21 October 2014

Best of: Culture

Over the years I have tried to bring attention to the peculiar and unflattering way in which the West insists on viewing Eastern Europe and the Balkans and its peoples. This is more a matter of culture rather than policy, but it unfortunately ends up influencing the foreign policy of Western states in the region to make it more bellicose and entitled. The most important of such efforts of mine:

Slavs The Devil's Instrument of Intolerance on Earth
. The West's obsession with imagining the Eastern Europe as a barbarian and retrograde version of itself. 8/2012, 2800 words.

Albright's Hate Crime. Madeline Albright outs herself as an anti-Serbian bigot. 11/2012, 650 words.

The Chauvinists at it Again. The lack of self-consciousness in Western condemnation of Russia culture wars. 8/2013, 1800 words.

    20 October 2014

    Best of: Russia, Ukraine

    The best or most important of my posts dealing with the East Slav world:

    Ukraine: Back to Normal. Ukraine which is anti-Russian is Ukraine which is at odds with itself. 2/2010, 1300 words.

    Western Press: A False Friend to Russia's People Power. A recount of the Western coverage of the Russian 1993 constitutional crisis when its press favored the president and the military involved in a violent power grab against popular anger. 2/2012, 1100 words.

    Thoughts on Ukraine. Overview of the situation in Ukraine as regards the orientation of the public and the government. 12/2013, 1150 words.

    EU to Ukraine: I Want You to Want Me
    . The EU wants Ukraine to want the EU, but does not particularly want the Ukraine itself. 1/2014, 1300 words.

    Ukrainians Are Right to Suspect EU Deal Would Be Harmful. The association agreement the EU is offering to Ukraine brings with it as many downsides as benefits. 1/2014, 500 words.

    Ukraine: Pro-Government Civilians Killed, West Blames All Violence on Yanukovich
    . Western officials insist Yanukovich is ultimately responsible for the violence of both Ukrainian police and pro-Maidan extremists. 2/2014, 450 words.

    The Grating Over The Memory Hole: The Toppling of Viktor Yanukovich. The crucial points to remember about the overthrow of the Ukrainian president. The Kremlin Stooge, 3/2014, 2400 words.

    Ethnicity in Donbass
    . War in Ukraine is inter-regional, not inter-ethnic. 8/2014, 1200 words.

    19 October 2014

    Best of: Western Interventionism

    The best or most important commentary on Western military adventurism and its culture outside the regions that I write the most about (the former Soviet Union and the Serbo-Croatian speaking space):

    The Liberators. Aggressive and criminal "rules of engagement" of troops occupying Iraq breed a culture of depravity. 10/2009, 1350 words.

    Enduring Callousness. The criminal "rules of engagement" reveal the true nature of the occupation of Afghanistan. 5/2010, 900 words.
     

    Seeing Through the ‘Humanitarians’. Opinion piece arguing counter ostensibly humanitarian Western military intervention in Libya. Antiwar.com, 3/2011, 1100 words.

    Is Humanitarian War the Exception? A general case against ostensibly humanitarian military interventionism. Ludwig von Mises Institute, 4/2011, 1100 words.

    A Choice of Scenery. Examining the reasons why the United States opted for military intervention in Somalia in 1992. 7/2011, 1100 words.

    Going Home at Last: Say Farewell to Ramadi, Nasiriya and Balad. Debunking the claim of the empire to be withdrawing from Iraq after having won the war and accomplished its war goals. 12/2011, 1200 words.

    Massacre in Kandahar or: How Did 'Our Bobby' Become a Serb. Commentary on the Kandahar Massacre. 6/2012, 700 words.

    Obama's Delusions. It is precisely the vaunted rejection of realpolitik that makes American and Western military intervention so damaging. 3/2014, 700 words.

    18 October 2014

    Best Of: Libertarianism

    The best of my libertarianism-themed writings:

    Least, Sufficient Force: Libertarian Theory of Defense. Presenting a libertarian theory of defense, specifically rejecting proportionalism in favor of the least force necessary for a successful defense. The Voluntaryist Reader. 1/2013, 3100 words.

    Jeffrey Tucker’s War against Sin. A polemical piece against Tucker's false dichotomy between libertarian "brutalists" and "humanitarians" and the non sequitur critique of the former. The Libertarian Liquidationist, 4/2014, 1100 words.

    17 October 2014

    Best Of: History

    Sticking with the retrospective occasioned by the five year anniversary of my writing efforts I am making a selection of my best, or most valuable, articles and posts in this period. I am starting with a selection of my history-themed pieces, with selections from other categories of posts to follow in the coming days:

    The Germans and The Bolsheviks
    . A review of The Germans and The Bolsheviks: A History of a Collaboration by Silvin and Maidi Eiletz. 2/2010, 2200 words.

    National Defense in the Great Patriotic War. Examining the reasons for the Soviet military debacle in 1941 and therefore the subsequent immense military and civilian loss of life to the Axis invasion. 7/2011, 1100 words.

    Paper Money Famine. A review of Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II by Madhusree Mukerjee. 11/2011, 3300 words.

    The Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact. A review of The Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact, from the pen of the Russian diplomatic historian Boris Slavinsky. 9/2012, 1300 words.

    Axis or Allied? Underscoring the need for nuance in designating countries as having been Axis or Allied by examining the contributions of Denmark and Bulgaria to both camps of the Second World War. 5/2013, 3300 words.

    WWII: Breeding Ground for Collectivism. Western Allies are responsible for more non-combatant deaths 1941-45 than the Stalin's USSR. The Libertarian Liquidationist, 5/2014, 1250 words.

    Breaking Down Soviet WWII Losses. A paper giving an overview of the sizes of the victim categories making up the roughly 25 million human losses of the Soviet Union during the Soviet-German War of 1941-45 based on the current specialist historiography. 8/2014, 12000 words.

    15 October 2014

    Bill Maher Has Been a Bigot for a Long Time


    Recently the American TV show host, Bill Maher, has finally and deservedly caught substantial flak for the intolerant collectivist attitude he display on his show. I have found a critique and analysis by Murtaza Hussain in this vein particularly enjoyable and useful to read.

    It is only now, with his most recent collective condemnation of Muslims that Maher has caused a scandal, but Hussain points out that Maher has been displaying similar bigotry for "several years" now. That is actually an underestimate, however. Long before Maher, who styles himself a "politically incorrect liberal" got into the habit of launching indignant tirades about Muslims, he in 1999 partook in the liberal pleasure of demonizing the Serbs along collectivist lines.

    As NATO was attacking targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in a three-month-long bombing campaign that expended 22.000 tons of ammunition, targeted civilian infrastructure and killed 2,000 civilians according to Yugoslav sources (500 according to American estimates), Maher ridiculed Serb suffering and addressed the Serbs as "yuppie fascists", who were angry that the bombing was keeping them from "getting to their Tae-Bo class". Maher characterized the Serbs as supporting an "evil dictator hell-bent on eliminating an entire people" and advised the Serbs to do like the yuppies and "get some therapy":
    So let me be the first to say I am so sorry that supporting a genocidal regime has turned into such a hassle for you. I'm sorry if our bombing has delayed the delivery of your J. Crew catalog or screwed [laughter] or screwed up your commute. And, by the way, if I were you, I would write a strongly worded letter to the transit authority, because I've seen your bridges, and frankly, they're a mess. [laughter and applause] Believe me, we would never have started bombing them if we realized it was keeping you from getting to Tae-Bo class. So maybe what you yuppie fascists need to do is stop supporting an evil dictator who is hellbent on eliminating an entire people just because their ancestors kicked your ancestors' asses 600 years ago. Let it go. You're yuppies, get some therapy. [laughter] Get your moral clock working. Let me give you a hint. If in your language you have ever used the phrase, "can I get to the mall if I make a left at the death camp" [laughter] you might be a redneck.
    Maher's recipe of passing chauvinism for edginess was in full display already in 1999. The difference was that the target of his 2-minute bigotry were the Serbs rather than the Muslim world, and that back then this caused no scandal as only voices from the alternative media called him out for getting a laugh from Serbian civilian hardship.

    It is the case the Western world has a problem with both, anti-Muslim as well as, anti-Serbian/anti-Eastern European bigotry. While the former is felt more pointedly it is also the case it comes more from the margins of the society and is more likely to be combated by the establishment and the liberals. The latter prejudice, against the daily savage from Eastern Europe, however, tends to emanate precisely from these circles and as a result will not even be detected as bigotry, much less confronted. The truth is that if Maher had stuck to just bashing Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Latvia and so on he may have still been universally recognized as a liberal.

    25 September 2014

    All the Links



    As per my promise I am showing the way to everything I've had published so far that appears on outlets other than Crappy Town (whether I have linked to it before or not):

    24 September 2014

    Blog Policy



    The plan for the future is that I will write content with the view to have it published on outlets other than Crappy Town. It is a simple issue of math. Writing for your own reasons is fine, but it is doubly nice if someone actually reads and benefits from what you write, and it is the case Crappy Town simply does not have a very extensive reach.

    Any exclusive pieces that this blog will publish, will be only in the case that I find something either very intriguing, or feel that something absolutely must be said, but that I can not find a different, bigger outlet for them that would A.) run it and B.) have a readership of the appropriate profile that would actually benefit from them.

    In fact, this has more or less been policy for a while now albeit it was left unstated – which is part of the reason why Crappy Town has been receiving fewer updates in recent times than during its heyday. What is new is that I am going to make an effort to always link to everything that I have published elsewhere.

    I figure that while this blog has only a small following it is the case everyone keeping an eye on it is almost assured to be interested in the same things I am, and generally finds my arguments worthy of being read. Audiences at other places may be larger, but the one here is strictly mine and is possibly interested in my stuff even when it is not tailor-made for Crappy Town, but a different outlet instead.

    5 Years of Crappy Town



    It has been roughly five years since I started this blog, which got rolling in earnest in the autumn of 2009. Setting up the blog I had two mayor intentions.

    The first one was to use it as a form of therapy. The idea was that committing thoughts on issues that bothered me to paper and offering them up to the world would help my peace of mind. I figured that if I published my thoughts on injustices and delusions that I saw or remembered, I would not have to rerun them in my mind over and over again.

    The second was that I would become a better writer. Obviously enough, publishing a blog forces on you a kind of discipline. It may be possible to reach at least as many people via the social media, particularly online forums, as it is with a start-up blog. The difference is that on forums, or Facebook there is no expectation that any effort will be spent on the style and the structure of the argument. For a blog post to be taken seriously, however, it is not enough that it offers a compelling argument. It also has to amount to something in terms of the quality of the writing.

    In these terms Crappy Town has been a great success. In the past five years of blogging I have gone a long way in both of my objectives.

    I have become a more systematic thinker and a far better writer. I have improved sufficiently that I sometimes cringe a little reading some of my early stuff. Not that my early arguments are without value, or a cause of embarrassment – far from it, but that I at once see how I could have phrased and structured them far better. Here's to hoping that in five years' time that is how I will see the writing that I am able to churn out today!

    16 August 2014

    Ethnicity in Donbass


    War in Ukraine is inter-regional, not inter-ethnic


    Since the onset of the war in Donbass in April the western media has been in pains as how to describe the anti-government side. The rebels have sometimes been referred to as "separatist rebels", which is not necessarily accurate, and at other times as "pro-Russian rebels", which is accurate but is not saying much. Lately some commentators have settled on designating the rebels the "ethnic Russian rebels". This designation seems convenient and doubtlessly gives the outsiders a sense of clarity and certainty, but while it is not entirely inaccurate, it can be extraordinarily misleading.

    Indeed, looking at the official population census one will found that Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine are home to 2.8 million Russians who constitute 40% of the population of the area. This gives the western observers unable to describe what the conflict is about something to fall back on. The rebels in Donetsk and Lugansk are Russians and they are fighting because they are Russians. The story becomes a familiar one of ethnic differences.

    Trouble is Donetsk and Lugansk regions are also home to other 4.2 million people who declare their nationality on official population censuses to be Ukrainian. Despite this the Ukrainian government troops have not found themselves welcome by populaces of towns they have re-captured as it would be expected if this was really a fight of Russian against Ukrainian.

    Unlike in some of the other inter-ethnic wars we have witnessed, nobody in Donbass, whether the anti-government rebels, nor the Ukrainian military is going house to house demanding to know if the residents inside are Russian or Ukrainian. It would be pointless to do so, because there is no indication that there is any visible difference in the political attitudes of census Russians and census Ukrainians in Donbass. They are either both equally supportive of the anti-government rebels, or else equally ambivalent about them. Instead, the Ukrainian military is happy to shell towns and cities on its path killing its nominally ethnic Russian and Ukrainian citizens alike, and the rebel militias (like the Ukrainian army itself) is composed of both census Russians and Ukrainians.

    The truth of the matter is that while there is a difference between Russian and Ukrainian that furthermore, can be very significant in a given context, this simply is not the case in Donbass. Due to a number of social, geographic and historical reasons Donbass is a region with a character that is at once Russian and Ukrainian and where forcing a choice between just one of the two does not come naturally.