the idea that Russia simply has a different culture than the Western world, that we don't understand Russians because we're isolated from them. The reality that I can't escape is, Russia is an evil country (or at the very least the Russian people tolerate very public corruption and the backing of horrible regimes)--I simply cannot find any other explanation to a nation that, for 100 years and beyond, has backed nearly every single bad actor on Earth, that has sought "Russian nationalism" to the literal poverty of its own people. From backing the Palestinians, the Iranian Ayatollahs, Assad's Syria(!), North Korea(!) and Chavez/Maduro's Venezuela today to having dozens of billionaires while the GDP of the country is under $15,000 per capita.

For me the last straw was the other day when I was reading about Venezuela. Venezuela's now-formalized dictatorship is being propped up by Russia (and China), and Maduro will be seeking further Russian (and Chinese) investment to prop up his regime. It's as if Russia's leadership (and China's) has no conscience--they are pure mercantalists who will back genocidal maniacs and absolute tyrannies that starve people if it will make the Russian (or Chinese) government some money.

Don't mistake what I'm saying--all super powers (the U.S. is no exception) have foreign policy blindspots and do questionable or even bad things sometimes, and the U.S. has a long history of backing corrupt or evil regimes (although this was usually during the Cold War when fighting proxy wars against the Soviet Union), but I can't think of a single Russian policy that is redeemable, at home or abroad, and I struggle to think of one in the last century. I think Russia is just a morally irredeemable country.

Mar 31, 2017

And our current president is playing right into their hands by demonizing NATO, the EU, and continually denying the reality that they meddled with our democratic process. Then the sheeples believe him (lol something like 74% of Republicans believe it is at least somewhat likely that trump tower got wiretapped according to a recent NBC poll smh).

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Mar 31, 2017
BobTheBaker:

And our current president is playing right into their hands by demonizing NATO, the EU, and continually denying the reality that they meddled with our democratic process. Then the sheeples believe him (lol something like 74% of Republicans believe it is at least somewhat likely that trump tower got wiretapped according to a recent NBC poll smh).

I think the European Union should be demonized, but not for reasons related to Russia. The EU bureaucrats just the other day scoffed at the idea that EU citizens should be upset about their own governments losing sovereignty over their own policies. The bureaucrats of the EU live in their own fantasy where they believe a central dictatorship of unaccountable bureaucrats is sustainable.

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Mar 31, 2017

Love how you keep pimping this bullshit lie that Russia had anything to do with Hillary losing.

NATO should be disbanded. It has no purpose.

Apr 1, 2017

BobTheBaker "And our current president is playing right into their hands by demonizing NATO, the EU, and continually denying the reality that they meddled with our democratic process."

Hey Liberal-

Asking members of NATO to spend the agreed upon $$ or % of GDP to their military is not demonizing. It's simply asking members to hold up their end of the agreement.

Trump reminding our NATO partners to ante up in defense spending has NOTHING to do with RUSSSIA or PUTIN and has everything to do with the fact the US has lost financial flexibility (accelerating DEBT to GDP) over the last nine years and CAN NOT continue be footing the bill especially when FILL IN THE BLANK EU NATION lights tax payer money on fire by inefficiently allocating funds to social programs.

If you want to talk about demonize... Why dont you question the worlds worst investor, president Obama who doubled our debt and generated less than one % growth in GDP from it. Ask him WHY he demonized our ability to make our own decisions.

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Apr 2, 2017
BobTheBaker:

And our current president is playing right into their hands by demonizing NATO, the EU, and continually denying the reality that they meddled with our democratic process.

Hey Liberal-

Asking members of NATO to spend the agreed upon $$ or % of GDP to their military is not demonizing. It's simply asking members to hold up their end of the agreement.

Trump reminding our NATO partners to ante up in defense spending has NOTHING to do with RUSSSIA or PUTIN and has everything to do with the fact the US has lost financial flexibility (accelerating DEBT to GDP) over the last nine years and CAN NOT continue to be footing the bill especially when FILL IN THE BLANK EU NATION lights tax payer money on fire by inefficiently allocating funds to social programs.

If you want to talk about demonize... Why don't you question the worlds worst investor, president Obama who doubled our debt and generated less than one % growth in GDP from it. Ask him WHY he demonized our ability to make our own decisions.

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Mar 31, 2017

I seem to remember the USA supporting Saddam when he was fighting Iran. And at the same time we supported Iran. Hmmm.

Or how we supported the Taliban against the USSR. Or how we propped up any number of South America dictators.

All of it is realpolitik. Russia and China have to deal with shit countries because we have all the top tier totalitarian countries locked up all ready.

Mar 31, 2017
TNA:

I seem to remember the USA supporting Saddam when he was fighting Iran. And at the same time we supported Iran. Hmmm.

Or how we supported the Taliban against the USSR. Or how we propped up any number of South America dictators.

All of it is realpolitik. Russia and China have to deal with shit countries because we have all the top tier totalitarian countries locked up all ready.

In each instance there was a larger reason--where someone determined that backing [regime] was the lesser of two evils. Neither Russia nor China has any pressing need to invest into the Maduro dictatorship. They do it because there is an opportunity to make money.

Mar 31, 2017
Virginia Tech 4ever:

I've tried--I've really tried--to be open-minded to Russia. I've tried to open my mind to the idea that Russia simply has a different culture than the Western world, that we don't understand Russians because we're isolated from them. The reality that I can't escape is, Russia is an evil country (or at the very least the Russian people tolerate very public corruption and the backing of horrible regimes)--I simply cannot find any other explanation to a nation that, for 100 years and beyond, has backed nearly every single bad actor on Earth, that has sought "Russian nationalism" to the literal poverty of its own people. From backing the Palestinians, the Iranian Ayatollahs, Assad's Syria(!), North Korea(!) and Chavez/Maduro's Venezuela today to having dozens of billionaires while the GDP of the country is under $15,000 per capita.

For me the last straw was the other day when I was reading about Venezuela. Venezuela's now-formalized dictatorship is being propped up by Russia (and China), and Maduro will be seeking further Russian (and Chinese) investment to prop up his regime. It's as if Russia's leadership (and China's) has no conscience--they are pure mercantalists who will back genocidal maniacs and absolute tyrannies that starve people if it will make the Russian (or Chinese) government some money.

Don't mistake what I'm saying--all super powers (the U.S. is no exception) have foreign policy blindspots and do questionable or even bad things sometimes, and the U.S. has a long history of backing corrupt or evil regimes (although this was usually during the Cold War when fighting proxy wars against the Soviet Union), but I can't think of a single Russian policy that is redeemable, at home or abroad, and I struggle to think of one in the last century. I think Russia is just a morally irredeemable country.

Russia is very keen on recreating its lost "empire" of yore, in order to follow Tsar Peter's manifesto to the T. China could play an important buffer against Russian expansion in Asia, but instead the West sought to demonize Chinese governance. True, China may be expansionist as Russia, but to counter them, we ought to play them against each other, instead of letting ourselves get befooled by these masters of subterfuge. Russia is, in essence, the modern equivalent of a Fascist regime. China is at least closer to the Western axis both economically and socially - but Russia has always stuck to its Tsarist dreams, thus suffering their economy and their populace.

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Mar 31, 2017

This is largely true from what I see historically. I lived in Russia for some time, and on the whole Russians themselves aren't evil. They're very hospitable and have a great historic culture and appreciation for the arts, but at the same time a lot of people are kept in the dark. In Russia information is everything, and it's the strong who rule

Mar 31, 2017
BubbaBanker:

This is largely true from what I see historically. I lived in Russia for some time, and on the whole Russians themselves aren't evil.

My best friend in high school was a Russian national and from him I met a lot of Russians. And I'm with you--in my experience, they are just normal people individually and not "evil." I think my point is that there is some sort of..."national moral blindness" similar to what Germany experienced for a little over a decade in the 1930s/40s; however, Russia's national moral blindness has seemed to persist for so long (100 years at least) that I can only conclude that Russia, as a national culture, is irredeemable (although individuals are always redeemable).

Apr 2, 2017

Don't disagree with anything you said.

However, for a Russian policy that has "been redeemable" - their central bank has actually handled the last few years quite well by letting the ruble float and not intervening in the FX markets. But yeah, pretty much the only positive . . .

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Apr 2, 2017

Good insights. Perhaps we should indeed stil be very wary.

Mar 31, 2017

Patton was right.

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Mar 31, 2017

If you want a good look at corruption in Russia, read Red Notice by Bill Browder. Was by far one of my favourite reads of the year.

A great quote from an old Russian myth summed up the constant in-fighting and corruption in Russia very well:

A man was approached by a mystical fish in a lake and the fish offered to grant him one wish, for anything that he wanted. Immediately he began dreaming of palaces and other luxuries. However, the fish included one caveat "Whatever you wish for, your neighbour gets double". Based on this caveat the man responded "Cut out one of my eyes then".

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Apr 4, 2017

Nice, you let some sensationalist piece of trash control your beliefs.

Source criticism?

Mar 31, 2017

The recent hysteria regarding Russia is amusing. Mitt Romney was publicly derided by the POTUS for suggesting that they were a a primary security threat only 4.5 years ago; now Russia is at the forefront of every geopolitical discussion.

One person here even invoked Russia to argue that China is actually a better friend to the west. China, the one-party communist state headed by a dictator is now somehow aligned with the west because Russia is like really bad, dude. You can't make this stuff up.

Another suggested that Russia is inherently evil for propping up Assad, Iran, Venezuela, etc. Setting aside the fact that Assad is preferably to any feasible alternative in Syria, what does the US do by propping up regimes in turkey and Saudi Arabia? Arming "rebels" (Sunni extremists) in Syria? Is the US also inherently evil?

This recent trend re: Russia is simply political noise meant to distract people from other issues.

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Mar 31, 2017

Dude, Russia is not a military threat they are a political threat. They seek to destabilize the EU and Eastern Europe. They hacked the DNC and meddled in our election. There is already evidence they are attempting to do the same with the upcoming French election. ~4.5 years ago this was not the case, Putin has moved Russia further towards Soviet style politics, he became President again in 2012, just ~5 years ago. Things have changed (the Crimea debacle being a huge one). Idk what you mean by political noise but when a former KGB officer moves his country towards Soviet politics, invades sovereign territory, and meddles in the elections of the west, that is a problem. China, at least, offers economic benefit to the U.S. and Xi Jinping is much less a dictator compared with Putin. While China is moving towards freer markets and capitalism, Russia is going in the opposite direction. China is more of a military threat than Russia is, but we are so entangled economically that threat is diminished immensely. Just my thoughts.

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Mar 31, 2017

100% agree.

Anyone who believes China is more of a destabilizing force than Russia is deluding themselves.

To equate the severity of China's aggression in the South China Seas to Russia's in the Ukraine is misleading.

To state that China is "communist" and Russia is a "free-market democracy" as a rationale for the former being more of an adversary is to be a blind slave to semantics without acknowledging the underlying realities.

China attempts to work within the international framework in an attempt to boost its own power and influence - motives of self-interest. But at least in doing so, they are gradually raising the standards of living for billions of people.

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Mar 31, 2017

If publishing rt.com articles and tricking John Podesta into the easiest phishing scam of all time counts as "meddling" then 90% of the world's nations do this to each other. This is the noise - something that happens routinely is made into a big deal because it serves the people making the fuss.

No idea what you mean by soviet politics. Are there people being sent to the gulag? Did Putin tell the west he's going to bury them?

Why single out Crimea? We typically turn a blind eye when "sovereign states" that we don't care about get invaded, no? That place is 70% ethnic Russian and Russia has a major naval base there that was in danger. Most countries would 100% annex an area where they had a significant military presence. Doubly so if that area had a majority nationality. I am not saying that is ok, but pro-NATO and pro-Europe commentators used this relatively minor invasion to bolster their poltical power. Let's not pretend Putin invaded Poland for god sake. Again with the noise.

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Mar 31, 2017

Adults are having a discussion. China is building islands and Russia is what you see as a threat? Wow.

Your posts read like a CNN twitter feed.

Mar 31, 2017

Somehow this thread got me entertained. For once, VTech and TNA are at each other's throats. Yet laughably, the best comment is once again some rant about Trump vs Hillary, for the love of God.

That being said, VTech makes some cogent points in this discussion. Now I'm seriously beginning to suspect TNA is some pro-Putin troll. For that props to Patrick @WallStreetOasis.com - looks like the Kremlin thought that WSO were relevant enough for it to plant one of their own.

Speaking about Russia, and how "great" a country is, ask @Flake about it (if he's still around).

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

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Apr 3, 2017
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Apr 3, 2017