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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Gab@StFerdinandIII - Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Islam, the State, the cult of Gay and Queer, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, 'Science', Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion....a nice variety for the human-hater, amoral, anti-rationalist to choose from.  It is so much fun mocking them isn't it ?

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

An important potential alliance – with Russia?

Could it ever happen?

by StFerdIII



Russia and Russian history has little in common with the 'West'. This does not necessarily mean however, that a Russian alliance is impossible or not desirable. Even given Russian autocratic and oriental tendencies, there is still much profit to be made from allying with Russia against the two most prominent future threats to civilisation – China and radical fascist Islam. At some point such an alliance might become an imperative, not a convenience.

When looking at Russia and its history some key facts are apparent which shape Russia today. These elements must be understood in order to comprehend Russian self-interest and nationalism. Russia is an oriental power, shaped and challenged by the West.

A first and decisive element in Russian nationalism has been the power of the Orthodox church and this is little appreciated in the West. Most Russians are in some way spiritual and in part supportive of a strong Orthodox church. Greek or Russian Orthodox clerical power was a decisive element in shaping Russia's culture and historical path and it was the Orthodox church who maintained the singularity of Russian fate – that Russia was the defender of all Christendom against the Mongols, Tartars, and Turks.

Russia was proclaimed the new or Third Rome after 1453 when the Turks took Constantinople and it seemed that only Russian power would check the remorseless Muslim advance in the east. And so it was to pass, that Russian preoccupation with the trading routes around the Crimea and the Black Sea, necessitated military campaigns against the voracious Muslim Tartars and the Turks. First under Peter and than under Catherine, the Russians defeated and then humiliated the Muslims taking control of the Crimea, parts of eastern europe and the Black Sea.

This counter-jihad against the Turk and their Muslim allies, was fueled by motivations of profit and trade, but it was sanctioned as a moral duty by the Russian Orthodox church. This ritualised, constrained and deeply conservative schismatic church helped shaped the Russian mind and soul. The Russian church never experienced the reformation, the religious wars, or the multitude of sects and interpretations which were to divide and fragment the Western church and Western polities. As with all things, the Russian church has nothing in common with its European cousins, but it is essentially and unscrutably very Russian.

A second element of Russian nationalism, is the struggle with the 'East'. Russian governance, politics and culture in large part spring from the Mongol domination of Russian lands, which lasted for 200 years. The two centuries of Mongol occupation and tributary status, only thrown off in degrees first by Ivan III and then by Ivan the IV or the Terrible in the early 16th century, left indelible impressions upon the mind and inner spirit of the Russian spirit.

After Ivan the IV broke the Muslims at Kazan on the Volga, the entire European plains stretching from the Urals to the Polish border was open for Russian domination. The huge river systems of European and near Asian landmass were to be occupied – forever – by Russian imperialism and extant power. Never again would Russia be 'European'. Shaped and formed by its struggle with first the Mongols and then the Turks, the Russian state would face East, until Asia north of Chinese power, was conquered, and even Alaska was settled.

By 1800 the Russian 'Eastern' question was largely settled. Russian imperialism was supreme in north Asia. But the third great aspect of Russian nationalism was also apparent at this time, and it was the Western question of the Lutherans and the Catholics – namely the Swedes, Germans and Poles. Starting with Peter the Great, Russian self interest mandated that it mimic Western economics, trade and scientific practices. This meant that Russia had to have a window or a link with the West.

Peter the Great's successful and very bloody wars with Charles the XII of Sweden secured for the Russians access to the Baltic and the Nevksy river which flows into the Baltic. At the mouth of his river Peter built St. Petersburg named ostensibly after Saint Peter not himself. It was this city which had contact with the West which would during the reign of Peter, helped to shape and reform Russia. But not even Peter could fully change Russian culture, mores or history. Western reforms in industry, society, education, business and trade and especially in the military were profound, but shaped to fit quintessentially Russian concerns and attitudes. Russia might face West but it was not Western.

Since the days of Alexander Nevksy's victory in 1242 against the crusading Teutonic knights at Lake Chedoe, large parts of Russia had been invaded, sacked, and occupied by Germans, Swedes, Poles and Lithuanians. Given the lack of natural barriers in the West, Russian preoccupation was to expand West, to put as much land and distance between Moscow and the major Russian trading centers in the heartland, as possible with the centers of crusading power in the West. The same held true for the south. Even into the early 19th century Muslim raids from Turkish lands were capturing thousands of Russian Christian slaves and razing and depopulating whole districts.

Such concerns were obviously when the fascist butchers Napoleon and then Hitler devastated in failed attempts, huge tracts of Russia. Napoleon probably killed over a million Russian's and Hitler's war ended up with 7 million dead Red Army personnel, and 21 million dead civilians. It in this context that the Russians don't trust Western designs. In the Russian mind, the West is a combination of greedy imperialist powers, easy to invade, and rather tardy to help Mother Russia.

It is still taught in Russia today that the Russians single handily defeated Hitler and that the British and Americans wanted the destruction of Russia to first occur, before they smashed Hitler's regime. This is utter nonsense of course and dismisses the obvious fact that without Anglo-American aid and support Russia would have fell to Germany in 1942. The British opened up fronts in Greece and North Africa; British bombing raids severely disrupted German war production and diverted the Luftwaffe at a critical point in the war; and Anglo-American supplies literally kept Russia afloat during the critical period of the Nazi invasion. But such is the Russian mind, that they and they alone won the war.

After a resounding and crushing defeat in the Cold War, it is fair to ask, what does one do with such a defeated power as Russia? Russia is now again a KGB-Oligarchical dominated state, which thanks to oil and gas money is now richer than at any time in its history. Yet the old habits remain. Strong man rule, an energy company running the state; limited freedoms; and excessive nationanlism and demonisation of the West. Can this ever change?

It will only change when 4 things occur:
1. A new generation of Russian middle class aspirants and monied families demand real democratic and institutional change. Luckily for Russia, under Yeltsin – the now much vilified and unfairly treated precursor to Putin – a viable constitution, a Western based court system, and a government with some checks and balances was set up.

2. The West makes it clear that Eastern Europe is to be a shared area of power. There is no point in incorporating the Ukraine for example into NATO. This only antagonises old Russian fears. It is much better to have cooperative joint miltary and political mandates, shared with the Russians, so that the historical and present fears of the Russian state are minimized over time. Russia is a post-great power state, and unduly taunting it, serves no purpose.

3. The West engages Russia about Islam and radical fascist elements therein. The Russians also have a Muslim problem. Out of 140 million Russians, 30 million are Islamic. Muslim terrorists are still a threat to Russian interests in the south and some areas of Russia along the Volga and in central Asia, are Muslim dominated [an example is Tartarstan and Kazan]. The US and not NATO with its useless European baggage, needs to set up with Russia a working group designed to coalesce US-Russian interests against this threat. Russians have historically been subject to eastern attacks and depradations. The Kremlin knows that radical Islam is as much a threat to their survival as it is to Western continuity.

4. Improved trade. We need oil from non Muslim sources and Russia has it. Why not design ways to get this oil to our markets and thereby enriching both sides with price and delivery guarantees? Again this has to be a US led initiative, since no one should trust the Europeans to set up something which works, or is rational.

An open alliance with Russia is a monumentally difficult task, but extremely worthwhile. Russia is a Christian state, a quasi-European power with orientalist leanings. It is rich, strong and has great potential. We need allies, and even though you can never fully trust the Russians, it does not mean you can't work with them. If you understand their history and their concerns and shape those to the current international relations environment there is a great chance of some success. The Russians need the West and the West needs a strong Russia. A win-win alliance is possible.


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