...and the knee-jerk Russophobia...
The Czech media informed us about the article
Vaclav Klaus, Libertarian Hero, Has His Wings Clipped by Cato Institute (The Daily Beast)by James Kirchick, a Berlin reporter of the Haaretz and a few other left-wing news outlets. The text is dedicated to the divorce between Václav Klaus and the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank. Václav Klaus became a Distinguished Senior Fellow in March 2013 and he was silently "fired" sometime in September 2014, apparently mainly because CATO joined the new wave of the mindless Russophobia that is crippling almost the whole mainstream foreign policy discourse in the U.S. these days – while Klaus knows what he is talking about in this context, too.
In February 2007, after I translated an interview with Klaus about global warming that became the main story of the day at the Drudge Report and was mentioned by Fox News and other sources, our then president invited me to Washington D.C. A group including me, Klaus, and several prominent U.S. climate skeptics had a lunch together. It was actually my first – and (so far?) only – visit to the U.S. capital. I liked it and saw lots of the sightseeings, too.
One of the buildings I visited – because of a talk by Klaus – was the CATO Institute at 1000 Massachusetts Avenue. This is a nice address to remember. You know, in Cambridge and Greater Boston, I would both live and work meters from another Massachusetts Avenue as well so I was distracted by the idea that it's actually the same Mass Ave ;-) – a grand hypothesis that hasn't been "safely" falsified for me yet but feel free to do it LOL.
Klaus used to frequently speak at the CATO Institute but this won't be repeated for quite some time, if ever. During the recent year, I have watched (at klaus.cz) some polemics between the former Czech president and Andrei Illarionov, a Russian economist who has been an aide to Putin before they parted their ways and a lovelorn Illarionov became one of the top haters of contemporary Russia.
Incidentally, Illarionov's name has appeared in TRF blog posts in 2004, 2005, and 2008, due to this man's global warming skepticism (I am not sure whether he turned his coat on this issue, too).
Illarionov's claims about Ukraine were nothing else than an average man's mixture of all the nonsense, unbacked emotions, and brutal oversimplifications that so many people in the West absorb from the mass media these days. I guess that Illarionov must know how lame his comments are – but he is probably making a nice income by selling these things. Klaus – and his aides – have argued against those attitudes using arguments that are similar to some opinions of Klaus' that have been previously discussed on this blog. See e.g. Why does Illarionov repeat anti-Klaus lies? from June 2014 if you want to get a flavor of these tense exchanges.
Andrei Illarionov almost certainly had a much greater influence on the CATO Institute than Klaus did. And through his spokesman, Klaus says that he has never had any conflict, not even a tiny one, with the CATO Institute – except for his confrontation with Mr Illarionov. So he blames Illarionov and no one else for his and CATO's divorce.
I have no reason to doubt that Klaus is describing his previous relationships accurately. Everything I know about this particular story is consistent with the idea that the deteriorated relationships were due to Mr Illarionov. On the other hand, my broader experience with the political life in the U.S. suggests that many people inside CATO were probably implicitly supporting the proposals by Mr Illarionov.
You know, while no one in the U.S. Academia except for the well-known ideological trash – the likes of feminists, reverse racists, Shmoits, and similar rotten stuff – has ever behaved in an unambiguously hostile way towards me, I have learned very clearly that almost none of the people who should have had the courage, the ideological compass, and the moral values to stand on my side has ever done so and I've heard quite some terrifying stories about many "people with a human face" – including the GOP members at Harvard – who supported the villains behind the scenes.
America has been so thoroughly contaminated by the politically correct totalitarian ideology that one simply can't trust the people just because they are members of the GOP or the CATO Institute or similar organizations and institutions. Most of them are parts of the problem, too. For all those reasons, the despicable behavior of the CATO Institute towards Klaus doesn't materially surprise me.
The Daily Beast journalist is yummy, too. I have spent decades in democracy and more than one decade as a conscious child or teenager in communism. So I can distinguish the character of the press, too. Kirchick's text is far closer to the communist propaganda than to articles in the media of the free world.
For example, he repeats the term "Russian aggression" twice, probably convinced that repetition can turn a lie into the truth. The events in Ukraine since the end of 2013 cannot be described as a "Russian aggression" by any stretch of imagination. It's an internal conflict – that has also polarized the whole world (which may be even more harmful than the internal events themselves) – that could arise due to the difficult political and ethnic situation in Ukraine and the unfulfilled hopes surrounding the post-communist reform process. But the reason why the problems erupted at the end of 2013 was the interventionism pursued by some important players in the West which included the U.S. government and the top politicians in the EU.
I don't want to repeat all the history and logic of the Ukrainian events – because I am afraid that whoever hasn't been able to see the basic points by December 22nd, 2014, probably suffers from a cognitive defect that is so crippling that he or she has almost no chance to get it ever. Instead, I want to mention some of the sins that Václav Klaus – and also Ron Paul – are accused of by the left-wing journalist.
Cato’s decision to separate itself from Klaus is laudatory, but curiously late.Oh, so it's "laudatory". Nice. Why? Aside from Klaus' "heresy" of not being turned into a brainwashed moron concerning the Ukrainian events, we can see:
This source [at CATO] also cited Klaus’s “attitude toward personal rights, gay rights, for libertarians an essential part of the ideology” as well as his associating “very openly with far right parties and organizations.”Quite a bizarre justification given the fact that
[t]he mission of the Cato Institute is to originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Our vision is to create free, open, and civil societies founded on libertarian principles.How can "gay rights" be an "essential part" of CATO's ideology if CATO should defend a limited government and individual liberty while gay rights is a collection of recent-era socially engineered special advantages for a group enforced by a government that obviously has to grow to take care of all these new "rights"?
A severing of ties would no doubt come as a crushing blow to Klaus, who prides himself on being a contrarian and enjoys touting his affiliation with prominent institutions outside his tiny home country.This sentence just highlights the fact that most Americans lack the basic education in geography. Czechia is not a "tiny country". By pretty much any criterion one picks, the Czech Republic is the average member of the EU – and also the average country in the world.
If Klaus "prides himself on being a contrarian", I guess that his being turned into a heretic by a mainstream think tank is another reason for pride, isn't it?
The Daily Beast also tries to disagree with the very basic fact that the annexation of Crimea was a move forced on Russia. How can someone deny this self-evident fact? There was a complete havoc in Ukraine and government buildings were being hijacked one after another. Crimea where the Russophones represent a clear majority was able to resist but needed to work hard on some guarantees that its government buildings wouldn't be hijacked by the people of the coup, too. They were really just defending the legitimate status quo in Ukraine. It's Crimea, and not the rest of Ukraine, that is the more legitimate successor state of Ukraine as we knew it in 2013.
They defended their independence of the coup forces, organized a speedy referendum with a clear result, and asked Russia to reintegrate Crimea into its territory – where it has belonged over 95 percent of the second millennium. Of course that it was unthinkable that Russia would say No. These polarizing events wouldn't have occurred if there were no coup in Kiev (and other cities in Western and Central Ukraine) and for that reason, it is obvious that the reintegration of Crimea was a forced move.
Another "sin" of Klaus was that he visited a May 9th Victory Day party at the Russian Embassy in Prague. What a crime! You may have missed it, Mr Kirchick and others, but on May 9th, 1945, the Red Army has liberated Prague – and along with it, an overwhelming majority of the Czechoslovak territory – from the Nazi regime that was an existential threat for our nation. Why shouldn't an important politician visit the Russian embassy on that day? Of course that we have tons of cowards without spine who won't go there just because a radical new form of anti-Russian fascism has become very popular and many people love to align themselves with arbitrarily pathological attitudes if they become popular and able to help their careers – but Klaus has never been one of these spineless creatures.
Another alleged "sin" of Klaus was that he visited the American Institute in Ukraine. Wow.
Klaus espouses inflammatory views on a variety of subjects, some of which Cato happily embraced.Inflammatory views? LOL, that surely sounds even more dramatic than "antisocialist views" that used to be criticized in the communist press. Why don't you just say the same thing in a neutral language, "politically incorrect views"? They include climate skepticism and Euroskepticism. Again, I don't want to discuss it here again.
[Klaus:] "This is something I had experienced in the communist era but not in so-called free Europe."Oh, really? So the views are "inflammatory" and the ex-president is fired from an institute due to them and won't be invited to give talks, and Mr Kirchick calls the move "laudatory", but no one is repressing Klaus or preventing him from expressing his views? Have you completely lost your mind, Mr Kirchick?
No one, of course, was “repressing” Klaus or preventing him from “expressing his views,” something he does with abandon.
I have been exposed to those things for years and I must say that the totalitarian attitudes expressed by the PC movement, feminists and similar -ists, are structurally isomorphic to what I have experienced (as a teenage dissident) during communism – except that in contemporary America, these anti-freedom views are being promoted with much more vigor than what I remember from the 1980s when communism was already emptied, decaying, and no one had really believed it anymore. The contemporary American (and other Western) SJWs and similar holy warriors defending the political correctness are probably closer to the communist activists in 1950s when people were still excited by that dangerous ideological trash.
Klaus' extra "sin" was that he has denounced a homosexual pride march and the ideology of homosexualism. He also participated at a meeting:
One of the main speakers was Vladimir Yakunin, head of Russian Railways, longtime friend of Vladimir Putin, and one of the first Russian officials to be targeted with international sanctions following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March.This is really cute. It must be so bad that Klaus has attended the same conference as Yakunin. Let me tell you something. Klaus' successor, the current Czech president Miloš Zeman, is a close personal friend with Mr Yakunin. It must be shocking for you, right?
But there is nothing shocking about it at all. Zeman and Yakunin are sort of "similar people" – two men who understand economy well, who have lived in the Soviet bloc, and who entered business or politics in the early 1990s when democracy and capitalism began to develop in both countries. Because of the history that Czechia and Russia has shared to a large extent, some differences notwithstanding (of course that I do think that we are well ahead of Russia, and we have always been), we understand each other. These two men could meet and become friends, too.
There are thousands of relationships like that in our part of the world. The fact that Czechia was reintegrated into the family of Western nations doesn't mean that our relationships with folks in the rest of the former Soviet bloc have evaporated. After all, their fate was somewhat analogous to ours. Someone in the U.S. may impose sanctions against Mr Yakunin and similar men and then be surprised that he has friends across Europe but there's nothing surprising about these things at all and the only person in this paragraph who is a complete loser and moron is the guy who has imposed the sanctions against the Russian Railways that have nothing to do with the Ukrainian crisis, even if there were something seriously wrong about the Russian attitude to the tension. At any rate, the (highly counterproductive if not downright insane) U.S. sanctions have absolutely no legal impact on the events in Europe and Russia and because we are a sovereign nation, there clearly is nothing wrong whatsoever about Zeman's meeting with his close friend Yakunin or Klaus' talk at a conference with Yakunin.
The article in The Daily Beast also criticizes Klaus for his "ties with the European far right". That's just silly. He has been a right-wing politician so of course that he is closer to some right-wing parties than most left-wing parties but in Western Europe, he is arguably closest to the UKIP which is no "far right" party at all. According to its mission, the CATO Institute should be rather close to UKIP but it's not. Like the words "racist" etc., the words "far right" have been used for so many rather ordinary if not "centrist" people and organizations that they have become meaningless.
One more crime by Klaus:
In 2007, Klaus was awarded the Pushkin medal from Putin.LOL, that's really bad. Pushkin must have been a mass murderer of some sort, right?
The following year, when Russia invaded and occupied its small neighbor Georgia, Klaus was the only European leader to blame the Georgians, a position all the more striking coming from the president of a country that itself was invaded and occupied by Russia.The 2008 conflict was self-evidently started by an attack of Georgia against Russia. Moreover, Czechoslovakia wasn't invaded and occupied by Russia but by 5 Warsaw Pact armies including the USSR which was a federation consisting of 15 states including Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia. What's crucial here is not just that Russia wasn't alone – that it was an invasion of the whole bloc even though Russia was its largest nation – but especially the point that the invasion didn't take place because of some Russian national interests or some intrinsic "evil Russian character" but as a defense of the (non-diluted) communist ideology.
Klaus is apparently not the only "sinner":
On one side are isolationist stalwarts like former presidential candidate Ron Paul, a regular presence on Kremlin-funded propaganda network RT, whose think tank espouses Russian talking points on a variety of issues ranging from Crimea to Syria.I guess that Ron Paul's name is already written on some blacklist of stalwarts who dare to talk to a "propaganda network". It's Russian-funded but it reveals the information that actually matters, from all sides, and in doing so, it beats not only hopeless PC networks like MSNBC but even some rare oases of sanity such as Fox News, at least when it comes to international politics.
It's organized by the Russian government but the shows are operated mostly by Americans and they know damn well what they are talking about. It's just different Americans who may be labeled as heretics in their home of the brave and the country of the free, right?
You may say that Kirchick is just another tendentious yet irrelevant left-wing inkspiller. However, the problem is that people like this have pretty much hijacked virtually all mainstream media and political or Academic etc. institutions in the U.S. – and maybe even organizations that should know better, such as the CATO Institute. It's sad and another reason to be happy about living in a relatively free country. Given this completely irrational hysteria ironically combining the most radical forms of the "social justice warfare" for the conceivable and inconceivable new "rights" of all minorities you could think of with the anti-Russian xenophobia reaching the proportion of the anti-Semitism of the Nazi Germany of the 1930s, I would be afraid of my very physical safety if I were in the U.S.
One may see that the anti-Russian social engineering that certain people decided to initiate in Ukraine is creating quite some havoc in the West, too.