Monday, November 28, 2016

Don't Waste Your Time, Harlan Ullman

No, really, this would have been really funny if not for it being utterly pathetic. Now, after US mainstream media and pundits' utter crushing defeat, Harlan Ullman tries to weigh in on what he pretends to understand--Russia.    

The guy, who, evidently, is very big on doctrine-mongering, frames this "urgent" need in this way:
"As a consequence, it is only relatively recently that greater analysis of Russian intentions has reawakened following the intervention in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, last year's sortie into Syria and Moscow's increasingly harsh rhetoric of intimidation. At the NATO summits in Wales in 2014 and in Warsaw this year, the alliance took military steps to respond to Russian aggressive actions through enhancing deterrence and reassuring allies particularly on both flanks and on the eastern borders. The reality is, however, that these decisions were made less on a thorough analysis of Russian strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities and more on Cold War concepts of responding in kind with military solutions."  

There is a Russian proverb which states that if the person is dead--this is for a long time, but if a person is an idiot--it is eternal. In one sense Ullman is right though. US doesn't have and, arguably, never had any serious Russian study field. Bar some few exceptions, what went under American "Russian Studies" was reduced to pushing some expedient ideas (US "elites" seem to be, unlike Russians, utterly obsessed with GULAG, as an example) and, indeed, was reduced to Kremlinology, not the study of real Russian culture and history. Fact is, Russian history, especially that of the XX century, has been reduced to caricature and memes in which the "culture" and "history" of narrow strata of Soviet/Russian pro-Western dissidents, their "vision" of Russia, very often completely detached from the reality, has been substituted for the real thing. It couldn't have been otherwise, especially in the XX century, where realities of the two European Wars and of the Soviet period of Russian history completely escaped those in grossly overrated American Russia's "academe" and analytic organizations ranging from intelligence to think-tanks. US has plenty of Kremlinologists, what it doesn't have is the knowledge of Russia and, judging by this Ullman's piece, probably will not have it in the nearest future--there is a reason for that of which I will tell later. This little blog of mine for the last two years was documenting an utter failure of all those proverbial US and "Western" Kremlinologists to find their own ass in brightly lit room, let alone forecast or correctly assess the events in and around Russia. Nowhere this utter failure manifested itself more profoundly than in their tedious, unimaginative, incompetent and hubris, or, otherwise, barely hidden complex of inferiority, stricken "analysis" of Russian military. This whole American Russia "establishment" should be fired the same way as everyone in US mainstream media should--these guys helped to bring the United States to the verge of war with Russia. This whole establishment is struck with a disease which prevented and will continue to prevent them from seeing the world for what it is. This disease is American exceptionalism. 

Let's hope that with the new day dawning in the United States after Trump's victory, we all may finally get to the facts, not bullshit of "making own reality", of how world operates and maybe, just maybe, the necessary arrangements for more secure and prosperous world could be made. There is no rational reason for American and Russian peoples (US "state" is a separate matter) to be enemies and if Mr. Ullman thinks that he has what it takes to consult on Russia, he may start by learning real Russian history, culture and attitudes to warfare and maybe he will admit to himself that most of what he knows about Russia is crap. I doubt he will, though. In the end, the guy still thinks that:

"The results of these analyses should be made available in a Wikipedia-type online service in order to inform and expand public debate on Russia. What has singularly plagued the United States in the past has been the failure to understand and gain the knowledge necessary to prevail over an adversary. Vietnam and the second Iraq War underscore the tragic consequences of, as the great Chinese Gen. Sun Tzu warned, "not knowing the enemy."

If he thinks that he is going to fight Russia and win just by learning about her I may only recall Sir Bernard Pares' prescient quote: 
"And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia....This gap has to be filled, or will it cost us dear."(c) It almost did.   

Disclaimer: If anyone will misconstrue this post of mine as some kind of "offering an alternative" on an official level to whatever organization or person--wrong. Not interested, even for a good money. I love my job and down to earth lifestyle and prefer to remain independent in my assessments of the outside world. At least I am not wrong all the time;-) 

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