Saturday, January 25, 2014

Between Serbia and Syria

With the putschists in Kiev (and in the west of Ukraine) getting more violent, the government is getting wobbly. Surely they know that trying to appease the Empire by tolerating an armed rebellion is akin to letting the sharks have just a little bit of blood?

I still think the escalation of "protests" is a sign of desperation. They've been out in the streets for two months, accomplishing nothing. So they - or their sponsors, more likely - decided to kick it up a notch. Remember, this is "Game of Thrones" thinking at work: you either win (i.e. get power) or you die (politically rather than actually, though if things get out of hand....).

So far, what's been going on in Ukraine is still following the Serbian scenario, as I told RT last night. But unless the protests are dealt with in a firm, yet careful manner, it is entirely possible the next step might be an escalation to something like Libya or Syria: an "Arab Spring popular revolution" that spun off into outright civil war.

I don't think most Ukrainians, even the fanatical Banderists in the west, actually desire an armed confrontation. Play-acting a revolution following a Western script, at the expense of American taxpayers and with Victoria Nuland feeding you cookies is one thing. Getting shot is quite another.

Klitschko, Yasenyuk and Tyahnybok are either playing with forces they don't understand, or don't care how many people get hurt in the process of them seizing power (and then, predictably, proceeding to fight each other). They obviously care not a whit for law - otherwise they wouldn't be breaking it so blatantly - or democracy, otherwise they'd have waited for the 2016 elections. Some "representatives of Ukrainian people" indeed. Unless John McCain gets to define what it means to be Ukrainian these days.

As a footnote, I suppose commenting on events in Ukraine for two months now may technically make me an "Ukrainian affairs analyst", though please note that designation was of RT's choosing, not mine. I run an Institute for Serbian studies; can't help it if Serbian issues are eerily similar to those unfolding in Kiev right now - and for a good reason, because the same power is behind both.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Reek of Inhumanity

The chief problem with the Empire is that it's a sore loser. It isn't capable of building much, or even compelling obedience anymore, but it can certainly still tear things down and create chaos. This past weekend, the "pro-Western" (and that says a lot about the "West") rioters in Kiev, unwilling to admit that their policy of entitled petulance has failed to bring Ukraine into NATO and the EU, have decided to get openly violent. 

I spoke with RT this morning about the events in Kiev. The video is here, and the transcript here

Just to be perfectly clear: this isn't about "freedom" or "democracy". People spouting these slogans don't even know the meaning of words. Neither the EU nor the American Empire are democracies in any sense: one is run by a cadre of appointed commissars, the other by an incestuous political establishment dominating two puppet mainstream parties. And then there is the matter of democracy being antithetical to liberty in the first place, because in an actual democracy all it takes is half the votes plus one to lose your life, liberty and property to the whims of the mob. Remember Socrates?

Kiev rioters say they want "freedom". How is "freedom" having foreign-funded "non-governmental" revolutionaries forcibly depose your elected government? 

The best response to the arbitrary who/whom-ism is a simple role-reversal test. Imagine any of this happening in Washington, or London, or Berlin.  Yes, I know it's incredulous, and that's precisely the point. Russia or China or whoever aren't funding "civil society" front groups to subvert and influence the electoral processes in the US, UK, Germany or anywhere else. They aren't even running counter-groups in places thoroughly occupied by Empire's quisling cult (like Serbia), where much of the population would welcome such interference, however wrong on principle.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, that Saudi-funded "activists" got 10,000 Washingtonians to camp out at the Mall, block the entrances to the Capitol and the White House, and demanding the resignation of Obama and Boehner. How do you think the U.S. government would react? They already have extensive fortifications around government buildings as is; when a Connecticut woman ran a roadblock, back in October 2013, the police gunned her down. And the media painted her as a deranged terrorist (with a baby in the car!). 

It comes down to perception management. Because the Empire has declared itself to be for "democracy" and "freedom" and "human rights" (whatever any of those words actually mean), and it controls the mass media, it's perfectly normal to have government barricades on DC streets and execute private citizens who the police may feel endanger them by existing. But when Ukrainian riot police respond to firebombs, rocks and knives of the violent revolutionaries, that's "repression." Right.

It's perfectly fine for America to have the FARA (passed in 1938) and closely regulate electoral contributions, banning any foreign donations and placing all sorts of limits on domestic ones. But when Russia passes an identical law, and seeks to ban foreign donations to political parties, that's "authoritarianism". Right.

The bottom line is, the Imperial establishment believes the Empire is exempt from all rules and laws - which apply only to others, and even then selectively. But that very belief runs counter to the founding principles of the United States of America, as set out in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. So what "values" are we talking about here? What principles? None. Only power. And as the great Serbian poet Njegos once wrote, "He whose law lies only in the cudgel, has a trail that reeks of inhumanity."

This isn't about Ukraine, or about democracy, or human rights, or "freedom" - it's about having only the cudgel, and the entire world looking like something to beat with it. It's about crushing any thought of there being an alternative to the "end-of-history" West. It's about power. Just follow the stench along the trail.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Christmas Eve

Most of the Orthodox churches worldwide continue to adhere to the Julian calendar (as the Gregorian was established in 1582 by the Roman Catholic church, by then sundered from Orthodoxy for over 500 years). Which means that tonight is Christmas Eve, and tomorrow is Christmas.
Badnjak bonfire (2013)
Serbian tradition has the faithful burning an oak log in their fireplaces (or tossing branches of it on a public bonfire), following the vespers. One scene from the Mountain Wreath, a XIX century epic poem by the great Serbian poet and Bishop of Montenegro, Njegoš, takes place on Christmas Eve:


Bishop Danilo and Abbot Stefan sit by the fire, and the happy monastic students dance about the house and place Christmas logs on the fire.

Have you, children, placed the logs on the fire?
Did you put them crosswise, to our custom?

We have placed them as we should, grandfather.
Handfuls of wheat over them we have strewn,
and we have poured ruby wine over them.

Now give me, too, a glass of good red wine,
and let it be a liter and a half,
that this old man may drink to Christmas logs.

They give him a glass of wine. He gives a Christmas toast and drinks the wine.

ABBOT STEFAN (wiping his moustache)
God's blessings on this joyous holiday!
Bring the gusle over here, my children.
My heart truly longs to hear it playing,
and to sing, too; I haven't forages.
Do not take it as sin, O Mighty Lord!
It is only an old man's old habit.

(The students give him the gusle)

There is no day unless it can be seen,
nor is there real feast-day without Christmas!
I have observed Christmas in Bethlehem,
I have kept it on Mount Athos also,
and feted it in Holy Kiev, too;
but quite apart this celebration stands
for merriment and its simplicity.
The fire's burning brighter than ever,
the straw is spread in front of the fire.
Christmas logs are laid on the fire crossways.
The rifles crack, and roasts on spits do turn.
The gusle plays, and the dancers sing.
Grandfathers dance with their young grandchildren.
In the kolo join three generations,
it seems they're almost of the same age.
Everything is filled with bright mirth and joy,
but what I like best of all, so help me,
one has to drink a toast to everything!

(from a translation by Prof. Vasa D. Mihailovich, UNC Chapel Hill, 1997)