I’m launching a new project that looks at how America weaponizes nationalism and immigrant communities.
Brilliant idea Yasha. I've been thinking a lot about one aspect of this. Consider how the extreme right's intransigence in Venezuela actually blocks the functioning of that country's system. A feature not a bug of course but it highlights how destructive "democracy promotion" can be precisely TO foreign democratic institutions. The empowering of neo-Nazis, ultranationalists etc. is one thing. But even without that it's worth recognizing that all these GONGO enterprises are systematically destructive. They exist to create crises and to use whatever does exist of a civil society to destroy the same. Put another way: Sick game is obvious. Put boot to target country's neck - fund, arm, train opposition - then use media assets to criticize same for turning blue (defending itself and its people.) Same template all over.
Thanks Yasha. You're doing important work. Best of luck!
Harry S. Truman: "A political accident, a back-room politician, a man without vision or courage." - Harry Bridges from the Proceedings of the 1947 Convention of the ILWU.
I was one of those Jewish American kids subjected to weekly sermons about the plight of you Refuseniks. You folks were the cause celebre at summer camp, too.
As part of my Bar Mitzvah prep, I was assigned a pen pal, a kid my age in Moscow. I don't know if he got my dumb letters, I didn't get any back, but when I googled him years ago as an adult he was a West Bank "settler", because of course, just like that lovely Scharansky fellow. I sometimes joked that the reason the USSR was holding Refuseniks back from emigrating was because of a genuine concern for the outside world's safety.
I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
Yasha Levine, I am liking your recent work. We had a semantic disagreement a few weeks ago - water under the bridge. I loved your demolition of Klobuchar this week .
I don’t know if you have been to the Jewish Museum in Moscow .
? A project supported by Putin, some prominent Russian Jewish oligarchs, and the Lauder family. Excellent museum, easily worth a full day there. I think it is pretty fair and scholarly on the phases of Russian Jewish history. As is the Gulag Museum on the Stalin era. Western Russophobes don’t like to publicise these excellent museums, they do not fit the anti-Putin propaganda narrative. Tony Kevin, Australia.
I found a book you might find helpful, “Covert Network: Progressives, the International Rescue Committee, and the CIA” by Eric Thomas Chester 1995
Yes good idea. Interesting account of what is was like to a Russian Jewish immigrant. How you would feel grateful at the same time this aid support had it's own agenda.
Very interesting new project Yasha, I am happy to subscribe and look forward to your ongoing work 😊
However, not to disparage your work at all, I worry that bringing this needed light to these past and present practices - of politicians and cold-warriors cynical and political use of immigrant and refugee populations and their situations – has the potential to accidentally foment suspicion and/or antagonism towards immigrant and refugee populations and/or efforts to help them and their situations. Which of course we do not want to happen. To be crystal clear, I really do not think that is intended by this project AT ALL (your compassion and understanding is very clear in your writing), rather I think that it could be one tragic way that the cynical practices of politicians and cold-warriors cause blowback/fallout (e.g., sort of similar to how the increase in islamophobia can partially be considered blowback to America’s support for Islamic militants in Afghanistan to first fight their socialist government and then the Soviets).
I may be wrong, and I would love to hear your and other’s thoughts on this, but as this is a remotely plausible consequence to highlighting the cynical actions of politicians and cold warriors may I suggest that extra effort be taken to try counteract this possibility. Perhaps one way to do this is to continue (as you are already doing, I feel) explicitly highlighting this conflict/blowback when it can be identified and to call out the cynical politicians that are causing it and how this can cause suffering in vulnerable populations. Another way to counteract this may be to consider explicitly capturing some of this in the name of your project (or in a subtitle; though I can't think of anything at the moment), so that superficially people don't associate immigrants as weapons (it is the cynical use/abuse of immigrant and refugees and their situation's that is the problem, not immigrants themselves).
Anyways I would love to hear your and others thoughts about how one can report on these matters while simultaneously trying to counteract any blowback/fallout that could accidentally happen to vulnerable populations. As I want immigrants and refugees to be welcomed in Canada (my country) and everywhere else. Even if a there is a cynical segment of our governments trying to weaponize some of those immigrants' and refugees' situations for their own political/cold war aims.