Orion's picture

    Full Circle on the Soviet Union

    I had to post about this.

    Years ago, I was pretty in to libertarianism. I knew all about Rand Paul's father, Ron. I knew the rhetoric. The failure of communism and the Soviet Union was always the leading example of how not just progressive but any aspirations beyond anarcho-capitalism were doomed to fail. The example was utilized all of the time. Universal health care wouldn't work because of the Soviet Union, food stamps led to dependency because of the Soviet Union, etc. Whenever you brought up any kind of policy that involved altruism, like clockwork, you would hear, "That sounds great in theory, but in the Soviet Union ..."

    In addition to that, Paul and his father were always firm opponents of interventions and invasions, citing inevitable blowback that operations like the invasion of Iraq would lead to. 

    Now, here we are, in 2022, and Paul is citing the fact that Ukraine once belonged to the Soviet Union as an example that Russia is right and just in invading Ukraine.


    Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): “The countries that have been attacked, Georgia and Ukraine, were part of the Soviet Union ... since the 1920s.”

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “That does not give Russia the right to attack them.” pic.twitter.com/jnlRP6wAsN

    — The Recount (@therecount) April 26, 2022


    Ron Paul may have genuinely been the Ralph Nader of GOP politics for his run in congress. However, there's pretty good documentation that his think tank, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, has been receiving cash and funding from Russian interests for some time. In the real world, it turns out that libertarian politics doesn't go much of anywhere without some sort of state funding.

    Mikhail Gorbachev actually did the right wing speaking circuit back in the day, so it's possible that this investment has been going on for so long that it's full grown once it's been revealed to the world. Mitt Romney was the canary in the coal mine who tried to warn us about it.


    Not to worry, I noticed that plenty of people who know at least a smidgen of history immediately noted the incongruity. I.E., then you're not really a libertarian sir. Just a few of the examples I saw:


    His whole philosophy is just a sort of antisocial nonsense.

    I'm not going to rationalize the Iraq war, which did lead to ISIS. However, Saddam Hussein modeled himself after Stalin, was a member of the Ba'ath Party, the same as Bashir Assad. All of this makes you wonder what the rationale for opposing the Iraq war really was for the Paul family. As Christopher Hitchens once said, "They're not anti-war. They're pro-war for the other side."

    Hitchens actually had quite a bit of foresight when it came to Putin.

    It's just so obvious that they are getting a check from someone. In my opinion, if libertarianism is so easily corrupted by government money, then that shows that the philosophy is a sort of gutter ideology to be ignored by rational people.

    Now to be fair, I'm not sure that either Rand Paul or Joy Reid knew much about Ukraine before they were paid to pretend they do and both are saying someone else's words.

    I remember not too long ago the libertarian crowd talking like this - taken from Glenn Beck's website:

    3 | Starvation

    What better way to control people than with their food supply? Take Soviet Russia in the 1930s, where an estimated seven to 10 million people died agonizing deaths from starvation or from birth defects related to malnutrition. The Holodomor, literally translated from Ukrainian meaning "to kill by hunger, to starve to death," was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933. Long before Hitler's horror was revealed, the spirit of individualism threatened Joseph Stalin's communist design for the Soviet Union. Stalin forced peasants to give up their farms under the banner of collectivism, plunging the Ukraine into famine. So desperate was the situation that widespread reports of cannibalism surfaced. Ukrainians now gather each year to light 25,000 candles in remembrance of the 25,000 people who died daily during the Holodomor.

    Under Hussein the women's volleyball team wore shorts. I have trouble comparing Hussein to Stalin. More just a slightly progressive and aggressive authoritarian with a bit of territorial ambition tied to oil money and dislike of neighbor (non-Arab Persian/wrong branch of Islam). ISIS was hardly our creation - partly the overthrow, but largely the radicalization if Islam from Taliban to Al Qaeda to ISIS. Regionally no one treats the Kurds well. But who do you think can survive in that region - Macron?

    Well collecting villas on the seaside is pretty generic for dictators. Killing 30 million people and setting in place a Beria-led reign of terror is pretty hard to imitate. Is there anything like 1930s propaganda in the arts and speech in Hussein? Collectivization to "modernize" that killed millions and stole land from same? Mass punishment, exile to Siberia? Continual disappearances? Just because Hussein said something doesn't make it accurate, and Hussein is known more for the period after 1980 than before.

    History is truly full circle when Soviet statues are being taken down in Kviv and the crowd that once yelled "tear down this wall!" is now saying quite the opposite.


    Money talks! A generation ago, Soviet money was sent to American university faculty and now it's being sent to the Republican Party.

    Yes. It's a new paradigm. Pro western culture! A reminder that's counter-Wokism! This is why everyone is freaking out - a new paradigm and no one knows where it's gonna go.

    Wokeism was sold to a certain crowd in order to make them look ridiculous and disqualified from the serious conversations once they come. 

    Wokism was taught as gospel in all the universities of the western world for like 15 years. Therefore, all educated millennials have been steeped in it whether they agreed with it or not. It's not a minor thing, far from it.

    Millenials are not exactly being included in the conversation.

    Also, wokeism ironically is not too far away from what is being taught in Russia. Eurasianism focuses on how the people of the Steppe are the genesis of Russia, the reason why Russia is not of the West. There is a biological link between the Eurasian nomads and the indigenous peoples that the woke crowd has everyone praying to.

    The Eurasians were a crowd that was largely banned and marginalized during the Soviet Union, and yet they are the powering force to bring it back, just as the woke crowd has made progressivism the new conservatism. Both crowds tear down their country yet are fiercely loyal to it at the same time.

    just ran across this a way out for Wokees, well crafted by a University professor:

    Just like the church, those who have confessed their sins will now be well suited to condemn others.

    Before Obama was elected, you didn't really need a new philosophy to get conservative Bush supporters to feel righteous indignation toward autocrats in the larger world. You had to create one to get progressives doing the same thing, especially against much bigger fish than Saddam Hussein or the Taliban

    And thanks so much for that article. From a Eurasian website! They are on a very similar trip, it seems. IIRC the United States was flirting with collectivization at the same time that the Soviets were, testing nuclear weapons at the same time they were, and experimenting with division and free markets at the same time as well. Maybe we are a lot closer than we think..

    Artappraiser, this moment is critical:

    Activists in the Global South, too, still see the Soviet Union as an anti-Western, anti-capitalist power. Many associate it with Marxism and communism and as an alternative to capitalism. The countries of the Global South make up the bulk of the opposition in the UN General Assembly against condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Such views ignore the fate of non-Russian nationalities who suffered mass starvation, purges, and genocide. Recently, Black intellectuals in the United States have begun comparing the Soviet Union to a variant of settler colonialism with the Russians as the settler nation. A critical review of the Russian colonial experience is necessary in the Global South as well.

    This basically seems like a call to convert the interests of countries like Venezuela, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, etc. away from Russia, thus recruiting a whole generation of people who look like them in the West to lead the redevelopment of Western interests in that part of the world. That sounds exactly like what it is - a total manipulation.

    Russia is ultimately the one leading the way on this one,as their leadership seems to have the assumption that they don't need the West anymore and the West is just hoping it can have an elite core of POC to convince the "Global South" to not listen to them.

    It's not the first time the West has done just that. Colonial powers usually appointed black and brown administrators to get the job done for them.

    Sub-Saharan Africa is a bloc unto itself (and there will be select countries that don't fit) -
    it's where the world's massive population explosion is happening while the rest of the world is slimming down.
    It's where increased business savvy and capitalist systems aren't progressing nearly enough to "raise all boats".
    Okay, it turns out besides the obvious outlier of Afghanistan, India is lying on its progress - still great improvement, but they stopped measuring/publishing poverty figures a decade ago so the rate is somewhat higher/progress slower but still pretty fast - nothing like the majority of Sub-Saharan Africa's quagmire that will be devastating by 2100 when they have *1/3* the world's population and no real infrastructure or significantly trained business/technology capacity. (yes, people will still brag when an African startup is $10m or so - not near enough)


    When you think about where Ayn Rand was from and also when Ron Paul rose to prominence, there was likely a Russian root to the entire thing.

    Vladimir Putin was quoted sounding like a libertarian in the early 1990s, calling communism a "fantasy," but it was ultimately the superstructure of the Soviet Union that he and people of his ilk ended up nostalgic for.

    This is actually the most on point I've heard Obama speak about a foreign leader. Everything about what has occurred in Ukraine seems a bit out of character for Vladimir Putin. Something did indeed change.


    wow thank you so much for sharing that.

    I was really struck by how much he struggled with each word being chosen carefully the whole way through  but instead of just doing "no comment" to avoid screwing up anything for any allies, he decided to share his thoughts. Tells you how he has thought a lot about it big picture, about how massively important a moment in history it is. I would expect nothing less from someone with a (truly) multiculti multiethnic background and education like his, and who has 8 years experience as president of the U.S., to have complex thoughts about it all, but I didn't expect him to share the thoughts!

    Maybe time to review some of his thoughts in "Dreams from My Father"....

    There's been a lot of videos on YouTube of various people throughout Russia - politicians, TV show hosts - saying "you're next" to Kazahstan, Moldova, Bulgaria, basically all of the satellite countries of the Soviet Union. The videos demonstrate that Putin is channeling something going on in Russia itself as opposed to his own ambition. That's not what liberals want to think is happening but this sort of action, historically, is usually met by large crowds of support.


    Husband of Putin's propaganda chief Margarita Simonyan arrogantly threatens Kazakhstan with same fate as Ukraine because they canceled May 9th parade. pic.twitter.com/jZlcUjwofH

    — Expat in Kyiv (@expatua) April 27, 2022


    And I'm going to say something you'll like, artappraiser, it's the same tone that you hear from Black Lives Matter.  BLM is not a progressive movement - they want to kick those crackers ass and each other's ass. It's the same tone you're hearing in India towards Muslims. It's the same tone you hear from Amber Heard toward Johnny Depp. Yesterday's losers want blood today.

    If you look at Eurasianism in light of the countries which Vladimir Putin has invaded, it particularly starts to seem ominous what Russia is after. Take a look in to ancient history: 

    The Siege of Kiev by the Mongols took place between November 28 and December 6, 1240, and resulted in a Mongol victory. It was a heavy morale and military blow to Halych-Volhynia and allowed Batu Khan to proceed westward into Europe.[

    I realize that rape is often a tool in war, but the stories of Russian soldiers expressing it to their wives back at home made me really think of the Mongols. The Mongols also conquered Georgia and what is modern Chechnya. The Soviet Union was likely only a twentieth century manifestation of what the Mongols established there.

    Also, the above video of Obama - I remember not just Obama mocking Mitt Romney for bringing up Russia as a danger, but also when Obama was leaving office, a speech where Vladimir Putin seemed a bit sad and resigned - saying that it was unfortunate that they weren't able to work together more and that there was an impediment to them doing so. He had awful things to say about John McCain but not really Obama so much (publicly at least).

    The Syria conflict is really what made relations go bad - the West didn't particularly seem to care what he did in Chechnya or Georgia - and then the annexation of Crimea, Trump and then this.

    Maybe an example of what you're talking about popped into my head - the beginning of this video reads to me as "I am Kunta Kinte and I hate all you white people and cops and am going to get back at all you motherfuckers for my people" It's her brand; she's got it pinned right to the top of her page.

    African Americans generally are too myopic and self-obsessed to really know where to hurt anyone else in a way that would give them an advantage - they just end up taking it out on themselves, but yeah, it is the same mindset. It's also generally black people who have been educated or employed by elite whites who hate them or act like they do, which should make you wonder what that attitude is really about. Your average working black person is just a regular person in mentality.

    this one takes the cake tho, I don't think I have ever seen a person more filled with ethnic hate, she just goes on and on and on, anything vile she can think of about Ukrainians, she says directly to a Ukrainian. Truthfully I can't even think of an instance of having seen a WWII era German Nazi show as much hatred for the Jews, they call them scum and filth but they don't go on and on and on - it's pretty incredible:

    She seems nice.

    Good performance - is it real?


    Most of the reasons behind Russia’s interest in Ukraine are well-known. Dig a little deeper, though, and one finds an overarching theme: the underlying fear that Russia will be absorbed by Asia. A "demographic insecurity", if you will. While Russia’s population is shrinking, that of Central Asia is increasing, and China’s growing shadow looms over the Eastern part of the former Soviet Union. In a way, for Russia, losing Ukraine means trading a European future for an Asian one. 

    One line here is really, really key:

    Putin himself has embraced a Eurasian and inclusive, multicultural vision of Russia - the "Russian world" being a cultural, rather than ethnic, entity.

    This is integral and, unfortunately, few in the West understand the ideology going on in Russia without understanding this. Eurasianists appear to see their society as a multicultural land of "encounter" between various different groups and the various republics that struck out on their own are the impediment and threat to this. Multiculturalism is nice and well but, if you look at Russian history from the Mongols to the Soviet Union, keeping all those differing peoples together was never done peacefully.

    There is no Asian future - Russia is European, it treats it's eastern territories like shit. Sure, they have to worry about China's growth, but few Russians are headed east to settle in 2022.

    Dude, read the article:

    Putin himself has embraced a Eurasian and inclusive, multicultural vision of Russia - the "Russian world" being a cultural, rather than ethnic, entity. Notions of citizenship and nationality are distinct in domestic law. Yet there is evident discomfort in nationalist circles about an internal evolution, which has mirrored that of the former USSR. In 1959, the country was 83% Russian. In 2010, that percentage had gone down to 78%. Russia currently hosts 15-20 million Muslims, which amounts to 10-15% of the population. Fertility remains much higher in Muslim-majority regions (with Dagestan having the national record). According to the Grand Mufti, Muslims will make up to 30% of the population by the mid-2030s. 

    Sigh, yes they do. There is no big Russian tilt towards Asian or Turkic cultures aside from using Syria for a port - it's all western focused, plus influence in Africa. But population loss threatens the most (China's is falling quickly too, btw)

    Demographically, Siberia has been a remote and sparsely populated base of European Russia. The population of the Ural Federal District between 1989 and 2010 (within the borders of 2002) decreased by 0.45 million, Siberian Federal District by 4.90 million people and the Far Eastern Federal District by 1.65 million people. That is, the population of three federal districts decreased by 6.99 million people in just 21 years. In the years 2010-2019, the number of inhabitants of the Ural Federal District increased slightly from 12.08 million to 12.35 million people, i.e. by 0.27 million people. The population of the Siberian Federal District (within the borders of 2019) in the years 2010-2019 decreased by 0.004 million people. The number of inhabitants of the Far Eastern Federal District (within the borders of 2019) in the period 2010-2019 decreased by 0.18 million people. In total, in the years 2010-2019, the population of the three federal districts recorded a slight increase of 0.082 million people.


    Russia’s natural population has undergone its largest peacetime decline in recorded history over the last 12 months, according to an analysis of official government statistics made by a prominent independent demographer, as the country battles a deadly fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The natural population, a number calculated from registered deaths and births, excluding the impact of migration, declined by 997,000 between October 2020 and September 2021, the demographer Alexei Raksha has calculated.



    "We're All Going To Die Someday": Russian TV Comforts Audience On War https://t.co/YBPKl8Tg1e pic.twitter.com/kePwOXvx1y

    — NDTV News feed (@ndtvfeed) April 28, 2022


    On YouTube, I have seen videos from Vox about the Holodomor, the brutal famine that Josef Stalin enforced on Ukraine. They're just like the videos that Glenn Beck used to do, except the suggestion is now that "this is where the Far Right will take you" instead of "this is where the Democrats' socialist policies will take you." Instead of an aggressive male talk radio voice, it's a soft female NPR voice.



    A key aspect of that video - I learned from it that in 1922, the SU forcefully integrated Ukraine in to the Soviet Union. That means that the invasion of Ukraine is on the centennial of that forceful integration. I don't think that's a coincidence. That should explain why it's happening now and why Putin did not do it during Trump's term.

    Also, the video critiques Stalin's collectivizations brilliantly by using the word "industrialization," something conservatives who brought this stuff up before would have avoided. The Soviet collectivization did inspire the latter industrialization of food production in the West, which has been a huge contributing factor to people becoming alienated from the natural environment and, thus, from one another.

    I actually can't find any of Beck's stuff about Stalin, even though it was all he talked about when I listened to him. He appears to have taken it down. "How Conservatives Gave Up And Learned To Love The Soviet Union," I guess. The closest I could find on his website was "10 Reasons Communism Isn't Cool."

    The latter assessment never really made any sense but it was something that somehow made sense in US politics. Nationalism was very much an element of Stalinism and the exile of Trotsky, like the persecution of Zelensky's Ukraine, was an attempt to get liberalism out of the Soviet sphere and to solidify the bloc that had been there since the Mongols.

    Paywall. What's the Trotsky angle?

    Putin is going out of his way to try to get Zelensky assassinated, sending people in via parachute.

    Zelensky is going to end up the hero of a whole generation of liberals who will be hawks on Russia, the same way Trotsky was.

    Russian Rand Paul: https://youtu.be/CEtsXBnRsvQ

    isolationism is hard


    — Anna M Ruszel (@AnMRu) May 1, 2022


    Gandalf has seen better days.

    Most of those old leftists, if they follow their logic, will end up on the right. Things have switched up over the years.

    This comment:

    Michael Tracey saying the Neo-Cons finally won with this latest, which for me is a very thought-provoking point

    especially if you think of Neo-conservatism according to its original meaning as a "kinder, gentler conservatism" alternative to old school hawk conservatism, Rather than the distortion of it after Cheney's Iraq debacle, where lefties starting using the word as the equivalent of "hawk', confusing the difference.

    Can't not think of Hitchens heartily approviing.

    But I think Fukuyama is the one ideologue who is really on a winning streak. (He got inaccurately labeled as a Neo-Con because some promoted his thought, but I think that was over-simplification.)

    on a lighter note, here's a Suze-Orman-style suggestion for a solution to the Ukraine crisis 

    Democratic Socialists of America (of which Reps A.O.C., Cori Bush, Rashida Tlaib, and Jamaal Bowman are members)


    Paul Watson promoting Nazi-style antisemitism, who knew:

    WOW! Steve Schmidt schools Meghan McCain on the two factions in the 2008 McCain presidential campaign, one "pro-Russia" and "how the story of American corruption in Ukraine starts here." :

    I had no interest whatsoever in running a Presidential Campaign in 2008. One of my closest friends was running John McCain’s campaign and John Weaver was the chief strategist. There were two factions in the campaign. There was a pro-democracy faction and there was

    — Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) May 8, 2022

    2/ a pro Russia faction. The pro democracy faction was led by Weaver and the pro Russia faction was led by a Washington lobbyist who was in business with Paul Manafort. Like Manafort, he had a Trump Tower residence. He was in charge of the campaigns finances and bankrupted the

    — Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) May 8, 2022

    3/ campaign through a series of unethical transactions and markups with Manafort and a company called 3 EDC. The campaign was destroyed over a massive fight over John McCain’s greatest blind spot, willful or otherwise. @MeghanMcCain this is the story of the man you call Uncle

    — Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) May 8, 2022

    4/Rick and it explains how we met. I’ll attach a story from @thenation that I only read recently, though it is from 2008. It is spot on @MeghanMcCain. Your Father tolerated his campaign chairman being in business and working for Putin through his association with Yanukovych.

    — Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) May 8, 2022


    — Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) May 8, 2022

    5/ Yanukovych, as you probably have no idea, was Putin’s puppet in Ukraine. The story of American corruption in Ukraine starts here. It starts in John McCain’s operation, not Trumps. @MeghanMcCain,did you know that your dad was taken on Oleg Deripaskas yacht in Montenegro for his

    — Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) May 8, 2022

    thread continues, 16 numbered tweets total

    p.s. I see he is also taking on challengers about his version of events:

    I was immediately reminded when seeing this that "Lady Graham" was one of McCain's best Senate buddies in McCain's final years:


    The isolationist explanation:

    but this guy's just sayin', like a lot of other people:

    Then there's these types:

    On Comrade Paul in the past:

    I actually remember Christopher Hitchens going on in particular about Glenn Greenwald back during the Bush days.

    Pat Buchanan too: https://www.unionleader.com/opinion/columnists/patrick-j-buchanan-did-we... 

    The whole crowd that was against action in Afghanistan and Iraq is generally still there except for Bernie Sanders, now on the right and jocking for Putin.

    Also, and this is really weird, one of those coup guys with the horns kept going on about Venezuela and revolution there, just like leftists during the Bush years. The switcheroo is interesting.

    Someone needs to inform Rand they clearly don't want to have anything to do with Russia either.

    ...'Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!...

    And Biden has done a good job on this, much like he did a good job on COVID. And he's done a good job staying back and letting Trump hang himself 

    Yeah he'll go down in history as another one of those good presidents we all ignore, doing their job. .Because he didn't like, inspire a new generation or whatever.  Which is what I think he's wanted all along, which is why I thought he was a good choice for the times.  His age and experience is a big plus, he's right with his maker, ready to go, no drama, just doing his job. Cares about the country but no ego in it..

    After 4 yrs of Trump we definitely needed some boredom, not that COVID + war, et al = boredom

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