Sunday, May 20, 2007

Russia and the Spiral

Russia is always to me one of the most interesting and most paradigmatic countries for examining the Spiral.

I linked the other day to the reunion of Russian Orthodox inside and outside of Russia. Major event.

Now this from Newsweek on the creation of a paramilitary youth gangs in Russia fiercely loyal to Putin. Elements of which are likely involved in the recent cyber war with Estonia.

Recall that Russia was run during its Soviet days by a failed-pathological orange system. That system undercut the blue Russian Orthodox Church. So when Communism fell in 1991, right-hand measures of democracy were indeed installed but the actual spiral-value system fell back to the only place it could: red.

Now the red of the Yeltsin era was pathological, mafia gangster crony capitalism. Putin comes in and pushes for the re-unification of the Russian identity and history. Hence constant parades about defeating Nazis. Putin was front and center (a la a Czar) at the ceremony marking the reforming of communion between the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church.

And he also promotes blue values (Mother Russia) with red self-system (youth paramilitary gangs). While at the same time putting the screws on Ukraine, Estonia, Georgia, and most violently Chechyna. The latter being Muslim and therefore part of the traditional Russian empire over Central Asia. Hence it got the far worse treatment than the Slavic countries to the East who only get computer and economic warfare put on them.

The Estonia debacle is part and parcel of Bush's stupidity to push for a missile defense system in E. Europe. Only further proving that NATO and EU expansion into Eastern Europe is about squeezing out the Russians. What do we expect them to do in such a situation?

It is true that given the chaos of the Yeltsin era there was some opening for democratic orange--and here the colors work great because the move towards modernity classical rule of law next door in Ukraine was the Orange Revolution--and Putin and his crew have shut that down. Including assassinations as we say in Britain recently.

Dissident voices need a place in the West. But statecraft wise, the defense shield has to be scrapped. We got to give the Russians some credit because they are the security holders for Central Asia. Work some economic bargaining so they stop with these ham-handed exploitation via natural gas. And cool it on the anti-Russian element to NATO/EU.

Then we can draw a boundary I think to protect the more Western leaning elements of the former Soviet sphere, i.e. Western Ukraine and Georgia, Estonia.

One state party blue authoritarian governments are the only means to orange classical rule of law. Even if that orange will not be a Western variety of orange. Recall that the Russian blue is Orthodox and therefore stronger in communal structures than Western Protestant individualized Christianity.

In Orthodox theology for example Christ, the second person of the Trinity, has no choice to accept/deny the Father's sending him. That should give you a better sense of the culture and history than anything else.

Unless we understand the place of these one-party states (think Malayasia) we will have red power struggles all over the place. Otherwise an orange fundamentalism will read everything as the retreat of freedom. The markets are expanding and political shifting is always going to take place. There will be ebbs and flows. But the real danger to freedom (as defined as political-social freedom) and certainly security is red.

Just as in the Cold War, the US needs to help foster regional NATO-like security regimes. Asia is the most obvious example. The sheathing of the saber on Russia would be another. And yes as political reality this means a long term strategy of containment which will leave people facing painful realities. That does not preclude support on local levels: NGOs, dissidents, human rights, groups, etc.

The left sold out the Hungarians and the Czechs in the 1950/60s. The right sold out Latin America in the 1980s.

Politics is brutal stuff.

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