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Reply to Mr. Mearsheimer

To article published in Foreign Affairs

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141769/john-j-mearsheimer/why-the-ukraine-crisis-is-the-wests-fault

I might not be reknown political scientist, but I have something to say too…….. (and of course,I am well trained in writing calm sounding walls of text…)

Dear Mr. Mearsheimer,

I read some of your work back in University, where I studied International Relations, and me and my classmates very much disagreed back then. I am from Czech Republic, yes, the former Eastern bloc, country of 10 milion… do you really think we shouldn’t have a choice which side to join and what international organizations to be members of, just because it would make Russia mad? Reason why we wanted so desperatelly be members of NATO, is because we wanted to feel safe after being soviet sattelite for four decade and occupied by USSR for two decades. I am aware some American representatives and academics weren’t sure about occupation troops moving out my country back in the 1990s, claiming that Russia might be mad and it could destibilized the region. Central Europe was not destabilized and I believe we are good allies and consumer of your goods. Economically, this was good for the USA.

USA considers 9-11 a great tragedy. It was one single attack in the post-war history. USA didn’t face long term occupation or insecurity what will be tomorrow. My country has been occupied for twenty years, many have died, there has been many political prisoners, we couldn’t travel, many people weren’t allowed to study, we faced shortages of daily items (even food) while my country has to forced to send goods to USSR for free… My parents were severly affected in their career choices, studies, they weren’t allowed to travel outside of the country….

NATO means security to us, that we will not have foreign tanks and soldiers in our country. EU provides us with economic development and gives us carreer and study opportunities that many in the USA take for granted…

That is why I stand for freedom of others to choose their way. Ukraine should decide what THEY want and what is best for them. If they wants to be members of NATO and EU, they should be free to do so and we should not prevent them, because we are afraid of Russia. This is the same logic as not defending person who is bullied, because the bully may get mad.

Much of the Eastern bloc is now thriving, we are doing much better than during the Cold war, even despite economic crisis (which is world wide problem anyways), because we had a choice to determine our way. We chose to join the Western Bloc. After all American ideals of freedom kept our dissidents, including Václav Havel (world known and acknowledge politician and first democratic president of Czech R.), going in the dark times.
Shouldn’t Ukraine have the same right? I grew up seeing the economy to devolop from empty shelves in stores to see thriving economy, where everybody with bit of smarts and starting capital has a shot. I guess over there in America, people take it for granted. Just like your huge shopping Malls with overflowing stores. These one of the many reasons why the Eastern countries want to join the Western Bloc. Ukraine didn’t gain much by being close “friend” to Russia in 1990s.

World politics is not a chess to be determined merely by strategy. Ideology plays an important role. It makes nations thrive. It makes lifes of their citizens worth it. Freedom is important concept for everybody, not just Americans. Does author realize, that if he published article criticizing Putin’s actions in Russia, he would be shot, poisoned, run over car in dark street, or relocated to Siberia. Easy to talk from Ivory Towers. Often one doesn’t realize it is people living down there too. Foreign countries aren’t pawns of fhe superpowers. Just because people were born in country that is not a superpower does not mean that they don’t have right to determine their own fate like people in the USA have.

USA determined their way back in 18th century, despite wishes of British monarchy or balance of power. American independence changes the world in many ways. They were brave enough to go against how things were done in the world back then. Others have the same right for freedom and pursuit of happiness.

We should condemn and stop Russia’s tyranical behavior and not try to make excuses for it. We don’t tolerate it in individual’s not matter how rich and powerful they are. Statesmen who were afraid of Hitler are also partly responsible for WWII. Putin doesn’t want balance of power. If it was up to him, he’d want to control the USA as well. USA cannot sleep soundly in world with Putin’s Russia. Putin is danger to the USA and to the world.

I vote for…

I vote for people
I vote for peace
I vote for freedom
to do as we please

I vote for love
I make a stance
I vote for freedom
and human independence

I vote for those
who want to thrive
I light a candle for those
that didn’t make it out alive

Don’t vote for parties
or even countries
cause these never last
I vote for the future
and for the spirit of the past

I vote for you
I vote for me
I vote for those that didn’t give up
for the survivors of history

I vote for courage
For those who understand
I vote for people
Those I defend

I vote for the brave
and yes, I take sides
I root for those who know
and want to make things right

All fucked up on the Eastern Front

Remarque will sure forgive me a play on his most famous book…

One thing I noticed is I can stand watching wars on-line as long as it’s “over-there”. Sure it distresses me and haunts my dreams. Gaza situation makes me sick and worried. Thinking of Libya gets me nervous and hopeless.

But when it comes to war on *my* continent, in *my* backyard, it sends me in full on panic mode. It makes me tense and nihilist. It’s nothing but doom and gloom. Makes me wanna burn “End of the history” book (and preferably throw it at object of significance). I cannot use cynical humor to comfort myself (although euromaidan playlist blasted on the top volume helps for a while. Then it triggers my paranoia that some of my neighbors will throw a stone into my window…).

So I follow the news, rejoice and feel slightly hopeful at town signs painted in yellow and blue (not cause I think nationalism is wonderful, but because it’s symbol of human spirit to me), watch news about “the plane” in disbelief and of other war crimes tweeted with pride of immature teens… and feel doom and gloom. It never gets better. The worst in us always prevails in the end.

World watches cautiously. Stuff like that happens in the “suburbs of Europe”. Maybe those in the west miss the cold war secretely. Maybe to them this war is a background noise, just like the trouble in Syria… maybe they just try not to think of what could this lead to. Who knows.

It’s a mess. And it’s too close to me geopolitically and too close to my heart. Almost hits home… I understand why heroes in Remarque novels drank so much Calvados and cheap rum. Because believing in human spirit doesn’t do the trick at times.

The politics of gay Europe

Politics may be an over the top term, when it comes to Eurovision…. but than again, maybe not. Politics always played a part of Eurovision and this year, despite the slogans and fluff about joining… it was very heated.

So there was a sing off between Russia and Ukraine. Too bad Ukrainian singer is actually supporter of fallen Yanukovich and thought man in hamster wheel is good stage prop. Had it been Ruslana or environmentally conscious Alyosha (who thought Pripyat is a good video prop), it would be even more satisfactory. And Ukraine mighta scored much higher. Even now lots of Ukraine votes were in fact fuck-you-Russia votes. Russian song was generic fluff as everything Russia sends to represent on Eurovision, because god forbid their song actually had some message, controversy or something. (Actually, to be honest, Yulia Savicheva was a good entry and so was Tartar Alsou. Speaking of Alsou… she has been Russia’s token Tartar announcing voting results), And Russia got booed a lot. Some people say they felt sorry for those sweet little blondes… but maybe this was the only way to show Russia how much Europe loves them (that and all the “are they gonna invade to rig the results” jokes on Eurovision webs over the internet). Media doesn’t let on lots of things in Russia…… but this was a clear message. Gay Europe hates you, Mr Putin. For hating gays, for the war… nil points for democracy.

(and yes, the song sounded like an annexation anthem. Annexation anthem for some shitty racist Disney movie…).

But you know, all this has nothing on winner of the contest…. Conchita Wurst a bearded lady with strong voice. Conchita, you know, is transgender. Or transvestite (but drag queens try to look as feminine as possible!). Intergender? Conchita (or Tom in civil life) explained that Wurst is not only a sausage intuendo, but it means “doesn’t matter” in slang, because her gender doesn’t matter. Interesting character. Of course her win is seen as proof of Europe’s decay in non-gay Europe parts (Russia and Belarus actually protested this singer before the contest). Apparently, she will doom us all. Forget the economic crisis or the war in Ukraine, forget neo-nazism and corrupt politicians. Bearded lady is coming out to get you… (this isn’t the first time Eurovision revelead some prejudice in some. We had non-white-enough Loreen and zomg-Muslims-from-hard-to-spell-country (Azerbaijan… to be honest, they have their problems…).

But before Russian commentators tell us about how decadent and godless and just overall horrible we are….let’s remind ourselves of their win (Dima Bilan) that deliberatelly pampared to the gay Europe. Sappy love ballad? CHeck. Sexy singer? Check…. maybe. Gays and little girls love him though. Baring chest? Check. Guy playing violin? Check. Figure skater on 2X2 portable ice ring…………. check (that part broke my gaydar… it hasn’t been right ever since). That entry was “gayer” than Dana International. Not quite as gay as Conchita…. but I don’t mind gayness coming from the heart. What I despite is pampering the gay population of a material gain. It’s wrong when Katy Perry does that (after using gay as insult in one of her songs). I could forgive it when it comes to TATU because they are Russian and it was almost brave to pull that act in Russia (and as much as they played on the sexy part, they managed to be controversial and it was not all about HEY-YOU-GAY-BUY-MY-RECORDS. That video when they kiss and cuddle while people watch them from behind barbed wire, so they look like animals on display, but in the end it turns the judgemental people are in cage and the girls walk away? That was great). So point being, Russian commentators have no right to say anything about European music taste… or our gaydom. Because it was the gays that voted your guy winner, back then.

 

In the end, I hope that Austria’s queer/intergender/trans/doesn’t really matter winner can stir a debate in Europe and bring on some tolerance and understanding. And if not… at least we have now some entertaimer like we never had before.

Yellow fields, skies of blue and burning barricades (dedicated to Ukraine)

 

Idealism is an ideology that supposes you believing in human goodness. No matter how many wars you’ve seen on Livestream, you need to believe that there are good people everywhere… they just want to be free and thrive.

I fell in love with yellow fields and skies of blue

The cities with their wide avenues and tragic histories

I fell in love with a nation

Whose perseverance could teach us thing or two

I fell in love with a nation that is known for its troubles

… but then again

I always been attracted to the troubled ones

 

The best of times

Never quite happened

Will they make it through the worst of times?

 

So TV tells me of revolutions and/or coups

Of the brave, the treasonous

About annexations, referendums, the separatists, the nationalists, the terrorists and the crimes

And it seems, everybody’s in the wrong

(but those are not the people I know…

That is not the country I know…)

They speak of strategic interests, treaties and unpretty histories

They fingerpoint the blame…

None of this I ever wanted to see happen

Especially to a place I love so

 

Idealism supposes people are inherently good. Everything can end up well, if they are given a chance.

 

I fell in love with troubled places

And they seem almost gone now

And I knew the history was always tragic

And I know that history is never at side of the people

I knew that all

… but I was hoping it might be different this time around

That they may get a pass, a chance

 

Idealism tells us a lot about how the world should be… but how to believe it in worst of times?

And if I ever get a chance

To go back again

It will be too different

If that times comes

Will it be still possible

To hope for the best of times?

(or at least for better days to come)

For us and especially for them

Won’t we all turn bitter?

 

This is my open letter

To the people

Let’s preserve one more time

So there is somebody to tell the tale

 

In my heart

I got a pain for a nation

In my head picturesque memories

And a tune about a barricade of burning tires… that didn’t let the wild dogs in…

Crime(a) and injustice

I admit I am politicore. Sometimes I just let my emotions take over my International relations degree. Sometimes I let historical injustices to skew my point of view.

But at least I admit this. Politics would never happen without emotions behind them. 90% of the wars would never be waged if it was up to rational decision (and this point was actually stressed in strategic studies and theories on war and peace. Better take away then ranges and codenames of ICBMs, I think).

So I am not rational about Crimea, I don’t even wanna be rational when it comes to superpower imperialism. So let me call Putin Voldemort (because they really are lookalikes). But even when I look at it rationally… annexation is not okay. 97% referendum results are usually fake… and this is very scary times and I never been grateful enough for the NATO membership that might save my country, New Europe… but who knows. It never paid to count on alliances. But there. I am being bitter over history again.

But emotionally… Crimea saved my life. Literally. I was at a low point when I went to Ukraine back then in 2012. It was not my first time in the country, but I ventured more into it. Teaching English near Kharkiv and fulfilling my political nerd dreams about going down to Yalta (despite being faded and carrying scars of time, Yalta is still fabulous) and visiting infamous Livadia, visiting and enjoying formerly forbidden Sevastopol (ditto Yalta) and going down the submarine silos of Balaclava… basking in the sunlight, enjoying the exchange rate, adoring the locals for their humility, their perseverance, their kindness (and their fashion style)… it all clicked right. It were all the good omens I needed to go on at the moment. Crimea mighta stole part of my soul, but so did other places. No words can express my gratitude to the peninsula.

So to see the lovely sunlit peninsula “ruined” (and ruined it will be at least in certain aspects… it will certainly be different and I am not sure if Russian rule can make a good difference anywhere). It makes me angry. Makes me sad. Makes me feel like something very dear to be was taken away from me.

I love Russian people, the everyday folks, but as Leonard Cohen said: I love the country, but i can’t stand the scene. I am afraid I might not get visa anyways. And as much as I want to be panslavist, because it feels as right stance, it seems so hard to do right now.

I know it’s not black and white. I know. I never said that about any situation. But this is just fucking sad. I am afraid post-cold war era is definitely over. Fukuyama was so very wrong. I am afraid this will be the same shit, all over. With Twitter and Facebook.

And as much as I love to pretend to be a strong slavic bitch, right now the history seems too much to handle.

There war not far from here….

warning: I am not trying to inform wholesomely on the Ukraine crisis. I am just reporting my thoughts about the whole thing at this moment.

 

I have been along with the rest of world nervously following the trouble in Ukraine. Spinning from what seemed to be business as usually in bitter aftermath of Orange revolution of protests against status quo, no matter what it was. It never been good. But at least you could more or less protest it. I been to Maidan personally few times… and seen few of these protests, back then innocent. But somehow it spun into situation resembling civil war, a coup, a power vacuum…. and an occupation of lovely Crimea.

Russia acting as typical bully, hoping to get away with it, threatening (the now denied ultimatum), to most absurd “it’s not our army” claims. Putin is certainly very nervous (and makes me wonder what it took for Russian revolutionary happenings to fizzle out the way they did). Putin tried to defend this occupation on humanitarian basis. Threatened threateningly. World threatens but rather carefully. After all, nobody is going to start WWIII… even over Crimea. After all Crimea these days doesn’t matter as much as it did back then. On the other side… I could see it as a good omen that somebody actually cares, talks, offers tangible help… and money.

It’s so absurd, so scary and unbeliavable that I cannot predict where this is gonna go. I pray each night for lovely penninsula and for things being alright. Not for the countries. But for the people. They deserve a break from the bad that history brings. Lovely harbour of Sevastopol deserves to be a site of beauty for once… rather than strategic point and a battlefield.

The paranoid part of me is for once glad my country is member of NATO… even if we “burn money on trying to appear that we matter” or are “trying to play with the big kids”. Paranoid me listens to planes flying over my place with bit of fear.  But rationally, I know WE will be okay. Not so sure about Ukraine.

Glitter and White Phosphorus

I wear glitter when I go out
I wear glitter as my shield
Glitter is the mask that hides
all the secrets I won’t yield

I put on pretty to hide what’s inside
I talk dark, cause it makes me feel brave
don’t own nothing, don’t own this night
just glitter mask and one soul to save

I always go out like it’s the last time
I make amends in case I shall not return
Love and peace, please remember me
among the stars I shall burn

What does today bring for us?
In glitter and white phoshorus…

ruins, debris or star dust
nobody will care for us

I got glitter in my blood
makes me eyes shine, like bright stars
Lipstick and kohl are my sole weapons
I wear glitter to hide my scars

Sometimes I call on other souls
when laying awake in the night
There must more of us out there
there must a way to make it right

And maybe there’s some hope for us
we’re glitter and white phosphorus

air pollution smells like star dust
but nobody would die for us

Beauty from times gone makes me hopeful
but the pretty streets, they do not speak
History is my place to go to
Without it, I would feel so weak

I wear glitter and talk cynical
It’s my iron curtain, my barbed wire
And if I act cold, it’s just how I protect myself
When I see the world on fire

We don’t know what is right for us
my eyes burn like white phosphorus

As the whole world crumbles to dust
Of glitter and white phosphorus

Aside

I sometimes cry, I sometimes pray
does that make me pitiful?
Maybe I should starve myself
would that make me beautiful?Maybe I should dress more trendy
and not think of the history
maybe I should be like others
maybe I should stop being me

Maybe I should change who I am
to fit in this city
wear shoes and life that don’t fit
would that make me pretty?

TV tells me to by myself
by becoming one of them
The news channels says, that we are doomed
we had a hope, but that was then

People tell my eyes look dreamy
… that’s cause they seen many foreign places
I wandered around way too much
I hope that I left some traces

I remind myself that I am lucky
I survived so far, so maybe it’s not that bad
I got my memories and maybe my future
so why on the earth I feel so sad?

Should I toss my morals
for your adoration?
Should I damn my soul
to save my nation?

As I lay awake in the night
what to do with this life?
I can as well die for something
no way I am getting out alive…………

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should

“You cannot look at wars from moral perspective”, I have been told, some time ago, when submitting my first draft of my diploma thesis. Might not been the greatest one, but it was straight from the heart. And brain.

Silly me trying to look at Kosovo and Libya this way. Maybe I should try to look at it scientifically, two rogues, one country, whoever allies NATO wins, that equals a mess squared. Maybe I can try to look at it as a realist (humans are evil and want power… though as somebody who visited Kosovo I cannot ever understand why all the genocidal wars… even though the landscape is nice, most of meaning of the land is in narratives and mythologies and it’s emotional. Sorry, Mr. Morgenthau). I could be a neo-realist and think we wage wars because of anarchistic structure…but how does this explain civil wars? I doubt that Libyans and Kosovars fought just because they could. I really do. I could try to look at it as marxist… but to be honest, the only way I find sufficient is post-modernism…. and it doesn’t tell us much.

Dehumanizing things that involve living breathing human beings does not make a good science. Admitting we know a little and we cannot predict how things will go… is not a weakness and does not make one unwise.

We sometimes talk of might making right and how awful things are done for greater good. Of course. I admit as much. Sometimes you need to do the right thing, in other cases, you need to do the wrong thing for the right reason. But when it comes to determining right and wrong… it depends. Just because landmines between North and South Korea are least awful of awful scenarios, does not mean it’s okay to plant landmines all around, just because you want that piece of territory them fuckers have. Just because allies carpet bombed Dressden and won WWII (and let’s be honest, one can argue even about strategic value of this act) doesn’t mean it is okay to do so. Just because…

Yes, I am moral relativist, but that does not mean I don’t have no morals. I don’t wanna be a “let me help you” destructive idiot, so I often admit that I know a little. I just wish other would do it too.

In politics or normal everyday life… sometimes you don’t know what is best for others. Sometimes you do bad things and it’s alright because it ended well, but that does not mean you can do bad things all time.

Thinking of humans as statistics does not make you enlightened and wise. Soviets were that way, progressive new humans. “there is enough humans in the world”…. But one human can mean a world to their friends, family and lovers. That one human killed in battle of how-the-hell-you-spell-its-name could have been the next big thing. WWI once seemed all just and right and war to end wars and we all know how that ended.

I wish we could do away with language of collateral damage, of thinking of world in terms of “awful things happen… oopps!”. Realism is just another perception of reality and it doesn’t mean you perceive the reality correctly. “Truth” is after all bound in time and space. Often it’s just collective delusion. A delusion accepted by majority. Something that next generations will learn about and ask their teachers “what the hell were the fools thinking?” And it will be hard to explain and grasp. Maybe when we are all old, we will have time to understand our thinking of younger days as well. Maybe we should think of “how would we explain this to our progressive grandchildren” when we make major political decisions. But maybe even that wouldn’t help. One gets caught in the moment and current paradigms. Accepting “we don’t know it all” and “there is not one way” could might save us a lot of mess. But it is something that is not a mainstream philosophy. You cannot run in election under “Others might be right, too”.

They say truth will set one free. But I think that accepting that truth is a very relative thing and that our “truth” is more of “what we know at this moment and how we perceive the said information” may be the true answer. Problem with post-modernism is that you cannot prove or push the paradigm, because if you do, you will disprove it. But maybe we could give it a shot, since all other ideologies seemed to have failed us so far, don’t you think?

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