Monday, October 15, 2018

Alan Davidson: How does Putin see the World?

              Why is Russia our enemy?   Why is Russia America’s enemy?   We know how America sees the world;   but how does Russia see the world?  

              Winston Churchill:   “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia.   It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma;   but perhaps there is a key.

              “That key is Russian national interest.   It cannot be in accordance with the interest of the safety of Russia that Germany should plant itself upon the shores of the Black Sea, or that it should overrun the Balkan States, and subjugate the Slavonic peoples of south eastern Europe.   That would be contrary to the historic life-interests of Russia.”

               “The United States European Command’s military strategy and objective … is to promote American interests from Greenland to the Caspian Sea, and from the Arctic Ocean to the Levant.”

              Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov:   “The question arises:   where is the US, and where is the Caspian Sea?   And where can Russia promote its national interests?   When they say Russia is strengthening her military, remember, we do so first of all on our own territory.”

Population by country in millions

China 1,315, India 1,354, EU 508, US 326, Indonesia 267, Brazil 211, Pakistan 201, Nigeria 196, Bangladesh 166, Russia 144, Mexico 131, Japan 127, Ethiopia 108, Philippines 107 ... Turkey 78.

GDP by country in US billions (IMF)

US 19,391, EU 17,309, China 12,015, Japan 4,872, Germany 3,685,
UK 2,625, India 2,611, France 2,584, Brazil 2,055, Italy 1,938,
Canada 1,652, South Korea 1,539, Russia 1,528, Australia 1,380, … Turkey 850 … Sweden 550 … Finland 237.

Military spending US billions

NATO 2,830, NATO in Europe 2,071, US 716, China 175,
Russia 66, UK 55, France 46, Japan 46, Germany 45, Italy 23,
Canada 21 … Turkey 12 … Finland 6 …  Sweden 4.

Aircraft carriers by country

 USA 11.   China, India, UK, Italy, 2 each.
 Brazil, France, Spain, Russia, Thailand, (Japan), 1 each.

The Man

              Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s mother worked in a factory.   His father was a navy conscript, then a soldier during WWII:   he was badly wounded.   Putin’s father saved Putin’s mother from a stack of corpses.   Putin’s older brother died during the siege of Leningrad.   Other relatives died.

              Millions of Russians have similar stories.   Everyone my mother knew (except one brother) died during the War:   father, brother, nieces, cousins, childhood friends, neighbours, etc..   German soldiers or Galician (Ukrainian) SS burnt her village, and slaughtered every man, woman and child.

              She carried her grief, and her hatred of Poles, for the rest of her life.

              Putin went to ordinary state schools, and then studied law.   He is skilled in sambo and judo, and speaks fluent German and some English.   He attends church frequently.

              Putin was a quietly brave and resourceful young KGB officer.   He entered politics when the Soviet Union was collapsing.

              He loves history.   He loves “Les Rois Maudits”, the French precursor to the “Game of Thrones”.   Putin would like a Russian version, presumably without the foul language and gay sex.

              Putin:   And I would rather disagree with a case he [Obama] made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different.   It’s what makes us exceptional.’   It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.

              “There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy.   Their policies differ, too.   We are all different;   but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

The People

              Russia recognises 185 “nationalities”.   State schools teach in local and regional languages.   There are Orthodox, Buddhist, Jewish and Islamic state schools.   There are many non Russian local, regional and republican governments.

              The Russian Federation has about 111 million Russians, 15 million other tribes, perhaps 15 million migrants from the destitute southern republics and the Ukraine.   In the Far East, hundreds of thousands of Chinese bleed across the border, and do not like filling in tax or census forms.

              Perhaps 4 million Russians live on the wrong side of badly drawn borders in Kazakhstan, Estonia, and Latvia.   Russians were marooned in Riga, Tallinn, Bishkek, etc., when the Soviet Union collapsed.   Some ancient Russian (Ruthenian) villages survive in the Carpathian Mountains of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.

              Rutheni were a Celtic tribe.   Medieval western writers called Russians “Rutheni” or “Rus”.   This is complicated, because the Ukraine now claims these names.  


              Russian history is complicated.    Russian language is archaic and complicated, with many Tatar and Turkic words and idioms.   Russia is complicated.

              Kievian Rus became a nation in 882 A.D., and entered history in 988 when Rus acquired writing, Christianity, and a Byzantine princess.   To the east was the benign Turkic Jewish Khazar Empire.   In the north emerged Russian Vladimir-Suzdal and Novgorod.

              In 1237-40, the Teutonic Knights and Swedish armies invaded from the north and west.   Enormous Mongol hordes invaded from the east.  

              Each little wooden town, with its little wooden walls, resisted to the end.   The Mongols drove survivors to the next town to fill the moat with their living bodies, and built pyramids of skulls outside the smouldering ruins.  

              Half of all Russians died.   Russian resistance, and the brave Polish army, stopped the Mongol advance into Europe.

              Moscow, an unimportant river town, was rebuilt.   Its central location spared it from raids which destroyed possible rivals:   Poles, Lithuanians and Swedes raided from the north and west.   Mongols, Tatars and Turks raided from the south and east.

              Clever Moscovite tsars earned the Khan’s favour, and extended their rule over Vladimir, Novgorod and other towns.   Moscow grew in manpower and wealth.   In 1480, Moscovy drove the Mongols, and their Tatar garrisons, out from Russia.

              Muslim slave raids from the east and south continued to devastate border areas.   Russian girls were popular in Muslim harems.   Russian men were found in French, Turkish and Algerine galleys.

              Dreadful famines, droughts, plagues, and invasions continued.   Crimean Tatars burnt Moscow in 1571.   Poland occupied Moscow in 1610.

              During the Northern Wars 1654 -67, Russian peasants rebelled against Polish rule, Lithuanians rebelled against Russian invasion.   Sweden invaded Poland.   Brandenburg, Denmark, Holland, Austria, Transylvania and England joined the war.

              Poland invaded the Ukraine, burning every village, and slaughtering every man, woman and child.   Cossacks slaughtered thousands of Jews.   The Cossacks begged to join the Russian Empire.   The Tatars joined the Cossacks.   The Ottoman Empire carried off 100,000 Russians and Jews as slaves.   One third of all Russians died, but Russia survived other northern wars into modern times.

Modern History

              Prussian General Blücher, as a warning to Napoleon, said, “I know 1,000 ways to drag the Bear out of his cave.   But I do not know a single way to put him back.”

              Russia is strategically weak, and surrounded by enemies:   a vast land with a relatively small, poor, dispersed population, and few natural land borders.   Its naval squadrons are separated by thousands of miles, are mostly ice bound in winter, and far from open seas.

              Scorched earth (where peasants burn their food and villages, and starve in the forests), distance, winter, and tough resistance, helped Russia to defeat Poland, Sweden, Napoleon and Hitler.

              Russia defeated Napoleon’s huge French, German and Polish armies, and occupied Paris in 1814.

              In the Crimean War, Russia obeyed every ultimatum;   but having assembled their armies and navies, the Allies invaded anyway, and attacked in the White, Black, Baltic, Azov and Far Eastern seas.

              Austria overran the Balkan States, and subjugated the Slavonic peoples of south-eastern Europe, breeding resentment that sparked World War I.   Russia sold Alaska to the United States, and abandoned her trading posts in Hawaii.

              For insight on the differences between Russian and U.S. colonisation of Alaska, read “Anakchak”, available free on line.

Tsar Alexander III made America great

              Tsar Alexander had watched his father die with his legs blown off;   and tried to save Russia by repression, Russification, heavy taxes, and persecution of the Jews.

              This caused widespread resentment.   Mennonites emigrated to America with their Russian winter wheat, and helped to open up the prairies.   The Jewish brain drain helped make England and America great, and deprived Russia of their sorely needed enterprise and talent.  

              The famine of 1891 and the plagues of 1892, were the beginning of the end of old Russia.
              WW I was a disaster.   Battalions armed with sticks were devastated by German artillery.   However, Russia dominated the German-Turkish navy in the Black Sea, and occupied a third of Anatolia;   but waited in vain for the Allies to link up through Gallipoli and the Dardanelles.
              In 1915, Galicians exterminated over 100,000 Ruthenians in the Terezin and Talerhof filtration camps.
              In 1917 a Japanese army of 70,000 men occupied Vladivostok, Chita, and the railway as far as Lake Baikal.
              In 1920, Poland invaded and occupied Western Russia, Galicia (western Ukraine), and Vilnius (the capital of Lithuania).   Poland repressed the Russians and Galicians, and persecuted the Jews.

              Japanese armies invaded Russia in 1938 and 1939, but were thrown out.   British and American generals declared that the Japanese armies were useless, “even the Russians can beat them”.

              Stalin feared a joint invasion by Germany, Poland and Japan.   Then he shot his best generals.
              In WWII, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Romania and Italy invaded Russia.   Japan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Galicia (and Sweden) were also on Germany’s side.   27 million Soviets (mostly Russians) died.

              In 1945, the Soviet Union captured Berlin, Vienna and Budapest.   Finland, Romania and Bulgaria surrendered quickly.   Soviet Russia defeated the powerful Japanese armies in Manchuria and Korea.

              Putin says that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a “tragedy”.   Some republics did not want to secede, but were dumped anyway.   Putin says that the 70 years of communism were “harmful.

Russia today

              In 1945, Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill planned lasting peace in the world, guaranteed by America, Britain, the Soviet Union and France.

              Then Roosevelt died.   Vice President “Give 'Em Hell Harry” S. Truman, after his first meeting with Foreign Minister Molotov, announced that he “gave the Russians a one two, straight to the chin.”

              Against the wishes of nearly all his generals and admirals, Truman dropped the atomic bombs on Japan.   Churchill asked Truman to bomb Moscow.   Truman apparently planned to drop atomic bombs on 15 Russian cities, but did not have enough.   By the time he had enough, the Soviet Union had bombs of her own.

              America emerged from WWII as the sole world power:   immensely wealthy, with immense industrial and military might, and strategically strong, protected by two oceans.   Truman and his Secretary of State Dean Acheson developed the doctrine of American world domination.   They founded NATO, and intervened in Korea and Vietnam.

              President Eisenhower stopped the doctrine of “preventative” nuclear war;   but not the US doctrines of “pre-emptive” nuclear war, or “first strike”, to destroy much of Russia’s civilian population, and destroy the Russian nation, when sure that Russian retaliation is impossible.  

              Russia has only ever considered nuclear retaliation, and nuclear defence against overwhelming conventional invading armies.   Putin has warned, “There can be no world without Russia.”

              The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) 2006 advocated the total global military domination by the United States.    Robert Kagan (husband of Victoria Nuland), Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and others in President George W Bush’s government were members.

              US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter:   Russia is challenging American pre-eminence” and Washington’s “stewardship of the world order.”

              Secretary of State Madeleine Albright:   "If we have to use force, it is because we are America.   We are the indispensable nation.   We stand tall, and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."

              Madelaine Albright:   “Putin has established nationalism to divert Russians from the fact that their country is merely a Bangladesh with missiles.”

              President Obama:   Moscow is nothing more than a “regional power” that “is threatening some of its immediate neighbours, not out of strength but out of weakness.”  His declared greatest achievement was to isolate Russia and trash her economy.

What does Putin see when he peers out from behind the Kremlin walls?

              The Australian New Citizen magazine June 2012:    “As Eurasia’s keystone nation, Russia is the target of a British-run Arc of Crisis along its southern borders.   So-called Colour Revolutions, orchestrated using techniques developed at Oxford University, overthrew the governments of Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan in the past decade.   Vladimir Putin was targeted for the same treatment in winter 2011-12 ….

              “The regime changes of the Persian Gulf wars (Iraq) and the 2011 Arab Spring included attacks on Russia’s allies and economic partners.  

              “Afghanistan, in a chronic state of war since Anglo-American policy promoted Islamist radicals there against the Soviet Union in the 1970s, today is the source of a full-scale Heroin War against Russia, in which over 30,000 Russians die annually of Afghan heroin and five million are drug-users.   Shown in Western and Central Europe and the surrounding seas is the European Ballistic Missile Defence System, created as part of NATO’s eastward expansion.

              “Potentially part of an attack on Russia, it is identified by Moscow as a threat to its sovereignty and a tripwire for war …”

              NATO has advanced right up to Russia’s borders, with battle ready troops and ships.   NATO is widening roads and strengthening bridges, just like Hitler did before invading Poland and Russia.

              America has planted itself upon the shores of the Black Sea, and has overrun the Balkan States, and subjugated the Slavonic peoples of south eastern Europe.  

              Economic blockades by Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine, have forced Russia to spend billions to build three new ports near St Petersburg, and a magnificent bridge to Crimea.

              Ukrainian and American generals have promised to destroy the bridge.

              America has surrounded Russia with 400 medium range missiles in Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Turkey, with nuclear war heads in Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Germany, Korea, Okinawa (and Turkey).

              American ships and submarines carry missiles along Russia’s coasts.   America is deploying “low yield” tactical nuclear bombs to replace conventional air power and artillery.   Japan is rearming, spending billions on American weapons.

              America has lit fires around Russia:   Ukraine, Transdnistria, Moldova, Nagorno-Karabakh, Georgia, Abkhazia, Ossetia, Afghanistan, Syria.   The Mujahidin, al Qaida, Taliban, ISIS, etc, are (mostly) America’s creatures.  

America made Putin great

              America spends more in Russian elections than Russia does.   America got Boris Yeltsin “elected”, destroyed his opponents, and imposed a constitution that gave Yeltsin great power to be used at America’s command.  

              Yeltsin then abdicated, and promoted Putin as his successor.

              In 2012, Vice President Joe Biden ordered Putin not to stand for election.  

              A particular humiliation is Norway.   Russia and Norway have never been enemies.   Their border was established in 1326.   The Soviet Army invaded Norway in 1944, drove out the Germans from the north, established Norwegian government in Finnmark, then left.

              Now German and American troops regularly drill in Finnmark, to defend Norway from Russia.

              America ignores the Geneva Convention (prisoners of war), Peace of Westphalia 1648 (non interference), Montrose Convention (foreign navies in the Black Sea), and the Vienna Convention (diplomats).

              In 2016 and 2017, America ransacked Russian consulates, diplomatic retreats and trade missions in San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, New York and Maryland, and raided diplomats’ homes, holding diplomats and their families at bay

              In 2016, America expelled 12 Russian diplomats (“spies”) from the United Nations, and effectively stopped the UN Russian translation service.   The poor quality muddled sound when the Russian ambassador is speaking is deliberate.

              America controls access to the United Nations in New York, and frequently stops re-entry of Russian diplomats, wives and children, at the airport.   In 2018, Heroes of the Maidan, in Ukrainian military uniform, bullied the Russian ambassador in the corridors of the U.N. building.

              America controls the news, the internet, and all sorts of international bodies.   Secretary of State Zbigniew Brzezinski:   "Shortly, the public will be unable to reason or think for themselves.   They'll only be able to parrot the information they've been given on the previous night's news."

              The CIA pushes tons of heroin from Afghanistan into the Asian republics and Russia.   The Ukraine pushes cheap, “safe” synthetic drugs into Russia to fry the brains of Russian teenagers.   Russia blames serious outbreaks of African Swine Fever and Crimean Congo Hæmorrhagic Fever on the American biological warfare laboratory in Georgia.

              American policy in Syria is to kill as many Russians as possible.   ISIS lobbed shells into Russian field hospitals, killing Syrian patients and Russian doctors and nurses.   A single guided missile fired from 140 km away killed a Russian general.   A surprise American air and artillery attack killed perhaps 200 Russian irregulars

              What does Putin do?   He pussy-foots around trying not to hurt any Americans or Turks (French or British).

The Future

              Russia has some spectacular new weapons, but not enough money to make them.   Russia is resurrecting, cannibalising, and modernising her “heaps of rusting junk”:   grotesque 1950s propeller driven Bear bombers, eleven 1980s Tupolev 160 jet bombers, about 2,000 T72 tanks.   A decrepit little aircraft carrier (followed by two tugs) limped around Europe into the Mediterranean, where two planes fell off into the sea.   (It is back home under repair.)

              Few of Russia’s navy ships are in service.   The navy is mostly a coast guard of little ships, a couple of cruisers, and some old nuclear submarines.

              America relies on massive aerial bombing.   Russia relies on artillery and rockets.

              Secretary of State General Colin Powell:   “Russia isn't going to start a war.   They can't afford it.   I think Mr. Putin can be dealt with if we stop screaming at him.   You can work with the guy.   You just have to know who he is.”

              CIA Colonel Edward Lansdale:   “There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination.   There is only one way to control a territory that harbours resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert.”

              Democrat Gore Vidal:   “The Pentagon talks about our power to 'overkill' Russia ten times, twenty times, perhaps forty-eight times.   For my tax money, it is sufficient to overkill them once.”

              John McCain:   “Russia is our adversary and moral opposite.   It is committed to the destruction of the post-war, rule-based world order built on American leadership and the primacy of our political and economic values.”

              English Marxist Martin Jacques:   “The starting point for understanding the deterioration in the relationship between the U.S. and Russia lies in Washington rather than Moscow.   After 1989, Russia was a defeated power.   Despite the fine words and some limited gestures, the Americans have treated it like one.   Their policy has been one of encirclement.”

              There is a time when even a timid coward is pushed too far, and must react.   There may be a time when Russia feels that her very survival is threatened.   Putin is no coward.  

              Putin is getting old and tired.

Russian jokes

1.           Why will there never be a regime change in the US?    Answer: Because there is no US embassy there.

2.           The KGB, the FBI and the CIA are all trying to prove that they are best at catching spies.   The UN Secretary General sets them a competition:   each of them has to catch a rabbit, which he releases into the forest.

              The CIA go in.   They place cameras and animal informants throughout the forest.   They interrogate all animal, plant and mineral witnesses.   After two years of extensive investigation, and millions of dollars, they conclude that the rabbit does not exist.

              The FBI go in.   After two months with no leads, they napalm the forest, killing everyone, including the rabbit.

              The KGB go in.   After two hours, they drag out a badly beaten bear.   The bear is crying, "Okay! Okay! I'm a rabbit! I'm a rabbit!"

Alan Davidson: I am an aging baby bomber, born in Egypt, where both my mother and my father were in Montgomery’s Eighth Army during WWII.   My mother was Russian, my father was son of a Scottish district officer in Ceylon and a local “Portuguese” woman. My main hobby for the last 55 years has been reading thick history books.   I have a good high school education.   (Didn’t everybody in the 1950s and 60s?). I am an avid reader of Dr Muriel Newman’s newsletter, and I am impressed by the high quality of the articles.

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