This shit AGAIN

Trust me, this isn’t another post about Syria. It only begins this way. As we all now know, Russia is clearly doing something in Syria, and this has included seaborne shipments as well as airlifts. In response, some countries have closed their airspace to Russian military aircraft bound for Syria. As it turns out, one of those countries is the good EU and NATO member Orthodox Slavic Brother Nation of Bulgaria, and Russia’s response was predictable.

They never learn.

They never learn.

Did you catch that? If a country decides who can do what in its own airspace, its sovereignty is called into question. Interesting theory there.

Of course in reality the explanation is simple- the Kremlin is still deep within the delusion that it is like a Victorian-era Great Power, vying for influence with its rival, the United States. If a smaller nation refuses Russia’s demands, it must be because the US collected more influence points in that country and used the “discredit” tactic against Russia. On some level they probably think this is a sort of psychological tactic, the equivalent of screaming “chicken” when daring someone to do something. The problem is that nobody’s stupid enough to buy this kind of tactic at this level. They know that knuckling under to another country’s demands isn’t bold or independent. Any sane person can see that.

Now to be honest, Bulgaria’s government may indeed be motivated by its ties to NATO and the EU, but is this really a sign of submission or just an acknowledgment that such ties are far more valuable to Bulgaria? Take a look at Bulgaria’s foreign trade, for example. Where’s Russia in the list of top trade partners for Bulgaria? Oh…right. They’re not there.

At this point the pro-Kremlin geopolitical experts start slobbering about this supposed need for the “multi-polar world” (which doesn’t exist until Russia is a pole), “spiritual values and tradition,” homosexuals, and the Anglo-American Atlantic something, but in reality it’s just another example of Russia-as-neckbearded-nice-guy.

The nice guy, the self-proclaimed “gentleman,” cannot accept the fact that his qualities simply aren’t sufficient to arouse sexual attraction in women. So he’s funny and intellectual? Well there are a lot of other guys out there who are funny, intellectual, and who are also in great shape. They do sports and other activities, they can cook, or they produce art in their spare time. In short, they do more to their life than play video games, argue on Reddit, and obsess over their supposed need for a girlfriend. But the nice guy never gets this, and thus he suspects the existence of a conspiracy to brainwash women so that they don’t recognize his superior qualities. Feminism killed chivalry, so women are no longer willing to give up their bodies for him just because he opens doors, pulls out chairs, or pays for dinner. The media makes women reject intellectual guys in favor of brainless jocks and “bad boys.” That must be it.

So it is with Russia, the wearer of the biggest trilby fedora in the world. Yes, Bulgaria might have considered its relationship with the rest of the EU and NATO when it closed its airspace to Russian cargo flights. So what? Why shouldn’t it? What does Russia actually offer Bulgaria other than this bizarre fantasy about “standing up to the West?” Does that delusion benefit the Bulgarian people more than their trade and connections with the EU? Of course it doesn’t. The very idea itself is a lie, as Russia continues to accept Western investment, Russian politicians continue to own or buy property abroad in the West, and their children continue to study or live there. So again, why should Bulgaria tell the EU or US to fuck off just to let some Russian cargo planes use its airspace? How is it not asserting its sovereignty when it exercises its right to determine who gets to use Bulgarian air space and for what purpose?

It’s amazing that the Russian foreign ministry hasn’t figured out how insulting and counter-productive this tactic is. When you consider how often they’ve been using this as of late, it’s no wonder that opinions about Russia worldwide are overwhelmingly negative. This is what happens when your diplomacy boils down to: “Come on, do what we say! You’re not a little bitch, are you?”

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11 thoughts on “This shit AGAIN

  1. Henk

    I was wondering why you Americans are always so fanatical in your opinion,you people seem to think you know every thing
    You Americans think that you have all the answers in the world,Maybe that is why you people keep invading far away lands and killing innocent peoples half a world away
    Are Americans indoctrinated to think that they are special, unique and exceptional, America seems more like some fanatical ideology then a country.
    You may think whatever you want about Russia,but why do you actualy live in Russia, a country for wich you seem to have so much disdain and contempt.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Henk, I didn’t invade any countries nor did I support such invasions. That’s part of the reason I moved abroad. Maybe I was wrong, and I should have stayed in the US and worked to prevent foreign policy like that. Then again, without the outside world perspective, I might have remained subsumed in the currently stagnant left politics that exist today.

      There is nothing uniquely American about my perspective, and it has nothing to do with American exceptionalism, which is something that few people in America take seriously unless they’re running for office(and even then it’s just a bullshit concept).

      As for Russia, I still live here mainly because of work and family ties, but it is wrong to say I have disdain and contempt for it. For almost a decade now I have watched that little midget and his oligarch friends humiliate and steal from the people. They have turned the nation that produced Zaitsev, Kosmodemyanskaya, and Gagarin into a nation of cowards, submitting to the rule of idiots and thieves all for the sake of “stability” they never receive.

      I honestly don’t know how Russians continue to tolerate this- because we all know that America isn’t doing anything to them and thus there’s no reason to keep submitting to this little thief and his friends.

      Reply
  2. Asehpe

    You see, Henk, the problem with your argument is that it is boilerplate: you could use it against Russia simply by replacing “Americans” with “Russians” and vice-versa. Why is that? Becuase you’re not really discussing any points, not showing any errors or mistakes, in Jim’s article above. You’re just — in a quite Russian way, I have to say — venting your anger without ever actually explaining why it is that your opponent is wrong.

    That’s why people don’t believe you. Funny, eh?

    And here’s the Russified version of your post, so you can check that can be used against Russia by simply changing the country names — i.e., there is no substantive point in your boilerplate post, it can be used against any country, anywhere, at any time…

    “I was wondering why you Russians are always so fanatical in your opinion,you people seem to think you know every thing
    You Russians think that you have all the answers in the world,Maybe that is why you people keep invading far away lands and killing innocent peoples half a world away.
    Are Russians indoctrinated to think that they are special, unique and exceptional, Russia seems more like some fanatical ideology then a country.
    You may think whatever you want about America, but why do you actualy live in America, a country for wich you seem to have so much disdain and contempt?”

    See how much more realistic it suddenly sounds? 🙂

    Oh, one final note — you confuse disliking a government with disliking a country. You think Jim shouldn’t live in Russia because he doesn’t like the Putinocracy. You know, he’s against the current Russian vision of “ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer”… and you think he’s against Russia. Why is it that you guys find it so hard to see such an easy fact: Russia isn’t its government?…

    До встречи!

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      It’s also boilerplate in the sense that it assumes that all people must be representatives of their respective countries, as though there aren’t higher values that one should be consistently loyal to regardless of international borders.

      But your reversal is a good point, because Russia’s leaders are quite happy to lecture the world about how to live, in spite of the fact that they’ve horrendously mismanaged their country so that its economy is just below that of Italy. If America, the UK, or Norway lectures other countries and claims to have all the answers- we ought to owe them at least a little regard, since they have results.

      Reply
  3. A.I.Schmelzer

    Ever heard about a stopped clock being right twice a day?

    In this case they are actually correct (Greece is NO longer a sovereign country, not even de jure, and Russia had fuck all to do with that), predicted what would happen, and frankly couldnt care less about that airspace being closed since they have alternatives.

    This is about exploiting EU/US faultlines. One such faultline is in Syria, and while the US categorically rules out any deal with Assad, the EU is considerably more pragmatic concerning this. Secondly, Brussels/Berlin have their own imperial ambitions, and that the US “asked” Greece and Bulgaria to close their airspace infringes on Berlin/Brussels grand designs, or whatever they label their current harebrained schemes as.

    Something we could probably agree on is that Russian crocodile tears concerning some countries non existent sovereignity are a bad propaganda practice, and basically show that Russian PR is mostly directed inwards (as in “look, mighty Putin protects us from closing out airspace because the USA asked us to!”).
    Historically, the USSR relentlessly trolled Japan about not being a sovereign country, which was something the Japanese saw as adding salt to the wound and which moved them closer to the USA. In a way, this trolling closed doors to for example balance post Sino Soviet split China with Japan, closed the door to technological imports from Japan and basically achieved nothing productive whatsorever for the USSR.
    By “concern trolling” minor European countries over their sovereignity (or lack thereof), the Russians are simply insulting someone who is already held down by others, and create a “pro Western stockholm syndrome”, effectively achieving nothing worthwhile.
    It also reinforces “puppet” behaviour, because the “puppet” in question will, if it acts against Russian interests (especially if this is because of its own interests, puppets do have interests) just go with “evil America made me do it, I had no choice!” (even quite powerfull Germany does this on ocassion), also known as the one lie the Kreml will always fall for.

    The best and cheapest way to deal with “other peoples puppets” is to pretend that they are sovereign, and to treat them with more sovereignity then their “masters” do. Such ruses have a habit of turning into reality. It worked pretty well with the Warsaw pact nations, or with Yugoslavia, or arguably even with the PRC.
    This is more likely to give them some backbone, creates further points of contention between them and their masters etc. .
    Insulting them meanwhile does nothing.

    Reply
    1. Asehpe

      ” “evil America made me do it, I had no choice!” (even quite powerfull Germany does this on ocassion), also known as the one lie the Kreml will always fall for.”

      That’s the one bewildering part of the Kremlin’s fascination with 19th-century power games and “geopolitics”: they will indeed fall for that, just as they apparently believed that some Arabic agents provocateurs in the Caucasus were indeed American spies just because they spoke English and said so.

      Russia’s hatred/envy towards America is so overwhelming, it colors their perception of the space around them and makes them always ready to believe the worst. This is a weakness that they should correct; but considering the internal advantages of demonizing America and the ease with which one ends up believing one’s own lies, chances are they won’t. They will forever fear a boogeyman that is not one — because it has better things to do than being a little boogeyman in every little cause that might conceivably embarrass Russia.

      Small, poorer countries will always have “less sovereignty” than bigger contries because, regardless of any morals or good/evil intents, they simply have fewer choices. Just like people with less money or fewer talents: they have fewer choices, so they will be “less free” than people who do have more money or more talents — see Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” for a critique of equality at any cost. The problem is managing that, so that one has as many choices as possible, even though one will never have as the more fortunate.

      Reply
      1. A.I.Schmelzer

        The thing is, America is responsible for a lot, and I mean a lot, of really ridiculous harebrained bullshit. And whatever antics Russia is up to, the USA clearly represents the single largest threat to world peace bar none. The SVRs paranoia is not without reason, and after the stunt the US pulled in Afghanistan (which, from the US perespective until 9/11, worked really well), it is quite natural to assume they would repeat this “winning strategem” in Chechenya.

        You also have to consider that the Russian security services arent the only beurocrazys who need enemies, the same is true on the other side of the atlantic. And I would normally argue that Putin keeps the security services on a tighter leash then any US president since Bush senior keeps the US equivalents, although Strelkov and his merry band of “ex Chetniks” threw a bit of a spanner into that.
        And whatever you say, the USA for Russia is a more “realistic” bogeyman then Sadamm Hussein or Bashar al Assad (let alone Milosevic) were for the USA. Both of them have/had neither the capability nor the willingnes to attack America, the US has the capability to attack Russia, and if you listen to some parts of the “intelligence community” or just congress the willingness is there too.

        You could still argue that the Russian representation of the US as a bogeyman is overblown, but this representation is absolutely nothing special in terms of the distance between the real USA as it is and the USA as it is portrayed by Russian propaganda.

        Russias hatred towards America frankly is much overstated, that America, in the eyes of Russians, went from the most loved to the most hated country in a bit over a decade is not just because of perfidious Russian state propaganda. That can change again, the USA just needs to stop doing stupid shit (and well, Russia is doing stupid shit too, but in that kind of fight it is normally the stronger one who has to stop first, and that is the USA). For the record, Russia has a pretty good record of correcting its worst excesses as long as it is left mostly alone.

        One thing you should really keep in mind is the following:
        Noone, noone other then perhaps the American people, is capable to making the USA either do something or make them not do something. The continental USA is pretty much unassailable, and any conventional war would incurr catastrophic costs. Literally everyone else in the world is, for the sane machiavellian powermonger, an easier target/opponent. Having the US as the enemy is a huge liability, and getting some internal PR props (as if Putin is that worried about his approval ratings, he could easily do what he is doing right now without that anti western crusade stuff) out of it is basically worthless compared to the liabilities.

        The USA is fucking terrifying, noone wants to be your foe, you are making your foes and you have become pretty good at that.

  4. Estragon

    Re: “Russia’s hatred/envy towards America is so overwhelming, it colors their perception of the space around them”

    Personal relationships form an ironic counterpoint to this. My Russian-born wife recently got her US citizenship; son is in the process of doing so, and then he plans to marry his Russian girlfriend and bring her over here, where she intends to do graduate study in a medical field. Thus, “Pindostan” will continue to benefit from Russian-born talent. The traffic of highly skilled people, at least on a permanent basis, seems to go only one way: there are of course skilled Westerners working in Russia, but few of them settle there permanently.

    I said to the wife that if Russians give her crap for taking US citizenship, she can point to her fellow American citizens Stravinsky, Nabokov, Balanchine, and Rachmaninoff.

    Reply
  5. A.I.Schmelzer

    Well, from my circle of associates, braindrain was incredibly severe in the 90s, then got better in the first half of the 2000s, then got worse when Putin went maximum neoliberal and gutted the Russian academy of sciences.

    There is also a certain degree of movement back to Russia, and some of those returnees were pretty decently educated. The most hilarious case of these was an highly educated ethnic Russian latvian, who got a good offer from Moscow, moved over, then got back to Latvia for a day to pass the citizenship exam (which he didnt do previously due to quite understandable pride reasons), got his EU citizenship, and then properly emigrated to Russia. All in all a pretty sensible course of actions.

    Overall, Russia is still shedding highly educated people (although at decelerated rates compared to the 90s), and getting considerable immigration from overall somewhat less educated groups, although this varies quite a bit.

    A thing which I believe to be in favor of educated people retention maybe that conditions were worse, and that most of the people willing to emmigrate in general have already done so.

    Reply

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