Patriotism, a love of country, and a love of one’s culture are good things. Certainly it is true that there are certain cultural practices that are objectively superior to other practices, and by extension, cultures that are superior. For example, many of the cultural practices which the French brought to West Africa before massive missionary efforts took place were superior to many of the pagan and pseudo-Islamic cultural practices that were present, and in the same way, the culture which North African, Syrian, and Italian missionaries brought to the French people when their ancestors, the Franks and Gauls, were pagans was likewise superior. It is not an issue of race, but an issue of the conformity of a culture to the will of God that while manifesting in different expressions is still subject to the same divine laws. This is one of the reasons why as I have often asked the question, “Who is the savage,” as while the Western world today is very wealthy, she is a shell of what she once was that has the trappings of civilization but promotes barbaric practices while other nations in much poorer and socially more troubling conditions have many more people who love God and sincerely desire to do what is right.
Tribalism has always been a problem in religion because there is a natural human tendency on account of Original Sin to associate religious worship with a particular group. While it is true that certain patterns exist, one cannot say that one religion is the religion for a group to the point that it may threaten to exclude others. Christ died to bring all of the faithful children of the sons of Ham, Japeth, and Shem to everlasting life with Him, and so while there are many “nations” and “colors”, all are judged according to the same standards of morality and are all under the rule of the same Empire of Christ, and both are subject to Him.
While many will note theological differences, the main reason behind the three schisms of the Eastern Christian world- the Assyrian Church of the East, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox -have to do with the fusion of nationalism with religion, a problem that still exists today and has come to what is arguably the largest fight in a millennium amid the split by the Ukrainians, the second-largest “Orthodox” nation in the world, from Russia and which has been supported by two of the five ancient Patriarchates and also with either the support or tacit silence from major Orthodox nations such as Romania and Bulgaria. Russia has made the largest protest, arguably for political reasons, and has responded by further isolating themselves from the rest of the Orthodox world as well as their neighbors.
This tendency towards a sort of autarchal tribalism happens many times in Russian history, and while Russia is the largest nation on Earth, she has only 142 million people and even with constant migration continues to decline in population. It was very pronounced during the the Soviet years, and while Russia was behind an “Iron Curtain” and boasted of continual successes against the West, it was all a bluff, as the nation continued to decline in power, fertility, and strength as a rich oligarchy robbed the people continually and his disaster after disaster as long as they could, which include but are not limited to the Kyshtym nuclear disaster of 1957 that resulted in the world’s worst nuclear pollution at Lake Karachay, the massive explosion of a failed gas venture in Derveza, Turkmenistan that created a burning pit called the “Doorway to hell” and has burned consistently since 1971, or the destruction of the Aral Sea on the Kazakh-Uzbek border as a Soviet attempt to irrigate the desert in order to grow cotton with veritable slave labor in what scientists have called on of the worst ecological disasters in history.
Russia is a very diverse nation like the US. What she calls “Central Asians” Americans call “Hispanics”, and they serve in equivalent roles in Russia as what our migrants do in the US. However, a fundamental difference between Russia and the US is that while both are nationalistic, the US tends to take a more “embracing” view of foreigners and while may exploit them for political reasons, generally works very well with them. The same cannot be said about Russia, which while she also embraces such people, tends to isolate herself along tribal lines within her own borders to attempt to create a “world within a country”.
This also is arguably a reason why poverty is so rampant in Russia, because wealth comes from trade with others and the sharing of goods. One does not become rich by cutting off exchange, but by embracing it. The British, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and Spanish did not become powerful by sealing off their nations, but rather by going into the world and while they conquered nations, also settled them and created new ones. Thus while Mexico is not Spain, Brazil is not Portugal, South Africa is not Holland, Senegal is not France, and the USA is not England, the influence of these nations on these cultures left profound marks and built long-term relationships with them that still exist today and tend to benefit both parties.
Russia may have conquered a lot of land and settled people throughout them, but the easternmost points of “Asian Russia” cannot be separated from the direct administration of Moscow and those who control the nation, and while some may argue as to the benefits or setbacks of this, the fact is that there are a lot of people in Russia who are very sad, poor, and unhappy and want to leave, as well as a lot of smaller and wealthier areas who have the potential to leave can could at a future point, which poses a direct threat to the government. When this is combined with the the fact that Russia has very few (and often the ones that do exist are tenuous ) allies among former Soviet-bloc nations due to her ham-handed policies of at least the past century, the picture that appears is that of a Russia who is attempting to squeeze control by force of those around her as well as those territories directly tied to her and is having a harder and harder time of doing this.
This is the impetus behind the “decline of Russia” project, for Russia is dissolving from within due to self-inflicted wounds as well as a history of bad decisions, and the US is simply looking to keep the natural decline continuing to its inevitable end, which is a breakup of Russia into a series of smaller nations.
It is known that people seldom invest money in Russia because, noting the Russian “approach”, which is little more than Chinese-style violence with a very well-spoken layer of bluffing to cover the gruesome reality, it is not safe. This is the reason why wealthy people from Russia always keep their money in American, British, French, or German banks, since while any bank can fail, there is a lot more safety and accountability in doing so. Russia does not have this, yet at the same time the government will constantly sing of the “glory” and “moral” nature of Russia a compared to the West.
What Russia needs unironically is, yes, more internationalism not because of any attempt to inject bad ideas, but rather to introduce a healthy diversity of ideas and exchange so that the nation can prosper better. One can see this in a garden, for if one grows just one or a few kinds of plants all the time, it will attracts pests that can become very hard to manage and may destroy the entire garden, and that the best way to stop this, even if one wants to grow a lot of the same plant, is a healthy admixture of other plants and crop rotation so as to add biodiversity to the whole garden.
Unfortunately, when Russia becomes nationalistic, she tends to resort to autarchal type behaviors, and this in modern times has been highly destructive for her. She already has economically isolated herself and continues to do so, with arguably the biggest exception being the construction of oil pipelines to serve Germany and China, but even those are still based around the two things which Russia is most known for, which is the direct sale of raw materials (petroleum in this case) or simply refined ones (gas) to other nations and the companies pocketing the cash for those who run them instead of giving back to the nation.
One might argue that Russian autarchalism “saved” her, but this does not always seem to be the case. This same insularity did not help Russia for centuries when she was a series of impoverished and warring states west of the Urals and it certainly did not help liberate her from four centuries under the yoke of Mongolian captivity. The Iron Curtain speaks for itself, for while this was during the communist years, the “self-sufficiency” model of Russia reduced her from seven children per woman to less than two and still declining, the mass exodus of intelligensia and artists from the nation, the mass impoverishment of the people, some of the worst natural and human created disasters in the world, and a nation that today continues to rot as her people fade into history. By contrast, and while he was an evil man, it was the international vision of Ivan the Terrible to create a Russian empire of many diverse peoples which arguably saved Russia, as she spent the next three centuries conquering and expanding from Moscow to Vladivostok and even Alaska.
For all of the criticism of “internationalism” and “diversity,” it was internationalism and diversity that saved Russia from either destruction or remaining an insignificant player in world history. She was not like Poland, who like the Polish phoenix that revives from the ashes after immolation, constantly and miraculously revives after being continually raped and chopped into pieces by the insatiable lusts for power by people in Austria, Germany, and Russia. Russia’s problem was, like the Chinese, her own obsession with herself and her own national culture that ended up hurting her.
Russia is now attempting to do another similar autarchal move that will likely hurt her. According to recent news, Russia is going to continue with plans to create a ‘Russian internet’ that will operate for Russian citizens and censor her own people from ‘bad’ websites.
The United Nations on Friday approved a Russian-led bid that aims to create a new convention on cybercrime, alarming rights groups and Western powers that fear a bid to restrict online freedom.
The General Assembly approved the resolution sponsored by Russia and backed by China, which would set up a committee of international experts in 2020.
The panel will work to set up “a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes,” the resolution said.
The United States, European powers and rights groups fear that the language is code for legitimizing crackdowns on expression, with numerous countries defining criticism of the government as “criminal.”
China heavily restricts internet searches to avoid topics sensitive to its communist leadership, as well as news sites with critical coverage.
A number of countries have increasingly tried to turn off the internet, with India cutting off access in Kashmir in August after it stripped autonomy to the Muslim-majority region and Iran taking much of the country offline as it cracked down on protests in November.
“It is precisely our fear that (a new convention) would allow the codification at an international and global level of these types of controls that’s driving our opposition and our concerns about this resolution,” a US official said.
Any new UN treaty that spells out internet controls would be “inimical to the United States’ interests because that doesn’t tally with the fundamental freedoms we see as necessary across the globe,” he said.
Human Rights Watch called the UN resolution’s list of sponsors “a rogue’s gallery of some of the earth’s most repressive governments.”
“If the plan is to develop a convention that gives countries legal cover for internet blackouts and censorship, while creating the potential for criminalizing free speech, then it’s a bad idea,” said Human Rights Watch’s Louis Charbonneau.
The United States argues that the world should instead expand its sole existing accord on cybercrime, the 2001 Budapest Convention, which spells out international cooperation to curb copyright violations, fraud and child pornography.
Russia has opposed the Budapest Convention, arguing that giving investigators access to computer data across borders violates national sovereignty.
The Budapest Convention was drafted by the Council of Europe, but other countries have joined, including the United States and Japan.
A new UN treaty on cybercrime could render the Budapest Convention obsolete, further alarming rights groups. (source)
Now there is no mistake that certain websites or ideas are evil and need to be brought under control. However, it is about how this is done, because this is not about helping people but about politics.
The preparatory work for this was done years ago when Russia, in the name of ‘morality’ and ‘defending Russia’ moved to block the major porn websites Pornhub and Youporn. This action was purely a political move, since while one can still bypass censorship with a VPN, it did not actually stop the production of porn in Russia, which not only continued, but has consistently increased and has become very horrible in that Russia is arguably the largest producer and distributor of material portraying the sexual abuse of children and this terrible reality has only become worse. Thus the “regulations” were not about actually helping Russia, but about the government attempting to get more control over people for the sake of control and using porn as a cover for their actions.
If Russia takes even more drastic measures- such as physically re-wiring her Internet lines so as to cut off the entire world from her -this will not only be unhelpful, but will gravely worsen her situation because there are a lot of people in Russia who, while poor, just like the goat-herder in Nigeria, the local tribesman in Afghanistan, the teenager in his bedroom in Tokyo, the mom in her minivan driving to her son’s tee-ball game in a Philadelphia suburb, or an employee of the Bank of England, they all have smart phones with Internet access and can see how others live and what they think. Russians (one might say Slavs in general) tend to be more aware of politics in the rest of the world than do Americans, and as a result, it is not unreasonable to say that many know or have seen something of the differences between the West and US as opposed to Russia for the good, bad, and ugly.
If Russia decides to pursue a policy of “blacking out” the Internet for their people, it only serves to help the Americans and the West in general because it will be the equivalent of Soviet policies against Western media. There were many Russians who secretly listened on illegal radio channels to the “Voice of America” broadcasts from the CIA into Russia that no matter how hard Soviet authorities tried to push on them, they could not stop it and eventually were overwhelmed by the propaganda.
Nations have always sent propaganda to each other, but the arguable genius of the Americans and really, the CIA experts in psychological warfare and other forms of manipulation is that open propaganda even that opposes the core message being sent by the government is always permitted to a certain extent without any negative social repercussions. This cannot be said about Russia, which has a long history of aggressively hunting down and attempting to root out even small forms of dissident.
The Americans do not care about most differences so long as they do not interfere with the core philosophies being promoted in a way that could actually threaten the integrity of the message itself. This is the reason why the US will support groups advancing nationalism from the very normal, to those with a strange religious emphasis, to outright violent terrorists, because the idea is that all are working towards a similar end, and while one cannot expect them all to agree, as long as they can be guided in a certain direction as opposed to another group that may also be funded and controlled, society can be controlled and manipulated for their ends.
In a sense, this is also the classic Democrat strategy for exerting political control over a state. The Democrat party does not attempt to take control over the entire place. Rather, they pick the one or two largest cities, and extert all of their efforts into controlling them, creating a situation where the whole state is subject to the demands of one area. This is how Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Washington, all states with major conservative populations, have been “taken over” by Democrats. It is what turned Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania into “swing states” and is how states such as Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas are turning into “swing states”. This is how the US approach to propaganda works as well, for a certain range of “disagreement” will be accepted so long as it keeps the “power” in the “cities” of ideas, but if it does not, it is violently removed. This is why the government will support “religious freedom” and other groups, but if one dares to criticize the sodomites, one is immediately cast away, as the concept of “religious freedom” is a political lever, but attacking the sodomites is to attack a critical function of the social platform by which other nations are controlled and subverted in the same context through corrupting a people and making them easier to rule.
The Russian approach, while one can say it has been similar, is one that attempts to control the people as a collective, and involves shaping the environment to her liking. However, doing this is also the error that the father of Siddhartha Gautama made, for if one remembers the story of the Buddha, Siddharta’s quest for truth and “enlightenment” was said to have started after he accidentally saw a poor man sitting on the streets, for his father made all efforts throughout Siddhartha’s life that his son would never have to see or experience pain, poverty, and misery. Russia takes a similar approach, but with the control over media and propaganda. However, like the story of Siddhartha, the attempts to cover up reality always fail, the truth inevitably will show itself, and this creates a hunger for more truth, for that which is made to seem to be inaccessible or forbidden becomes and object of desire.
This is the great mistake that Russia made last century, and Putin, the “former” KGB officer who recently extended his potential ability to be “President” of Russia until 2030, appears to be repeating the same failures of the Soviet Union through attempting to exert unnecessary control over the Internet. While certain restrictions are necessary, the kinds of restrictions that Russia is putting forward will not help her, but will only fans the flames of internal frustration and a thirst for access to the rest of that which has been forbidden, and the US and other Western nations will be happy to assist the people however they can.