Category Archives: Articles

Is Putin a Christian conservative? Dr. Chodakiewicz critiques Pat Buchanan’s thoughts

Some conservatives, encouraged by Vladimir Putin’s rhetorical defense of Christianity and tradition, have portrayed the president of post-Soviet Russia as the new great champion of Christendom. But is the “former” KGB Colonel sincere, or is he simply utilizing and cleverly exploiting the pathologies of Western social liberalism to fit his anti-American propaganda narrative? In his latest analysis, written for the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research, Dr. Chodakiewicz seeks to answer this question while critiquing the writings of Patrick J. Buchanan.

Putin’s Active Measures, Buchanan’s Grief
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
SFPPR News & Analysis
28 April 2014

“In the culture war for the future of mankind, Putin is planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity,” Patrick J. Buchanan recently wrote. “The West’s capitulation to a sexual revolution of easy divorce, rampant promiscuity, pornography, homosexuality, feminism, abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, assisted suicide – the displacement of Christian values by Hollywood values.”

Buchanan quotes Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post saying that “she was stunned in Tbilisi to hear a Georgian lawyer declare of the former pro-Western regime of Mikhail Saakashvili, ‘They were LGBT.’” He cites Masha Gessen, author of the bookThe Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, saying, “Russia is remaking itself as the leader of the anti-Western world.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s defense of decent civilization, however, is as legitimate as Lenin’s New Economic Policy was free market. Its salient point is reducing the West to LGBT. To oppose it is to claim a moral high ground in the world. Yet, it should be obvious that the Kremlin’s approach is absolutely relativistic. One should not be surprised when, sometime in the future, Russia invades Poland to free its oppressed sexual minorities.

To continue reading, please visit SFPPR News & Analysis.

Is it time to revisit Putin’s role in the Smolensk crash?

The article below is written by IWP student and Kosciuszko Chair researcher Pawel Styrna.  The full article can be found on the website of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

After the Smolensk plane crash, the speed with which the disaster became – not unlike Benghazi – relegated to “yesterday’s news” was stunning. An uninformed observer might conclude that what happened at Smolensk was but a minor incident, and didn’t involve the deaths of Poland’s president, and almost one hundred members of the military and political elite of a key U.S.-Central European ally on NATO’s border with Russia.

Four years ago the Soviet-built Tupolev 154M jetliner carrying Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and First Lady Maria Kaczyńska, leading a delegation of 94 Polish government officials, including high ranking civilian and military officials, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre – crashed on April 10, 2010 killing all aboard before landing at Smolensk, Russia, just east of the Belarus border.

“They were supposed to attend a second memorial service,” wrote Professor Nicholas Dima at the time in his article “Katyn Tragedy Redux.” “The first one had been held three days earlier, but President Kaczyński was irritated because Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had invited only the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, and the Russian leader had not mentioned the Polish officers massacred by the KGB (NKVD). Consequently, Kaczynski wanted a proper ceremony held at Katyn and was on his way to attend it.” There’s a school of thought that believes Kaczynski took the bait and fell into Vladimir Putin’s trap.

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“Minority rights” and post-Soviet imperialism

Following Russia’s invasion of the nation of Georgia in August 2008, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz pointed out that Moscow will increasingly utilize the rhetoric of “minority rights” in its strategy of rebuilding its empire.

After all, Russia de facto annexed two Georgian provinces–Abkhazia and South Ossetia–under the pretext of defending the two ethnicities’ right to “self-determination” (i.e. secession). This amounted to their incorporation into the Russian Federation, the main successor state of the Soviet Union.

In 2014, the Kremlin is invoking its alleged right, and even duty, to protect ethnic Russians living in Ukraine from alleged Maidan “fascists.” So far, Vladimir Putin’s regime seized Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, but what will Moscow do next?

There are ethnic Russians residing throughout the former Bolshevik empire, including in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine and in the Baltic States. There are also disgruntled minorities in many other former Soviet republics, which means that the scenario may well again repeat itself. In its ideological warfare, the Kremlin hopes to exploit all the positive connotations that Western liberal elites associate with pro-“minority rights” phraseology.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s article from August 29, 2008, “Minority rights and imperial reintegration,” is thus as relevant now as it was back then. His analysis is available here.

Why the Yanukovych regime fell? Dr. Chodakiewicz comments

Prof. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, who heads IWP’s Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies, published an article yesterday on Ukraine on the web portal of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research. His analysis discusses ousted president Viktor Yanukovych’s alleged and foiled attempt to crush the Maidan Uprising, “Operation Wave,” and the case of the infamous Kyiv snipers. Why was the regime unable to crush the popular uprising? Were the snipers provocateurs hired cynically by the opposition to smear the government, or were they actually Russian FSB sharpshooters doing Moscow’s (and Yanukovych’s) bidding? Prof. Chodakiewicz answers these questions below:

Ukraine: Operation Wave
SFPPR News & Analysis
March 19, 2014
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz

During three long months of increasingly violent demonstrations in Ukraine some observers asked themselves a question about an allegedly imminent crack down. When? And how? One assumed that the government of Viktor Yanukovych, to maintain itself in power and to preserve its credibility, had to act. And since political concessions, such as rescinding the super powers of the presidency the chief executive had usurped for himself, granting an amnesty to the demonstrators and rioters, and promises to reopen negotiations with the European Union, failed to calm the population down, the only option left was to crush the protest violently: first in Kyiv on Maidan, and then elsewhere. This was seemingly obvious. But apparently nothing happened, or nothing extraordinarily violent. Why?

For three months Poland’s foreign minister Radek Sikorski played a crucial role of liaison among the European Union, Germany in particular, and the Ukrainian government and the opposition. He was also involved because stabilizing Ukraine was in the Polish neighbor’s own interest. Sikorski badgered the opponents of post-Communism to compromise with the post-Communists in power. On February 20, the eve of what appeared like a “historic” accord, Sikorski compelled the opposition to sign an agreement with the Yanukovich regime because, if you don’t, warned the Pole, “you will all die.” Nary two days later, the erstwhile Ukrainian president escaped from the capital into exile in Russia. The opposition set up a new coalition government, some, in particular in the streets, grumbling bitterly that the Pole had forced their hand prematurely and nearly robbed “the Ukrainian people” of their victory over Yanukovich and his pro-Muscovite, Russophone orientation.

To continue reading, visit the SFPPR News & Analysis website.

Gen. Walter Jajko: Arm Ukraine

USAF Brigadier General (Ret.) and IWP professor of defense studies, Gen. Walter Jajko, published an article on the rapidly escalating situation in Ukraine. His analysis is the cover story of the March 5 issue (No. 10) of the Polish weekly, Gazeta Polska.

In the article, Gen. Jajko argues that “the US should deliver as quickly as possible anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, artillery, small arms, and helicopter gunships to western Ukraine. The long-term effects of subordinating Ukraine-a country of fifty million-to Moscow gives the Kremlin the ability to exercise hegemony over Eurasia, dictate terms to the European Union, and to systematically weaken NATO.”

Below is an English version of the article.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Brig. Gen. Walter Jajko are strictly his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense or The Institute of World Politics. .

For US and EU warmed-over Chicken Kiev?

Walter Jajko

Even before Russia’s invasion of the Crimea, I argued that the widespread popular nationalist revolt in Ukraine has the potential for a tectonic geostrategic transformation.*  Depending on the outcome, there could be a permanent shift benefiting either Russia or the West.  Based on the West’s record of talk and no action, the odds favor Russia.

Putin and his ilk believe that Ukraine is forever attached inseparably to Russia.  If Putin can hold Ukraine, Russia can rebuild its empire.  Without Ukraine there can be no reconstructed Russian empire.  Then, in the long term, Russia would be able to dominate Eurasia, subordinating the EU and hollowing out NATO.  In the near term, Russia can continue to threaten the Baltic States and Poland directly with force, as it has repeatedly, and Germany and Poland with nuclear missiles from its illegally occupied Kaliningrad.

If the West secures Ukraine, its independence and sovereignty – and ultimately its prosperity – will be solidified, the EU and potentially NATO would abut the very heartland of Russia, Belarus would collapse, and Europe genuinely would be whole and free and its eastern border secure.  Poland for the first time in its history would have a secure border widely separated from a diminished Russia by fundamentally friendly allied states.  Russia, with its declining population, notwithstanding its nuclear weapons and increasing oil and gas reserves, would be left a landlocked lesser power ruled by spooks and crooks, or as the Russians call them “thieves in law”, caught between the US and an assertive, much stronger China reclaiming its lost territories.

So far for the US, the Ukrainian revolt is, at heart, nothing more than an internal political dispute exacerbated by the regime’s Soviet-style gross human rights violations and protesters resorting to violence, though the US fears a Ukrainian civil war and or a Russian military invasion.  Still, the US would prefer to return to its quixotic pursuit of a strategic relationship with Russia  – even though its failed one-sided “reset” has bought only Russian active opposition to US policy on defensive missiles in Poland, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Venezuela, and nuclear disarmament – and now Ukraine.  Obama continues to delude himself that there can be some sort of partnership while Russian principles, values, objectives, and methods are implacably hostile to the West.

Thus far, the US and EU have played a weak and marginal role in Ukraine, although their primary national security interests are at stake; their misperception of this stake is sustained by fear and wishful thinking.   Neither of them have the courage, resolve, and imagination to confront Russia directly with action.  Putin knows this.  The EU is deathly afraid of anyone raising the issue of force and Obama will not use force.  The US and EU have not taken sides forcefully supporting the pro-European Ukrainians.   So far, they have done no more than spout empty words – including Obama’s latest announcement of another useless “line” not to be crossed.  The EU and US did not even treat Yanukoyych as a dictator like Lukashenko.  That the US and EU, including Poland with the most to lose, urged only negotiations and mediation between Ukrainian freedom fighters and Yanukovych’s gangsters meant that Ukraine is not a security issue for them.

For Putin, Ukraine is a primary national security interest.   Putin certainly will not accept the loss of the Russian naval bases in the Crimea.   Putin also has limited, temporary use for a partitioned Ukraine, even if the Ukrainians themselves, east and west, agree to separate.  These will be strong indicators of an imminent Russian invasion.  Yanukovych’s flight to Kharkiv and attempt to fly out of Donetsk to Russia indicate that he cannot return to Kiev and is of limited value as a Putin puppet even in Left Bank or eastern Ukraine.   Yanukovych may return as a front man on the bayonets of the Russian Army only if Ukraine, at least Right Bank or western Ukraine, rejects any tie to Russia or a civil war begins.   Putin then almost certainly will render “fraternal assistance” on the “invitation” of Ukrainian “legitimate” authorities against “terrorists” supported by US “interference” in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

There are some practical steps that the US and EU can take immediately:  They can warn the Ukrainian Army to stand by its people and against the Russian Army, jointly with the IMF and European Central Bank raise $50-$100 B as a grant to Ukraine, and establish a strong covert action program, especially with Poland, as was done for Solidarity and Riukh, against Jaruzelski and the Soviet regimes.  The US separately could begin shipping anti-aircraft and anti-armor missiles, artillery, small arms, and helicopter gunships to western Ukraine.

*   Since events transpired very quickly, a few comments are in order to update the article: 1.  Yanukovych is finished.  He is of no use to Putin even as a Russian stooge.  2.  The US (Secretary of State and National Security Advisor) finally has warned Putin that restitution, partition, and invasion are all unacceptable, although the US has made it clear that it will not send troops. 3.  Notwithstanding wishful thinking, the Ukrainian rising will not spread to Moscow.

The problem for Ukraine’s winning opposition is to rapidly restore public order, organize an effective government, and secure cash from the West.  Organizing political parties and the electoral process for 25 May elections is a formidable task.

Even if all this succeeds, the Kiev government and western Ukraine will have to work out a modus vivendi with Crimea and eastern Ukraine.  This will mean some kind of continuing relationship with Russia.

Investing in Cuba: Dr. Chodakiewicz mentioned

The Institute of World Politics was recently mentioned—along with the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies, and its current holder, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz—in Anólan Ponce’s article in the Cuban-American Spanish-language newspaper, the Miami-based El Nuevo Herald.

Entitled “Las inversiones en Cuba y el amor a la patria” [Investing in Cuba and patriotism], the piece argues that investment in their communist-occupied homeland by Cuban-Americans will server primarily to bail out a regime whose Marxist economic policies destroyed the nation’s economy. Mr. Ponce quoted Dr. Chodakiewicz’s article, “Carbon Copy Communism,” which demonstrated that the communist regime in Poland followed the same blueprint that the Castro regime is attempting to implement now by wooing exiled businessmen. The goal was not only to obtain Western cash, but also to utilize the diaspora to spread propaganda that the communist system is allegedly no longer a totalitarian dictatorship. In other words, Havana is attempting to pull off a great deception operation.

Please click here for the whole article.

Dr. Chodakiewicz on Russia’s banning of David Satter

Moscow has just banned journalist David Satter from post-Soviet Russia. In an article published on 3 February on the website of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research News & Analysis section, history professor and current holder of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, analyzes the background and causes of this expulsion of an inconvenient writer. We are posting a part of the article below, followed by a link to the full text:

Get David Satter: Who’s more of a threat to the Kremlin, the journalist or the terrorist?

David Satter (who happens to be an acquaintance of mine) has just been expelled from the Russian Federation. David is no stranger to the masters of the Kremlin. He has accumulated a long track record of annoying them. Having been threatened with deportation as early as 1979 for “hooliganism,” Satter left the Soviet Union three years later under a cloud in 1982.

Working as a correspondent for the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, he had been detained and menaced (including drugged and robbed) numerous times by the secret police because he was one of the very few Western journalists who actually discharged his professional duty conscientiously under Communism. David refused to hang out at the ex-pat bar to listen to the Kremlin “insider” stories fed to the useful idiots of the Western press corps by the KGB’s masters of deception.

Instead, he roamed the length and breadth of the USSR. He watched the country, observed the authorities, interviewed the people, and not just the urban folk in Moscow, but also the provincials and non-Russians, including non-mainstream dissidents. He listened to their stories with compassion, recorded them with accuracy, and translated them aptly to make them crystal clear for the confused Western reader. In a word, David Satter got the Soviet Union right. Uniquely, his publisher and editors always backed him up. They refused to capitulate cravenly to the diktat of the Kremlin to muzzle their star reporter. And, therefore, the latter was able to function as an outsider in a totalitarian dictatorship for four long years.

To continue reading, please visit the SFPPR News & Analysis website.

Between Scylla and Charybdis: Ukraine, Russia, and the EU

In an article for the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research, Kosciuszko Chair Research Assistant and IWP student Pawel Styrna discusses the current situation in Ukraine.  Read the full article here.  

Between Scylla and Charybdis: Ukraine, Russia, and the EU
by Pawel Stynra

Ukraine-like so many of the other former “captive nations” of the Central and Eastern European Intermarium-faces a choice between Scylla and Charybdis: an increasingly bold and aggressive post-Soviet Russia, and a socialist-liberal EU hostile to the sovereign nation-state. Meanwhile, Obama’s America is indifferent to the region, and visions of a CEE geopolitical bloc are stalled and obstructed.  

Ukraine’s decision to forego the signing of a “free trade” agreement with the European Union in favor of the Russian-dominated Eurasian Customs Union came as a shock, but only to those who haven’t been paying attention to the larger geopolitical trends in Central and Eastern Europe. Not surprisingly, supporters of European “integration” are irked and disappointed by this admittedly significant setback to the EU’s heretofore smooth eastward expansion. In the large Central-Eastern European country, dismayed and angry pro-EU Ukrainians protested in the capital of Kyiv, even demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, while the pro-Moscow, post-Soviet government resorted to unleashing hundreds of hooligans-bussed in by the ruling Party of Regions-on the pro-European demonstrators.

The situation has now spiraled into a full-blown political crisis-the biggest in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution of 2004-with the masses of pro-Western demonstrators turning Independence Square-now dubbed Euro-Square (Euromaidan)-into a de facto fortified camp and repelling attempts by the regime’s riot police (the elite Berkut unit) to disperse them. In response, the post-Soviet government sought to erect a tent city of its own supporters. However one views EU “integration,” the determination and fighting spirit of theEuromaidan protesters is quite impressive, no doubt because they are fueled by nationalism. The crisis may quite easily become a second Orange Revolution and lead to regime change; unless the Yanukovych-Azarov oligarchy is willing to spill much blood to crush it. As Homini Sovietici they might not be at all averse to such brutal measures, but they are also aware that it would further weaken their bargaining position vis-à-vis Putin’s Russia.

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Snowden: Hero or Traitor?

Edward Snowden became the subject of much controversy and debate, both here in the US, and abroad. In an article published on 3 December on the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research News & Analysis section, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz seeks to answer the fundamental question: is Snowden a hero or a traitor? Further—since many have stressed the fallout of Snowden’s actions—Dr. Chodakiewicz addresses the cultural roots of the Snowden phenomenon.

Snowden Forever

This is not to cheer the defector but simply to point out that the phenomena undergirding the Edward Snowden case will continue to metastasize predictably, linger painfully, and haunt us into the foreseeable future. Yet, this awful affair affords us an opportunity to have a long, merciless look at the perpetrator, ourselves, and the damages wrought on the nation. It enables us to pinpoint the sources of our weaknesses and suggest remedies. The disaster invites us to delve into the business of spying. Above all, it prompts us to posit a moral question: Is Snowden right?

Every American has a right to dissent. Snowden’s actions perhaps could be seen as legitimate, where the United States of America is perceived by many as an evil entity creeping toward soft totalitarianism. According to this Occupy Wall Street-cum-McVeighish narrative, with its overweening government, the U.S. violates natural law by promoting pathologies at home and abroad, oppressing its own citizens, and targeting foreign nationals for global social engineering schemes incongruent with their civilizations. If it does not get its way, Washington invades or otherwise rains violence and destabilization upon the rest of the world. Although America remains a constitutional republic, its democratic conduct at home and abroad reflects the will of its people exercised through their elected representatives to enable and condone such policies. In this narrative there is much to dislike about America. Enter Snowden. Either he opposes America with all its flaws and virtues, or he objects to the forms that have lately sprung from our system. The latter is legitimate.

To continue reading, please visit the SFPPR News & Analysis website.

Gen. Jajko comments on the current geopolitical situation

In a recent interview with Poland’s conservative weekly, Gazeta Polska [Polish Gazette], Gen. Walter Jajko commented on several important aspects of the current global geopolitical situation.

The General-who teaches a course on the theorists of military strategy at IWP-stated that post-Soviet Russia’s influence and prestige on the international arena is rising while America’s is waning. This is neither inevitable nor irreversible, he argues, but the product of leadership failure in Washington.

For instance, the current administration has demonstrated a lack of resolve on the issue of Syria. Vladimir Putin recognized Obama’s weakness and cunningly capitalized on it.

The former KGB officer has also taken advantage of the “reset” policy-which entails at least a partial disinterest in the former “captive nations” in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Caucasus-to pursue the reintegration of the former Soviet Bloc, i.e. the so-called “near abroad.” For instance, Moscow essentially humiliated Warsaw following the highly suspicious Smolensk Plane Crash of 10 April 2010-which killed many among Poland’s patriotic and pro-Western leadership, including the presidential couple. The fact that the politicians who have governed Poland during the past few years have accepted Putin’s so-called “investigation” as an example of Russian good will, Gen. Jajko points out, demonstrates the enduring influence of the pro-Russian, post-communist agentura.

Poland and other former “captive nations” must thus de-communize their political systems if they are to successfully counter the Kremlin’s pressure. And American policy-makers should come to understand these phenomena of the international landscape.

To read the Polish-language interview, please see the Gazeta Polska website.

Note: The views expressed by Gen. Walter Jajko USAF Ret. are purely his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of IWP or the US Department of Defense.