X Close

Anarchy ended our imperial dream We are living in Robert Kaplan's world – not Tony Blair's

'The coming anarchy' has arrived (HUSSEIN FALEH/AFP via Getty Images)

'The coming anarchy' has arrived (HUSSEIN FALEH/AFP via Getty Images)


August 25, 2023   5 mins

It’s 1994 and Robert D. Kaplan is in China’s Xinjiang Province, home to 11 million Turkic Uyghur Muslims whom the world now knows as the Uyghurs. He soon learns they are “trapped in a grip of surveillance and brutal repression by the Chinese authorities”. To the Uyghurs, as well as to “geographers and ethnographers, this western outpost of China was historically East Turkestan”, he writes.

The Loom of Time is Robert’s Kaplan latest, characteristically magisterial book, and this opening anecdote holds the key to his enduring importance. He goes on to describe how back in the mid-Nineties an editor had described his interest in the Uyghurs as “testing the limits of obscurantism”. But Kaplan knew different — especially since he understood, when he went again in 2015, that the backdrop for this repression was China’s $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative: “a postmodern transportation network of highways, railways, and energy pipelines linking China by land and sea with Europe across the Greater Middle East”.

Kaplan’s thinking is grounded in geography. Whether it is how the state of Iraq is so geographically incoherent that its descent into chaos was almost inevitable or the conservative influence of mountains on society, the truth is always to be found not in textbooks or the corridors of government, but out in the field, traversing the veins and capillaries that comprise our world: the alleyways and the slums and the bogs — the terrain.

His trip to Xinjiang illustrates his process in miniature. One, understand the map; two, get to the places that others won’t go; and three, from there, better understand the human activities (such as the Belt and Road) that act upon it. This is the beginning of political knowledge.

The book is about the Greater Middle East, loosely speaking the Islamic world “stretching from Morocco in the western Mediterranean to East Turkestan, abutting the arable cradle of China”. A region that absolutely cannot be understood without knowledge of its desert and plains and mountains and bazaars, and without its perennial curse: foreign meddling.

Historically, this has taken the form of avowed empires, which in their 19th-century Western form at least, are dead. Kaplan correctly observes that “in a globalised world one culture cannot simply appropriate and subjugate other cultures for its own ends”. Empires are now not only morally wrong but déclassé.

The imperial mindset, though, persists. If the Greater Middle East was once in the sights of the imperial West — whose afterlife continued with “humanitarian interventions” of Afghanistan and Iraq — it is now the fight zone for what Kaplan calls “ghost empires”: China, which seeks to link its budding commercial outposts in Europe with those in East Asia; but also Turkey and Iran, two former empires which also revere their imperial pasts. As Kaplan observes: “Western imperialism may be looked down upon, but not so the record of indigenous empires.”

Where once the British East India Company advanced eastward from Europe across the Middle East to China, China now advances westward, with similar commercial and strategic motives. It has built a large military base in Djibouti at the mouth of the Red Sea, and is contemplating others further north along the Red Sea at Port Sudan and at Jiwani by the Pakistan-Iran border near Gwadar. It is indeed “a great age in history to be a Chinese civil engineer”.

Geography for Kaplan also serves a wider purpose: it both informs and explains a particular view of history — the long view. What Fernand Braudel, the mid-20th-century French geographer and historian of the Mediterranean, calls la longue durée. If geography is, more or less, immutable, its effects on history are most apparent when you consider it not over months or years, as we have a tendency to do, but over centuries and even millennia. Like Braudel, Kaplan is interested in “the slow, imperceptible changes, like the sluggish movements of the ocean at its deepest depths, which invisibly determine the fast-moving, transitory ripples at the surface, upon which the media remain focused”.

Taking the long view of history frees you from the varying conceptual and ideological preoccupations of differing periods. And being immutable, geography does not yield to ideology. This means you can start to look at monarchy and empire and autocracy and even democracy — which “according to the long arc of time, remains but a bold experiment” in the Greater Middle East — not exclusively in terms of their morality but their efficacy.

It is an unfashionable approach, but unlike the ad hominem polemics of the column or tweet thread, it shows genuine intellectual bravery. Kaplan writes: “Thus, to define the Arab world in particular as a contest between democracy and authoritarianism — as so many people do — is to impose simulated categories upon it, specific to America’s own historical experience, not to the historical experience of the region in question.” This tendency to view the world as an extension of the United States is simple, and simplistic. Go to a region and decide: who are the victims? Who are the oppressors? Who is black, who is white? Often, the categories are not only irrelevant but unhelpful, and even dangerous. And there is a name for this: imperialism, albeit of the cultural kind.

This is also, in the end, a deeply moral approach, because, as we saw in Iraq, what does not work in the Greater Middle East almost always ends in horror. This is a book about the region, but it is also a book about our reaction to it, which has in turn helped to mould it. Kaplan understands how disastrous this reaction has been, not least through the importation of the “fatal idea” of modern nationalism that, among other things, brought genocide to communities of Turks, Greeks and Armenians who had once coexisted under the Ottoman Empire. This is a place where “the assault of the West, from urbanisation to imperialism to modern nationalism to weapons technology, created complex and hybrid cultural orders throughout the developing world, where chaos took on a magnified and deadly quality”.

This is the binary that has so obsessed Kaplan throughout his career: the dialectic between chaos and order. In February 1994, he wrote a now-famous piece in The Atlantic called “The Coming Anarchy”. While think-tankers and politicians pondered the role democracy would play in the coming years, Kaplan, out in the field, argued that it was tribal and ethnic divides, dwindling resources, and desertification and drought — which is to say climate change — that would shape the future.

He was right. In 2023, it’s not Cold War fears of nuclear Armageddon or industrialised state war that loom but the spectre of anarchy. The conflict in Ukraine wasn’t officially a war when it began, often fought by local “separatists” — Russian proxies — and with mercenaries and organised criminal gangs all seeking a piece of the action. Meanwhile, opposing combatants often share a “nationality” sundered by ethnicity and language, while foreign fighters flow in on both sides. Head south and see conflict washing across the Sahel as Jihadists groups exploit the desperation wrought by dwindling water and exploding populations. We are living in Robert Kaplan’s world, not the value-freighted one that existed only in the imaginations of Tony Blair and Barack Obama.

Towards the end of the book, Kaplan quotes from War and Peace. Count Rostopchin, a general and statesman, “had known for a long time that Moscow would be abandoned, but had known it only with his reason, while with all his soul he had not believed it”. The homily here is a simple one. Rostopchin knew Moscow would fall to Napoleon, but he could not bring himself to believe it so, when it happened, he was helpless to act.

The prerequisite to effective action is to first accept reality as it is — not in the lecture room or government department, but on the ground. This is the leitmotif that runs throughout Kaplan’s work. It is what has kept him at the cutting edge of geopolitical thought for decades, and it is what we must internalise, or else we will continue to act ineffectively, or worse, with great harm.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century. (Hachette)

dpatrikarakos

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

30 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago

China, then, is extending its reach accross the world, eager as any other technologically advanced nation for resources to sustain itself and feed its greater ambitions. They have a great advantage over the West of being able to do this quite shamelessly, uninhibited by concern with the morality of exploitation – something the West’s university educated class have come to believe is all that really matters.
Our elites would like us to put up with an increasingly regressive culture just so long as we can’t be accused of the (alleged) sin of exploitation. While China wins the future we will win “the huddled masses yearning…” for a First World life. While China benefits from the use of natural resources wherever it can find them we will “benefit” from a rewilded environment bringing joy only to privileged (and deluded) latter-day Romantics.

Last edited 10 months ago by N Satori
Simon Neale
Simon Neale
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Excellent point, well made.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

“While China benefits from the use of natural resources wherever it can find them we will “benefit” from a rewilded environment bringing joy only to privileged (and deluded) latter-day Romantics.”

The “rewilded environment” is merely the ‘bait’ while acres upon acres of solar panel and wind farms will be the ‘switch’. And still there will not be enough energy for the UK huddled masses under Net Zero.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Excellent point, well made.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

“While China benefits from the use of natural resources wherever it can find them we will “benefit” from a rewilded environment bringing joy only to privileged (and deluded) latter-day Romantics.”

The “rewilded environment” is merely the ‘bait’ while acres upon acres of solar panel and wind farms will be the ‘switch’. And still there will not be enough energy for the UK huddled masses under Net Zero.

N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago

China, then, is extending its reach accross the world, eager as any other technologically advanced nation for resources to sustain itself and feed its greater ambitions. They have a great advantage over the West of being able to do this quite shamelessly, uninhibited by concern with the morality of exploitation – something the West’s university educated class have come to believe is all that really matters.
Our elites would like us to put up with an increasingly regressive culture just so long as we can’t be accused of the (alleged) sin of exploitation. While China wins the future we will win “the huddled masses yearning…” for a First World life. While China benefits from the use of natural resources wherever it can find them we will “benefit” from a rewilded environment bringing joy only to privileged (and deluded) latter-day Romantics.

Last edited 10 months ago by N Satori
David McKee
David McKee
10 months ago

Caplan avoids the Orientalism of Clinton, Blair, Bush and Obama, in that he refuses to map Western political structures onto the Global South. He knew, before Bush and Blair found out the hard way, you cannot drop democracy from a bomb-bay door at 30,000 ft.

However, he embraces the Orientalism of seeing the Global South as an irredeemable shambles, unable and unwilling to better itself. He denies the people there any agency to choose and work for the future of their choice.

If we want to help, we should do it with knowledge and humility. If we are tempted to offer our opinions, we should zip our lips.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

“you cannot drop democracy from a bomb-bay door at 30,000 ft.”
An excellent metaphor, I thank you.

David McKee
David McKee
10 months ago

It is not, alas, an original insight, but thank you for the compliment.

David McKee
David McKee
10 months ago

It is not, alas, an original insight, but thank you for the compliment.

N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

“…democracy from a bomb-bay door…”

Well, I guess that’s now the popular image of the 2003 Gulf War – particularly among those who have always been itching to put Tony Blair on trial for war crimes [that includes one or two grubby Lefties of my unwelcome acquaintance].
It would be more true to say that one of the West’s great delusions is that all the peoples of the world are yearning for democracy and would grasp it with both hands if they could. We just need to help them out by ousting the tyrannical regimes which prevent them from fulfilling this alleged yearning.
Unfortunately, democracy is not looking too successful, even in our own backyard.

Pedro the Exile
Pedro the Exile
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

democracy is not looking too successful,
If you assume that we are in fact living in a democracy which is highly debatable .However,it still beats theocracy ,autocracy and anarchy!

N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago

That depends on your beliefs hopes and aspirations:
If you believe that God has given us firm instructions on how we should live then theocracy is the way to go. If you hope for an orderly world run with a firm hand then autocracy holds some appeal. If you aspire to freedom from the authority of other men then anarchy must be tempting aspiration.Democracy means settling for the tyranny of the majority (in theory at least), Of course you really have to worry about how intelligent and well informed that majority is.

Last edited 10 months ago by N Satori
Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

I’ve seen how intelligent our experts and elite are and on balance I think large parts of majority are a good deal better informed than many might think.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Or, a constitutional democracy that limits the powers of the governing majority and protects everyone including those not in the majority from outrageous acts.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

I’ve seen how intelligent our experts and elite are and on balance I think large parts of majority are a good deal better informed than many might think.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Or, a constitutional democracy that limits the powers of the governing majority and protects everyone including those not in the majority from outrageous acts.

N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago

That depends on your beliefs hopes and aspirations:
If you believe that God has given us firm instructions on how we should live then theocracy is the way to go. If you hope for an orderly world run with a firm hand then autocracy holds some appeal. If you aspire to freedom from the authority of other men then anarchy must be tempting aspiration.Democracy means settling for the tyranny of the majority (in theory at least), Of course you really have to worry about how intelligent and well informed that majority is.

Last edited 10 months ago by N Satori
Chipoko
Chipoko
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

The demise of democracy was accelerated by the arrival of Covid 19, though the infection of Marxist doctrine within the western democratic body politic has been steadily sapping its vitality since the 1950s.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

What a sheltered life you’ve led

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

What a sheltered life you’ve led

Pedro the Exile
Pedro the Exile
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

democracy is not looking too successful,
If you assume that we are in fact living in a democracy which is highly debatable .However,it still beats theocracy ,autocracy and anarchy!

Chipoko
Chipoko
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

The demise of democracy was accelerated by the arrival of Covid 19, though the infection of Marxist doctrine within the western democratic body politic has been steadily sapping its vitality since the 1950s.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

I agree but I think that the whole situation is a double-sided mess and far more complex and there are always just as many dishonest actors on their side as ours; cue the huddled masses beating their breasts for the cameras demanding ‘freedom’, the constant requests for endless money and weapons, all the jockeying for supremacy among rival groups and the siphoning off of funds.

An NGO speaking on the radio who’d spent his whole life trying to ‘help’ said he finally came to the conclusion that 90% of it had been a complete waste of time. But we can’t do nothing supposedly as that would be uncaring and so it goes on. White saviour complex anybody ?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

“you cannot drop democracy from a bomb-bay door at 30,000 ft.”
An excellent metaphor, I thank you.

N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

“…democracy from a bomb-bay door…”

Well, I guess that’s now the popular image of the 2003 Gulf War – particularly among those who have always been itching to put Tony Blair on trial for war crimes [that includes one or two grubby Lefties of my unwelcome acquaintance].
It would be more true to say that one of the West’s great delusions is that all the peoples of the world are yearning for democracy and would grasp it with both hands if they could. We just need to help them out by ousting the tyrannical regimes which prevent them from fulfilling this alleged yearning.
Unfortunately, democracy is not looking too successful, even in our own backyard.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

I agree but I think that the whole situation is a double-sided mess and far more complex and there are always just as many dishonest actors on their side as ours; cue the huddled masses beating their breasts for the cameras demanding ‘freedom’, the constant requests for endless money and weapons, all the jockeying for supremacy among rival groups and the siphoning off of funds.

An NGO speaking on the radio who’d spent his whole life trying to ‘help’ said he finally came to the conclusion that 90% of it had been a complete waste of time. But we can’t do nothing supposedly as that would be uncaring and so it goes on. White saviour complex anybody ?

David McKee
David McKee
10 months ago

Caplan avoids the Orientalism of Clinton, Blair, Bush and Obama, in that he refuses to map Western political structures onto the Global South. He knew, before Bush and Blair found out the hard way, you cannot drop democracy from a bomb-bay door at 30,000 ft.

However, he embraces the Orientalism of seeing the Global South as an irredeemable shambles, unable and unwilling to better itself. He denies the people there any agency to choose and work for the future of their choice.

If we want to help, we should do it with knowledge and humility. If we are tempted to offer our opinions, we should zip our lips.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
10 months ago

“and without its perennial curse: foreign meddling.”
It seems to me that the Arab/Muslim world has done more that its fair share of ‘meddling’ too.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
10 months ago

“and without its perennial curse: foreign meddling.”
It seems to me that the Arab/Muslim world has done more that its fair share of ‘meddling’ too.

James Sullivan
James Sullivan
10 months ago

Bit of a quibble – the Turks, Greeks, and Armenians may have co-existed under the Ottoman empire, but it wasn’t peaceful – the latter two were subject conquered peoples – as were the Arabs further south. Nationalism may have played a part in cracking that order, but Ottoman caprice and brutality were significant even before the modern concept of nationalism arose.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  James Sullivan

Exactly,
total nonsense about Ottoman Empire.
Equally applicable to Russian Empire, Greater Serbia and all other European colonial powers.
Whether newly independent countries can govern themselves (Africa anyone?) Is another matter.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  James Sullivan

Exactly,
total nonsense about Ottoman Empire.
Equally applicable to Russian Empire, Greater Serbia and all other European colonial powers.
Whether newly independent countries can govern themselves (Africa anyone?) Is another matter.

James Sullivan
James Sullivan
10 months ago

Bit of a quibble – the Turks, Greeks, and Armenians may have co-existed under the Ottoman empire, but it wasn’t peaceful – the latter two were subject conquered peoples – as were the Arabs further south. Nationalism may have played a part in cracking that order, but Ottoman caprice and brutality were significant even before the modern concept of nationalism arose.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
10 months ago

Am I the only one to find the cloying sycophancy nauseating?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

No.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

No.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
10 months ago

Am I the only one to find the cloying sycophancy nauseating?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
10 months ago

Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads is also very good on this.

Last edited 10 months ago by Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
10 months ago

Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads is also very good on this.

Last edited 10 months ago by Martin Bollis
Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
10 months ago

Fascinating article and debate below.

The question is: what do we do about it?

• Lose our illusions ✔️
• Recognise our values are not universal
values✔️
• Arm. Because the truth of the second bullet will not necessarily be accepted by our opponents; ie they will make the same mistake and try and impose their version of ‘universalist’ values.✔️

One might be tempted to quote Sun Tzu about the need to know oneself, before you seek to know your opponent.

Last edited 10 months ago by Simon Diggins
Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
10 months ago

In a wonderfully succinct book — The Tragic Mind- Kaplan plunders the Greeks and Shakespeare to help us fully comprehend the difference between tyranny and chaos.

William Brand
William Brand
3 months ago

It is interesting that Moslems are outraged at Israel but have no problems with how China treats its Moslem minority. The Houthis have proclaimed that Chinese ships are free to sail past their blockade of the red sea. Even Turkey has no problems with genocidal treatment of Turkish speaking minorities in China. They even deport exiles to China.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago

“This tendency to view the world as an extension of the United States is simple, and simplistic.”
The reality is that in its role as melting pot, it’s much more that the United States is an extension of the world – which gives it the duty extend the mechanisms of its own success back to its antecedents. Yes, it’s “cultural imperialism,” and is not only a good thing for the world, it’s the mandatory thing for the world. Or we can leave them endlessly murdering each other to their hearts’ content – which was going on long before modern imperialism.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Whiteness: the best thing that ever happened.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
10 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Albertus Mag­nus, the 13th century sage, polymath, and saint, associated a very white complexion with effeminacy, bar­ba­ri­an­ism, and slow intelligence.
Albertus Magnus, De animali­bus, ed. Hermann Stadler (Münster: Aschendorff, 1920), Lib. XX, Tract. 1, Cap. 11, 1305

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

I see you’ve decided to bring race into it. I didn’t. I’m talking about culture. Look at the direction in which world population flows and you’ll find the successful culture. Unfortunately, we can’t solve world poverty by evacuating the Third World to the First. What we can do is export First World culture to the suffering Third World. That begins by admitting that First World culture is more successful and deserves to be emulated. Perhaps you disagree and have chosen to vote with your feet for the Third World?

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

“That begins by admitting that First World culture is more successful and deserves to be emulated.”
I agree. However, note that the woke refer to First World culture as ‘whiteness’ so it’s them bringing race into it, not me. Still I do think race is a factor. Is it just a coincidence that FWC and a white population are so tightly coincident? I suspect that the race shapes the culture and then the culture shapes the race so that the two things become soft-linked. In the same way, we see that all Arab countries share a certain similarity and that everywhere that Blacks rule — from Zimbabwe to Detroit — the same sort of dysfunction will prevail — as useful generalizations!

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

“That begins by admitting that First World culture is more successful and deserves to be emulated.”
I agree. However, note that the woke refer to First World culture as ‘whiteness’ so it’s them bringing race into it, not me. Still I do think race is a factor. Is it just a coincidence that FWC and a white population are so tightly coincident? I suspect that the race shapes the culture and then the culture shapes the race so that the two things become soft-linked. In the same way, we see that all Arab countries share a certain similarity and that everywhere that Blacks rule — from Zimbabwe to Detroit — the same sort of dysfunction will prevail — as useful generalizations!

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
10 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Albertus Mag­nus, the 13th century sage, polymath, and saint, associated a very white complexion with effeminacy, bar­ba­ri­an­ism, and slow intelligence.
Albertus Magnus, De animali­bus, ed. Hermann Stadler (Münster: Aschendorff, 1920), Lib. XX, Tract. 1, Cap. 11, 1305

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

I see you’ve decided to bring race into it. I didn’t. I’m talking about culture. Look at the direction in which world population flows and you’ll find the successful culture. Unfortunately, we can’t solve world poverty by evacuating the Third World to the First. What we can do is export First World culture to the suffering Third World. That begins by admitting that First World culture is more successful and deserves to be emulated. Perhaps you disagree and have chosen to vote with your feet for the Third World?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

And who said satire was dead. The US is no kind of example to the rest of the world. Not on any level.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Whiteness: the best thing that ever happened.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

And who said satire was dead. The US is no kind of example to the rest of the world. Not on any level.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago

“This tendency to view the world as an extension of the United States is simple, and simplistic.”
The reality is that in its role as melting pot, it’s much more that the United States is an extension of the world – which gives it the duty extend the mechanisms of its own success back to its antecedents. Yes, it’s “cultural imperialism,” and is not only a good thing for the world, it’s the mandatory thing for the world. Or we can leave them endlessly murdering each other to their hearts’ content – which was going on long before modern imperialism.

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
10 months ago

Go to a region and decide: who are the victims? Who are the oppressors? Who is black, who is white? Often, the categories are not only irrelevant but unhelpful, and even dangerous.

With your simplistic maunderings on the topic of Ukraine, this really is the pot calling the kettle black, Mr Patrikarkos.

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
10 months ago

Go to a region and decide: who are the victims? Who are the oppressors? Who is black, who is white? Often, the categories are not only irrelevant but unhelpful, and even dangerous.

With your simplistic maunderings on the topic of Ukraine, this really is the pot calling the kettle black, Mr Patrikarkos.