96 Comments

I have a few issues with this article because it cherrypicks instead of being genuine.

1. It's untrue to say Russia hasn't been a fixation of US foreign policy pre-2013. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia and president Bush considered sending troops to Georgia (in the end, only humanitarian aid was sent). A year later, US started military training to Georgians. The reason why it escalated in recent years is not LGBT issues but the fact that Russia gets more and more aggressive towards its neighbors (massive military buildup in Kaliningrad, de-facto vasalization of Belarus, continuous incursions into Norwegian, Polish, British and Baltic air spaces, submarines 5 miles from Stockholm etc.) as it goes out of its post-USSR slump and invests in military with oil money.

2. Russia is an irreligious country. Anti-LGBT laws are not justified by Christianity at all. Of the 8% of Russians who attend religious institution at least once a month, most are Muslims in Caucasus and Tatarstan. Instead, Putin constantly referenced traditional values and low fertility rate. This is not Poland where anti-LGBT laws are indeed fueled by the religious right.

3. The NYT article is about rise of authoritarianism in Eastern Europe. Easy to understand why Ukraine is not covered - in Freedom House ranking, it goes up (from 55 in 2017 to 62 now) while the other countries go down (e.g. Poland from 89 in 2017 to 82 now). So the direction is opposite.

Also, to say what happens in Poland is mostly liberal hysteria is unserious. State TV is basically worse than during communist times; the news is "5 minutes of hatred" towards the enemy of the month, usually the opposition or gays or Germans. There's no news anymore, the typical segment goes like "Germans furious about Polish wealth", "Disgraced opposition wants to take away your money", "Disgusting attack on Christianity by the gays" (they started an LGBT support group for Catholics), "Government bravely solves inflation". Last year, they tried to force the main independent TV station out, only a strong reaction from the US made the president to back out and not sign the bill. The state oil monopoly bought regional media and installed literally party apparatchiks in the newsrooms - you can go on.

4. The map of elections from 10 years ago is hardly relevant now. The 2014 aggression really solidified Ukrainian national identity as it became clear that Russia is not a brother but rather your mom's abusive boyfriend. Usage of Russian dropped significantly and in last year's election, the only relatively pro-Russian candidate, Boyko, got less than 12% of the vote, almost exclusively in the areas immediately bordering the separatists republics in the East (and in rural areas around Odessa).

5. The TFR argument misses a valid point. TFR of 1.2 doesn't mean most people have 1 kid. While technically a possibility, in case of Eastern Europe it's actually more common that some people have 2-3 kids but lots of people have 0 kids. And while below-replacement-level fertility is a relatively new phenomenon, there is actually quite a bit of examples where populations with such fertility started insurgencies: East Germans, and lately Georgians and Armenians.

There's plenty of arguments why America should not interfere or at least not be as invested in Ukraine and this piece touches on some, but some are real misses.

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1. The meme of an "aggressive, resurgent Russia" has been around since the early 1990s (First Abkhazian War, First Chechen War) and peddled by Balts/Poles ever since. An idea that the US started also buying it in 2008, when Saakachvili hilariously overestimated his war-making abilities, and almost lost his entire country, is just believing in your own propaganda. MSNBC wasn't frothing at the mouth at Russia in 2008, even when Russian tanks were in the suburbs of Tbilisi.

2. The 8% number is absurd. Institute Catholique de Paris (not exactly ideologically invested in inflating the numbers of the Eastern Orthodox) put the number of just 16-to-29-yo Orthodox Christians in Russia at 40% in 2018.

4. This is crap. This NATO-member Eastern Euro babble about "mom's abusive bf" is just projecting your own neuroses on the Ukraine. While criticizing Hanania's choice of Ukrainian elections to gauge pro-Russian sentiment from, you pick an even more arbitrary one (votes for Boyko in the first round in 2019?) Anti-Russian Ukie wiki wizards have--no doubt, begrudgingly--made a map of the results of the 2020 Ukrainian local elections, which took place amidst a general wave of disappointment with Zelenskyi turning out to be a shorter Poroshenko with a vocal fry across the Russian-speaking Southwest. As you can see, pro-Russian parties (in blue) won everywhere, except for in Dnepropetrovsk Oblast.

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Зведені_дані_виборів_2020.png#mw-jump-to-license

5. Great examples. The Great Georgian Insurgency of 2008 lasted for about 4 days. Ditto for Armenians in 2020.

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> While criticizing Hanania's choice of Ukrainian elections to gauge pro-Russian sentiment from, you pick an even more arbitrary one (votes for Boyko in the first round in 2019?)

Clearly a 2019 election is more recent than a 2010 election.

And also clearly, a national election is going to be more focussed on national/international issues, than a local election.

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Just the claim that 8% of Russians are religious is enough to disqualify whatever opinions follow and the pompous title of "demographic destiny".

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Feb 9, 2022·edited Feb 9, 2022

1. Russia did not invade Georgia and the EU itself admits this. https://www.mpil.de/files/pdf4/IIFFMCG_Volume_II1.pdf. Georgia started the conflict by starting an incursion into a breakaway territory.

2. Incursions into 'airspace' is the most effective propaganda tool that means nothing in reality. Russian media likes to make a big deal when British boats and American planes fly too close to the Russian border and the western media likes to do the same when Russia does. Everyone does it to everyone else since the time aircraft have been invented.

3. Again Freedom house is an institution funded by the American state, it is literally propaganda. Today in Ukraine, the previous president (Poroshenko), is not allowed to leave the country and is facing 15 years in prison while the main opposition candidate is in house arrest. More than a dozen news sites where shut down this year for being too 'pro-russian'.

4. A simple study on the most popular language on Instagram (a platform used by the young urban post soviet generation), shows that 50% of users use Russian when posting on the platform. https://www.intellinews.com/russian-is-the-social-media-language-of-choice-for-ukrainians-232266/. There is no Ukrainian identify without a Ukrainian language, and the results of the study mirrors 2010 election results. And if the study included Crimea and the Donbas the result would skew toward 60-65% of the population using Russian. Ironically the meme of the rural hick "Russian speakers" in Ukraine is actually the other way around, the more rural the more Ukrainian people use.

There are a lot of misses in your response and I suspect it is so because you are more invested in the European view of the conflict rather than the American one. In reality both are based on misreads and laundered information that has been taken as fact.

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> There is no Ukrainian identify without a Ukrainian language

This is nonsense. Plenty of countries don't have their own language, yet still manage to have a national identity. Would you say that Austria, USA, Argentina, or Australia don't have a national identity?

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There is no Ukrainian identity without a Ukrainian language, not that there can not be a national identity without a national language. If Ukraine was like the countries you listed, there wouldn't have been a need to persecute the Russian language in Ukraine.

Austria has a national identity strong enough that their use of German is unimportant, for Ukraine its the opposite, they have such a weak national identity that it is of paramount importance that everyone uses Ukrainian.

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You say:

> there can not be a national identity without a national language

But then you say:

> Austria has a national identity strong enough that their use of German is unimportant

So I genuinely don't understand your position. Nor is it obvious to me that you have a coherent position.

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None of your claims are remotely true. Russia became a fixation of U.S. foreign policy starting in mid-2013, Russia is not an "irreligious country" (wut?), the map of elections from 10 years ago remains highly relevant, what happens in Poland really is mostly liberal hysteria, TFR remains highly relevant to predicting insurgencies (there has also been no East German or Georgian insurgency).

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You haven’t an actual clue about the countries you talk about, do you? Like, understanding Russian, or having been to Poland, or East Germany, or Georgia?

I happen to cover the above-mentioned poi ts, and some more, and can confirm the comment is largely correct on the facts. Judgements are debatable, of course, but fine by me

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No, the comment is completely wrong. I know Russian.

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Ну, тогда будьте добры объяснить, откуда у вас сведения о русской религиозности — не официальной РПЦ, которая как была номенклатурой политбюро, так ею и осталась. И почему бы политические настроения в Украине не должны были измениться после вторжения и семи лет войны? Вы вообще не ответили на представленный факт — результат выборов в прошлом году. Ну и так далее: кроме нарочитого отрицания ещё что-то будет?

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The political situation under Ukrainian nationalist rule is one thing. The political situation under Russian occupation rule is quite another. The situation under a more neutral regime (i.e. pre-2014) is more instructive as to the second.

Second, Russia is a basically as religious as Poland, and is about mid-way between Germany and the U.S. in this regard:

https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/07/20/the-global-god-divide/

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lol, almost nobody goes to church, read the bible or knows a bit of theology

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lol Russia is not irreligious wtf are you talking about?

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Couple of notes:

1) On the odds of a successful insurgency: terrain isn't just mountains and swamps, urban guerillas are a thing, and fighting insurgents in cities and towns is by far more annoying and more of a nightmare than fighting them in, like, hills. To boot, Ukraine also has a marshy Big River that offers the actual swamps, and I wouldn't want to be tasked with rooting out amphibious vodyanoy-taliban squatting in the labyrinthine lagoons of the Dnieper.

2) On the odds of a successful insurgency 2: demographics. While the quip about birth rates predicting willingness to fight and the implied dig at western unwillingness to sacrifice the slightest inconvenience for an ideal is funny, it only applies in aggregate or on average. But you don't need everyone in the country to be involved in the insurgency, you just need a motivated minority. Ukraine might be below replacement, but you will absolutely find more than enough people to form a local Vietcong/Taliban in case the Russians actually invade.

3) On the odds of a successful insurgency 3: kit. Russia has the tanks, but Ukraine has the Saab next generation anti-tank weapons. Assymetry being the central theme of modern warfare. Having the costly kit that can be taken out by squatting slavs in bushes, for pennies, is actually a strategic weakness.

3) If Russia invades, and does in fact run into a local Vietcong/Taliban equivalent, and gets embroiled, it might well be morally *worse* for Russia than Vietnam or Afghanistan were for America - in addition to the usual humiliation and hit to national self-confidence from a defeat at the hands of a bunch of angry rednecks, there is also the matter of a war on Ukraine being essentially fratricidal. It is one thing to "go blow up coloured devils of some sort" halfway across the planet, and another to go shooting literal cousins. And then lose. Notably, this is the typical argument for why an Appalachian Hillbilly Resistance would probably succeed against the US government.

4) Russia cares more than America, but America should realize this is about the future of its empire and its credibility as an ally, and adjust its commitment accordingly. Ukraine isn't just about Ukraine, the stakes are broader - I am Czech, and we are watching Ukraine with *extreme* attention to see how credible America is as an ally, especially given the history of western betrayals and being repeatedly sold out for the sake of short-sighted, temporary appeasement of implacable imperialists (Munich conference, Yalta). If NATO allows Putin to take Ukraine, then the Baltics and Poland can reasonably expect to be next, and they will start taking steps to ensure military security outside the NATO framework. Putin counts on this - the stakes here are actually the loyalty of the entirety of Central-Eastern post-communist Europe. We are scared.

Don't be the Neville Chamberlain to Putin.

5) Full agreement that America no longer promotes ideals that would inspire anybody normal. Aspiring to democracy and peeping westwards through the barbed wire of the Iron Curtain under the Soviet yoke was one thing. If the American empire was still 1980s Reagan-Rambo-TopGun-GreedIsGood, we'd all be on board 100%. Being lectured on pronouns by non-binary avocadoes is another, substantially less inspiring story. I understand the American empire needed a new universal Casus Belli after "democracy" succeeded and became the global baseline (except for a few holdouts where it will conversely never be a thing, and so is equally useless as a propaganda device), but I feel y'all could have done a lot better coming up with an ideological justification for imperialism than wokeness, possibly the least appealing cause of all currently in circulation except for kicking puppies - not least because it smells very similar to stuff post-communist countries (as opposed to pre-communist ones) already tried and are currently trying to get as far away from as possible. Of course, it's possible and even likely that "wokeness" is the cold-war era work of our own intelligence agencies, currently dismantling the American empire by the all-conquering centrifugal force of pure cringe, the universal solvent of civilizations.

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On 1): Sure, but not having the hills and forests is still a pretty big help. Also, it seems to me like, historically (Vietnam, Sino-Japanese War, etc), the invading power actually had a much easier time controlling the cities than the countryside, so not sure how relevant urban guerillas actually are, especially in a context where something like 40% of the population somewhat welcomes the invader.

On 2): No, that completely misses the point. Insurgencies always rely on regular people for camouflage and various sorts of aid. If people dont care enough to have kids AND also remain largely indifferent / welcoming in the face of a Russian invasion, you can be sure whatever guerilla comes along will have a hard time building vital networks. This is the reason civilian casualties are so high in situations like Vietnam: the guerilla and regular people fuse into one. Absent this, its going to be very hard to sustain resistence, not to mention the very unfavourable shape of Ukraine's population pyramid (Vietnam and Afghanistan have large pools of young men, Ukraine does not). Your "motivated minority" can only go so far.

On 3): You are assuming that the resistence will be widespread and that it will be able to "defeat" Russia, which is, again, naive. The USA killed hundreds of thousands of vietcong in terrain that was several times unfriendlier (Vietnam is covered in hills and jungle) and in a war of no obvious importance, halfway across the globe. True, it did retreat, but it was after twenty years of involvement. Ukraine is next door, a huge deal, and whatever insurgency might rise up will be insignificant next to the vietcong.

On 4): Nobody knows what this framework outside NATO means, exactly, or how its a bad thing. (Is Germany about to form its own, significant, military alliance or something? Give me a break.) You assume that, rationally, the US should care a lot about the Baltics or Moldova, which is not at all obvious to me (how many hot wars is Estonia worth? I'd reckon zero.) You are right that Ukraine means a lot going forward for the "security" of American satellites on Russia's doorstep, but don't consider the possibility that the importance of said polities is very low in the first place.

I don't care about 5).

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"Ukraine might be below replacement, but you will absolutely find more than enough people to form a local Vietcong/Taliban in case the Russians actually invade."

Nope. Wrong. Completely incorrect. Russians and Ukrainians are basically the same people, and any resistance to Russia will be sent to the Russian equivalent of Guantanamo Bay within 2 weeks. Unlike the Iraqis (much less the Afghans), the Ukrainians are a civilized, industrialized people.

"possibly the least appealing cause of all currently in circulation except for kicking puppies"

Is it, though? Say what you will about the Floyd rallies, but they were not sparsely attended in the areas where America actually has thought control.

Also, Appalachian Hillbilly resistance would not succeed against the U.S. government. The Donbass rebels were losing badly against the pitifully trained and armed Ukrainian military in 2014 until Russia bailed them out. Same thing for Libya in 2011.

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Nothing quite like the conservative myth of the Revolution Just Around the Corner.

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The only major event that got overlooked here is the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. That was the earliest I can remember of the PR onslaught about Russia's anti-LGBT policies. Since the Olympic viewership is so overwhelmingly Acela corridor and Pelaton class, that may have been another major dose they got that primed them for Russiagate. I remember a number of AWFLs who were theatrically outraged after learning about Russia's policies as if they were throwing gay men off roofs. As Richard so clearly and correctly points out, they couldn't have cared less or were psychologically incapable of criticizing the countries where that was actually happening. I often wonder if I'm too much of a simpleton for chalking up so much of the synthetic left's worldview to White Man Bad™. The more I observe though, the more that explains it. One thing I've come to realize is that people my age (35) are getting up there and are stuck in 2006 the same way that any GOP fossil is stuck in 1978. So many of my friends honestly think that corporate boardrooms and places of serious influence are stuffed with Jesus-land era evangelicals. I don't have a lot of optimism that they are capable of even considering shifting their paradigm and narratives like Russiagate will unfortunately continue to feed that impulse.

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On the topic of the 2014 Olympics, the biggest talking point I recall was the South Korean Kim Yuna being overlooked for the gold in some figure skating event in favor of a Russian athlete. I saw the event and even with my untrained eye couldn't believe the verdict of the judges. Of course, everybody suspected Putin's hand in this. (I have no idea if this is connected to the increasing liberal American hatred of Putin and Russia though.)

More recently, there was a lot of grandstanding about the LGBT stuff during last year's Euro finals. What happens in such sports events does have an impact on peoples' psyches, I think.

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Jan 26, 2022·edited Jan 26, 2022

"“white conservative Christians bad” is fundamental to their worldview"

This is a great point and also explains elite hysteria at immigration restriction in the West while completely ignoring it in developed East Asian countries. Even as someone generally pro-immigration I've found the double standard bewildering.

Someone pointed out a few years ago that when elites were freaking out about Le Pen potentially being elected, South Korea was having an election where the candidates were all - across the board - exponentially more restrictive on immigration. But the latter got 0 attention from the media/journalist class. In fact, Moon was portrayed as a liberal/progressive hero.

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To be fair, there are those of us who hold a consistent view on why Le Pen's anti-immigrant sentiment was worse than Moon's. That is, that a country without significant numbers of immigrants has few serious consequences for demonizing them. While immigration would likely be good for South Korea, especially if it would raise their pitiful birth rate (the result of a culture war between extreme feminists and genuine misogynists that make the American culture war look benign), I have little issue with their decision to avoid this change. For countries with no history of immigration, accepting immigrants is very difficult.

In contrast, France has already taken on millions of immigrants. Expelling them or relegating them to second class citizenship would be unjust. Le Pen and other immigration restrictionists also tend to care less about actually restricting immigration and more about riling up votes through xenophobic language. One need only look at Hungary, where Viktor Orban has been successful in winning victories due to anti-immigrant language despite the fact that nobody actually wants to live in Hungary, and refugees were merely traipsing through the country on the way to well, France.

In short, restrictionism is fine. However, if you already have to live with a group of people, I will think worse of politicians who cynically whip up anger for votes.

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If you already have significant numbers of immigrants in your country hard-line restrictionism becomes all the more important. You cant handle any more—lest your country's demographics be irreparably altered, and your society become third world.

And in such a situation the hard-line rhetoric is necessary, as the immigrants will become interest groups advocating for more immigration—let my brother, uncle, sister, and cousin in!—without paying heed to the national interest

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I mean, I completely disagree in terms of policy, but that's not inconsistent with my point. My issue is with the fact that restrictionism, which by itself is a reasonable thing to want (even if your point about it causing a country to become "third world" is incorrect according to all empirical economics), typically goes hand-in-hand with outright racism.

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Jan 26, 2022·edited Jan 26, 2022

Not to go down this rabbit hole too much, but I hardly think its racism to be a westerner opposed to mass immigration at the same time that a culture is being pushed at the highest levels where whites are demonized, and the newcomers will likely latch onto that culture incentive. (there are also the problems of mass immigration and affirmative action).

So it requires more of an instinct for self-protection and preservation than racism. But I could see it going hand-in-hand if the rhetoric becomes pervasive. But I really don't care.

"causing a country to become "third world" is incorrect according to all empirical economics."

Im sure empirical economics is a more trustworthy field that an all of the other garbage currently coming out of the academy.

But im not sure the field has investigated a situation we might see this century, where we get massive amounts of immigration from a certain continent with a population set to quintuple. In that situation no clever academic is going to convince me that the third world is not on the horizon

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Like I said, I don't have an issue with the idea that you don't want to let newcomers in. Immigration restrictionism is, on its own, a perfectly justifiable concept. My point regarding economics is merely that you have to make the argument for restricting immigration from a purely cultural argument, since economics appears to show a mild positive benefit from immigration (which becomes a strong positive if the alternative is a declining population).

My issue in practice is that many people who support restricting immigration do so by appealing to overt racism. I take issue with this. It is one thing to say, "we support the preservation of our culture, and do not think we can assimilate immigrants at current (or proposed) rates." (Left-wingers are often blatantly hypocritical in demanding that "indigenous" or "minority" cultures be respected while also asking homogenous nations to change their culture to accommodate newcomers.) However, it's quite another to attack a significant fraction of your country's population and say "X group of people are undesirable because they are bad people for Y reason."

In short, the argument that the system cannot handle it is reasonable, while the argument that some group of existing immigrants is somehow deficient is not very defensible. It's the difference between "Mexican culture is different and difficult to assimilate into American culture" and "Mexicans are lazy people who tend to be criminal and we don't want them in our country."

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About Orbans anti-immigrant stance, it should be noted that EU law says that immigrants should stay in the country where they enter, where they cross EU borsers. The entry country has obligation to processs them, feed, grant asylum etc. And if these immigrants reach other EU countries, these other countries have the right to send them back to entry country. Big part of European migration crisis was concentreted to Italy and Greece, they were entry countries. Hungray is another border country and when Greece and Italy started to shut down their borders, Hungray became new entry point. It does not matter that they wanted to use Hunagry only as transit, by EU law they should have stayed in Hungary and if, for instance, they reached France, France had right to send them back to Hungary. So, it is a bit dishonest to say that it was not Hungrays problem, because immigrants wanted just pass.

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The Hungary part actually supports my argument. Various Eastern European countries are consistently criticized for not being open to immigration. If it was just about "consequences for demonizing" existing ethnic migrants then that wouldn't make any sense, since there are virtually no ethnic migrants in Eastern Europe (same levels as East Asia).

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Correct. Hungary should be treated as a middle case between South Korea and France. The outright racism of Orban's campaign is distasteful, but harmed few people.

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Right - but if Western liberal outrage at Le Pen was a 10, it is maybe a 7 or 8 at populist Eastern European countries and a 1 or a 2 at South Korea (maybe less...I get 0 relevant hits when I google "Moon Jae-in immigration")

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I think part of that is just that cultural similarity breeds connection. Hanania was talking about how little people understand Ukraine, but you could just as easily make the same point about Russia, or South Korea, or Japan.

Japan is still basically a pseudo-fascist (Japanese fascism was never much like European fascism, but whatever you call their WWII ideology, it's still alive today) country that has a number of policies that many on the Western left would find reprehensible. For example, their conviction rate is above 99%, and news innocent convictions appears to be intentionally suppressed. However, when described by many of my more left-wing friends, Japan is listed among the "socialist" nations of Northern Europe, despite having been a right-wing one party state since WWII.

So in addition to the fact that people seem to be accepting of immigration restriction in countries that are already homogenous, especially if the campaign is not overtly racist (which, if there are no immigrants in the country yet, is typical), people are also most offended by different political views in countries that they have a deep cultural knowledge of and connection to.

After the Anglosphere, France is probably the country most Americans know best. So, we really shouldn't be surprised that Le Pen offends left America more than Orban, or that Orban is more offensive than either Moon Jae-in or Park Geun-hye.

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Your argument that Japan is a pseudo-fascist country lacks any evidential backing. The Japanese people have enjoyed, generally speaking, a fair, equal, democratic, wealthy, free and safe/peaceful environment. The near 100% conviction rate contributes to the very low crime rate, and the Japanese police are generally known to act responsibly and fairly. That some Japanese political leaders, for example ex-Prime Minister Abe who was in office for almost nine years, have been harshly criticized in public spaces bears evidence to the freedom of expression that the Japanese people enjoy. Some people call Japan a socialist nation not without reason. According to Forbes, Japan has only 49 billionaires, which is not only far less than US or China but less than Germany, UK, or Italy whose economies are smaller than Japan's. While no society is perfect, I don’t buy an argument that Japan is pseudo-fascist and right-wing.

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Jan 26, 2022·edited Jan 26, 2022

In practice you can't get a single French leader elected who is willing and capable of stopping the flow let alone reversing it regardless of what percent of the frenchmen left standing think it's a good idea.

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This is a very useful article, both because of the content, and because it really distills both what I really like and really dislike about Richard's writing.

On the one hand, the connection between LGBT issues and elite views of Russia is very real, and well stated. The partisan shift in the past ten years from Romney's debate-stage comment is really shocking if you take a step back and think about it. This part of the piece is well documented and really hard to argue with. Even if I didn't have similar suspicions before, I think I would find it convincing.

On the other, parts of this post are underdeveloped and a little too cute. The part about how "no country or region with a total fertility rate below replacement has fought a serious insurgency" jumped out at me. Leaving aside the question of how "serious" is serious, it ignores just how historically weird and recent it is to have sub-replacement fertility rates at all, and how strongly this correlates with modern economic development - and therefore fewer wars in general. Let's ignore insurgencies for a moment: how many countries with a sub-replacement fertility rate have been actually invaded by another country, ever? Even most industrialized Western countries had TFR's slightly above replacement rates until after WW2. I honestly don't know off the top of my head how many invasions we're talking about, but I suspect the answer is in the single digits. You really need to know that in order to figure out a reasonable base rate for serious insurgencies in invaded countries with sub-replacement level fertility rates.

So while Richard might be right, this might very well be a spurious correlation. And that's exactly the sort of observation that I find so frustrating in Richard's writing: it's an interesting thought that a lot of mainstream writers either wouldn't think of or wouldn't write, it's facially plausible once you think of it, but....he hasn't actually done the work to show that it's true.

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Yeah, I mean, in addition to the small sample size (most countries with low fertilities haven't experienced occupations while they had low fertilities), there's also the fact that there's nothing per se incompatible about wanting a small family while at the same time also being willing to die for one's country. It's possible that on average people who are willing to die for one's country have more children than average, but I suspect that there would still be plenty of people with few or even no children who would still be willing to die for one's country.

Think of it this way: If China by some supernatural miracle managed to occupy the US, would Americans, especially those with guns, be willing to conduct an insurgency against China even though the US has a low fertility rate? Frankly, I suspect that they would. Even many US families who have guns but also have few or even no children.

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I agree with this: the claim that "societies below replacement fertilities aren't going to have insurgencies" remains to be proven. It's quite recent, as you say (within the context of recorded history, anyway) for societies to have sub replacement fertility, and it tends to be middle income or higher countries which do, so you wouldn't necessarily expect a lot of historical examples of insurgencies in such countries.

That said, some of the northeastern Indian states currently have sub replacement fertility and also have ongoing insurgencies (although to be fair their TFR is around 1.7 to 1.8, much higher than Ukraine).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_and_union_territories_of_India_by_fertility_rate

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Thanks! That's a good counter example, but does go to the trouble of properly defining the parameters here. Are we concerned with any sort of insurgency against the controlling central government, in which case northeastern Indian states are a good counterexample? Or are we only concerned with cases similar to what may happen in Ukraine, where a *foreign state* has occupied the heavily populated territory of another foreign state, which has below replacement fertility?

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For what it's worth, the Donbass had an insurgency against Ukraine starting from 2014 even though the Donbass had a low fertility. But of course the viability of this insurgency was only possible due to continued Russian aid and even Russian military support.

Still, I suspect that Ukrainians right now hate Russia more than Donbassers in 2014 hated Ukraine. You gotta keep in mind that it required a fresh influx of Russian troops and money to really get the Donbass insurgency going, even if a lot of the participants in it were locals.

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Why Did Russia Give Away Crimea Sixty Years Ago?

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/why-did-russia-give-away-crimea-sixty-years-ago

US "color revolution" coup in Ukraine is a crime against and tragedy for both beautiful Ukrainian and Russian people who share so much history.

Crimea was part of Russia from 1783, when the Tsarist Empire annexed it a decade after defeating Ottoman forces in the Battle of Kozludzha, until 1954, when the Soviet government transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federation of Socialist Republics (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkrSSR). The transfer was announced in the Soviet press in late February 1954, eight days after the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution authorizing the move on 19 February. The text of the resolution and some anodyne excerpts from the proceedings of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet meeting on 19 February were published along with the very brief announcement.[1] Nothing else about the transfer was disclosed at the time, and no further information was made available during the remainder of the Soviet era.

Not until 1992, just after the Soviet Union was dissolved, did additional material about this episode emerge. A historical-archival journal, Istoricheskii arkhiv (Historical Archive), which had been published in the USSR from 1955 until 1962, began appearing again in 1992 with transcriptions of declassified documents from the former Soviet archive.

That the transfer was justified solely by Crimea’s cultural and economic affinities with Ukraine is -- far-fetched. In the 1950s, the population of Crimea — approximately 1.1 million — was roughly 75 percent ethnic Russian and 25 percent Ukrainian. A sizable population of Tatars had lived in Crimea for centuries until May 1944, when they were deported en masse by the Stalinist regime to barren sites in Central Asia, where they were compelled to live for more than four decades and were prohibited from returning to their homeland. Stalin also forcibly deported smaller populations of Armenians, Bulgarians, and Greeks from Crimea, completing the ethnic cleansing of the peninsula. Hence, in 1954, Crimea was more “Russian” than it had been for centuries.

Crimea had originally been an “autonomous republic” (avtonomnaya respublika) in the RSFSR, but its status was changed to that of an “oblast’” (province) in the RSFSR in 1945, ostensibly because the forced removal of the Crimean Tatars had eliminated the need for autonomy. After the Crimean oblast was transferred to the UkSSR in 1954, it retained the status of an oblast’ within Soviet Ukraine for 37 years. In early 1991, after a referendum was held in the UkrSSR and a resolution was adopted a month later by the UkrSSR parliament, the status of Crimea was upgraded to that of an “autonomous republic.” Crimea retained that designation within Ukraine after the Soviet Union broke apart.

A tragic irony of the Crimean transfer is that an action of sixty years ago, taken by Moscow to strengthen its control over Ukraine, has come back to haunt Ukraine today.

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Key players in the Russia-gate hoax and impeachment “entertainments” are now hyperventilating about “all but certain major war in Europe a la WW2” – ghouls Adam Schiff, colonel Alexander Windman (an Ukrainian) and Fiona Hill (a Cold War warrior on National Security Council). Same lying bastards who led the scam of the century concocted by the SAME lying team -- Obama-Biden-Hillary-Pelosi-Schumer-Schiff and the rest of DNC-CIA/FBI cabal.

Adam Schiff has been, for years, a leading recipient of huge “donations” by arm industry – his main source of funds. Remember when Raytheon in 2013 put on a Beyonce concert to promote Adam Schiff? This despicable -- that human excrement and serial liar is among leading Congress war-mongers and recipient of arm industry donations.

http://politicalpartytime.org/party/36073/

Schiff is now driving government’s domestic terrorism legislation !! In his free time this loathsome grifter wants to write a novel – of all things about Holocaust.

The entire Russia-gate lying team is back in FULL power -- we are now paying the price for not fully unmasking the brazen scam of the century. Of course, Trump and GOP lunatics were and remain VERY bad, however – however, DNC lying and warmongering team is INFINITELY more dangerous. They will likely try to prevent 2022 elections - as "illegal" - in order to stay in power.

Also remember – Biden was the governor of Ukraine under Obama – selecting and removing heads of industry and Ukraine’s puppet government after successful US coup there. The immense corruption of Biden family still needs to be investigated – Hunter’s Burisma was used to ‘wash” their dirty money. Thanks heavens that recent “colored revolution” coups in Belarus and Kazakhstan were not successful.

WHO will be the first current or former Democrat Congresswoman/man or Senator to publicly acknowledge and confirm the brazen scam of the century – DNC’s + CIA/FBI security complex (St. Obama/Biden/Hillary/Pelosi/Schumer, Jammie Raskin, etc. + Brennan, Clapper, Hayden, etc.) Russia-gate hoax and subsequent conspiracies, including 1/6 “armed insurrection”?

War-monger vampires must be stopped. Military-industrial complex must be defunded – US main “products” and exports are now weapons, coups and immense and all-encompassing corruption. China is far more capitalist than the US, Russia has not been Communist for 30+ years, while the US is a corporate socialism (more polite term for fascism)

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Jan 26, 2022·edited Jan 27, 2022

This article is way off, way off the reality of the Eastern Europe.

Mr. Hanania can find Ukraine on a map, I presume, but that is about everything he knows about this land and its people.

It is very disappointing to see people pontificating on matters related to Eastern Europe when they do not know much about that part of the World.

Mr. Hanania is not alone in his predicament, generally reliable political commentator Tucker Carlson of Fox News also does not have a clue about what is going on there.

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Be more specific about how exactly he’s way off.

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Jan 27, 2022·edited Jan 27, 2022

A - He does not know the relevant history of Ukraine and Russia.

B - He does not understand that doing nothing about the current problem of Ukraine will have big consequences. Those consequences will be painfully expensive.

Do so many political commentators really think that a wolf can satisfy his recurring hunger by one meal ? If Putin is not stopped in Ukraine then his next meal will be Belarus, and after that the little Baltic republics will be on the menu. Russia dearly misses its former large naval and submarine base of Riga, in Latvia.

After the Ukraine fiasco the US will have to move tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weapons to the eastern border of NATO. New bases will have to be built.

The risk of a big war in near future will be much greater if Putin is not frightened off now. There is no need to engage in armed conflict to achieve this - a threat of heavy substantial economic and diplomatic sanctions plus a cultural boycott would be enough.

Real sanctions enforced in unity by the so called democracies, and not make believe ones that are often used.

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More discredited domino theory. That’s it?

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Jan 27, 2022·edited Jan 27, 2022

You do not seem to know that Putin has been pressuring Lukashenko to sign a treaty between Belarus and Russia to form a union. Belarus is thus also a domino. Maybe you should find better sources of information than you have now.

And this, "discredited" theory of domino has not been discredited.

After the Jew engineered American surrender in South Vietnam that country then became a prey to communist North Vietnam, and eventually disappeared from the map. Its neighbor Cambodia then, inexplicably for people like you, became also a communist state.

Before communist coup d'etat in Cambodia Laos also fell to the communists. The communist North Vietnamese were instrumental in wrecking that country. So there were three dominoes that fell - what is then your excuse for them existing and falling ?

Not removing the North Vietnamese threat quickly and decisively cost millions of lives of victims of communist dictatorships. The US should have blockaded the North Vietnamese ports and bombed all electricity generating plants in that country and the oil refinery and gasoline depots. Without electricity and gasoline the North Vietnamese communist regime would have simply dropped dead..

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I’m not here to argue that the US couldn’t have beaten North Vietnam. But the original domino theory held that the conversion of South Vietnam would have led to the collapse of friendly capitalist governments in the region, namely Thailand and Indonesia, not backwaters like Laos and Cambodia. This never occurred.

Moreover, domino theory obviously makes no historical sense when applied outside totalitarian governments (even during its heyday it was never applied outside communism itself). Russia is not a communist or totalitarian state. Ukrainian membership in the USA’s military alliance materially threatens Russian security in the same way as if Mexico were to join with China.

Without considering the history, leadership and goals of a country the mere acquisition of nearby territory cannot predict future actions. Russia does not give a shit about Romania. In fact, in many cases expansion actively weakens the state in question as it acquires territory that is difficult to keep.

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"Ukrainian membership in the USA’s military alliance materially threatens Russian security in the same way as if Mexico were to join with China."

And if the US were still engaged in regime change wars in the Americas, it wouldn't be irrational for Mexico's leadership to seek a defensive alliance with China--or with Russia, for that matter. Just don't put nuclear missiles or a lot of Chinese/Russian troops in Mexico!

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Aot of vague allegations, blanket statements and assumption of facts not in evidence, rambling over several paragraphs.

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This is clearly a ridiculously bad take by a Ukrainian antisemitic neocon (a typical species in that country).

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LOL! “antisemitic neocon” is an oxymoron.

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Not in Ukraine.

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Let the Ukrainians and those in the area fight it out. Ukraine is not worth a drop of my country’s (U.S.) blood.

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Jan 27, 2022·edited Jan 27, 2022

Nobody is asking you, or other Americans, to fight and die for Ukraine.

All the Ukrainians want is you stop supporting the Russians and stop enabling Russian criminality.

It is very simple but you do not seem to comprehend even this simplicity.

Why don't you treat Russia the same you treat Iran ?

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Russia is a law abiding Nation that adhere always to the laws of the international community. It is the United States and those that OWN the west that are the criminals.

The United States government is a criminal enterprise. For 7 years, the United States and Israel armed, trained, and even shared intelligence with the most VIOLENT terrorist organizations in the world. This was done in a attempt to overthrow the democratically elected President Assad in Syria. These terrorist organizations included Al-nusra, ISIS/ISIL, Al queda, and many more. This was done under the supervision of War criminal Hillary Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama. And continued under Israeli servant Donald Trump. It was only through the intervention of Russia, Iran, and the Hezbollah militia that these U.S. and Israeli armed and trained terrorist were hunted down and killed.

Israeli servant Donald Trump then MURDERED General Qasem Soleimani in a act of terror. The United States was not in a state of war with Iran. Yet the USA decided UNILATERALLY TO KILL a citizen and a General of that nation. This of course was a direct violation of international law. For this President Trump should be put on trial at the international court for murder.

NATO and the USA decided that Khadafi should die. And did the same. They aided the rebels in Libya and even as I type these words the Nation of Libya has no fully functioning government while African slaves are being bought and sold in open air markets.

The USA bombed Serbia for 90 days while the Serbian people were helpless and defenseless against this systematic U.S. terror campaign in 1999. Serbian churches that were more than 5 centuries old were destroyed, and Kosovo (the land of the Serbs) was given to foreign peoples under the watchful eye of the USA and NATO. Of course this was done by War criminal and Jeffrey Epstein confidant Bill Clinton.

The USA lied about Iraq having weapons of Mass destruction. And the war criminal and cocaine addict George Bush KNEW HE WAS LYING. Yet the spineless Mulatto Colin Powell went to the UN and used fake evidence to give the USA a pretense to destroy that nation. Many millions were killed, and maybe TENS OF MILLIONS were displaced as a result of this U.S. aggression.

I judge a nation in the same way in which I judge a man. The United States is a lawless nation that will DESTROY any people or nation who they see as a obstacle to their goals. We should have no illusion as to the criminals with whom Russia is trying to negotiate with. Russia and China MUST remain allies and act in accordance in each others defense if they are to stand up to the Satanic ruling elite of the USA. Criminals only understand brute power and force. Any weakness a criminal perceives for you to have will encourage him to act accordingly. The United States is not as strong as so many have been led to believe. Their institutions are corrupt to the core, their people are unhealthy, the government is oppressive and tyrannical, and their population is very diverse and incoherent. So much so that they can no longer control even their own border.

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"Why don't you treat Russia the same you treat Iran ?"

Because Israel controls our foreign policy, and Ukraine isn't Israel.

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Your theory about fertility rates and insurgency is about to be tested even if Ukraine doesn't get invaded. Burma has been hovering right around replacement rate fertility for awhile and is about to fall below 2.1 in 2022, yet has a large ongoing insurgency. https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/MMR/myanmar/fertility-rate

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A more accurate rebuttal would be to examine the fertility rate of Burmese minority groups, which is the actual source of insurgency. Ethnic Burmese activists have not been shown to fight and die in any large and systematic way.

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Sorry to say I can't read anything you write seriously after this piece. Being wrong on the internet masterclass material.

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It's amazing. All those journalists Putin killed and not a peep just a few years later. And PUNDITS, who you think would care, nada. I'm gay as a goose, but Putin's killing of journalists and opposition politicians has always bothered me more than his anti-gay stuff.

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Surprised this hasn't been deleted yet. How can one person be so wrong?

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Iraq, famous for its verdant forests...

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So, how about Finland (and Sweden) joining NATO? Practically, they're already half-way in. I'm just dying to wait for ignorant takes from IR pundits who know next to nothing about these countries.

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Worth carefully reading the translation on the subject -- outstanding Brazilian politician

Inequality versus Woke BS

https://youtu.be/21i4l9T62HY

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Excellent essay

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