I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. The Eurasian Union has been in the news but somewhat quiet for a long time. Any attempt for Russia (or any country) to raise itself from subjugation in a world ruled by a single “hyper power” is sin to people like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. So it is natural that this move would have to be somehow presented as “evil” so that way the “international community” can be justified in putting pressure on it. Monopolies on power by their very nature do not like competition and I was waiting to see which route they would go to destroy the Eurasian Union with propaganda and thankfully Clinton chose a nice safe clichéd and logically flawed route.
Firstly she said that the Eurasian Union…“is a move to re-Sovietise the region” and went onto say “It’s not going to be called that. (The Soviet Union) It’s going to be called a customs union; it will be called [the] Eurasian Union and all of that. But let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it”. ( Source: http://english.pravda.ru/russia/politics/10-12-2012/123108-russia_hillary_clinton-0/)
So the primary argument is that the Eurasian Union is a backdoor route to restoring the USSR and since the Soviet Union was bad therefore any means are justified in stopping the return of the “evil empire”. This is a horribly flawed argument for the following reasons.
1) The Soviet Union was Communist, the Eurasian Union is not
I guess we’ve already forgotten the main reason for the Cold War. It was an ideological/economic struggle between two halves of the world. Communism was a perceived threat to Americans because it wanted to drastically change their way of live via an imported ideology of collectivism which is inherently un-American. (Collectivism/Communism may be good for some but definitely not the USA) But the thing is, THE EURASIAN UNION WON’T BE COMMUNIST. Take a look at almost anything written about the new trade union, is any of it deeply rooted in Marxism? From an American perspective where is the “red scare” in a trade union based in modern capitalism between nations that are constitutional republics that do not have command economies? If you haven’t heard the United States is a constitutional republic without a command economy also.
2) The Soviet Union leaned Universalist, the Eurasian Union does not
On the seal of the Soviet Union there were written some very strong words “Workers of the world Unite!” (Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь) which implies that one way or another the Soviet Union is going to bring you into the fold. It is a shame that they didn’t change it to “Workers of 1/6 of land mass of the world Unite, and leave the USA and Europe out of it!” but sadly they left the shorter very Universalist sounding slogan. Universalism is when any believe is proclaimed as the one universal truth or end of evolution that is right for everyone whether they like it or not and the USSR did have some Universalist rhetoric, BUT THE EURASIAN UNION DOESN’T. No one is trying to make the world bow to Russia’s trade standards. No one is going bomb Africa to make them submit to the “one true holy trade policies” of General Secretary Putin. To accuse countries whose governments speak of a “multi-polar” world of planning a Universalist crusade is mental.
3) If the EU is good then the Eurasian Union must also be because it is basically the same thing
According to Hillary Clinton the former Soviet Union with its shared culture, language and history VOLUNTARILY coming together to make the whole stronger economically is “re-Sovietization” but the European Union which is basically the same thing is a shining light on a hill.
4) The Current US Government engages in the same or similar activity that it accused the Soviet Union. Clinton could improve real human rights situations at home before worrying about potential ones abroad.
Russian Liberals and those like Hillary Clinton always say that Russia needs “de-Stalinization” or that the Eurasian Union wants to “re-Sovietize” people, which somehow alludes to human rights violations. The human-rights violations that modern and Soviet Russia are accused of usually involve things like massive prison populations with forced labour, media control, secret arrests, police brutality etc.
But in the world we live in as of 2012 the US Government (Note, I said GOVERNMENT not the American people) participates in most of, if not all of, the bad activities that it accuses today’s and yesterday’s Russia of…
• The USA has by far the world’s largest prison population which is not abuse free
• The prison network extends far overseas and has shocking levels of abuse which have even made it to the mainstream media like Guantanamo and Abu-Ghrabe
• Many prisons are now becoming very profitable and used for labor
• The US has an expansionist Universalist doctrine that it backs up with force. If you don’t convert to “democracy” then you are damned. Look at a map of US military bases around the world and then ponder who exactly the aggressive one is?
• The Patriot Act and NDAA allow for government spying, secret arrests, and indefinite detention.
I won’t bore you by continuing this list to cover things like the abuse of occupy protestors or the Bradley Manning torture situation. But you see my point, Secretary of State Clinton, the US Government, and NATO are in no position to make human-rights (“Sovietization”) claims about POSSIBLE violations that COULD happen in the Eurasian Union. This denouncement of the new trade union from Clinton is like the pot calling the Russian snow black.
One last thing. There is often a problem of culture and the meaning of words. When Clinton says “re-Sovietize” in the Western mind we see a police state and a “Gulag Archipelago” however many people in Russia would see re-Sovietization as things like, economic fairness, solid education, stability in all spheres of life, international respect, military strength, and a fully independent nation. So in the future if those like Clinton try to show you images of Russians promoting the new trade union using some retro graphics with a Soviet style try to keep in mind that they may have a very different perspective of Soviet history than you have. Again if you see some sorts of ties between the Eurasian Union and “the Communist spirit” then look not at the Communism but what the people actually want, in all likelihood these people want the Union to provide stability and the chance to raise a family not recreate the NKVD or force people onto the collective farm.
I generally don’t like Stratfor’s analysis of things so there for as a bit of a counterpoint to my views I recommend watching their video on the situation.