Saturday, August 16, 2008

Through the Looking-glass

Putin has become a sort of new philosopher. An evil one, using a false front to stoke up private hackers days before the conflict started, recruiting irregular soldiers, and Europe's dimbulberati are eating it up, as readily noted in these comments, where the usual culprits are disembodied and unexplained citations of America and "zionists". Radio Liberty calls the attempts by any part of the Western Alliance to deal with this, a matter of having to operate on the terms of Putin's "parallel universe".
Nearly all of the rhetoric used by Moscow to justify its actions in the war with Georgia is derived from Western historical thinking and practice -- only put "through the looking-glass," to borrow a phrase from Lewis Carroll. An EU official stationed in Tbilisi throughout the conflict observed at one point that Putin appeared to be creating a "parallel universe, a mockery of the West" when he spoke of the Russian mission to end the "genocide" in South Ossetia and administer international justice on the "perpetrators" in Tbilisi.

But Putin appears to have a more serious objective than simply mocking the West. Not for the first time, he has usurped the pantheon of Western values and infused it with a very different theology. What emerges is a mirror image of the West, containing the same historical narrative with its high and low points, but strangely distorted for most Western eyes.
As do what seem to be thousands of seemingly independant commentators from Russia leaving comments on blogs and message boards which a chilling uniformity of thought with virtually no straying from the Government-driven message. They may be compelled to engage in wild hyperboly about the dignity of the Russian nation, changing reasons and rationalizations wildly, but it's origin in in the near absolute tacit editorial control of the electronic media in Russia by the state, or by those dependant and closely tied to it.

That thee public's ignorance and lack of curiosity is being used so well reminds us of just what kind of government the world is dealing with - a neo-Soviet one.

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