Happy New Year to all you decadent and dictatorial Americans. Yes, I mean you, the people of the United States, where an elite of non-democratic dictators trickles its immorality—and incompetence—down upon the masses.
What do I mean? Aren’t you Americans supposed to be free? Sure, you are free: You are free to obey the ukase—that’s an old czarist word for a decree that must be obeyed, or else—of a judge acting on an ideological agenda. So the judge is free to do as he pleases, and then you are free to do what you’re told to do. Americans, how do you like that kind of “freedom”?
For example, let’s look at the way the debate over homosexual marriage has played out over the past few years in the USA. The American people were confronted with the issue of homosexual marriage, debated it, and then voted against it in the tens of millions; dozens of US states passed specific laws to ban homosexual marriage.
So then what happened? I’ll tell you what happened: Unelected judges simply overrode the will of the people—and legalized such marriage in much of the country, including the largest state, California. In other words, the judges acted as dictators to overturn not only the laws of America, but also the law of God; these are spelled out clearly in both the Bible and in the Christian tradition.
So now we see the key difference between Russia and America: In Holy Mother Russia, the Bible and Christianity are celebrated in the public square. But not in America.
To sum up: America has a dictatorship that imposes anti-Biblical immorality. That’s your idea of freedom—and you can have it. Here in Russia, we prefer real freedom: our right to choose the true path. Our right to choose virtue.
But of course, you Americans are genuinely free in one way: You have the perfect freedom to be bamboozled by your party-line media and so to elect and re-elect bumbling leaders. In my recent musings, I have taken note of America’s staggering geopolitical incompetence, and mocked the messianic pretensions of your media-anointed President Obama. And I chuckle when I think about how long it took for Americans to notice his obvious ineptitude.
I have, indeed, enjoyed great success in 2013, even as America has failed greatly. It was a wonderful year for me, starting with Syria, Iran, and Ukraine.
In Syria, Hafez al-Assad is still in power. Yet as recently as September, the Americans were poised to intervene to overthrow Assad; I turned the tide by jumping in to start negotiations over his chemical weapons. In the months since, those chemical-weapons negotiations have turned into a larger “peace process.”
I should say that I have never had any great affection for Assad; my main concern was about stopping the advance of Sunni Islamic jihadi terrorist takeover anywhere, whether in Syria, in my own territory of Chechnya, or elsewhere in the world.
In the wake of 9-11, I had hoped that the Americans would share that larger anti-terror objective, but alas, I was wrong. The Americans have been fighting the Sunni Jihadis in Afghanistan for a dozen years, but at the same time, they have sought to help the same sorts of Sunni jihadis in Egypt, Libya, and Syria—go figure!
Indeed, all these years, the Americans have been lecturing us Russians about “human rights” in Chechnya. So it served them right when two Chechyans killed and wounded all those people in Boston; we had tried to warn them about the Tsarnaevs, but of course, the Americans thought they knew best. Here’s what’s best: America and Israel ought to join with Russia to squelch these Islamists, wherever they are. It’s obvious! But it seems that if you work in the American State Department, you have to leave your common sense outside of the building.
Finally, late in 2013, my message started to get through to the anti-Assad coalition: The West woke up and realized that they, too, would be worse off with Assad gone and the Bin Ladenites running Damascus. I see that The Jerusalem Post recently quoted a top Israeli diplomat as saying of a recent high-level meeting, “Our Western friends made it clear in London that Assad cannot be allowed to go now because they think chaos and an Islamist militant takeover would ensue.” No kidding! Finally! Score one for common sense—and for me.
Oh, and by the way, you Americans might be interested to know that Christians are much better off in pro-Russia Syria than in post-American Iraq. That’s right: In Syria, Christians are part of the governing coalition; they are safe as long as Assad stays in power. By contrast, in Iraq, after the Americans came and went, having wrecked the place in between, the Christians are abandoned and vulnerable. Today, the US doesn’t seem to know or care that Christians are being targeted in Iraq—37 Christians killed on Christmas Day. Gee, I wonder why Barack Hussein Obama is so disinterested. Actually, I don't wonder at all.
Next, Iran. The no-nukes “agreement” spearheaded by John Kerry—I have never seen anyone so eager to win a Nobel Peace Prize!— might be a sham, but that’s not my problem. I don’t want Iran to be a nuclear power; after all, any Iranian nuke would be a lot closer to Moscow than to Washington, DC. Yet at the same time, I don’t want America to win.
Instead, what I want is a balance of power. And balance of power means just that—balance. Uneasy balance, balance of terror, call it what you will. Just so long as both sides realize that they need Russia’s help. I want Russia to be the balance-wheel in the region.
As for Israel, I am not a fan of Bibi Netanyahu, but I do feel a certain fondness for the million or so Israelis who come from Russia. Yes, they fled the Soviet regime in the 70s and 80s, so in that sense, they are traitors, but at the same time, they retain many of their Slavic loyalties and prejudices. So when I talk to, for example, Soviet-born Avigdor Lieberman, the former Israeli foreign minister—and still a powerful political player in that country—we converse easily in our common Russian tongue. In fact, we get along great, because we hate the same people.
Moreover, I fully realize that the Israelis have assets that Russia needs. In particular, if Russia is to create, near Moscow, a Silicon Valley for Russia, we will need some high-tech brains. As my sidekick Dmitry Medvedev has convinced me, the real resource for the future is not oil, nor natural gas, nor even gold. Instead, it’s IQ, adrenaline, and caffeine—the stuff of high tech. So that’s why I let Mikhail Khodorkovsky go free after a decade in prison—he’s a Jew; releasing him removes a sticking point to better relations with the Jews. And that’s fine, so long as they are outside of Russia. Khodorkovsky’s not coming back, that’s for sure; the $15 billion fortune he once had inside Russia has long ago been divvied up among my friends.
Meanwhile, right next to Russia, I have won yet another victory: Despite the pro-European Union protests in Kiev, Ukraine will remain gripped in the Russian bear hug. Needless to say, I have never been a fan of “people power”; we know what sort of trouble it can lead to if left unchecked. Critics say we did something nasty in Ukraine; I say, we bought President Viktor Yanukovych fair and square. And he had the honor—and, heh heh, the survival instinct—to stay bought.
So that’s my geopolitical score for 2013: By my count, it’s three points for Russia, zero points for other countries.
Yet there’s a deeper point that I wish to make, concerning the fate of nations, and of civilizations. And that point is: You need conservatism, including religion and patriotism, in order to govern. This point is not optional; it’s a necessity.
I think that the average person gets this basic truth about the practical value of conservative governance—including the average American. But as we have seen, the average American is not really involved in shaping politics; in the USA, control is shared by the radicalizing forces of the judiciary, the media, the Federal Reserve, and other elite institutions at the commanding heights. Meanwhile, here in Russia, I have been governing as a conservative, and the average Russian loves me.
Yet Americans, befogged by their own propaganda, have been slow to realize that I am the conservative, defending—indeed, championing!—the essentials of Christendom.
One who has figured this out is Patrick Buchanan, a leading figure in conservative politics and punditry for nearly half-a-century. He recently wrote a column asking, “Is Putin One of Us?”
And Buchanan’s answer was a carefully argued “yes.” As he noted, not only am I on the right, but also I see the overall civilizational issue more clearly than the West:
“While much of American and Western media dismiss him as an authoritarian and reactionary, a throwback, Putin may be seeing the future with more clarity than Americans still caught up in a Cold War paradigm.
As the decisive struggle in the second half of the 20th century was vertical, East vs. West, the 21st century struggle may be horizontal, with conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite.
And though America’s elite may be found at the epicenter of anti-conservatism and anti-traditionalism, the American people have never been more alienated or more divided culturally, socially and morally.”
I agree with Pat—I guess I can call him Pat. In America, the split is between a liberal elite and a conservative population. I would only add that here in Russia, the elite is on the same side as the populace. How ‘bout that: a government that actually reflects the values of the majority!
Yes, I am a Russian conservative, and I govern as a Russian conservative. Admittedly, I have had to make detours along the way: The Sochi Winter Olympics are coming up in February, and so I released those horrible “Pussy Riot” protestors. In addition, I turned loose some Greenpeace idiots.
Yet as always, I am amused by the greedy corporate hypocrisy of the West. Even though Russia has passed tough anti-homosexual laws, all those allegedly “gay-friendly” companies are still eagerly doing business in Russia. And they will spend even more money on the Olympics. So now we see their true convictions; they worship money, not “LGBT” rights. Do I expect some protestors in Sochi? Sure. And we’ll have to tolerate them when the cameras of the world are watching. But we’ll be taking the names of those involved: The foreigners won’t be allowed back, and as for any Russians, well, we’ll deal with them in due time.
Over the long haul, I am fully committed to a socially conservative Russia, built on the Holy Russian Orthodox Church. Am I really a sincere Christian? That’s hard to say. Am I sincere social conservative? Do I believe in order and structure? Do I believe in Western Christian civilization? That’s easy to say—absolutely yes.
Why? Because I know that all through history, faith-based conservatism wins. To put it another way, piety defeats hedonism. When a culture gets too rich and lazy, it not only causes a backlash, it also becomes too weak to withstand that backlash. How do I know this? I study the past. In the 19th century, the industrializing world was richer than ever, and yet the capitalists, who had claimed most of the wealth, had little legitimacy. They weren’t longstanding royalty, well known to the nation; instead, they were nouveau riche, typically locked into conflict with the proletariat. Factory owners must learn: Treat factory workers nicely, or they will strike—and even rebel.
So in a sense, both Bolshevism and Fascism in the 20th century were reactions against the excesses and conspicuous consumption of those newbie capitalist plutocrats. Say what you want about Lenin and Stalin—or Hitler, Mussolini, and Mao, among many others—they were personally austere. They didn’t wear crowns and robes, they wore dark suits and uniforms. Working people liked that, at least at first.
And as income inequality is on the rise once again, and as big capitalists turn into greed-is-good Wolf of Wall Street-type parodies of themselves, please don’t think that the cycle of revolution can’t happen again, maybe even in America. The American conservative Peggy Noonan, writing recently in The Wall Street Journal, quoted an anonymous but nervous billionaire: “Every time I hear the stock market went up I know the guillotines are coming closer.”
But in Russia, such bloody revolution won’t happen again, because we are handling the social question. We are working to maintain a balance between capital and labor. That was one reason why I threw Khodorkovsky in jail, to send a signal to the other oligarchs: Behave yourself.
So of course, I am perfectly willing to use repressive methods, if I need to. Yet at the same time, I don’t think I will need to, because I am deeply respectful of Russian tradition; I am with the people, and their values, not against them. And those values include a deep-grained belief that the body politic needs to stay together with some decent respect for the feelings and sentiments of the workers and peasants—and that’s a lesson of statecraft that the Americans have forgotten. You can’t build a united country on the basis of dog-eat-dog Social Darwinism. You need the warmth of an enveloping heritage. Political hierarchy is fine, but there still must be limits, however notional, on social and economic inequality.
So in Russia, I have been pleased to lead the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church, which proclaims its central dogma: All believers are equal before God. To add some emphasis, we even have our shock troops, The Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers. They can be a little extreme, but we like their slogans: “Holy Russia, the Orthodox faith and the Russian people!” That’s a good one. Another is: “Glory to Russia!” And for sheer intensity, it’s hard to top “Orthodoxy or death!”
Meanwhile, in many parts of the world, especially in the West, it might seem as though the homosexuals and the drug-legalizers are winning—but I believe that’s temporary. As I have said, all through history, we see a pattern: The rich have grown rich to the point that they stop believing in anything and thus are not able to fight for anything, not even their own survival. So inevitably, they are replaced by strong men, whose lives are a proclamation of stern faith.
We might consider the Muslims: Ask yourself, who is going to emerge as the winner in Afghanistan after Karzai goes? A liberal? Someone who hews to Western ways? No, of course not: The victor will be the toughest guy, the one who was able to inspire the most martyrs, even as he rides in on a white horse.
I realize that liberals—in America, they are called libertarians—are horrified by the prospect of warrior leaders, but I know my history. Russia has had to recover from the invasion of the Magyars, the Mongols, Napoleon, and Hitler. And yes, we have also had to survive the excesses and weaknesses of Comrades Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev. And most of all, Russia must recover from the damage done by that liberal twit Gorbachev—the man who let the USSR break apart—and his helper, that drunken buffoon Yeltsin.
When Russia recovers to its former glory—my personal goal is the full recovery of the Russian borders of 1914—it will because we are strong in our proud conservatism, not weak in our wilting liberalism.
Oh, and one last point: If the governing authority of the future is not based on religion and tradition, the result will be vastly worse. That is, if the Western powers can’t set up a guiding conservatism based on shared history and familiar hierarchy, the new order will be much worse. If revered conservatism fails, it won’t be succeeded by freedom, it will be succeeded by the iron rule of capitalists and technologists.
What do I mean by this? We might consider the stark words of Google’s Eric Schmidt when he said, “If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.” Now that’s a quote to warm the heart of Comrade Stalin.
I find myself in agreement with my new friend Edward Snowden, who declared recently, in a broadcast from Moscow, that new technology offered power to central authority that tyrants of the past could never have imagined:
“George Orwell warned us of the danger…The types of collection in the book [Orwell’s novel, 1984], microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us, are nothing compared to what we have available today…Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters; privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”
Yes, Snowden has a point. Compared to the total surveillance you Americans are going through, good old Russian-style authoritarianism looks pretty sweet. Yes, of course, Russia will spy on its domestic enemies. But we have no need to spy on everyone in Russia, because we know that the vast majority of Russians support their government.
We govern by received tradition, including our faith. By contrast, you govern by technological tyranny—plus the radical non-faith of your elites. That’s the big difference between the USA and Russia, and it’s a big difference indeed.