New World Disorder
Putin Ends the Interregnum

Vladimir Putin’s increasingly reckless interventions in Ukraine should force the West to reevaluate everything it thought it knew about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the past two decades of Western policy on Russia.

Published on: August 28, 2014
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  • GenJones

    The “Russian elite” she’s talking about doesn’t exist. The entire Russian political psyche is based upon a thuggish rule by criminals. It is irrational and therefore cannot be explained by some Western theory. The Ukrainians themselves have never been so fooled however as they understand the ruthlessness of the Russian persona. It is no less than a combination of old Slavic and Mongol culture.

    • GS

      GenJones: it is perfectly rational. Through the whole of its history it could be summed up in a russian saying “ты начальник, а дерьмо, я начальник – ты дерьмо”, translated verbatim: “if you’re a boss then I am a POS, and if I am a boss then you are a POS”. Which means that such POSes better be never allowed to become bosses.

    • YOU SICK !

    • GS

      “This saying may explain the problem but it is not rational.”

      “Everything existing is rational” – G. W. H. Hegel. And inasmuch as that saying depicts the reality on their ground, it is as rational as it could ever be.
      I was born and grew up there, thus I speak from experience.

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  • Michael Dembinski

    There are two Russian elites – the ex-spooks whose main concern is power, and the oligarchs are other rich Russians whose main concern is money. Eventually, there will be an internal clash between the two interest groups; the latter can feel their wealth evaporating.

  • johnhaskell

    Stephen Cohen and Ron Paul, even taken together, do not constitute “a massive pro-Kremlin lobbying operation.”

    The second to last paragraph was good; at least you acknowledge that Putin’s current policy direction is self defeating not only in the long term but in the very short term. The “Eurasian Union” lies in ashes and Ukraine is becoming a real country – I never thought it could happen.

  • J Andris

    While it is easy to reject this article as yet another russophobic manifestation by its author,it would be wise to first confront its core argument,concerning the unraveling of the world order that she loathes and fears so much..Well,frankly that was caused by none other than the West itself and the US in particular,after its “unipolar moment” in the 90s was interpreted by liberal interventionists,neocons and other western elites,as a carte blanche to shape the world according to their vision..Norms like respect for national sovereignty where quickly bypassed by these post modern revolutionary zealots at the cost of thousands of lives..


  • Duperray

    This extravagantly exaggerated stance seems to perfectly fit the average US press articles’ content on this matter.

    Seen from Europe, the only area under potential “russian threat”, these look fun, as if the Big Cat is afraid of a small Mouse. Even Merkel (the most exposed) has no fear about. To add up more destructive game, NATO currently plays theater as said by one of your University Professor, despite mounting opposition from Germany, France, Italy and else about ABM bases. Matter to be clarified at Sept 6th NATO meeting.

    For me this kind of articles reveals the rage felt by some american (keen to see US controlling the world) deploring US Black Sea game chessmate. Fortunately not all americans want that.

    I might be wrong, the final US targets might be far more complex and hidden to mortal common.

    But reality is barking hard, ISIS and derivative becoming the real short term danger (China threat just appearing to become very seriousyears later).

    But to curb down Caliphate (the pending dream aof generations of muslims), US absolutely needs China & Russia political, geographical and military help, alike about Afghanistant to day. Therefore, after the so many negative press articles, the many humiliating governmental anti-russian declarations, HOW will US get necessary Russian support ???? HOW to reinstall respect and make Russia trusting US ???

    I am afraid the price quoted by Russia to US and Europe be extremely high,

    Part of it is already visible: After 40 years of mutual neglect, the huge gas deal with China is the first of many more massive agreements, the move from $ to yuan (Rimindi) can signal an end of 40 years monetary policy, the expected sales of russian gas to Japan and India, the expansion of food trade with other BRICS countries, and so on…, are all no-return changes.

    In view of such a no-effect policy, is it intelligent to carry over destruction of our own position and reputation? Whatever one hates Russia, it exists and will continue so. Like during Cold War, USSR was unavoidable and West finally succeeded to cool the early decades of hysteria down to almost cooperation with it.

    Will common sense take over?

  • What’s Amazing is even Kiev and OSCE came out and said – no Russian troops but NATO trying to justify their budget continues their outright lies. —

  • clever song about Ukraina -

  • BobSykes

    Russians still think that Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states are part of the Russian heartland. They probably think the same about eastern Poland, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The whole Tsarist empire still lives in their minds.

    The absorption of these states into the EU and NATO is seen as an existential threat. And that is the danger. Because Russia has more nuclear weapons than the US, France and UK combined, and it has a first use policy at least with respect to the tactical ones.

    The West’s Ruling Class believes that their economic and military power is so transcendently overwhelming that Russia must meekly submit to their demands and beg for scraps. They are seriously misreading Putin and the Russian’s. A war of “liberation” would be supported by the Russian people.

    Some accommodation of Russia’s interests and beliefs (fantasies?) is needed to avoid a pan-European war that would see some nuclear weapons usage. It is rumored that Merkel and Putin had agreed to: (1) US/EU/NATO acceptance of the Crimean annexation in return for guarantees of Ukrainian territorial integrity; (2) no NATO membership or affiliation for Ukraine, although some sort of relationship with the EU is possible; (3) protection for ethnic Russian minorities in Ukraine, especially from the neo-Nazi Right Sektor and Swoboda militias; this probably means federalism with devolution of powers to the eastern oblasts; (4) some pays off the Ukrainian debt to Russia.

    This is an entirely reasonable settlement. If it seems that Ukraine has been abandoned, one should consider the situation of Cuba.

  • Legion

    Sorry, but history has no final destination. All the blood spilled over liberal or otherwise ideologies and regimes will be as relevant in the future as all the blood spilled during 30 years fratricide war of Catholic vs Protestant with none ever achieving supremacy, none achieving universalism. History has only one ending: Human extinction.

  • Mariana Budjeryn

    Excellent piece. I would only argue that Putin has started an interregnum, rather than ended it. How this interregnum ends is as much dependent on the West – as Shevtsova argues – as on Putin.

  • Julie Leighton

    Further complicating the current confrontation between the West and Russia is the matter of Putin and Lavrov’s foreign policy record. Prior to the Ukrainian developments, the Kremlin team successfully brokered and mediated conflicts and tensions that its American and European counterparts, for a number of reasons, failed to accomplish. This elevated Russia in the eyes of the international community, giving it unprecedented clout, and making it a functioning member of the Big Power club.

    However, because the Putin-Lavrov skill set was so specific, successful, and integrally necessary to the Western powers, it seems that American and European leaders were cornered. They could not criticize Russia, because if they did, who would continue the business of maintaining world order? Who would deal with the difficult situations that because of crumbling values, growing isolationist tendencies, and increasing financial debt, the West was disinclined to deal with on its own?

    There seems to have been a tacit acceptance that Putin’s domestic record and his empire building overtures were secondary concerns. All that mattered was that he was an approved and weight carrying member of the Big Power Club.

    By giving this approval, and by not stepping up to the global diplomatic plate, Western powers opened a door that they could not easily close. Over the last year, the view seems to have shifted from, “Yes, Putin’s a bully, but he’s our bully”, to “Yes, Putin’s a bully, and we think he may be our bully”, to “Putin’s a bully, and we want nothing to do with him. He is not ours.”

    The West is now truly floundering. It evicted a strong member of the Club; is dealing with the repercussions of that member’s continued blatant warmongering; and coping with the implosion of the Middle East. And, because it had relied so heavily on the diplomatic prowess of the now absentee country, it does not have an established precedent of success to handle any of these challenges.

    Seen from this perspective, battleground Ukraine may be the conflict that determines 21st century power order. The West must pull itself together and rally strongly behind Poroshenko. Ambivalence and ambiguity, or any calls for a “Finlandization” type scheme, will only be seen as conceding. The West needs a new rallying point, and an opportunity for redefining itself. Ukraine is it.

  • Bankotsu

    The Ukrainian crisis was caused by the western instigated feb coup that toppled the elected President of Ukraine and installed an anti russian regime.

    It was not caused by Russia or Putin.

    Get your facts straight.

    “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault”

    • Arden Stone

      The West DID NOT INSTIGATE what began as a peaceful protest in Ukraine. It was begun by ordinary, brave Ukrainians who wanted to free themselves from a corrupt regime–mentored by Putin’s Russia–that was enriching itself and using the old Soviet tactics of fear, intimidation, and violence to keep control. These are the tactics Putin has used to take over Crimea and now all that he can of Ukraine, despite all his lies to the contrary. The Ukrainian protestors, however, were likely INSPIRED by the relative new knowledge of the West’s values of freedom and human rights and acted upon it. Their eyes were opened, and there was a refusal to go backwards to Soviet times when their rights were denied them, rather than forward to a new age. Putin and his cohorts should realize the old Soviet ways of control have ended. The “genie is out of the bottle” and you can’t put a cap on truth and enlightenment once it has been released.

  • Bankotsu

    “What a mess Putin has gotten us all into!”

    That is very shameless. Everyone knows that it was the west who caused the chaos in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Ukraine.

    Who are you trying to fool with your anti russian propaganda?

    The rest of the world has eyes to see. They are not blind.

    And oh mine! Russia is still a great country! They are still capable of directing historical trends like the USSR.

    They are indeed a true great power and state. Very few countries has the ability to influence historical trends like Russia. Great power will be a great power. This, the west cannot deny Russia.

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