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Russia’s self-healing opportunity in Ukraine
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on conflict resolution in Ukraine, first drafted on March 7, published on March 8,
2014
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    The United States must and will maintain the capability to defeat any attempt by an enemy—whether a state or
    non-state actor—to impose its will on the United States, our allies, or our friends. We will maintain the forces
    sufficient to support our obligations, and to defend freedom. Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential
    adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States.

    US National Security Strategy 2002, now revised by the Obama Administration

Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): It should by now be clear to everybody that Russia pursues two
major objectives with
its intervention in post-revolution Ukraine. First, it is trying to impede a possible integration
of Ukraine into the NATO alliance. And secondly, it is working towards not losing an ally in its quest to defend a
Eurasian social model that could revive the old entente between ex-member states of the Soviet Union. Let’s
look at these objectives one by one and start with Russia’s military concern about a pro-Western Ukraine. Does
Noah denkt™ believe that it is legitimate for Russia to want to dictate the alliance decisions of another,
neighboring country?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd):  Well, countries like Estonia, Luxembourg or Belgium would never dream about
invading their neighbors only to prevent those countries from changing military alliances. Big countries an
notably UN veto powers, however, might have a different view on this. So, we can only answered the
aforementioned question adequately if we ask ourselves if other big countries, say China or the United States,
would indeed be willing to accept a new hostile regime in a neighboring country if that new regime were to
seriously affect that their own security interests.  Now, obviously there are no immediate analogies in history to
the current Russia-Ukraine case. Nevertheless, there are indications such as China’s active hostility towards
Taiwan, or the United States’ embargo against Cuba that have us think that Russia’s invoking of national
security concerns over Ukraine’s revolution might not be as far out of the line as one might initially think. Just
look at the above mentioned US National Security Strategy of 2002 to understand that big powers sometimes
may be tempted to sideline equal rights considerations [or
post-modern collective security arrangements] if
their national interests are at stake. In other words, the interpretation of historical evidence suggests that there
may be some de facto legitimacy in Russia’s desire to have a say in Ukraine military decision making process.

AE: Let’s assume that this analysis is correct, what does Noah denkt™ then make of Russia’s pronounced
defense of a Eurasian social model that is based on a strongman leadership and traditional, patriarch family
values?
Nd: Well, in Russia’s mind the Eurasian social model is also based on the idea of social cohesion, discipline,
the ability to endure a certain degree of suffering without falling into despair, and a devotion to an intuitively felt
transcendence. But be that as it may, the question that Russian leaders need to ask themselves is whether
their focus on traditional top-down values isn't impairing their country of the ability to develop the multi-faceted
entrepreneurial competitiveness that any economy needs in a highly interconnected market-place. After all, it
can’t be denied that a strongman political system equally creates a strongman, i.e. Oligarchic economy. These
latter economies however have a hard time to generate the vivid entrepreneurial creativity that a post-modern
economy requires. If Russia, hence, wants to continue being fundamentally a raw material provider than it can
possibly continue with the Eurasian strongman model. If it, however, wants to stop loosing its creative talent (i.
e., the likes of Sergey Brin) to other countries, it needs to embrace a more California approach to its social and
political aspirations.  

AE: In other words, Russia is at a historical crossroads at this time?
Nd: Absolutely. It seems to us as if it has a wonderful opportunity now to honestly address its own identity crisis
and thereby overcome the defiant inferiority complex that is characterizing its political and military aspirations at
this time. - Yes, one might even go a step further and argue that if Russia’s leadership fails to take advantage
of the self-therapeutic opportunity that Ukraine is providing it with then that leadership may eventually have to
pay the same revolutionary price that the Russian tsars had to pay before them.   

AE: Are you not getting ahead of yourself here by invoking such concepts as identity crisis and inferiority
complex when referring to Russia?
Nd: We don’t think so. We believe that Russia’s defense of a Eurasian social model is ultimately less inspired
by an admiration of traditional values than by the utilitarian calculation that any pro-Western approach would
cause it considerable structural reform and social disarray. It therefore prefers to pretend to itself that it isn't
admiration which it is seeking from others but rather the ability to be feared by those others when in reality it is
suffering like dog from the rejection it experiences in places like Ukraine.

AE: What is the evidence for that theory?
Nd:  Well, you just have to look at Russia’s quest for admiration during the recent Sotchi games to understand
that it isn't indifferent to the amount of love it gets from the wider international public.

AE: But it is also true, is it not, that Russia’s flirt with Western ideas in the Yeltsin era was a total disaster for
that country?
Nd: That is true. And the West has to do some Mea Culpa here for brandishing an overly simplistic approach to
the implementation of its core values. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a better way to achieve the very
same goals.

AE: Which way could that be?
Nd: Introduce a German-style vocational system. Create a guild-based system for the various professions
which oversees the training and quality of work in their respective field. Make university education more
entrepreneurial. Make sure that television does an inspiring educational job. Provide for efficient public
administration. Create a functioning judiciary system and so on.

AE: Sounds easy on paper!
Nd: Well, it still needs to be done, and better sooner than later…
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Keywords:

Russia's identity crisis, Russia's inferiority complex, Russia's embrace of Eurasian values, Eurasian social model,
Eurasian social model and economic competitiveness, Russia's opportunity in Ukraine, Russia's loss of creative
talent, Russia's flirt with Western Ideas
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