Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Short (Relatively) Bypass Or Why I still Have Questions For Putin.

I was working on the continuation (second part among many to come) of the Military Power, when I got sidelined, first by a short, and rather friendly, exchange with one of the users at the Unz Review and then by horrendous cold. I do not post much at all on any of the discussion boards, but this was an exception and it was here, if any one is interested:

The point of exchange was not what Saker, among very many other observers of the Russia's foreign policy and military-political dynamics, described but, yet again, the quality of the so called "elites".  In this particular case, Russian and US "elites". I promised that I will expand on my personal opinion on this matter and here it is--I am "expanding". I will say nothing new or what have not been discussed before but before I delve deeper into the topic here comes my fine print--I really do not like Putin that much.   

While the "western" media salivate, or, rather, vomit bile, on Putin's account and exhibit all signs and symptoms of unhealthy obsession with his persona--why, I will discuss later in this post--I still remain critical of him for his domestic endeavors. Even return of Crimea and of my beloved Sevastopol back to Russia, while softened greatly, did not completely transform my stance on Putin's account in so far as his domestic policies go. There is NO denial that today Vladimir Putin is the most influential statesman globally. In fact, he is a true statesman, not just politician. This fact alone carries a lot of weight in modern world, especially against the background of the so called "western leaders" who are overwhelmingly neither leaders nor western. In fact, most of them are anti-western and all of them, without any exception, are professional bullsh...politicians driven by the principles of the internal politics, while having no principles of their own. This has a name and it rhymes with constitution, revolution...just doesn't come to me at the moment from the top of my head. In other words, I am no Putin's fanboy and I see not only his, undeniably impressive, geopolitical persona but also a man with his own faults and there are few of those. Some of those few had and continue to have a direct, and not always positive, impact on Russia. I do, however, understand that he is not alone on Russia's political Olympus and that he, apart from Russian people, does have obligations to Russia's "elites". I also know well that, unlike me, a consummate arm-chair "strategist", Putin is briefed daily by, probably, the best analytical team in the world. Now that I made my "fine print" presentation--back to the "elites".

Here comes first and most profound difference between Russian and American "elites". I am talking about real Russian elites, not the fringe collection of Russian "pro-democracy", so called liberal, freaks, ranging from Masha Gessen to cretin Boris Nadezhdin, among many--all of them on the payroll of US State Department and other US "sponsored" NGOs. This Navalny, Inc, no matter how popular among US media, are not elites and they represent nothing of consequence for peoples of Russian Federation. Real Russian elites, however, always lived and continue to live in the world in which WAR constantly remains a real possibility for Russia proper. NO American politician, intellectual, military leader, or what have you, ever lived under the constant threat of the conventional war being waged on US territory. As none other than Richard Pipes noted about the  Soviet (Russian) political culture: "whose roots feed on another kind of soil and which has had for centuries to weather rougher political climes."(c)

As I already stated many times in this blog, in fact, one of the major rationales for starting this blog was to write about this phenomenon--US "elites" have no idea about consequences of application of military force. Russian elites do. Back to Pipes, who, unlike me, can not be accused of being a Russophile and has a well deserved reputation of a rabid anti-Soviet and Russophobe "scholar". "Such a country (Russia) tends to....assess the rewards of defense in much more realistic terms."(c) And what are those realistic terms? Here is an example: 

Here is another one:

And here is another one, Serbia--attack on the Slavic Christian Orthodox Oecumene. 
So, here comes the warranted and irresistible question: what can possibly Hillary Clinton, mama's boy Marco Rubio or, ever so tearful, former Speaker John Boehner (8 weeks of service in US Navy), know about war? Or, speaking in political "science" parlance--about application of military force? Well, nothing. Unless, of course, say, Congressional Research Service will do an incredible job and prepare for them a special briefing on how to deal with their relatives being killed, raped and their properties destroyed. Here is the thing--overwhelming majority of the US political class, "academe", especially war-mongering neocon one, and military hawks never served in the armed forces of their own country. Let's take a look at some of the most vocal hawks in US political and  "intellectual" class:

Marco Rubio--not a day spent in armed forces, let alone in actual operations, a lawyer by trade. The fact of him working as an assistant to real war veteran Senator Bob Dole doesn't count as military service. Aggressive interventionist hawk.

Hillary "under the bullets" Clinton--well, no comments. 

Robert Kagan--not a day in the armed forces, "degree" in Peloponnesian War. Neocon, war-monger. 

President Obama--not a day in the armed forces, Harvard lawyer. Convinced that Global Warning is the root cause for terrorism.

Dick Cheney--draft dodger. Political "scientist" by trade. 

John Bolton--lawyer, warmonger. Some service in National Guard, no deployment to Vietnam. Supported Vietnam War. 

So, the pattern emerges, even if to consider some few true armed forces veterans who serve in the US Congress and play an important role in formation of the American political class' views on war. Obviously, the names of warmongers such as John McCain pops up immediately. And so does the name of Senator Tim Cotton. The conclusion, after even brief review of US House Of Representatives armed forces veterans gives the next picture: 80 military veterans of all kinds, including those who served in Reserves, out of 435 Representatives--that is 18.4%.  

Veterans in Congress (114th) 

Here is PBS and PEW Research data for  2010 regarding military service veterans. 

By the numbers: Veterans in Congress

In all, by 2010 only 7% of US population had any relation to any military service. Even fewer (and by a huge margin) ever saw combat or operations which involve serious risk to life. Most importantly, the US losses in all of its conflicts barely form what would be called a national military historic experience. 

Enter Russia. It is not a secret that ALL Russian men of the ages between 40 through 60 (the group from which most of political elites are drawn), unless were given stay of military service due to attendance of the institutions of higher learning (such as Russia's PM Dmitry Medvedev),  served in armed forces. Soviet Union had a mandatory military service (VVO--Vseobshya Voinskaya Obyazannost, Common Combat Duty). Add here the mandatory school subject of NVP (Nachalnaya Voennaya Podgotovka--Initial Military Training) which was making high school students pretty efficient with basic tactics and the use of firearms. Yours truly, as a high school boy, together with my class mates, visited not for once real military ranges, shooting AKMs and AK-74s. This was school program. Military Departments were and still remain an inseparable part of most Russian (not even Soviet) institutions of higher learning. To put it mildly, the pool of people in Russia, from which elites are formed is on several orders of magnitude more aware of the....well..military and what it means. It does not make those people better or worse than their American counterparts, in fact, some segments of Russian political elites are anything but. But fact remains, when dealing with application of military force, considering Russia's combat history....well, let's see:

Vladimir Putin--lawyer by trade but spent most of his life in KGB and headed FSB, before becoming Russia's PM and, eventually, President. 

Sergei Ivanov--Head of Putin's Administration. Linguist, KGB and SVR. Also served as Defense Minister.  

Viktor Ivanov--Former KGB, Afghan War veteran.  Headed FSK.

Even Sergei Shoygu, who replaced hapless and incompetent Serdyukov at the post of Defense Minister, while having civilian engineer background, for years  headed paramilitary EmerCom which does have its own actual military formations.   

Even by today's  Russian "liberal" standards, Russian society would be considered in the US as an extremely "militaristic". From numerous cadet corps, where boys and girls are taught in military environment and feats of heroism of Soviet and Russian people are extolled, to the vast network of military academies, preparing grad and post-grad officers, Russia remains the nation committed to its own defense. Lastly, every family in Russia either lost someone on the battlefields of WW II  or have someone who fought both at front lines or worked in the rear. This reality is incomprehensible for US elites, they simply do not understand the price of war. 

It is a tragedy and a travesty when Ivy League "educated" lawyer or "political scientist"  takes on itself a mantra of a military "leader" pushing for the policies which bring nothing but suffering and destruction to millions of innocent people. Maybe when they will have the pictures of their own homes on fire, their children killed or maimed, their wives raped, when they will have nothing to eat for days or when they will....will they? No. Sadly, the illness progressed so far that it is incurable. This is the level of these "elites".

I'll Fight Putin Any Time, Any Place He Can't Have Me Arrested 
This petulant "scholar", suffering from the small dick complex, is from Brookings Institute. No wonder then what kind of the pseudo-scholar BS is produced by this neocon cabal from Brookings. But forget that, Governor Christie seems to take it even further. 

Chris Christie wants to get in the ring with Vladimir Putin? Knock yourself out, Guv 

This is not funny. It is down right scary, including US Generals calling on killing Russians on network TV. I never heard anyone in Russia calling for killing Americans. I know no Russian officer will allow that and, probably, because Russians know the price of losing someone at war--the experience US was largely spared and that is the problem. Without conditioning of Continental Warfare, without shared historical experience of wars the immature bravado becomes more than just bragging but policy and it is now up to people, who do understand war to prevent it. US "elites" neither want to nor can do it anymore, neither do they understand what war is, even when they write history books on it.  

P.S. I will "like" Putin when Medvedev and his government is gone. It may happen yet. 


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