tv Cross Talk RT July 25, 2014 9:29am-10:01am EDT
a friend of mine flew in from germany and he said that as he was leaving he looked in to do stand at the airport and on the front page of twelve german publications were basically titles like tunes missile destroyers airplane alluding to the crash malaysian airplane that fell into the combat zone eastern ukraine this isn't just some fluke that my friend saw all these newspapers together the entire mainstream media has made the same bold speculations i think this is interesting for two reasons one the way that the mainstream press jumped onto the story with exactly the same headlines and exactly the same angles really makes me want to start believing in conspiracy theories especially when an investigation had been conducted yet there wasn't any formal evidence yet but from fox to c.n.n. to medium sized german newspapers the speculation of who was at fault for the crash is identical and absolute and to the western media which feels justified to push for war with anyone who doesn't adopt western values have themselves completely forgotten just what those values are i thought in the glorious west everyone gets
a fair trial with due process evidence and a conviction only after their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt but when enemies of washington need to be demonized i guess all those principles just fly right out the door but that's just my opinion. hello and welcome to crossfire things are considered on peter lavelle the idea of russian russians as long obsessed western minds and politics and that obsession has to date been remarkably dark and even menacing is this because the west projects its own negative self on to others.
cross-talk perceptions of russian russians i'm joined by my guest neil clark in london he is a journalist broadcaster and specialist in eastern european affairs in berlin we have nicholai petro he is a professor of political science at the university of rhode island and in moscow we crossed of lot of goldstein he is an associate professor of slavic studies at brown university right gentlemen crosstalk rules in fact that means you can jump in anytime i want and i very much encourage it nicholai if i go to you first in berlin you spent some time in ukraine on a fulbright i understand where it is russian were attitudes about russia come from in the west because obviously you know you could just open up a newspaper or magazine go to a website or a television in the west and well russia has to say the very least a bad name. one can hardly answer that question without first turning to your professor former professor martin the lead is
a must book about russian western perceptions of russia that's really the first place to start i think the late press professor did an outstanding job in explaining the cultural context the only thing. and historical context the essential point is i take it from his book that whenever russia is strong attitudes against it are especially strong as well in europe the only time russia is viewed favorably in the west is when it is relatively weak the only thing that i might add to his discussion which i think deserves particular attention is the importance of the religious differences between the western and eastern branches of christianity which have been a sore spot for the past thousand odd years fly to me here in moscow you you were born in a country that was called the soviet union in emigrated to the united states when
you listen to americans talk about russians what you know what are your reactions to a lack of knowledge prejudice both. i think it's a very complex the sure one of the problem is that the russia is unbelievably complex county and the we'll do con three and i know we will the culture so it's very easy for people to fall into some kind of simplification or stereotype one of the unique features of russian culture is it's sort of attempt to combine the opens its combines a tremendous a second but sometimes with aggression and assertion it's combines you know kindness and cruelty so. as nikolai said at a time when there are strong all the people tend to see only one side of it one aspect of it of course one of the reasons why you sort of enjoy what i'm doing is the need to continue to be amazed at how complex the countries and i'm learning in
myself what i'm trying to teach my students to see both sides there are always have this image over russia is just a myth like model is like ugly duckling you know if you look at the ugly duckling or if you look at this a swarm the rich walks on the ground it's going to ugly and we will be on the beating but when the swarm starts swimming in the water it's elegant and graceful and that's what we're going to have a show from this beauty of russian ballet to maybe some kind of grace and i think the key thing to do for the world or for for the people outside russia is to see both sides and unfortunately i think this is the trouble with western media and i think with a lot of tendency to simplification is that people go just for one thing one side of it you know neal if i can go to you in london one of the interesting things i find is the west always seems that it believes they can give something to russia he can teach russian it can save russia from itself we've seen this firmly in the
nineteenth century all the way up to the present looking at victoria nuland testimony to congress i mean it's almost like it teaching is like a small pupil that can be saved from its parents. oh absolutely and i think there's a kind of smug superiority complex going on here was the kind of racism really we saw the time of the children picks where sort of photo left liberals got all their high horses and castigated russia over the gay rights law which russia had passed a year before forgetting the fact that britain had a very similar law up till two thousand and two or three and we had passed by the such a government and in fact to get in the fact that many western allies in many western our countries homosexuality is actually a criminal offense so there was this kind of smug superiority over russia which i believe is quite racist actually it's the and we see this also in the patrol of the rebels in the east of ukraine because when you read about them or or hear about
them in the british media they often betray disease to the wild savages. people who are sort of beyond any absolutely out of control and of course that's come to the surface again with the mh seventeen disaster and you don't get that betrayal of other rebel group trick sample so i think that racism doesn't apply in this russia phobia is absolutely gone off the scale peter the last week in britain. i wrote an article for the guardian back in two thousand and six about russia at the time of the murder and i thought it was pretty bad then but it was nothing really compared to what we're witnessing now and as nicholai said why is it so bad today it's because russia is asserting itself russia's standing up for its own rights when russia is weak for example under the yeltsin years that we didn't get but russia phobia russia was allowing the u.s. to do what it wanted but now that russia is effectively blocking united states plans for global domination basically then it's back to russia phobia in full force mc lyte one of the interesting things and you wrote an article vi was quite
brilliant it was last summer i think about values in and a lot of neo cons and all you across the board will say well russia the united states' own suit share the same values and a lot of people that i've been in russia for seventeen years so i think. i have a right to say what i understand about russian a lot of russians don't want western values at all they look at your own vision and say that's not for us there is a gap but it's not because the of the west particularly americans think that you know they're so so superior lot of people here say i'll pass on that. one thing that people often overlook is the fact that there is a wide array of values both in russia and the west so it would be incorrect to say that the values for example of a pussy riot group are widely admired in the west perhaps they're admired
for their anti russian stance but when for example the same group took. took a stand. religious stand in cathedral or in german cathedrals they were widely criticized there one of the things that putin did in his speech last year is to highlight the potentially deep and extensive similarities in values that russian conservatives share with western conservatives and i think that that is going to be an area of increased cooperation and worthy of exploration on both sides because it is an aspect of the western tradition that many liberal and progressive westerners tend to forget about it vladimir even if the crisis in ukraine isn't mentioned in we had this right before. you go back to november when
the eunuch overage then president walked away from the association agreement and the european union was furious because they're a superior civilization and they can bring up ukraine they can bring it into the european family and all of that it was the civilizational choice and in itself this is a very condescending view that the west has of this part of the world superiority and you can learn from us and your traditions make you backward. yeah i think that's that's a rhetorical figure is quite bizarre that it's been repeated i think from seventeenth century on the embassy in sort of kind of eclipse you know poland. in being a fair and somehow kind of you know this is you know catholic polish culture couldn't take it. you know kind of. friend their friend in a kind of nordo friendly acceptance so somehow kind of what i should begin to be
explain it's something out of that is something and of a wrong with it and i think this edition continues and i remember while we go listen in to a lecture lecture from from west of western ukraine of course he says and since then became a professor of ukrainian studies in the united states and he was just didn't know when they have any doubts about the fact that you know of course ukrainian college is by far superior of course so he didn't question it it wasn't like a a in the show of debate you know the russians somehow kind of all this behind and of course you know that. doesn't contribute to you know. the pride of you know good old majority russian or russian willingness to loan from the west which is good in the west i want to stress that russians well all the students all these pupils and i but they think like weak studies and they want to learn from the west something which is way to go with a dome alone from the west there's a for be a lecturing things like lead that is wonderful you know say american traditions you
know which are which which are not being projected to show there is a tradition of you know i ben franklin would say that to the first view to a citizen used to questions one's authority you know like the row with the right about civil disobedience and full story a great russian representative of the best of russian college admire it's a role but what we see recently is you know it's not that type of america we see america lecture in bullying and i think rationality you know that they want to learn something new and they want to. so the free to communicate with the best in the rest of the culture not not were the rules not of condescending degrading rossa for beer you know neal it's a very good point of lattimer break brings up because there are a lot of good things that you can bring from the west to other cultures and it works here but there's this hedge of monic view that you have to take the whole package and you know by the way we're going to determine how the package is used to me it's remarkable it really is and i think it's sort of cultural imperialism
really because there are enormously good things about the west to bother me i said but the russians aren't getting them not getting access to them it seems that so i think this shift has happened since the end of the cold war what we have this very virulent neo conservatism in america and in it and in the west in britain too that speak aggressive and use the kind of power vacuum that exists in one thousand nine hundred to step up these young pain and of course russia is actually feel it's important to understand this why is russia being attacked why are generally not going to have to jump in here we're going to go to what short break and after that show break we'll continue our discussion on russia stay with our team.
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descriptions of russia well quote unquote behavior and condescending language but when i look at it western politicians and i describe what's going on in the g.o.p. . call environment and i always find it very interesting is that russia is always accused or very often accused of what exactly the the west is actually doing brutality the use of force on compromising and go on and on and it seems to me it's just projecting onto russia because russia has its own national interest and it's going to stare you down this is actually what we have right now but you know it's a projection of all that is bad in the west is projected onto another player and russia is a very familiar one to all of us to have those characteristics russia i think what you're saying is russia is the west's evil twin brother yes i am yes i am saying that maybe that may be what the western perception but that's why i think the issue
that was raised just a moment ago about civilizational choice choice is an interesting one to expound upon because from the first moment that i arrived in ukraine last year we had meetings with representatives of the opposition and their line was essentially that whatever happens the e.u. association agreement this was back in september must be signed because regardless of whether it benefits ukrainians or not at least in the short term it is indeed a civilizational choice. and russia's response i think appropriately to that is that's the wrong way to look at it because there is no civilizational choice russia and ukraine are as much a part of european civilization as germany or france or england and
until that is more commonly accepted there's going to be a tendency to treat exactly the same type of behavior as you say vastly differently and to adopt these kind of double standards vladimir let's stay with this you know is russia the west evil twin i like that well how do you feel about that. you know i i feel kind of stronger about it is definitely the abuse of double standards abuse of people who see and i think i think it came to prominence as neal pointed out with the end of the cold war cold war actually it was the you know the bed because that was it was a competition and the result of the completion of each each system drive to do better than the u.s. would compete with russia and try to show that they have more tolerant more accepting of god more in college and for individual into british but with the end of the cold war somehow there was an absolute the wrong conclusion was made
that since. the cold war there means it should be considered a door that you know that it's economics is bad it's college is bad and it just basically have to repeat things from us and if they don't they would be from us but they they are bad and i think somehow so a friend of mine once once joked that russia lost cold war for us but us lost its second and i think that's that's actually did that to mend the mental for both cultures and so consequently since us you know lost that knowledge they just projecting upon the russian the west aspects of themselves and feel very comfortable about it which is wrong you know it neal it's you know a lot of people criticize the west for the way they promote democracy in the world and they usually use a lot of foresight and we go through the number of countries libya we have the same syria afghanistan iraq and so on and on that there's a long history of democracy promotion there but one of the things i find very
interesting is that russia doesn't try to promote its system or export it whatsoever it is actually quite modest in that respect it basically says well we'll do what we what we do best here for us but if somebody else has another system well don't and that's their system that's what one of the remarkable difference is if we have the evil twins. yeah absolutely i think one of the big problems is russia hasn't really been assertive enough in many ways because russia is accused of being aggressive and assertive and yet it hasn't been at all under president putin and this is been you could argue part of the problem because the west has been emboldened to itself become more aggressive towards russia because russia hasn't really done anything really you could argue too much in response it's certainly been very modest russia hasn't gone around the world trying to bomb countries to have its own kind of system that would suit russia whereas the u.s. has done that for the last twenty years or so so i think that russia you could argue has been rather submissive actually even under president putin we know is
very submissive on the yeltsin and so this is being taken advantage of by the very aggressive neo conservative photo left alliance in the western countries and of course when russia does assert as it did in some of the settee to protect the rights of russians and of course it is a demonized but i think there is a real disconnect peter which i think we should mention between the western elite and the general public because russia phobia is very much dominant among the western elites you have to be russian phobic to gain to be allowed to be a member of the political elite in the west nowadays but it's not shared by the general public there was a poll a few months ago which showed that the e.u. was more popular than russia that israel was more popular than russia and the british public certainly are buying into this idea that president putin you know is this bogeyman this new hitler character that the tabloids the rupert murdoch tabloids are trying to portray him as and i think that what happened last week with
the mh seventies aster we saw a very crude attempt by the western leitz to try to use this to blame russia without any evidence connecting russia to this disaster and to try to get the general public to hate russia and hate putin as much as they do and so far it hasn't worked we saw hundreds of thousands of people marching last week around the world i mean london for garza we don't see her. because the thousands of people marching against russia so it isn't working the elites want us to hate russia and it isn't working. i find it very interesting is that you know if there is it's a binary here you know when i look at the neo cons in the west and their control of foreign policy russia has a choice it either. resists or it bows down if so menders and russia will not bow down it will not surrender but there's never the third choice why don't we negotiate why don't we talk and this is this stonewalling that we been seeing coming out of washington it's really horrific i mean we've been using the
example of ukraine year you know the russians before all this started having said to the european union why don't we work together all three all three parties work together let's find a solution it's part of the record no we will not negotiate with you it's under go shabelle this is this mindset that i find very terrifying because you can't negotiate with these people though they say the russians you can't negotiate with it's again projecting. i think it gets back to the issue that i wrote about about the values gap. which is presumed to exist between russia and the west in the west but which russia does not see. we does have a real disconnect in terms of the reality of what is going on in russia and as a result of that disconnect a lot of positive information about the changes in russia is simply not taken
into account which only exacerbates the differences parent differences. in fact if you wanted to overcome this crisis and to prevent such crisis from occurring in the future you would literally pursue the opposite policies from the ones that the west is pursuing instead of isolation you should try. people to people diplomacy instead of sanctions you would argue as people used to argue back in the one nine hundred seventy s. in the one nine hundred eighty s. that there should be expanded commercial ties because that conditions and makes both economies co dependent on each other and that would be the real solution to preventing unexpected political outcomes you know but a lot of i don't think we're going to see that because it's you know you either surrender or you know we're going to take you on because the rhetoric coming out of a western capitals particularly washington i mean in
a way and i don't want to be i don't want to exaggerate this here but we are at war not in the conventional sense of more of a hybrid war i mean there is every attempt to damage russia it is with much as possible here and it's across a wide array of sectors it's not military right now thank goodness but in every other sense there's been a declaration of war. and yeah i agree with this point of the neal singled out important difference in terms of the west there is a lead and there are common people and the balls when there's at least as recently as right after this plane. come on you know americans do not support heavy involvement they don't want it in fact the first time about thirty five percent wanted some us involved now it's down to eighteen percent so in other words you know people know it's not their neck of the woods they don't it's a complexity they have in the here and into egypt respect for russia and for
for the circumstances so they don't want to be involved and then this elite which controls corporate media and so on as a neo cons and nearly burleson's and and the show over russia they coincide that they begin to bombard bombard the airwaves and press and everything with virulent anti-rational sort of i was i would i wouldn't be afraid to use the word propaganda and it is on this issue i would i would question the whole tour i'm over a delete because when i read the publications in new york times the washington post in the new republic they are not high quality publications they basically contain slogans this is not an elite production you know i look at some people like anna applebaum who apparently studied. or nuland who went to brown eyes you know i've never seen it going to my flat so i don't know what she learned about russia and
judging by her language it's a foul language i don't i would be even careful to call the people who pop public you publish the elite of ages basically or very quick to learn and also for big you know terminology and we wanted. to break down we've run out of time middle easterners on a very humorous note i appreciate that many thanks and i guess in london berlin and here in moscow and. viewers for watching us here see you next time and remember.
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