Yasha Levine is a Russian-born American investigative journalist and a founding editor of the eXiled. His work has been published in the Baffler, Pando Daily, Wired, the Nation, Penthouse and many others. He’s the author of Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet published by Public Affairs Books.
Kraftwerk, “Computer World,” Computer World, 1984.
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By Sean — 11 years ago
I don’t have time to write extensively on Putin’s historic trip to Iran. Plus there are many others who are more versed in Russian-Iranian relations and the geopolitical significance of Putin’s trip. So with that in mind and a dissertation chapter deadline hanging over my head, I offer Juan Cole’s take on it. His post is significant because it provides the entire text of Putin’s and Admadinejad’s joint statement. I also recommend Farideh Farhi’s post on the Informed Comment Global Affairs Blog for what the Russian visit means for Tehran.
It’s clear that if there were any diplomatic victories achieved in the meeting, they were all Iran’s. With Putin backing the Islamic nation’s assertions that its nuclear program is “peaceful” basically confirmed that if Washington is looking for partners to put the hard squeeze on Iran, Russia isn’t one of them.
For Russia, the trip is a reaffirmation that Russia will seek its own independent foreign policy. And ironically Putin came out somewhat like a peacemaker with his stress in dialog with Iran rather than sanctions. He stressed this last night during his annual question and answer session with the public. “Direct dialog with the leaders of states around which certain problems accumulate is always more productive and is the shortest path to success, rather than a policy of threats, sanctions, and all the more so resolution by using force,” he said.
That wasn’t the only blow to US prospects waging war against Iran. The attendees at the Caspian Sea Summit, which included Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Turkmenistan’s President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, made a declaration that said “under any circumstances they would not allow other countries to use their territory for aggression and military attack against one of the parties.”
Welcome to the Great Game of the 21st Century.Post Views: 1,292
By Sean — 4 years ago
My article in The New Republic, “Is Russia Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?”
In Collapse of an Empire, Yegor Gaidar, the Russian economist and 1990s shock therapist, wrote that “the identification of state grandeur with being an empire makes the adaptation to the loss of status of superpower a difficult task for the national consciousness of the former metropolis.” Gaidar likened the loss of the Soviet empire to Germany’s defeat in WWI and warned, like Weimar Germany, Russia could thirst for a strong national leader to right the wrongs of the Soviet collapse. Empire, after all, was “an easy-sell product, like Coca-Cola” to a parched population. Gaidar turned out to be premature though prescient. Only now, with the crisis in Ukraine, is the opportunity for Russian revanchism—and the collective trauma that serves as its foundation—fully revealed.
Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea is a reaction to a trauma experienced by millions of Russians: In his speech to Russia’s Federation Council, Putin called Nikita Khrushchev’s 1954 transfer of Crimea to Ukraine a robbery that made Russians on the peninsula feel “they were handed over like a sack of potatoes.” Crimean Russians simply “could not reconcile themselves to this outrageous historical injustice.” This trauma redoubled when the Soviet Union collapsed. “Millions of people went to bed in one country and awoke in different ones, overnight becoming ethnic minorities in former Union republics, while the Russian nation became one of the biggest, if not the biggest, ethnic group in the world to be divided by borders,” he said.Post Views: 2,826
By Sean — 2 years ago