News Roundup 20 January

Curiously small anti-fascist rally

With all the screaming about fascism we heard from Russians since the beginning of Maidan all the way to the present, one would think last night’s anti-fascist march in Moscow would have drawn as many people as the Charlie Hebdo rallies in Paris.  One would think that, if they didn’t know Russia better. In reality, most of those who screamed themselves hoarse are only concerned with fascism in Ukraine, and of course their definition of fascism is anti-Kremlin. In Russia, they quite like fascism. They support state-imposed religion, the curtailment of human rights and values, militarism, national chauvinism, racism, “traditional” roles for men and women, essentially the whole fascist platform. The differences between them and the actual fascists in Ukraine such as the Svoboda party or Praviy Sektor are superficial at most.

This being the case, last night’s march only attracted a few hundred leftist protesters, which I have to say was pretty impressive given how dangerous it is in Russia to proclaim oneself an anti-fascist(unless you’re going to fight in Ukraine). Of course, there were counter-protesters and attempts to disrupt the march, but last time I checked nothing serious happened.

Bottom line- If you hear a Russian screaming about fascism, most often than not it’s basically the same as a Tea Partier calling Obama a socialist. The words don’t mean what they think they mean.

Collateral Damage

After some Twitter arguments yesterday I think I need to make some clarifications yet again. First of all, I do not particularly like the Ukrainian government. After much examination I accepted it as legal and I’m glad to see that the extreme right was almost entirely excluded from its composition. That said, one of the reasons why I’d support Ukraine over Russia is that no matter how bad the former’s government is, it can be changed. Russia will not have any change in its corrupt, oligarch-dominated government without a fair deal of bloodshed and early-90’s style humiliation, and after that I’m not sure there’ll be anything left to rebuild the country. At least Yeltsin and Putin could count on oil. My fear is that in the aftermath of collapse eventually the same batshit-insane reactionaries will coalesce around another group of political con-men who will assure them that the catastrophe only happened because Putin was a puppet of the Americans, the Jews, or the Illuminati reptiloids. What happens then, however, is a subject for another article.  Long story short- Ukraine’s probably got at least one more revolution in store before the demographics situation destroys the country, so let’s hope they get it right next time(HINT: Stop listening to nationalists).

That being said, I want to talk about the subject of Ukraine’s use of artillery against populated areas in the Donbas. Long-time readers know that I have condemned this in the past, and rhetorically asked why we don’t hear people in the media saying Poroshenko is “killing his own people.”

The problem is, however, that I am not detached from the world around me and I get pissed at constantly hearing Russians shedding crocodile tears over civilian casualties of artillery bombardment when they never cared about the effects of such bombardment in Syria, Libya, Grozny, etc. To me this is no different than the way US officials would always deflect criticism over civilian casualties with terms like “collateral damage” and accusations that their enemies were using “human shields.”

Look, regardless of one’s politics, can we all just be honest for once and admit that we are all aware of the fact that bombardment of populated areas frequently leads to civilian casualties, and that people from various countries are inevitably going to highlight this fact in conflicts when it suits them, while denying it in conflicts they support?

Another reason why I’ve been hesitant to speak out more against the Ukrainian prosecution of the war is because I don’t have many sources of reliable information. I don’t like the idea of playing armchair general and saying what they should do. I’d probably lean towards the ideas of H. John Poole on this matter, who considered heavy use of firepower as immoral and ineffective, and who instead advocated rigorous training in small-unit tactics and techniques like short range infiltration. I also think the Ukrainian army could learn a thing or two from Rhodesia’s Sealous Scouts when it comes to counter-guerrilla warfare. The problem is, however, that these tactics are probably not very feasible for the Ukrainian military. H. John Poole was recommending tactics to the best-funded military in the world, which has plenty of time and resources for training. I know the US Army sure as hell has the time because I spent most of my time in the army standing around in what is essentially a parking lot.

The Ukrainian armed forces, on the other hand, are probably more comparable to those of maybe Romania or Bulgaria at best. That and the fact that they have a unit called the “Cyborgs” tells you that we’re not exactly dealing with military geniuses here.  Do I personally believe this war is not being conducted in the best way, both morally and tactically, yes. Am I going to spend time writing on a blog about how they should be doing this or that? Hell no.  My information is too limited to make those kinds of calls, and there’s no reason to believe that the Ukrainian armed forces even have the capability to carry out any recommendation Armchair General Kovpak gives them.

Oh look, I’m right again.

An article in The Moscow Times highlights what I pointed out some time ago about Russia’s inability to attract people and allies. I’ve often likened Russia to one of those stereotypical “nice guys.” He tries to attract a girl with some cheap gestures(oil and gas deals in Russia’s case), and when she rejects his offers he goes online or to his friends and unloads on her with white-hot hatred. She’s just a slut who will bend over backwards for any jocular douchebag! She can’t appreciate an intelligent, classy, gentleman! Sure he’s a bit overweight and continually wears the same gaming shirt several times per week without a wash, but why does she have to be such a shallow whore?  In Russia’s case, any country that doesn’t want to submit to Moscow’s domination must be a puppet of America, the only other independent country in the world. With some small, not so powerful countries this might seem more or less correct, but in the minds of many Russians big economic players like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Belgium are also American puppets. The only way you can avoid being an American puppet is to become Moscow’s puppet.

Of course I didn’t link to this article just to talk about puppets. What I like about this article is that once again basic historical facts are brought out to shatter the fantasies of Russia’s “geopolitical experts.” The CSTO is not the equivalent of NATO. BRICS is not an anti-American alliance. The Eurasian Union is not the equivalent of the European Union. They go through the motions and make a lot of noise, but there’s no substance beneath the surface. Good reading.


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