Written on: 30. 8. 2022 in the category: Uncategorized


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Peter Hitchens of The Daily Mail on Sunday has now joined the ranks of the talks-now movement of Russia-appeasers, which in Ireland appears to be led by Sabina Higgins and is probably supported by most Irish people. Hitchens’ argument is based on the UK’s experience of the First World War, when – he says – a failure to end hostilities in 1915 or 1916 led to the catastrophe of the Russian Revolution, the 1930s British policy of appeasement and ultimately to the Second World War.

This is childish and ahistorical reasoning, and well beneath his considerable intellectual weight. Hitchens’ argument is (rather atypically) based on a benign view of human behaviour and the predictable nature of historical events. But human nature is not benign, and what retrospectively becomes history is seldom if ever predictable, otherwise much of it would never have happened. Who could have predicted that the notoriously unreliable clutch of the Graf & Stift limousine when it failed to find reverse outside Moritz Schiller’s café on Franz Joseph Street in Sarajevo in June, 1914 would have given Gavrilo Princip, who had effectively abandoned his assassination project, a wholly unexpected clear shot at the Archduke Ferdinand, with all the cataclysmic consequences that followed?

Every single event in history is, like a snow-flake, historically unique and anatomically unrepeatable.

I cannot say what the consequences would have been from a negotiated peace in 1916, but I do know that by 1915, Germany controlled the industrial heartland of Northern France and most of Belgium, including its Channel/North Sea ports. The German government had already made the retention of those ports and the Flanders plain (to be settled by German farmers) a non-negotiable and a priori condition of any peace-talks. This would have made the Kaiser the harbour master of Ostend, Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Liege and the First Sea Lord of the English Channel, without the Kriegsmarin firing a shot. That smells like a German victory to me. Moreover, what sort of deal would have been possible between the Czar, the Kaiser and the Austro-Hungarian empire, with all the subordinate nationalities within their conjoined empires and the furious enmities that had already been generated by a year of murderous warfare?

Similarly, it is childish to think that a benign outcome is negotiable from the present stalemate in Ukraine. It is now fashionable in certain quarters – as Hitchens does – to blame NATO for events which in fact retrospectively vindicate a regional fear of Russia. NATO did not seduce the Baltic states, Romania, Croatia and Poland into become members: they actively sought the protection of the western alliance against their Russian neighbours. And this is a key factor, the nature of Russia and its people, that any analysis of this crisis must take into account.

It is enormously important to understand that the Russian revolution was just that: Russian. Marxism thereafter evolved on lines that any Tsar and any Tsarist counsellor would have understood, most of all in its utter indifference to human life, individual dignity and personal freedom. These are concepts that are not just alien to the Eurasian mind of the Steppes, they are incomprehensible. They make no sense. They are unanalysable. Tchaikovsky, Sholokhov, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn were not merely laureates of this mystical Russian “difference”, they embodied it in their art. This is what makes these artists almost impossible for “westerners” to fully understand, rather as Confucianism cannot be understood by non-Chinese. We lack the words and the concepts to comprehend the majesty of the great Slavic collective that unites Russians, and to a lesser sense, Serbians and Bulgarians – but not Croats or Poles. This mystical sense is somehow essential to those Slavs raised in the Orthodox church, but especially so for Russians, with their horizonless infinity all the way to the Pacific, from which an entirely different psychological vector has been created.

That vector embraces the collective will, as opposed to that of the individual, in every sense. The most startling evidence of this is military concept of what the Russians call “maskirovka”. During the Second World War, this included the deliberate loss of thousands of soldiers in diversionary attacks in the battles of Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kursk and Bagration, whose costly feints convinced the Germans of the authenticity of each of these bogus attacks. Even the Nazi mind could not conceive of the intentional sacrifice of the loyal, the true and the brave in the implementation of a battle-plan.  This was the morality of the chessboard, at which the Russians are the acknowledged masters, but here played with the lives of real humans. As relevant to this was the foreknowledge of the various military commanders of these feints that theirs was an intentional sacrifice, for which they would probably be never rewarded even if they managed to survive.

Russianness combines an astonishingly brutal coarseness with an astonishingly erudite sophistication. Nabokov knew this – indeed, he embodied it, not just in his Satanic creation Humbert Humbert, but also in his own personal behaviour. Is there anything more studiedly barbarous than his hobby of collecting rare butterflies, not to breed from them, but to gas them and then meticulously pin them, apparently undamaged in glass display-cases? But of course, Nabokov’s lepidopteran prey reflected his preoccupation with death, expressed in the fate of Lolita, who later perished in childbirth. In one of the evillest lines in English literature, Nabokov/Humbert described his ruthless debauching of this hapless nymphet: “I undressed her. Her breath was bittersweet. Her brown rose tasted of blood.”

Her brown rose is of course her anus. I do not need to tell you why it tasted of blood.

Nabokov’s is the depraved aesthetic of the immensely cultivated savage humming a note-perfect Bach motet while he plans the deportation of an entire nation on foot to the windswept icescapes of Siberia, pausing amid the exquisite polyphony to imagine sodomising some still-warm corpses.

That in this present war Ukrainian women have been raped and killed is not some departure from a norm, but the norm itself, as in Berlin and Vienna, 1945. Moreover, what we are seeing in Ukraine is emphatically not the due reward for some sinister NATO plot to destroy Russia. For why would Germany, which was the eastern edge of the NATO alliance for some sixty years and which has in recent decades made Russia its favoured cash-customer, want to wreck its own economy by destabilising its major source of energy as well as being drawn into a conflict when its army pro rata is an even bigger joke than Ireland’s?

No; the Ukrainian adventure is merely Russia being Russia. This is Russia of Putin’s roving assassination teams poisoning his critics with polonium. This is the Russia of Ivan the Terrible and his foundational terror-police, the Oprichnina. This is Russia of Lenin, who perfected the Oprichnina’s arts and turned homicidal paranoia into a form of statecraft. This is the Russia of the Russified Georgians, Stalin and Beria, who understood that the way to become more Russian than the Russians was to wade through the blood of allies and rivals alike. Even Trotsky was Russified away from his Jewishness into being a profoundly intelligent Muscovy barbarian.

It is hardly coincidental that two of the very few Russian words in English are “pogrom” and “intelligentsia”.

If there was a way out of this war, I would welcome it. But I can see no such escape. Every single scenario is black, and none blacker – for the irresolution it causes – than to blame the west for what is an irrefutably eastern illness. Once accepted and internalised, this demented mea culpa exonerates the guilty and condemns the innocent, and from which madness there is no rescue, merely more war and further self-blaming by the victims.

The terrible truth is that Putin’s war has made him immensely popular in Russia, which is meanwhile recanonising Stalin. Statues to numerically the worst murderer in European history – and in world terms, second only to his protégé, Mao – have been springing up all over the former Soviet Union. North Ossetia, from which Stalin ordered the removal of the entire population, has erected half a dozen statues to honour a man who regularly signed three thousand execution warrants a day. Unlike Hitler, Stalin was bureaucratically scrupulous, certain that neither Russian history nor natural justice would ever catch up with him, and as time has proven, he was right all along.

Moreover, the Marxist seeds sown by the Frankfurt school and their disciples from the 1960s and ‘70’s have over the ensuing decades deboned America’s spine. All that remains of that vital column are gristle and twitching nerve-endings, with a certain memory of greatness. That the Frankfurt school was largely anti-Stalin is neither here nor there. Both are strands of Marxism, in which a loathing of the western individualism is paramount. This notion of the corporate identity, into which individuals are to be subsumed both psychologically and socially, is a happy fusion of Marxism and Russian barbarism, wherein groupthink becomes the essential virtue. The promotion of de-individualising entire groups has been perhaps the most successful educational projects in recent history. How else could the self-evident insanities of BLM and transgenderism have corrupted entire political and academic cultures without the psychological ground having been prepared beforehand by Marxist indoctrinations?

That a comparable Russian groupthink has brought the invaders to a tactical stalemate in Ukraine is largely irrelevant. Russia is used to early failure: see 1812, 1915, 1939, 1941. Russia might even now use Ukraine’s nuclear power plants as adventitious weapons not just against Ukraine, but as threat to all of Europe. Even without that existential menace, the war is now one of endurance and of resources, of which Russia has vast amounts. Its gas exports to Germany alone cover the entire cost of the war, essentially paid for out of Europe’s currency reserves. Ahead lies the first winter of the war. Putin is probably not looking for victory before next summer, by which time Europe will be facing existentially-critical energy shortages, and the green heresy that has bewitched the world will have been revealed as the pious fraud that it has been from the very outset. By that time, the EU might well have run out willpower or resources, and many will say that Ukraine should settle now.

However, that “many” will not include Ukraine, which knows the price of governance by Russia: millions dead in 1930-33, again 1938-45 (which includes the purges and the Winter War against Finland) and again 1946-49 in the brutal Soviet war against separatist partisans. That “many” will not include any of Russia’s Baltic neighbours, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, or those on its North Sea perimeters, namely Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark.

But it will probably include Germany which, after nearly eighty parasitic years of living within the American imperium, knows all about the glories of the welfare state and little enough about the real price of defending it. And most emphatically of all it will include Ireland, a society that seems to have been given a jellyfish’s stingless tentacle to serve as a spinal column, a witch’s spiny finger to wag and an acid tongue to scold our neighbours about their Brexit follies. For alone, alone of all the countries of Europe, Ireland is against giving military aid to Ukraine. This is not just our political classes speaking. This is the Ireland of the summer schools, of the mainstream media and clearly, of popular will: utterly abject, morally supine, pitifully unprincipled, yet mysteriously and even cosmically smug withal. That smugness will probably evaporate this winter, as we run out of energy, but then happily blame the British for the blackouts that now seem inevitable.

If there is a more crushing indictment of unprincipled neutralism as a political creed (even while our air space and our seas are protected by the British or NATO), it will probably come with the almost inevitable elevation to government of Sinn Fein-IRA. Sfira is today a vociferous supporter of disarmed and ideological neutralism, having previously been armed and active allies of the Kaiser, the Soviet Union, Adolf Hitler, Muammar Gaddafi, FARC and Hamas/PLO. If Putin makes paranoia an instrument of statecraft, Sinn Fein does likewise with its recidivist addiction to hypocrisy: thus, a perfect amoral symmetry on Europe’s eastern and western flanks.

Poor Europe.


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