Buchanan & Noonan: Putin and the Big Picture

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan

One of the reasons that I’ve long admired Pat Buchanan is because of his wont to view of world history in stark terms. I certainly don’t agree with all his positions (I’m pretty much a free trader for instance) but I appreciate the way he describes the broad historical narratives.

This shouldn’t surprise us, after all he advised Barry Goldwater and served in both the Nixon and Reagan administrations. Love ’em or hate ’em these were Big Men who had Big Ideas: “Evil Empire,” “City on a Hill,” and so on. Buchanan had an unfailing eye for seeing the Big Picture.

In his most recent editorial (Is Putin One of Us?), he is now informing us that we may be at such a socio-cultural watershed –what he has described is nothing less than a turning point in superpower relations. He boldly asks if the United States and Russia have switched sides, or more importantly, if God has. The title of his essay is unambiguous, the prose provocative. Moreover, for an ultramontane Catholic, he seems to have a keen understanding of what it is that animates that grand historical panorama that goes by the name “Mother Russia.”

So what do you think? I for one, believe he makes a compelling case that there has been a near-reversal of the Cold War antagonists. Even more significantly, he is not the only one asking this question.

Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan

Recently Peggy Noonan wrote an editorial (Russia, the Big Picture) for The Wall Street Journal, in which she walked right up to the precipice and saw the contours of this new world disorder in ways that paralleled Buchanan. Unlike Buchanan, Noonan is a “respectable conservative,” so her opinions cannot be so easily brushed aside. Nor should we forget, La Noonan was probably The Gipper’s greatest speechwriter. She learned at the feet of the Great Cold Warrior; from him she learned when an adversary was an enemy but also when that adversary was no longer evil and should be embraced as a friend. Would that the present-day Neocons were as wise.

There is another reason why Noonan’s observations –and the venue in which they appeared–are crucial. Because the WSJ is for all intents and purposes the house organ of the international banking cartel and has been beating the war-drums for every Neoconservative/Neoliberal crusade since time began. To paraphrase Will Rogers, they never met a war they didn’t like. The fact that they allowed Noonan to publish this essay may very well mean that what Buchanan is preaching, and what Noonan is echoing, is what many in the West are privately whispering. A recent poll for example saw that only 26 percent of the American people viewed Russia as an adversary. Interestingly, in Western European countries like Great Britain and Germany, Russia is viewed in an increasingly favorable light.

If so, this is a good thing. It may mean that cooler heads are prevailing. It doesn’t take a PhD from the London School of Economics to look at the long-term metrics of the West and conclude that at present we are headed towards a cataclysm. Or that the majority of our problems are caused by the collapse of simple morality and that the denigration of virtue has been aided and abetted by Cultural Marxism.

This universal acid has done much to destroy all that is moral and good in society. Our churches, our universities and our political institutions long ago gave up the fight for Christendom. Individuals who beg to differ from the prevailing orthodoxy speak their minds at their peril (see: Eich, Brendan). At any rate, such Noonanesque sobriety may indicate that the Wilsonian religion of eternal war in order to cram democracy down the throat of every nation is no longer as potent as it once was.

Perhaps I am overstating the case. Perhaps Buchanan and Noonan are merely outliers. But what if they are not? Is it possible that what they are describing is being internalized both high and low? Think about it: When Reagan was elected President, he knew one way to destroy the Evil Empire was to flood the world market with oil thereby undercutting the profits of the Soviet Union. He went to the Saudi king and asked him for help in this matter. He looked King Fahd in the eye and assured him that America would protect him from Soviet clients such as Saddam Hussein. Fahd believed him.

And why wouldn’t he? In 1982, the United States was still a republic founded on the Christian virtues of the Scottish Enlightenment. The idea that we would homosexualize and feminize the Armed Forces or that we would glorify bastardy would have been laughed at outright by even the most woolly-headed progressives. The USSR on the other hand was a godless empire hell-bent on world domination. There was a moral urgency to Reagan’s request, one not lost on traditional-minded peoples. The differences were that stark. Despite our support for Israel, the choice was an easy one for a conservative Muslim state like Saudi Arabia to make.

Is that still the case? Would Muslims (or Buddhists, or Hindus, or even observant Jews for that matter) see America as they saw America saw back then? Are we still the White Knight of Christendom? Or is it somebody else?

It is my fear that many people all over the world are seeing that there is a great disconnect between America the Shining City on the Hill and America the Cloaca Maxima. These people see it even if our besotted moralists do not. The intellectuals who bray about the dire statistics that imperil Russia’s prospects seem completely oblivious to the Third-worldization that is taking place here in America right under their noses. Buchanan and Noonan at least are willing to take off the triumphalist blinders.

In a contest between Barack Hussein Obama, Jr and Vladimir Vladirimovich Putin, who is the White Knight indeed?

Read Pat Buchanan’s editorial “Is Putin One of Us?

Read Peggy Noonan’s “Russia, The Big Picture.”


  1. George,

    They are not outliers. There are many people I work with who are Protestant or agnostic who have privately expressed similar opinions. Part of the awarness is being driven by the coming “rainbowizing” of corporate america. Want a promotion? Start crossdressing. It sounds silly but unfortunately I am seing this happen in real time.

  2. Tina Hovsky says

    The problem with Russia and Putin is that they are delusional in their view of the world and themselves. Paranoia and hubris drove Russia during the Communist and Cold War period. The Cold War ended because Russia was bankrupt. They became a humble nation and recognized God and started moving toward democracy. Then once they acquired money again from oil and gas, they’ve become delusional again. Hubris, hubris and more hubris. Putin is not a czar. Russia is not a world power. Using 1940-50’s brute tactics in the world no longer works in a Global World. Look at China, no bombs or guns, yet, it has become a world leader using it’s “economic” smarts. Putin is only taking Russia back to 1950 and setting his people back to isolation. Very stupid. Nothing admirable here; just delusion.

    • Longue Carabine says

      I think the comparisons between China and Russia have a lot of value. One wonders why the Chinese, when the pressure is eased, get busy with production and entrepreneurship, while the Russians do not seem to do so?

      Generalization, of course, but it still seems correct. When one goes to China, the level of economic activity one sees on all hands is mind-boggling in some ways.

      On the other hand, I do agree that our Russia policy is misdirected and needs a big change. But I am not highly optimistic that Russia has set itself upon the right course.

      • George Michalopulos says

        That is extremely naive. There is no such thing as “soft power.” To the extent that any soft power exists it does so only because it is the fruit of “hard power.”

        Every civilization that has ever influenced others did so because one kingdom imposed its values on another. And almost always the mightier kingdom had superior values. Those that didn’t –think of the Huns, the Tatars, the Mongols–invariable vanished from the face of the earth once their military collapsed.

    • William Harrington says

      So, basically you are saying that Russia is deluded by wealth and materialism.
      OK, but what does that then say about us? I do hate to inform you that Russia is a world power and, by virtue of a resurgent nuclear program, a super power. Meanwhile, our military is being dismantled. For those who believe the Soviet Union is back, does this make Obama a KGB sleeper agent since our foreign policy works so much in Russia’s favor?
      By the way, the argument that China does not use guns or bombs? How do you think they are holding their empire together? We don’t get much news out of China’s west, but the Uigers have been resisting and Tibetan monks have been immolating themselves. China holds onto their empire by force of arms, not economic smarts.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Rather than accuse the KGB of foisting our president upon us, I would look more closely at the Muslim Brotherhood.

        • William Harrington says

          Nah, I think its fun to speculate, but what I think we have is a typical Chicago politician, in other words incredibly corrupt and most likely indictable, like the last two Illinois governors. Occam s Razor, we really don’t need a conspiracy when we look at the political cesspool he rose to prominence in.

  3. “Tina Hovsky” wrote: The problem with Russia and Putin is that they are delusional in their view of the world and themselves… Russia is not a world power. Putin taking Russia back to isolation, delusion, etc.

    In truth, the reality may be quite the opposite. The moment that the Russian Realpolitik doctrine has been waiting for has finally arrived. The USA is financially bankrupt & in pacifist mode in re: to it’s own national defense. Our current “president” is missing in action and this country is being run by Marxist technocrats who’s heads are full of knowledge but little – if any – wisdom. Mr. Putin knows that without American might Eastern Europe is his for the taking. Not only is Mr. Putin sympathetic towards the Orthodox Church, he is strongly resisting the influx of the spirit of effeminization which has spread like the plague here in America. With the acquisition of the Crimean seaport territory, Russia now has an open shipping lane into the Middle East. The apple of God’s eye is ready for the picking. Be patient. Just give it a little more time. Russia doesn’t need to be “a world power”. They only need to seize the center of the game board. Chess projected onto the world stage. Realpolitik. Nuclear capability is a terrible thing to waste.

  4. George,

    Excellent point about the third-worldization of America. It is said by many that California is a microcosm of America. I don’t know if I would go so far as to completely agree with this sentiment, but California is certainly one of the largest states in the Union and it does represent a large slice of America. I bring this up because California is quickly becoming a third-world country. In Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in America, close to half of the Hispanic population does not graduate from high school, over 60% of Black children do not meet the state’s college entrance requirements, and there has been a decline in economic growth for 20 years! The divide between rich and poor is growing each decade and the feel good policies of state and local politicians is doing nothing to move us in a different direction.

    If California is a microcosm of America, brother we are failing miserably. In my church, there is certainly a divide over Russia. I would say that those over 40 pretty much all see Russia as the evil empire, but those younger than 40 have decidedly different opinions. The same is true about subjects like abortion, homosexuality, God in public places, equality amongst religions, etc. It has been said that we are raising a generation of multi-cultural agnostic, it’s my body so I can do what I want, don’t offend anyone, people. But I’m afraid we have already done that. Sadly, California is a state where this type of social re-engineering has already taken place. The results are in and our young people are unemployed, many can’t read or write in English to an acceptable level. Many have no chance of ever going to college or trade school, they believe that all religions are about the same, and morality is what you make of it.

    It remains to be seen whether Russia is on the path to becoming a super power once again, but if anyone thinks America is the powerhouse it was even 30 years ago, they are sadly mistaken.

  5. Francis Frost says

    You seem to have missed the summation of Ms Noonan’s piece.

    What does this remarkable speech tell us?… It expresses a stark sense of historical grievance and assumes it is shared by its immediate audience. It makes clear a formal animus toward the U.S. It shows Mr. Putin has grown comfortable in confrontation. His speech posits the presence of a new Russia, one that is “an independent, active participant in international affairs.” It suggests a new era, one that doesn’t have a name yet. But the decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union were one thing, and this is something else—something rougher, darker and more aggressive.

    Perhaps you might think that adopting an openly belligerent anti-American is a means to successfully grow the Orthodox faith in this land. I doubt that any rational Christian would agree with you. How many ordinary Americans will be attracted to the church that “blesses” the nuclear weapons aimed at our children? How many actual Christians will associate with a church that literally “blesses” the murder of its own fellow co-religionists?

    As for Putin’s abrogation of the Moscow Patriarchate for his dark designs, that is nothing new. The bishops of the MP have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to betray the Orthodox faith for the sake of their KGB master.s

    As for the concept of Putin as a defender of the Orthodox faith, we need only remember that forces under his direct command rocketed, looted, desecrated and burned the Ghvrtaeba Cathedral on August 9, 2008.

    “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.”
    I Corinthians 3:17

    You decry the acceptance of homosexuality in the West, forgetting that Andrei Kurayev, Russia’s premier theologian, has denounced the Gay Mafia in the Moscow Patriarchate declaring that 1/3 of Russia’s bishops are sexually active gays, and that sexual abuse is rampant in Russia’s seminaries.

    You denounce abortion in the West; forgetting that Russia has an abortion rate three times that of the US.

    Here are a few more ‘stubborn facts’ from Russian writer and filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky:

    We often ignore statistics, and it is true that it can be difficult to grasp the reality behind dry figures. But the scale of the tragedy being played out in our country is so great that I urge you to give it your full attention.

    Russia’s death rate: the last 20 years saw the deaths of more than seven million Russians. This converts to a death rate 50% higher than in Brazil and Turkey, and several times the rate for Europe.

    In terms of population, Russia loses each year the equivalent of a district similar to Pskov, or a city the size of Krasnodar.

    The figures for suicide, poisoning, murder and accidental deaths in Russia are comparable with death rates in Angola and Burundi.

    Global tables of male life expectancy put Russia in about the 160th place, below Bangladesh.

    Russia has the highest rate of absolute population loss in the world. According to UN estimates, the population of Russia will fall from its present 140 million to 121-136 million by 2025.

    The family in crisis

    Other statistics reflect the crisis of the family in Russia. Eight out of ten elderly people in residential care have relatives who could support them. Nevertheless they are sent off to care homes.

    Between two and five million kids live on our streets (after World War Two the figure was around 700,000). In China, a country with a population of 1.4 billion, there are only 200, 000 homeless children – 100 times less. That’s how important children are to the Chinese! And surely the welfare of children and the elderly is the foundation of a healthy nation.

    Eighty percent of children in care in Russia have living parents. But they are being looked after by the state!
    We head the world for the number of children abandoned by their parents.All these figures bear witness to the erosion of the family in this country.

    Crime and corruption

    Crimes against children: according to data published by the Russian Federation Investigative Commission, in 2010 there were 100,000 child victims of crime, of whom 1700 were raped and murdered (theses figures are higher even than those for South Africa). ‘Four or five children are murdered in Russia every day’

    This means that four or five children are murdered in Russia every day.

    In 2010, 9500 sexual offences were committed against underage victims, including 2600 rapes and 3600 cases of non-violent sexual relations (the last eight years have seen a twentyfold rise in sexual crime). Only South Africa has a higher rate of such crimes.

    Drug addiction and alcoholism. Thirty thousand Russians, equivalent to the population of a small town, die annually from drug overdoses. Seventy thousand Russians drink themselves to death each year.

    According to WHO statistics, Russia gets through the annual equivalent of 15 litres of pure alcohol per head of population. And bear in mind the fact that alcohol consumption of more than eight litres per annum per head of population constitutes a threat to a nation’s survival.

    Corruption: the scale of bribery in Russia has increased tenfold, and the goings on in a London court battle between two oligarchs have made us the laughing stock of the global business world. The impunity of our judicial system is such that a criminal charge has been instigated against Sergey Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in prison in 2009. In Europe such a thing last happened in the 17th century!

    Russia comes out as one of the world’s most corrupt places (154th out of 178 countries) in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Index, where it is listed next to Guinea-Bissau and Kenya.

    Looking at all these figures one can safely talk of a decline in national morality – and it is our rulers who are ultimately responsible for this state of affairs.

    ‘It is shameful that in a country with such rich natural and aquatic resources over 50% of the population should be classified as poor.’

    • George Michalopulos says

      Francis, I worry about your grasp of the facts. Specifically, I wish to address your second paragraph. By what right do you assume that Vladimir Putin is an “anti-American” belligerant?

      Are you not aware sir that he ordered the Russian armed forces to stand down on Sept 11, 2001 when our entire government and military was prostrate? Are you unaware that the FSB has collaborated with our FBI in its war on terror? Are you equally unaware that the Putin has facilitated our military expedition in Afghanistan?

      As for those nuclear missiles “aimed at our children’s heads,” may I ask who our missiles are aimed at? The tooth fairy?

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      Francis, Russia is not now an Orthodox state, it is a state with some Orthodox in it. The last Orthodox state that mattered was imperial Russia (d. 1917). But, this is Orthodox Holy Russia right here, this is what Rome lost, this is what every Protestant sect schisming from another sect seeks to somehow regain by breaking into smaller and more pure groups:

      Everything you are complaining about are your own people, apostates from God, and the by products of their rebellion. In Heaven there are only Orthodox, no Roman Catholic or Protestants, because if the best among the Heterodox were to be saved outside the normal economy and inherit eternal life (for holding to what Orthodoxy they inherited from us), then they are no longer Heterodox, they know and are better now. Anything good being done anywhere in the world, any beauty, any truth, then it comes from God mediated through the One Holy and Apostolic Church for whom everything was created. Anything evil in the world, then it is from Satan and the blame belongs to him and his children. The Bride, the Orthodox Church, is spiritually spotless and pure. So, please spare us your attempts to discredit Orthodoxy based on the current sad state of the population, which suffered under Communism, an ideology developed in the wasteland of Heterodoxy and sent in by the Germans like a biological agent in the person of Lenin. That a bunch of Russians drink and murder their children, and that the Orthodox don’t have the influence (with all of 13 years of time to regroup) to outlaw the open practice of abortion, hardly makes up for baby murder in the USA, nor your defending it, as you have in previous posts, whereupon you usurp a God like authority to say that murdering an innocent baby prevents potential future “suffering.”

      It certainly isn’t the Russians, much less Orthodox Russians stealing land and cattle from from families in America at gunpoint.

      It isn’t Putin who destroyed the economy, gotten our credit rating downgraded, and who assaulted WW II vets coming to see their own memorial just because he could. Consider Obama has turned “Obama Girl” into this:

      There’s a reason that American patriots like Snowden are defecting to Russia and Putin to escape Obama, rather than the good old days when Russians came here to escape Communism.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Very eloquent words indeed. It’s not just Snowden who’s defecting to Russia. The famous French actor Gerard Depardieu has renounced his French citizenship to go to Russia where he can better enjoy the fruits of his labors.

        • Actually, George, Mr Depardieu, while he is indeed a newly minted Russian citizen, resides in Belgium.

        • DC Outsider says

          Ed Snowden did not defect to Russia. He found himself stranded there and asked the Russians for refuge.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          George, didn’t the actor move to Brussels, Belgium? You are mistaken when you say that Snowden defected. Snowden never EVER renounced his American citizenship or applied for Russian citizenship. Depardieu both renounced his French citizenship and got Belgian citizenship.
          I repeat, Snowden did NOT defect to Russia or anyplace else.. You are mistaken in concurring with that libel by ‘Ladder of Divine Ascent.”

          However, I wonder if you’ll correct your libellous mistakes about Depardieu and Snowden? You leave the fictional “Heracleides” button on the homepage and refuse to admit that Metropolitan Jonah has not been released AT ALL.

        • Francis Frost says

          Snowden and Depardieu. What catches: a closet spy, and traitor to his company.

          Snowden is a man who took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution and then sold government secrets to his nation’s avowed enemies. A narcissistic man-child who has no honor. Depardieu is a washed up actor who fled his country in order to avoid paying taxes. Offered a free Dacha and government paid hookers.

          What a catch. Meanwhile, every year 60,000 of Russia’s best and brightest emigrate TO the ‘degenerate’ West.

          Russia’s youth are voting with their feet – a vote of no confidence in the kleptocratic autocrat in the Kremlin.

          Putin can have Snowden and Depardieu. We got Google founder Sergei Brin and tens of thousands like him.

          End of contest. End of story. Game and match. Bravo, bufo.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Depardieu did not take Russian citizenship to “avoid paying taxes.” He has worked since he was 14 years old, never accepting a handout from anyone. Often as a laborer, then an actor. He has payed millions in taxes. He took Russian citizenship in order to not pay confiscatory taxes. That’s a big difference.

            As far as Snowden, I don’t know what motivated him. As for myself the jury is still out as to whether he’s a hero or a traitor. One thing I do know, he did us a favor in exposing the utter depredations of our federal government and how they have created an internal spy system that would have made Hitler and Stalin together green with envy.

            Also, I don’t believe you have proven that Russia is an “avowed enemy to this country.” When did they declare war on us?

            As far as Brin and other kleptocrats emigrating from Russia, woe be to us. Didn’t Brin invent Google? Isn’t Google part of the NSA apparatus? Brin and his ilk are doing incalculable damage to our nation here in other ways: they are trying to get us to implement amnesty for illegal aliens. Why? So they can get richer.

            I would take off your triumphalist blinders if I were you. This story is far from over. I won’t call you a “bufo” however.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Why, Francis, you seem to have lost it! Snowden remains a patriotic American and has sold NOTHING to anybody.. Deparedieu fled to Belgium no/ As far as I know, Belgium hs no dachas.
            You seem to be a man of slogans and catchwords, Why not take a sabbatical in order to think?
            You last line is a masterpiece of whistling in the dark.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Francis, file this one under “how to win friends and influence people”:


    • And then there’s this. See this in America today? No?


      • George Michalopulos says

        No, we won’t be doing anything so pedestrian. Instead, here in America we’ll either be celebrating gay marriages or our bishops will be fighting over seating arrangements.

  6. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Here’s a good comment from Germany’s point of view:

    04/10/2014 05:32 PM
    A Sober Look
    It’s Time To Stop Romanticizing Russia
    A Commentary by Christian Neef
    The view Germans have of Russia is skewed by romanticism and historical baggage. Without
    taking a sober look at Moscow, we will never find an adequate strategy for dealing with Vladimir
    Putin’s conservative, anti-Western approach to power.
    Since the start of the Crimea crisis, we’ve constantly heard that Germans somehow understand Russians.
    Indeed, hardly any other view has been repeated as often. But nothing could possibly be more misleading.
    The Germans don’t understand Russians: They understand less about the Russians than they do about the British, Spanish or French.
    It’s true that Germany had a special relationship with the Russian Empire long ago. Germans served as czars and czarinas, once as the Russian prime minister, and they were officers, doctors and teachers in the royal court in St. Petersburg. German engineers operated ore mines in the Ural Mountains, German farmers plowed land along the Volga and Dnieper rivers. In turn, they were introduced to Russian writers. Pushkin
    introduced Germans to the strange but likable Russian soul. And cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg wouldn’t be what they are today without Germans. That’s the romanticized side of German-Russian relations.
    Then came the wars of the past century and the devastation the Germans unleashed on the Soviet Union.
    Since then, the image Germans have of Russia is inaccurate.
    The postwar generation grew up with a latent fear of the Russians. In the east of Germany, people saw them as an occupying force, while in the west many believed that an invasion was imminent. Then came
    Gorbachev. The Germans celebrated him because he gave them the gift of reunification. In one blow, the aversion of the 1960s and 1970s to everything that came out of the Kremlin seemed to be forgotten. It was a time of enthusiasm and relief, especially in the West. Gorbachev became a much-admired figure for Germans. They projected their fantasies for a new relationship between Germans and Russians on him and the new Russia. The Germans believed the Russians might somehow become just like them.
    But Russia isn’t Europe, and it never will be. Russia never went through any period of enlightenment after the destruction wrought by Stalin on the country’s soul. Germans never seriously considered that fact, because it would have interfered with their image of Russia.
    They should have been warned. Not only because Mikhail Gorbachev in no way represented the kind of
    hard-nosed leaders the Russians had become accustomed to over hundreds of years. Nor did they listen to what Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had to say about perestroika’s inventor. He said Gorbachev’s leadership style wasn’t governance, but rather “a thoughtless renunciation of power.” Gorbachev ultimately
    became the most unpopular Kremlin leader in recent history.
    The Soviet Union’s implosion, which they blame on Gorbachev, didn’t just rob them of their homeland. It also plunged them headfirst into a kind of capitalism that was even more reckless than Manchester capitalism. In no time at all, a handful of oligarchs appropriated the country’s most precious assets and a majority of the Russian people fell into poverty.

    Why Russians Can’t Be Compared to the West

    The Germans witnessed this drama as it happened, but they didn’t understand what was going through the minds of Russians. In her book “Second-Hand Time,” Russian novelist Svetlana Alexievich seeks to explain why a citizen of the former Soviet Union cannot be compared with one from the West. “All of us, the people who came from socialism, are different from other people,” she writes. “We have our own ideas about good and evil, about
    heroes and victims. We are full of hate and prejudice. We all come from the place that was once the home of gulags and of collectivization, or Dekulakization, the forced resettlement of entire populations. It was socialism, but it was also our lives.” She then goes on to explain what happened after 1991. “Many conceived the truth (about our Soviet past) to be the enemy. The same applied to freedom. Russia changed, but also hated itself for this change.”
    The Germans believed that the Russians would be excited about glasnost and the new era. They hoped all Russians would be of the type that would be fans of groups like Pussy Riot. Even politicians who regularly traveled to Moscow spent most of their time speaking to members of the pro-Western minority who aren’t really representative of Russia. This also happened for practical reasons: They were often the ones who could speak English.
    Vladimir Putin sussed out very precisely the mindset of his compatriots. He himself comes from a very simple background, having grown up in modest accomodations in St. Petersburg. When he became president, he pacified Chechnya, deprived the oligarchs of their power and also created a bit of prosperity for the average Russian. Putin knew that the majority of Russians still longed for a strong leader and that they detested anything that even had a whiff of liberalism. He knew that this majority supports a firmer position against foreigners and anything “Un-Russian” as well as the reintroduction of the death penalty.

    Putin’s Conservative, Anti-Western Ideology

    Putin pushed for greater power and applied a conservative, anti-Western ideology to justify it. “We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilization,” Putin said in a speech given in September. “They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual.” In a speech given in December, Putin cited 20th century Russian religious and political philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev, stating that “the point of conservatism is not that it prevents movement forward and upward, but that it prevents movement backward and downward, into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state.” He believes Russia must lead the way. That sentiment strikes a deep chord in a people who fear further change after 80
    years of experimentation that resulted in considerable bloodshed.
    Those Germans who have friends in Moscow who occasionally come to see them also register that their acquaintances’ previous enthusiasm for the West has been supplanted by a more critical view. Suddenly the German supermarkets have become too small for them — much smaller than the ones in Moscow, and the selection is too limited, the people on the street are too reserved and the women dressed too shabbily. In contrast to the past, the Russian friends are keen to go back home these days — they may speak negatively
    about their cities, but they are also proud of them. And of the greatness of their country. They are also
    pleased that Crimea once again belongs to Russia. Not even the most reflective of my acquaintances in
    Moscow try to conceal their belief that the return of Crimea is a completely natural course of events. In
    recent years, Putin has taken this kind of sentiment and applied it directly to his politics. This was evident even five or six years ago. We could have gotten used to it. Instead, it has come as a terrible surprise.

    A Gulf of Opinions

    How should we respond to the annexation of Crimea? The range of opinions is wide. Elderly statesman Helmut Schmidt represents one school of thought; Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble the other. Schmidt considers Putin’s actions in the Crimea to be “understandable” and thinks the West is getting too worked up about it. He argues we must keep the peace. The former chancellor is a representative of the war generation. He served in the military under Hitler and one can certainly sympathize with his fears of renewed tensions in Europe. What is not acceptable is the attitude with which he tries to lecture fellow Germans that
    his view is the only one imaginable. Fellow Social Democrat Egon Bahr, who drafted former German
    Chancellor Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik of détente with the Soviet Union, goes even further by questioning the “legal basis of the current government in Kiev.” But he ignores the fact that a majority of the opposition parties as well as the old block aligned with Viktor Yanukovych had accepted the correlating constitutional changes before the government changed.
    Schmidt and Bahr both have an outmoded image of Russia that is based on 40-year-old thinking from the 1970s. Much has happened in Russia since then, but that was apparently lost on these two.
    The fact that Schmidt’s statement found such great resonance just goes to show that our image of the
    Russians is still shaped by old feelings of guilt and by our desire to clear ourselves of it. It also reveals our preference to try to find fault in ourselves instead. This distorts the image we have of Russia even further.

    Russophiles are fond of saying that the West badly slighted Russia during the 1990s and that Moscow is now taking justified revenge for its defeat in the Cold War. But those who say this are overlooking the fact that it was Western Europe that pushed the hardest at the time for the IMF and the World Bank to provide $40 billion in loans to Moscow. At the time, the oil price had fallen to $17 and Russia otherwise would have slipped into an economic catastrophe.
    They also like to claim that NATO continued its expanse into the East despite its own pledges to the
    contrary, thus constricting Russia. However, the promise not to station any additional foreign troops or nuclear weapons only applied to the former East Germany. Of the 275,000 US soldiers that used to be stationed in Germany, only around 43,000 remain today. Moscow cannot truly perceive NATO as a military threat.

    Indifferent Leadership

    Finally, they argue that we must understand the urge of Russians in Crimea for the right to
    self-determination and the protection of a minority (in Ukraine). But the experience of the Chechen war
    showed us that Russian leaders were indiferent when it came to these lofty principles. The Chechens were denied their right to self-determination and the rebellious republic was bombed. When I sat in the bomb shelters of Grozny to cover the war, there weren’t just Chechens there, but also Russians — and the Kremlin didn’t care about their fate. Many Russians were killed, by Russian bombs.
    There’s little in the current debate in Germany over Russia’s Ukraine policies to suggest much in the way of expertise. People claim the new government in Kiev is fascist and has fallen into the hands of right-wing extremists and anti-Semitic forces. The far-left Left Party’s claims are sheer nonsense. When were the party’s intellectual leaders — Gregor Gysi and Sahra Wagenknecht — last in Kiev? If we’re going to discuss developments in Ukraine, then we should also talk about right-wing extremists in Russia and the anti-Semitism that is tolerated there.
    It’s also nonsense to claim that Crimea is “ancestral Russian territory”. As of 1441, Crimea belonged to the realm of the Tatary, a state that at one point stretched from today’s Romania across the Caspian Sea to an area a short distance from Moscow. It wasn’t until the 1700s that Potemkin used cunning and force to conquer the Tatars for Catherine the Great.

    Force Remains a Proven Means in Russia

    The Germans’ romantic image of the Russians is to be blamed for Berlin’s misguided policies toward the
    country and for the fact that the Kremlin is no longer inclined to take us seriously. The oft cited line is that we should be more inclusive of Russia rather than keep it at arm’s length. That’s what happened in 1996 when, in the midst of a war in Chechnya that had been launched by Moscow, Russia applied for membership in the Council of Europe, the continent’s human rights watchdog. The appeasers prevailed with the argument
    that it was a way of preventing Moscow from entering into further acts of military force. The second Chechen war began three years later.
    Force has remained a tried and true element of Russian policy since 1991. The kind of political compromise that is standard in the West is seen as a sign of weakness. And that thinking isn’t just isolated to the Kremlin– it’s the mentality shared by most of Russian society. That’s why you don’t even find dissent against Crimea’s annexation among Putin’s opponents. This is fueled by a major Russian superiority complex. First the Russians spoke disparagingly of people in the Caucasus, calling them “our blacks.” Despite the fact that
    they are in great demand in the labor market, the Tajiks and Uzbeks have never been much liked either. The Jews are the constant subject of discussion in Russia. Now the Russians are going on about the Ukrainians –about their “Khokhol,” a play on the hairstyles of Dnieper Cossacks during the medieval period, but also used today as a pejorative term in Russia for ethnic Ukrainians. The idea being that the Ukrainians are somehow a backward people.
    And that takes us back to Wolfgang Schäuble. Many found the comparison he made last week of the
    occupation of Crimea with the Nazi occupation of the ethnic German Sudetenland in the former
    Czechoslovakia offensive. Of course it is absurd to compare Putin with Hitler. But astoundingly similar
    arguments were made in both the speech given by Hitler on Sept. 26, 1938 in Berlin and in Putin’s
    appearance at the Kremlin on March 18 — at least in the vocabulary about providing protection to
    compatriots located outside the country. Why should we keep quiet about that? And why should we keep quiet about the fact that the coverage on Russian television leading up to the annexation of Crimea, with all its lies and agitation, was reminiscent of Joseph Goebbels?
    Germany is currently scratching its head over the best way to deal with Russia in the future. If we don’t finally take a sober look at Russia, one that is erased of all romanticizing and historical baggage that distorts our view of Putin’s world, then we will never succeed in finding a reasonable strategy.
    Christian Neef is an editor at DER SPIEGEL’s foreign desk and the magazine’s former longtime Moscow
    correspondent. Translated from the German by Daryl Lindsey.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Your Grace, I hardly think anybody is “romanticizing” Russia. Indeed, quite the opposite. In both instances there is a lack of sobriety but most especially in our Neocons here who are mad that The Federalist Papers and Heather Has Two Mommies is not required reading

    • Ah of course, the Spiegel that completely honest, unbiased and full of “pretended objectivity” magazine of immaculate reputation (in left circles) speaking for all Germans…. me thinks NOT.

      What a glorious continuation of the eternal flow of hooey from Hamburg this article presents… but then it originates from the most infamous Schmier- und Käseblatt of all of Germany’s mediocre newsprint output.

      It’s a shame that news still hasn’t arrived on the NA continent what a foul, treasonous rag that paper is and has been since its inception by the British sponsored Rudolf Augstein way back in the antediluvian of 1947.

      In case I did not made myself clear enough, I hold the absolutely lowest opinion possible about that paper and its output…

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Spiegel, Joseph, is Germany’s leading news magazine, on a par with or better than our ‘Time”, Newsweek”or England’s ‘Economist.’
        They are infinietely better qualified to report, as this article demonstrates, the points of view of GERMANS IN GERMANY towards Russia than you or George.
        And it would be interesting if Joseph could point out the mistakes of Dr. Christian Neef, of Leipzig, in the article he wrote for Spiegel, although i’m sure Joseph’s mother is interested in his emotions relative to the magazine.

        Every hear of the logical fallacy called ‘Poisoning the Well?” If a demon says Jesus is the Son of God, do we have to disregard that because a demon said it?’

        George took the article personally, but it didn’t say he romnaticized Russia or Putin, but that the German public did. Does George or Joseph L. have information to contradict that?

        • Your Grace my mother has passed away in 2010. She was apolitical, but even she had a better grasp on what the Spiegel represents than the retired internet bishop. I wonder is there anything you do not consider yourself as having an expert opinion on, even if only in your own mind. I think you speak some German, here’s my suggestion to you. Einfach mal die Klappe halten.

          Btw, I think I can confidently say that the vast majority of Germans feel tired of being a colony of a now going full retard USA and would prefer to enter again into a realistic, friendly relationship with Russia as they have had for so long in the past.
          Since you’re so knowledgeable in history, you know that these two countries have had long and friendly relationships (although sometimes interrupted by war. But that goes for all of Europe).
          Yes, I think Russia is the sane adult here and the USA is the psychopath.
          All my life I admired what the USA stood for, today not any more.

          • Patrick Henry Reardon says

            Joseph I says, “I think Russia is the sane adult here and the USA is the psychopath.”

            This is my impression, too.

        • Someone wrote: “Spiegel, Joseph, is Germany’s leading news magazine, on a par with or better than our ‘Time”…”

          Yes, the singer Beyonce is on the April 24th cover. Cutting edge…

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Elias et al. What do YOU consider to be Germany’s leading news magazine? While you’re at it, what about its leading newspaper?
            Here’s a native American saying for you: ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Having said that, why would the picture of a prominent American icon be out of place on the cover of a German news magazine?

  7. Francis Frost says

    George :

    Again you seem to have missed the summation of Peggy Noonan’s presentation> Please read carefully and pay attention to he bolded lines:

    What does this remarkable speech tell us?… It makes clear a formal animus toward the U.S. It shows Mr. Putin has grown comfortable in confrontation… It suggests a new era, one that doesn’t have a name yet. But the decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union were one thing, and this is something else—something rougher, darker and more aggressive.

    You may complain about the retrenchment of American power and values. It is clear that he current administration has pulled back from involvement in world affairs. If you think that is a good thing, then you are extremely naïve and foolish.

    Look at Syria. Our Syrian brethren called for “hands off Syria” and that is what they got. Are they better off for it? Hardly.

    They have a stalemate, a war neither side can win. They have documented atrocities on both sides. As Saidna Basil said: “There are no ‘good guys’ on either side. The rebels have destroyed nearly half of the Christian churches, kidnapped or killed some dozens clergy and lay people. They have oppressed those they consider dhimmis, and even carried out acts of cannibalism on camera. The Assad forces have tortured and killed over 11,000 civilians without trial, documented not only by eyewitness testimony but photographs provided by the government photographer, who defected, sickened by the carnage. The government has gassed thousands of its own civilians including the 1000 adults and 426 children massacred in the Sarin gas attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

    This is what a world without American power and values look like.

    Putin is depending on American weakness and lack of resolve to carry out his aggression against his neighbors. You may cheer him on; but those in the line of fire do not.

    If you want to know what those who actually live in proximity to the neo Soviet imperialists think, watch this video.

    Ms.Tinatin Khidasheli gave this speech in English to the Parliamentary Council of Europe.


    • Isa Almisry says

      “This is what a world without American power and values look like.”
      With Sen. McCan’t demanding that the USAF become the Air Force of al-Qa’idah, along with the rest of his ilk, the civil war in Syria wouldn’t have started, let alone be so prolonged.

  8. Francis Frost says

    The monks who hide behind the pseudonym Ladder posted this:

    Consider Obama has turned “Obama Girl” into this:
    There’s a reason that American patriots like Snowden are defecting to Russia and Putin to escape Obama, rather than the good old days when Russians came here to escape Communism.

    If you dare you may at look the monk’s video on their post. Vai me!!!

    What a wonder! It is amazing what “holy monks” are amusing themselves with during the Great Fast !

    If these are monks, no wonder the church is in such a mess. Absolutely astounding – such shamelessness.
    The monks I met in the old days would never have seen such a thing, much less posted it for others to look at.

    Perhaps dear Fathers, your Typikon has been edited to remove the hymn “ .. let our eyes fast from unseemly images…”.

    It is now perfectly clear why our holy Father Herman refused to let your community settled on his own Spruce Island.

    Shameless monks !!!

    May God lead your to repentance while there is still time.

    Good Lord !!!

  9. Francis Frost says

    Signing off for the Holy Week and Pascha.

    Aghdgomasa gilotsavt ! Kalo Pascha! Kali Anastasi to all

  10. Two points:

    1. I don’t think the average Joe really cares what form of government he is under as long as it is running things reasonably well — food, housing, job,safety.

    2. I have been to Russia a couple of times and I sense an energy just waiting for opportunity. Moscow- NYC with subway signs in Cyrillic, people in a hurry, successful small business men; it is all there. Corruption, yes but then who are we to talk? So if we have anything to fear then it is this economic potential. China did it and it is maturing, when Russia does it, watch out. And when It does do it, it will be surrounded by all those gold domes and Sunday bells. We better find a way to nurture an ally not an enemy because when all is done I am not convinced we will come out on top.

  11. cynthia curran says

    I bring this up because California is quickly becoming a third-world country. In Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in America, close to half of the Hispanic population does not graduate from high school, over 60% of Black children do not meet the state’s college entrance requirements, and there has been a decline in economic growth for 20 years! The divide between rich and poor is growing each decade and the feel good policies of state and local politicians is doing nothing to move us in a different direction.

    Actually, LA is about 48 percent. Guess what city in California is over 300,000 and is about 80 percent Hispanic Santa Ana in conservative Orange County. Houston is 43 percent Hispanic and Dallas is about 41 percent. In fact Texas is about as Hispanic as California but conservatives ignore that. In fact most Mexican and Central Americans are now pouring more into Texas since it has more low skilled jobs because of a better economy but do conservatives tell you that Texas has about 1.8 million illegal immigrants second to California.

    • Interesting that most of what you say about “a third-world country” has to do with ethnicity and race. Think about that for a bit, why don’t you?

      • Actually, most of what she said about “a third world country” revolved around lack of education, a stagnant economy and bifurcation of society into two classes. You might read a bit closer.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        What thought needs to be given to it? It is what it is.

  12. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Here are fsn (10) more false claims by Russia, according to our State Department:
    “No amount of propaganda can make right something that the world knows is wrong.”
    – President Obama, March 26

    Russia continues to spin a false and dangerous narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine. The Russian propaganda machine continues to promote hate speech and incite violence by creating a false threat in Ukraine that does not exist. We would not be seeing the violence and sad events that we’ve witnessed this weekend without this relentless stream of disinformation and Russian provocateurs fostering unrest in eastern Ukraine. Here are 10 more false claims Russia is using to justify intervention in Ukraine, with the facts that these assertions ignore or distort.

    1. Russia Claims: Russian agents are not active in Ukraine.

    Fact: The Ukrainian Government has arrested more than a dozen suspected Russian intelligence agents in recent weeks, many of whom were armed at the time of arrest. In the first week of April 2014, the Government of Ukraine had information that Russian GRU officers were providing individuals in Kharkiv and Donetsk with advice and instructions on conducting protests, capturing and holding government buildings, seizing weapons from the government buildings’ armories, and redeploying for other violent actions. On April 12, armed pro-Russian militants seized government buildings in a coordinated and professional operation conducted in six cities in eastern Ukraine. Many were outfitted in bullet-proof vests, camouflage uniforms with insignia removed, and carrying Russian-designed weapons like AK-74s and Dragunovs. These armed units, some wearing black and orange St. George’s ribbons associated with Russian Victory Day celebrations, raised Russian and separatist flags over seized buildings and have called for referendums on secession and union with Russia. These operations are strikingly similar to those used against Ukrainian facilities during Russia’s illegal military intervention in Crimea in late February and its subsequent occupation.

    2. Russia Claims: Pro-Russia demonstrations are comprised exclusively of Ukrainian citizens acting of their own volition, like the Maidan movement in Kyiv.

    Fact: This is not the grassroots Ukrainian civic activism of the EuroMaidan movement, which grew from a handful of student protestors to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians from all parts of the country and all walks of life. Russian internet sites openly are recruiting volunteers to travel from Russia to Ukraine and incite violence. There is evidence that many of these so-called “protesters” are paid for their participation in the violence and unrest. It is clear that these incidents are not spontaneous events, but rather part of a well-orchestrated Russian campaign of incitement, separatism, and sabotage of the Ukrainian state. Ukrainian authorities continue to arrest highly trained and well-equipped Russian provocateurs operating across the region.

    3. Russia Claims: Separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine enjoy broad popular support.

    Fact: The recent demonstrations in eastern Ukraine are not organic and lack wide support in the region. A large majority of Donetsk residents (65.7 percent) want to live in a united Ukraine and reject unification with Russia, according to public opinion polls conducted at the end of March by the Donetsk-based Institute of Social Research and Policy Analysis. Pro-Russian demonstrations in eastern Ukraine have been modest in size, especially compared with Maidan protests in these same cities in December, and they have gotten smaller as time has progressed.

    4. Russia Claims: The situation in eastern Ukraine risks spiraling into civil war.

    Fact: What is going on in eastern Ukraine would not be happening without Russian disinformation and provocateurs fostering unrest. It would not be happening if a large Russian military force were not massed on the border, destabilizing the situation through their overtly threatening presence. There simply have not been large-scale protests in the region. A small number of separatists have seized several government buildings in eastern cities like Donetsk, Luhansk, and Slovyansk, but they have failed to attract any significant popular support. Ukrainian authorities have shown remarkable restraint in their efforts to resolve the situation and only acted when provoked by armed militants and public safety was put at risk. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers have reported that these incidents are very localized.

    5. Russia Claims: Ukrainians in Donetsk rejected the illegitimate authorities in Kyiv and established the independent “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”

    Fact: A broad and representative collection of civil society and non-governmental organizations in Donetsk categorically rejected the declaration of a “People’s Republic of Donetsk” by the small number of separatists occupying the regional administration building. These same organizations confirmed their support for the interim government and for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

    6. Russia Claims: Russia ordered a “partial drawdown” of troops from the Ukrainian border.

    Fact: No evidence shows significant movement of Russian forces away from the Ukrainian border. One battalion is not enough. An estimated 35,000-40,000 Russian troops remain massed along the border, in addition to approximately 25,000 troops currently in Crimea.

    7. Russia Claims: Ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat.

    Fact: There are no credible reports of ethnic Russians facing threats in Ukraine. An International Republican Institute poll released April 5 found that 74 percent of the Russian-speaking population in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine said they “were not under pressure or threat because of their language.” Meanwhile, in Crimea, the OSCE has raised urgent concerns for the safety of minority populations, especially ethnic Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, and others. Sadly, the ethnic Russians most at risk are those who live in Russia and who oppose the authoritarian Putin regime. These Russians are harassed constantly and face years of imprisonment for speaking out against Putin’s regular abuses of power.

    8. Russia Claims: Ukraine’s new government is led by radical nationalists and fascists.

    Fact: The Ukrainian parliament (Rada) did not change in February. It is the same Rada that was elected by all Ukrainians, comprising all of the parties that existed prior to February’s events, including former president Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. The new government, approved by an overwhelming majority in the parliament — including many members of Yanukovych’s former party — is committed to protecting the rights of all Ukrainians, including those in Crimea.

    9. Russia Claims: Ethnic minorities face persecution in Ukraine from the “fascist” government in Kyiv.

    Fact: Leaders of Ukraine’s Jewish as well as German, Czech, and Hungarian communities have all publicly expressed their sense of safety under the new authorities in Kyiv. Moreover, many minority groups expressed fear of persecution in Russian-occupied Crimea, a concern OSCE observers in Ukraine have substantiated.

    10. Russia Claims: Russia is not using energy and trade as weapons against Ukraine.

    Fact: Following Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea, Russia raised the price Ukraine pays for natural gas by 80 percent in the past two weeks. In addition, it is seeking more than $11 billion in back payments following its abrogation of the 2010 Kharkiv accords. Russia’s moves threaten to increase severely the economic pain faced by Ukrainian citizens and businesses. Additionally, Russia continues to restrict Ukrainian exports to Russia, which constitute a significant portion of Ukraine’s export economy.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Your Grace, I’m sure that there are two sides to every story. You posit Russian provocateurs in Ukraine. Fair enough, but weren’t there Western provacateurs as well? What was Victoria Nuland doing in Kiev, just handing out biscuits to the protesters. The Russians intercepted her calls in which she used the F-word to “direct traffic” so to speak. Let us be honest, the West has been destabilizing the frontiers of the former Soviet Union for at least a decade. And has incited fools like Georgia’s ex-president to needlessly provoke the Russian bear.

      Instead, I propose something better: NATO disband, we withdraw our troops from continental Europe and instead protect our sovereignty by deploying them to the southern border of the US. The first and most important duty of any government is to protect its own citizens.

      • Nate Trost says

        I like how Victoria Nuland dropping an f-bomb in a phone call is treated as equivalent to what in all likelihood are Russian special forces becoming “nationalists” and seizing government buildings in eastern Ukraine.

        There is a difference between self-interested national diplomatic efforts and direct action. Both Russia and “the West” are engaging in the former. In the case of the latter, there is absolutely no “Western” equivalent to Russian behavior.

        • Heracleides says

          Obviously neither you or I know the whole story; nor will we ever. For instance, as of today:

          “Carney also confirmed that the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, had been in Kiev over the weekend and decried what he called “false claims” leveled at the CIA by Russian authorities.

          “Senior level visits of intelligence officials are a standard means of fostering mutually beneficial security cooperation including U.S.-Russian intelligence collaboration going back to the beginnings of the post-Cold War era,” Carney said.

          ‘U.S. and Russian intelligence officials have met over the years. To imply that U.S. officials meeting with their counterparts (in Kiev) is anything other than in the same spirit is absurd,” he said.’

          Uh huh… the timing is pure coincidence I am sure.

          Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/14/us-ukraine-crisis-obama-idUSBREA3D1DH20140414

        • George Michalopulos says

          Leaving aside the fact that some minor US State Dept flunky is over in Ukraine vetting which thug gets to be the new president (when they already have a legally elected one), we can be assured that there were hundreds of American agents (NGOs) spreading around a lot of walking-around money inciting violence. That’s been proven.

          We shouldn’t be surprised, this is a new variation of the old Great Game. The Soviets spread a lot of money around in the West during the Cold War, they fomented trouble on American college campusus and had significant agents in Hollywood. Now the shoe is on the other foot, we’re doing it to them. That’s all. I’m just calling a spade a spade.

          • Nate Trost says

            Stuff like this intercept is way beyond the Great Game and way beyond dropping an f-bomb over preferences of another diplomatic group. Last I checked Victoria Nuland hasn’t asked for information on who exactly it was that she shot.

            we can be assured that there were hundreds of American agents (NGOs) spreading around a lot of walking-around money inciting violence. That’s been proven.

            Hundreds of American agents? It’s rather entertaining when Russian propaganda makes American intelligence/espionage capabilities out to be orders of magnitude larger and more capable than they really are. Perhaps every one of these American agents is actually Andrei Petkov!

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        George, I liked your “Your Grace, I’m sure that there are two sides to every story.” Why not put tt at the top of this blog’s homepage? Incidentally, since I doubt if there are going to many additional participants in the “most influence’ poll, Why not put a new poll up? “I believe that Metropolitan Jonah received a release from the OCA.’ Yes. No.

        • OCA or no OCA, he’s still presiding at the altar in his home city.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            A lot could be said about how Metropolitan Jonah is blessed by the parish rector to preside at that Altar, but George might not allow it. It is totally undebatable, though, that the Rector of ROCOR’s Washington Cathedral seems to have developed a unique charisma for allowing hierarchs-without-portfolio or -responsibilities to build their own compensatory legends.

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

              Vladyka, perhaps “a lot could be said.” But sometimes “silence is golden,” or common decency and uncommon compassion should move one not to opine about a brother bishop in a public forum.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Thanks for your reprimand, Archpriest Alexander. I’ll try to keep statements of any of my convictions relative to the careers of Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Basil confined to repetition of what is on the public record and not make pronouncements relative to their behavior as being proper or improper, decent or indecent, compassionate or merciless as you permit yourself to do. Do you ever follow the “silence is golden” rule?

                • Do you?

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Well, Matthew, in general terms, no, i don’t follow the rule that silence is golden, brandished by Archpriest Alexander W. Perhaps you’re too young to remember it, but the Jews of Germany learned to their dismay that silence is not always golden, but can be fatal.
                    I would however have recommended silence to anyone who was thinking of eagerly announcing that Metropolitan Jonah had been released into ROCOR when he had no evidence of such!
                    Looking for evidence of such a release is like looking for something humorous by clicking on the Heracleides button, above.

  13. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    “Perhaps Buchanan and Noonan are merely outliers.”

    Given the etymology of the name “Ukraine,” George, I wonder if this pun was intentional.

  14. Someone else above may have made the same points or some of them I’m about to, but I haven’t yet read the whole string:

    Russia went from being part of a militant, athiestic, communist superstate (the Soviet Union), to being downsized and becoming a quasi-democratic, quasi-authoritarian, theistic mixed-market capitalistic state. I will leave the question of militancy aside for the moment.

    This has been deeply confusing to the American people since Putin became president of the RF. We have been taught to see an adversary there. We have been led to believe there is something deeply sinister about Putin. Yet the economic, religious and ideological categories simply do not line up any more. My godmother (who is not Russian and elderly) still believes that Russia is communistic. This is because she doesn’t understand economics and sees the contrast as between Western style democracy and communism. Of course, for example, Saudi Arabia and any number of other Muslim countries equally detest democracy and communism. One could have a democratic communism, so long as the majority agreed with state ownership of the means of production.

    American illiteracy on these subjects goes a long way to explaining much of the commentary we hear from the talking heads. Buchanan is an exception. Putin has considerably less power than the Byzantine Emperors or the Tsars who were also (or would also have been) antagonistic to both democracy and socialism/communism.

    America is a bastion of abortion on demand, homosexual rights and propaganda, secularization of the public sphere, illegitimacy and single parent homes, feminism and public indecency, etc. This is simply a fact. Progressive liberalism is our national creed. Any number of posters here favor this ideology.

    Regarding some of these issues, Russia has “been there, done that, moved on”. Though abortion is still quite common, the government and culture are moving away from approval of it. Homosexuality is tolerated, mostly in private, but its propagandization and normalization in society are restricted. Secularization is a thing of the past in Russia and the Church has made a truly impressive resurgence and increasingly influences social attitudes and public policy. Though divorce is still too common, illegitimacy has never had the endorsement of the state and culture in Russia that it does here in America.

    As of yet, Russia does not have an official creed as does the US. Nationalism is strong and Orthodoxy is on the rise. A strong presidency is also part of the mix since Russians, perhaps above all, value a strong and successful leader. If this sounds familiar, it ought to. It was the political ideology of Russia for most of the 19th century: православие – самодержавие – народность (Orthodoxy – Autocracy – Nationalism). I do not suggest that this is necessarily the conscious program of the Russian state and Russian people, only that it seems to be part of the “Russian DNA”. Russia is not an atomistic, individualistic culture.

    So the question for Western Christians is fairly simply: Do Christians any longer have any stomach for Christendom?

  15. Reorganization of Episcopal Assemblies in the Americas

    During the Holy Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, which took place in Constantinople on March 6-9, 2014, the Prelates, through a unanimous vote, agreed to form separate Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in Canada and in the United States of America. They further agreed to incorporate the hierarchs of Central America into the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of Latin America.

    In 2010, during the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America’s inaugural meeting, the hierarchs unanimously voted to ask the Primates of the Orthodox Churches to reorganize the Assemblies in the Americas to best respond to the cultural diversity and pastoral needs in the region.

    The Assembly in the United States of America will henceforth be called “The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.”

    • Michael Bauman says

      Or the assembly of Greek bishops and their dependencies of the US

      • I’m pressed for anyone outside the Hellenosphere who actually gives a flying rats tail at this point.

        • Perhaps, but there it is.

          • colette,

            No criticism of you intended, just a droll observation.

            What I find more interesting at this point are the preparations for the so-called “ecumenical council” being considered. By all accounts I have seen, when one looks at exactly what is being planned or discussed, it’s not even arguably an EC. One autocephalous church = one vote; limitation on the number of bishops from each church, etc. I can’t imagine what they are thinking. Maybe the Greeks are serious about doing it that way but I can’t help but think that such planning is subversive to the very possibility that whatever is decided will be received unless it is totally uncontroversial. Also, it would negate the possibility that any such decisions would be considered binding at all. No one thinks that the little synaxis that purportedly changed the calendar had any real authority. Hard to argue that this thing would have much more.

            Of course, since I believe that a real EC at this time is a terrible idea . . .

    • Tina Hovsky says

      The Ep. Ass’ are DEAD! No Orthodox in any country is going to put their complete trust under + Bart, nor should they. Unity only under Istanbul is just the creation of an Eastern Pope. In the U.S. it is time to get real; unity of the Orthodox in North America can only happen under an autocephalous church and + Bart does not offer this. SCOBA should have never been disbanned. The Greeks in the U.S. are losing their youth at a very rapid rate and 50-60% of their churches will close in the next 10-20 years. They must unite to survive. More poaching of OCA priests and a more Americanized GOA is on the horizon.

  16. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/04/22/nationalism_not_nato_is_our_great_ally__122360.html

    Pat has another good ‘un. I really only agree with him on morality and foreign policy, but he’s had some insightful columns lately.