HEADING BACKWARDS TO SQUARE ONE AGAIN…
(…and much too close to the line for a confrontation that could destroy us all)

The current major NATO exercise going on in Poland seems to be another exercise in saber rattling which can only have us heading backwards to square one again…and much too close to the line for a confrontation the could destroy us all.

It’s been over twenty years since the demise of the Soviet Union, yet we continue to view Russia with a rather jaundiced perspective…as if it’s still not quite ready to be part of the world’s polite society. A perspective firmly rejected by Russia as unjustified. Such mutual tit-for-tat posturing is not only dangerous…it’s stupid as well.

Part of the reason for this is because the main end-product of the Soviet demise allowed most of its Commissar elites, by hook and by crook, to end up as multi-million if not billionaires, from quietly grabbing and looting every formerly state-owned enterprise they could get their hands on for their own benefit (at the expense of the Russian people of course, leaving them to make do with very lean cuisine for those several decades).

Meanwhile, as with all such tectonic upheavals in a society, the mafia-like infighting which followed among those elites ultimately led to one of them ending up at the top of their heap, more or less as the sole authority over the new political structure that emerged from all that. Thus Russia today, while ostensibly re-formed as a new so-called “democratic” structure, is in fact under the authoritarian thumb of its president…Mr. Putin. What most people in the West don’t seem to understand is that such a system works for Russia because it has always had a long cultural history of being governed by some kind of authoritarian rule…as its norm.

The problem we have with Russia today, however, is a resurgence of mutual distrust about each other’s motives for whatever both are doing. The West views Russia’s recent maneuvers and manipulations with Byela Russ, Georgia, and the Ukraine, as a latter-day attempt to restore some form of the old Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe. For their part, the Russians view the eastward extension of NATO (almost right up to its borders with it) as a latter-day version of NAZI Germany’s –drang nach osten – policies…thus an existentialist threat to them.

The reality is that both perspectives are misguided mutual knee-jerk defensive reflexes. And because neither have any inclinations for statesmanship, both prefer instead to engage in futile opportunistic efforts to sooth their respective injured sensibilities about such issues.

 

 

The big question now is: where is the potential statesmanship going to come from to defuse such a dangerous situation? Unfortunately we’re at a loss about how to answer that question.

Since the EU is in total disarray at the moment, it has no leadership that could offer such “statesmanship”. Meanwhile since America also seems to be on the verge of not having any real leadership which could emerge from its upcoming elections; and, is more inclined to disengage from Europe rather than continuing to be pro-active with it, we are left with possibly the greatest irony of all ironies…the only potential leadership source left for such much needed “statesmanship” in this situation may have to come from…Mr. Putin himself. Given his history, however, that’s a bit like expecting Donald Trump to change his manners and style of “negotiating”. Well, perhaps that’s being unkind to Mr. Putin, because he at least obviously has greater intellect and perhaps even a broader vision of the world.

So our only advice we can give here is for everyone to take a number of deep breaths, drop their mess-kits, and repeat after us…Our Father Which Art…etc..

CENTURION