Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On the limits of Putin and his realpolik pragmatism

On July 1, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a speech to Russian diplomats at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow.

Among other things, Putin made this stunningly self-defeating, self-abnegating statement: "Everything that’s going on in Ukraine is of course the internal business of Ukrainian government ..."

I believe that this is the most terrible statement Putin could have made. Worse than the protracted dishonorable "negotiations" of Gazprom over discounts on unpaid gas to the junta that is killing ethnic Russians, antifascists, and dissidents.

I know that a number of people will try very hard to squeeze some hidden wisdom, strategic genius, or some elusive principle out of this. I can't. Not even with the most charitable benefit of the doubt.

There is so much wrong with this one single sentence, including the false or misleading "of course" added to "the internal business" of the fascist government together with the de facto claim that makes the referenda and the people's republics null (nichtoznymi). Is really "everything ... of course the INTERNAL business of Ukrainian government"? The massacres, the killings, the war on everything Russian, and so on and so on? And are the people's republics, the names of which Putin would not even dare to mention so that we should perhaps write "republics" in quotation marks (but again Putin keeps refusing  to even use the word "republic"), also the INTERNAL business of Ukrainian government?

In this regard, the "of course internal business of Ukrainian government" (it is "business"? really?) is, of course, wrong politically, theoretically, morally, ethically, and even in terms of the already prevalent practices in international relations and international law and as far as the prime significance of human rights or the cause of national liberation is concerned.

Putin even forgot that if he holds this position, he is himself undercutting his own argument about Crimea and the legitimacy of the reunion of Crimea with Russia.

In the face of such dithering, there are usually two options left--besides the dishonorable ones: to stand for one's principles and conscience till the end or to return to one's own "internal (personal, private) business"--like housekeeping, gardening, and writing poetry.

Putin also said: "“So far, Petro Poroshenko had no direct relation to orders to take military action. Now he has taken on this responsibility in full." This implies that till yesterday, June 30, Poroshenko had no blood on his hands, which is self-evidently false.

Putin also tried to appeal to the West's sense of "pragmatism." It seems that he views the rise of fascism, the geopolitical project of "Ukraine" and the coup aimed at the very existence of Russia, and the actions of the Banderites in Kiev as a case of failing or insufficient pragmatism and that "pragmatism" is also his own "principled" position. But pragmatism, which some wise men said is the only genuinely American ideology, means to sacrifice principles for "what works"--for what produces the desired effect. And the desired effect (the cipher in the pragmatic equation) is power or wealth or both.

Moreover, while timing for an awful statement by which one is forfeiting one's authority and leadership is always bad, it is even worse to make such statements at the very moment when the Nazi junta in Kiev just used chemical weapons against the people in east Ukraine (as of June 30) and when it just began massive shelling of the cities in the Donbass in a push to clear or "liberate" (as Poroshenko called it on June 30) east Ukraine of all those whom Yatsenyuk, his prime minister, classified according to the old Nazi taxonomy as "subhumans."


  1. With due respects to your analysis and opinion, independent of what President Putin might say or not say, the fact remains on the ground: if Russia takes any military actions before the collapse of the petrodollar, it will not only be suicidal for Russia but for the whole world including China. Russia is trying its best to accelerate the downfall of the US currency. It is not an easy task that can be accomplished in a few days, but unfortunately until that is achieved Russia cannot hope to win a war against the US. It will result in the destruction of millions in this world as against the hundreds that we are painfully losing today.

  2. How the fall of the US Currency can be managed within any useful timeframe seems doubtful to me. What do I know. ... but I do hope there are clever and generous Russians within Russia who are bringing more and more useful stuff, plus volunteers into SE Ukraine. I pray.