Monday, March 03, 2014

Crimea - a battle of principalities and powers

As Western politicians boycott the Sochi Paralympics and tweet their outrage, Ukrainian Orthodox priests are sprinkling holy water over President Putin's battalions in the hope that peace will prevail, while Russian Orthodox priests are blessing the military hardware in preparation for armed conflict. The Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has sounded the alarm: "We are on the brink of disaster," he warned, leaving us to infer that the Russian mobilisation amounts to a declaration of war.

There is a certain irony, as Britain commemorates the outbreak of World War One with fractious debates about Blackadder and a staging of Oh What A Lovely War, that Russia is actually staging a re-enactment with real tanks, troops and trenches. We're reading a lot about Putin the big bad bully and complete hypocrite, and even more about breaches of international law and acts of aggression. Some are discontent with US sabre-rattling and itch for NATO to march in with bayonets and swords, seemingly oblivious to the horrific carvery of sickles that would greet them. Blood begets blood: it is time to draw back from the brink and consider history as well as destiny.

The Crimea was part of Turkey until 1792, when it became Russian, but tensions between Muslims of the Ottoman Empire and Russia's Orthodox Christians continued. In October 1853, Russia determined to guard its Christian heritage and culture, and the region descended into a murky religio-political war. Britain contributed her own cavalry charges at Balaclava the following year, siding with the Turks and French against Russia. Peace was agreed in 1856, without advantage to either side. In 1921 the Crimea became an autonomous republic in union with the Soviet at Moscow, and in 1991 an independent state in its own right. But the political unity of the region has long been subverted by the ethic division: there are people who consider themselves Russian, others who assert Ukrainian ethnicity, and still others who are Crimean Tatars - descended from the 18th-century Turks.

While we view the current conflict through the distorted prism of secular European enlightenment and the primacy of economics, millions in the Ukraine are asserting their cultural and religious identities. On the one hand are the Western-inclined pro-EU reformists who are seeking liberation from oppression and corruption; on the other, the Eastern-facing pro-Russian conservatives are battling once again to preserve their way of life. And these are by no means the only hands: the region is fraught with complexities. But when priests sprinkle holy water over the troops, it is because they believe they are defending Christian orthodoxy and traditional morality against social liberal secularism and moral relativity. For many millions of ethnic Russians, this isn't simply a question of gay rights and wrongs, but of good versus evil. It is about the spiritual and moral foundation of civilisation itself. 

So when we read the Daily Mail or listen to the BBC, we are understanding nothing of this crisis, for it is not a conflict of flesh and blood, but of principalities and powers. It is not about politics and opportunism, but morality and mission. Obama and Cameron can issue their warnings and demands that Putin respect 'equality' and ‘democratic values’, but when you believe you are called by God to do His holy work, a pesky liberal president and a devalued prime minister are of very little significance at all. 

It was Russia which led the way to aid the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. It is Russia that defends 'family values' and confronts the secular zeitgeist of moral relativity with an appeal to conservatism. Putin is on a crusade. If millions of your anti-Western co-religionists appeal to you for spiritual liberty, you don't ignore their cries: their salvation is your vocation.

We may not like this Damascene conversion from KGB Communism to Christian conservatism: it may, indeed, be a dark spiritual cloak to effect a global political coup. We may feel very great sympathy for all those Ukrainians yearning for liberal values whose dissent is censored and suppressed. We may be horrified by news reports of beheaded protestors and stabbed policemen, and appalled by the spectre of wider bloodshed and another Crimean war. We are right to feel pain and share in the suffering.

But neither Brussels nor Washington can act beyond edicts of condemnation.

And London is mired in sound-bites and spin.

The US and EU are not going to war against Russia over the Ukraine, so, for God's sake, let's talk and pray and pray and talk while we spy and survey and tap and record. Either and both and all are preferable to invasion and war.

Especially if it turns out that God is on the other side.


Blogger Jenny said...

well there is a huge amount they can do between condemnation & war.
Obviously sanctions, asset freezes amoung the many.

Already today the Russian stocks have dropped 10%. This could lead to some pressure from business there.

Interestingly China is backing Russia. This is a strong signal that the West is doomed long term.

3 March 2014 at 10:26  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

If Ukraine were to slip out of the Russian sphere of influence and into the Western orbit, that would be perceived by the Russian electorate, by and large, as severely damaging to their country’s national interest, and the president or prime minister who had stood by twiddling his fingers while he let it happen would be scorned and reviled. It’s not only a Stalin or a Putin or an Ivan the Terrible who would do everything in his power to forestall such a humiliating outcome. Even a liberal, pro-gay marriage, green secularist Pussy Riot fan would be irresistibly impelled in the same direction.

3 March 2014 at 10:27  
Blogger The Explorer said...

And I thought the Middle East was the World's flashpoint!

As HG says, the roots of this conflict are complex and go back centuries. One could probably even add the eastward-looking Teutonic Knights to the mixture.

Not a situation to be underestimated.

3 March 2014 at 10:30  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

Well, perhaps we were on the wrong side way back when we and the French sided with the Turks. Perhaps Istanbul would be constantinople and the Christians of the Middle East would not be dying in their thousands.

Perhaps Islam itself would have been forced into an Enlightenment.

As ever the situation is way more complex than you would imagine if you restricted your information to the outpourings of the simplistic, biased, BBC or listen to the spin of Obama, Cameron and that self important pipsqueak, Hague.

Increasingly it seems Russia is standing up for OUR interests, culture and way of life more than our own Governments.

Things are really bent out of shape.

3 March 2014 at 10:48  
Blogger bluedog said...

A timely post, Your Grace, and the perspective you bring is, as you say, completely missing in other quarters.

The Russian action in Crimea surprises your communicant; Russia is thinly spread and not without vulnerable points of its own. In the west, the enclave of Kallingrad (Konigsberg) is surrounded by modern Poland and could be blockaded fairly easily. But despite current Chinese support for Russia's actions, the real opportunities lie in the Russian Far East. Carelessly the Russians have yet to settle the matter of the four Kuril Islands, seized from Japan in the final days of WW2 by an opportunistic Stalin. And then there is Sakhalin Island, formerly part owned by Japan. In recent years great gas deposits were found and developed by Royal Dutch Shell, who discovered that their licences were suddenly invalid once the hard work was done. One doubts that plucky little Holland will send an expeditionary force all that way to seize Sakhalin from the Russian bear, but other powers may be tempted. Not forgetting Vladivostok itself, where Chinese migrants have become close to a majority. How long before the expansionist Chinese state miraculously uncovers an ancient claim of impeccable provenance that will justify a formal position of its own?

Putin may seem to be a doughty defender of old values, but he may also have let the genie out of the bottle all round Russia's very long borders.

3 March 2014 at 10:49  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Christians should never side with muslims to fight Christians.

3 March 2014 at 11:22  
Blogger John Wrake said...

YG, A helpful comment.

What can one do to persuade members of our current government to stop posturing as open-hearted moralists, rather than the interfering sidekicks of a deeply flawed European Union with Empire-building on its mind.

The conflicts within the Ukraine were amply illustrated at the end of World War 2, when the British Army in Austria and Trieste were faced with the problems of returning Ukrainian POWs and their families to Communist Yugoslavia.

It is high time that we left Ukrainian politics to the likes of Baroness Ashton and concentrated on restoring the freedoms of ordinary folk in this country from the closet dictatorship which currently operates here.

John Wrake.

3 March 2014 at 11:36  
Blogger The Explorer said...

John @ 11:22/John W

A scary thought that in the Crimean War Britain might have been on the wrong side.

As Harry C N says, without our intervention, Istanbul might have again been Constantinople.

John W: Glad you make the point about EU empire building.

The Teutonic Knights looked East. When Hitler wanted 'lebensraum' he looked East.

When the EU seeks to extend its influence...

3 March 2014 at 11:48  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

A fascinating article that sheds some light at least on what is happening.

I admit to being completely confused by media coverage (rather as I was confused when things kicked off in Egypt and Libya) – who are the opposition/rebels/insurgents/revolutionaries? What do they want? Are they left or right, secular or religious?

Doubly confused when Russia is describing the new government in Ukraine as extreme right wing, but over here it is presented as a European facing, liberal and progressive step away from nasty old Russia.

President Putin's Christianity and his remonstration with the West for eschewing Christian values is welcome. It is also pleasing to see a nation not fall down in worship before what the Inspector calls 'Gig Gay'.

But remember, it was only 30 years ago that President Reagan described Russia as a “godless nation” and asked for prayers for its conversion "Let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness…"

Consider also the atrocities committed by the Soviet Union on people of faith (200,000 clergy and faithful executed between 1917 and 1937, methods of execution including crucifixion and being frozen in columns of ice, thousands of churches destroyed). Persecutions continued until the 1980s.

If President Putin is going to be the saviour of the Christian nations let's hope the old leopard has really changed its spots.

3 March 2014 at 11:50  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

Agree about the EU empire building and Hitler's lebensraum. I perceive this as essentially a German v. Russian struggle for possession of the Ukraine - continuation of WW2, only this time Germany has already conque....I mean, got UK and France onside and totally impotent.

What has happened in Ukraine is essentially the same as Anschluss in 1938.

Just reading Agnes Humbert's 'Resistance'(translated from the French)....during WW2 a German political prisoner defined her race as 'born to beat or to be beaten but never to be free'...and they won't let anyone else be free either.

3 March 2014 at 12:04  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Well I would be organising the Barchester Mothers' Union in a Balaclava knitting circle but, by jingo, we ain't got the men and we ain't got the ships...we ain't got the Empire either but that is another story. One thing is for certain, if we did have the men you wouldn't catch many CofE priests blessing them with Holy Water. I am sending Mr. Hague one of my tracts, entitled 'When in a hole, stop digging.'

3 March 2014 at 12:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

In 1853 Russia was not "determined to guard its Christian heritage and culture." It was seeking a warm water access to the oceans for its fleet. The British opposed the Russians because they didn't want the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean Sea threatening supply lines to the Empire.


3 March 2014 at 12:25  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 12:25

Could there have been an element of both?

'Flashman in the Great Game.' Russia's designs on India.

'Flashman at the Charge'. Russia's war with its Muslim neighbours.

3 March 2014 at 12:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Russia was pushing the Empire south and had constantly sought control of the Bosporus. Access to warm water had been a consistent Russian foreign policy goal for a long time. As had the British desire to prevent it. Besides, in what sense did Islam present a threat to Russia or Europe in the mid 19th century? The Ottoman Empire was already the sick man of Europe. No, the Crimean war was about Imperial ambition. It was primarily the deficiencies of the Russian military that prevented this ambition from being realized.


3 March 2014 at 12:55  
Blogger 45minutewarning said...

I am not going along with the assertion that God is totally on the side of the Russians. It may be that God is so disgusted with the Western depravity that He sees Russia as the lesser of two evils, but I don't think this is any kind of crusade from the East.

Also, had the Ukraines not been tempted by the EU utopian delusion, Ukraine would have probably remained relatively stable. By trying to grab it as part of its empire, the EU has done much to destabilise it. But when did the EU ever have any respect for sovereignty anyway?

3 March 2014 at 12:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Russia needs Ukraine if it is to be a great power. It will not let Ukraine be pulled into Europe at Russian expense. This is the very definition of a vital interest. And the outcome is already determined. Russia will go to war over this. Europe couldn't fight over who gets the last donut.

This has nothing to do with defending Christian civilization. It has to do with Russia's place in the world. And really. Who can accept the idea of Putin as a defender of Christian civilization?


3 March 2014 at 13:07  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 12:55

It's a good point, and I concede it.

I was thinking of the Golden Horde: a nuisance on Russia's borders, resistant to conquest, and a menace today in the form of independent Islamic republics.

Imperialism, it seems to me, has mixed motives. British presence in India was not just to make money. There was also the civilising mission. Banning suttee, and putting down the Thug element of Kali worship.

No doubt at least some Russians felt the same about their wild neighbours. (The same ones, probably, who would have worried about the serfs.)

3 March 2014 at 13:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 13:07

Germany possibly could.

Hegel said German's destiny is to rule the world. He didn't, as far as I know, say when.

For EU read Germany?

3 March 2014 at 13:18  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Anyone read the Mother Barbara prophecy? 30 years ago when I first read it it like everyone I was struck by all the similarities to WW2 & empire dismemberment happenings despite its date, but the prospects of the US feeding the world but then collapsing and the 2 main powers becoming Russia and China seemed unlikely, but now....I wonder how well known it is in Russia and whether it influences them.. Anyone know?

3 March 2014 at 13:18  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Putin – a standard-bearer for the cause of Christian 'values'? I don't think so.

It is stretching the limits of credulity to accept that there exists even the thinnest thread of filial amity between Putin and anything remotely 'Christian'; either about the man or his politics. To suggest a degree of moral legitimacy for the actions of this particular Russian oligarch in either Syria or Ukraine, is understandable if emanating from the ranks of the Gurdianistas but I didn't expect to find it here.

What about pinning him to keeping promises he(Russia) signed up to, as contained in the following:-

The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is an international treaty signed on 5 December 1994, providing security assurances by its signatories in connection to Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear-powers, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. China and France later gave individual statements of assurance as well.

The deal included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan. As a result Ukraine gave up the world's third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996.

For my two-pennorth this particular view of mine-host is an excellent example for the argument to keep religion out of politics - the waters are already being muddied enough without further emotional turbulence.

3 March 2014 at 13:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

This isn't the first time, and it wont be the last, when political rulers use religion to achieve unity to pursue the ends they see as necessary to preserve and promote their nation's interests. The Ukraine and Crimea are too strategically important for Russia to allow it to fall under Western control.

Jack agrees this is essentially a struggle between two empires - the EU and Russia- and it has been going on for centuries. But he would not underestimate the religious dimension.

Most Russian Orthodox Christians regard the Western churches as having given into moral and sexual decadence. Are they wrong to think this? So maybe it is a religious crusade as well. It is always difficult to separate the two elements.

3 March 2014 at 13:26  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Dreadnaught, you ought to watch some of Putin's and Patriarch Kirill's speeches on 'youtube' if you want to gain a better insight into the convergence between Russian culture (Christianity) and Russian politics. How can you keep the essential culture of a nation out of politics?

3 March 2014 at 13:31  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Jack agrees this is essentially a struggle between two empires - the EU and Russia

NATO and Russia would be more accurate as there yet being no EU military.

Most Russian Orthodox Christians regard the Western churches as having given into moral and sexual decadence.

Such a positive statement must have provenance

3 March 2014 at 13:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


How would the German gov't convince the German population to fight a war over Ukraine? What Army would Germany deploy? How would Germany get that Army to Ukraine and how would it keep that Army in the field? How would Ukrainians react to a reintroduction of the German military? How would Germany balance the Russian nuclear capability?

There is simply no way. The problem with pulling Ukraine into Europe is that there is no credible way to extend security guarantees to Ukraine. No nation will risk war over Ukraine and the Russians know it.


3 March 2014 at 13:37  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

So maybe it is a religious crusade as well. It is always difficult to separate the two elements.

So you for convenience like Putin, choose to ignore the Budapest agreement if it suits your take however tenuous, on religious faith over politics. You obviously have something in common with Islamic reasoning.

3 March 2014 at 13:39  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

On the subject of the Crimean War, we have had a string of interesting insights from Harry Ca-Nab (at 10:48), John in Cheshire (at 11:22), Explorer (at 11:48), and carl jacobs (at 12:25 and again at 12:55).

At the time, were there no pro-Russian voices raised in England, along the lines of the Pro-Boer sympathisers a half-century later?

3 March 2014 at 13:41  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Ah, Happy Jack, that reminds me of that thing called the "Russian soul" that is key to understanding many a Russian novel. It is not a concept we seem to have here. Whoever heard of the "British soul"?

I think the Russians are right about the moral decadence. Provenance? Look at those showdowns between Obama and Putin for a start, and the Obama staredown attempt and rant, followed by the "I wrestle bears for sport" comment by Putin. Clear enough.

3 March 2014 at 13:41  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Dreadnaught, Happy Jack doesn't like 'Realpolitik' (real "realistic", "practical", or "actual") but it's the way of the world.

What credibility has this statement by Secretary of State, John Kerry: "You don't invade another country on a phony pretext in order to assert your interests"?

3 March 2014 at 13:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 13:37

It's another good point. The EU guaranteeing the Ukraine is about as realistic as the British guarantee about Poland. (Think about that: the logistics involved against a larger army right next door. Who dreamed that up?)

There are various things I've been reading about Ukraine across various websites. If I can fit them together, I'll get back to you for your thoughts.

3 March 2014 at 13:54  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Happy Jack doesn't like 'Realpolitik' (real "realistic", "practical", or "actual") but it's the way of the world.


What credibility has this statement by Secretary of State, John Kerry: "You don't invade another country on a phony pretext in order to assert your interests"?

What a surprise - can't answer a direct question so introduce something off topic.

What a fraud you really are - same old DoDo.

3 March 2014 at 14:09  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness Happy Jack - are you really Dodo? Who would have thought it... apart from dear Dreadnought that is!

3 March 2014 at 14:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Prodie,


Happy Jack is just Happy Jack.

Dreadnaught, Happy Jack did answer your question.

Nations do what they see as being in their own interests. A treaty is only as good as the readiness and ability of each party to enforce it. And *legitimate* reasons for breaching them are often concocted. That's the real world.

The quote from John Kerry was a reference to the invasion of Iraq which was legally dubious and, it now seems, undertaken under false pretences and allegedly also influenced by Bush's 'conversations' with God.

Maybe Jack's points were too subtle for you and he will try to be clearer in the future.

3 March 2014 at 14:57  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 March 2014 at 15:03  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Legally dubious

According to what authority? The US is a sovereign nation and has all the authority it needs to make war under the US Constitution. There is no temporal authority over the nations.


3 March 2014 at 15:16  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 March 2014 at 15:23  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Happy Jack at 13:52:

What credibility has this statement by Secretary of State, John Kerry: "You don't invade another country on a phony pretext in order to assert your interests"?

John Kerry was only a youngster in his thirties when Secretary of State Al Haig, in 1981 or thereabouts, told Nato that the United States had to oppose Soviet expansionism in Afghanistan because it would give the Red Navy access to a warm-water port.

Two questions occur to me.

(1) Had Haig never looked at a map of Asia? Did he simply not know that Afghanistan was then, as it remains today, a land-locked country without a port to its name, whether warm-water or otherwise? Pull the other one, Al.

(2) With hindsight, wouldn’t it have been a shrewd move to leave the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan unopposed? Not only did the Red Army give the people of Afghanistan the least evil government they have ever had, with the possible exception of Alexander the Great, but Uncle Sam could have gone on sitting comfortably in his rocking chair, looking on with a sardonic smile as Brezhnev (Andropov?) struggled to do the heavy lifting.

3 March 2014 at 15:25  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Happy Jock


And Mrs Prodie is just Mrs Proudie


have a hobnob

3 March 2014 at 16:22  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, but of course my good woman, Jack has never doubted it. And where would we all be without you keeping a close eye on that 'Slippery Slope'?

Really, some people!


3 March 2014 at 16:33  
Blogger Ivan said...

Dreadnaught quoted:
The deal included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan...

Were there no reciprocal obligations on the Ukraine? Implied perhaps, and therefore of greater force since it the basis of a peoples' agreement. The Ukraine is
not in the same position vis-a-vis Russia as the Germans. Kiev is at the historic centre of Old Russia. It is not so easy to untie the knot in this kind of cases.
As a result Ukraine gave up the world's third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996.

And a mighty good thing that was too, or did we want to wake up one morning to the news that it had fallen into the hands of terrorists? Or exploded like a thousand
Chernobyls? More to the point, Russia as the successor state to the Soviet Union, is the inheritor of all the obligations of the nuclear arms control protocols. The rest of the world including the Europeans and Americans would have had it no other way.

3 March 2014 at 16:39  
Blogger Ivan said...

Uncle Brian, payback for Vietnam was too much to resist. Who cares about Afghan girls wishing to be doctors, teachers and economists.

3 March 2014 at 16:43  
Blogger Anglican said...

Dreadnaught 13.32
You questioned the claim that “Most Russian Orthodox Christians regard the Western churches as having given into moral and sexual decadence”.

During a Sunday service some months ago in Kazan Cathedral on Red Square, Metropolitan Kirill the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church issued a grave warning regarding the growing phenomena in the west of legalizing same sex unions and same sex 'marriages'. He warned against the formalization of sin by codifying it in the laws of a country. (Virtueonline 5 February 2014).

Meaningful Orthodox-Anglican ecumenical dialogue has all but died, the Moscow Patriarchate has told the next Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – and it is the Anglicans who have killed it…. On 13 Nov 2012,Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk – the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations for the Russian church – wrote to Bishop Welby extending Moscow’s greetings upon his appointment as 105th Archbishop of Canterbury…. “Regrettably, the late 20th century and the beginning of the third millennium have brought tangible difficulties in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion,” Hilarion said….“The introduction female priesthood and now episcopate, the blessing of same-sex ‘unions’ and ‘marriages’, the ordination of homosexuals as pastors and bishops – all these innovations are seen by the Orthodox as deviations from the tradition of the Early Church, which increasingly estrange Anglicanism from the Orthodox Church and contribute to a further division of Christendom as a whole,” he wrote. (George Conger, Anglican Ink, in Anglican Mainstream 13 November 2012)

3 March 2014 at 16:44  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Ivan said...

Uncle Brian, payback for Vietnam was too much to resist. Who cares about Afghan girls wishing to be doctors, teachers and economists.

3 March 2014 16:43

Thank you, Ivan. Or even, one might add, wishing to keep their noses unamputated.

3 March 2014 at 16:59  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Peter Hitchens Blog. 27th Feb. 'Angela Merkel and the Eurosceptic Delusion'.

Argument: The EU is the continuation of war by other means.

I'd be very interested in your view of it if you have time to read it.

Linked issue. A while back I saw a documentary on Ossetia. South part ceded to Georgia, but North staying in Russia. South then secedes from Georgia to stay linked to its northern half.

Georgia attacks Ossetia. Russia defends Ossetia. Georgia tries to pull in NATO to defend itself against Russia.

The whole sorry sequence of conflict in that part of the world is more than a domestic. It's pulling in the neighbours as well.

3 March 2014 at 17:11  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

I believe that Russia has always seen the former parts of its empire as it's 'near abroad' and therefore has no bones about trying to takes bits of it back and can get away with this in the current geo-political world.

Russia knows that the west will not send in troops or warships or a fire a single bullet to stop this invasion of the Crimea because of war weariness in respect of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US would probably prevail in a one on one with Russia and its diminished military, but the primary focus for American Defence strategy is no longer like the Cold war, i.e. Europe, but Asia & is doubtless aware of that it cannot be 'strong' in both Europe and Asia (in the same sense Britain between 1933 and 1939, tried to avoid conflict against Japan or Germany at the same time). Europe has no military credibility or will to fight; Britain's defence forces have been so emasculated by the current government, I think recently it look over a day for 1 British warship to sail over to a Russia Cruiser which had decided to park itself just outside of the maritime border of the UK & the frequent provocations (to test response times) of Russian MiG's entering British airspace. Neither Cameron or Obama are war leaders and with two lame ducks in office, Putin can get away with some high level bullying. But he is a gambler, but a clever one. His country is based around exporting oil and gas, so if he is true to form he will limit this war and his war games. Until the next time(Estonia? Latvia? Lithuania? Belarus?)...

3 March 2014 at 18:00  
Blogger The Explorer said...

An earlier Hitchens article makes this contention.

The EU pursues German foreign policies aimed towards the creation of 'MittelEuropa' concept of 1915. Ukraine wholly under German economic control, Georgia a German dependency, and the colonisation of the Crimea.

Achieved through force of arms, but through popular uprisings as an extension of foreign policy.

3 March 2014 at 18:01  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Achieved not through force of arms.

3 March 2014 at 18:03  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Wouldn’t surprise at all to find God is with Russia. No doubt he is thrilled with the stand against homosexuality being taught as a desirable life style for Russian children, as well as those shameless pussies being whipped for fouling his house.

Today the Inspector is a Russian. We should all be. Why ? Because Obama is no FDR, and his equally lightweight chum Cameron is no Churchill. If these inept two are objecting, there must be merit in supporting ‘the other side’.

And one cannot understand the disdain for Putin. England did well when under strong arm governance by our dictators of the past, Kings and QE I. It produced stability in the main. Those who deserved to be put to death were, for example, not garlanded with human rights, and advocators of sex with children would have been thrown into a mental institution to rot. We can even extrapolate to expect those who peddle illegal drugs wouldn’t be doing it again. There you go, that’s a large part of society’s ills taken care of and it’s beginning to smell sweet again. What’s not to like ?

3 March 2014 at 18:14  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Carl @13:37
“How would the German gov't convince the German population to fight a war over Ukraine? What Army would Germany deploy? How would Germany get that Army to Ukraine and how would it keep that Army in the field? How would Ukrainians react to a reintroduction of the German military? How would Germany balance the Russian nuclear capability? “

They wouldn't. They you Yanks to do it for them, but not in the way you would expect!
Your CIA go in on covert operations and mobilise the minorities who want to be with the EU and the Neo Nazis there.

3 March 2014 at 18:28  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector @ 18:14

I'm trying to get my head round the issue, but this is my understanding.

Russia wants the Ukraine; so does Germany.

Russia wants to keep it by force of arms within the Russian orbit.

Germany wants to pull it into the EU (ie German) orbit by uprisings bribed with the promise of EU (ie our) money.

That's why we're giving money to the Ukraine when we haven't paid for the repairs to our own flooding.

That's what's not to like: we're funding Germany's territorial ambitions.

3 March 2014 at 18:41  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

In a nutshell yes.

3 March 2014 at 18:49  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Anglican

I am thinking that the whole concept of the Russian soul implies something of a superiority. It seems to suggest that Russians have a depth of spiritual understanding of suffering, which they embrace more than others, a vitality of character, nationalistic synergy, passionate feeling, and Russian orthodoxy of course.

Couple this with vodka, the Russian winter and all those accounts in Russian literature of people being kicked downstairs and horsewhipped, (!) plus all the armies that have come to grief trying to tackle the Russian bear and it seems pretty unwise to take them on!!

3 March 2014 at 19:16  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Lucy @ 19:16

We have to set the Russian Soul against the Germany destiny to rule the world. (If you believe Hegel.)

Starting with Europe: via the EU.

3 March 2014 at 19:22  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Explorer. You have it sir. The Germans will be giving Ukraine love and affection. They have oil you see. Germany AND oil, what a combination. No more bowing, Prussian style, to Arabs...

THAT is why we must be Russian in this...

3 March 2014 at 19:47  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Я русский и я в порядке.

3 March 2014 at 20:32  
Blogger The Explorer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 March 2014 at 20:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...


As far as I know, The Germans have not gone down the SSM route. Civil partnerships, yes. SSM, no.

But I'll bet they're delighted that France and Britain have.

3 March 2014 at 20:36  
Blogger bluedog said...

Carl @ 13.37 and The Explorer. The rapid advance of the Third Reich into the Ukraine in 1941 was facilitated by the Nazi claim that they were coming to liberate the people from Bolshevism. At that time, memories of pre-Bolshevik society were still common and could be exploited. Of course, the Nazi claim was false, as we know. However, large numbers of Ukrainians and Russians joined the Wehrmacht.

So when you ask, ' How would Ukrainians react to a reintroduction of the German military?', the answer is that in the Catholic west of Ukraine, the panzers would once again be decked in flowers.

Some US strategic thinkers have been promoting the recreation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a self-explanatory buffer state that reached deep in to the Catholic west of Ukraine in the 18th century. A recreated P-L Commonwealth would once again act as a buffer state between Russia and Western Europe. It is possible that the EU brains trust is working from a similar template, but really seeks expanded dominion for itself.

The entire crisis and the EU's botched attempt to drag Ukraine into the EU is yet another reason for the UK to return to independence. The forthcoming 300th anniversary of the Hanoverian succession will lead to a massive wave of German pro-EU propaganda in Britain. One hopes that Cameron's Hanoverian descent will not cloud his judgement, although hopefully he will be out of office by then.

3 March 2014 at 20:37  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Happy Jack, Ya Russkiy I ya v poryadke? My Russian sucks, but does it mean I'm Russian and I'm in order?

3 March 2014 at 21:12  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Lucy Mullen

I am thinking that the whole concept of the Russian soul implies something of a superiority. It seems to suggest that Russians have a depth of spiritual understanding of suffering, which they embrace more than others, a vitality of character, nationalistic synergy, passionate feeling, and Russian orthodoxy of course.

This would be same cultural Russian spirit engendered by the Russian Orthodox Church with the political absolutism of the Czar at its head and had traditionally played a major role in the history of Russia until Stalin. It supported serfdom and absolute monarchism. It was a source of anti-Semitism, including the fake Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Russian church in no small way colluded with successive despotic rulers for its own aggrandisement (and is at it again by all accounts) and did nothing to halt the series of 19thC pogroms that slaughtered thousands Jews and sent thousands more fleeing for Western European countries and the US.

This was nothing less than Church sanctioned ‘Religious Ethnic Cleansing’, second only in scale Europe to the Nazi’s Final Solution programme.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Pussy Riot ‘blasphemy’ event or come out and praised Putin for jailing the women for two years hard labour for speaking out against the unholy alliance between ROC and the State.

Here is in translation is some of what they (a tiny group of ordinary Russian women) were protesting about in ‘Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away’.

'The Church’s praise of rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class – bring him money!

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, better believe in God instead
The belt of the Virgin can’t replace mass-meetings
Mary, Mother of God, is with us in protest!

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away'

The artistic merits of the song are irrelevant compared to the message it contains, in that it criticises Church sanctioned politics in Putin's Russia. But from the sounds of some here, what does it matter so long as they legalise 'queer bashing' and revive yet another version of Christianity.

3 March 2014 at 21:16  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Russia was well on its way to political reformation from autocracy and likely would have developed into a more traditional European limited monarchy had not the disastrous combination of Nicholas II and WWI been formed. The Russians were simply not capable of fighting a modern war against a modern opponent. And yet the Western nations needed to keep Russia in the War. In a very real sense, the western powers traded disaster in Russia for their own survival. What Russia could have been is one of the enduring tragedies of WWI


3 March 2014 at 21:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Not ignoring you. No time right now.


3 March 2014 at 21:36  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, it means "I'm a Russian and I'm okay" - according to Google translate.

Dreadnaught, Pussy Cat Riot were "a tiny group of ordinary Russian women"? You have a strange view of "ordinary women"!

Jack doubts very much that a feminist, LGBT, punk rock, protest group is representative of "ordinary Russian women".

3 March 2014 at 21:48  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


Russia was well on its way to political reformation from autocracy

I don't have so much of a detailed grasp of post 1905 Russian politics to argue against the point you make, except that Russia was smarting from defeat by the Japanese. There obviously was need for another revolution to change the status quo. This situation was appreciated by both our King and the Kaiser who yielded just a little to democracy. Even so it was 1928 before British women were allowed to vote.

I'd be interested in your source of viewpoint.

3 March 2014 at 21:52  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 March 2014 at 21:52  
Blogger 45minutewarning said...


Pussy Riot a group of "ordinary Russian women

come off it

One of them at least was well known for making obscene pornographic films. Most Russian women are ashamed of them. And just for the record, I am glad they were jailed for their actions. It was a standard sentence in Russia for hooliganism. Of course, in this country the would be applauded for their obscene behaviour.

3 March 2014 at 21:53  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Lucy Mullen

Come off it yourself - they were jailed for expressing dissent of Putin and the ROC. Of course, Putin would not stoop so low as to dish all the dirty propaganda his goons could find - or was it on one of his home movies?

Ordinary in the sense they had no political backing. I don't think their behaviour was obscene in the sexual sense although I admit what they did may have outraged some, that was the whole point; but two years hard labour for 'hooliganism' why not have them crucified? As all else I have posted you have ignored, that tells me more about you than I care to know.

3 March 2014 at 22:12  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


It's amazing to me how closely your opinions correlate with dear departed Dodo. It's almost as if your were ... twins separated at birth.

Whatever your opinion of Pussy Riot, they didn't do anything in that church to warrant prosecution. The worst thing they should have been charged with was trespassing. I saw the video. They damaged nothing. They hurt no one. They interrupted no one. They entered a public building and filmed a stupid video. That doesn't warrant two years in jail.

Strange. I just had a weird feeling. Like I have been here before ....


3 March 2014 at 22:17  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ dreadnaught

I understand most of the punk rock group have actually disowned two of the others who they say are no longer part of their band. I am never impressed by those who disrupt worship for their own ends, even if it were to ask for new homes for stray cats, and that goes for many.

I think that if a punk rock group interrupted worship at a major Cathedral, say Westminster, to demand the overthrow of the Queen and Cameron they would not be treated with kid gloves and have everyone say "AHHH, they have the right to protest; they are heroes" so it all seems a bit hypocritical.
Or even a lot hypocritical.

I think the language is crass, the protest is non specific and merely assertion and they seem unwholesomely attention seeking.

The people who went to worship were not going to hear a punk band and probably did not even like that style of music. Sensitive communicators try to meet people where they are not impose an undesired message in an unloved medium forced upon a captive audience who have come there for something entirely other. It is arrogant and unfeeling.

3 March 2014 at 22:20  
Blogger Nick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 March 2014 at 22:22  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 13:21

Putin's non-Christianity.

In 'The Decline of the West' and 'Suicide of a Superpower', Pat Buchanan paints a catastrophic picture of Russian population decline: from around 150 million in 2000 to a projected 114 million by 2050.

The double threat of China poaching/reclaiming mineral-rich territory, and the birth rates of the Islamic republics.

Go under; or breed. Discourage anything that discourages breeding. Encourage breeding by whatever means possible. If that means using religion, use it: even if you yourself don't believe in it. Others might, and might be duly influenced.

I'm guessing; but I imagine that might explain some of Putin's attitudes.

Do you think that makes sense?

3 March 2014 at 22:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Just my reading of Russian History. The defeat in the Russo-Japanese war led to the formation of the Duma (basically a form of Parliament), and should have been the beginning of the end of autocracy. The revolutionaries actually assassinated a minister named Stolypin (iirc) because he was too reformist. Nicholas II resisted the end of autocracy, but he was too weak to actually stop it.


3 March 2014 at 22:42  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


Thanks for your response (I did of course mean pre not post 1905)
This is an interesting topic that I shall explore in more detail.

3 March 2014 at 22:50  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Should have been 'The Death of the West': getting my authors mixed. Apologies.

3 March 2014 at 22:51  
Blogger bluedog said...

C'mon Carl @ 22.17, everyone knows that Pussy Riot were a CIA plant designed to embarrass the Metropolitan of Moscow.

And regarding HJ, 'Strange. I just had a weird feeling. Like I have been here before ....'

What's the weather like in Langley VA tonite?

3 March 2014 at 22:51  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

The Russian state is basically run like a Mafia cartel, with Putin as the chief Don and just because they've gone onto the anti-gay bandwagon doesn't mean they are any good for the UK, but some people here seem to think this is the case. Putin is using the Russian Orthodox Church for his own nationalistic ends, which include rebuilding the Russian Empire as much as he can and is helped by a bunch of weak leaders such as Obama and Cameron; no I don't think the west should intervene, but the Ukranians have every right to repel a foreign incursion; we wouldn't like it if the French tried to occupy Portsmouth! The problem for Putin is that the Russian economic miracle is to do with gas and oil. If the price of that drops then he is in deep shit. As for the Pussy riot band, well hot babes, who were misguided to protest in the way they did in a place of worship. All that needed to happen was a slap on the wrists, rather than goal, but that is what happens when you have a country not based on the rule of law.

3 March 2014 at 22:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Seriously, Your Grace? A revival of Christian conservatism? By two KGB mafia mugs, the bare-chested Putin and his jolly side-kick the Patriarch, the Holy Black Market Cigarette King?

O yeah, they'll stick it to the Gays for sure, hurrah, that and maybe make the trains run on time too. Because we in the West are too chickeshit to put down our foot on a few absurdities, we'll now cheer-on old-tyme Gay-bashing, midnight arrests and beatings. That'll learn 'em.

Was everyone asleep at the Sochi opening umpa-pah? Anyone notice how Putin the Thug dug up the bones of Sergei Eisenstein to bring out the old heroes, the savage tyrants, the Great Peter and Katarina, who ultimately brought the Revolution on themselves by savaging their people? No one noticed all the fascista Futurism imagery in ominous commie-red, with sickles and hammers and worker types floating about? Wow, how cool to us, but the vodka-soaked 21st century Russian muzhik got the manly message. I couldn't believe what I was watching, it was like the jingoist Russomania crap on the radio and TV just before the Prague Spring, and I remember saying to my wife, o dear, there'll be trouble for sure.

And trouble there is, Your Grace. In buckets. A crude Sudetenland replay, right down to the poltroon for an American president, who actually makes Chamberlain look like Genghis Khan. Not that I have a lot of love for Ukraine, but my goodness, the Left has abandoned the pro-European crowd there because anything Western is evil and now the Right too is drumming for the Russian primitives...because they are supposedly Christianity's great hope by making a show of stepping on the Gays. Along with the press and any viable opposition along the way, of course. How moronic can this be?

Did you people forget how you were quaking at the crimson spectre, the Bolshoy Sovyetskiy Soyuz, wetting your beds over the nightmare of katyusha swarms and Eastern Hordes in armoured divisions pouring over the Fulda Pass? Doesn't anyone recognize the difference between conservatism and pure, savage, ugly fascism anymore?

3 March 2014 at 22:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Would you agree that the Russians have realised they have a demographic crisis?

The anti-gay stance is just one way of emphasising to the populace the need to breed?

3 March 2014 at 23:04  
Blogger bluedog said...

John in Cheshire @ 11.22 said, 'Christians should never side with muslims to fight Christians.'

A good idea to remind the French. During the final Siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683, Louis XIV took the opportunity to grab a few of the western principalities of the German states fighting the Turks in support of Austria.

3 March 2014 at 23:05  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Explorer, Russia's economy is in shambles. Alcoholism and drug use is rampant. There are no jobs. There is no housing. Mafias and street gangs are squeezing business and killing, raping and robbing the people. Muslims from the former republics are swarming into the cities. The old and the sick are dying. Thousands of street children are tossed out to live in the warm sewers. The schools are crumbling. Abortions are at an all time high. Emigration to anywhere out of Russia is the dream of millions.

Do you honestly think that the mugs in the Kremlin believe they are going to fix all that by making a grand show of stomping their boots on a handful of Gays?

3 March 2014 at 23:15  
Blogger bluedog said...

Avi @ 22.55 said, 'Did you people forget how you were quaking at the crimson spectre, the Bolshoy Sovyetskiy Soyuz, wetting your beds over the nightmare of katyusha swarms and Eastern Hordes in armoured divisions pouring over the Fulda Pass?'

Before the invention of the Channel Tunnel we knew where the Slav hordes would stop. From a British perspective the North German Plain was the issue and if the line of the River Weser could not have been held, and give it a day or so, it was full speed for Dunkirk. No point in getting killed to save the Krauts.

3 March 2014 at 23:15  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

The Explorer, but dude, curbing gayisms ain't gonna stop people from being gay or prevent a demographic crisis. As there is a demographic crisis in Russia (as there is in Western Europe, but Holland isn't planning to invade Belgium), then Russia needs to get her blokes and girls to start having sex, without the use of contraception, more often and why would this excuse Russia's intervention in Crimea?

3 March 2014 at 23:20  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Did I suggest that?

I'll re-phrase.

Do you think the Russians are worried about the population implosion, and is the anti-gay stance one manifestation of that?

3 March 2014 at 23:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack made no comment about Pussy Cat Riot other than to say to Dreadnaught:

"Pussy Cat Riot were "a tiny group of ordinary Russian women"? You have a strange view of "ordinary women"!

Jack doubts very much that a feminist, LGBT, punk rock, protest group is representative of "ordinary Russian women.""

Jack believes you are somewhat fixated on past exchanges with this 'Dodo' person. Where did this come from in response to Jack's comment above?

"Whatever your opinion of Pussy Riot, they didn't do anything in that church to warrant prosecution."

Jack made no comment on this.

"The worst thing they should have been charged with was trespassing. I saw the video. They damaged nothing. They hurt no one. They interrupted no one. They entered a public building and filmed a stupid video. That doesn't warrant two years in jail."

Again, Jack made no comment on this.

"Strange. I just had a weird feeling. Like I have been here before ...."

Jack says this is very strange then as you responded to comments not made by Happy Jack.

3 March 2014 at 23:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Crimea is a completely separate issue about losing valuable resources.

I'm trying to identify why Russia is taking an anti-gay stance.

Of course an anti-gay stance won't solve the demographic crisis.

But it might help to HIGHLIGHT the demographic crisis. That is my point as a possible explanation.

3 March 2014 at 23:32  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Explorer @ 23.27, fully agree with your general line of argument.

Not so long ago the Russian state made a film on the Fall of Constantinople, a metaphor for the condition of Russia. There is no doubt that Putin sees Russia as threatened by the rapid growth of its Muslim population on the one hand and the post-modern secular liberality of the West on the other.

However, there is no denying that Putin is KGB thug, it's his core competency.

3 March 2014 at 23:37  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

The Inspector viewed one of the obscene videos that a member of the notorious pussies was involved in. It was dreadful...


3 March 2014 at 23:37  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Blue Dog, at that time I was an eight year-old Young Pioneer in a white shirt and a red kerchief. I marched with my comrades, with our gas masks over our shoulders, our bread-and-butter sandwiches in a day pack, and with wooden replica Kalyashnikovs, training for the eventual onslaught against the sinister West German Gestapo, the bumbling evil Americans, the effete British and the lecherous, mustachioed French. Under our scout-masters we practiced building barricades, storming abandoned barns and bayoneting the enemy and we were sure we'd cross the Channel and even practiced by building rafts out of anything we could find. Well, eventually me and some of my old droogs wound up in the Capitalist Imperialist less dramatic means. With our hopeful parents and as refugees with not even a pot to piss in! :)

3 March 2014 at 23:37  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Indeed, Inspector, dreadful. It takes at least a dozen reviews...I've heard it comprehend the full impact of the dreadfulness.

3 March 2014 at 23:39  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 March 2014 at 23:41  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

A mere eight times was more than enough AvI...

3 March 2014 at 23:43  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Avi @ 23.37, what a relief that you were never ordered to march to glory. One always reads with horror how child soldiers are slaughtered by hardened professionals like the effete British Tommies.

3 March 2014 at 23:45  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

Explorer, my friend, if it is your view that Putin is trying to deflect the demographic crisis by anti-gay legislation I can buy that. And the reason it's gays is because most Russian Jews left for Israel in the 1990's and Russia needs a different scapegoat & can't indulge it's population with pogroms anymore.

3 March 2014 at 23:45  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Explorer, and I'll rephrase too: They would have to be raging idiots to believe that they can inspire their population into fecundity by picking on the Gays. No one gives a hoot. People are not having children because they know it's hopeless; they can't afford to marry and raise children and many of those who try, wind up throwing their offspring into orphanages or the streets.

But the mafia in the government are not idiots. They know how to mobilize the masses with hatred and outrage on one hand, and promises of greatness. The Gay-bash, followed by the grandiose Olympic broo-ha-ha, followed by the "liberation" of their "Sudetenrussians" in the Crimea. Really, really old repetitious stuff, but it works every time.

3 March 2014 at 23:46  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hey, Bluedog, don't blame me. We watched hours of mass-produced black and white propaganda films. Some had you Brits as skinny blond-haired toffs, going about in ascots, deer stalker hats and pipes, a parasitic nobility living in castles, lording it over the poor peasantry. Trouble is, some, like me, got right into the idea of being an English lord, soaked-up Sherlock Holmes books and started learning English. I began with the only English book my Dad could get his hands on, Jerome Klapka Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, and we had the Czech version for that (with much better illustrations), so I could go back and forth and sort of translate things.

3 March 2014 at 23:54  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You must have been watching with more concentration, Inspector.

3 March 2014 at 23:56  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Btw, Bluedog by age of nine I made it into a "sniper team" with replica Draganov rifles with a few of my mates. This provided us with the opportunity to penetrate deep into "enemy territory" and spend a good part of the afternoon gorging on blackberries and going for swims in the freezing cold Moldau River. Good times were had plotting the demise of the decadent West.

4 March 2014 at 00:07  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...


The Russia you're describing sounds as if it's an even worse country to live in than the Soviet Union in the Khrushchev-Brezhnev period. Is it really that bad?

Were you still in Czechoslovakia in the Dubcek period?

4 March 2014 at 00:16  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector and , Happy Jack has been browsing 'youtube' to view various Pussy Cat Riot songs and undertaking additional background research.

Now, Jack is not easily shocked but he can say he was stunned by some of things he witnessed. He had to have a Morgan's Spiced Rum to fortify himself.

Jack thought these were young, feisty young woman simply exercising a right to protest against the Church and State in Russia. What he discovered was much more than this.

From what he knows about Russian society and culture, these displays by these women would have been offensive to the vast majority of Russian people. They poured scorn on many of the country's most important values.

4 March 2014 at 00:17  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Missed Avi out from above.

4 March 2014 at 00:21  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Uncle Brian, not only that, but there is footage of me on top of my Dad's shoulders at a demonstration, where I was taking picture of Dubcek on a podium in St Venceslaus Square and Dubcek borrowing the camera to take a photo of me. That was in the Fall of '68 and I was 10. My only 30 seconds of fame.

4 March 2014 at 00:27  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


They poured scorn on many of the country's most important values.

I am sure you will agree that pouring "scorn on many of the country's most important values" should not be punishable by two years in prison.


4 March 2014 at 00:31  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

They poured scorn on many of the country's most important values.

Yes, Happy Jack they poured scorn on the government mafia and the corrupt Church nomenklatura hiding behind incense and icons. The handful of sheeple just went along with the orchestrated outrage. Worse things happen in Moscow, to children and girls, all in plain sight and without anyone caring, much less being outraged. But neither Putin nor the Patriarch could let that challenge go unpunished.

4 March 2014 at 00:32  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Samuel K, Happy Jack chuckled over this comment:

"Explorer, my friend, if it is your view that Putin is trying to deflect the demographic crisis by anti-gay legislation I can buy that. And the reason it's gays is because most Russian Jews left for Israel in the 1990's and Russia needs a different scapegoat & can't indulge it's population with pogroms anymore."

Something of a 'leading question' and a very imaginative spin on Explorer's original comment.


What Explorer actually suggested was that focussing on homosexuality, "might help to HIGHLIGHT the demographic crisis. That is my point as a possible explanation."

Jack takes a different view. He sees the State and Church attempting to remind people of the point of a Christian marriage and re-establish its value and that of family life. What is seen as the hedonistic and anti-Christian nature of homosexuality, undermines this.

They are also looking at abortion law. At the moment there is an upper limit of 12 weeks. Proposals have been made to make it mandatory before an abortion for a women to receive counselling and to see a scan of their baby and its heart beating.

Jack thinks, for whatever reason, Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow mean business.

4 March 2014 at 00:37  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Uncle Brian, I never went to Russia, my Dad went on artillery maneuvers through the rural parts of Bessarabia and Ukraine before I was born and was shocked at the primitive huts and peasants. Still, things were more orderly and clean back then, with the militias guarding every corner and old ladies spying on every block and neigbourhood.

4 March 2014 at 00:38  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"I am sure you will agree that pouring "scorn on many of the country's most important values" should not be punishable by two years in prison."

You might think that, Happy Jack could not possibly comment.


Jack says it really depends on the nature of the threat this behaviour posed to the broader wellbeing of the country. These are decisions made by the legislators, judiciary and leaders of particular states.

And if you want to explore reasonable penal sentences you might want to examine your own nation's record on this - those who face trial and those who don't.

4 March 2014 at 00:46  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

HJ, I can't imagine what leads you and Explorer to think that going after Gays is a strategy, a "message" of some sort, to drive the importance of having children. I'm sorry, but it's beyond naïve to even suggest this. It makes no sense, there is no evidence for it. How would it work? "Hello, Natasha, Ivan home with quarter litre of Stolychnaya and big pickle. Make boom-boom now because Ivan not gay!"?

Every unemployed economist in Russia selling Chinese plastic utensils on the sidewalk will tell you that a good economy, decent housing, promising prospects and favourable taxation will do wonders. The most simple explanation, based on the banality of Russian history is unifying and pacifying the population by scape-goating.

4 March 2014 at 00:47  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...


That's a wonderful story about the day you met Dubcek!

One of the most striking moments, for me, as communist rule was collapsing in Eastern Europe (just following events in the newspapers and on television), was when Dubcek reemerged from obscurity but nobody wanted to have anything to do with him, regarding him as just another communist.

4 March 2014 at 00:53  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I rember my Dad telling me, this was in '69, just before we skipped off by way of Yugoslavia, that he saw Dubcek once at a street car stop. Alone, as no one else in the queue wanted to be seen near him. A sad image for a man who only asked for a few liberties, a "communism with a human face."

4 March 2014 at 01:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, Happy Jack says you may be right. However, he trusts you'll agree that re-establishing proper sexual conduct, teaching the purpose of marriage and the importance of family life is equally important. It's not all about material circumstances as your own faith teaches.

4 March 2014 at 01:05  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

HJ it amuses me to see you projecting hopes of Mom and apple pie on a fascist dictatorship. Romania tried this; banned abortion and filled warehouse-sized orphanages with mind-dead, unloved swaying children which died of neglect before reaching their teens. You can't engineer a population upsurge by legislation if you don't have the resources. Anyway, even banning every abortion will not make the slightest hiccup in the population charts. The country is doomed.

4 March 2014 at 01:10  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Jack, my faith doesn't teach about it all being about material circumstances. Where do get such ideas? Attempts to impose values and re-education is fluff compared to the cold, hard realities of economics. How are they going to teach it? In the crumbling schools or the empty churches?

4 March 2014 at 01:16  
Blogger 4thwatch said...

Putin's nightmare must be the futility of his grab should the Turks exercise their prerogative under the 1936 Montreaux Agreement to close the Dardanelles until Putin pulls his troops.


4 March 2014 at 01:42  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, Happy Jack says the comparison with Communist Romania is not correct.

Putin and Patriarch Kirill are endeavouring to base Russian society on Christian values. They see the decadence of the West and they see the harm that comes from this.

They are seeing the possibility of the Islamic population overtaking the indigenous Christian population. This religious group faces the same economic challenges and yet continues to grow. Would you prefer a Russia that adopts Western values and descends into chaos and eventually becomes an Islamic nation?

"Fascist dictatorship" is not an accurate description of Russia. It continues to have democratic elections, does it not? And did God decree that pluralist, inclusive, liberal democracies were the one and only proper form of government, suited to all times and situations?

Come off it with: "The country is doomed." And these are not: "Attempts to impose values and re-education" but rather moves to defend existing and re-emerging values from Western corruption.

By the way, Jack does not think the churches in Russia are empty. Compare how they celebrate Christmas to the way we do in the West.

4 March 2014 at 01:42  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Shocked! Shocked I am! Who would have thought?

Jack says it really depends on the nature of the threat this behaviour posed to the broader wellbeing of the country. These are decisions made by the legislators, judiciary and leaders of particular states.

That weird feeling is back. It's like deja vu all over again...

And if you want to explore reasonable penal sentences you might want to examine your own nation's record on this - those who face trial and those who don't.

I see Dodos everywhere. Walking around like regular people. They don't see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're extinct.


4 March 2014 at 01:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack asks if you've explained these thoughts to your physician. If not, he suggests you should.

4 March 2014 at 01:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


A collection of nations is not the same thing as a unitary nation. Germany may dominate the EU but this will never convey the power that actually derives from Empire. Militarily the EU is weak and will remain so because there won't truly ever be a united defense policy or a United foreign policy. Besides the culture of Europe has grown soft under protection. They simply won't spend the money.

Europe gets away with this because of Russia' weakness. But Russia has sufficient power to control the borders of the old Soviet Union. And Germany (which couldn't project power into Bosnia) has even less ability to project power into Ukraine. Germany may dominate the old atherosclerotic sedentary States of Europe through the EU. But if it ever encounters a lethal competitor it will be in trouble.


4 March 2014 at 02:03  
Blogger malpas said...

How can this all happen with their ethnic diversity and cultural richness?
Everyone says that multiculturism is the way to peace and prosperity.

4 March 2014 at 02:40  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Thanks for that. Agree with all of it. According to Hitchens (Across various articles):

1. There must be one nation, not a collection of them. One Europe, but led within Germany. (AS London dominates within the UK.)

2. If you have money without military power then (like Venice in its heyday) you buy mercenaries. In this case, you buy rent-a-mob services with EU money to extend your Empire.

Long term: absorb enough Russian-sphere territory to take Russia out of the equation.

With your one set of laws, your one currency, your one set of armed forces and your bigger population, you can crush the US.

You then take on China.

I'm not saying it'll work: I'm saying it's the plan.

4 March 2014 at 07:08  
Blogger The Explorer said...

bluedog @ 23:37 & HJ @00:37

Thank you: you both picked up very clearly what I was trying to get at.

From the pre-Sochi C4 documentary 'Hunted', you are both right.

Apart from the gay victims, there were two distinct groups.

One sought national/spiritual renewal.

The other saw a demographic slide and looked for scapegoats.

Both realised Russia has a population-decline problem that, unless rectified, will leave it unable to defend its territory.

4 March 2014 at 07:34  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I'm not arguing anything profound here.

Gang warfare stuff. If you don't have the numbers, you lose the turf.

As an anti-apartheid slogan had it: 'Breed, my countrymen, breed.'

4 March 2014 at 07:49  
Blogger IanCad said...

Another great posting YG and some very sagacious comments.
If, as seems likely, Russia will own the Crimea, then the real winner here will be China.

4 March 2014 at 08:30  
Blogger John Wrake said...

carl Jacobs,

Your words on Russia's weakness pre-1914 leaves out much thought of her potential strength in 1914.

It is not generally known that it was German money and practical involvement which inserted Lenin into Russia to get her out of the war.

For a masterly review of German attempts to de-stabilise India at the same time as destroying Russia's ability to fight, read Elisabeth Beckett's book 'The British Raj, vol. 2 Decay'.

John Wrake.

4 March 2014 at 09:45  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

Happy Jack, dude, when did they start selling Pravda in Durham? Of course enemies the people and of the state MUST be punished and we MUST limit freedom of expression to conform with religion (only the Russian Orthodox one)as their religion isn't big and strong enough or sophisticated enough to deal with a couple of young babes making fools out of themselves and doing some dodgy videos and singing in a Cathedral. My ex wacko that she was at least considered (for all of ten seconds) 'What would Jesus do?' Would Jesus approve of Putin and this mafia clan and using his Churches leadership in a power political ploy?

I can't see where Judaism makes a virtue of poverty, but of course your knowledge is greater.

Believe you me any Russian nationalistic regime would make no bones about pogroms, they'd just call it something else. That's before we got our country back though so they have to look elsewhere for something to blame for their ills. Russia likes to bully, but wouldn't last 5 minutes against a country with a proper leadership. Bibi Netanyahu knows how to deal with this sort of thing, perhaps the US/UK could co-opt him for a day?

"Compare how they celebrate Christmas to the way we do in the West. " Yeah they celebrate Xmas in January not December- bloody heretics!

4 March 2014 at 11:17  
Blogger The Explorer said...


I thought the change of date was partly due to the Gregorian calendar: hence the Twelve Days of Christmas to allow latitude either way, and to nicely encapsulate birth and Epiphany.

Since the exact date is not known, it's not important: the symbolism of celebrating the event is.

In which case, HJ's point that it's a 'how' not a 'when' question remains valid.

4 March 2014 at 12:21  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


To complement Carl's writing re the EU/German domination, In The Telgraph,Ambrose Evans Pritchard wrote this article a while ago ('Germany's reluctant hegemony and misguided Calvinism'):

4 March 2014 at 12:30  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

PS,Explorer, the other matter which Hitchen or yourself probably need to address is the trading and investment Germany has in Russia* and the reliance of Germany on Russia's natural gas (Gazprom is Germany's biggest supplier). The Germans would be foolish to risk both of these.

*Russia has always 'borrowed' from the west, be it guns and canon in the 16th century or later on, pre 1914, where France poured billions into the country and non Russians owned a large chunk of the industries.

4 March 2014 at 12:44  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Thanks for article. It highlights a point that critics of Hitchens' view make in the comment sections:that he makes Germany too monolithic in purpose and doesn't allow for the effect of the Left and the German immigrant population.

Hitchens' point is that Germanic soft despotism has replaced hard despotism: strategy has changed, ultimate purpose has not.

Me, I'm trying to understand why we are giving money to the Ukraine when we have flooding to pay for.

Hitchens' explanation make sense.

4 March 2014 at 13:19  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Samuel, Happy Jack never said nor implied that "Judaism makes a virtue of poverty" and he claimed no knowledge of your faith.

The point he was making to Avi was that the spiritual and cultural basis of a nation - its substructure - is as significant as its economic system - its superstructure. Marxists know this; so do Christians and Jack believes your faith does too.

And so far as Jack understands it, Jesus tended to avoid direct involvement in politics - render unto Caesar etc. Russia is no different to the majority of nation states in that its leaders do what they consider to be in its best interests. One day they will be held to account for their behaviour.

4 March 2014 at 13:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Ps - it's not a "heresy" to celebrate Christmas on a different date. That's just a church discipline/practice issue, like priests marrying. Recognising and celebrating the birth of the Christ is what matters.

4 March 2014 at 13:25  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Happy Jack,

People will vote for their feet and it is quite noticeable that quite a few Russians- not all muti-trillionaires- actually live & work in London. I wonder why that is the case if Russia is becoming such a Christian paradise?

The material & practical is important because if you do want to get a higher birthrate, to stop the economy going the way of the third world, Russia needs to focus on education, housing, health services and reforming the rule of law on its judiciary rather than it being a political tool of the government.

Investing in Russia is bloody difficult; the "political risks" are enormous; red tape, lack of the rule of law and arbitrary decisions made on the whims of the state, rather than clear and consistent rules and legislation which should make 'the system' predictable and provide a culture which allows people to invest and grow the economy.

You mentioned American law. American law might seem very litigious or good for the rich, but at least it is consistent based as it is on the English common law system and has a benchmark via a constitution which has endured for 200 years, despite a civil war, two world wars and the McCarthy witch hunts.

In short I'd rather invest my Shequel in Iowa and places like Britain, Israel, Canada and Europe, than basket cases such as Russia or as you put it 'a place of Christian values'.

4 March 2014 at 13:31  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


Hitchens is normally an interesting articulate commentator. I'm not convinced myself of German intrigue against Russia. If anything I'd say that they are more likely to 'drift' into the Russian geopolitical camp, especially as America shifts its focus to Asia via 'the pivot' strategy and discovers it doesn't have the military strength to take on Russia.

As for overseas 'aid', I quite agree. Why does Britain send aid to China and India, allegedly the next 'superpowers' and or monies to third world dictatorships, where the cash goes straight to a Swiss vault.

I also think that the government needs to step in re insurance companies refusing to provide coverage for flooded areas or so increasing premiums as to uninsure people's houses, possibly in the same way Pool Re operates.

4 March 2014 at 13:45  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...


I am still no where near getting your view point. Can you clarify?

1. Do you agree with Russia's 'gay' laws?

2. Do you think these laws are being passed because of a supposed link between demographics and allowing homosexuality?

3. Or do you think that these laws are being passed as a way of finding a scapegoat for Russia's ills because the leadership can't or won't tackle them?

I think that 3 is the most likely explanation. Btw, I don't like these Russian gay laws, but accept that a sovereign nation will do as it will in its internal affairs. Although that shouldn't stop critics, internal or external from commenting on them.

4 March 2014 at 14:05  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

David K, this is rather tiresome. Happy Jack never claimed Russia was a "Christian paradise". Neither has he made any positive comments on the condition of its economy or the endemic corruption there.

The Russians have nearly 100 years of Communism to recover from. Their values are not the same as Anglo-Western systems and this will be reflected in their laws. The Orthodox Church's history is also flawed in some of the ways it accommodated itself to Socialism. Hopefully, in time, with proper leadership, they will recover. They do have access to large natural resources and great wealth.

4 March 2014 at 14:07  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

Happy Jack,

Well Dude, you've clarified various points which don't need further comment from moi . As for religion and politics, of course clergy get involved all the time. Both the clergyman and Putin use each other for their own various political aims.

Putin sees himself as a modern day Caesar so it seems he is trying to get quite a lotto to be rendered to him and Mother Russia.

4 March 2014 at 14:31  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Happy Jack,

My bad.I can see you didn't refer to Russia as a 'Christian paradise' so I retract that comment and apologize.

The rest of that paragraph and the next 2 were my ramble into what I think Russia should do to pull its socks up, rather than anything specific from yourself and the 4th paragraph was a note to your reply to Carl regarding America's legal system, which whilst not perfect is 100% better than Russia's. The 5th was a conclusion and my rhetorical flourish.

4 March 2014 at 14:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Sam @ 14:05

I try to write with maximum brevity, which can be misleading.


Did you see the C4 documentary 'Hunted' about the persecution of gays in Russia? I did, and was appalled. Starting point: reason for the persecution.

'The Death of the West' argues that, unless something is done, Russia's population will dwindle from 150 million to around 114 million by 2050. Not enough people to protect territory from China in the east or EU in the west; or the cities from the exploding Muslim populations emigrating into Russia from the Islamic republics.

Causes of the decline? Buchanan cites

1. Abortion
2. Contraception.
3. Feminism for discouraging women from being mothers.
4. Homosexuality because it represents, more than anything else, the view that the sex act is not about reproduction.

5. Add Avi's view. Who would want to bring a child into such a horrible society?


4 March 2014 at 15:04  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ dreadnaught
I am a bit bemused by your 22.12 post addressed to me saying "come off it yourself" as it seems to respond to another person saying "come off it" in the previous post.

As for two years hard labour I have not studied the proper sentencing guidelines for the Russians, nor do I know what hard labour actually means here. I think the Russians have a right to operate their own court systems and there are far more pressing concerns worldwide in terms of sentencing than this one, like people stoned to death, hands cut off, hung from cranes, crucified, electrocuted in the US, and so on.... I cannot understand the disproportionate media interest, esp. when many of our own injustices in this country are so ill reported.

4 March 2014 at 15:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Options. You go under; or you fight back and try to expand your declining population.

How do you do that?

You try to discourage abortion, contraception and feminism: and homosexuality because of what it represents re reproduction.

You give women incentives to have children. (As happened in France after WWI.)

You try to retain your resources (before China and the EU nick them) and use them to create prosperity so that it's a less of a nightmare world to bring children into.

Zimbabwe used to be a net exporter of grain. Now it survives on aid imports. Financial structure, not availability of resources is the problem.

Russia, it seems to me, has resources: provided it can hang on to them.

That's it, really. Hope it clarifies a bit.

4 March 2014 at 15:19  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Ah furthermore I understand that Voina/ Pussy riot have displayed themselves in a shop window self-pleasuring, as performance art staged an orgy at the Museum of Biology, and when one of them was 9 months pregnant and gave birth four days later, and thrown live cats at the counter of MCdonalds.

So not so kind to pussycats. I don't find myself admiring their sensitivity to the rights of the poor cats, but it seems they are more than ready to claim anything and everything for themselves in the way of rights.

People who do this sort of thing come right down near the bottom of the list for spending time righting any injustice that might have been done to them, as they are provocateurs who have mostly brought it down on themselves, and the world has many people who have done nothing to contribute to the injustices they suffer, and who need our compassion first.

4 March 2014 at 15:43  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


Whilst I am no supporter of Putin, I would like to put the case for what Russia has actually done here into some form of context. The current law gives LGBT people the following rights:

1. Homosexuality is legal.
2. The same age of consent (16)
3. Allows LGBT people to serve openly in the military
4. Allows LGBT people to donate blood
5. Allows people to change their gender and have this recognized by the state
6. Allows single homosexuals to adopt children.

So Russia does provide basic 'rights' to it LGBT citizens, but not the 'full' set of 'rights' being demanded in this country and elsewhere re SSM or civil partnerships and would be considered well within western norms until very recently. However, if you think about it this way, Britain an apparent liberal democracy has only in a decade passed legislation to permit SSM etc and our culture is -like it or not- 'liberal', whereas Russia's is much more conservative. I would also point out that there are some matters in that list which the west has only just given to LGBT people (open service in the military and I'm not sure about blood donation, but I thought this was not permitted in the UK).

The recent Russian law bans people from engaging in ' propaganda regarding non-traditional sexual relations to minors' and was passed without a vote in the Duma (that is the Russian Parliament). Putin himself said that he was doing this because that is what Russians wanted and because he saw the promotion of homosexuality as harming the Russian birth-rate (which if it continues will see Russia reduce from 150,000,000 to 165,000,000).

4 March 2014 at 16:01  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...



There are 3 issues coming from this:

1. The first surrounds whether or not homosexuality (meaning attraction to people of the same sex) is a genetic trait or is something which you choose, like an IPad or what to eat. I think Putin feels that homosexuality is something which can be a choice and therefore if there is a ban on homosexual promotion this will halt the decline of the birth-rate, hence The Explorer’s points earlier on.

I appreciate that the science is still out on this issue, but I can buy the line this isn't something you choose. I say that because I couldn't flip myself into being a homosexual man, when I've never been attracted to anything but as you say 'babes'.

2. Is this law justifiable? To me I'd give a qualified 'yes'. If we accept that homosexuality is not a choice, this begs the question as to why people feel it is necessary to 'promote' homosexuality at all, as if somehow people can be converted to it. I am not comfortable with proselytising in general and I would certainly be weary of allowing my kids to be persuaded that they were gay (if they were, clearly I would not approve of their relationships, but I would of course still love and cherish them and I'd still be their dad).

3. Is this law a way of scapegoating a group because of Russia's 'problems'? I was uneasy with your comparison to past Russian organised or unorganised pogroms against Jews, because for a start gay people are treated far better in Russia than Jews ever were, as I cannot see that the Russian state has decided to round up homosexuals, subject them to violence, expropriation of property or state endorsed murder or being prevented from going outside 'the pale' unless one converted to the Orthodox Church. Having said that I can see that there is clearly a crisis going on with the birth-rate and politicians almost always like to make out they are 'doing something'. This is the result. It shifts the blame away from heterosexual people for not having enough children and it shifts the blame away from Russia's-that is the government's- appalling economic weakness, health, social and educational systems. It also shifts the blame away from the Russian Orthodox Church's apparent failure to address the issue with the faithful (apparently 80% of Russians belong to said Mother Church).

One final thought about this law. I will agree that because this is Russia this law, whatever its merits, has the potential to be misused unfairly and unjustly. I said above what Russia really lacks is a fully embedded rule of law system in which the law is applied fairly and equally, so ‘anti-gay’ law or not this is the bigger threat to LGBT people or indeed the average Citizen of Russia, potential foreign investors and it's civil society generally.

I hope that provides some thoughts for you to think about!

4 March 2014 at 16:01  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Lucy Mullen

Please accept my Sincere apologies - I clearly responded to the preceeding post without recourse to the posters name. Sorry.

4 March 2014 at 16:04  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Sorry bit above should be reduce to 114,000,000 not 165,000,000!

4 March 2014 at 16:08  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Dreadnaught. No problem; easily enough done. Thanks.

4 March 2014 at 17:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David: "I appreciate that the science is still out on this issue, but I can buy the line this isn't something you choose. I say that because I couldn't flip myself into being a homosexual man, when I've never been attracted to anything but as you say 'babes'."

There are enough gay people around simply to ask: "Did you choose to be gay?" and be told quite honestly: "Of course not". Moreover, it doesn't take much to wonder why would people have chosen to be gay in the UK in (say) the 1950s or even the 1980s when we suffered the discrimination we did? The idea that it's a choice for most gay people is bizarre on multiple levels.

4 March 2014 at 18:08  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


I suppose I don't particularly start a conversation with people I may or may not know with a demanding 'are you gay?', as this doesn't bother me in the same way it does others here. I leave that for people volunteer. Say if I were in a pub with people and someone said they were gay,I say 'OK, great, now 'nother pint?' or if I'm at work 'OK great you are gay, now let's get on with making money'.

4 March 2014 at 18:51  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David K @ 18:51

DanJ0's point is that you already know the person is gay. The question is 'why'?

You and I didn't choose our heterosexuality: we just discovered it. Same for gays?

The best answer I know is A E Housman's 'Oh who is that young sinner?'

The sinner in question is sent to prison for the colour of his hair.

Worth reading if you don't know it. You have to have a sense of irony to appreciate what Housman is really talking about: that sexual orientation is as innate as hair colour.

4 March 2014 at 19:05  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 March 2014 at 19:19  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


To be honest I'm not really going to get into the issue of why is someone is gay, for in one sense it isn't on my radar at present, it was just my humble flow of thoughts and besides which I'm answering the Evangelical Christians elsewhere in respect of 'sacrifices'.

I'll park it there, but if you and Danjo wish to continue this discussion don't hold back

4 March 2014 at 19:19  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David K:

I don't, because it's not what the thread's about.

But it's a great poem if the issue is ever topical for you.

4 March 2014 at 19:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "You and I didn't choose our heterosexuality: we just discovered it. Same for gays?"

Certainly for me and lots of others. Sexuality is a pretty complex thing and I'm sure there are different vectors to the same place. We've just developed differently and whether it's a problem or not depends heavily on how other people view difference. I see it in some ways as analogous to the social model and the medical model of disability. We're not broken and nothing is wrong. There's nothing stopping us carrying on just like everyone else, except for social barriers more often than not constructed by the religious now.

4 March 2014 at 19:34  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Returning to the subject of the blog post, there is a very interesting post on the Cherson and Molschky blog (can't post a link right now)written by a native Ukranian. Well worth a read, as are the several items Peter Hitchens link to from his blog which take an overview of the history and geopolitics of Crimea, Ukraine and Russia.

I don't much like Putin, but it seems to me that he has behaved in a predictable way to the extremely provocative idea that Ukraine should join NATO and the EU. Given the history and ethnic issues, this was always going to be an entirely unacceptable situation and rulers less stupid that the lot we are saddled with would have seen this and backed off some years ago. This is not a perfect world and you do not poke an angry bear in the eye with a stick. In fact I am sure there is something on the Book of Proverbs about a bear deprived of her cubs---perhaps Ukraine can be seen as a lots cub?

PS I have said plenty on the homosexual/SSM issue but I wish that EVERY discussion didn't have to drift into it....its like the 'Mornington Crescent' game.

4 March 2014 at 21:28  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

PS though I don't share his atheistic world view (he recommended suicide in several poems as a cure for enduring dissatisfaction with life), agree that A E Housman was a great poet. Apart from anything else, a master of rhyme and metre. Perhaps the Latin helped?

4 March 2014 at 21:32  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Suicide would cure dissatisfaction: just as cutting your head off would cure a headache.

Have you read today's Hitchens post? Well worth it.

4 March 2014 at 21:47  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"cutting your head off would cure a headache"

It does bring problems of it own though.


4 March 2014 at 22:54  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

'Shot? So quick, so clean an ending?
That was good, boy, that was brave.
Yours was not a fault for mending
Twas best to take it to the grave

You had insight you had reason
Saw your path and where it led
So early wise and brave in season

Put the pistol to your head.....from 'A Shropshire Lad'

Housman was an atheist and therefore quite logically reasoned that if the machine wasn't working satisfactorily and couldn't be fixed it should be switched off. I respect his consistency over this.

5 March 2014 at 07:50  
Blogger The Explorer said...


A satire on Housman that sticks in my mind:

What, still alive at twenty-two
A fine upstanding lad like you?
Sure, if your throat is hard to slit,
Slit your girl's and swing for it.

Can't remember the rest, but it exposes a latent moral nihilism.

Wherever he mentions it, Housman says his homosexuality is innate, and God's fault (if God existed).

God made me this way.
God then condemns me for it.

Along the way, original sin got lost.

5 March 2014 at 07:56  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Housman, I have to say, is one of my favourite poets, despite his world view.

'On Wenlock Edge' or 'With rue my heart is laden' have been with me much of my life.

5 March 2014 at 08:52  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Explorer, you and I are fully agreed on Housman.

5 March 2014 at 17:43  
Blogger Ivan said...

This link if true shows that the situation in the Ukraine is ripe for all kinds Reichstag Fires and false flags.

6 March 2014 at 08:24  
Blogger The Explorer said...

another way for Russia to solve its population problem is to reclaim Ukraine and regain 45 million people.

The projected loss is rectified in one go.

I failed to point out in earlier posts that the USSR had a population equivalent to that of the USA. The hiving off in fifteen or however many different states has also added to the population crisis.

7 March 2014 at 12:03  
Blogger Rich William said...

Those in Washington, Brussels and London who moan and simper when the bear growls should have thought about the consequences before they poked it.

9 March 2014 at 19:54  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Two comparisons occur to me.

1. The situation of Russia and its Black Sea Fleet must be like what would happen if an independent Scotland loaned Scapa Flow to the Royal Navy.

2. After WWI there was an attempt to make sure Germany could not rise again by reducing the size of its population. Hence Germans in Poland, Germans in Czechoslovakia. Result: determination to regain those lost.

Something similar going on here re the Russians in Ukraine and Crimea?

9 March 2014 at 23:13  

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