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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Another Original LR Translation: Annals of the Lollipop Kid (by our Original Translator)

Lollipop Kid Becomes Street Thug . . . and Man of the Year

Aleksandr Golts

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

December 21, 2007

To tell the truth, I had originally planned to write this article about two weeks from now, conducting a “year in review” with the other members of the YeZh staff. But the decision of Time Magazine to declare Vladimir Putin its “Man of the Year” compelled me to do it earlier. Because this decision in a surprising way explains why so many people (including the staff of Time Magazine) consider Putin’s foreign policy to be a success. As they put it: “Time's Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. It is not a popularity contest. At its best, it is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world - for better or for worse. It is ultimately about leadership - bold, earth-changing leadership. Putin is not a boy scout. … [but] he has performed an extraordinary feat of leadership in imposing stability on a nation that has rarely known it and brought Russia back to the table of world power. For that reason, Vladimir Putin is Time's 2007 Person of the Year.” As I read it, the Time Magazine writers, in their expansive commentaries, point to two major achievements of President Putin. First, by gagging the press, trampling on civil rights and freedoms, and turning elections into a farce, he has brought stability to the country, “which it has rarely known”. Secondly, it was exactly Putin, according to Time, who returned Russia to its status as a world power.

If this is true, then one should acknowledge that this status is a direct result of a completely ruinous foreign policy. In previous years the symbol of Moscow’s international activities was “the little boy with the lollipop in his sweaty palm” who wanted to trade with the West, exchanging oil and gas not only for money but for influence as well. This year, the little boy grew up and became the neighborhood thug. Now he no longer trades, he tries to intimidate. The year 2007 saw the militarization of Russian foreign policy. National interests and claims against other governments were expressed almost exclusively in military terminology.

The main foreign policy events of the year - the effective withdrawal of Russia from the Conventional Forces In Europe (CFE) treaty; the conflict surrounding Washington’s intention to base some elements of its anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system in Poland and the Czech Republic; the constant threats to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile treaty - have been directly related to efforts to demonstrate Russia’s readiness for military confrontation with the West. The paradox is that none of this has any connection with defending country or ensuring its security. Russian demands have had no logic whatsoever. Russian demands have lacked even formal logic. Take for example the withdrawal from the CFE treaty. Moscow explains this by pointing to the refusal of NATO countries to ratify an adapted version of the treaty. The basic concept of the treaty reflects two opposing blocks, setting forth limits on the armaments that can be deployed in various countries and regions. But the Kremlin never ceases talking about the colossal advantage NATO has gained as a result of its new members. The head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs demands the introduction of a general ceiling on the armaments of all the governments of NATO. In this manner Russia is positioning itself as the lone member of a new Warsaw Pact.

The new defining characteristic of Russian foreign policy has become how its exponents do not even try to make plausible arguments. The head of the Russian General Staff Yuri Baluevskiy claimed that the launch of American ABM missiles from Poland could be mistaken for a nuclear attack and cause a retaliatory strike. Evidently, the general literally forgot about agreements with the U.S. on the exchange of information and joint control. Therefore, Russia will know exactly what kinds of missiles are based in Poland. It will therefore be impossible to mistake them for nuclear missiles. But Moscow no longer worries about plausibility in its claims. They need only shout them out, as loudly as possible.

Still, even deploying the phraseology of the cold war, the Kremlin does nothing that the West could construe as a genuine threat. No one is talking about any sort of return to actual military confrontation.

But might one say in all seriousness that Moscow has become an important player in international politics?

Perhaps Russia is returning to a position of general respect, developing its bilateral relationships with various governments? One must certainly say that in the past year Moscow has significantly enriched the practice of diplomacy. What was the cost to Russia of the murder of Litvinenko, in the course of which half of London was radioactively poisoned? And then not only did Russia refuse to extradite the suspected murderer, Andrei Lugavoi, but secured his election to parliament. And then there was the shut-down of the Estonian embassy in Moscow by Putin’s Red Guards. All of this, of course, is clear evidence of Russia having been turned into a great power.

And so, the little boy with the lollipop got himself a dagger. He has not yet, thank God, gotten himself into a fight. But he flashes the knife everywhere and anywhere. That’s all there is to Russia’s growing authority in the world. But the journalists at Time Magazine simply took it as an axiom that Russia’s influence in the world is growing, without even trying to confirm it with facts. Exactly this speaks volumes about the supposed arrival of an era of “stability”, which according to the American journalists is more important for Russia than truth or freedom. They did not comment at all on those parts of their interview with Putin where he plainly lied. For example, about how he was simply assigned to the KGB after graduating from university. Or about how there are television stations in Russia where opposition leaders “just never leave”. The Time Magazine journalists (and before them Western analysts from the Valdai Club) placidly heard Putin out as he practically accused them of being paid-off/corrupt.

The thing is that all of them – the president of France, who congratulated Putin on his success in the elections; the president of the U.S., who said he understood Putin’s soul; and countless diplomats, experts and journalists - have quietly come to agree that Russia is the one country of Europe that will never be a democracy. For this reason they can admire the “old monster” with the unblinking steely gaze. And they can present freedom as an opposite to stability.

In this sense the designation of Putin as “Man of the Year” is a clear indication of how he, and worse Russia, has finally passed into a clearly-defined category of country. The category where China sits next to Paskistan. And that means that Russia will not be treated as an equal partner. This is the main accomplishment of her foreign policy.

1 comment:

Artfldgr said...

Russian demands have lacked even formal logic. Take for example the withdrawal from the CFE treaty.

This is what happens when people who are rotten at tactics and strategy try to understand a move that isn’t clear in the open and obvious.

What is the reason, if the logic says that something is wrong with the choice, why jump to the conclusion that its illogical and wrong. the reason that they cant see WHY, is because they imagine the reason connected to the outer image of its impetus. so in dropping the CFE, it must be because of the stated reason, not some other alternative reason in which the situation is a convenient opportunity. Like moving military stuff on very cloudy days, taking advantage of the lucky cloud cover. But if you tried to explain things from the idea of cloud cover, you will be logically confused, as is this author.

The reason they dropped it was clear. They were in violation of it. better to drop a treaty your in violation to and then it doesn’t matter than to falsely have the treaty when your found out. in general people don’t do math or track things down. So just as they have asserted for a long while that russia has no military, they don’t take a look at the NEW weapons and systems then figure out the time backwards to when they were working on them, and see what treaties were being violated. Just the same, no one will take the information that will become available in a year or two (maybe less, like the new icbm test), and figure out that in order for situation B to exist, they had to be in violation for most of the time of A.

Given that this has nothing to do with the situation is why its confusing. The arguments as to a shield are valid, but what no one is doing is analyzing all the facts and weeding out the non facts or false statements. Instead they are trying to find a place for every piece of the puzzle real or not. in their hands they have a piece from another puzzle, and it will be a long time before they figure out that that piece of another puzzle doesn’t belong anywhere in this puzzle.


But the Kremlin never ceases talking about the colossal advantage NATO has gained as a result of its new members.

Methinks the lady doth protested too much. Why would the Kremlin do that? Would such constant taking of a position perchance be a means of hiding something else? What if the satellites are not separate? What if they are actually still part of the Kremlin? Then it would be the Kremlin that has the big advantage by having extra votes on its side that are believed to not be on their side. Tactically speaking, such a position insures that the other side thinks that the satellites are independent, because of the constant grousing (and the grousing may lead to even more on their side as we try to even out a scale with a thumb on it). Also tactically it means that our (the West’s) military equipment is in state to be examined and watched and has access to.


The head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs demands the introduction of a general ceiling on the armaments of all the governments of NATO.

All well and good except that the US keeps its pacts, even ones it doesn’t ratify (anyone say salt II), and russia breaks them at will without punishment. One only needs to study the moneies diverted that the US gave Russia to dismantle missiles to stay in treaty. They got the money, super computers, and never destroyed the missiles. But they did build and refurbish their underground nuclear cities, like Yamentau mountain.


The new defining characteristic of Russian foreign policy has become how its exponents do not even try to make plausible arguments.

And socialists in the west make cogent arguments based on logical fact? Duh! Basically the author doesn’t see the concept of saying anything till something sticks. That an argument in real life can be one by many false points and techniques, and that this tactic forces ones opponents to waste days for seconds of assertion!!! It puts the Russians on the offensive, while putting the other who is working by merit on the defensive as they try to meet and work all the lies. Stalin is an angel. Then 200 pages as why he isn’t. Then Stalin had to. Then another 200 pages why he didn’t have to or some such. Stalin was not crazy. Then another 200 pages… Stalin was crazy but it doesn’t matter…

Its busywork for the meritorious and fair debater. They get so bogged down in correcting the misfacts that they get the deciders so mish mashed that they can’t make a cogent argument among all the corrections, and if they don’t correct them, they are seen as fact and can be used as a weapon. This is the difference between argument by merit, and argument to win at any cost by any means. its as if the people thinking about Russia keep switching between an image of X and an image of Y. Y is what they want, and want to believe Russia is, and X is what they really are that’s too nasty to contemplate.

This argument technique is dominated by half truths; a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.


Evidently, the general literally forgot about agreements with the U.S. on the exchange of information and joint control.

Really? Do you actually think they are THAT incompetent? Just because you cant work out an adversaries strategies does not mean he has none or they are invalid.

He didn’t forget, they just never actually intended to follow that protocol, but accept that by agreeing they get us to follow it. duh!

This is why the Russians wrote so much strategic work on how consensus gets them what they want. After all, they agree to call first, we agree to call first. This means that if something happens they get to make an excuse to us and so forth, and if something happens the other way, we get surprised. Who is the third party that insures compliance? no one? Ok, so then there is no insurance as to compliance other than the trust between the west and the KGB. Do you feel better now?

Still, even deploying the phraseology of the cold war, the Kremlin does nothing that the West could construe as a genuine threat. No one is talking about any sort of return to actual military confrontation.

That’s nice… no one talked about it before either, they just did it. Meanwhile they keep falling into one of Russia’s directives to change the perception of the cold war as something the US “won”. The US could not win the cold war, since the cold wars doctrine was containment, not replacement. Given that as the key, there was no way to win, only a way to stalemate or cooperation. Its like putting a nut job in a straight jacket and then after they calm down and cant hurt anyone, trying to take it off to see if they will be good. If not, then you figure the outcome. No one kills their brother; they just put another straight jacket on them and wait. (Meanwhile, the brother in the straightjacket is waiting till the disease the infected him infects everyone and no straight jacket will be needed. Peace defined as no opposition to socialism).


But might one say in all seriousness that Moscow has become an important player in international politics?

Yes! JP Morgan was thought to be a very wealthy man. but when he died, he only had a small amount compared to his contemporaries, and much to their surprise (he had a lot by other standards, but not a lot by the standards of the men that were together at that time).

It was Ford that said “I want to own nothing, but control everything”. In this way, a states strength cant be measured only by GDP or other markers. After all, if a parasite controls a larger beast, how powerful is the parasite? But if you looked at it separately and out of context, would you think it dangerous? That’s the point, and the very purpose in part of Arbatovs desire to remove the IMAGE of the old system.

So Russia strength is not necessarily its capacity for the ability to wage third generation warfare. It’s moved on and did so a long time ago by funding and taking over the creation of neo Islam from the Nazis, and then directing it to the west. In this way, you can’t measure it by measuring the state by itself; you can only measure it in context of the resources available to the state to manipulate (and if they can manipulate the state organs of say the US, then their strength is the strength of US state organs! Not Russian ones). Take a look at a map of the world and color the countries in, and see how many they control or can make do what they want (because of addictions to money, weapons, power, etc).

And so, the little boy with the lollipop got himself a dagger. He has not yet, thank God, gotten himself into a fight.

Really, no fight? Or is the person looking at the wrong dagger?

was the cost to Russia of the murder of Litvinenko, in the course of which half of London was radioactively poisoned?

Nothing. No one cared except some people in state that were made to look bad. if Litvenenko was killed on a cruise ship out at sea, the UK would have washed their hands of it and it would have died. And “half of London” was not radioactively poisoned. Only litvenenko was POISONED, and others were EXPOSED, which isn’t poisoned.


And then not only did Russia refuse to extradite the suspected murderer, Andrei Lugavoi, but secured his election to parliament.

Yup! And why was that? that was to show their other operatives that are out there, that if they do what russia wants, that if things go bad, they will bail them out with heroic options. Granting litvenenko a position that carries diplomatic immunity basically shows that not only will the KGB protect its own and not hang them out to dry, but that it has enough control over the state to do what it wants to make things work.

But the journalists at Time Magazine simply took it as an axiom that Russia’s influence in the world is growing, without even trying to confirm it with facts.

That’s because they know how much a good set of facts can ruin a STORY…


Exactly this speaks volumes about the supposed arrival of an era of “stability”, which according to the American journalists is more important for Russia than truth or freedom.

I have previously explained that since Russia is top heavy in natural resources and not industry, that “stability” is not there best strategic move. If the world was very stable now, more stable than it ever has been, what would the price of raw materials like oil be? if there was great stability, then Africa would be able to sell its raw materials at below Russia’s prices, and wouldn’t need arms from the worlds largest arms maker and seller (Russia with over 20 billion a year in sales). One only needs to look at an aerial map of turkey, and an aerial map of iraq, to see things. turkey is very developed, and so they benefit more in efficiency of business that comes from stability. They would make more on their raw materials in instability, but they make much much more on their businesses that exist in a stable economy and export import than raw materials. So they are willing to have a market price for raw materials since that gives them a market price on what they need, and they can be productive with it.

Iraq, is still comparatively in the dark ages. They are not that industrial, their dependence and success in oil has created a situation where most of the middle east states have stagnated. They make so much so easy with oil, there is no reason to create the second order businesses and so there is no need or loss when things are less stable. If you look at the main businesses in the area, even outside of oil, you can see that a large majority of them have to do or avoid the penalty that comes with instability.

And this false price game also creates a situation where the west pays artificially high prices for what it needs to be productive, while the communist countries sell it for next to nothing to each other. since there are no populations back home of independent and free workers, such games become easy. It allows them to create economic malaise in the US anytime they want to.

That doesn’t sound like the abilities of a very weak state, does it?