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25 February 2016

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Patrick armstrong

Theargument that, as it has turned out, it was teh West that "lost" the Cold War. http://russia-insider.com/en/surprise-west-lost-cold-war/ri3020

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

As I explained above: Win means that one finds oneself standing at the end of the day.

Babak Makkinejad

No doubt, USSR had very many internal problems that contributed to her demise. But she is no more and US is still around. So, at the end of the day, US won.

I think admitting that US won does not necessarily mean one is approving of her methods or what followed after 1991.

Laguerre

"USSR was not a colonial empire"

Of course the USSR was a colonial empire. Are Uzbeks or Kazakhs Russian? No of course not. Nor did they agree to being conquered. The USSR just pretended that it was not colonial. The only unusual aspect was that those countries bordered Russia, rather than being on the other side of the world.

So the Soviets raised the standard of living in the Baltic States, did they? Well the British said that about India too.

MRW

Oh. Yeah...forgot about that beaute. Love it. Make me laugh every time.

Rd.

SmoothieX12 said in reply to Babak Makkinejad...

“In the end, Marxism-Leninism simply ran its life-cycle and was discarded by none other than Russian (Soviet) people themselves, without any influences from the outside “

Atleast the Russians/Soviets saw the reality of their own time and space. Who in the west/US can see thru the reality/limitations of this robber baron run oligarchy and its full spectrum dominance dogma? One may suspect, the later may be far more painful and damaging, if not self corrected soon enough.

Babak Makkinejad

My understanding of the word colonialism has been that it entails the practice of acquiring political control over another an area, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

While the first condition applies to USSR - and indeed the Russian Empire - the second and third one's do not apply.

USSR lost money on Central Asia, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova and possibly the Baltics as well.

Some Colonial Empire...

And here is what that old revolutionary, Carlos Marx, wrote about India:

"Now, sickening as it must be to human feeling to witness those myriads of industrious patriarchal and inoffensive social organizations disorganized and dissolved into their units, thrown into a sea of woes, and their individual members losing at the same time their ancient form of civilization, and their hereditary means of subsistence, we must not forget that these idyllic village-communities, inoffensive though they may appear, had always been the solid foundation of Oriental despotism, that they restrained the human mind within the smallest possible compass, making it the unresisting tool of superstition, enslaving it beneath traditional rules, depriving it of all grandeur and historical energies. We must not forget the barbarian egotism which, concentrating on some miserable patch of land, had quietly witnessed the ruin of empires, the perpetration of unspeakable cruelties, the massacre of the population of large towns, with no other consideration bestowed upon them than on natural events, itself the helpless prey of any aggressor who deigned to notice it at all. We must not forget that this undignified, stagnatory, and vegetative life, that this passive sort of existence evoked on the other part, in contradistinction, wild, aimless, unbounded forces of destruction and rendered murder itself a religious rite in Hindostan. We must not forget that these little communities were contaminated by distinctions of caste and by slavery, that they subjugated man to external circumstances instead of elevating man the sovereign of circumstances, that they transformed a self-developing social state into never changing natural destiny, and thus brought about a brutalizing worship of nature, exhibiting its degradation in the fact that man, the sovereign of nature, fell down on his knees in adoration of Kanuman, the monkey, and Sabbala, the cow."

Laguerre

"Theargument that, as it has turned out, it was teh West that "lost" the Cold War."

There will always be some who claim that, as a result of the West's subsequent follies. Not me though. The West made a mistake in thinking that that it had "won". You don't win a war, you gain a temporary political advantage, which you have to convert politically into what you want. If you demand the impossible, the war advantage will evaporate. That is what happened with the US.

kao_hsien_chih

I think the West "won" the Cold War as much as the Entente Powers "won" World War I, except even less so.

At the end of World War I, Germany was "defeated," but not really. The Entente Powers had no means of forcibly imposing its will on Germany because the German power was not really broken--it just collapsed under its own weight. Britain and France did not really have the will or ability to go all the way and "break" Germany by themselves and did not trust United States to cooperate with their designs. So they could only compromise with the Germans, except fraudulently--by treating Germany as "defeated" without actually having defeated her themselves.

Somewhat the same problem with Russia after the collapse of USSR. USSR laid down its arms, in a sense, much the way Kaiser's army did. They were not beaten, certainly not by Americans. USSR was falling apart in a manner perhaps not unlike German in 1918 and continued state of "semi-hostility" was not possible. The situation was even stranger than World War I since, despite the rivalry and hostility, there was no real "war" as there was between the Entente and the Germans. So the same fraudulent relationship: treating Russia as if a defeated country, without having actually defeated Russia--at least not directly with the application of American power.

If there was going to be a reset, that had to be done in late 1980s or, at latest, 1991. The whole idea of Cold War and the question of who won or lost had to be wiped out in its entirety and the relationship reestablished on basis of complete equality. But I don't think United States has treated other countries as equals for decades, let alone a seemingly "defeated" power. All of what transpired, in retrospect, could only have been avoided only with superhuman determination and perspicacity which most humans lack.

Laguerre

"My understanding of the word colonialism has been that it entails the practice of acquiring political control over another an area, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically."

Your definition sounds about right, though the settlers may not be important, as in many British colonies. If the occupation didn't succeed economically, so what? It is not less a colony. It is not an argument for colonialism, that you have improved the lives of the colonised.

The breakup of the USSR was indeed the breakup of a colonial empire, only it was done too fast, based upon the "autonomous" regions. Belorus should have remained with Russia, as probably also Ukraine. However nobody could seriously dispute the independence of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

SmoothieX12

Win (victory) means attaining political objectives of the war. If you read attentively the history of the period you will easily notice how Bush Sr. Administration was against the dissolution of the USSR--the document today are in the open. If to assume the political objective being elimination of the main geopolitical rival in the Eurasian Mass--this objective was not achieved. Even immediately after the collapse of USSR Russia remained fully capable of annihilating the US. There were 10-12 years of complete confusion and realignment of Russian political elites, but once 1999 and Yugoslavia happened--that was it, the tectonic shift have occurred. I communicated with some of US pretty famous (well-published in MSM) diplomats and the question was: was Putin inevitable? My answer was--we all got lucky that we have Putin, the providence really. Instead of him much more strict nationalist (and neo-"communist") could have come and Russian people would have supported him. The best this whole situation was described by Vladimir Solovyov, an immensely popular TV personality, and I quote: "They thought that we were on our knees, but we merely were strapping our combat boots". The only thing which saw a massive outpouring of Russian sympathy for the US was 911. Sadly, this was not used on the US side and by 2003 the picture couldn't get any clearer. After Iraq it was just the matter of time (and dynamics) of Russia reasserting herself. After Ukraine--it is a different game altogether and I mean it. It is a new paradigm and there is no safe "we are against communism but not Russian people" fig leaf anymore. As I already stated, the only factor which prevents all this so called Russian "liberal opposition" and most oligarchs from hanging from lamp post is Putin.

SmoothieX12

Excellent comments, David. As per Brigade structure. Roger Mcdermott of the Foreign Military Studies Office wrote 5 years ago an interesting piece: "Russian Perspective on Network-Centric Warfare: The Key Aim of Serdyukov’s Reform", in which he (incorrectly) identified the goal of reforms (which were devastating in a sense of организационно-штатные мероприятия, that is "cadre-structure") as mere copying of the Brigade structure as a road to Net Centric capabilities from US Brigades. Reality, however, turned out to be way more complex than that. Russian ground forces are bound to be in a division order of battle as in the famous Soviet anecdote when the guy assembles the crib, produced as a consumer good on one of the plants of military-industrial complex (Soviet MIC plants produced variety of consumer goods) and each time he does it--he gets AK-47. I believe it was this Russian Armed Forces', so called, "expert" Mark Galeotti who called the return to division structure a "symbolic step". Indeed, after Chief Of General Staff Makarov even Galeotti sounds as a professional.

SmoothieX12

I have to agree with your statement. Russians just want to be left alone and trade. Russia has no designs on Europe other than some shopping malls and resorts and, of course, be part of UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues. Russians also like good beer, whiskey and sausages.

Babak Makkinejad

I was only making a comment of an empirical nature.

Babak Makkinejad

Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan would have been better off being colonies of USSR - as you insist on calling it.

They were really parasites on the Slavic republics - as much as Georgia and Armenia were. Russians are much better off without those bottomless pits of money.

Even today, Tajikistan's largest export is the unskilled labor of its men - to Russia!

But I do not expect facts to alter your doctrinaire beliefs.

Babak Makkinejad

Why is that calling a "spade" a "spade" so difficult?

SmoothieX12

Empirical nature, as stated by our dear Carl Von Clausewitz in Vom Kriege, is that: "In war the result is never final. Lately, even the ultimate outcome of a war is not always to be regarded as final". Guess where he's got these ideas. Let me put it this way, Leo Tolstoy in War And Peace mentions him. It is excellently described in Prince Andrei's monologue (to Pierre Bezukhov) on the eve of Borodino Battle.

SmoothieX12

Germany won the Cold War, until they got this dumb-ass Merkel who completed annihilation of once great nation.

GoraKoska

Agreed, the Western 'victory' in the cold war was nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory - the price of which is slowly unfolding and will be - from a long-term historical perspective - enormous (particularly to the little guy). Some time from now, perhaps we'd be able to acknowledge that Sov. Union, through its peaceful demise, accomplished something very rare - dissolution of a vast power with no bloodshed. (To say that it was similar to the demise of UK reveals a stunning ignorance of history.... can you spell WWI, WWII, millions dead in India partition, violence in Africa, etc.)

GoraKoska

As someone who lived not in one, but two socialist countries, including USSR, I can tell you that your comment is mostly wrong. The west (mainly the US) made it its main point to destroy socialist countries - there was to be no accommodation (just read the presidential directive from 1950 that laid out the cold war to come). We experienced sanctions, embargoes, refusal to trade and share technology, arms race (which diverted precious resources), proxy wars, sponsoring of dissidents, etc. One could write books on that... Absent the deliberate and horrendous pressure, my sense is that the socialist countries would have reformed... gradually. Many of the W. European countries had much more socialist economies after the war than is commonly acknowledged... but they were with the US (never mind clandestine US efforts to thwart any communist or socialist sympathies by the populace). Maybe one day the truth will come out

GoraKoska

You are correct in many parts of the entry (e.g., if Putin had not taken over Crimea, he'd probably be overthrown himself). Unfortunately, like most westerners - in calling ML bankrupt - you fundamentally misunderstand what happened in the Sov. Union and totally disregard the vast resources US devoted to destroying the socialist block. If one did not live there, refuses to look at available (even official) sources, and just laps up the prevailing ideology - one will never understand. Sov. Union is a country that - in a span of 75 years, which is a blink of an eye in history - lived through WWI, revolution, a civil war, intervention wars (lets not forget that western armies, incl. US, attacked the nascent state in 1918-19), WWII, cold war, and war in Afghanistan (stoked, as we now know, by the US). Nevertheless, the country is still standing today. (That is not to say that the Bolsheviks did not have many daft ideas, but evil is not what I'd ascribe to them. Ignorance, yes - but they were not alone in that.)

Jack

"the central planners poured vast sums of money.." - Babak

"In the end, Marxism-Leninism simply ran its life-cycle and was discarded..." -Smoothie.

Yes, central planners always pour vast sums of money into boondoggles because its not theirs. Hapless taxpayers and future generations are handed the tab. The idea that unbridled government spending is an unalloyed good is ludicrous on the face of it. But there are many academics and theorists who use the crutch of Keynes or some other snakeoil exposition to claim that sovereign spending is a free lunch.

I recall a train ride next to a Czech emigre in Europe. He fled the communist regime with just the shirt on his back. He related a story of how a central planner determined the number of blue shirts to produce and the comic situation of how one only got blue shirts for some time since too many were produced.

We are heading in the same failed direction, as central planning and interventions in our economy keep growing, primarily to protect oligarchic interests like the banking and healthcare cartels. When a key metric of finance, interest rates are centrally administered to enable asset booms that benefit the elites and when these speculative bubbles burst, the central planners promptly socialize the losses. In the land where Adam Smith and Bastiat found a receptive audience, where enterprise and competition lead to innovation and rising living standards, we now have the worst fear of Tocqueville. The loss of the republic.

SmoothieX12

You basically repeated the standard "set" of so called "arguments" on the Soviet Union's collapse. 300 + million people lived in USSR, it doesn't mean that all of them were scholars. I have a very good handle on what was happening in the Caucasus in 1980s, maybe because I also was a party to knowing situation from operative briefings;-) not just news papers, and it wasn't the arms race or "sanctions" which lead to the implosion of the USSR. Also, as a graduate of the only other Red Banner naval academy with degree in naval engineering (specialist in gyro-inertial navigational complexes of the naval strategic missile systems, mainly projects 667 B and BD, NATO Delta-I and II), I can tell you that your knowledge of intricacies of the arms race are not exactly stellar. I'll give you a hint--most what you are observing today in Russia's arsenal, from GLONASS and ECM (ECCM) to C4ISR and SU-35s, all of it has its genesis in the Soviet military industrial complex of 1980s.

C Webb

Thanks for the post. Many good aspects to consider.

Based on what I have read of Dugan's ideology; It seems to have been formulated as a counter to the ideology of the west.

I would agree with Hahn. Certainly Putin is not following Dugan or anything like that. IMHO Dugan's writings represents one aspect of broader strategy. Part which is involved in building up national identity. This is seen in the resurgence in support for the Russian orthodox church.

Some of the US media analysis is very silly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0pUQ4TSlgg
Bizarre stuff

Vladislav Surkov is a significant orchestrator of events.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladislav_Surkov
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/11/hidden-author-putinism-russia-vladislav-surkov/382489/
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/putin-s-aide-surkov-meets-nuland-in-kaliningrad/555894.html


rjj

From my random walks through history and recent publications it looks as if there has been a metaphor [passed off as a paradigm] shift from Mackinder's to Pilsudski's. The following jumps off the history pages and off the maps. Was trying to come up with a word for it when I discovered it had already been given a name about the same time as MacKinder was writing his Democratic Myths and Realities.

Intermarium and Prometheism (ver. 2.0)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3zef_Pi%C5%82sudski

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermarium

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheism

[from the intermarium link above]
The Polish name Międzymorze, which means "Intersea" or "Between-seas," was rendered into Latin as "Intermarium." [9]

The proposed federation was meant to emulate the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, that, from the end of the 16th century to the end of the 18th, had united the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Intermarium complemented Piłsudski's other geopolitical vision—Prometheism, whose goal was the dismemberment of the Russian Empire and that Empire's divestment of its territorial conquests.[10][11][12][13]

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