The New Cold War appears to be just around the corner

…only this time with even more nation alistic zealotry. This article speaks of, among many other things, the Russian state-sponsored “Nashi” movement. This youth program goes the Hitler Youth one better. It has all the usual xenophobic, wild-eyed nationalism, but also includes an extremely insidious eugenics component - it encourages Russian youth to come to these camps and procreate. Lots of state-endorsed sex + nonstop propaganda = thoroughly brainwashed youth.

The state line is that they are trying to increase birth rates, but you don’t have to be a historian to see shades of Nazi Germany. Russia has been sliding toward fascism since Putin took hold and renationalized everything, and has had a Weimar-esque economy for quite a while now. Capitalism fell into the hands of organized crime, since they had been the ones who controlled the black market during the Cold War. Violence is rampant, and conditions are poor.

All this has created a powder-keg wherein the common rank and file began getting nostalgic about the old days of state-run Russia. Putin complied -all too happily.

So, think we’ll actually go to war with them this time?

Probably not directly; as before, mutually assured destruction will keep the combatants from a stand up fight. Proxy wars, oh, there will be proxy wars.

The Russians are becoming our enemies again and nobody notices because they’re all afraid of the Ay-rabs.

Right, because the Nazis never embraced eugenics. :rolleyes: Could the tone of that article be any more hysterical?

Russia is fucked up, but it irritates me when people insist on making the problems of the present identical (or very, very similar) to problems of the past. You can see pretty clearly that elements of the U.S. government want the War on Terror to be the new Cold War, which is bound to lead to decades of ridiculousness.

You’ve pulled off an interesting double play, Ogre, in that you’ve compared modern Russia to both Communist Russia and Nazi Germany (and, to a lesser degree, Weimar Germany) all at the same time.

Here’s my thoughts on the matter.
As we develop more alternatives to fossil fuels we can wash our hands of that whole stinkin’ region. With the exception of China and the far east. With the Asians as our allies and our oil crutch reduced I think we’ll be fine. We don’t need Russia. Russia will end up in conflict with the ME again and we can sit back and watch, I hope.

Their uniforms really aren’t cool enough to be proper fascists.

Don’t you know that the Nazis were socialists?

Russia is wounded from their loss of empire and national pride.

Part of the population thing is that they still control a vast territory that is sparsely populated, surrounded by states where this is not the case. The Chinese covet the Amur region in the far east, and as time progresses and the population differentials get higher, it’s likely to be more and more of an issue between those two nations. Just look at all the farmland in surrounding nations that is being “leased” by China. How many decades of Chinese Occupation do you think it will take before China feels the need to “defend” their continued occupation of these extraterritorial domains? (cough Sudetenland cough)

In the short run, Russia is facing West as their enemy because of history and cultural connections. In the long run, they’re going to end up seeing China as their enemy.

Yes, of course. I think a lot of those elements are there, or are developing. An extremely depressed economy, a loss of national pride, increased state control accompanied by pro-nationalist propaganda and a slant back toward fascism. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to at least begin comparing what could happen in those circumstances to what we know has happened in the past.

Are you specifically refuting my interpretation? If so, what makes you uncomfortable? What am I not getting right (or incomplete, or whatever?)

Also, yes, I know the Nazis experimented with eugenics. I misspoke. What I meant to say is that I’m not aware of the Nazis establishing a large-scale infrastructure by which kids are given free reign to fuck their brains out, while being exposed to massive amounts of propaganda. Sure, eugenics was used in Nazi Germany, but I was under the impression that Hitler Youth was built as more of a militaristic establishment, with favorable matches being encouraged or forced at some later point. The insidious thing about Nashi is that the kids (100,000 of them so far) think this is THE GREATEST THING EVER, and they’re more likely to believe anything the government tells them given lots of state-encouraged fuckin’. I mean, these are adolescents we’re talking about here. Highly malleable, highly suggestible, and highly subject to the whims of their hormones.

People keep throwing this justification out like it means something. Permit me to disabuse you of this misperception; (Mutually) Assured Destruction is not a viable or stable strategy even with two players; with three or more competing interests, it is entirely untenable by itself in preventing escallation. It makes several basic assumptions that just aren’t valid, including that all parties will act in a rational manner to protect their populations, that perfect information is known about an opponent’s strategy and intention, and that permissable action and communcation/command/control systems operate without error.

In fact, all of these assumptions have been invalidated at some point during the Cold War, leading the US and USSR almost to nuclear exchange. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy and EXCOMM totally misunderstood Soviet intentions and instead of offering the peaceable exchange of removing Jupiter IRBMs from Turkey and Greece in exchange for the Soviets dismantling their bases in Cuba (which is all the Soviets really wanted, and by the time it would have been in effect the United States had planned to stand down the Jupiter anyway as the Atlas ICBM became operational) they played hardball in public, resulting in EXCOMM literally discussing not if but when and how they should strike Cuba and how much reprecussion could they expect from the Soviet Union. Castro, for his part, demanded that Khruschchev respond to any attempt by the United States to invade Cuba by using nuclear weapons with full knowledge that Cuba would be utterly annihilated. (Although well documented elsewhere, Robert McNamara describes this in the Errol Morris documentary The Fog Of War; Morris interprets this as the lesson “Rationality will not save us,” and McNamara screatches about how Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro were all “rational individuals,” but in truth if they’d all been rational it never would have gotten to this point; each was so tied up in his own agenda that they didn’t perceive the situation of the others.)

And on no less than half a dozen occasions the United States and the Soviet Union were literally within minutes of a nuclear exchange, and in at least one case it was the actions of a single mid-level individual, disobeying direct orders and the requirements of his command, which prevented the Soviet Union from launching an all-out strike in response to what they believed to be an ICBM heading from the United States toward the USSR. (See Lt. Col Stanislaw Petrov.) NORAD has had a couple of similar incidents stemming from improper use of a training tape (which showed a full-out attack in operational, rather than simulation, mode) and a faulty computer register which miscounted incoming missiles. Hell, even post-Cold War there have been some scares; in 1995 the Soviet Union went on highest alert as a Norwegian sounding rocket was mistaken for a submarine launched ballistic missile.

It’s worth noting that while Assured Destruction–a doctrine the Soviets never used in their own planning–was an invention of McNamara and systems theorists at thinktanks like the RAND Corporation that extended Eisenhower’s strategy of “massive retaliation” into a Total War perspective. Famous theorists like Herman Kahn pointed out significant flaws in Assured Destruction; specifically, that it required repeat strike capability and decentralized control so that a disabling strike to the National Command Authority (read: the President and his immediate successors) would not cripple the United States retaliatory capability. This, however, makes control and security even more difficult, famously parodied in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. While it (probably) would never have been that easy for a single commander in either the US or the USSR to unilaterally launch a strike with something like the movie’s “Plan R”, the opportunity clearly existed for a mistake or deliberate sabotage to cause a launch order to be issued under mistaken or false impulses. And while General Turgidson argued that, “Well, I, uh, don’t think it’s quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up,” in fact a single “slip-up” is all that would be required to utterly destroy a vast majority of the Industrialized world, East and West, particularly once both nations fielded hundreds of MIRV-capable ICBMs and SLBMs ready for launch at literally a moments notice.

And these were two nations who had much to lose, a high investment in the concept of deterrence, and puppet states by which to compete with one another and let off steam without direct confrontation. In a world where you have a spectrum of nuclear-armed regional powers without those constraints and outlets, depending on the other guy’s sense of self-preservation is like believing the guy playing three card monty on an overturned cardboard box is being honest.

As for the US and Russia, it’s really something of a puzzle to me why they’re returning to saber-rattling and vying for the concurrence of Balkan nations. In the case of Putin, it’s largely, I think, a matter of appealing to national pride and the former glory days of the Soviet Union, if not looking forward to Moscow being the “Third Rome” of Western civilization, and developing a fascist-like cult of personality around himelf. For Bush the Younger, I’d have to guess that he’s trying to evoke the same sentiment that worked so very well for Reagan (which is ironic considering how Bush the Elder contrasted in many ways with Reagan’s notions of foreign and fiscal policy). He needs an enemy to shake his spindly fist at, and invoking “the terrorists” and “al-Quida” is getting old and tired. And nobody is really putting forward the dough to fund a proper Cold War, which means that China, India, and even perhaps nations like Iran and Japan may have a more significant active influence in what goes one…which means more hands at the table and less certainty of who is bluffing about what.

Assured Destruction is not going to protect you; it really didn’t before–one thing I agree with McNamara about is that nuclear war was prevented by luck–and it’s not going to work now. While I agree with Uncommon Sense that we should work to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources for both strategic and political reasons, there’s no way we can just sit back and observe; by it’s history and stature (and financial ties to every industrialized nation, including China, Japan, Korea, India, the EU, et cetera) the United States is an inherent member in the process, whether we like it or not.


Thread moved from the Pit to GD at the request of the OP.

Of course not, and it’s understandable why people make those comparisons. They’re very obvious in this case. But to begin with, I’m reluctant to draw conclusions from that story. And the past can be instructive, but sometimes people want the present to fit their frame of reference. For example, I think some of our problems in the “war on terror” come from people insisting the present conflict is like World War II and not considering the differences in things like mass media.

The point is that I don’t know what is right or wrong - not with you, but with the story you are reacting to. The tone is very extreme and I can’t take it at face value. Not only are the camps compared to Hitler Youth activities and thoroughly condemned as an “attack [on] democracy,” the writer feels compelled to weigh in on subjects like the atomic bombing of Japan. I don’t know how reliable the facts are, so I can’t get worried about what this portends for a “new Cold War.”

They may not have, but it’s a different country and times are different. Which isn’t to say I am okay with the idea, obviously.

I don’t know enough about the time period to comment, but I know there was some forced adoption and there may have forced breeding. But even if that is so, these camps sounds like a combination of two evils and not something markedly worse.

Not to underplay Putin’s bad qualities or anything, but… in a large number of cases, don’t you think it’s more likely the kids are going to these things because they can get laid? “Put out for Putin” may be a great slogan, and I am very much bothered by governments getting involved in these kinds of matters, but it might be worth considering other interpretations.

Sure. That’s why I asked that this thread be moved to GD. :slight_smile:

Dude, I think we were talking about kids in weird uniforms going to camp to fuck.

I always find it funny that people think that Russia was ever any better than the Nazis at any period during it’s history.

Unhelpful and unclear. Elaborate.

Russia has always been under the rule of a murderous authoritarian regime. A few little differences in bureaucratic procedure don’t change that. Tsars, Soviets, Putin, all the same.

As far as Anti-Muslim racism goes, pretty much all of Europe is afraid of the loss of their culture at hands of expanding Muslim populations, and dwindling populations of the natives. It’s a lot more serious than our problem with Mexicans here. Their culture is more fundamentally different from the Muslims than our differences with Mexico.

What you see as a rise of a sort of Hitler Youth is their attempt to maintain Russia’s existance.

lol! My question is…do they let old guys in, and where do I sign up?!?

By and large I agree with your assessment of the effects of MAD during the cold war and I think this was a very good post. In general however I’d just like to point out that Russia’s CURRENT capabilities, even on the nuclear arena, are, well, sad. They have not had the budget to maintain even what they had. Conventionally its even worse. While it might be true that Russia could hurt the US, I think that any saber rattling they are doing at this time is hollow. To put it another way there would be no Mutually in their Assured Destruction…and even the most irrational isn’t going to want to get wiped out for essentially nothing.

In addition, they would need to spread their fear to encompass China who has got to be eying them like a hungry hyena would a fallen elephant (‘where should I bite first?’).

Certainly we can’t count on any government being rational…but I think, at least for now, we can count on most nuclear armed nations to be rational ENOUGH considering the vast disparity between the US’s nuclear and conventional capabilites and anyone else (at least anyone likely to be a direct threat). That said, I suppose we can wonder about OUR rationality and just hope for that luck you mentioned to keep the nuclear fires from burning, at least for now.
As to the OP I agree with an earlier poster…I think that though Russia might be looking at the West/US as a historical antagonist, its going to be China that they perceive as the true threat to their tottering empire. Not that this is a good thing, mind, but I think any saber rattling at the US or the West at this point is just that…saber rattling. Russia isn’t pre-Nazi Germany, and while they MIGHT become a fascist state someday (or maybe already are headed that way), there really aren’t that many parallels between Nazi Germany and what Russia is likely to become.

Actually, it’s been going on for some time already and the Russians did not start it.

That’s as much as to say the Nazis were no worse than the Kaiser. There’s authoritarian governments and there’s authoritarian governments. In fact, tsarist Russia was a despotism tempered by incompetence, and the later tsars were actually rather squeamish about applying the death penalty. The Russians didn’t learn the real destructive potential of authoritarian government until Stalin came to power.

How is this eugenics in anything other than a reactionary interpretation? Their numbers are declining and they’ve started a program to encourage young adults to breed. As creepy and commie weirdo as it is, I don’t think an effort to avoid eventual ethnic extinction qualifies for an “omg eugenics = Hitlar” moment.