Tensions Between the U.S. and Russia Are Worse Than You Realize – Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Michael Krieger

I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.” ~ Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

Despite an interest in geopolitics, I haven’t really written anything on the concerning and worsening tension between the government of the United States and the government of Russia. I intentionally wrote government twice in order to emphasize the fact that 99.9% of Americans do not have real grievances with actual Russian people, and vice versa. This is a high-level conflict between powerful “leaders” playing a game of Risk with average citizen as pawns. This is how it’s always been. As human beings, we should never lose sight of this so the mistakes we make in the future aren’t nearly as tragic as those made by our ancestors.

One disconcerting thing I have noticed amongst some “liberty-minded” people I follow, is a knee-jerk tendency to pick a side in this affair. When it comes to powerful men running centralized nation-states with nuclear weapons, there are no church boys involved. I have noticed a desire to defend Russia every step of the way in what appears to be a simple-minded emotional reflex birthed in justifiable disgust with what they see happening in their home nations (the U.S. and UK in particular).

This behavior has always made me uncomfortable, and reminds me very much of how people get upset with one fake political party and then vote for the other guy simply because they are not a Democrat or a Republican. The best choice is to accept they are both useless and not vigorously defend either party. I take the same tact when it comes to battles between nation-states. Just because I am disgusted and horrified with what is happening in these United States, doesn’t mean I need to slavishly defend Russia, Vladimir Putin or pick any sides in a conflict in which the primary losers will always be powerless civilians.

The UK’s Conservative Party Declares War on YouTube, Twitter, Free Speech and Common Sense

Michael Krieger

Some of the most memorable moments of my tabloid-filled youth consisted of watching Geraldo Rivera interviewing and confronting Neo-Nazis and racists both in his studio and on the streets. Often times, these heated encounters resulted in brawls such as the one in this video, which has over 600,000 views on YouTube.

Geraldo and many others gave “a voice” to countless hateful groups on a regular basis throughout my youth, and millions of my fellow Americans saw them and were exposed to their unenlightened and pathetic ideology. This didn’t result in hordes of youth turning to violent extremism or the beginning of a Fourth Reich. Rather, what these interviews successfully did was expose the idiocy of these groups and make them even more isolated than they were before. That is how things work in a functioning free society. You aren’t afraid of ideas, you exchange them.

On Friday, I woke up to headlines proclaiming that David Cameron had called for a criminalization of “non-violent extremism” during a speech at the UN. I thought this could be a good topic for a post, but after watching it, I decided to focus on something else. At the time, I figured it was just a politician spouting stupid nonsense as usual. It wasn’t until today that I realized his “war on free speech” was about to become a key platform of Conservative Party policy in the UK. We learn from the Guardian that:

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