Arsonist of the World
I don’t know much about Ukraine. One thing I do know is that there was a revolution there in 2014 that was supported by the US, which overthrew a government that was friendly with Russia and replaced it with one that was unfriendly to Russia.
(There’s a whole lot I suspect or think I know about that revolution, and the relationship of the new government to the USA and particular figures within the USA, that isn’t necessarily reliable.)
I just want to contextualise with this, from Moldbug in 2008. A minor problem with his style is that he will throw something very interesting into a much larger piece, and as a result the interesting element isn’t easily linkable. So I’ve just copied and pasted the last chunk out of https://www.unqualified-reservations.org/2008/09/america-vampire-of-world-part-2/
Most of the piece is itself a quotation from Elie Kedourie’s The Chatham House Version. That is the portion in italics below, including the indented quotations within that.
America: vampire of the world (part 2)
MENCIUS MOLDBUG · SEPTEMBER 11, 2008
It could be worse, however. One of the points that Kedourie cleared up for me was the origin of the Armenian genocide. Did you ever wonder why, exactly, the Young Turks decided to murder their Armenians? Did you think it was just because they were evil, or because they were Turkish, or because they didn’t have an electoral college and a bicameral legislature?
Well, all three of these things may be true. But until I read Kedourie, I had only heard two sides of the story—the Turkish side, which is that it didn’t happen, and the Armenian side, which is that it did. History, unfortunately, often comes with far more than two sides:
No means but insurrection: this was clear and it was meant seriously. The leaders of the Armenian nationalist movement had already decided that autonomy was their goal and they thought they had a strategy to achieve it. And these leaders took care that Armenians would not be found to help with the reforms. For it was not in vain that they surveyed the history of Europe from the French Revolution, and not in vain that they meditated on the liberation of Greece, Serbia, Rumania and Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke. They would make insurrection and they would bring the Armenian Question ‘to the front’. Then the Powers would have to deal with it, and if they failed to deal with it according to the desires of the nationalists, why, there were always other means of keeping the Armenian Question ‘to the front’.
The aim of nationalists is clear. It was to create ‘incidents’, provoke the Turks to excesses, and thereby bring about the intervention of the Powers. The British Blue Books of the period before the massacres are full of reports of attacks by Armenian agents or bands on Turks and Kurds, of the distribution of seditious prints, of the discoveries by Ottoman authorities of caches of bombs and arms, of demonstrations organized by Armenians in Constantinople and the provinces. In most cases, the incidents would have no immediate far-reaching consequences, but some of them, either owing to circumstances or to the ill-will of Ottoman officials, led to serious results. In Sasun in 1894, in Zeitun in 1895, the incidents led to armed risings by the Armenians of these localities which were, of course, bloodily suppressed. An outcry was the result, consular commissions were appointed to investigate, and the Armenian leaders had the consolation of knowing that another blow had been struck in the cause of Armenian independence.
The Blue Books also record another class of incident, quite as large as the first, created by the nationalists, but this much more sinister. It seems that the nationalists had to convince not only the Ottoman government and the Powers of the wisdom of satisfying their desires, they had to convince the generality of the Armenian people as well. This must be the explanation of the attack organized by them on the patriarch as he was officiating in the cathedral of Koum Kapou at Constantinople in July 1890, as a result of which he had to resign his office; of a subsequent attempt to assassinate another patriarch in 1894; of the recurrent reports of Armenians executed for being ‘informers’, for refusing to contribute to nationalist funds, for ‘collaborating’ with the Ottoman government. Nor did the nationalists try to hide or excuse these activities. Here is a passage from a revolutionary placard posted in Sivas in December 1893:
Osmanlis!… The examples are before your eyes. How many hundreds of rascals in Constantinople, Van, Erzerum, Alashkert, Harpout, Cesarea, Marsovan, Amassia and other towns have been killed by the Armenian revolutionaries? What were these rascals? Armenians! And again Armenians! If our aim was against the Mohamedans or Mohamedanism, as the government tries to make you think, why should we kill the Armenians?
The Armenians were forced to be free.
What did the Ottoman government have to say to all this? Its attitude was as clear as that of the nationalists: this agitation would have only one result, to invite Europe to meddle again in the affairs of the Ottoman empire. This was not to be tolerated; the Armenians had to desist or they would take the consequences.
And the incidents continued to be organized. In 1897, just after the massacres of 1895–6, and in 1905, there are records of minor insurrections also leading to massacres. And on the eve of the Young Turk coup d’etat of 1908, there was still the same tension in Ottoman Armenia fed and tended by the revolutionaries. This the American ambassador in a dispatch of 5 August 1907 speaks of ‘a considerable degree of disaffection and revolutionary movement on the part of a portion of the Armenian population in the district of Van. Several cold-blooded murders have been committed even in the streets of that city and a certian feeling of apprehension and unrest appears generally to prevail’; and in another dispatch he reports several more disturbances in Van, revolutionaries killing and wounding seventeen Ottoman soldiers, executing a ‘traitor’, and a considerable store of rifles, cartridges and dynamite seized. Later, when the catastrophe was final, complete, irredeemable, the nationalists were still indignant that their methods had had such untoward consequences. They could not understand why salvation was so recalcitrant in coming, why the easy path which the examples of so many European revolutions had promised should have proved so full of vipers and of nettles. The desolate wind of futility blows through the report the Dashnaks presented to the International Socialist Congress in Hamburg in 1923.
Every time that, through the irresistible force of things, the movement of Armenian emancipation expressed itself in revolutionary action, every time that the party of the Armenian Risorgimento tried, at the head of the conscious elements of the country, to draw the attention of the world, by armed insurrections or peaceful demonstrations, to the intolerable fate of the Armenian people, the Turkish government threw the Armenian masses, peaceful and disarmed, to the mercy of its troops, its bachi-bazouks and of the Turkish and Kurdish mob.
There is a surprised air about the statement.
A Nonny Mouse says:
The Ukraine, in its current, post World War 2 manifestation, has two parts. The Southern and Eastern part is Orthodox and Russian speaking, the place of origin of Khrushchev and Gogol and many famous Russians. The Northern and Western part is Catholic, Uniate and Jewish and used to be part of Poland or Austria-Hungary: some of it hundreds of years ago, some as recently as before the 2nd World War. These two sections voted for different candidates, Russia and Western orientated, in the elections: at first the (pro-Western) NW candidate won, but eventually the (pro-Russian) SE one got in. Then there was a coup, in accordance with the prophecy ‘If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it.’ This is the 2014 ‘revolution’ you refer to. The total lack of outrage on the part of the Western Press at the coup or at massacres by Ukrainian Neo-Nazis (referred to by Putin in his speech) should have warned us that something murky was happening. Basically the West or more likely the Americans are pushing the borders of NATO further east until the point that the Russians can abide no more, and has to push them back again.
The problem is that we have no provision for secession and plebiscites. Many countries—Iraq, Ukraine— are so divided that they need to be split up. Both in fact are just accidental areas which came into being after the last two World Wars. However our press, by ensuring that our people have absolutely no idea what is going on in these areas, allow us to continue pursuing a disastrous political policy there.
I should point out that some support for your monarchic theories is given by the case of Iraq. Saddam, a dictator, managed to hold it together by ruthlessly suppressing anything like sectarianism. The Western imposed ‘democracy’ which followed merely gave the power to the largest group within the pre-existing borders of Iraq (the Shia), who then were subject to bombing attacks by the next largest group (the Sunnis). In cases of non-natural borders and ethnic diversity ‘democracy’ only serves to perpetuate the dictatorship of the party responsible for the borders.
It emerged on the news this morning that the Russians are not worried about sanctions; their main concern is the oil-price. The oil-prices are, as a result of these events, soaring. So effectively they are laughing. Equally the Germans and Italians are no more able to switch off their Russian gas-supplies, on which they are totally dependent, than I am able to boycott Scottish Power.
This is the obvious rejoinder to your energy theories. Petrol and Gas are much cheaper than renewable sources, therefore we much use them. However, all the petrol and gas is in the hands of the Russians and Arabs, so we then have to obey them. (However the good news is….At several stages over the past few days over 90% of Northern Irish energy needs came from renewables…This was written after Storm Franklin.) For me this is not a problem. By balancing dependency on the Gulf, Russia and the U.S., we nyootral countries can avoid losing out. It’s only when someone formulates a ‘Western’ Alliance fighting ‘axes of evil’ that problem arise. (Axes is here the plural of axis, not of axe.)
The obvious conspiracy theory is that the U.S. resents competition by Europe in trade and is therefore starting a proxy war and boycott which causes a major hike in Europe’s costs, but not America’s.
A Nonny Mouse says:
Your previous posting ‘Borisland 2044’ described a political development which clearly is never going to come to pass in this jurisdiction, but curiously enough something along these lines has happened in the world, and in a blaze of publicity. Vladimir Vladimirovich inherited a Russia which was so weak and disorganised, and imposed on it such an outstanding order and prosperity, that he is elected again and again without anyone wanting an opponent in power or even being particularly bothered by human rights abuses. What’s a little novichok among friends? By contrast Alexander Boris de Pfeiffel has so consistently got everything wrong that he seems unlikely to make it to the end of this parliament. Whether the Ukraine situation will save him I cannot say: appearing in front of the Union Jack and talking about Putin as a ‘dictator’ gave him a Churchillian splendour which may impress some: but we must remember that Churchill was never actually elected Prime Minister.
I have been looking up the details of the 2014 Ukraine revolution which I could not be bothered to investigate at the time. As already established, Ukraine had elected a president called Yanukovych, who drew his support from the Russian speaking Orthodox worshippers in the South and East of the country. The story of his overthrow can be read in Wikipedia under the rubric “REVOLUTION OF DIGNITY”, but really it was just a coup. Yanukovych had the misfortune that the capital of the Ukraine was Kiev, in the North of the country, so he was vulnerable to putsches by his opponents.
“Protests originally erupted in November 2013 after President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union at a meeting of the Eastern Partnership in Vilnius, Lithuania, choosing closer ties with Russia instead. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov had asked for €20 billion (US$27 billion) in loans and aid. The EU was willing to offer €610 million ($838 million) in loans, but Russia was willing to offer $15 billion, as well as cheaper gas prices. In addition, the EU demanded major changes to Ukraine’s regulations and laws, but Russia did not. Russia also applied economic pressure on Ukraine and launched a propaganda campaign against the EU deal.”
The last sentence in this Wikipedia extract is superfluous. You do not need a propaganda campaign to persuade anyone that $15 billion is better than $838 million.
I now realise that the old saying about truth being the first casualty of war is false. Truth is dead and buried and its testamentary estate has passed through the entirety of the legal appeal system before the conflict even starts. The charge, moronically repeated, that “Russia is seeking to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected government” is without merit: that happened already, in 2014; what Russia is overthrowing is the regime, imposed from somewhere in the West, which somewhere in the West is not willing to commit troops to, to keep in power: the example of Afghanistan shows that, in the long term, this is a waste of resources. So yes, your mention of the Armenians is apposite. It is a mistake to become an outlier for some external power which is not going to back you up.
We are thinking along similar lines — I’ve tried framing the Ukraine issue as resulting from a conflict between the US and Germany over whether the US will have the capability of cutting the natural gas flow from Russia to Germany (mildly convenient to the US as a nice piece of leverage against Russia). Russia could tolerate the puppet government in Ukraine as long as they were going to get the Nordstream pipeline to bypass it, but the US succeeded in pressuring Germany to not go ahead with that, meaning that control over Ukraine became critical for Russia.
The logic of that theory works, but I’m assuming a whole lot of details that I don’t really know anything about, so if there’s any truth in the theory as a whole that’s a huge coincidence and I would be quite surprised.
As far as dependence on fossil fuels, of course Arabs and Russia having a lot is a geopolitically significant fact. The USA recently returned to being the largest exporter, as a result of fracking, but in Europe (including Britain) fracking has been prevented by the Green lobby. How significant the large subsidies that the Green lobby received from Russia are in that happening, I don’t know. The running down of the French nuclear programme and the shuttering of all nuclear power in Germany may also be side-effects of this geopolitical conflict.
Concerning “countries that need to be split up” – there are various advantages both globally and to the countries in question in having small countries, but that is not a justification for Wilsonian Self-Determination. It is not in fact necessary that everyone everywhere love their respective governments, provided the governments in question are capable of effectively ruling them. As you observe, this is more likely to be the case under a monarchical regime.
Truly independent countries are of benefit to the diversity of the world, but breaking country A into A1 and A2 so that A2 can be a puppet of a different empire to the one A is a puppet of doesn’t contribute much to the world. I’m not too against it if it’s convenient and pacifies some people, but the danger is that applying it cures one conflict and inspires three more. Ultimately governmental competence trumps representativeness.
My parenthetical remark in my post about what I “think I know” about the Ukrainian revolution is exactly what you write above – it was a simple Western-driven coup to establish a puppet state. I was making a general argument about the principle of inspiring rebellions against foreign empires, and chose to avoid making potentially controversial claims about recent history, but for what it’s worth my understanding of the events in question is identical to yours.