Saturday, March 8, 2014

Putin Proves Postmodern Foreign Policy is Dead

The seizure of Crimea is Putin's challenge to the EU. It is meant to prove that values cannot defend themselves. They must be defended. In the EU peace trumps rights. Putin has proved the EU's moral authority is non-existent

The Putin System.

The breathtaking ignorance in the West on Ukraine and Crimea leaves one almost speechless. In short, here's the deal.

1. Crimea has existential-level historic resonance for Russia. In the context of the political-psychological loss of the Soviet Union for Russians, it is inconceivable that Vladimir Putin can now back down over Crimea. The referendum must, by fair means or foul (Putinism is controlled democracy) agree to Crimea becoming part of the Russian Federation.

2. The West is led by Barack Obama -- the most incompetent American president in all American history; and a 'leader' who does not believe in the free world, let alone American leadership of it.  

3. The EU is a foreign policy disaster, led, foreign policy wise, by Catherine Ashton someone who supported the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

4. Crimea is now part of Russia. End of story. Putin would have to quit politics to allow any other outcome.

5. The only question is whether Russia's annexation of Crimea leads to other parts of Ukraine in the east following suit. A question we already answered here.  (Source

Is that it? Well, not quite. 

If Russia swallows Ukraine, the 'European system' is finished. The seizure of Crimea was meant as a challenge to the EU. It is meant to prove that values cannot defend themselves. Timothy Snyder is correct. Rights do not defend themselves. They must be defended. And since peace trumps rights in the postmodern EU, the EU's moral authority is bankrupt.

That is why Verhofstadt and Van Baalen look like clowns when they're telling the people of the Ukraine to fight for liberty. Everyone knows instinctively that when push comes to shove, these generals will be out to lunch. 

Postmodern foreign policy basically consists of being seen as fighting for basic principles without actually having to uphold them; they think that simply by declaring that they do, the world accepts that premise. 

So while having signed off on Ukraine's security, the US and the EU can state they stand for democracy and liberty without actually having to go to war with Russia over them: they simply declare that this is what they stand for. But this is not how reality works. Putin has shown that the emperor has no cloths. And that's just for starters. 

Secondly the EU isn't sure if they side with the US against the aggression of Putin on the Crimea, or whether they are a neutral broker between the US and Russia. Verhofstadt in an article on The Guardian proves these points and more: 
This is where EU and US soft power can be as effective (and less dangerous) than the blunt use of force and sabre-rattling that characterised the cold war. However, we have to be prepared to see such threats through if we are to be credible in the eyes of the Kremlin. 
At no point in the article does Verhofstadt make plain how he intends to accomplish that. He goes on:
The US under Obama has shown great reluctance to get involved in distant conflicts that are not perceived to be in the country's vital strategic interest. So the EU is presented with an opportunity to step in, broker a solution and live up to its high ideals as a peacemaker and forum for conflict resolution. Is it up for the challenge? 
Now which is it? Upto this point the EU is neither a party nor a broker. Verhofstadt speaks of danger of the "blunt use of force and sabre-rattling" of the cold war, but what is presently the gravest danger are these postmodern bunglers: basically babies with razors playing at geo-politricks. 

More background:
  • Anne Applebaum on the ideology of Putinism (video)


Romantic Realism: Rachmaninov's Second (Adagio)

"Listen to (...) Rachmaninoff’s Second. Men have not found the words for it, nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music (...) Let me see it made real. Let me see the answer to the promise of that music (...) the final, the fulfilled, innocent of pain". ~~Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Soloists: Olga Smirnova and Vladislav Lantratov. Choreography: J. Elo
Dedicated to a bizarre week in captivity in anticipation of the deal of a life-time (well, for now ;-)
The dancers in the video are rank amateurs performing in a Russian So You've Got Talent kinda show. The adagio from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, is a concerto for piano and orchestra composed between the autumn of 1900 and April 1901. At its 1897 premiere, Rachmaninoff's first symphony was derided by contemporary critics. The second piano concerto confirmed his genius.