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Thread: Putin's next target: Belarus

  1. #21
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    I feel for the long-suffering citizens of Belarus, but I would say, quite frankly, that this is none of our business as Americans. I KNOW what Samuel P. Huntington said about this. [Author of The Clash of Civilizations, and a universally recognized expert on geopolitics before his death...] Huntington would say that Belarus is not, in any sense, a WESTERN country, that it is firmly in the realm of Orthodox Civilization, and therefore, very much in Russia's legitimate sphere of influence. He would advise us to stay OUT of any Russia/Belarus conflict, aside from making our views on any violations of human rights known.

    Belarus is a radically different case from the three Baltic Republics [Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania], which ARE Western countries, by virtue of religion and culture and long-standing historical ties. Putin needs to understand that he could trigger a major war if he starts messing around with the Baltic Republics in a serious way. They are members of NATO. Belarus is NOT, and NEVER should be.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    I feel for the long-suffering citizens of Belarus, but I would say, quite frankly, that this is none of our business as Americans. I KNOW what Samuel P. Huntington said about this. [Author of The Clash of Civilizations, and a universally recognized expert on geopolitics before his death...] Huntington would say that Belarus is not, in any sense, a WESTERN country, that it is firmly in the realm of Orthodox Civilization, and therefore, very much in Russia's legitimate sphere of influence. He would advise us to stay OUT of any Russia/Belarus conflict, aside from making our views on any violations of human rights known.

    Belarus is a radically different case from the three Baltic Republics [Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania], which ARE Western countries, by virtue of religion and culture and long-standing historical ties. Putin needs to understand that he could trigger a major war if he starts messing around with the Baltic Republics in a serious way. They are members of NATO. Belarus is NOT, and NEVER should be.
    Huntington didn't say that sort of thing until much later in life, when he somehow became convinced that religion and received cultural custom from centuries before set in stone all human macro-relations.

    Some people just aren't suited to self-determination because their ancestors weren't. To my mind this is a pre-Enlightenment notion.
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  3. #23
    Nuisance Factor Yeti 8 Jungle Swing Champion, YetiSports 4 - Albatross Overload Champion, YetiSports7 - Snowboard FreeRide Champion, Alu`s Revenge Champion boontito's Avatar
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    "Putin's next target: Belarus"

    I'll take 'Places Donald Trump can't find on a map for 400, Alex.'
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  4. #24
    The Covfefe are Coming! BitterPill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    I feel for the long-suffering citizens of Belarus, but I would say, quite frankly, that this is none of our business as Americans. I KNOW what Samuel P. Huntington said about this. [Author of The Clash of Civilizations, and a universally recognized expert on geopolitics before his death...] Huntington would say that Belarus is not, in any sense, a WESTERN country, that it is firmly in the realm of Orthodox Civilization, and therefore, very much in Russia's legitimate sphere of influence. He would advise us to stay OUT of any Russia/Belarus conflict, aside from making our views on any violations of human rights known.

    Belarus is a radically different case from the three Baltic Republics [Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania], which ARE Western countries, by virtue of religion and culture and long-standing historical ties. Putin needs to understand that he could trigger a major war if he starts messing around with the Baltic Republics in a serious way. They are members of NATO. Belarus is NOT, and NEVER should be.
    Belarus is not a democracy, either.
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  5. #25
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasselas View Post
    Huntington didn't say that sort of thing until much later in life, when he somehow became convinced that religion and received cultural custom from centuries before set in stone all human macro-relations.

    Some people just aren't suited to self-determination because their ancestors weren't. To my mind this is a pre-Enlightenment notion.
    When I first read Huntington's Clash of Civilizations, shortly after it was published in the mid-1990's, I was rather taken aback by his claim that Western Christianity is the most important distinguishing characteristic of Western Civilization. Like you, I was convinced that the Enlightenment was what was REALLY essential about Western Civilization. But I have come around to his way of thinking. I think it an exaggeration to say that he was arguing that 'religion [would] set in stone [my emphasis] all human macro-relations'; I think he was simply arguing that religion is the most important characteristic of human societies, and the one that sets one society apart from another to a greater extent than any other factor (even language and 'race', though he acknowledged the importance of both of those as well).

    I confess that I am not deeply familiar with his earlier writings, before the 1990's.

  6. #26
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BitterPill View Post
    Belarus is not a democracy, either.
    I guess we can't really blame them for that all those years they were part of the Soviet Union, or before that, part of the Czarist Russian Empire, can we? I suppose we COULD blame them for not rising up and overthrowing the dictator Lukashenko, who is, quite frankly, a RIDICULOUS man. But is that fair?

  7. #27
    Veteran Member Dr.Knuckles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasselas View Post
    Huntington didn't say that sort of thing until much later in life, when he somehow became convinced that religion and received cultural custom from centuries before set in stone all human macro-relations.

    Some people just aren't suited to self-determination because their ancestors weren't. To my mind this is a pre-Enlightenment notion.
    I don't believe for a second that Huntington argued that because an area is of a certain cultural group it is "legitimately in the sphere of influence" of the biggest nation of that group.

    Is The US free to invade and occupy my country, overthrow my government, imprison dissenters, murder opposition, torture critics etc? Is that legitimate because we both share a culture of Anglo-Saxon, Christian heritage?

    Does the UK have such a legitimate claim on the US? It can impose its will on US citizens at will because of a shared heritage?


    Russia has no more ownership of Orthodox civilization than Belarus simply because its currently bigger and meaner.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    When I first read Huntington's Clash of Civilizations, shortly after it was published in the mid-1990's, I was rather taken aback by his claim that Western Christianity is the most important distinguishing characteristic of Western Civilization. Like you, I was convinced that the Enlightenment was what was REALLY essential about Western Civilization. But I have come around to his way of thinking. I think it an exaggeration to say that he was arguing that 'religion [would] set in stone [my emphasis] all human macro-relations'; I think he was simply arguing that religion is the most important characteristic of human societies, and the one that sets one society apart from another to a greater extent than any other factor (even language and 'race', though he acknowledged the importance of both of those as well).

    I confess that I am not deeply familiar with his earlier writings, before the 1990's.
    The problem with his thinking is that it does assume that religion doesn't change--that its contours are "set in stone" and don't allow for change. I think the Renaissance demonstrates this isn't true. I also think that pre-Renaissance Christianity had all the problems we currently seen in Islam. I think Huffington suffered from atavism in that he could not envision the course history beyond his moment. He assumed that all change stops in the "now" and the particulars of the present moment last indefinitely.
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Knuckles View Post
    I don't believe for a second that Huntington argued that because an area is of a certain cultural group it is "legitimately in the sphere of influence" of the biggest nation of that group.
    I don't think that was the claim. It was more that Europeans had no business attempting to interfere because that area is outside its historical sphere. That's not the same as saying Russia somehow has a right to Belarus.

    I wonder about Poland, which is distinctly Catholic but has been dominated by Russia for some parts of it's history. What would Huffington do with that?

  10. #30
    Veteran Member Dr.Knuckles's Avatar
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    I also think that if people in onion dome buildings, who speak Slavic languages, have big black beards and go to Eastern Orthodox churches say "we want self-determination and liberty", then they should get it.

    Despite what their hyper-militarized neighbors say about them having a "natural, traditional right" to ram a boot down on their neck.
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