PATRICK LAWRENCE: Russia’s Turn From the West

Sergei Lavrov’s recent comments are a case of the subtext being vastly larger than the text.  

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during Russia-UAE talks in December 2023. (Sergei Savostyanov, TASS)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s steady, able, intellectually quick foreign minister, last week held one of those wide-ranging press conferences he and his boss favor. Lavrov’s remarks are subtly delivered but of a significance we must not miss.

Tass published a useful summary of them on Jan. 18.

Here are a few of Lavrov’s pithier remarks. The first of these appeared under the subhead, “On friends of Russia.” I take the liberty of minorly cleaning up the English translation:

“Relations between Russia and China currently experience the best period of their centuries-long history.

Their relations are firmer, more reliable, and more advanced than a military union as we understood these in the previous Cold War-era.

In all cases, the interests of Russia and China reach a common denominator after negotiation, and this is an example for resolution of any issues by any other participants in global communication.

Relations of particularly privileged cooperation with India develop gradually. Russia also takes relations with African states to a truly strategic level. It develops relations with the Latin American continent. Russia’s close circle also includes Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Qatar.”

Here is Lavrov on the BRICS–Plus group, which expanded last year from its original members, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa:

“About 30 states are interested in rapprochement with BRICS. This association has a great future. Being a superregional global structure, BRICS symbolizes the diversity of a multipolar world.”

At one point Lavrov turned, inevitably, to the conflict in Ukraine:

“It is not up to Ukraine to decide when to stop and when to talk seriously about realistic preconditions for the end of this conflict. It is necessary to talk with the West about it.

The West wants no constructive resolution that would take Russia’s legitimate concerns into account. This is indicated by incitement and coercion of Kiev for increasingly aggressive use of long-range weapons to strike Crimea, in order to make it unsuitable for life, as well as deep into Russian territory, and not only incitement, but the handover of corresponding weapons as well.”

Three practical questions as Russia’s top diplomat interpreted them in a review of “Russia’s diplomatic work in 2023,” as TASS put it. This is fine as it is, but Lavrov’s comments are a case of the subtext being vastly larger than the text. Russia’s objective in 2024 — this is TASS again — is “to remove any dependence on the West.”

I am sure you know the old adage, derived from an 18th century Christian hymn, “God moves in mysterious ways.” So does history. Let us, then, consider this history in brief. Lavrov’s press conference brims with implied references to it.

Notions of Progress

Red Square, Moscow, 2015. (Misha Sokolnikov, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Russia is considered among the scholars what is called “a late developer.” Such nations are so named because they were a century or more behind the West as it entered the age of scientific and industrial advances and then — regrettably enough, I would say — on to the Age of Materialism. Railroads, telegraph lines, steamships, photography, Bessemer steel, and all the rest: Late developers, lagging in these technologies, looked Westward with envy well-mixed with a felt inferiority.

The premier case of late development is Japan. Among Russians as among the Japanese, the condition of being “behind” produced profound confusion as to identity and their place in the modern world. This confusion is still easily detected.  At its core lie two very consequential misunderstandings.

One, there is the fraudulent Western notion of “progress” as this became an orthodoxy from the mid–19th century onward. I say “fraudulent” because history does not advance in anything like a straight line, and progress is measured in the West strictly according to material advances. In matters of ethos, humaneness, equality, environmental stewardship, the settling of conflicts — of the human spirit altogether — the West remains more primitive than many “primitive” societies.

Two, and the larger point here, from the 19th century onward, there was only one way to modernize. All colonized people who chose the capitalist road understood the imperative this way: modernization = Westernization. All of a sudden, to advance, to make a future in the modern world, meant to repudiate who one was and imitate being someone else.

How hard is it to imagine the deep disturbances and distortions — at bottom psychological but also political, social, economic, and cultural — that arose in consequence of this misapprehension? I count the equation of modernizing with Westernizing, as measured by the extravagant damage it did, among the gravest errors of the late 19th century and all through the 20th to our time.

Russia has spent nearly three centuries in this state of turmoil and — maybe not too strong a term — disorientation. Periods of orthodox conservatism have been followed by cycles of Westward-looking liberalization, this followed by a return to previously abandoned traditions, which have included over many years a return to reaction and a new valorization of one or another kind of nativism and nationalism.

A New Course  

U.A.E. welcoming ceremony for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Abu Dhabi, Dec. 6, 2023. (President of Russia)

There is another factor to consider. From the 1830s onward to NATO’s post–Cold War expansions, the horrific U.S.–led program to turn the Russian Federation into a capitalist greedfest after the Soviet Union’s collapse, and now the conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s struggle to understand itself has been accompanied by more or less incessant Western efforts decisively to reshape Russia in the West’s image.

We cannot understand Lavrov’s press conference, or many, many of the things Vladimir Putin has said these past few years, without this historical context. In so many words, all of them well-chosen, the foreign minister and the president have announced that Russia will no longer look Westward as it advances into the 21st century. Modernization will no longer mean Westernization.

It would be altogether impossible to overstate the historical magnitude of what Russia has set as its new course. We live in the most interesting times, to put this point another way — even if most of us, mesmerized by the propaganda of eternal Western superiority, cannot see five feet in front of us as the most significant events of our time unfold.

Many things will now fall into place. Lavrov, in enumerating the members of Russia’s “close circle,” describes, a couple of years on, the “new world order” the Chinese frequently reference.

The 5,000–word charter Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping made public two years ago next month, “Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development,” can be understood now as what your columnist called it at the time: the most important political document to be issued so far in the 21st century.

Gordon Hahn, the accomplished scholar of Russia and Eurasia, last week offered a superb history of Russia’s relations with the West during an appearance last week on The Duran, the daily web program produced by Alexander Mercouris and (in this case) Glenn Diesen. In the course of this long, rich interview Hahn notes, “Putin, as he has stated over and over again now recently, the [Russian] elites routinely demonstrate that they do not trust anyone in the West anymore.” He elaborates:

“For Russia, it looks now, the West is no longer its ‘Other.’… Russia has always identified itself, motivated itself, driven itself in relation to Europe. Now Putin is turning away from that. He said that we are no longer to define ourselves, look at ourselves, through the European prism. For now, we will put all our eggs in one basket, and that is Eurasia…. This close bilateral relationship, of Europe as Russia’s Other, is ending, and therefore the cycle [from conservatism to Westernization and back] is probably ending.”

This moment has been a long time coming. A shallow peruse of the past brings us back to 1990–91, when Michail Gorbachev accepted Washington’s assurance — without a signed document, imprudently — that NATO would not expand eastward from the reunified Germany.

As is well-known, 30 years of betrayals and diplomatic dishonesty followed as Moscow sought a new security architecture that would provide the Russian Federation a place in that “common European home” for which Gorbachev longed.

“I am extremely pessimistic,” Hahn says of the outlook for U.S.–Russian relations. “I can’t see that, even with an agreement between Russia and Ukraine, the West will cease trying to expand NATO. They will try to repeat the same scenario unless something changes in the West itself, in Washington.”

The world turns, even as the West declines or is incapable of turning with it. The teaser on The Duran’s segment with Gordon Hahn reads, “Russia ends 300 years of west-centric foreign policy.” This is big. It rarely gets bigger. History’s mysterious ways lie before us.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of Journalists and Their Shadows, available from Clarity Press or via Amazon.  Other books include Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored.

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The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

42 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Russia’s Turn From the West

  1. robert e williamson jr
    January 24, 2024 at 22:37

    I wonder how many here see any relevance in knowing the Robert Baer story from his SLEEPING WITH THE DEVIL. The one about the Saudis getting ‘snookered’ by helping finance the ‘petro dollar’, that story and the events in Ukraine

    The West asked for this mess, when one is pushed far enough by the ‘other’ to be goaded into a large scale meat grinder, of a ground war shit happens. If the west didn’t see this shit show coming they were totally incompetent.

    I don’t know that Putin turned voluntarily from the West before he was forcefully pushed in that direction.

    If anyone here honestly believes Putin did know the Baer Saudi story there is no hope for you.

    In what seemed to be a brazen obvious encroachment of the buffer zone between NATO and Russian boundaries offensive weapons were moved close, too close to be ignored. He had to do something, can you imagine a former CIA head (GHW Bush) being President and Putin moving his junk into Mexico.

    Out Front in the business world the West lusts for Putin’s oil and the associated $$$$$$$$$$’s. The old oil addiction prevails once again.

    This entire time all our beds are burning. In unforced military actions world wide the government continues to daily burn billions of $’s in the non productive waste of resources and treasure blowing shit into powder, much of it consisting of depleted Uranium that can poison soil and the plants grown there. Not to mention burning enough fuel to support many countries.

    There will be no winners here thanks to the catastrophic lack of leadership in the West.

    Thanks CN & Crew

  2. LeoSun
    January 23, 2024 at 19:03

    “E U R E K A!!!”

    No doubt about it, Patrick Lawrence’s “Russia’s Turn From the West,” “EURASIA,” imo, is what bustin’ down doors, tearing down fences; & building bridges, w/BRICS, looks like! The universal language/understanding, “Out w/the Old. Ring in the New, “H E L L O, 21st Century!!! World Leadership through Peace,” aka BRICS’ rockin’ “a multipolar world, wherein “POWER” is not dominated by one country but distributed among multiple countries.”

    …….. “AS The Eagle got more & more threatening, the Bear & the Dragon got closer & closer, in their strategic partnership. Now, both Bear & Dragon have too many strategic links across the planet to be intimidated by the Eagle’s massive Empire of Bases or those periodic coalitions of the (somewhat reluctant) willing.” PEPE ESCOBAR 5.6.19 @ The Eagle-The Bear-The Dragon. (hxxps:// ……..I, digress,

    “The elephant in the room,” imo, is the U$D. It mirrors POTUS’ State of the Union; One Nation, from sea to shining sea, in extreme decline! For POTUS, Biden-Harris; &, their War Chiefs, “it must be a deeply frustrating time.” Joey R. Biden “NEVER, EVER had a signature foreign policy achievement in Congress or as OhBama’s No. 2.” Imo, POTUS, Biden-Harris, is “so ripely symbolic of everything that is unchanging, hopeless,” perverted about our political system.

    ……….. * DENNIS KUCINICH: “We’re beating ourselves.”

    “This whole thing is blowing up in the face of the West. We forced Russia to pivot to Asia, as well as Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. There’s a whole new world being formed.” Exhibit A-Z: BRICS: Multipolarity vs. Unipolarity. Unity in Multiplicity: “e pluribus unum – out of many, one.”

    “The catalyst of it is the misjudgment that occurred about Ukraine and the effort to try to control Ukraine. An engineered coup, in 2014. From 2014-2021, fourteen thousand (14K), by most estimates, Russian speaking Ukrainians, were killed. Most Americans have no idea.” Dennis Kucinich

    Concluding, “El Capitalismo es el Viruz.” Exhibit A-Z: An interview w/“the man who should be President,” Dennis Kucinich taking “the conversation to a higher level,” w/Chris Hedges, “How the War Machine took over the Democrats,” on The Chris Hedges Report 12.16.2022 @ hxxps://

    TY, Patrick Lawrence, CN, et al. “We”got this!” Confirmation that the Democrat Party is NOT a vehicle for social reform; but, in fact, a graveyard. “We” the People,” are still looking for a Leader. Onward & upwards. Ciao

  3. Rick Boettger
    January 23, 2024 at 15:38

    My thanks to Consortium News, Patrick Lawrence, and the commenters above. It allows me to believe there remains some elements of sanity in our nation’s foreign relations. I am glad Rebecca and Kato offered differing opinions, though I disagree with both–Russia’s obvious lack of “democracy” is not at all the point, we have to deal with non-democracy in most of the world, it is managing our relations with them that is the point. I agree with Patrick’s reply to Kato re: Japan, and take issue with Kato’s assertion that “the elites (government) and the people have differing views.” On the right, Trump is beloved. On the left, as one example, a gentle article in NYT on the Hunter Biden charges got 635 online replies. 630 chastised the Times for reporting it.

    Right now I see some hope that our gov’t elites are segueing away from Ukraine support at about the same rate as the people are. Old media sadly seems utterly committed to their respective party lines, being 95% political ads for their side’s orthodoxies. Again, I am glad I have contributed to Consortium and I encourage everyone to do so.

  4. Gordon Hastie
    January 23, 2024 at 09:02

    Silly me…I remember feeling optimistic as the 80s ended and the 90s began. The West sacrificed better relations with Russia. Russia’s well-being and stability, and ultimately peace. for what? Filthy lucre, no doubt, but there must have been one or two experts warning that Clinton and his thugs were seriously misguided. It’s certainly understandable that Russia has had enough.

    • Pen
      January 23, 2024 at 13:51

      >there must have been one or two experts warning that Clinton and his thugs were seriously misguided.

      Try 50: hxxps://

    • Susan Siens
      January 23, 2024 at 14:36

      I live in Maine and we had a choice for senator in the early 1990s: Olympia Snowe, the woman who practically drooled over the Salvadoran generals, and Tom Andrews, who thought it was time for a peace dividend. Needless to say that POS George Mitchell certainly did not want Andrews in the Senate and made it abundantly clear. A woman complained to me about there being no national health insurance and she didn’t even know that Andrews supported it while Snowe did not. (Andrews got a 100 percent rating from NOW, which meant something 30 years ago.)

      After watching this debacle and Mitchell’s determination to crush a democratic movement in a local county Democratic party (because someone dared to question his supporting the death penalty when he had said he opposed it), I learned optimism is for the gullible. I don’t believe in being a pessimist either, but try to face reality however painful it may be.

  5. Rebecca
    January 23, 2024 at 03:42

    Let’s not praise Vladimir Putin and his government when it is clear they are certainly turning away from the West but not providing the Russian working class with anything positive. How many have been killed in the Special Military Operation so far? What about the severe restrictions on LGBTQ+ life in Russia? Like China, Russia has offered the Palestinians no more support than have the Arab petro-states. There is not even a semblance of democracy: Vladimir Putin has been in power for decades and will likely die in office. Simplistically lauding a repressive and capitalist state that happens not to enjoy cordial relations with the US helps only the Russian ruling class.

    • TP Graf
      January 23, 2024 at 07:04

      It is certainly a fantasy to think of Western governments as democracies not controlled by a 1% ruling class. As Patrick rightly points out, “…progress is measured in the West strictly according to material advances. In matters of ethos, humaneness, equality, environmental stewardship, the settling of conflicts — of the human spirit altogether — the West remains more primitive than many “primitive” societies.”

      We have made excrement of our “liberal values,” with hypocrisy, hubris and absolute bullying, so that it is little wonder so many countries accept what we call “authoritarian” leaders. Say what you will about Putin and Lavrov–they have a long record for spelling things out clearly, being dismissed outright by the West and then vilified when they’ve had enough of our lies and betrayals. Would I like a kinder, gentler Russia or China or Iran or wherever? Indeed. A more humble and restrained West might have had a gracious and infectious spirit to demonstrate to the world. Instead, we chose to be the military and economic taskmasters of the globe.

      • Susan Siens
        January 23, 2024 at 14:39

        You cannot be kinder and gentler when psychopaths are working toward your destruction as the West has been working toward Russia’s destruction for a very long time. Rebecca seems rather naive. Russians are doing much better under Putin, who is very popular, than they were doing under Yeltsin.

        • bill
          January 25, 2024 at 03:04

          no one can be that naive lol

    • Steve
      January 23, 2024 at 07:33

      “Simplistically lauding a repressive and capitalist state that happens not to enjoy cordial relations with Russia helps only the U.S. ruling class.”
      Whilst waving our Palestinian flags we need to recall the really evil people and states that have caused and supported the genocide. Hint: it wasn’t Russia or China or Iran or North Korea.
      Also, factually, “the severe restrictions on LGBTQ” in Russia are only restrictions and are aimed specifically at protecting children – something the West seems determined to prevent !
      Russia is far from perfect, but it’s stated aims and objectives are far better than what our ‘leaders’ currently offer.

    • Robert
      January 23, 2024 at 09:07

      The legacy of all long term heads of state is a mixed bag. With Putin, remember the starting point. The Russian Federation was coming off the disastrous Yeltsin years, Oligarchs controlled most of the economy, the Russian mafia was at the peak of its power, and the economy was at its nadir. Putin, almost singled handily transitioned Russia from that status to what it became pre war. And all indications seem to be that the Russian people are satisfied with the progress the country has made, especially in view of the insane hostile behavior of the United States governments during that period.

    • Peter Loeb
      January 23, 2024 at 09:47

      Evidently the murder of Russian-speakers (some 15,000), the discrimination, the torture by Ukraine of those
      it has detained (UN report), the elimination of rights for opponents in Ukraine, the murder of those
      with opposing views etc. have not reached Rebecca. This is by design. The western media and elite have
      removed all mention of such atrocities. One is supposed to view Russia as evil and Ukraine as a shining and
      always virtuous “democracy”. It is how we manage to justify all interventions of armed force anywhere
      in the world as well as in the US a giant weapons capability because “the Russians are coming”.

      (Is it just chance that Russia helped us win World War II with 27 million Russian deaths…?They are of course,
      never mentioned. Did the allies do it alone….?}

      Have you built your shelter yet?

    • John Manning
      January 23, 2024 at 13:44

      Your comment brings to mind the saying that you cannot speak of the ocean to a frog which lives in a well. You are surrounding yourself with “thought-walls”. Russia is not perfect but neither are the anglo-american-nato states.
      To give you one example, in Putin’s first 20 years the average wage in Russia grew by 250%. In western Europe over the same period wages grew by 60 – 70%. So which leaders were really looking after their people.

      • Altruist
        January 24, 2024 at 13:25

        I think the wage growth figures are after inflation, which is different in Russia and Western Europe, so are not meaningful unless they are discounted by the respective inflation rate. Real wages have been stagnating in the West for decades.

    • CaseyG
      January 23, 2024 at 19:16

      I see no difference between the upper classes in both nations. But in history , the US has screwed over Russia on more than one occasion. But the America does the same. WE the People are having a tough time finding housing and work—and a government that actually works for all.

      After WW 2, it seems that the US did a lot to help many of the war tired citizens—–but since Ronald RAYGUN
      and Trump—-oh my—-sadly, WEE the people, seems to be what is happening to we the citizens in the USA.

    • LeoSun
      January 25, 2024 at 12:20

      Not for nothin’, Rebecca; but, “Many people,” believe “Putin did not go into Ukraine to play the USG’s/NATO’s war games; Putin went into Ukraine to change it.” Hence, “on the imperial chessboard, Ukraine is the Pawn. Russia rocks the Queen. Et tu, USG/NATO?!?”

      Imo, “praise” for Vladimir Putin for protecting Ed Snowden, “LIVES!”

      ………..“When I landed in Moscow, in 2013, I expected to have a one-day layover, in Moscow.” Ed Snowden, (There’s no sign Snowden’s case will be resolved, anytime, soon). For more than a decade, Ed Snowden “lived in exile,” in Russia”

      ……….. “Exile is an endless layover.” Ed Snowden, 2019 autobiography, “Permanent Record.”

      To date, “Ed Snowden’s critics often [criticize, demonize, vilify] him for living in Russia, all the more in the wake of,” the USG/NATO vs. Russia war in Ukraine. Ed Snowden advises “his attempts to move to other countries [were] thwarted by the US Government.”

      “After two years waiting & nearly ten years of exile, a little stability will make a difference for my family.” Ed Snowden

      ……. September 26, 2022: “Putin grants Russian citizenship to U.S. whistleblower, Ed Snowden.”

      ……..In 2017, Vladimir Putin “said Snowden keeps a low profile while living in Russia was wrong to leak U.S. secrets but was not a traitor.”

      Save the Dates: Friday, January 26, 2024 – ICJ delivers their decision, on provisional measures, in South Africa vs. Israel; AND, Wednesday, February 21, 2024 – “Julian Assange’s Final Appeal in the UK’s High Court.”

      Onward & Upwards.

  6. Hansrudolf Suter
    January 23, 2024 at 03:07

    It’s also helpful to hear Emmanuel Todd about this argument hxxps://

    • Rick Boettger
      January 23, 2024 at 15:18

      Unfortunately, I got: The uploader has not made this video available in your country. Emmanuel …

  7. James White
    January 23, 2024 at 00:41

    In 1709 the Russian Tsar, Peter the Great defeated Sweden’s army of King Charles XII at the battle of Poltava in what is now Eastern Ukraine. While ending Sweden’s status as a major power in Europe, Russia emerged as the dominant power in Eastern Europe. In addition to his military adventures and conquests abroad, Peter was famous for his stated intention to ‘drag Russia, kicking and screaming into the modern world.’
    Now it is Putin defeating the West once again in Eastern Ukraine. While dragging the U.S/NATO hegemon kicking and screaming into the multi-polar world. Russia will engage with the West again before too long. And for the time being, entirely on his terms.
    The only question now is how many wars can one U.S. President lose in a single term?

  8. firstpersoninfinite
    January 23, 2024 at 00:15

    Well done, Patrick Lawrence. You are aware, as Spengler was also, of how Russia (and the old empires of the Middle East) were stunted in the sense that, due to greater forces, they could not evolve to the extent they organically deserved. They are still seeking to evolve. We in the West have long ceased to evolve, but only in the decaying sense of Greece, Crete, Rome, Egypt, the Mayans and Aztecs did. China and Russia are evolving in a positive way, hoping to fulfill their history and, not like us, maintain it into a sterile infinity. Like everything organic, it’s just how it works out. It only makes sense that, with Russia’s nuclear arsenal, it would be part of a multipolar world with reduced power of its own. The desire to own power exclusively is, as usual, the psychopathology of demise. Russia and China show no signs of that psychopathology; the US shows every sign of that characteristic quality. Like the British Empire after 1956, we might slow our demise and keep the smile of ascendency alive a little while longer in historical terms, but we now seem bent upon needless demise to the point of no return. How could an Empire based on Puritanism and slavery come to such an end? I’m joking, of course – this path is our path, and the only question left is whether we can choose a different path for all humanity before it becomes too late. It will certainly take a leadership that is different from any we have seen in the last 60 years in this country, the US of America. The question now becomes: how does one stop the precipitate released by intended madness?

    • jef Jelten
      January 23, 2024 at 10:58

      Great comment FPI – I believe it can be said that the US and West in general have “stunted” 2/3rds of the countries around the world to the detriment of all humanity.

      We may never know how wondrous the world may have been if this were not the case. I honestly hope with all my heart that we may yet achieve a better world and I for one will do everything I can to help that come about and call out any who oppose it.

  9. January 22, 2024 at 23:13

    Another deeply insightful and illuminating analysis. Thank You Patrick Lawrence.

  10. Kato Rivera
    January 22, 2024 at 22:47

    I always value Patrick’s articles, regarding these as part of my ongoing education, however, a speck of American blindness has inserted itself in the form of a presumption that the terms ‘West’ and ‘US’ are synonymous. They are not. The cultural values of America, Europe, and Australia are significantly different. The error is understandable. NATO and the 1975 coup d’etat of Australia, making it the unrepresented 51st US state, homogenised visible geopolitics. What all have in common is the attitudes of the self-appointed elites. Because the media is controlled by these, confusing terms like “international community” have emerged. There is, of course, no such thing. As we see now, “the people” have one view and the elites (governments) another. This first became starkly apparent during the Gaza genocide. Politicians had to quickly adjust positions to avoid alienating their electorates, perhaps terminally. Geopolitics has still not recognised this shift, which will soon become seismic.

    The second time Patrick misinterpreted was his recognition of Japan. At the commencement of WWII, Japan was the fifth industrial global power and had been for some time. But it did not attempt to westernise. Japanese are as ‘racially superior’ as whites and regard all other peoples as inferior. This has not changed, which is why Japan misstepped seriously in its interpretation of the Red Sea Blockade. This is the same insularity being exposed as exists in the White House. Earlier, this insularity caused the 1987 crash, believing that what goes up will do so forever. Japan is now trapped by its own history. The US manipulation of rubber and oil markets that forced Japan to abandon the Manchurian invasion and instead turn on Indonesia and Malaysia, resonates today but it will eventually cause Japan to ally itself with China and Russia. We need to understand this. Likewise, it will never join BRICS.

    • January 23, 2024 at 09:52

      Thank you this thoughtful comment.
      On your second point, you make mine, and by extension Gordon Hahn’s, exquisitely. In Japan’s case, decades of extreme Westernization following the Meiji Restoration in 1868–there was at one point a movement, even, to make English the national language–were followed by an equally extreme withdrawal into nationalism and “Japanism.” You saw it in the writers, too–Tanizaki, later on Mishima: The Westernized return to tradition, however interpreted. See Tanizaki’s “In Praise of Shadows,” e.g.
      & thanks as always to all those taking the time to comment.

  11. Fritz
    January 22, 2024 at 22:23

    “…Michail Gorbachev accepted Washington’s assurance — without a signed document…’
    — Patrick Lawrence

    The Two “Ifs”
    Even if Michail Gorbachev had obtained a signed document, Washington would have still violated its assurance. History is full of this bully’s violations of signed treaties.

    If the 1945 Nuremberg principles applied to the United States of Atrocities (USA), every POTUS since Harry Truman right through to Genocide Joe would have been hung for war crimes.

  12. wildthange
    January 22, 2024 at 20:40

    Yes the era of the Roman Empire turning into a trans national religion out to conquer the world with a fake god and unproven prince of peace over the ages with military technology as the proof of the profits of wars for lies.
    It is worth mentioning the the world still suffers from the disinformation of the Roman era that Jews killed the non-existent messiah that wasn’t. One of the longest defamation of character produced for a military occupation force.
    The gunpowder the Chinese used to scare away evil spirits became the evil that plagues the world for military dominance of continents of people for pure profits..

  13. Renate Bridenthal
    January 22, 2024 at 20:40

    Historically, since Tsar Peter the Great, Russia has looked westward, where progress lay. Now progress lies eastward, and Russia turns there.

  14. CaseyG
    January 22, 2024 at 20:28

    I enjoyed the article, because it was Russian based more than Americans ever seem to recognize. who and what Russia is. As near as I can tell, JFK was an honest player in terms of a believable presidency—but so many after that seem dense and
    greedy and just not familiar with what a democracy is said to be.

    How sad that major media has dissed the writer—though this only shows how empty headed that many in major media have become. Sadly —-it does seem that the “More Perfect Union,” is certainly a good idea—but with corporate media running so much , and so badly—it is a relief and very refreshing to read of this writer.

  15. Robert
    January 22, 2024 at 20:12

    Europeans countries would have been immeasurably better off economically and security wise if they had moved to some measure of independence from the United States. Done right, they could have played one against the other and benefited from both Russia and the US. They are perfectly positioned to use the vast resources of nearby Russia. But the European countries became lazy. In exchange for huge US military bases these countries morphed into becoming vassals of the US.

    • jef Jelten
      January 23, 2024 at 10:50

      European countries are almost entirely dependent on the raping and pillaging of the global south, mostly Africa, to acquire the resources they need for cheap almost free. Relying on Russian resources would mean having to pay full price, which is a big part of why the West keeps vilifying and attacking Russia.

      By the way this explains the steady influx of global south refugees into the EU.

      • Susan Siens
        January 23, 2024 at 14:44

        Your second excellent comment!

        • jef Jelten
          January 23, 2024 at 16:35

          Thank you Susan! and thank you Patrick!

  16. January 22, 2024 at 19:45

    Hopeful analysis, hopeful for Russia, hopeful for the non-Western world, and, in the end, if it bears fruit, hopeful for the West (whatever that is) as well. Thank you.

  17. John Snively
    January 22, 2024 at 19:17

    Patrick Lawrence has a depth of experience from his decades of immersion in the East that translates into his thorough understanding of today’s events. He sees with different eyes. Our country has missed myriad opportunities for peace because of ‘the imperial mindset of Washington’s feckless elite that dismiss with contempt what is staring them in the face. Thank you Patrick.

    • LeoSun
      January 25, 2024 at 00:32

      I, concur, 100%, “Patrick Lawrence has a depth of experience from his decades of immersion in the East that translates into his thorough understanding of today’s events. He sees with different eyes.” Including, everything, after, ‘Our Country, etc.,’ “True Dat!” Keep It Lit.”

  18. Charles E. Carroll
    January 22, 2024 at 18:50

    Hopeful, yes. Now, can we corral the war mongering idiots in the U.S.?

  19. Walter Dublanica
    January 22, 2024 at 15:57

    A brilliant article.

  20. mary-lou
    January 22, 2024 at 15:56

    this is hopeful, thank you.

  21. Rex Williams
    January 22, 2024 at 15:55

    I think it is a fair comment to state that if you searched the world for a valuable foreign minister, you could not go past Sergei Lavrov.

    A totally unflustered, apparently truthful representative of his country, he makes s comparison with the past failures of the US in this important role as something of a joke, the likes of Clinton, Pompeo, Blinken and all the others one could name having done nothing to add to the credibility of the USA. Adding to that as well is the 78 years of US foreign policy, nay, hegemonic objectives since WWII, and that adds to the failures of that “exceptional” Israel-controlled country, now on a downhill slide, fast.

    One is tempted to offer just one example. Following the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 17 in 2014. the then Secretary of State , John Kerry made it quite clear that the very clever USA knew from where the missile was fired and who fired it.

    The world is still waiting for that one.

  22. January 22, 2024 at 15:52

    The only thing surprising about Putin’s decision to “remove all dependence on the West” is that it took so long for him to come to that decision. Russia has all the natural resources, all the intellectual resources and all the “know how” it needs to fully develop itself independently of the West. Russia doesn’t need the West and never did.

    After the Soviet collapse, Gorbachev and his successors relied entirely on wishful thinking that they could deal successfully with the U.S., knowing full well the duplicitous nature of U.S. foreign policy. Had they not given in to such wishful thinking, they would not have wasted the years attempting to deal with the U.S. and its puppet states, and would have continued to develop their own nation in their own way.

  23. Lois Gagnon
    January 22, 2024 at 15:51

    The blind fools who populate Washington are incapable of learning. They preach to a world that is no longer interested in what they have to say. Too many have suffered from the results of our foreign policy to believe the marketing anymore. Washington is talking to itself. Europe, Australia and Europe along with a handful of weak kneed vassals are only going along out of fear of the consequences of disobeying. The rest are moving on. Game over.

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