Feeble is such a good word. Say it.
So on tuesday the Russians flew a TU-95 Bear along our southern coast which was promptly intercepted and shadowed by the RAF. Of course the fact that this happened the day that the Litvinenko enquiry started is pure coincidence.
I can’t say I like Russia much. There are individual Russians that I like but generally I tend to view Russia as a primitive place on the fringes of European society, I wouldn’t even call them European and neither would they. They’ve never managed to move away from the autocrat-serf model of government and they’ve never managed to become even remotely competent at diplomacy. The closest they get is what they call “Maskirovka” but actual diplomacy where they meet another country as an equal and engage in honest and open dialogue I believe the historical record shows to be beyond them and I believe it to be a deeply set, culturally ingrained, inability. I think that maybe it even extends down to the individual level. I can’t imagine how a political system so perfectly replicates itself over three regime changes without the political system simply being an expression of the culture.
There’s never really been a reason in Russian history to be diplomatic and Russian history after the Mongol invasions is essentially one of military expansionism under the justification of state security. It’s possible to check it, but ultimately the pattern resumes right down to the present day. The Tsars dealt with Turkey largely the same as Stalin dealt with Europe and Putin deals with Ukraine and Ivan the terrible dealt with the various people’s of Siberia: annexation, annexation, annexation. There’s nothing in Russian culture about coexistence; it’s a purely dog eat dog mentality. Either you rule or are ruled as they see it.
Russians are unsophisticates. They understand sending the tanks in and they understand sending bombers to probe people’s airspace; threats and violence they understand, but anything broader than that is beyond them. They can’t even treat the Ukrainians with respect even though they talk about Russia being founded by the Kievan Rus which you would think would make Russians see Ukraine and Ukrainians rather like Americans and the Anglosphere see the UK. The US wouldn’t invade us if we pulled out of NATO, this would not go down well with the American people and the American president wouldn’t get popular support for pissing off the entire global community and wouldn’t be seen as some kind of strong man for it either. They’d be seen for what they were, a dick picking on people who are practically family, and in a lot of instances are family.
Not so with the Russians. The Russians decide that their Ukrainian brothers need to be shoehorned into the Russian sphere by military force and that laud the leader that does this. No Russian leader since whenever has ever been capable of winning people over by diplomacy. A Russian leader couldn’t go to Kiev and pour praise on Ukraine in the way that UK Prime Ministers and US Presidents visit each other and heap praise on one another and sign all kinds of cooperation agreements. Even with people they regard as their closest kin the Russians are only capable of behaving within the framework of autocrat-serf.
It’s exactly like ancient Persia where the Athenians sent envoys to Persia to ask for an alliance and the Persians asked them to surrender. The very concept of an alliance was beyond the Persian capacity to understand; either you submitted to the Persians peacefully or they subdued you; no other relationship was possible. I think this can be seen in the breakdown of Sino-Soviet relations because the Chinese are exactly the same; neither have ever been in a Westphalian style system which requires complex diplomacy and which allows for a world view more complicated than simply imposing one’s will by force and either succeeding or failing.
So now they’re getting arsey with us by flying bombers down our coast line without their transponders on and I think we’re meant to be frightened or something because if the position was reversed they’d be terrified but they don’t get that we’re more sophisticated than they are and we don’t actually have to respond to their aggression with aggression; we are not intimidated by tin pot dictators who run failing petrostates. We’ve been beating empires for half a millennium by recognising that military force only works if you can afford it and Russia can’t.
This thing always makes me think of all those cases where a supposedly happy person who has no problems kills themselves and everyone is, understandably, shocked. I think people think that depression means that you look and act completely miserable all the time, which isn’t the case.
I am mentally exhausted. I hate it when people say that you can only understand something if you have experienced it, I think that, generally speaking, is bullshit but with this I actually think there is truth to it. So often I’ve been accused of laziness and there is a difference between being lazy and mentally being in a place where there is just this wall of exhaustion between you and what you need to do.
When I’m lazy I’m fine, I just don’t want to do it. When I’m like this either I would like to do it or I’m in this place where desire doesn’t really seem to matter. I can’t put it into words. It’s like there is a cog missing in the machine and one part of the machine is whirring away but the power isn’t quite being transmitted to the rest of it because the cog is missing. My brain is broken. I don’t even think of it as broken actually, it’s more my brain does not work that way.
Maybe it’s me? I am remarkably upbeat today. A little tired, a little grumpy, but positive. I was mooching through town, I had to get passport photos and then I decided to have a look around. Along the way I called C and we had a chat and you know, about five or six times I had women checking me out, so ego boost. I headed into CeX which I always remember as this really dodgy shop where probably stolen goods are flogged on the open market and it would appear that they’ve cleaned up their image. That said this is a posh part of town.
I managed to pick up A Most Wanted Man for £6 which is reasonable considering it came out last Monday and I had it preordered for £9 on Amazon. I’m glad I cancelled that now. The shop assistant was stunning, a tall, bobbed, brunette with a nose piercing looking alternative in the way that is a bit too middle class to really work, too clean, too neat, but cute.
*That giggle I have when I know I’m winning and there’s nothing anyone can do about it*
I may be hypomanic.
I may not be.
I don’t know.
I’m feeling rather happy and positive today. We have forward momentum and steak. I shall now have steak for lunch, potter about doing things which must be done and then I shall go out and have steak again. So that’s how things are today.