Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sorting Out the Russian (Dis)Information: Parts I & II

Part I:
You think I know? I have some ideas, but it's a mystery to me. I'm just a citizen here. But let's try, shall we? We shall.

In continuation of my rambling exploration of the events surround President Obama's "secret letter" to the Kremlin about giving up the missile sites in Eastern Europe for Russia's assurance that Iran won't get long-range nuclear missiles...

Was Obama's letter leaked by U.S. officials in order to show off Obama's "smart diplomacy"? After all, this is the kind of thing liberal peacenik morons think is smart. Or was it leaked by Russian officials in order to show off what a dummy Obama is? By the way, from that Times article:
The officials who described the contents of the message requested anonymity because it has not been made public. While they said it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow an incentive to join the United States in a common front against Iran. Russia’s military, diplomatic and commercial ties to Tehran give it some influence there, but it has often resisted Washington’s hard line against Iran.
Shouldn't it be, "...give it some influence there, so it has often resisted..."?

And so the Russians both accepted and publicized the American weakness, and flatly rejected the offer. Now they announce (AP):
Russia is working to develop anti-satellite weapons to match efforts by other nations, a deputy defense minister was quoted as saying Thursday.
"Other nations," being, of course, the United States.
The Kremlin has criticized U.S. plans for space-based weapons, saying they could trigger a new arms race. Russia and China have pushed for an international agreement banning space weapons, but their proposals have been rejected by the United States.
You mean the Kremlin just wants peace? The Russians and Chinese just want peaceful co-existence, and it is only our belligerent American intransigence that causes them to build space weapons? Well, by all means, President Obama, de-weaponize! (Our liberals will actually say this. And they will say it like it's the most obvious thing in the world.)
Gen. Valentin Popovkin said Russia continues to oppose a space arms race but will respond to moves made by other countries, according to Russian news reports.
It's the Cold War all over again. We want peace, but the Americans... And our useful idiots, right on cue, will say... well, you know what they will say.

Part II:
Moving on to more complicated stuff. Mikhail Gorbachev (AP):
Mikhail Gorbachev says Vladimir Putin's United Russia party is similar to "the worst of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union" and that Russia is today a country where the parliament and judiciary are not fully free.

Gorbachev also says the global economic crisis showed capitalism should be tempered with elements of the socialist system he played a critical role in sweeping away.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, some 20 years after Communism began unraveling on his watch, Gorbachev also said the moment was right for better relations between Russia and the U.S. And he called on the world community to head off an Iranian nuclear weapon not with confrontation but "a maximal dialogue."
If I were a Golitsyn conspiracy-theorist, and I'm trying not to be, this would really set me off.

First, you have a criticism of the current government. If I were looking at this through the eyes of someone who believes in the continuity of the regime from the USSR of 1991 to the Russian Federation of today, I might think that Gorbachev's criticism of Putin is calculated disinformation meant to reinforce the Western readers' notion that Gorbachev and Putin represent different periods in Russian history, wholly different regimes. Because what Gorbachev says here is a widely held belief anyway, having him say this does more good than harm. After all, how bad can it be if Gorbachev can tell an AP reporter in Moscow such a thing?

And doesn't Gorbachev represent a softening-- a moderate voice in Russia? One of the good guys? "Gorbachev also says the global economic crisis showed capitalism should be tempered with elements of the socialist system he played a critical role in sweeping away." Yea, moderate!

He played "a critical role" in "sweeping away" Soviet socialism! If I am a Golitsyn conspiracy theorist who believes that the "fall of the Soviet Union" was a carefully-orchestrated "perestroika deception" meant to deceive the West, Gorbachev's claim that "capitalism should be tempered" by socialism only reinforces my already rampant suspicion that the long-term strategic goal of the Soviet system is the "convergence" of all systems of the world into one system, of course controlled by the Russians and policed by the KGB.

And finally, we have an endorsement of the Obama plan for "the world community to head off an Iranian nuclear weapon not with confrontation but 'a maximal dialogue.'" You see? See? He's an enemy of Putin! A moderate! Oversaw the "downfall" of Communism. And even he's saying that "the moment [is] right for better relations between Russia and the U.S." So what's the problem?

I wonder if the average reader can detect my sarcasm. It's obvious to me, of course. I imagine my sarcastic voice being some agreeable British chap, smart but shallow, a sort of straight-man interlocutor parrying the wilder claims of his more unstable partner but unable to deviate from popular clich├ęs. He's intrigued, but exasperated; intellectual, but chummy; and ambitious, but unimportant.

And his friend the Golitsyn conspiracy theorist tells him, "Listen here: what has Gorbachev been doing for the past 20 years? He stepped down, voluntarily, as head of the party. Set up something called 'the Gorbachev Insitute' where he promotes 'global solutions to global problems,' blah, blah, blah. Basically he uses his carefully crafted image as a 'reformer within the Soviet Union' as a platform to promote the UN-style agenda of weakening nationalist interests and strengths toward the goal of a universal governorship that would of course be controlled by Russia and China. And what issue does he use to promote that agenda? Why, global warming, of course! The favorite rallying cry of the internationalists and the trans-nationalists. The favorite weapon of the Communist East against the Capitalist West-- weaken your economy, agree to 'global emissions standards,'-- nothing less than the future of the planet is at stake!" Reuters:
"I'm sorry the United States has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol," Gorbachev said, referring to the international accord to reduce emissions of gases that contribute to global warming.
"I bet you are," says Golitsyn conspiracy theory guy. "I bet you are."