A Tiny Difference (Translation)

image Let’s not compare modern Kiev with Hussein’s Iraq.  Let’s compare the then-America with the now-Russia.

My translation of: http://profile.ru/pryamayarech/item/79939-malenkaya-raznitsa by Dmitry Bykov.

“USA does not and cannot have moral grounds to lecture on following international norms and respecting other countries’ sovereignty. What about the bombings in former Yugoslavia or invasion of Iraq on falsified evidence?” – MID RF ominously asks, commenting on the suggested sanctions against Russia.  And it’s a reasonable question, a favorite argument of couch patriots and propagandists: how can you?.. Have you looked in the mirror?..  What about Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan?!  Let’s not, as was suggested in that same commentary, stoop to polemics by way of tear-jerking propaganda and remind anyone about what was was going on in Yugoslavia under Milosevic, or compare modern Kiev with Hussein’s Iraq, where people were being dissolved in acid.  Let’s instead compare something else: the then-America vs. the now-Russia.

Let’s take as a given, that the young Bush and Clinton have grossly violated international norms. But America was not synonymous with either Bush or Clinton.  The bombings of Yugoslavia were accompanied by turbulent polemics on every level – from congress to press. Clinton was subjected to the harshest of criticism, when in that same America intellectuals condemned interference in Yugoslavia poking fun of the very idea of humanitarian bombings.  Even the most fanatical patriots didn’t rejoice that America finally got off its knees and showed the world a true world policeman.  Even those, who openly supported US actions in Yugoslavia, didn’t fall into a state of exaltation over national pride – as the balance of power was only too obvious.  And Americans didn’t demonstrate a touching solidarity.  Not to mention, that nobody in the US discussed the possibility of annexing any part of Yugoslavia to form the fifty-first state.

The invasion by Bush junior into Iraq was accompanied by a real shattering divide in the American society: such harsh criticism wasn’t experienced, it seems, by any American president over the entirety of the hundred years.  In Europe and US alike, the liberal left intelligentsia loudly condemned the war, the leading journalists screamed about double-standards, the manifestations of discontent were no less popular or extreme, than in the times of Vietnam.  Michael Moore filmed “Fahrenheit 9/11”, an expose movie for which he got the Palme D’Or award at the Cannes Festival.  American writers didn’t sign a gushing petition to honor Bush for saving the world from “fascism” in time of great crisis. Not in American government, nor even among Republicans, was there complete agreement on invading Iraq; everything was under suspicion including the very evidence and intelligence reports on Hussein having weapons of mass destruction (that very same “falsified evidence” referenced to by MID RF).  As a consequence of this war, Bush’s popularity plummeted and, ultimately, lead to Republicans losing in the 2008 elections. Even despite still raw memory of September 11th, the Iraq war had neither complete, nor even 80% support within the American society; this society didn’t treat war as a cause for celebration or a reason to bond. And, again, nobody in the US claimed that Bush’s aggression will finally show that belligerent Russia so intent on forcing its standards upon others around the world.

In other words, America isn’t its presidents, government, or congressmen; its role in the world isn’t limited to being the world policeman; there is always the option to fix its mistakes akin to Vietnam – not just under economic pressure, but also as a consequence of opinions of its own people and the world as a whole.  America forcing itself into internal affairs of others isn’t accompanied with complete internal “Hurrah”, increased repressions against those who differ in their opinion, and passage of laws against online criticism.  On the contrary, every such act reinvigorates the American public discourse leading to hundreds of books, movies, and organizations.  Vietnam didn’t only give rise to a generation of veterans, but also to a generation of pacifists.  Most importantly – those who condemned the war in the US weren’t called traitors, at least not on the government level.

Russia, from the world’s point of view, is dangerous towards its own people, towards the world, and towards its neighbors not only because it’s ready to apply its military might to defend “its people” and “its territories”, despite neglecting to do so on occasion; its dangerous in that  it has absolutely no brakes that can be applied to such decisions.  It has no multiple parties, the parliament is unanimous and monolithic in its voice, and its people are ready, at first request and even without one, to approve any act, however unconscionable – for such acts pump up our national self-esteem, and kindness and respecting lives of others will be interpreted as a sign of weakness and betrayal.  America is not just about its power. But Russia is- it is only about its power, to which only 2-5% of its people are ready to stand up to.  And the support for this power will be complete and unwavering – at least until the day, when that power will begin having problems of its own and there will be yet another chance to gloriously betray it and itself.

Original:

Маленькая разница

Дмитрий Быков

«У США нет и не может быть морального права на нравоучения по поводу соблюдения международных норм и уважения суверенитета других стран. Как быть с бомбардировками бывшей Югославии или вторжением в Ирак по сфальсифицированному поводу?» — грозно спрашивает МИД РФ, комментируя предполагаемые санкции в отношении России. И это вполне правомочный вопрос, любимый аргумент комнатных патриотов и пропагандистов: как же вы нас?.. А сами?.. А Югославия, Ирак, Афганистан?! Не будем, как сказано в том же комментарии, опускаться до полемики с низкопробной пропагандой, напоминать о том, что творилось в Югославии при Милошевиче, и сравнивать нынешний Киев с хусейновским Ираком, где людей растворяли в кислоте. Сравним иное: ту Америку с нынешней Россией.

Read the full article at: http://profile.ru/pryamayarech/item/79939-malenkaya-raznitsa

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