Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2017

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Reflections on Making American Great, the Movies, and the Message of the Classic Westerns



Too often these days we remain transfixed by the hypnotic hold of domestic politics:  Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury handing down indictments in the so-called “Russians Did It!” investigation—The FBI’s use of the fake FusionGPS dossier to initiate the investigations—Hillary Clinton’s email scandal—The tax reform proposal.

And internationally, there are major issues involving North Korea, ISIS terrorists in sub-Saharan Africa, our relations with Russia, not to mention the critical need to protect our borders against a real invasion by illegal aliens, whose presence here produces severe economic and social problems.

But every now and then we need to, as it were, “come up for air.”

Many of my daily commentaries are introductions for articles that I pass along—articles that I believe add information about and background to current events. Much of this, while certainly political, is also cultural. We cannot separate our politics from our culture and our cultural environment. Even more, the culture of our society also reflects in large measure the religious outlook we have and exhibit. As both Cardinal John Henry Newman and nineteenth century Spanish political theorist, Juan Donoso Cortes, observed more than a century and a half ago: political issues always reflect an essentially religious question at base.

The great culture—the art, the amazing architecture, the illustrated manuscripts, the soaring plain chant—of the High Middle Ages had as their undisputed inspiration the flourishing religious faith that then prevailed. The glories of Renaissance culture—the great works of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, El Greco and Rubens, the Sistine Chapel, Shakespeare, the music of Palestrina—had as their lifeblood a belief in the Triune God and the grandeur of His Creation. And even later in our history, as arguably Western civilization was under continual and severe revolutionary stress, the genius of a Mozart or of a Beethoven, of a Dostoyevsky or of a Charles Dickens had as its firmament the incredibly rich cultural legacy they inherited.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century one of the newer art forms and expressions of our culture has been cinema. It was the novelty of live theater and acting captured as moving images in film and presented on a screen. In many respects, like other art forms, film represents what is happening in our culture. At its very finest—or its very worst—it is capable of shining a vivid light on our beliefs and values, portraying them, dissecting them, and, likewise like other art forms, it may be used as an instrument to affect or even shape our outlook and our politics.

The first significant commercial film produced and shown in the United States was The Great Train Robbery (1903), starring Broncho Billy Anderson. It was just twelve minutes long. American film culture began, thus, with a Western, and, indeed, it is inarguable that the unique cinematic contribution made by the American film industry was the Western. It was from the classic Western that crime dramas and adventure films were spun off. One could well argue that major American crime movies up through, say, The Untouchables or even some of the more recent representations were “Westerns dressed up with cops and robbers.” And, those magnificent adventure films about space exploration—the Star Wars and Star Trek series—are they not Westerns transported into the relative infinity of space and time, and our unquenchable desire to explore new frontiers “where no man has gone before”?

It is the Western—and its multiple, modern cinematic godchildren—that represents so well and encapsulates so aptly the movement of American history, the aspirations and insatiable curiosity of our citizens, and just how we as a people overcame various challenges in building what became the United States of America. It is a story of conquering frontiers as a symbol for the growth and evolution of the American nation. It offers graphically and sometimes with violence the effects of right and wrong action, and the absolute requirement for law and order in any civilized society. And it is, at its best, a chronicle of great persons—some real, some idealized, others made up—by whose hands a nation was fashioned.

We hold those persons up as heroes and as models. Thus, a Davy Crocket, a Wild Bill Hickok, a Sam Houston, a Buffalo Bill, a Jesse James—all real flesh-and-blood people in our past—have vividly emerged from the pages of our history books and have entered our consciousness, into our everyday lives.  Sometimes, as in the case of a Billy the Kid or maybe the Clantons of Old Tombstone, they become iconic representations of the “bad guys”—of the less savory symbols of our history. But in all cases, they have become reference points that make our history alive and tangible.

Recently, published a list of what it called “the Top 25 Westerns.” Reading that list is to understand that as much of Hollywood has moved strongly to the ideological Left over the past decades, the Hollywood Western also reflects that movement in the subjects and messages it seeks to portray. Indeed, the fact that since the late 1960s and early 1970s the Western has receded as a major film genre is, in itself, significant. For the Western, more than other cinematic manifestations, is autobiographical about the growth, trials, and, above all, successes of and pride in the American experience. Since certainly the late 1960s, Vietnam, and the great success of cultural Marxism in our society, the role of the Western as a reflection of the triumph of traditional “good” over “evil,” of the ever-advancing and intrepid frontiersman triumphing over natural hazards, over the elements and fierce aborigines, has receded. America no longer celebrates those heroes; if it celebrates “heroes” at all, it is the vaunted pioneers in civil rights, or a Nat Turner, or hitherto unknown feminists (who should have remained unknown).

Right and wrong, black and white are muddied; we live in an age of the anti-hero, where inherited and tried-and-true standards of morality and moral conduct are not only shunned, but often ridiculed.

What does John Wayne in, for example, The Searchers or She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, have to tell us in our society now where even the concept of duty and obedience to moral right is largely downplayed and considered unsophisticated by the dominant culture?

In one of the last great classic Western epics, Sam Peckinpah’s Ride the High Country from 1962, Joel McCrea is asked by his co-star, Randolph Scott, if he doesn’t really want more in life than just what appears to Scott to be his drudgery as a lonely, low paid deputy marshal. McCrea responds laconically in one of those immortal lines that epitomizes both the representative and the didactic roles of the American Western: “All I want to do is enter my house justified.” That is, I want to fulfill my duty, my God-given duty and appointed role in society, to obey  and keep the law, to receive the precious legacy of the culture I inherited, perhaps add to it a bit, and then pass it on, unsullied, to my children and my posterity.

Is this not the message that the classic Western offered us, and, as well, was inculcated into the imaginations of millions of young boys and girls, as well as older adults, during its heyday? Was this not the message of Matt Dillon on TV’s “Gunsmoke” or Ben Cartwright of the Ponderosa?

In that incredibly rich John Ford Western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, also from 1962, after Jimmy Stewart has recounted to the assembled newsmen the long history of how he almost inescapably took the credit for John Wayne’s gun down of the infamous bandit Liberty Valance (played deliciously by Lee Marvin) and how it propelled him to fame and to the United States Senate—and how what has been believed for years was essentially built on a legend, a stunned news reporter replies: “This is the West, sir. When legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

America—the America we have loved and wish to preserve and restore—has been dying a slow death for years for lack not only of genuine heroes, but for lack of sometimes shadowy, often times mythical, legends. For our society, our culture, is not only built on the quantifiable advances of science and materiality, or on the history of new civil rights laws, or on the growth of the sports and entertainment industry. Every culture has its legends, its quasi-mythical past that inspires it and adds a certain attractive richness and purpose to its existence. Without the great Norse Sagas of Scandinavia, or the legend of King Arthur of Britain, or the story of King Clovis in France, something integral, something very real and essential in the history of those entities would be lacking.

I remember going to see Ride the High Country with my Dad at the old Ambassador Theater in downtown Raleigh. It was one of those indelible and intensely moving experiences that always remains with me. My father, growing up in the Charlotte area, had actually known the family of Randolph Scott, so the event was special for him. After the movie, he took the time to explain to me that the Scott character who, initially, had skipped out on McCrea but returned to help him fight one last battle with the bad guys (led by James Drury), had earned redemption and paid the price for his “sin,” by returning. McCrea, in one of the most memorable death scenes in all film, has a final conversation with Scott. Scott tells him: “Don’t worry, I will take care of everything.” (Including getting the gold shipment back into rightful hands.) McCrea replies: “Heck, I always knew you would—you just forgot for a while.”

Blessed are those who have the opportunity to repay the price for evil in this life—that was a message I took away from it. In a marvelous film representation two old cowboys brilliantly and wonderfully illustrated and taught much about duty in life, about the importance of complying with our obligations, and, finally, about redemption for the sins we have committed.

Back then there were dozens of films coming out of Hollywood each year that represented what was noble and right in our history and that served as teaching models as we reached man hood. We wanted to be Gene Autry—we thought Matt Dillon the finest lawman ever—we laughed out loud with the lovable Hoss Cartwright—we held up John Wayne as our national hero, whether on a horse out West or aboard a World War II battle wagon afloat.  Tell me who society’s heroes are, and I will tell you what that society values—and that society’s future.  

Those classic Westerns continue to be popular, although you wouldn’t know it from the Academy Awards or the hoopla generated by contemporary Hollywood. I remember a left-leaning film critic remarking in condescending tones last year that in all likelihood those much-abused “deplorables” who ended up voting for Donald Trump were probably “the same people who like old John Wayne Westerns and wanted to be Roy Rogers when growing up.”

I think he was right; but for the wrong reasons. For many of the “deplorables” are people who grew up with the inherited moral consciousness,  a sense of right and wrong, essentially a religious sense, that had given birth and admirable vitality to this nation, but which is sorely lacking among so many of our fellow citizens today. Mention John Wayne, Audie Murphy or Clint Eastwood (of Outlaw Josey Wales fame) to a “deplorable” of a certain age, and you get a smile of acknowledgement and agreement. I don’t know many liberals who like Fort Apache….

“Making America Great Again” involves a complete panoply of activities on different levels, it involves the family, the church, the school, what we do for entertainment, and not just how we vote.

To enliven the moral imagination and to also appreciate the legacy of our endangered culture there is no better and no simpler way than to engage in viewing the best of classic Westerns.

And, so, I’d like to offer a short list of some of the finer Western films out there, all available on DVD. Some are catchable occasionally on the TCM and Encore Westerns channels. The list is mine, and you may have your own favorites.

First, the collaboration of director John Ford and John Wayne was truly unique in cinematic history. Some of their finest films are: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which has to rank near the top of any list of great Westerns. Then, there is the cavalry trilogy from the late 1940s (Fort Apache, Rio Grande, and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon). None of these films is politically-correct—consider the band playing “Dixie” at the cavalry pass-by at the end of Rio Grande or the moving respect given to deceased former Confederate general “Private John Smith” (aka, Rome Clay) in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon. Critics generally consider Stagecoach and The Searchers to be the best Ford/Wayne collaborations, and, again, political correctness and modern egalitarianism find no defenders therein. Rather, obedience to duty, moral courage, loyalty to one’s state and family—these are the virtues celebrated and heralded.

The late Professor Mel Bradford once told me that the John Wayne vehicle, Red River, was his favorite film, and I can see why, as it is the story of post-War Between the States Texas and the great legendary cattle drives. But also it unravels in detail conflicting loyalties, the belief in honor and in keeping one’s word as a bond of trust.

I have mentioned Sam Peckinpah’s Ride the High Country, with Randy Scott and Joel McCrea, both, by the way, hard core conservatives politically, as were the vast majority of Western actors. Right before playing in Ride the High Country, Scott did a series of seven lean short Westerns with director Budd Boetticher, beginning with Seven Men from Now and ending with Comanche Station, each recounting the story of a man alone against the elements and against those who would stop him: always there was duty to be fulfilled and honor to be kept.

Many Westerns are, to be correct, “Southern Westerns” that use the War Between the States as an essential backdrop, an integral “player” in the plot and action. Thus, such standout films as Jesse James (with Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Randolph Scott), The Return of Frank James (with Fonda), The True Story of Jesse James (with Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter), and the largely unknown, but personal favorite, Rocky Mountain (with Errol Flynn and Slim Pickens) are movies that at the least present the Southern viewpoint, unmarred by modern political correctness or the cultural Marxist fascination about race, that everything must revolve around that subject.

James Garner is well-known for his portrayal in TV’s “Maverick” series, but he also starred in several underrated oaters, most notably Hour of the Gun from 1967, a kind of continuation of the classic 1950s Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  Featuring Garner, Robert Ryan and Jason Robards (as Doc Holliday), it continues the famous O. K. Corral narrative to its deadly conclusion. At first ignored by film critics, it has gained in reputation in recent years. It’s one of my favorites as a superb study of how Wyatt Earp’s (Garner’s) character changes over time and through tragedy.

Two more John Ford creations fill out this short list, and they both emphasize the fundamental moral understanding, that underlying and undergirding the basis of our culture there is a religious sensibility. First, there is his 1948 version of Three Godfathers, again with Wayne and also Ward Bond and Harry Carey Jr. (Ford has his famous “stock company” of dependable and outstanding actors), with its deeply Christian symbolism of penance and redemption. And, then, Wagon Master (with Carey, Bond and a young Ben Johnson), a lyrical chronicle of pilgrims searching for that ideal valley, that eventual home where they may set down roots and raise their families under both Natural and Divine Positive law. In so many words, is it not the story of the American experience, of blood and land and rootedness?

Classic Westerns offer insight into who we have been as a people, our hopes and aspirations, our trials and tragedies, but also our triumphs. They offer in film the stories of legendary heroes and heroic events, hold up honor and duty as admirable benchmarks, emphasize the importance of family and of place, and they  reveal the necessity of grounded religious faith in the pursuit of our ideals.

To help “Make America Great Again” we can do no better than in the place of the tawdry and garish “kulchur” that parades before us to gather in family and view a classic John Wayne/John Ford film or something with one of those fine Westerners of  yesteryear, a Joel McCrea or a Randolph Scott.

The past—our heritage and those principles we hold most dear—will live but only if we let it live first within us, and if we pass it on, unsullied, to our children. The culture we have received from our ancestors, in the great legends and wonderful stories brought to the silver screen, nourish the moral imagination and help repair the disintegrative diseases of the modern mind.

“All I want to do is enter my house justified”—to do my duty and fulfill my purpose before God, my family and my fellow men. Doing that we shall accomplish our goals in life. And, indeed, make America great again.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

October 28, 2017

 MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

More on the Radically-Changing “Russians Did It!” Canard, and Continuing “Silent Coup” Effort



Additional details continue to trickle out about the deep involvement of the Hillary campaign and the Democratic National Committee [DNC] in the manufacturing of the “Russians Did It!” canard. It appears now that originally the Democratic-leaning investigative/consulting firm, FusionGPS, had been hired to do some initial opposition research on candidate Trump by figures associated with the NeverTrumper, Neoconservative Washington Free Beacon, whose backers include the virulently anti-Trump Bill Kristol (The Weekly Standard) and billionaire, hedge-funder and fierce gay rights supporter, Paul Singer. When Trump appeared certain to win the GOP nomination, that effort ceased.

The supposed “Russian connection” was developed later, when the Clinton campaign and DNC picked up where the NeverTrumpers left off. It was apparently engineered by the Podesta lobbying firm, headed by Tony Podesta, the brother of John Podesta, chairman of the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, and by the hiring of free-booting British ex-intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, with the payment of approximately $12.4 million dollars, using its Democrat attorney Mark Elias as bagman.  Of course, neither Podesta, nor Hillary, nor former DNC chairman Debbi Wasserman-Schultz knew “anything” about this huge cash transfer—that’s right, like Sergeant Schultz on that once-popular TV sitcom, “Hogan’s Heroes,” they have responded in unison: “I know not’ing!” With sardonic feline smiles on their faces they actually say that…and CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and the Mainstream Media actually repeat that, seriously.  

Yeah, right. But remember the documented (and undeniable) account, detailed by the authors of the campaign memoir, Shattered, that the top Clinton operatives met and actually devised this “Russia card” right after Hillary’s defeat?

What is even more disquieting is that our nation’s major intelligence service, the FBI, decided to use the created fake “dossier” paid for by the Hillary campaign and DNC, produced by foreign rogue ex-agent Steele, and based on spurious and verifiably false information which Steele may have received from shadowy Russians, on which to base its investigation of President Trump. And it is the same fake dossier that forms the basis for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s open-ended, near limitless and politically-weaponized investigation, with its dozens of zealous pro-Hillary attorneys busy at work like hungry termites to find anything that might undermine the president.

Is this not the definition of an attempted “silent coup” by one political group against our elected president?

And just as the news has seeped out that it was the Democrats who were responsible for the fake dossier and for the “Russians Did it!” canard, suddenly—again leaked out to Deep State media “agents” (uh, I mean friends!)—comes the news (via CNN, no less) that Mueller’s investigation will be indicting its first victim, perhaps as early as this coming week.  Coincidence? Is anything that comes out of the bowels of our national Hell (aka, Washington-along-the-Potomac) by coincidence?  Or, does this simply echo the desperate appeals from extreme Leftist pundits like Mother Jones’s David Korn that “we must simply keep this Russian collusion investigation going! We must continue to search for the Trump-Russia connection!”—despite ten months of finding: nothing, absolutely nothing.

It reminds me of the early twentieth century British writer—I think it was Sir Max Beerbohm—who, when he traveled to France, declared: “When I go to France, I speak English; if they do not understand me at first, I speak louder!” It was Sir Max—one of my favorite English humorists—who also wrote: “Good sense about trivialities is better than nonsense about things that matter.”

What we have with the “Russians Did it!” canard is, indeed, “nonsense about things that matter.”  It is nonsense—myth—that has shaken this nation to its very core. It is nonsense that nourishes the effort to weaken, destroy and remove a duly elected president. It is nonsense—fake information—created by a foreign operative, used by the Democratic Party and massaged by its puppeteers in the Mainstream Media. It is nonsense, supplied to our national intelligence service, which was then used to enable a zealous Democratic Special Counsel with virtually limitless powers who now targets anyone he so pleases.   

And other, arguably much more serious events and happenings in our recent political past—the Clinton email scandal, the Benghazi deaths—largely neglected by the Mainstream Media (as best as they can), must take a far back seat in the political bus while the dominant forces of the Deep State pursue their efforts to “get Trump.”

Welcome to America, circa 2017: welcome to the frenetic and unhinged response by our Deep State and establishment overlords to the election of 2016. Welcome to a transformed American government that, should its Framers and Founders miraculously re-appear, they would find unrecognizable, that would appall them, and that would certainly disgust them.

Our perfervid Deep State establishment, our Democrat and Republican elites, our media and educational and entertainment aristocracy have made fashionable and normative an immense fallacy to which all us must genuflect. But as G. K. Chesterton, another great English essayist and poet, once wrote: “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”

Today I pass on an item by the liberal left-leaning Pew Research Center, once again documenting the overwhelming and zealously oppressive anti-Trump views of our media. Pew offers data that approximately two-thirds of all stories about the president were slanted negatively, with only 5% offering a positive view. Let me repeat that: only 5%  positive (and that would include Fox).

Certainly, any response we engage in faces incredibly contrary odds.

Longtime (and non-neocon) conservative writer, William Lind, in a recent issue of Old Right magazine Chronicles, suggests that traditional Americans must step outside the “false reality” that has been cultivated and created by the Deep State, and that in rejecting it, we must go back and retrieve the wisdom, the lessons, and the “real reality” that once existed and once informed our ancestors.

It is no easy task. To the argument that those traditions and that legacy no longer exist, we must reply with T. S. Eliot that “There is no lost cause because there is no gained cause.” Or, as I would phrase it, using something a dear Spanish friend once told me forty years ago: “A lost cause is never truly lost if the fight is for what is true and what is right.”

And that should—must—be our watchword.

Dr. Boyd D. Cathey

Pew: Trump Coverage Far More Negative Than Past Presidents

By Jason Devaney    |   Monday, 02 Oct 2017 06:55 PM

News coverage of President Donald Trump's first 100 days was almost two-thirds negative, far more than presidents in recent history, according to a new study.

The Pew Research Center looked at media reports about the Trump presidency in the first three months of the administration and concluded:

·         62 percent of the stories had a negative assessment, with just 5 percent having a positive assessment.

·         20 percent of the stories in President Barack Obama's first three months were negative.

·         28 percent of the stories in President George W. Bush's first three months were negative.

·         28 percent of the stories in President Bill Clinton's first three months were negative.

·         66 percent of all news stories regarding the Trump administration were about these five topics:

·         Political skills (17 percent).

·         Immigration (14 percent).

·         Appointments/nominations (13 percent).

·         U.S.-Russia relations (13 percent).

·         and healthcare (9 percent).

Other studies have come up with similar results, including a Media Research Center study that concluded the three major broadcast networks' coverage of the Trump administration was 89 percent negative.

Another study found the coverage of the Trump White House was 91 percent negative over the summer on nightly news broadcasts.

Friday, October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Resistance to the New World Order: Buchanan and Ilana Mercer Write


A continuation today of themes highlighted in recent installments, with some excellent columns by able writers.

What has become so palpably apparent in recent days is the very real existence, in almost every sphere of our lives, of a not-so-civil “war” between what we label impressionistically “the establishment” or “the Deep State,” the managerial-political-entertainment-educational elites—and most of the rest of the country. To put it bluntly: we live in a kleptocracy, an America that has been transformed into a “nanny state” in which the leadership class uses its positions of power and authority to exploit the nation. In a very real and practical sense, our republic has been transformed from “the land of the free and the home of the brave” into the home of thieves and the land they abuse.

From the delicately-balanced and fragile republic left to us by the Framers of our Constitution, with its Bill of Rights especially intended to protect both the rights of the states and of the citizens, to the American super-state we live in today, there has been a veritable structural sea change not just in how we are governed and the rights we are supposed to inalienably possess but in the dominant social benchmark mindset and imposed standards we are all directed—cajoled—to embrace. George Orwell, in his famous novel, Animal Farm, did not realize back in 1945 just how accurate and spot on he would eventually be—that in one full lifetime, seventy years, his dystopian fantasy would not only come true, but come true with a vengeance. James Burnham and more recently the late Sam Francis foresaw and described the rise of the managerial state, the hardening in their positions of power of an immense, largely unseen and unelected permanent universalized bureaucracy. Paul Gottfried in his famous trilogy documenting the collapse of old fashioned liberalism and communism, understood that a new and far more dangerous and transformed form of Marxism and political correctness was incredibly more perilous to the existence of traditional Western culture. And, along with prescient writers like Jean Raspail (The Camp of the Saints), Peter Brimelow (Alien Nation), and others, Gottfried and Francis understood the exceptional significance of “race” and “gender” and “open borders” in the seemingly unstoppable advance of cultural Marxist globalism.

And unlike the emphases expressed in the older Soviet formulas, the cultural Marxists did not so much seek to destroy international and monopoly-oriented economic structures, but were often quite content to use them or shape them for their own revolutionary purposes of creating a New World Order. That new order required subservience from organized religion—specifically the virtual surrender, in many cases full collaboration, of much of a contemporary Christianity which thus sacrificed its essential teaching and its role, becoming the handmaiden—better said, the whore—of the Revolution.  That new order required a fifth column in entertainment, with Hollywood and most of our entertainment industry taking their cues from Progressivism’s cultural objectives. That new order required the active collaboration of our educational system and, in particular, of academia, understood to be critical in perpetuating the Revolution by preparing new generations in a fundamental Progressivist intellectual framework.

But that onrushing Progressivist revolution had one Achilles’ Heel, one major potential weakness—but a weakness that it believed, over time, it could address successfully: it depended in large measure on the depth and quality of the transformation—let us call it, subversion—of the citizenry. The success of decades of continual and relentless indoctrination, of the constant “softening up,” and the gradual implementation of a new, ideologically dogmatic intellectual template,  were aimed at doing just that. Yet the major uncertainty was how quickly and how profound the effects would be—would there be resistance, and just how much and in what form? After all, the Revolution aimed its multifaceted fire at a target, a civilization, that had grown up and developed over a period of several thousand years, and that had resisted barbarians, the violence of the Reformation, horrible plagues and civil wars, various earlier revolutions, and most recently, Soviet Communism.

By their very definition as “progressivist” the Revolutionaries understood that radical change and transformation, and the destruction of two millennia of civilization, would require time and patience. It seemed by the end of the twentieth century that most of the pieces in the revolutionary puzzle—its “long march” through our politics and our institutions—were successfully in place or at least verging on complete success.

Yet, both in Europe and in the United States there were rumblings of disaccord. Post-Communist Russia, once thought under Boris Yeltsin to be a pliant supplicant of the New World Order, rebelled against the evolving state of things, charting its own, increasingly defiant opposition. In Western Europe, newer nationalist and populist conservative political movements, each reaching back into its country’s respective traditions and historical legacies for succor, arose to oppose the tenets and demands of the new order, whether over immigration and ethnic displacement or national independence and the survival of national identity.

Most dramatically and most unsuspectedly, in the United States a mounting popular unease and outright grass roots opposition to the Progressivist Revolution came to a head last November with one giant, raised middle finger aimed specifically at the surprised elites, the political establishment, and the cultural and educational over-class who, once recovering from their shock, set about furiously to bring down by whatever means available the interloper, that brash and uncouth New York billionaire who now seemed to stand athwart them putting the finishing touches on their grotesque New World Order handiwork.

That battle—that vicious “total war”—is what we find ourselves in right now. It is inescapable and cannot be avoided, unless we lock ourselves away in some remote monastery in Nome, Alaska. And there, too, its effects are inevitably felt.

The fear of the establishment and the Deep State—and the hope of those of us arrayed against it—is that once now unleashed, the Counter-revolution will continue, will grow, will organize successfully, that once let loose and tasting the blood of battle, will vigorously engage and undermine and, with God’s good grace and assistance, smite down the Revolution and send its minions straight to the Hell they so richly merit.

But, despite the crack in the door and the positive signs of last November, the Deep State, the managerial state, and its cultural Marxist shock troops, still command overwhelming resources, control most of the media, dominate education and entertainment, and continue to dictate the very language and expression we use to communicate. And many of those supposedly on “our side”—the pseudo-conservatives and Neoconservatives, much of the GOP establishment—actually enable and affirm the victories of our enemies: in many ways, they are worse than those who openly advance the Revolution, for often they “deceive the elect,” they dilute and weaken the genuine counter-revolution.   Thus, the constant requirement to distinguish between their ersatz opposition to the establishment and real and fundamental opposition.

Examining recent events, Pat Buchanan senses that the hopes engendered by the results of the 2016 elections continue to bear fruit, at the very least politically. The retirement of Jeff Flake and Bob Corker from the Senate and their very real anger and bitterness at this turn of events, are sure signs that the popular, “make America great again,” drain the swamps counter-revolution is still alive. Given the profound intellectual damage and harm inflicted on our citizenry and the significant cultural changes let loose in our society, I may not be quite as sanguine as Pat—but, still, like him, I sense and see more hope for real resistance than in the past four or five decades.

We must hope and pray—above all, pray—that this opportunity, this opening for counter-revolution, does disappear due to our fatigue, does not succumb to bribery or fakery. And that, indeed, that may be the crucial question: will our Faith be supported, as it must, by a Hope undeterred by the tawdry attractions and power of our enemies?

Pat’s latest column is followed by another fine item by Ilana Mercer, taking sharp aim at one of the archetypes of the globalist Deep State establishment, John McCain.

Dr. Boyd D. Cathey

It's Trump's Party Now

By Patrick J. Buchanan      Friday - October 27, 2017

"More is now required of us than to put down our thoughts in writing," declaimed Jeff Flake in his oration against President Trump, just before he announced he will be quitting the Senate. Though he had lifted the title of his August anti-Trump polemic, "Conscience of a Conservative," from Barry Goldwater, Jeff Flake is no Barry Goldwater.

Goldwater took on the GOP establishment in the primaries, voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, defiantly declared, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," and then went down to defeat battling to the end after the assassination of JFK made LBJ invincible. The real "Mr. Conservative" was a true profile in courage.

Flake, with only 18 percent approval in Arizona, decided to pack it in rather than get waxed in his own primary. With Falstaff, Flake appears to believe that "discretion is the better part of valor."

Sen. Bob Corker is another summertime soldier calling on colleagues to stand and fight Trump while he retires to Tennessee. It's no wonder the establishment is viewed with such derision.

Flake calls Trump "dangerous to our democracy." But the real threat Trump represents is to the GOP establishment's control of the party's agenda and the party's destiny.

U.S. politics have indeed been coarsened, with Trump playing a lead role. Yet, beneath the savagery of the uncivil war in the party lies more than personal insults and personality clashes.

This is a struggle about policy, about the future. And Trump is president because he read the party and the country right, while the Bush-McCain Republican establishment had lost touch with both. How could the Beltway GOP not see that its defining policies — open borders, amnesty, free trade globalism, compulsive military intervention in foreign lands for ideological ends — were alienating its coalition?

What had a quarter century of Bushite free trade produced? About $12 trillion in trade deficits, $4 trillion with China alone, a loss of 55,000 plants and 6 million manufacturing jobs.  We imported goods "Made in China," while exporting our future.  U.S. elites made China great again, to where Beijing is now challenging our strategic position and presence in Asia.

Could Republicans not see the factories shutting down, or not understand why workers' wages had failed to rise for decades?

What did the democracy crusades "to end tyranny in our world" accomplish?  Thousands of U.S. dead, tens of thousands of wounded, trillions of dollars sunk, and a Mideast awash in blood from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, with millions uprooted and homeless. Yet, still, the GOP establishment has not repudiated the mindset that produced this.  With the Cold War over for a quarter of a century, what is the case now for America, $20 trillion in debt, going abroad in search of monsters to destroy?

Consider. Bush-Obama "open borders" brought in tens of millions of Third World peoples, legally and illegally, to rising resistance from Americans forced to bear the economic and social costs. What was the GOP establishment's reply to the opposition to amnesty for illegals and calls for a moratorium on legal immigration, to assimilate the tens of millions already here? To call them nativists and parade their moral superiority.

Flake and Corker are being beatified by the Beltway elites, and George W. Bush and John McCain celebrated for their denunciations of Trumpism.  Yet no two people are more responsible for the blunders of the post-Cold War era than McCain and Bush.  About which of half a dozen wars were they right?

Yesterday's New York Times recognized Trump's triumph:

"Despite the fervor of President Trump's Republican opponents, the president's brand of hard-edged nationalism — with its gut-level cultural appeals and hard lines on trade and immigration — is taking root within his adopted party."

Moreover, a new question arises:  Can the GOP establishment believe that if Trump falls, or they bring him down, they will inherit the estate and be welcomed home like the Prodigal Son? Do they believe their old agenda of open borders, amnesty, free trade globalism and democracy-crusading can become America's agenda again? Trumpism is not a detour, after which we can all get back on the interstate to the New World Order.  For though unpleasant, it is not unfair to say that if there was one desire common to Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump voters, it was be rid of the regime resting on top of all of us.

Should Trump fall, and a restored establishment attempt to re-impose the old policies, there will be a truly uncivil war in this country.  After the Trumpian revolt, there is no going back. As that most American of writers, Thomas Wolfe, put it, "You can't go home again."

Traditionalists have been told that for years. Now it's the turn of the GOP establishment to learn the truth as well. Goldwater lost badly, but the establishment that abandoned him never had its patrimony restored. It was the leaders they abhorred, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, to whom the future belonged.

Niger: Finally, A War John McCain Doesn't Love

News first broke about America's Niger misadventure on October 4. "The real news here is that the US has forces in Niger, where they're conducting covert operations," this writer tweeted out. "Hashtag America First."

Official media ignored the ambush of the American Special Forces, until the story gained anti-Trump traction. No word came from John McCain. Three weeks hence, the senator from Arizona is making history. McCain, who has never encountered a war he wasn't eager to prosecute, is questioning the folly in Niger.

The senator from Arizona can run but can’t hide from the pollution he has left along his political path. Republicans wisely rejected war in Kosovo; McCain jettisoned party loyalty to call for bombs from above and "more boots on the ground." At the prospects of war with Iran, McCain burst into song, "Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran." The possibility still makes this war ghoul smile. Before that, McCain promised a 100-year war in Iraq.

Senator McCain's jingoism has encompassed Syria, Georgia, Mali, Nigeria, and China. Where the US could not effect regime change, as it did fecklessly in Afghanistan and Libya—McCain would typically call to side with an imagined local "friend of America” against an imagined "foe of America." McCain has many imaginary friends.

Where his target country was beyond US bullying (Russia), the idea of a resumption of a cold war was an option McCain liked. He is currently fulminating over a slight delay in sanctions against Russia. When all efforts to tame the world militarily fail, McCain is partial to the idea of UN troops acting as his surrogates, say in Sudan.

No war makes Johnny a sad boy. But now he's considering a subpoena over Niger.

Global Centralizer

Playing out in Niger are the permanently entrenched, unchanging, American foreign-policy interests. Keen observers will detect a familiar pattern. Once again, the American bias everywhere is toward a powerful, overweening central state. This conceit has put our forces on a collision course with the tribal interests America toils to tame.

Indeed, US foreign policy often flouts local authority. It certainly disavows separatists and generally discourages any meaningful devolution of power. Born of a loose confederation of independent states, America now stands for the strong centralized state. Our interchangeable leaders strive to see the same in the tribal lands of the Middle East and Africa.

Meddling in Yemen's Civil War

In Yemen, America is working to impose a central authority on "bickering sheikdoms." In the South alone, Yemen has 14 such principalities. Southern secessionists are at war with the north, have been for at least 139 years. There, "even the bottled water," notes the Economist, "is called 'South.'" There's no such thing as a united Yemen. Never was.

Into this fray, the US has waded. So stupid and dangerous is our foreign-policy colossus that it imagines America is fighting al-Qaida by backing the Saudi-led coalition to vanquish northern Houthi rebels. The northern Houthi rebels, however, clearly wear many hats. More so than the invading coalition, the rebels are ofthe community and often for the community.

As America's Emirati partners in Yemen are realizing, "Motivating recruits to push north is an uphill task even with the payment of bonuses. Those who were happy to fight for their own homes seem unenthused about fighting for somebody else’s."

Would that the Empire's military would confine itself to that constitutional mandate: fight for home and hearth and no more. Alas, our soldiers have been propagandized to conflate fighting for American freedom with fights in Niger, Burkina Faso (yeah, I know) and Mali.

Ultimately, all the spots America chooses to mess with are too complex for the prosaic American mind to grasp, for we are schooled to see societies unlike our own through a Disneyfied, angels-and-demons prism.

More so than the Middle East, Africa is riven by tribal interests and dynamics. These, McCain or CENTCOM (the United States Central Command) have no hope of understanding, because they’re wedded to the idea that their own home (America) is nothing more than an idea, and never a community of flesh-and-blood people with a shared, treasured patrimony.

And Now, Niger

To their credit, Africans’ fealty is not to deracinated political propositions—democracy, human rights, gay marriage, and communal bathrooms—but to each other. They will kill for clan and kin. (And they kill each other, too.)

Niger is no different. You’re told that the Americans and the French are empowering the local forces of Niger against the mythical ISIS. Poppycock. This is never the case. In Africa, as in Afghanistan or Iraq, the conflicts are regional, tribal, old, if not ancient.

Tongo-Tongo, the Niger village that ambushed our unsuspecting Green Berets, had not been "infiltrated" by hostile forces; that's the take of Niger's central government, itself a very recent development. If past is prologue, it's fair to assume that the Niger government is vested in developing as a French and American client state with all the attendant perks.

Villagers have likely learned not to wait for any trickle-down from the state. The Tongo-Tongo villagers enticed our forces to mill about, giving their homie militant benefactors just enough time to set up an ambush in a kill zone.

Imagine! Locals don't particularly relish a visit from the American and French patrolmen and their Nigerien puppets.

Again, Niger is heavily dependent on bribes from the West (foreign aid, we call it). We reward Niamey (the capital) to play war games with us. This is another case of an Islamic, if multi-ethnic, tribal land, whose people don't want Americans there. (And even if the people of the region wanted us there, America has no business being there. Deplorables vote against the concept of making Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali great again.)

So, if John McCain's hatred of President Trump has driven America's most ardent warmonger to question the American intervention in Niger — that's a good thing.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a widely published weekly column since 1999. She is the author ofThe Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) &Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 26, 2017

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

The Trump-Russia Canard Falls Apart, but the “Russians Did It!” Canard Continues: What are the Deeper Causes?


The sudden about-face in the “Russians Did It!” investigation merits some comment. Indeed, the fact that it was the Hillary Clinton campaign that paid the firm Fusion GPS, who, in turn, contracted with a foreign national, ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, to create the infamous and largely fraudulent “Trump dossier,” with its outlandish accusations, has now spread into the news, on most networks, with Democrats and former Clintonistas scurrying to explain how for ten months such a spurious document became the essential basis for all succeeding investigations of the Trump campaign—when, in fact, it was Clinton and the Democratic National Committee that sponsored it, paid for it, and have used it as a political document to “get Trump.”

A couple of observations need to be made. First, this investigation is still unfolding. And it is not certain how it will develop or what we will learn, or, even if we will ever learn all the sordid details.  What is apparent is this: There has been a common, shared interest among both Democrats and Republicans in the Washington establishment to shape this ongoing investigation and succeeding revelations to their respective benefit. And the common desire on the part of establishment parties is to blame Russia. But is that where the blame really belongs?

Let me explain.

We still don’t know how or exactly from whom the “information” that Steele collected/manufactured came about. The media, most especially Fox, are asserting that it was a shadowy company or individual “connected to the Kremlin” (i.e., Vladimir Putin). But that is only an assumption at the moment, and like past assumptions involving Russia, its president, and its intel services and business operations, the factual basis for connecting the fake “dossier” directly to the Russian government is still mostly educated conjecture.

The fact that is almost completely lost and neglected amidst all the feigned shock and disgust that the Russian government might be involved, is that all major world powers engage in various forms of espionage and efforts to influence opinion in other major nations. Arguably, the United States has been and is much more involved—and more effective—in its efforts to shape domestic opinion and views in other nations of the world, even to the point that our government has actually engineered violent revolutions against established governments. It is not just through various agencies like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the so-called National Endowment for Democracy (NED), but a multiplicity of on-the-ground Non-Governmental Organizations [NGOs] which, while supposedly “independent” of government control and direction, actually work in tandem with our government’s international objectives and strategic plans. We only need to cite recent American-sponsored military coup d’etats against established governments in Libya or Ukraine (where Victoria Nuland, former Obama administration Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, was recorded by accident by the Estonians, naming the man the US planned to install as the new Ukrainian president after our supported rebels overthrew the elected president).

So, government involvement and the hope to influence opinion, even the outcome of elections, in another major power is not unusual. In fact, a major power that refused to engage in efforts to shape favorably foreign opinion and views, including the formal position of a foreign government, could well be accused of dereliction of its national security. But, yes, there are certain vague limits that all nations at least implicitly have understood to exist, and it has been those limits precisely that figure so significantly in the present Russian collusion controversy.

Buying ads on Facebook, attempts to curry favor with domestic political leaders, disseminating information (deeply slanted, of course) via a pliant media, all by a foreign power, is common practice. But the active involvement of one domestic political campaign (Hillary Clinton’s) and, more problematically, very probably the FBI, our nation’s supposedly non-political intelligence agency, to actually contract with foreign agents to create disinformation to potentially indict another domestic political campaign—that assuredly violates Federal statutes, threatens our constitutional system and goes far beyond the usual lineaments of international political skullduggery.

The major and critical point here is not so much that the Russians may have attempted to in one way or another influence American opinion (NOT the operation of the actual elections, themselves, which was practically impossible), but that a major political party and campaign (and probably our intelligence services) actually went out of this country to hire a shady foreign British operative to create and confect a wildly scandalous (and fake) “dossier” that has been used both by the FBI and the Mainstream Media in a concerted, ten month frenzied effort to bring down our president—in essence, to stage a silent coup. And all the while those who paid for it knew it was false and knew its purpose.

That, then, is the scandal and the potential assault on our republic.

More on this as information unfolds.

At this point, after ten months of endless, fractious and mostly ideologically weaponized debate, an underlying question remains somewhat obscured. Most of the major players in this “Russians Did It!” controversy agree on some degree of Russian guilt, influence and espionage. And, despite the end of the Cold War twenty-six years ago, Russia remains the common international foe, and not only for the Neoconservatives, but also for the traditionally pro-Soviet American Left.

There are more profound reasons for this odd unity of far Left and the Neoconservatives.

What is ironic about this is that Russia today is, arguably, in comparison to other countries a much more “conservative” force in the world, a nation more oriented to its traditionally religious past and its historically Orthodox Christian inheritance. And more troubling for those proponents of a New World Order—including both Democrat and Republican/Neoconservative elites—is that Russia not only stands more or less outside that orbit, but, in various ways, opposes it internationally. There is, of course, a degree of incomprehension at work here. Most Americans and Europeans—drenched and schooled in the politically-correct globalist, one world vision that owes its origin to historical Rationalism and the ideas of “liberty” and “equality” propagated by the French and subsequent revolutions—cannot fathom why Russia and its president don’t wish to fall into line and accept the benefits of the evolving global order.

It is a curious phenomenon that ethnic Russians in Crimea as it seceded from Ukraine and Russians in eastern areas of that country, flew—and flaunted—flags and banners modeled exactly on the Confederate Battle Flag.  For it is the beleaguered defenders of Confederate heritage with whom they most closely identified: Not just with secession, but with the Southern and Confederate philosophical response to the 19th century efforts of Progressivism to stamp out dissent and enforce the implementation of the Idea of inevitable Progress. The 21st century incarnations of that idea, whether in the advance Stormtroopers of Cultural Marxism or in the insidious infections of Western cultural decay and religious disintegration, are thus seen as a continuation of that Revolution, and it is that same global revolution that many Russian theorists now understand has them and their historical nation in its cross hairs.

Recently, I came across an essay which explores this background in some detail, with particular emphasis on the essential religious aspect and profoundly historical nature of the building (but unnecessary) conflict which too many of our “experts” neglect or fail to understand. I pass it along as a significant element in understanding in more depth and with more context what is actually occurring and just why modern Russia has become a target for both the Left and for our establishment Neocon/Republican elites—both groups part of the Deep State and its globalist and secular ambitions—and also why traditional Christians and defenders of historic Western tradition need to take another look at what is happening.

Dr. Boyd D. Cathey


Russia Wields Its Own Brand of Christian Conservative Soft Power

US has its 'human rights' industry; Russia, its social conservative values


For many analysts the term Russky mir, or Russian World, epitomizes an expansionist and messianic Russian foreign policy, the perverse intersection of the interests of the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Little noted is that the term actually means something quite different for each party. For the state it is a tool for expanding Russia's cultural and political influence, while for the Russian Orthodox Church it is a spiritual concept, a reminder that through the baptism of Rus, God consecrated these people to the task of building a Holy Rus.

The close symphonic relationship between the Orthodox Church and state in Russia thus provides Russian foreign policy with a definable moral framework, one that, given its popularity, is likely to continue to shape the country's policies well into the future.

"For us the rebirth of Russia is inextricably tied, first of all, with spiritual rebirth . . .and if Russia is the largest Orthodox power [pravoslavnaya dershava], then Greece and Athos are its source." —Vladimir Putin during a state visit to Mount Athos, September 2005.2

Foreign policy is about interests and values. But while Russia's interests are widely debated, her values are often overlooked, or treated simplistically as the antithesis of Western values.

But, as Professor Andrei Tsygankov points out in his book Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin, Russia's relations with the West go through cycles that reflect its notion of honor.3 By honor he means the basic moral principles that are popularly cited within a culture as the reason for its existence, and that inform its purpose when interacting with other nations.

Over the past two centuries, in pursuit of its honor, Russia has cooperated with its European neighbors, when they have acknowledged it as part of the West; responded defensively, when they have excluded Russia; and assertively, when they have been overtly hostile to Russia's sense of honor.

Sometimes a nation's sense of its honor overlaps with present-day interests; but it cannot be reduced to the national interest alone, because political leaders must respond to existential ideals and aspirations that are culturally embedded. A nation's sense of honor, therefore, serves as a baseline for what might be called the long-term national interest.

According to Tsygankov, in Russia's case the long-term national interest revolves around three constants: First, sovereignty or "spiritual freedom;" second, a strong and socially protective state that is capable of defending that sovereignty; and third, cultural loyalty to those who share Russia's sense of honor, wherever they may be.4 All three of these involve, to a greater or lesser extent, the defense of Orthodox Christianity, of the Russian Orthodox Church, and of Orthodox Christians around the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin succinctly encapsulated Russia's sense of honor during his state visit to Mount Athos in 2005, when he referred to Russia as a pravoslavnaya derzhava, or simply, an Orthodox power.

Putin on the Moral Crisis of the West

Little noted at the time, in retrospect, the phrase seems to presage the turn toward Russian foreign policy assertiveness that Western analysts first noticed in his February 2007 remarks at the Munich Security Conference.5

Since then, Putin has often returned to the dangers posed by American unilateralism, and even challenged the cherished notion of American exceptionalism.6 But, until his speech at the 2013 Valdai Club meeting, he did not explicitly say what values Russia stood for, what its sense of honor demanded. It was at this meeting that Putin first laid out his vision of Russia's mission as an Orthodox power in the 21st century.

Putin began his speech by noting that the world has become a place where decency is in increasingly short supply. Countries must therefore do everything in their power to preserve their own identities and values, for "without spiritual, cultural and national self-definition . . . . one cannot succeed globally."7

Without a doubt, he said, the most important component of a country's success is the intellectual, spiritual, and moral quality of its people. Economic growth and geopolitical influence depend increasingly on whether a country's citizens feel they are one people sharing a common history, common values, and common traditions. All of these, said Putin, contribute to a nation's self-image, to its national ideal. Russia needs to cultivate the best examples from the past and filter them through its rich diversity of cultural, spiritual, and political perspectives. Diversity of perspectives is crucial for Russia because it was born a multinational and multi-confessional state, and remains so today.8

Indeed, pluriculturalism is potentially one of Russia's main contributions to global development. "We have amassed a unique experience of interacting with, mutually enriching, and mutually respecting diverse cultures," he told his audience. "Polyculturalism and polyethnicity are in our consciousness, our spirit, our historical DNA."9

Polyculturalism is also one of the driving factors behind the Eurasian Union, a project initiated by the president of Kazakstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev,  that Putin has wholeheartedly embraced.

Designed to move Eurasia from the periphery of global development to its center, it can only be successful, Putin says, if each nation retains its historical identity and develops it alongside the identity of the Eurasian region as a whole. Creating a culture of unity in diversity within this region, says Putin, would contribute greatly to both pluralism and stability in world affairs.

But, in a jab at the West, Putin notes that some aspects of pluriculturalism are no longer well received in the West. The values of traditional Christianity that once formed the very basis of Western civilization have come under fire there, and in their place Western leaders are promoting a unipolar and monolithic worldview. This, he says, is "a rejection . . . of the natural diversity of the world granted by God. . . . Without the values of Christianity and other world religions, without the norms of morality and ethics formed over the course of thousands of years, people inevitably lose their human dignity."10

The abandonment of traditional Christian values has led to a moral crisis in the West. Russia, Putin says, intends to counter this trend by defending Christian moral principles both at home and abroad.

Putin's call for greater respect for traditional cultural and religious identities was either missed or ignored in the West. One reason, I suspect, is that it was couched in a language that Western elites no longer use.

For most of the 20th century, Western social science has insisted that modernization would render traditional cultural and religious values irrelevant. The modern alternative, which pioneer political scientists Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba labelled "civic culture," gravitates toward cultural homogeneity and secularism. These qualities lead to political stability and economic progress. The pattern is exemplified by Anglo-American societies which, they conclude, form the optimal model for a modern society.11

Half a century later, with the rise of China and the collapse of the Soviet Union, it no longer seems so obvious that secularism and homogeneity are the only paths to national success. Scholars increasingly speak of multiple paths to modernity, and even a resurgence of religion.12

Another reason why Putin's message was overlooked is that he is calling upon the West to re-connect with its Byzantine heritage, a heritage that it has often dismissed as non-Western. In Putin's mind, reincorporating Eastern Christianity into Western civilization reveals Russia as a vital part of Western civilization, and requires that Russia be part of any discussion of Western values.

Putin's speech in 2013 was an assertive and optimistic statement of Russian values, and the cultural and spiritual reasons why he felt that Russian influence in the world was bound to grow. By 2014, however, the world had changed. A major reason is the conflict within Ukraine, which many in the West define as a conflict over world order stemming from a profound values gap between Russia and the West.

Russia, by contrast, sees itself as defending not only vital strategic interests in Ukraine, but also its core values of honor, such as spiritual freedom, cultural loyalty, and pluralism. It may seem strange to many in the West, but Russia's attitude on the Ukrainian crisis is inflexible precisely because it sees itself as occupying the moral high ground in this dispute.

A key reason why Western moral criticisms of Russian actions have so little traction among Russians is that the Russia Orthodox Church has regained its traditional pre-eminence as the institution that defines the nation's moral vision and sense of honor. Looking beyond Russia's borders, that vision has come to be known as the Russky mir or Russian World.

Russian World or the Communities of Historical Rus?

It is important to distinguish how this term is used by the Russian state from how it is used by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The use of this term as a "community of Orthodox Christians living in unity of faith, traditions and customs," goes back to at least the beginning of the 19th century, but it was re-purposed as a political concept in the early 1990s by Pyotr Shedrovitsky, an influential political consultant interested in the role that cultural symbols could play in politics. He believed that creating a network of mutually reinforcing social structures in the former Soviet states among people who continue to think and speak in Russian—the "Russky mir"—could be politically advantageous to Russia.13 Its practical foreign policy appeal stemmed from the fact that, by claiming to speak on behalf of nearly 300 million Russian speakers, a weakened Russia would instantly become a key regional player, as well as an influential political force within the countries of the former Soviet Union.

This notion resonated within the Yeltsin administration which, in the mid-1990s was already searching for a "Russian Idea" around which to consolidate the nation and promote a new democratic consensus.14 Members of the Institute of Philosophy at the Russian Academy of Sciences were tasked to research this concept, but although it influenced sections of Russia's first foreign policy doctrine in 1996, it ultimately ran out of steam. As those involved in this project later explained to me, there were simply too many disparate "Russian Ideas" to choose from, and no consensus within the presidential administration or the Institute of Philosophy on which version to support.

More than a decade would pass before the term was used by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. This occurred in 2009 at the Third Assembly of the Russian World, when Patriarch Kirill spoke of how the Russky mir, or Holy Rus as he also called it, should respond to the challenges of globalization.15

The Church, he said, emphasizes the importance of spiritual bonds over the divisions of national borders. It therefore uses the term Russky not as a geographical, or ethnic concept, but as a spiritual identity that refers to the cradle civilization of the Eastern Slavs—Kievan Rus.

This common identity was forged when Kievan Rus adopted Christianity from Constantinople in 988. At that moment the Eastern Slavs were consecrated into a single civilization and given the task of constructing Holy Rus. That mission persisted through the Muscovite and Imperial eras. It survived the persecutions of the Soviet era, and continues today in democratic Russia.16 The core of this community today resides in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus (at other times, Kirill has added Moldova and Kazakhstan), but can refer to anyone who shares the Orthodox faith, a reliance on Russian language, a common historical memory, and a common view of social development.17

In June 2007, President Putin established the Russky mir Fund, tasked with support of the Russian language and cultural inheritance throughout the world.18 Much of this effort was clearly aimed at preserving the use of the Russian language in the former Soviet Union, and with it the popularization of Russia's image. But while there is clearly a great deal of overlap between the religious and political uses of this term, let me highlight several important differences.

As used by the state, Russky mir is typically a political or a cultural concept. In both senses it is used by groups working for the Russian government to strengthen the country's domestic stability, restore Russia's status as a world power, and increase her influence in neighboring states. From the state's perspective, the Russian Orthodox Church can be a useful tool for these purposes.

As used by the Church, Russky mir is a religious concept. It is essential for reversing the secularization of society throughout the former Soviet Union, a task Patriarch Kirill has termed the "second Christianization" of Rus.19 The Russian Orthodox Church sees the Russian government, or for that matter, any government within its canonical territory, as tools for this purpose.

Reaction to the patriarch's use of the phrase Russky mir, which was familiar mainly in its Yeltsin-era political context, was mixed, both inside and outside of Russia. It aroused considerable controversy in Ukraine, where the Greek-Catholic church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kievan Patriarchate dismissed it outright. On the other hand, the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which serves approximately half of all Christians in Ukraine, has been cautiously receptive.

In light of this controversy, Kirill returned to the topic in 2010, to clarify his views of what theRussky mir meant specifically for Ukraine. He reiterated that the baptism of Kievan Rus was an instance of Divine Providence.20 The Russian Orthodox Church has defended the religious and cultural bonds established by this miraculous event for more than a thousand years, and will always continue to do so.21

Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are all equal successors to the inheritance of Kievan Rus, therefore all three should be coordinating centers in the development of the Russian World. To this end, Patriarch Kirill introduced the idea of "synodal capitals"—historical centers of Russian Orthodoxy which would regularly host meetings of the Holy Synod, the Church's chief decision-making body. One of these capitals is Kiev. It is interesting to note that archpriest Evgeny (Maksimenko), a cleric of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, has called upon the patriarch to take the next logical step and move the seat of the Patriarchate of Rus from Moscow back to Kiev.22

Christianity, says the patriarch, does not seek to destroy that which is unique in each nation, but rather to motivate local cultures toward greater appreciation of Christianity's transcendent meaning. Long ago, the ideal Orthodox society was the Byzantine Empire.23Today, in the context of national sovereignty, however, Orthodoxy proposes itself as a spiritual complement to national sovereignty, and a harmonizing resource in a globalizing world.24 Kirill has said that this same principle can be found in the European Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States.25

But while the Church respects state sovereignty, it takes no position on its merits. Nation-states are neither good nor bad, but merely the current framework within which God intends the Church to accomplish the restoration of Holy Rus. It is therefore the Church's duty to make each nation, at least in part, "a carrier of Orthodox civilization."26

Over the course of the past decade, the purely pragmatic, secular version of the Russky mir has slowly yielded to the growing influence of the Church in Russia's political life. Among the many examples, let me highlight just one—President Putin's address in Kiev on the occasion of the 1025th baptism of Rus in 2013.27 This was also Putin's most recent visit to Ukraine.

His remarks at the time reflected every one of the motifs of the Russky mir in its religious context, including: the decisive spiritual and cultural significance of the baptism of Rus; the uniqueness of Orthodox values in the modern world; deference to Kiev's historical significance (before the revolution, he says, it was known as "the second cultural and intellectual capital after St. Petersburg," even ahead of Moscow[!]); and public recognition of Ukraine's right to make any political choice it wishes which, however, "in no way erases our common historical past."28

Conclusions and Prognosis

Having drawn a distinction between the objectives of the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church in promoting the Russky mir, it is important to stress that these two institutions are not in conflict, at least not in the near future.29

The classical formulation for Church-State relations in Eastern Orthodox Christianity was and remains symphonia, or harmony between Church and State, not the Protestant Western ideal of separation.

The establishment of broadly harmonious and mutually supportive relations between Church and State in Russia, for the first time in more than a century, therefore has significant implications for Russian politics.

The first is that Vladimir Putin's high popularity ratings are neither transient nor personal. They reflect the popularity of his social and political agenda, which are popular precisely because they have the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church.

A few years ago, then president Medvedev referred to the Church as "the largest and most authoritative social institution in contemporary Russia,"30 an assessment reinforced by more recent surveys showing that Patriarch Kirill is more often identified as the "spiritual leader [and] moral mentor" of the entire Russian nation, than he is as the head of a single religious confession.31

The success of the Putin Plan, the Putin Model, or Putinism, is thus simple to explain. This Russian government understands that it derives enormous social capital from its public embrace of the Russian Orthodox Church. So long as Russia remains a broadly representative (not to be confused with liberal) democracy, there is little reason to expect this to change.

Some analysts, however, suggest that this embrace may lead to conflict between the state and other confessions. The potential for such conflict is widely recognized, especially by religious leaders, and led to the creation in 1998 of the Interreligious Council of Russia.

Its purpose is two-fold: First, to defuse conflicts among the various religious communities. Second, to present a united religious agenda to politicians.

It has been quite successful on both fronts, and its activities now cover not just Russia, but the entire CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).32

If my assessment of the importance of the religious underpinnings for the current regime's popularity is correct, then it follows that attempts to undermine the unity of the Russky mirwill be widely viewed as an attack on core values, not just in Russia but throughout the Russian World. Economic, political, cultural, and other sanctions will intensify this effect and sharply undermine intellectual and emotional sympathies for the West within this community. While this may not be permanent, I suspect that few in the current generation of Russian leaders retain much hope for the possibility of building a lasting partnership with the West.

Moreover, the Russian Orthodox Church will continue to shape Russia's foreign policy agenda in several ways.

First, it will use the influence of the state to advocate for the concerns of Orthodox Christians throughout the world, even if they are not Russian citizens. This is in keeping with the transnational character of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Second, it will promote Christian moral and social values in international fora, either by itself or in conjunction with other religions. Indeed, close ties on these issues have been forged with the Roman Catholic Church, and with Islamic clerics in Egypt and Iran. Where it does not have direct access to these, it will turn to the Russian media, and to popular international outlets like RT and Sputnik to promote this agenda.

Third, wherever Russian state and civic organizations promote Russian culture and language abroad, the Church will also seek to tack on its religious agenda. While the state promotes the national interests of the Russian Federation, the Russian Orthodox Church will promote the larger cultural identity it sees itself as having inherited from Kievan Rus.

For example, the Church sees the conflict in Ukraine as a civil war within the Russian World. From this perspective, it cannot be resolved by splitting up this community, thereby isolating Ukraine from Russia and destroying the unity of the Russky mir, or by permitting the forcible Ukrainianization of the predominantly Orthodox and Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, which would result in the destruction of the Russky mir within Ukraine. The only permanent solution is for the Ukrainian government to admit the pluricultural nature of Ukrainian society and, in effect, recognize Ukraine as part of the Russky mir. From the Church's perspective, this is the only way to achieve reconciliation among the Ukrainian people and harmony within the Russky mir.

Oddly enough, many moderate Ukrainian nationalists also ascribe to the notion that some sort of symbiotic cultural connection exists between Russia and Ukraine. The typical pro-Maidan Ukrainian intellectual believes that Putin is out to undermine Ukrainian democracy first and foremost because he fears it spreading to Russia. But they predict the inevitable resumption of fraternal ties with Russia, after the freedom-loving, pro-European values of the Maidan succeed in overturning Putin's authoritarian regime in Russia.33 It is hard not to see the similarity between their aspirations for close ties with Russia and those of Patriarch Kirill, only under a completely different set of cultural assumptions.

In conclusion, what impact will the rise of the Russky mir have on Russia's relations with other nations? I anticipate three responses.

In countries where the concept of Holy Rus has no historical context, there will be a tendency to fall back on the Cold War context they are most familiar with, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did when she warned of efforts to "re-Sovietize the region." "It's going to be called customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that," she said, "but let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it."34

Among Russia's immediate neighbors, the response will be mixed. While there are still many who view the Soviet era with nostalgia, and regard the breakup of the USSR as more harmful than beneficial (by 2:1 margins in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Russia),35 it is not at all clear that the Orthodox Church's conservative social vision has a similarly broad appeal. In Ukraine the term Russky mir has become a rallying cry for both sides during this civil war, and is now so hopelessly politicized that its religious and spiritual content have all but disappeared. The unhappy result, as Nicholas E. Denysenko puts it, is "a religious narrative becoming altered against the will of its authors."36

Even further from Russia, the popularity of the Russky mir will likely depend on whether Russia emerges as a global defender of traditional Christian and conservative values. The values gap that some in the West cite as justification for punishing and containing Russia does exist, but it is not the whole picture. The same values gap exists within the West itself.37 Only recently Russia has realized that, while its conservative agenda distances itself from some Europeans, it brings it closer to others. The list of Putinversteher probably now contains more politicians and opinion leaders on the right end of the European political spectrum, than it does on the left.

In the United States, Evangelical Christian social activists, and even a few noted political commentators, have begun to take note of these shared values.38 Two years ago, former Nixon aide and Republican presidential candidate, Patrick Buchanan, told fellow political conservatives that there is much in Putin's rhetoric that makes him "one of us."

"While much of American and Western media dismiss him as an authoritarian and reactionary, a throwback, Putin may be seeing the future with more clarity than Americans still caught up in a Cold War paradigm. As the decisive struggle in the second half of the 20th century was vertical, East vs. West, the 21st century struggle may be horizontal, with conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite."39

The role of the Russian Orthodox Church in this struggle is crucial, because it calls for the creation of a common framework of Christian European values, in effect a new, pan-European civil religion. The Russian state, meanwhile, is only too happy to support these calls because it is only within the context of a common cultural and religious identity ("shared values") that Russia can become a full-fledged political part of the West. Intentionally or not, therefore, the Russian Orthodox Church and its Russky mir have emerged as the missing spiritual and intellectual component of Russia's soft power.

Someday it may even become like U.S. human rights policy, an awkward, but nevertheless defining aspect of national identity, that the government will apply selectively, but never be able to get rid of entirely.


1 Nicolai N. Petro is professor of politics at the University of Rhode Island. This paper was presented at the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) seminar on Russia in Koenigswinter, Germany, February 15-18, 2015. CIOR is one of the independent advisory bodies to the Military Committee of NATO.

2 "Vladimir Putin: Rossiya—pravoslavnaya derzhava,", September 9, 2015.

3 Andrei Tsygankov, Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

4 Ibid., p. 28.

5 Vladimir Putin, "Vystuplenie i diskussiya na Miunkhenskoi konferenstii po voprosam politiki bezopasnosti,: February 10, 2007. Kremlin.Ru.

6 Vladimir Putin "A Plea for Caution," New York Times, September 11, 2013.

7 Vladimir Putin, "Zasedanie mezhdunarodnogo diskussionnogo kluba 'Valdai," September 19, 2013, Kremlin.Ru.

8 Ibid.

9 In his speech Putin uses the terms "pluriculturalism" and "polyculturalism" interchangeably, distinguishing them from "multiculturalism." Multiculturalism is the idea that societies should foster multiple identities but give no preference to any one culture. It is dismissive of culture as a unifying concept. Pluriculturalism is the idea that all cultural identities have value and help to foster social cohesion. Polyculturalism refers to the idea that diverse cultures all share some overarching common value. Cultural identities are therefore valuable not only within a particular society, but overlap with the cultural values of other societies, and forge transnational cultural bonds.

10 Vladimir Putin, "Zasedanie."

11 Harry Eckstein, "Social Science As Cultural Science, Rational Choice As Metaphysics," in Culture Matters: Essays in Honor of Aaron Wildavsky, eds. Richard J. Ellis and Michael Thompson (Boulder, Col.: Westview Press, 1997), pp. 30-31.

12 Shmuel Eisenstadt, ed. Multiple Modernities. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2002.

13 Pyotr Shchedrovitsky, "Russky mir. Vozmozhnosti tseli samoopredeleniya,"Nezavisimaya gazeta, February 14, 2000.

14 Nicolai N. Petro, The Rebirth of Russian Democracy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995.

15 Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, "Vystuplenie Svyateishego Patriarkha Kirilla na torsheztvennom otkrytii III Assemblei Russkogo mira," November 3, 2009.

16 Philip (Ryabykh), Hegumen. "'Russky mir—eto tsivilizatsionnaya obshchnost. . . ," June 17, 2010, Patriarchia.Ru.

17 Ibid.

18 "Stenografichesky otchet o vstreche s delegatami Vserossiiskoi konferentsii prepodavatelei gumanitarnykh i obshchestvennykh nauk," Kremlin.Ru, June 21, 2007.

19 "Patriarch Kirill challenges Church to 'reset' people's minds," Interfax, November 16, 2010, cited in Johnson's Russia List 2010-#215.

20 Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, "Vystuplenie Svyateishego Patriarkha Kirilla na torsheztvennom otkrytii IV Assemblei Russkogo mira," Patriarchia.Ru, November 3, 2010.

21 Ibid.

22 "Over 80% of Ukrainians Do Not Know About Doctrine of Russian World,", April 26, 2013. It was Peter, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus, who moved his see to Moscow in 1325, its title, however, was not changed until 1448.

23 Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, ""Vystuplenie . . . na torsheztvennom otkrytii IV Assemblei Russkogo mira."

24 Ibid.

25 Ibid., and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, "Vystuplenie . . . na torsheztvennom otkrytii III Assemblei Russkogo mira."

26 "Mitropolit Kirill otvetil na voprosy frantsuzskogo zhurnala 'Diplomatie'," Pravoslavie.Ru,October 4, 2005,.

27 "Konferentsiya 'Pravoslavno-slavayanskie tsennosti—osnova tsivilizatsionnogo vybora Ukrainy'," Kremlin.Ru, July 27, 2013.

28 Ibid.

29 I discuss their potential for conflict in "The Role of the Orthodox Church in a Changing Russia," ISPI Analysis #121 (Institute for the Study of International Politics, Milan, Italy), June 2012.

30 Alex Anishyuk, "Russian Orthodox Church allowed to enter politics," Reuters, February 3, 2011, cited in Johnson's Russia List 2011-#20.

31 "Patriarkh Kirill: chetyre goda tserkovnogo sluzheniya,", February 6, 2013.

32 The official web site of the Interreligious Council is

33 In a twist on this theme, former president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, who now serves as an advisor to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, commented that "given the necessary knowledge, training and weapons they [the Ukrainian army] could seize all of Russia.", February 7, 2015. .

34 Bradley Klapper, "Clinton fears efforts to 're-Sovietize' in Europe." Associated Press, December 6, 2012.

35 Neli Esipova and Julie Ray. "Former Soviet Countries See More Harm From Breakup.", December 19, 2013.

36 Nicholas Denysenko, "Civilization, Church, World: Competing Religious Narratives from Ukraine and Russia," Bohdan Bociurkiw Memorial Lecture, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton, Alberta, February 11, 2015.

37 Rob Moll, "Views of the WEIRD (Western Educated Industrial Rich and Democratic),"Christianity Today, July 19, 2012.

38 Rod Dreher, "An Orthodox-Evangelical Alliance?" The American Conservative, November 10, 2014.

39 Patrick J. Buchanan, "Putin's Paleoconservative Moment." The American Conservative, December 17, 2013.

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