In the game

One thing that always surprises me about Team Russia fanatics, is that despite the fact that they tend to hold (usually)populist beliefs about evil corporations and a “New World Order,” for some unknown reason they think Russia somehow operates outside of, and in fact in opposition to all of that.  America and the European Union are part of the grand conspiracy, possibly controlled by the Illuminati, the Jews, the Skull and Bones, or whatever, but somehow the same omnipotent global force doesn’t control Russia.  That’s a bit odd considering how there are factions in Russia who do insist that their country is secretly controlled by Jews, Masons, or whoever.

Russia, of course, is a member of the WTO. Putin made a big deal about this. Russia was a founding member of US CENTCOM, and allowed its airspace to be used for logistical support to the mission in Afghanistan.  American and European corporations have major investments and projects with Russian companies, including those partially owned by the state.  Any Russian businessman who can gets his money and assets out of Russia.  They buy ridiculously expensive American and European products, send their kids to Western universities, and spend their vacations in London or the south of France.

And yet despite all this, the nutbags who comment on RT stories are sure that unlike the dictatorial tyrant Obama, Putin and his inner circle are a veritable knights of the round table-like organization who diligently stand up for morality and traditional values while opposing the New World Order.  It’s strange indeed how people who will believe the wackiest explanations behind world events somehow think such shadowy manipulation stops at the walls of the Kremlin.

Within Russia, conspiracy theories about the government are widespread.  Politicians are far more shadowy. For example, people frequently speculate as to what Vladimir Putin actually owns and how much his assets are worth.  Nobody has any idea.  Opposition figures are often suspected of being funded by the Kremlin, with convincing arguments in some cases.  Organizations appear and people wonder if they are genuine or creations of the internal security services.  In short, this country would be Alex Jones’ dream.  Yet somehow a guy living in a country where it is in fact entirely legal to conduct paramilitary training with real firearms under the pretext that you are prepared to “defend yourself from the tyrannical government” gets the idea in his head that Russia is the best hope for “freedom” in the world.

Russia is a part of that globalized world its Kremlin-paid ideologues claim to oppose. It’s so obvious when you walk down the main streets of any major city.  Tverskaya boulevard in the center of Moscow is a great reminder of what post-Soviet Russia truly values, and it sure as hell ain’t tradition. That leads me to the next point, which is that if Russia actually were the best opposition to that “New World Order,” you’d be pretty much fucked.  Russia cannot oppose NATO militarily and its domestic, social foundation is pretty much still as weak as it was in the 1990’s.  This is actually what caused me to desert Team Russia shortly before I moved back.  I was one of those Putin cheerleaders who applauded him for allegedly making Russia strong and standing up to the West. Then I learned that the 90’s attitudes were still alive and well, and everything from the abuse of soldiers to the dilapidated and decaying infrastructure were still there in force. Opposing NATO hegemony was a laudable goal in my book(and it still is), but Russia simply can’t handle that role in its present state.

What makes this so tragic is that Russia might have been able to become that counterweight had its leaders made some different decisions starting in the early 2000’s.  They could have made a serious crackdown on corruption as opposed to only jailing people who posed a political threat. They could have handed down Draconian punishments to those in the army who abused their fellow soldiers.  With their state-run media they could have highly publicized all of this and made it very clear that corruption and theft would no longer be tolerated as a “Russian tradition.” They could have loosened up the political system to allow real opposition parties of all stripes, and the ruling party could have not taken up the false mantle as the only hope for Russia. More money from Russia’s natural resources could have gone into infrastructure and generally eradicating the numerous post-apocalyptic areas of Russia’s cities and villages. Instead of tolerating and sometimes tacitly supporting nationalists, the government could have sponsored programs to promote understanding and better relations between Russia’s numerous ethnic groups.  It could have liberalized its laws about protests so as to proclaim that Russia is strong enough to cope with dissent like any other “democracy.”

Alas, they could have done all those things, but they did not.  Instead they did the opposite. A Russia with the living standards of Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, or even Spain would be a serious threat to NATO and US hegemony in the world.  A Russia which resembled China, which has great poverty yet consistent and steady improvement for an increasing number of citizens, would likewise be a major threat.  If we ignore the military component, which still could have been improved had something been done about the corruption and abuse in that sphere, it isn’t hard to understand how such a Russia would be a thorn in the side of the US. It would increasingly attract support from many countries, not just alliances of convenience from nations which happen to be on the West’s shit list.  It would be far more difficult to head-hunt Russia’s technically proficient personnel, leading to a fall in brain drain.  This is what could have been, but instead of doing anything resembling what I mention above they decided to respond to the people’s demands with fear, conspiracy theories, crackdowns, dozens of laws and regulations, and religious obscurantism. And the result is that you have a country where there are still plenty of women willing to marry almost any foreigner just to get out, just like in the 1990’s.

If you’re still not convinced, look at Germany and France. If you’re American you remember how in 2002-2003 Bush was trying to goad them into joining the invasion of Iraq. Both were NATO members, and Germany hosts several US military installations.  Both countries pretty much told America to fuck off.  There was little the US could do to either country. They couldn’t entice them with the offer of easing the visa regime, as they did for the Czech Republic and I believe Poland.  They couldn’t offer aid to countries in which much of the population had better living standards than the average American.  There are few things America could do to bend France or Germany to its will, that is without causing massive damage to the American economy in the process. Basically the only option is a military invasion, which is infinitely problematic and thus unthinkable.  So yeah, Germany has American military bases on its soil, but it’s clearly not a US puppet and America hasn’t managed to raise any separatist movements to dismantle the country into something resembling its pre-1871 self.

So what does this mean for the “New World Order” crowd? Well what it tells us is that nations that are supposed to be part of that “order” either “stand up” to America more substantially, or at least can do so, whereas Russia barely rates as a paper tiger(which implies that the enemy cannot see its internal weakness) and only “stands up” when it knows it can get away with it.  Any person who believes in the idea of global hegemony(not talking about shadowy conspiracies here) and the negative aspects thereof should actually resent the Russian ruling clique for misrepresenting itself as the defense against such politics.

Obviously people who do believe in some shadowy New World Order plot have a whole host of other problems with their reasoning, but at least they can be consistent and acknowledge that Russia must fall within their Illuminati/Jews/Masonic conspiracy world. It would make them sound a just a little less insane.

 

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