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Monday, April 07, 2008

EDITORIAL: "Russophobia" and its "Critics"


"Russophobia" and its "Critics"

It's rare to see the Europeans outfight determined enemies and seize such a one-sided victory as they did last week in Romania at the NATO summit. Not only did Europe admit two new countries from the former Soviet bloc into NATO's protective embrace, not only did it unify behind the American proposal to arm the whole of Eastern Europe with a defensive missile shield that would dramatically undercut the potency of Russia's IBCM strikeforce, not only did it have Ukraine and Georgia jubilant over firm guarantees of future NATO admission that were more than they dared hope for, but Europe managed it all while checkmating Vladimir Putin on the PR front, denying him any justification for his threatened boycott of the event. He came crawling to them despite it all, just like a trusty pooch.

Given all this humiliating failure, it's not at all surprising to see the scurrying cockroaches of russophilia issuing forth at their Master's command like Orcs from Mordor, desperately seeking to rationalize and cloak it. Hence, last week we saw the repugnant Peter Lavelle screeching ludicrously in the Moscow Times, and later in the week there was more mendacity in store on the paper's pages. Truly, the juicy cherry on top of this rich sundae of defeat for Putin is witnessing the pathetically lame character of his defenders. We just can't seem to wipe these silly grins off our faces. It's been a good week to be La Russophobe. Weeks like these, we almost feel we should be paying for the privilege of putting out this blog (you didn't see that, K.Z.!).

Last Thursday's edition of the the paper carried an op-ed piece by one Andrei Tsygankov, identified as associate professor of international relations at San Francisco State University. It's always obscure places you've never heard of and can hardly believe exist, like "San Francisco State University," that seem to produce the wackos who will seek to rationalize Vladimir Putin's Kremlin.

Let's poke fun at this malignant, evil little moron, shall we?

Professor Tsyganokov's employer, SFSU, has a pretty unimpressive website that looks like it was cobbled together by a troop of drunken apes. It explains that it's one of 23 schools operated by the State of California and boasts moonbat actor Danny Glover as an alumni. It has about 20,000 full-time undergraduate students, 94% of whom come from California.

If you Google him, you can find his professional website and his disturbingly weird photograph, at left (he actually looks carcinogenic, doesn't he? bet you can't stare at him for more than ten seconds without getting the creeps!). You'll learn that he's Russian, with a degree from Moscow State University and a PhD ten years later (eight years ago) from USC. For some reason, he chose to stay in the United States after completing his degree rather than return home to Russia and dispense his illumination in that Putinite Paradise. But really, you can find out all you really need to know about him with a simple Google search that will tell you he's great pals with that loathsome reptile and Russia Today collaborator Lavelle.

He lists prior publication of his "analysis" in such forums as "Asia Times, Johnson Russia List, Korea Herald, Los Angeles Times, and Russia Profile." Not surprising to find a Russophile like this spewing out his dreck on the pages of Kremlin-controlled Russia Profile, we must say, and bragging about getting your stuff on the JRL and in the Korea Herald and Asia Times bespeaks a non-entity. Strangely, when we searched through his list of publications, we didn't find any entry for the Los Angeles Times. So we tooled over to the LAT's website and slugged the good Professor into their search engine. Turns out there was one piece eight years ago. Woo-woo.

The upshot is that he's a garden-variety, drumbeat Russophile, telling us how Vladimir Putin is oh-so reasonable, really he is, and you've just got to give him a chance and get to know him, really you do, and then everything will be just fine.

So let's review his "argument" point by point and help him look even more ridiculous than he already does.

You know he's a real weasel because, while lecturing us "russophobes" about the error of our ways, he never pauses for a single second to ask whether his own russophilia might be in any way negative -- nor does he ever ask what Russians might have done to justify foreign hostility.

You know he's not a scholar because he makes no attempt to define his key term, "russophobia" -- and indeed it's easy to question his scholarship merely because he chooses to use that term rather than a more appropriately scholarly one. It really makes him seem more like a Goebbelsian propagandist, doesn't it?

First he states: "U.S. politicians can hardly claim that they know a lot about Russia. Unable to even pronounce names of Russia's leading politicians, many in the U.S. establishment are nevertheless convinced of Russia's inherent propensity to violate its own citizens' rights and bully other nations." Hillary Clinton flubbed Medvedev's name once. And based on this, this so-called "political scientist" concludes that no American leader can pronounce any Russian bigwig's name. See, this is why this guy is working at a place like SFSU. Basically, he begins his call for the absence of personalized attacks on Russians with a personal attack on Americans. And he finishes with one too: "Winston Churchill once commented that U.S. politicians 'always do the right thing in the end. They just like to exhaust all the alternatives first.' If this indeed is the case, we will not see a framework for meaningful cooperation with Russia any time soon." In other words, we're a nation of morons. Thank goodness we have an enlightened Russian among us to educate us.

Nice, huh? Think he commented on how much Putin and Medvedev really know about the United States? Think again. Think he asked how many American associate professors are on staff at Russian state universities, teaching Russians about politics? Dream on.

Next, he writes:

The attacks on Putin and President-elect Dmitry Medvedev are widely supported in mainstream U.S. media. This demagoguery also extends to scholarly publications, such as "The New Cold War" by Edward Lucas, who claims that "Russia's vengeful, xenophobic and ruthless rulers have turned the sick man of Europe into a menacing bully." Just published, the book is getting a lot of publicity and is treated as a serious treatise by influential organizations, such as the Council on Foreign Relations.

Gosh. Sounds like he's a bit jealous of Edward's "publicity," doesn't it? The great reviews Edward has received around the world probably don't do much for his ego, either. We put it to you, dear reader, that no reasonable person can seriously question the application of the adjectives "xenophobic" or "ruthless" or "vengeful" to Vladimir Putin, and that this slanderous attack on Edward should disqualify this nasty little troll from employment at any American university. And let us ask you, dear reader: If the Kremlin had written this paragraph, how would it have been different? Should we really be trusting this Russian to tell us how to safeguard our security against Russia? Would that be wise?

Then there's this:

Despite the anti-Russia rhetoric, many U.S. politicians feel that Russia doesn't matter in the global arena. Instead, they are preoccupied with other international issues, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. But Russia should matter, particularly in a world of new security threats and growing energy competition. The attitude of ignorance and self-righteousness toward Russia tells us volumes about the U.S. unpreparedness for the central challenges of the 21st century.

The signal hallmark of the Russophile yahoo is that he can't make up his mind. Which is it, "professor"? Is Russia being ignored, or hated? Only very little children try to have it both ways. Scholars are supposed to be able to make up their minds. This guy must be murder in an ice cream shop.

Then he really goes of into the stratosphere:

Russophobia's revival is indicative of the fear shared by some U.S. and European politicians that their grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites may not succeed if Russia's economic and political recovery continues.

So get this: It's crazy "russophobia" to believe that Russia is trying to use energy as a weapon, notwithstanding the fact that that the country is governed by a proud career KGB spy. But it's perfectly scientific to believe that the U.S. and Europe are doing so. Logic of this kind really makes you stop and question your russophobia, doesn't it?

Here's the sine qua non:

One Russophobic group, exemplified by McCain, includes military hawks or advocates of U.S. hegemony who fought the Cold War not to contain the Soviet enemy but to destroy it by all means available. The second group is made up of "liberal hawks" who have gotten comfortable with the weakened and submissive Russia of the 1990s. They have an agenda of promoting U.S.-style democracy and market economy. The fact that the Soviet threat no longer exists has only strengthened their sense of superiority.

He's saying that both liberals and conservatives agree that Russia is a threat to Western security and values -- and both of them are crazy, and we should listen to the KGB spy who runs Russia, because he's right about everything and would never lie to us.

They smoke some pretty impressive wacky weed out there in Frisco, don't they now?

He tells us that if Eastern Europe is worried about Russian aggression, it is insane -- but if Russia is worried about Western European aggression, it is only expressing rational and legitimate concern.

Then, you have to hand it to him, he finishes with a flourish:

Russophobia is not in U.S. national interests and is not supported by the American public. Various polls demonstrate that Americans do not agree with the assessment that Russia is a threat to the United States' values and interests. A recent BBC World Service poll revealed, for example, that 45 percent of Americans have a mainly positive attitude regarding Russia's influence in the world, compared with 36 percent who have a mainly negative attitude.

He seems to have forgotten that he started out by condemning Americans for their ignorance about Russia, so it's hardly possibly now to tout their informed approval of Russia. But this kind of ridiculous, embarrassing duplicity and hypocrisy has never stopped the Soviet propagandist in the past, so no reason to start being reasonable or consistent now.

Citing the poll is a classic example of the type of mendacity that characterizes these neo-Soviet propagandists, it's the mother of all straw-man arguments. If polls showed that 100% of Americans were hostile to Russia, then he would simply say that they must be reeducated. His implication that if a majority of Americans supported a crackdown against Russia then he would to is so dishonest that it's unworthy of any accredited American university to employ such a person.

And his dishonesty doesn't end there. That same poll showed that "views of Russia are predominantly negative in all European countries polled except Britain." The "professor" ignores this. More than a third of Americans had a "mainly negative" view of Russia, a figure that had not changed from the prior poll. The "professor" ignores this too. And most of all, he ignores the fact that the poll showed a majority of Russians had a strongly negative view of the United States, while only a tiny fraction were positive -- yet he's asking the U. S. to make conciliatory gestures towards this nation by which it is despised, asking us to trust him that if we do Russia won't take advantage but will simply stop hating us. That's the strategy Chamberlain urged in dealing with Hitler.

The good "professor" then complains that "thousands of reports in the mainstream U.S. media implicate the Kremlin and Putin personally in murdering opposition journalists and defected spies. Only a handful of reports in less prominent outlets question such interpretations." The only conclusion this "scientist" can reach is that the small group is obviously right and the large group is obviously wrong. He ignores the fact that it's not only the media that has blamed Putin for the Litvinenko killing, but Scotland Yard. Britain has indicted a man who is accused of being a Kremlin operative, and of using a rare radioactive poison made in Russia to commit the murder -- and Russia has not only refused to extradite that killer but has elected him into the Duma.

The "professor" forgets to tell anyone about any of that. Kind of makes you wonder what else he might be forgetting to mention in his classrooms.

Throughout this entire screed, not one single word about any mistake Russia might possibly have made in any of its policies during Putin's term in office. Not a word about Russia buzzing the U.S and Britain with strategic bombers though neither is doing the same to Russia. Not a peep about Russia's barbaric attempts to interfere in the domestic politics of Estonia, Ukraine and Georgia. Not a single syllable about the recent statement by a Russian general that Russia wouldn't hesitate to be the first to use nuclear weapons in battle. Not so much as a phrase about Russia's jailing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, drafting of Oleg Kozlovsky, exile of Natalya Morar.

This scary little bald weirdo sits in his comfy repose in San Francisco, far from any of Russia's risks, and lectures us on how to conduct our foreign policy with a country whose security is obviously far more important to him than ours. Care to take a guess how many such persons are employed by Russian universities?

Yup, the number is the same as this maniac's IQ.

FOOTNOTE: We did something we almost never do in cases like this, namely we wrote to Professor Tsyganokov and asked him to respond to some of our concerns. We specifically asked him to defend what we view as his straw-man argument regarding the opinion poll, and we asked whether he'd ever written anything in the Russian press calling on his countrymen to be more reasonable towards America. We also asked whether he could refer us to an American with "associate professor" status at Russian state university who was teaching Russians about politics. His response? Total silence. This is what happens when you try to go the extra mile with a russophile.

Scraps of Moscow rips this idiot several new ones as well. Nice work there, Lindy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

lavelle's a loser, a liar, a whore---he'll tell any lie for money. worst of all he knows he lies, and does it just the same. he'll say anything to keep his job, anything.
he's a sad and pathetic man who deserves not our attention, but our pity.
---"bow down and kiss the hand that feeds you, and may history forget that you were our countrymen" S. Adams