In an important article over at Vineyard of the Saker, Russian foreign policy expert and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's recent speech in Moscow on geopolitics, American democracy, and economic sanctions, are using words that we have ourselves warned will be the long term consequences of the current Western - i.e., American - policy in the Ukraine (and my thanks to Ms. K.M. for pointing this article out):
There are so many things to ponder in this article, but I want to draw your attention to what "the Saker" himself outlines at the beginning, in his own commentary:
"I have bolded out what I consider to be the most important statements made by Lavrov that day. I would just like to add the following:
"1) Lavrov is considered very much a "moderate" and his language has always been strictly diplomatic. So when you read Lavrov, just imagine what folks in other Russian ministries are thinking.
"2) Lavrov makes no secret of his view of the USA and of his plans for the future of our planet. When you read his words, try to imagine what a US Neocon feels and thinks and you will immediately see why the US elites both hate and fear Russia.
"3) Finally, Lavrov openly admits that Russia and China have forged an long-term strategic alliance (proving all the nay-sayers who predicted that China would backtstab Russian wrong). This is, I would argue, the single most important strategic development in the past decade.
"4) Finally, notice the clear contempt which Lavrov has for a pseudo-Christian "West" which dares not speak in defense of persecuted Christians, denies its own roots, and does not even respect its own traditions.
"Friends, what we are witnessing before our eyes is not some petty statement about the Ukraine or sanctions, it is the admission by Lavrov of a fundamental "clash of civilizations", but not between some wholly imaginary "Christian West" and Islam, but between Christian Russia and the post-Christian West.
"Russia did not want this conflict. Russia did everything in her power to prevent it. But the West left Russia no choice and Russia now openly declares her willingness to fight and prevail."(Italicized emphasis Saker's, boldface emphasis my own.)
So before we proceed, a few thoughts of my own. As most regular readers here know, I have been trying to point out that Mr. Putin's Russia, for all its problems, is not a throwback to some sort of "Neo-Stalinism" or attempt to "reconstruct the Soviet empire," but for the secular-minded elites of the West, who do not have or own any culture of their own(not even their own Western culture - indeed, to paraphrase a wise man, they're in it, but not of it), they can only perceive it to be so. Nor, really, is Mr. Putin's Russia a throwback to the autocracy. That said, however, Russia is engaged on a grand experiment: how to reconcile genuinely democratic institutions, respect for the rule of law, while recognizing the huge cultural influence that Eastern Orthodoxy has had on the formation of Russian culture and institutions. There is, really, no precedent for this in Russian history, and certainly not in western history. The West, for example, tends to think of "Europe" as if the whole geographical area was subject to the same cultural influences. In short, the West tends to midread its own historical influence into that of Orthodox-influenced Eastern Europe, and as such, suffers from profound myopia. One example which I have repeatedly pointed out in my blogs and books is that the idea of the corporate person, so fundamental in western jurisprudence, grew out of uniquely western Christian theological views; those views were not shared in the Orthodox East.
So the view from Russia is that of a "clash of civilizations"(note Mr. Lavrov's use of Samuel Huntington's term, and indeed, the title of Mr. Huntington's book of the same name) is under way, and the West's concern is not so much Islam, but a culture and country that is decidedly opposed to entering a "post-Christian" period, which, from Mr. Lavrov's point of view, really is but a euphemism for the complete collapse of the idea of the rule of law both domestically and internationally. Warming up to this point, Mr. Lavrov stated:
"Naturally, I will start with Ukraine. Long before the country was plunged into the crisis, there was a feeling in the air that Russia’s relations with the EU and with the West were about to reach their moment of truth. It was clear that we could no longer continue to put issues in our relations on the back burner and that a choice had to be made between a genuine partnership or, as the saying goes, “breaking pots.” It goes without saying that Russia opted for the former alternative, while unfortunately our Western partners settled for the latter, whether consciously or not. In fact, they went all out in Ukraine and supported extremists, thereby giving up their own principles of democratic regime change. What came out of it was an attempt to play chicken with Russia, to see who blinks first. As bullies say, they wanted to Russia to “chicken out” (I can’t find a better word for it), to force us to swallow the humiliation of Russians and native speakers of Russian in Ukraine.
"Honourable Leslie Gelb, whom you know all too well, wrote that Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU had nothing to do with inviting Ukraine to join the EU and was aimed in the short term at preventing it from joining the Customs Union. This is what an impartial and unbiased person said. When they deliberately decided to go down the path of escalation in Ukraine, they forgot many things, and had a clear understanding of how such moves would be viewed in Russia. They forgot the advice of, say, Otto von Bismarck, who had said that disparaging the millions-strong great Russian people would be the biggest political mistake.
"President Vladimir Putin said the other day that no one in history has yet managed to subjugate Russia to its influence. This is not an assessment, but a statement of fact. Yet such an attempt has been made to quench the thirst for expanding the geopolitical space under Western control, out of a mercantile fear to lose the spoils of what they across the Atlantic had persuaded themselves was the victory in the Cold War."
Then comes the first notification of the West's (i.e., America's) hypocrisy:
"Talks about Russia’s isolation do not merit serious discussion. I need hardly dwell on this before this audience. Of course, one can damage our economy, and damage is being done, but only by doing harm to those who are taking corresponding measures and, equally important, destroying the system of international economic relations, the principles on which it is based. Formerly, when sanctions were applied (I worked at the Russian mission to the UN at the time) our Western partners, when discussing the DPRK, Iran or other states, said that it was necessary to formulate the restrictions in such a way as to keep within humanitarian limits and not to cause damage to the social sphere and the economy, and to selectively target only the elite. Today everything is the other way around: Western leaders are publicly declaring that the sanctions should destroy the economy and trigger popular protests. So, as regards the conceptual approach to the use of coercive measures the West unequivocally demonstrates that it does not merely seek to change Russian policy (which in itself is illusory), but it seeks to change the regime -- and practically nobody denies this." (Emphasis added)
In this atmosphere, Mr. Lavrov charges Washington of poisoning the atmosphere of international relations globally with a culture of fear:
"However, so far, US administrative resources still work only in the NATO framework, and then with substantial reservations, and its writ does not reach beyond the North Atlantic Alliance. One proof of this is the results of US attempts to make the world community follow its line in connection with the anti-Russian sanctions and principles. I have spoken about it more than once and we have ample proof of the fact that American ambassadors and envoys across the world seek meetings at the highest level to argue that the corresponding countries are obliged to punish Russia together with them or else face the consequences. This is done with regard to all countries, including our closest allies (this speaks volumes about the kind of analysts Washington has). An overwhelming majority of the states with which we have a continuing dialogue without any restrictions and isolation, as you see, value Russia’s independent role in the international arena. Not because they like it when somebody challenges the Americans, but because they realise that the world order will not be stable if nobody is allowed to speak his mind (although privately the overwhelming majority do express their opinion, but they do not want to do so publicly for fear of Washington’s reprisals)"
Or to put it "country simple," Washington, with its constant rhetoric of "exclusiveness" and being "the indispensable nation", is really laying claim to a kind of national status for a culture of narcissism, psychopathy, and a kind of "entitlement" typical to the psychopath: "the rules apply, but not to me, because I'm special."
So against this context, Lavrov points out the obviousness of the world reaction to the claim to International Narcissism and Psychopathy being advanced by Washington:
"In attempting to establish their pre-eminence at a time when new economic, financial and political power centres are emerging, the Americans provoke counteraction in keeping with Newton’s third law and contribute to the emergence of structures, mechanisms, and movements that seek alternatives to the American recipes for solving the pressing problems. I am not referring to anti-Americanism, still less about forming coalitions spearheaded against the United States, but only about the natural wish of a growing number of countries to secure their vital interests and do it the way they think right, and not what they are told “from across the pond.” Nobody is going to play anti-US games just to spite the United States. We face attempts and facts of extra-territorial use of US legislation, the kidnapping of our citizens in spite of existing treaties with Washington whereby these issues are to be resolved through law enforcement and judicial bodies."
And thus we come to (merely one of) Mr. Lavrov's conclusions, and note carefully how this is addressed in particular to one American satrapy:
"We have been treated as “subhumans.”For over a decade, Russia has been trying to establish partnership ties with NATO through CSTO. These efforts were not just about putting NATO and CSTO “in the same league.” As a matter of fact, CSTO is focused on catching drug dealers and illegal migrants around the Afghan border, and the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the backbone of the international security forces, which, among other things, were tasked with fighting the terrorist threat and eliminating its financing schemes, which involve drug trafficking. We tried everything: we pleaded and then demanded real-time contact, so that once NATO detects a caravan transporting drugs and is unable to stop it, it alerts us across the border, so that this caravan could be intercepted by CSTO forces. They simply refused to talk to us. In private conversations, our NATO well-wishers (and I actually mean this in the positive way) told us that the alliance can’t view CSTO as an equal partner for ideological reasons. Until recently, we saw the same condescending and arrogant attitude with respect to the Eurasian economic integration. And that despite the fact that countries intending to join the EAEU have much more in common in terms of their economies, history and culture than many EU members. This union is not about creating barriers with anyone. We always stress how open this union is expected to be. I strongly believe that it will make a significant contribution to building a bridge between Europe and Asia Pacific.
"I can’t fail to mention Russia’s comprehensive partnership with China. Important bilateral decisions have been taken, paving the way to an energy alliance between Russia and China. But there’s more to it. We can now even talk about the emerging technology alliance between the two countries. Russia’s tandem with Beijing is a crucial factor for ensuring international stability and at least some balance in international affairs, as well as ensuring the rule of international law. We will make full use of our relations with India and Vietnam, Russia’s strategic partners, as well as the ASEAN countries. We are also open to expanding cooperation with Japan, if our Japanese neighbours can look at their national interests and stop looking back at some overseas power"
Washington has thrown down the gauntlet, and intends to have a unipolar world in which it can do whatever its narcissistic, psychopathic, entitled self wants; and Russia has said no.The whole phenomenon of the BRICSA bloc, Mr. Lavrov suggests in his speech, is but the formal announcement of a very firm "No." And increasingly, and quietly, they are being joined by some skeptical powers in Europe. Russia's message here isn't just political, or economic, or even geopolitical, at least, not in the sense that these terms are understood in the West. Russia's message is a cultural one: the West is sick, and it is sick because of its post-Christian, mechanistic, materialist cosmology and rampant secularism. Russia, we would do well to remember, tried all that in its most extreme form: Marxism (another western import, let us remember), and it didn't work.
It is, in the final analysis, as "the Saker" himself suggests, a clash of civilizations. Russia can offer Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoyevski, Rachmaninoff... Amerika can offer McCivilization: the Kardashians, Pussy Riot, and drones.
See you on the flip side...