6 comments on “Thinking About The Russians

  1. mustardnine says:


    I’ll say now that I greatly suspected (and of course, hoped) that he was, since about 1987.

    And this explains why the old guard Commies tried hard to overthrow him and re-assert their control in August 1991.

    And yes, the Russian Orthodox have as much right to be recognized as true Christians, as do British-American Protestants. Study their history.

  2. mustardnine says:

    12 Sep 2013

    MOSCOW — RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.

    Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

    The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.
    No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.

    The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.

    Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.

    Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.

    From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.

    No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.

    It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”

    But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.

    No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.

    The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.

    We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.

    A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.

    I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.

    If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.

    My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

    Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.

  3. drfuture2013 says:

    Have you seen that McCain is now going to do a similar column in Pravda? I think Putin has gotten into his head. It appears that time and society has passed the old guard thinking of the McCains of the world.

  4. mustardnine says:


    Here is a comment, from a blogpost. The commenter, who goes by the nom-de-web “mendeleyev,” writes:

    “Mark, it was a pleasure to read your article. As a former Evangelical Presbyterian turned Russian Orthodox Christian, I found much to agree with in your argument. I’ve been torn on who is the real Anti-Christ, the USA or the religion of Islam, and must say that America is undoubtedly an agent of Satan if not the representation of Satan herself.

    American Christians are the frog that has been so slowly but thoroughly boiled to the point that they still find some value in a nation that unfortunately belongs on the garbage heap of history. American Christianity is largely cultural and waiting to be burned life chaff at the end of time. Many Americans, not realizing the call of Saint Paul about true citizenship, “believe in” and have more faith in America as the focus of their ideals than they do with Biblical Christianity.

    Having lived as an American journalist in Russia for many years now I have watched with interest the changes in the Eastern world. Youth wearing pro-life t-shirts can be seen walking in the cities and there are lines at some churches on Sunday mornings. When is the last time you saw American Christians lined up outside an old, non-air conditioned/non-heated house of worship, waiting for their turn to go in and stand (no pews in Eastern Churches) to worship with others? When was the last time an American pastor had to instruct his ushers to quietly circulate among standing parishioners to ask them to leave after 30-40 minutes so that those waiting in the elements outside could have a chance to come in?

    I travel with President Putin on rotation as a member of the press pool. I traveled almost full time with former president and now Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Mr. Putin is a religious man in private and I am not the one to judge the sincerity of his faith. Mr. Medvedev and his wife are more outspoken about their faith and a credible witness to their values. Their regular attendance and participation in the life of the church is a positive influence for others and when appropriate I’ve reported on that in my daily news blog, the Mendeleyev Journal.

    This year in Russia we are celebrating 1025 years since Christianity came to be the dominate faith in Russia. The Jewish faith along with Islam and Hinduism are protected on the same level of Orthodox Christianity. Across the Eastern world most Christians here see Russia as “the third Rome” with the responsibility to hold American successes, and often American stupidity, in check as the protector of Orthodox people everywhere. In hindsight, Russia should have done more, and even to the point of threatening war, to prevent the slaughter of innocent Christians done in Serbia at the behest of the Clinton administration’s “Kosovo war.”

    The frequent violence in Macedonia is a direct result of America’s siding with Islamic forces from Kosovo and Albania. Today those radical Islamic fighters, armed and equipped by the USA, often target Macedonian Christians for murder, driving them from their homes and burning Christian churches–just as they did in Serbia under the cover of NATO and former president Clinton.

    I travel and cover most of Eastern Europe and this month have carried out assignments in Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia and Lebanon. The American policy in this part of Africa has served to murder and displace Christian minorities who have been protected by the governments of the Muslim nations of which these Christians live. We American Christians, by virtue of our “representative” government, have the blood of innocent martyrs on our hands.

    In closing, I should humbly point out that there is no “the” in Ukraine. That name means “borderland” and might have been more understandable in the years of Soviet domination but Ukraine, is just constitutionally that, one word: Ukraine.

    I have yet to find a perfect country in the East. Not Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Armenia, Georgia, Greece, Turkey, nor China can claim perfection. But what these lands do hold are Christians who have been through the fire and have experienced what true Christianity feels like when tested and persecuted. That is coming to America soon and I don’t think that she’ll do so well. We’ll find that many were CINO, Christians in Name Only, by the time the persecution starts to roll. But then again, that is common in any society–God isn’t stupid as he uses the refining fires for a reason.


    The comment can be found under a post by “Mark Horne,” linked here:


    Thanks to Ben Carmack for making me aware of this post. Ben, I hope you will add your thoughts here, at length.

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