Again, on the US-Russia Relations

I don’t know how to say this any clearer, so I’ll just repeat myself: no matter what the US could, would, should or might have done, its relations with Russia would still be very bad. Because that’s what Russia needs at this point. The anti-US feelings meet a huge internal need in Russia.

George W. Bush could have walked on water, but this would have changed nothing in terms of the US-Russia relations. So let’s stop dumping on Bush already. On this particular issue, he is really not to blame.

About these ads

4 comments on “Again, on the US-Russia Relations

  1. What internal need does hating another nation fulfill? I must admit this national rival thing always puzzled me. I grew up during the Cold War being completely against this nonsensical contest we were in. Of course I was young and naive, but I could never figure out why groups of people couldn’t just leave other groups of people be. (I’m talking about the national competition thing where one country thinks itself better than the other, or being victimized by the other, or in some sort of relationship resembling a dysfunctional romance. I’m not talking about the communism-vs.-capitalism thing, because for one thing I don’t believe you have to be pro-capitalist to believe that communism is a bad way to run a community bigger than maybe 100 like-minded people. But that’s another blog post.)

    tl;dr, I’m not sure there is just a psychological reason for Russians to be anti-American. There is probably quite a few practical reasons for them to not be happy with us — American cultural hegemony and us starting or escalating wars on their borders being quite sensible reasons to give us the stink eye.

    • “What internal need does hating another nation fulfill?”

      - The same as everywhere else. There is no national (or any other collective) identity without a hated, feared and endlessly discussed Other. The more tenuous one’s national identity, the greater the hatred for the Other should be. This is a mechanism of national identity that always has and always will work the same.

      ” Of course I was young and naive, but I could never figure out why groups of people couldn’t just leave other groups of people be”

      - Because without hating another group, a group does not exist. That’s simply how groups work. Especially, when we are talking about groups whose members have never met (e.g. nations).

      “There is probably quite a few practical reasons for them to not be happy with us — American cultural hegemony and us starting or escalating wars on their borders being quite sensible reasons to give us the stink eye.”

      - This changes nothing. They need an enemy to hate and they will continue hating it no matter what.

      • I must say this hating-the-other thing doesn’t make personal sense to me. Possibly because I’m American and have the opposite delusion that we’re Everybody’s Friend (the main initial mood I sensed after the World Trade Center was attacked wasn’t anger or fear, but depression — I had people tell me how sad they were). And of course I’ve seen at work here in the past ten years with the whole” OMG Muslims are the worst keep them out of the country!” thing, but… I refuse to accept it’s merely part of human nature. I believe it’s rather a dysfunction of human nature, left over from our tribal days, and we can rise above it. Of course that takes work, and most people don’t like to work. I had it easy, I guess — I was brought up this way. My parents didn’t play us-and-them games; they befriended all sorts of people and made sure my sister and I were exposed to different cultures, and it helped to grow up in Miami which is quite multi-cultural, even more so than New York where everyone seems to huddle in little enclaves and never leave them (I had a co-worker of Puerto-Rican and Colombian extraction tell me that until she left New York she never met a “white person”).

        Then again, maybe that’s just me. I’ve never been a sports fan, so the whole go team! thing just bemuses me.

  2. I get the impression that you think Russian society ‘hates’ the US in a way that is synonymic with ‘blame’ ? If so, I could understand that – it would function in exactly the same way as ‘hating the poor’ does – a useful displacement because fixing, or even facing the root cause of the problem is too difficult. I can also see how it might be quite politically useful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s