One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Imperial Russia ≠ Soviet Russia ≠ Putin’s Russia

I just read my first bit of the latest New Republic — after getting confused as hell about the magazine’s double cover (Obama on the front, McCain on the back) — and couldn’t shake the sinking sensation that TNR‘s editorials have increasingly become simple skeletons for hawkish calls to action.  Darfur, Burma, Zimbabwe, and now Georgia — they all seem merely excuses to use American military might.  More veteran TNR readers, such as those of the pre-Iraq war days, will probably tell me that I’m naïve, that TNR has always been so militant in defense of humanitarian imperatives.  I’m not always opposed, but such a drumbeat can grow tiresome — particularly when it pokes holes through the skein of argument.

As an example, this issue’s reading of Georgian recent history and politics (as an “attempt to pit democracy against tribalism”) is at least a bit oversimplified.  But its connect-the-dots argument to demonize modern-day Russia by linking it to both Stalinism and tsarism is totally off the rails.

In its region and beyond, Russia is choosing to inherit many of the policies of the Soviet Union, which had chosen to inherit many of the policies of Russia.

So…the Bolsheviks deposed the tsarist regime, and then…implemented their policies?  And Lenin and Stalin looked back at Nicholas II, liked what they saw, and decided to emulate their idol?  Then Yeltsin and Putin found a good model in, say, Stalin?  I’m exaggerating, of course, but a straight line from the tsars, through the communists, straight to the oligarchs?  Now that’s not even analysis.


August 26, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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