That silliness can occur on the Delaware Liberal website is pretty much a given, and is something I usually ignore, but sometimes they outdo themselves:
Vladimir, Stop It. Just Friggin’ Stop It !
Filed in International by ProgressivePopulist on April 26, 2014 • 3 Comments
Ok, Vladimir. Enough of the belligerence. Crimea was an outrage and eastern Ukraine doubly so. So was Georgia. Speaking for myself and possibly millions of my fellow Americans, we don’t want a renewal of one of our worst mutual eras, the Cold War.
I’m sorry, but don’t you think that President Putin knows that? Don’t you think that he is, in fact, <>counting on that, to make sure that the United States and democratic Europe won’t do anything really serious to cause him problems?
Many of us admire and envy your history and culture. In particular, your nation’s demonstrated willingness to change and try to improve. Take your 20th century revolution, for example. You set aside many centuries of brutal oppression by your Tsars, turned them out and tried a grand experiment.
His “nation’s demonstrated willingness to change and try to improve?” Perhaps the Progressive Populist hasn’t read much on Russian history, and how the Bolsheviks staged a coup d’etat, and then had to establish control by bloodshed. The “nation’s demonstrated willingness to change and try to improve” was a “willingness” pushed by terror.
Ok, so communism didn’t serve its intended purpose and became oppressive in its own right. But one of my hero’s, Mikhail Gorbachev, had the courage to admit it wasn’t working and instituted in the same century a second major reform, Glasnost and Perestroika. We’re still waiting here for needed reforms to the failures of our economic system, capitalism. The world and many American’s hailed his guts and balls. And many members of your Union appreciated the autonomy Mikhail and his team gave them, though it has been a rough transition for many. You can be admired like that too. Through fear? Not so much.
The “failures of our economic system, capitalism?” Somehow I don’t see it as a failure to provide the world’s most successful economic system, the only one in human history which has lifted more than a small percentage of the people above the subsistence level.
Oh, it’s certainly true that not everybody is wealthy or middle-class under capitalism; capitalism allows people to fail as well as to succeed. But under every other system, almost everybody fails. The Soviet Union fell because it had a lousy economic system, one which produced just enough to build a massive military and a few heavy industries, but one which left the workers in the workers’ state living in cramped apartments queuing up in long lines whenever the grocery store had meat or milk, because those were rare occasions.
Yes, a few mistakes were made along that path, including bringing over American’s best and brightest consultants from such institutions as Wharton and Harvard to result in privatization moves that created a Russian oligarchy of insiders that has become the envy of our own oligarchs.
But now, your mimicry of our own history of imperialistic overreach stuns the imagination. For that matter, the mimicry of your own overreach in the closing days of our grand partnership in WWII in eastern Europe causes one to wonder about why we both fail to learn the lessons of history which have so much to teach us both. That imperialism doesn’t work for anybody.
It doesn’t? It worked reasonably well for the Soviet Union, for a couple of generations, creating a buffer zone between the democratic West and Soviet borders. Before that, imperialism served the United Kingdom pretty well, lifting a resource-poor island nation of 40 million souls to being the number one economic power in the world for 300 years. Colonization and conquest, started by English settlers in the early 17th century, led to our own “Manifest Destiny,” sweeping across the continent, and becoming the wealthiest nation on earth. All of the denizens of the Delaware Liberal are beneficiaries of our own imperialist growth. And before that, imperialism brought the wealth of the ancient world to a small town on the Tiber, in an empire that lasted almost five centuries.
Let’s not do this. We shouldn’t make your feel hemmed in and caught in a vise with our NATO alliance. You shouldn’t begin recreating your Union in response to that vise. Let’s get together and loosen the vise and work out mutually autonomous partnerships in that region and grow the economic pie for everyone’s benefit.
Yeah, it was just so horrible that the nations which were once subject to Soviet control went and became functioning democracies! And it was such a terrible thing that the people of Ukraine took control of their own country; we should have prevented that, because, why, it made Vladimir Vladimirovich upset!
Look, there’s alot of admiration over here for your huge contributions to humanity and culture. Your ballet and classical music has made the world a better place. As have your brilliant contributions to science, architecture and art. And your willingness to end our nuclear campaigns of mutual terror.
We should have learned from your admission that Afghanistan was unfixable. And many of us here are grateful for your strategic brokerage in Syria to retire their chemical stockpile without blasting an already ruined populace off the face of the earth.
Vladimir, cut Pussy Riot and the gay community there some slack. There’s much creative energy for building your democracy pent up with these folks, just waiting to be unleashed for good. Just as I, as an atheist admire your country’s willingness to allow the Orthodox Church to surface from the underground and serve some of your people who seem to need them, Russia will not be harmed by political dissidents and those with lifestyles which you might not understand. You’re better than that. Hopefully, we are too.
Uhhh, PP, don’t you realize that President Putin isn’t interested in democracy? When, following his first two terms, he was unable to run for President again due to term limits, he got a colleague and crony, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, to run for President, while Mr Putin did a term as Prime Minister, before becoming President again. Democracy means, among other things, being willing to leave office and surrender power; the former lieutenant colonel in the KGB hasn’t a democratic bone in his body.
Finally, I have an idea. Let’s put all this crap aside and form a partnership to address the imminent catastrophe of climate change. Let’s together lead a new Union of enlightened countries possessing passionate survival instincts and use our scientific resources to redirect our huge energy interests toward limiting carbon dependence and assure our planet of clean air and water.
Uhhh, in case PP hasn’t heard, Russia’s primary exports are hydrocarbons: oil and natural gas revenues accounted for 52% of federal budget revenues and over 70% of total exports in 2012. The last thing that President Putin wants, or that the Russian economy can stand, is limiting the industrialized world’s dependence upon hydrocarbon fuels.
The naïvete displayed by PP’s article is astounding . . . and incredibly ethnocentric. PP wrote a very personal half-paean, half-lament to President Putin, based entirely on PP’s view of how things ought to be, informed by a liberal American worldview, that shows exactly zero understanding of the fact that Russians in general, and Mr Putin specifically, are not Westerners. They have no real democratic tradition, and the freedoms we take for granted are only vaguely familiar to them. To most Russians, the prosecution of Pussy Riot was almost inevitable, and the laws targeting homosexual proselytization of minors are both consistent with Russian culture and widely supported inside Russia; arguments to President Putin on these subjects would be laughable to him . . . if he ever read them.
Which, of course, he won’t. The chances that President Putin will ever read anything on the Delaware Liberal — or The First Street Journal, for that matter — are not zero, but they are so close to zero as to be practically indistinguishable, and I’m guessing that the Progressive Populist understands at least that much, which means that his article was written for the Delaware Liberal’s American readers, and though the article has attracted only three comments in the three days since it was published, none of the commenters demonstrated nearly the naïvete that PP did. Bamboozer noted that these moves have been great for Mr Putin’s popularity in Russia, while xyz got it exactly right:
“and tried a grand experiment….”
Yes, quite an experiment. 20 million people paid with their lives to see the result of this “grand experiment”.
One would have thought that the Progressive Populist would have known at least that much about Soviet history, enough not to have so blithely written, “Ok, so communism didn’t serve its intended purpose and became oppressive in its own right,” as though it was somehow no worse, and perhaps a bit better than the tsarist autocracy it replaced, even though the Tsar’s Okhrana never approached the body count of the Soviet’s secret police organizations.
The real problem isn’t that the Progressive Populist is a naïf; the problem is that there are enough naïfs to enable the more cold-hearted left, those who use leftism as a means of gaining political power to have the chance to do so.