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Category Archives: Ethical Egoism

75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future – New Europe

Posted: June 20, 2020 at 10:05 am

75 years have passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War. Several generations have grown up over the years. The political map of the planet has changed. The Soviet Union that claimed an epic, crushing victory over Nazism and saved the entire world is gone. Besides, the events of that war have long become a distant memory, even for its participants. So why does Russia celebrate the 9th of May as the biggest holiday? Why does life almost come to a halt on June 22? And why does one feel a lump rise in their throat?

They usually say that the war has left a deep imprint on every familys history. Behind these words, there are fates of millions of people, their sufferings and the pain of loss. Behind these words, there is also the pride, the truth and the memory.

For my parents, the war meant the terrible ordeals of the Siege of Leningrad where my two-year old brother Vitya died. It was the place where my mother miraculously managed to survive. My father, despite being exempt from active duty, volunteered to defend his hometown. He made the same decision as millions of Soviet citizens. He fought at the Nevsky Pyatachok bridgehead and was severely wounded. And the more years pass, the more I feel the need to talk to my parents and learn more about the war period of their lives. But I no longer have the opportunity to do so. This is the reason why I treasure in my heart the conversations I had with my father and mother on this subject, as well as the little emotion they showed.

People of my age and I believe it is important that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren understand the torment and hardships their ancestors had to endure. They need to understand how their ancestors managed to persevere and win. Where did their sheer, unbending willpower that amazed and fascinated the whole world come from? Sure, they were defending their homes, children, loved ones and families. However, what they shared was the love for their homeland, their Motherland. That deep-seated, intimate feeling is fully reflected in the very essence of our nation and became one of the decisive factors in its heroic, sacrificial fight against the Nazis.

People often wonder: What would todays generation do? How will it act when faced with a crisis situation? I see young doctors, nurses, sometimes fresh graduates that go to the red zone to save lives. I see our servicemen fighting international terrorism in the North Caucasus, fighting to the bitter end in Syria. They are so young. Many servicemen who were part of the legendary, immortal 6th Paratroop Company were 1920 years old. But all of them proved that they deserved to inherit the feat of the warriors of our Motherland that defended it during the Great Patriotic War.

This is why I am confident that one of the characteristic features of the peoples of Russia is to fulfil their duty without feeling sorry for themselves when the circumstances so demand. Such values as selflessness, patriotism, love for their home, their family and Fatherland remain fundamental and integral to the Russian society to this day. These values are, to a large extent, the backbone of our countrys sovereignty.

Nowadays, we have new traditions created by the people, such as the Immortal Regiment. This is the memory march that symbolises our gratitude, as well as the living connection and the blood ties between generations. Millions of people come out to the streets carrying the photographs of their relatives who defended their Fatherland and defeated the Nazis. This means that their lives, the ordeals and sacrifices they endured, as well as the Victory that they passed to us will never be forgotten.

We have a responsibility to our past and our future to do our utmost to prevent those horrible tragedies from happening ever again. Hence, I was compelled to come out with an article about World War II and the Great Patriotic War. I have discussed this idea on several occasions with world leaders, and they have showed their support. At the summit of CIS leaders held at the end of last year, we all agreed on one thing: it is essential to pass on to future generations the memory of the fact that the Nazis were defeated first and foremost by the entire Soviet people and that representatives of all republics of the Soviet Union fought side by side together in that heroic battle, both on the frontlines and in the rear. During that summit, I also talked with my counterparts about the challenging pre-war period.

That conversation caused a stir in Europe and the world. It means that it is indeed high time that we revisited the lessons of the past. At the same time, there were many emotional outbursts, poorly disguised insecurities and loud accusations that followed. Acting out of habit, certain politicians rushed to claim that Russia was trying to rewrite history. However, they failed to rebut a single fact or refute a single argument. It is indeed difficult, if not impossible, to argue with the original documents that, by the way, can be found not only in Russian, but also in foreign archives.

Thus, there is a need to further examine the reasons that caused the world war and reflect on its complicated events, tragedies and victories, as well as its lessons, both for our country and the entire world. And like I said, it is crucial to rely exclusively on archive documents and contemporary evidence while avoiding any ideological or politicised speculations.

I would like to once again recall the obvious fact. The root causes of World War II mainly stem from the decisions made after World War I. The Treaty of Versailles became a symbol of grave injustice for Germany. It basically implied that the country was to be robbed, being forced to pay enormous reparations to the Western allies that drained its economy. French Marshal Ferdinand Foch who served as the Supreme Allied Commander gave a prophetic description of that Treaty: This is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.

It was the national humiliation that became a fertile ground for radical and revenge-seeking sentiments in Germany. The Nazis skilfully played on peoples emotions and built their propaganda promising to deliver Germany from the legacy of Versailles and restore the country to its former power while essentially pushing German people into war. Paradoxically, the Western states, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States, directly or indirectly contributed to this. Their financial and industrial enterprises actively invested in German factories and plants manufacturing military products. Besides, many people in the aristocracy and political establishment supported radical, far-right and nationalist movements that were on the rise both in Germany and in Europe.

Versailles world order caused numerous implicit controversies and apparent conflicts. They revolved around the borders of new European states randomly set by the victors in World War I. That boundary delimitation was almost immediately followed by territorial disputes and mutual claims that turned into time bombs.

One of the major outcomes of World War I was the establishment of the League of Nations. There were high expectations for that international organisation to ensure lasting peace and collective security. It was a progressive idea that, if followed through consistently, could actually prevent the horrors of a global war from happening again.

However, the League of Nations dominated by the victorious powers of France and the United Kingdom proved ineffective and just got swamped by pointless discussions. The League of Nations and the European continent in general turned a deaf ear to the repeated calls of the Soviet Union to establish an equitable collective security system, and sign an Eastern European pact and a Pacific pact to prevent aggression. These proposals were disregarded.

The League of Nations also failed to prevent conflicts in various parts of the world, such as the attack of Italy on Ethiopia, a civil war in Spain, the Japanese aggression against China and the Anschluss of Austria. Furthermore, in case of the Munich Betrayal that, in addition to Hitler and Mussolini, involved British and French leaders, Czechoslovakia was taken apart with the full approval of the League of Nations. I would like to point out in this regard that, unlike many other European leaders of that time, Stalin did not disgrace himself by meeting with Hitler who was known among the Western nations as quite a reputable politician and was a welcome guest in the European capitals.

Poland was also engaged in the partition of Czechoslovakia along with Germany. They decided together in advance who would get what Czechoslovak territories. On September 20, 1938, Polish Ambassador to Germany Jzef Lipski reported to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Jzef Beck on the following assurances made by Hitler: in case of a conflict between Poland and Czechoslovakia over our interests in Teschen, the Reich would stand by Poland. The Nazi leader even prompted and advised that Poland started to act only after the Germans occupy the Sudetes.

Poland was aware that without Hitlers support, its annexationist plans were doomed to fail. I would like to quote in this regard a record of the conversation between German Ambassador to Warsaw Hans-Adolf von Moltke and Jzef Beck that took place on October 1, 1938, and was focused on the Polish-Czech relations and the position of the Soviet Union in this matter. It says: Mr Beck expressed real gratitude for the loyal treatment accorded to Polish interests at the Munich conference, as well as the sincerity of relations during the Czech conflict. The Government and the public [of Poland] fully appreciated the attitude of the Fuehrer and Chancellor.

The partition of Czechoslovakia was brutal and cynical. Munich destroyed even the formal, fragile guarantees that remained on the continent. It showed that mutual agreements were worthless. It was the Munich Betrayal that served as the trigger and made the great war in Europe inevitable.

Today, European politicians, and Polish leaders in particular, wish to sweep the Munich Betrayal under the carpet. Why? The fact that their countries once broke their commitments and supported the Munich Betrayal, with some of them even participating in divvying up the take, is not the only reason. Another is that it is kind of embarrassing to recall that during those dramatic days of 1938, the Soviet Union was the only one to stand up for Czechoslovakia.

The Soviet Union, in accordance with its international obligations, including agreements with France and Czechoslovakia, tried to prevent the tragedy from happening. Meanwhile, Poland, in pursuit of its interests, was doing its utmost to hamper the establishment of a collective security system in Europe. Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jzef Beck wrote about it directly in his letter of September 19, 1938 to the aforementioned Ambassador Jzef Lipski before his meeting with Hitler: in the past year, the Polish government rejected four times the proposal to join the international interfering in defence of Czechoslovakia.

Britain, as well as France, which was at the time the main ally of the Czechs and Slovaks, chose to withdraw their guarantees and abandon this Eastern European country to its fate. In so doing, they sought to direct the attention of the Nazis eastward so that Germany and the Soviet Union would inevitably clash and bleed each other white.

That was the essence of the western policy of appeasement, which was pursued not only towards the Third Reich but also towards other participants of the so-called Anti-Comintern Pact the fascist Italy and militarist Japan. In the Far East, this policy culminated in the conclusion of the Anglo-Japanese agreement in the summer of 1939, which gave Tokyo a free hand in China. The leading European powers were unwilling to recognise the mortal danger posed by Germany and its allies to the whole world. They were hoping that they themselves would be left untouched by the war.

The Munich Betrayal showed to the Soviet Union that the Western countries would deal with security issues without taking its interests into account. In fact, they could even create an anti-Soviet front, if needed.

Nevertheless, the Soviet Union did its utmost to use every chance to create an Anti-Hitler coalition. Despite I will say it again the doubledealing on the part of the Western countries. For instance, the intelligence services reported to the Soviet leadership detailed information on the behind-the-scenes contacts between Britain and Germany in the summer of 1939. The important thing is that those contacts were quite active and practically coincided with the tripartite negotiations between France, Great Britain and the USSR, which were, on the contrary, deliberately protracted by the Western partners. In this connection, I will cite a document from the British archives. It contains instructions to the British military mission that came to Moscow in August 1939. It directly states that the delegation was to proceed with negotiations very slowly, and that the Government of the United Kingdom was not ready to assume any obligations spelled out in detail and limiting their freedom of action under any circumstances. I will also note that, unlike the British and French delegations, the Soviet delegation was headed by top commanders of the Red Army, who had the necessary authority to sign a military convention on the organisation of military defence of England, France and the USSR against aggression in Europe.

Poland played its role in the failure of those negotiations as it did not want to have any obligations to the Soviet side. Even under pressure from their Western allies, the Polish leadership rejected the idea of joint action with the Red Army to fight against the Wehrmacht. It was only when they learned of the arrival of J. Ribbentrop to Moscow that J. Beck reluctantly and not directly, but through French diplomats, notified the Soviet side: in the event of joint action against the German aggression, cooperation between Poland and the Soviet Union, subject to technical conditions which have to be agreed, is not out of the question. At the same time, he explained to his colleagues: I agreed to this wording only for the sake of the tactics, and our core position in relation to the Soviet Union is final and remains unchanged.

In these circumstances, the Soviet Union signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany. It was practically the last among the European countries to do so. Besides, it was done in the face of a real threat of war on two fronts with Germany in the west and with Japan in the east, where intense fighting on the Khalkhin Gol River was already underway.

Stalin and his entourage, indeed, deserve many legitimate accusations. We remember the crimes committed by the regime against its own people and the horror of mass repressions. In other words, there are many things the Soviet leaders can be reproached for, but poor understanding of the nature of external threats is not one of them. They saw how attempts were made to leave the Soviet Union alone to deal with Germany and its allies. Bearing in mind this real threat, they sought to buy precious time needed to strengthen the countrys defences.

Nowadays, we hear lots of speculations and accusations against modern Russia in connection with the Non-Aggression Pact signed back then. Yes, Russia is the legal successor state to the USSR, and the Soviet period with all its triumphs and tragedies is an inalienable part of our thousand-year-long history. However, let me also remind you that the Soviet Union gave a legal and moral assessment of the so-called MolotovRibbentrop Pact. The Supreme Soviet in its resolution of December 24, 1989 officially denounced the secret protocols as an act of personal power which in no way reected the will of the Soviet people who bear no responsibility for this collusion.

Yet other states prefer to forget the agreements carrying signatures of the Nazis and Western politicians, not to mention giving legal or political assessments of such cooperation, including the silent acquiescence or even direct abetment of some European politicians in the barbarous plans of the Nazis. It will suffice to remember the cynical phrase said by Polish Ambassador to Germany J. Lipski during his conversation with Hitler on September 20, 1938: for solving the Jewish problem, we [the Poles] will build in his honour a splendid monument in Warsaw.

Besides, we do not know if there were any secret protocols or annexes to agreements of a number of countries with the Nazis. The only thing that is left to do is to take their word for it. In particular, materials pertaining to the secret Anglo-German talks still have not been declassified. Therefore, we urge all states to step up the process of making their archives public and publishing previously unknown documents of the war and pre-war periods the way Russia has been doing it in recent years. In this context, we are ready for broad cooperation and joint research projects engaging historians.

But let us go back to the events immediately preceding the Second World War. It was nave to believe that Hitler, once done with Czechoslovakia, would not make new territorial claims. This time the claims involved its recent accomplice in the partition of Czechoslovakia Poland. Here, the legacy of Versailles, particularly the fate of the so-called Danzig Corridor, was yet again used as the pretext. The blame for the tragedy that Poland then suffered lies entirely with the Polish leadership, which had impeded the formation of a military alliance between Britain, France and the Soviet Union and relied on the help from its Western partners, throwing its own people under the steamroller of Hitlers machine of destruction.

The German offensive was mounted in full accordance with the blitzkrieg doctrine. Despite the fierce, heroic resistance of the Polish army, on September 8, 1939 only a week after the war broke out the German troops were on the approaches to Warsaw. By September 17, the military and political leaders of Poland had fled to Romania, betraying its people, who continued to fight against the invaders.

Polands hope for help from its Western allies was vain. After the war against Germany was declared, the French troops advanced only a few tens of kilometres deep into the German territory. All of it looked like a mere demonstration of vigorous action. Moreover, the Anglo-French Supreme War Council, holding its first meeting on September 12, 1939 in the French city of Abbeville, decided to call off the offensive altogether in view of the rapid developments in Poland. That was when the infamous Phony War started. What Britain and France did was a blatant betrayal of their obligations to Poland.

Later, during the Nuremberg Trials, German generals explained their quick success in the East. Former Chief of the Operations Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command General Alfred Jodl admitted: we did not suffer defeat as early as 1939 only because about 110 French and British divisions stationed in the west against 23 German divisions during our war with Poland remained absolutely idle.

I asked for retrieval from the archives of the whole body of materials pertaining to the contacts between the USSR and Germany in the dramatic days of August and September 1939. According to the documents, paragraph 2 of the Secret Protocol to the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of August 23, 1939 stated that, in the event of territorial-political reorganisation of the districts making up the Polish state, the border between the spheres of interest of the two countries would run approximately along the Narew, Vistula and San rivers. In other words, the Soviet sphere of influence included not only the territories that were mostly home to Ukrainian and Belorussian population but also the historically Polish lands in the Vistula and Bug interfluve. This fact is known to very few these days.

Similarly, very few know that, immediately after the attack on Poland, in the early days of September 1939, Berlin strongly and repeatedly called on Moscow to join the military action. However, the Soviet leadership ignored those calls and planned to avoid engaging in the dramatic developments as long as possible.

It was only when it became absolutely clear that Great Britain and France were not going to help their ally and the Wehrmacht could swiftly occupy entire Poland and thus appear on the approaches to Minsk that the Soviet Union decided to send in, on the morning of September 17, Red Army units into the so-called Eastern Borderlines (Kresy), which nowadays form part of the territories of Belorussia, Ukraine and Lithuania.

Obviously, there was no alternative. Otherwise, the USSR would face seriously increased risks because I will say this again the old Soviet-Polish border ran only within a few tens of kilometres from Minsk. The country would have to enter the inevitable war with the Nazis from very disadvantageous strategic positions, while millions of people of different nationalities, including the Jews living near Brest and Grodno, Przemyl, Lvov and Wilno, would be left to die at the hands of the Nazis and their local accomplices anti-Semites and radical nationalists.

The fact that the Soviet Union sought to avoid engaging in the growing conflict for as long as possible and was unwilling to fight side by side with Germany was the reason why the real contact between the Soviet and the German troops occurred much farther east than the borders agreed in the secret protocol. It was not on the Vistula River but closer to the so-called Curzon Line, which back in 1919 was recommended by the Triple Entente as the eastern border of Poland.

As is known, the subjunctive mood can hardly be used when we speak of the past events. I will only say that, in September 1939, the Soviet leadership had an opportunity to move the western borders of the USSR even farther west, all the way to Warsaw, but decided against it.

The Germans suggested formalising the new status quo. On September 28, 1939 J. Ribbentrop and V. Molotov signed in Moscow the Boundary and Friendship Treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union, as well as the secret protocol on changing the state border, according to which the border was recognised at the demarcation line where the two armies de-facto stood.

In autumn 1939, the Soviet Union, pursuing its strategic military and defensive goals, started the process of incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Their accession to the USSR was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities. This was in line with international and state law of that time. Besides, in October 1939, the city of Wilno and the surrounding area, which had previously been part of Poland, were returned to Lithuania. The Baltic republics within the USSR preserved their government bodies, language, and had representation in the higher government entities of the Soviet Union.

During all these months there was an ongoing invisible diplomatic and politico-military struggle and intelligence work. Moscow understood that it was facing a fierce and cruel enemy, and that a covert war against Nazism was already going on. And there was no reason to take official statements and formal protocol notes of that time as a proof of friendship between the USSR and Germany. The Soviet Union had active trade and technical contacts not only with Germany, but with other countries as well. Whereas Hitler tried again and again to draw the Soviet Union into Germanys confrontation with the UK. But the Soviet government stood firm.

The last attempt to persuade the USSR to act together was made by Hitler during Molotovs visit to Berlin in November 1940. But Molotov accurately followed Stalins instructions and limited himself to a general discussion of the German idea of the Soviet Union joining the Tripartite Pact signed by Germany, Italy and Japan in September 1940 and directed against the UK and the USA. No wonder that already on November 17 Molotov gave the following instructions to Soviet plenipotentiary representative in London Ivan Maisky: For your informationNo agreement was signed or was intended to be signed in Berlin. We just exchanged our views in Berlinand that was allApparently, the Germans and the Japanese seem anxious to push us towards the Gulf and India. We declined the discussion of this matter as we consider such advice on the part of Germany to be inappropriate. And on November 25, the Soviet leadership called it a day altogether by officially putting forward to Berlin the conditions that were unacceptable to the Nazis, including the withdrawal of German troops from Finland, mutual assistance treaty between Bulgaria and the USSR, and a number of others. Thus it deliberately excluded any possibility of joining the Pact. Such position definitely shaped the Fuehrers intention to unleash a war against the USSR. And already in December, putting aside the warnings of his strategists about the disastrous danger of having a two-front war, Hitler approved Operation Barbarossa. He did this with the knowledge that the Soviet Union was the major force that opposed him in Europe and that the upcoming battle in the East would decide the outcome of the world war. And he had no doubts as to the swiftness and success of the Moscow campaign.

And here I would like to highlight the following: Western countries, as a matter of fact, agreed at that time with the Soviet actions and recognised the Soviet Unions intention to ensure its national security. Indeed, back on October 1, 1939 Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty back then, in his speech on the radio said, Russia has pursued a cold policy of self-interest But that the Russian Armies should stand on this line [meaning the new Western border] was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace. On October 4, 1939, speaking in the House of Lords, Britains Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax said, it should be recalled that the Soviet governments actions were to move the border essentially to the line recommended at the Versailles Conference by Lord Curzon I only cite historical facts and believe they are indisputable. Prominent British politician and statesman David Lloyd George emphasised, The Russian Armies occupied the territories that are not Polish and that were forcibly seized by Poland after World War I It would be an act of criminal insanity to put the Russian advancement on a par with the German one.

In informal communications with Soviet plenipotentiary representative Ivan Maisky, British high-ranking politicians and diplomats spoke even more openly. On October 17, 1939, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs R. A. Butler confided to him that the British government circles believed there could be no question of returning Western Ukraine and Belorussia to Poland. According to him, if it had been possible to create an ethnographic Poland of a modest size with a guarantee not only of the USSR and Germany, but also of Britain and France, the British government would have considered itself quite satisfied. On October 27, 1939, Neville Chamberlains senior advisor Horace Wilson said that Poland had to be restored as an independent state on its ethnographic basis, but without Western Ukraine and Belorussia.

It is worth noting that in the course of these conversations the possibilities for improving British-Soviet relations were also explored. These contacts to a large extent laid the foundation for future alliance and Anti-Hitler coalition. Winston Churchill stood out among responsible and far-sighted politicians and, despite his infamous dislike for the USSR, had been in favour of cooperating with the Soviets even before. Back in May 1939, he said in the House of Commons, We shall be in mortal danger if we fail to create a Grand Alliance against aggression. The worst folly would be to drive away any natural cooperation with Soviet Russia And after the start of hostilities in Europe, at his meeting with Ivan Maisky on October 6, 1939 he confided that there were no serious contradictions between the UK and the USSR and, therefore, there was no reason for strained or unsatisfactory relations. He also mentioned that the British government was eager to develop trade relations and willing to discuss any other measures that might improve the relationships.

World War II did not happen overnight, nor did it start unexpectedly or all of a sudden. And German aggression against Poland was not out of nowhere. It was the result of a number of tendencies and factors in the world politics of that time. All pre-war events fell into place to form one fatal chain. But, undoubtedly, the main factors that predetermined the greatest tragedy in the history of mankind were state egoism, cowardice, appeasement of the aggressor who was gaining strength, and unwillingness of political elites to search for compromise.

Therefore, it is unfair to claim that the two-day visit to Moscow of Nazi Foreign Minister J. Ribbentrop was the main reason for the start of World War II. All the leading countries are to a certain extent responsible for its outbreak. Each of them made fatal mistakes, arrogantly believing that they could outsmart others, secure unilateral advantages for themselves or stay away from the impending global catastrophe. And this short-sightedness, the refusal to create a collective security system cost millions of lives and tremendous losses.

Saying this, I by no means intend to take on the role of a judge, to accuse or acquit anyone, let alone initiate a new round of international information confrontation in the historical field that could set countries and peoples at loggerheads. I believe that it is academics with a wide representation of respected scholars from different countries of the world who should search for a balanced assessment of what happened. We all need the truth and objectivity. On my part, I have always encouraged my colleagues to build a calm, open and trust-based dialogue, to look at the common past in a self-critical and unbiased manner. Such an approach will make it possible not to repeat the mistakes committed back then and to ensure peaceful and successful development for years to come.

However, many of our partners are not yet ready for joint work. On the contrary, pursuing their goals, they increase the number and the scope of information attacks against our country, trying to make us provide excuses and feel guilty. They adopt thoroughly hypocritical and politically motivated declarations. Thus, for example, the resolution on the Importance of European Remembrance for the Future of Europe approved by the European Parliament on September 19, 2019 directly accused the USSR along with the Nazi Germany of unleashing the Second World War. Needless to say, there is no mention of Munich in it whatsoever.

I believe that such paperwork for I cannot call this resolution a document which is clearly intended to provoke a scandal, is fraught with real and dangerous threats. Indeed, it was adopted by a highly respectable institution. And what did it show? Regrettably, it revealed a deliberate policy aimed at destroying the post-war world order whose creation was a matter of honour and responsibility for the countries a number of representatives of which voted today in favour of this deceitful resolution. Thus, they challenged the conclusions of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the efforts of the international community to create after the victorious 1945 universal international institutions. Let me remind you in this regard that the process of European integration itself leading to the establishment of relevant structures, including the European Parliament, became possible only due to the lessons learnt form the past and its accurate legal and political assessment. And those who deliberately put this consensus into question undermine the foundations of the entire post-war Europe.

Apart from posing a threat to the fundamental principles of the world order, this also raises certain moral and ethical issues. Desecrating and insulting the memory is mean. Meanness can be deliberate, hypocritical and pretty much intentional as in the situation when declarations commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II mention all participants in the Anti-Hitler coalition except for the Soviet Union. Meanness can be cowardly as in the situation when monuments erected in honour of those who fought against Nazism are demolished and these shameful acts are justified by the false slogans of the fight against an unwelcome ideology and alleged occupation. Meanness can also be bloody as in the situation when those who come out against neo-Nazis and Banderas successors are killed and burned. Once again, meanness can have different manifestations, but this does not make it less disgusting.

Neglecting the lessons of history inevitably leads to a harsh payback. We will firmly uphold the truth based on documented historical facts. We will continue to be honest and impartial about the events of World War II. This includes a large-scale project to establish Russias largest collection of archival records, film and photo materials about the history of World War II and the prewar period.

Such work is already underway. Many new, recently discovered or declassified materials were also used in the preparation of this article. In this connection, I can state with all responsibility that there are no archive documents that would confirm the assumption that the USSR intended to start a preventive war against Germany. The Soviet military leadership indeed followed a doctrine according to which, in the event of aggression, the Red Army would promptly confront the enemy, go on the offensive and wage war on enemy territory. However, such strategic plans did not imply any intention to attack Germany first.

Of course, military planning documents, letters of instruction of Soviet and German headquarters are now available to historians. Finally, we know the true course of events. From the perspective of this knowledge, many argue about the actions, mistakes and misjudgement of the countrys military and political leadership. In this regard, I will say one thing: along with a huge flow of misinformation of various kinds, Soviet leaders also received true information about the upcoming Nazi aggression. And in the pre-war months, they took steps to improve the combat readiness of the country, including the secret recruitment of a part of those liable for military duty for military training and the redeployment of units and reserves from internal military districts to western borders.

The war did not come as a surprise, people were expecting it, preparing for it. But the Nazi attack was truly unprecedented in terms of its destructive power. On June 22, 1941, the Soviet Union faced the strongest, most mobilised and skilled army in the world with the industrial, economic and military potential of almost all Europe working for it. Not only the Wehrmacht, but also Germanys satellites, military contingents of many other states of the European continent, took part in this deadly invasion.

The most serious military defeats in 1941 brought the country to the brink of catastrophe. Combat power and control had to be restored by extreme means, nation-wide mobilisation and intensification of all efforts of the state and the people. In summer 1941, millions of citizens, hundreds of factories and industries began to be evacuated under enemy fire to the east of the country. The manufacture of weapons and munition, that had started to be supplied to the front already in the first military winter, was launched behind the lines in the shortest possible time, and by 1943, the rates of military production of Germany and its allies were exceeded. Within eighteen months, the Soviet people did something that seemed impossible. Both on the front lines and the home front. It is still hard to realise, understand and imagine what incredible efforts, courage, dedication these greatest achievements were worth.

The tremendous power of Soviet society, united by the desire to protect their native land, rose against the powerful, armed to the teeth, cold-blooded Nazi invading machine. It stood up to take revenge on the enemy, who had broken, trampled peaceful life, peoples plans and hopes.

Of course, fear, confusion and desperation were taking over some people during this terrible and bloody war. There were betrayal and desertion. The harsh splits caused by the revolution and the Civil War, nihilism, mockery of national history, traditions and faith that the Bolsheviks tried to impose, especially in the first years after coming to power all of this had its impact. But the general attitude of the of Soviet citizens and our compatriots who found themselves abroad was different to save and protect the Motherland. It was a real and irrepressible impulse. People were looking for support in true patriotic values.

The Nazi strategists were convinced that a huge multinational state could easily be brought to heel. They thought that the sudden outbreak of the war, its mercilessness and unbearable hardships would inevitably exacerbate inter-ethnic relations. And that the country could be split into pieces. Hitler clearly stated: Our policy towards the peoples living in the vastness of Russia should be to promote any form of disagreement and split.

But from the very first days, it was clear that the Nazi plan had failed. The Brest Fortress was protected to the last drop of blood by its defenders representing more than 30 ethnicities. Throughout the war both in large-scale decisive battles and in the protection of every foothold, every metre of native land we see examples of such unity.

The Volga region and the Urals, Siberia and the Far East, the republics of Central Asia and Transcaucasia became home to millions of evacuees. Their residents shared everything they had and provided all the support they could. Friendship of peoples and mutual help became a real indestructible fortress for the enemy.

The Soviet Union and the Red Army, no matter what anyone is trying to prove today, made the main and crucial contribution to the defeat of Nazism. These were heroes who fought to the end surrounded by the enemy at Bialystok and Mogilev, Uman and Kiev, Vyazma and Kharkov. They launched attacks near Moscow and Stalingrad, Sevastopol and Odessa, Kursk and Smolensk. They liberated Warsaw, Belgrade, Vienna and Prague. They stormed Koenigsberg and Berlin.

We contend for genuine, unvarnished or whitewashed truth about war. This national, human truth, which is hard, bitter and merciless, has been handed down to us by writers and poets who walked through fire and hell of front trials. For my generation, as well as for many others, their honest and deep stories, novels, piercing trench prose and poems have left their mark on the soul forever. Honouring veterans who did everything they could for the Victory and remembering those who died on the battlefield has become our moral duty.

And today, the simple and great in their essence lines of Alexander Tvardovskys poem I was killed near Rzhev dedicated to the participants of the bloody and brutal battle of the Great Patriotic War in the centre of the Soviet-German front line are astonishing. In the battles for Rzhev and the Rzhev Salient alone from October 1941 to March 1943, the Red Army lost 1,342,888 people, including wounded and missing in action. For the first time, I call out these terrible, tragic and far from complete figures collected from archive sources. I do it to honour the memory of the feat of known and nameless heroes, who for various reasons were undeservingly, and unfairly little talked about or not mentioned at all in the post-war years.

Let me cite another document. This is a report of February 1945 on reparation from Germany by the Allied Commission on Reparations headed by Ivan Maisky. The Commissions task was to define a formula according to which defeated Germany would have to pay for the damages sustained by the victor powers. The Commission concluded that the number of soldier-days spent by Germany on the Soviet front is at least 10 times higher than on all other allied fronts. The Soviet front also had to handle four-fifths of German tanks and about two-thirds of German aircraft. On the whole, the USSR accounted for about 75 percent of all military efforts undertaken by the Anti-Hitler Coalition. During the war period, the Red Army ground up 626 divisions of the Axis states, of which 508 were German.

On April 28, 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his address to the American nation: These Russian forces have destroyed and are destroying more armed power of our enemies troops, planes, tanks, and guns than all the other United Nations put together. Winston Churchill in his message to Joseph Stalin of September 27, 1944, wrote that it is the Russian army that tore the guts out of the German military machine

Such an assessment has resonated throughout the world. Because these words are the great truth, which no one doubted then. Almost 27 million Soviet citizens lost their lives on the fronts, in German prisons, starved to death and were bombed, died in ghettos and furnaces of the Nazi death camps. The USSR lost one in seven of its citizens, the UK lost one in 127, and the USA lost one in 320. Unfortunately, this figure of the Soviet Unions hardest and grievous losses is not exhaustive. The painstaking work should be continued to restore the names and fates of all who have perished Red Army soldiers, partisans, underground fighters, prisoners of war and concentration camps, and civilians killed by the death squads. It is our duty. And special role here belongs to members of the search movement, militarypatriotic and volunteer associations, projects like the electronic database Pamyat Naroda (Memory of the People), which contains archival documents. And, surely, close international cooperation is needed in such a common humanitarian task.

The efforts of all countries and peoples who fought against a common enemy resulted in victory. The British army protected its homeland from invasion, fought the Nazis and their satellites in the Mediterranean and North Africa. American and British troops liberated Italy and opened the Second Front. The US dealt powerful and crushing strikes against the aggressor in the Pacific Ocean. We remember the tremendous sacrifices made by the Chinese people and their great role in defeating Japanese militarists. Let us not forget the fighters of Fighting France, who did not fall for the shameful capitulation and continued to fight against the Nazis.

We will also always be grateful for the assistance rendered by the Allies in providing the Red Army with munition, raw materials, food and equipment. And that help was significant about 7 percent of the total military production of the Soviet Union.

The core of the Anti-Hitler Coalition began to take shape immediately after the attack on the Soviet Union where the United States and Britain unconditionally supported it in the fight against Hitlers Germany. At the Tehran Conference in 1943, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill formed an alliance of great powers, agreed to elaborate coalition diplomacy and a joint strategy in the fight against a common deadly threat. The leaders of the Big Three had a clear understanding that the unification of industrial, resource and military capabilities of the USSR, the United States and the UK will give unchallenged supremacy over the enemy.

The Soviet Union fully fulfilled its obligations to its allies and always offered a helping hand. Thus, the Red Army supported the landing of the Anglo-American troops in Normandy by carrying out a large-scale Operation Bagration in Belorussia. In January 1945, having broken through to the Oder River, our soldiers put an end to the last powerful offensive of the Wehrmacht on the Western Front in the Ardennes. Three months after the victory over Germany, the USSR, in full accordance with the Yalta agreements, declared war on Japan and defeated the million-strong Kwantung Army.

Back in July 1941, the Soviet leadership declared that the purpose of the war against fascist oppressors was not only the elimination of the threat looming over our country, but also help for all the peoples of Europe suffering under the yoke of German fascism. By mid-1944, the enemy was expelled from virtually all of the Soviet territory. However, the enemy had to be finished off in its lair. And so the Red Army started its liberation mission in Europe. It saved entire nations from destruction and enslavement, and from the horror of the Holocaust. They were saved at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives of Soviet soldiers.

It is also important not to forget about the enormous material assistance that the USSR provided to the liberated countries in eliminating the threat of hunger and in rebuilding their economies and infrastructure. That was being done at the time when ashes stretched for thousands of miles all the way from Brest to Moscow and the Volga. For instance, in May 1945, the Austrian government asked the USSR to provide assistance with food, as it had no idea how to feed its population in the next seven weeks before the new harvest. State Chancellor of the Provisional Government of the Austrian Republic Karl Renner described the consent of the Soviet leadership to send food as a saving act that the Austrians would never forget.

The Allies jointly established the International Military Tribunal to punish Nazi political and war criminals. Its decisions contained a clear legal qualification of crimes against humanity, such as genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Directly and unambiguously, the Nuremberg Tribunal also condemned the accomplices of the Nazis, collaborators of various kinds.

This shameful phenomenon manifested itself in all European countries. Such figures as Ptain, Quisling, Vlasov, Bandera, their henchmen and followers though they were disguised as fighters for national independence or freedom from communism are traitors and butchers. In terms of inhumanity, they often exceeded their masters. In their desire to serve, as part of special punitive groups they willingly executed the most inhuman orders. They were responsible for such bloody events as the shootings of Babi Yar, the Volhynia massacre, burnt Khatyn, acts of destruction of Jews in Lithuania and Latvia.

Today as well, our position remains unchanged there can be no excuse for the criminal acts of Nazi collaborators, there is no period of limitations for them. It is therefore bewildering that in certain countries those who are smirched with cooperation with the Nazis are suddenly equated with World War II veterans. I believe that it is unacceptable to equate liberators with occupants. And I can only regard the glorification of Nazi collaborators as a betrayal of the memory of our fathers and grandfathers. A betrayal of the ideals that united peoples in the fight against Nazism.

At that time, the leaders of the USSR, the United States, and the UK faced, without exaggeration, a historic task. Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill represented the countries with different ideologies, state aspirations, interests, cultures, but they demonstrated great political will, rose above the contradictions and preferences and put the true interests of peace at the forefront. As a result, they were able to come to an agreement and achieve a solution from which all of humanity has benefited.

The victor powers left us a system that has become the quintessence of the intellectual and political quest of several centuries. A series of conferences Tehran, Yalta, San Francisco and Potsdam laid the foundation of a world that for 75 years had no global war, despite the sharpest contradictions.

Historical revisionism, the manifestations of which we now observe in the West, primarily with regard to the subject of the Second World War and its outcome, is dangerous because it grossly and cynically distorts the understanding of the principles of peaceful development, laid down at the Yalta and San Francisco conferences in 1945. The major historic achievement of Yalta and other decisions of that time is the agreement to create a mechanism that would allow the leading powers to remain within the framework of diplomacy in resolving their differences.

The twentieth century brought large-scale and comprehensive global conflicts, and in 1945, nuclear weapons capable of physically destroying the Earth also entered the scene. In other words, the settlement of disputes by force has become prohibitively dangerous. And the victors in the Second World War understood that. They understood and were aware of their own responsibility towards humanity.

The cautionary tale of the League of Nations was taken into account in 1945. The structure of the UN Security Council was developed in a way to make peace guarantees as concrete and effective as possible. That is how the institution of the permanent members of the Security Council and the right of the veto as their privilege and responsibility came into being.

What is the power of veto in the UN Security Council? To put it bluntly, it is the only reasonable alternative to a direct confrontation between major countries. It is a statement by one of the five powers that a decision is unacceptable to it and is contrary to its interests and its ideas about the right approach. And other countries, even if they do not agree, take this position as a given, abandoning any attempts to realise their unilateral efforts. It means that in one way or another it is necessary to seek compromises.

A new global confrontation started almost immediately after the end of the Second World War and was at times very fierce. And the fact that the Cold War did not grow into the Third World War has become a clear testimony of the effectiveness of the agreements concluded by the Big Three. The rules of conduct agreed upon during the creation of the United Nations made it possible to further minimise risks and keep confrontation under control.

Of course, we can see that the UN system currently experiences certain tension in its work and is not as effective as it could be. But the UN still performs its primary function. The principles of the UN Security Council are a unique mechanism for preventing a major war or a global conflict.

The calls that have been made quite often in recent years to abolish the power of veto, to deny special opportunities to permanent members of the Security Council are actually irresponsible. After all, if that happens, the United Nations would in essence become the League of Nations a meeting for empty talk without any leverage on the world processes. How it ended is well known. That is why the victor powers approached the formation of the new system of the world order with utmost seriousness seeking to avoid repetition of mistakes made by their predecessors.

The creation of the modern system of international relations is one of the major outcomes of World War II. Even the most insurmountable contradictions geopolitical, ideological, economic do not prevent us from finding forms of peaceful coexistence and interaction, if there is the desire and will to do so. Today the world is going through quite a turbulent time. Everything is changing, from the global balance of power and influence to the social, economic and technological foundations of societies, nations and even continents. In the past epochs, shifts of such magnitude have almost never happened without major military conflicts. Without a power struggle to build a new global hierarchy. Thanks to the wisdom and farsightedness of the political figures of the Allied Powers, it was possible to create a system that has restrained from extreme manifestations of such objective competition, historically inherent in the world development.

It is a duty of ours all those who take political responsibility and primarily representatives of the victor powers in the Second World War to guarantee that this system is maintained and improved. Today, as in 1945, it is important to demonstrate political will and discuss the future together. Our colleagues Mr Xi Jinping, Mr Macron, Mr Trump and Mr Johnson supported the Russian initiative to hold a meeting of the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states, permanent members of the Security Council. We thank them for this and hope that such face-to-face meeting could take place as soon as possible.

What is our vision of the agenda for the upcoming summit? First of all, in our opinion, it would be useful to discuss steps to develop collective principles in world affairs. To speak frankly about the issues of preserving peace, strengthening global and regional security, strategic arms control, about joint efforts in countering terrorism, extremism and other major challenges and threats.

A special item on the agenda of the meeting is the situation in the global economy. And above all, overcoming the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Our countries are taking unprecedented measures to protect the health and lives of people and to support citizens who have found themselves in difficult living situations. Our ability to work together and in concert, as real partners, will show how severe the impact of the pandemic will be, and how quickly the global economy will emerge from the recession. Moreover, it is unacceptable to turn the economy into an instrument of pressure and confrontation. Popular issues include environmental protection and combating climate change, as well as ensuring the security of the global information space.

The agenda proposed by Russia for the upcoming summit of the Five is extremely important and relevant both for our countries and for the entire world. And we have specific ideas and initiatives on all the items.

There can be no doubt that the summit of Russia, China, France, the United States, and the UK will play an important role in finding common answers to modern challenges and threats, and will demonstrate a common commitment to the spirit of alliance, to those high humanist ideals and values for which our fathers and grandfathers fought shoulder to shoulder.

Drawing on a shared historical memory, we can trust each other and must do so. That will serve as a solid basis for successful negotiations and concerted action for the sake of enhancing the stability and security on the planet, for the sake of prosperity and well-being of all states. Without exaggeration, it is our common duty and responsibility towards the entire world, towards the present and future generations.

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75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future - New Europe

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Vladimir Putin: The real lessons of the 75th anniversary of World War II – The New Times

Posted: at 10:05 am

Seventy-five years have passed since the end of theGreat Patriotic War. Several generations have grown up over the years. The political map of the planet has changed. TheSoviet Unionthat claimed an epic, crushing victory over Nazism and saved the entire world is gone. Besides, the events of that war have long become a distant memory, even for its participants.

So why doesRussiacelebrate the ninth of May as the biggest holiday? Why does life almost come to a halt on June22? And why does one feel a lump rise in their throat?

They usually say that the war has left a deep imprint on every family'shistory. Behind these words, there are fates of millions of people, their sufferings and the pain of loss. Behind these words, there is also the pride, the truth and the memory.

For my parents, the war meant the terrible ordeals of the Siege ofLeningradwhere my two-year-old brother Vitya died. It was the place where my mother miraculously managed to survive. My father, despite being exempt from active duty, volunteered to defend his hometown. He made the same decision as millions of Soviet citizens. He fought at the Nevsky Pyatachok bridgehead and was severely wounded. And the more years pass, the more I feel the need to talk to my parents and learn more about the war period of their lives. However, I no longer have the opportunity to do so. This is the reason why I treasure in my heart those conversations I had with my father and mother on this subject, as well as the little emotion they showed.

People of my age and I believe it is important that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren understand the torment and hardships their ancestors had to endure. They need to understand how their ancestors managed to persevere and win. Where did their sheer, unbending willpower that amazed and fascinated the whole world come from? Sure, they were defending their home, their children, loved ones and families. However, what they shared was the love for their homeland, their Motherland. That deep-seated, intimate feeling is fully reflected in the very essence of our nation and became one of the decisive factors in its heroic, sacrificial fight against the Nazis.

I often wonder: What would today's generation do? How will it act when faced with a crisis situation? I see young doctors, nurses, sometimes fresh graduates that go to the "red zone" to save lives. I see our servicemen that fight international terrorism in the Northern Caucasus and fought to the bitter end in Syria. They are so young. Many servicemen who were part of the legendary, immortal 6thParatroop Company were 19-20years old. But all of them proved that they deserved to inherit the feat of the warriors of our homeland that defended it during the Great Patriotic War.

This is why I am confident that one of the characteristic features of the peoples of Russia is to fulfill their duty without feeling sorry for themselves when the circumstances so demand. Such values as selflessness, patriotism, love for their home, their family and Motherland remain fundamental and integral to the Russian society to this day. These values are, to a large extent, the backbone of our country's sovereignty.

Nowadays, we have new traditions created by the people, such as the Immortal Regiment. This is the memory march that symbolizes our gratitude, as well as the living connection and the blood ties between generations. Millions of people come out to the streets carrying the photographs of their relatives that defended their Motherland and defeated the Nazis. This means that their lives, their ordeals and sacrifices, as well as the Victory that they left to us will never be forgotten.

We have a responsibility to our past and our future to do our utmost to prevent those horrible tragedies from happening ever again. Hence, I was compelled to come out with an article about World War II and the Great Patriotic War. I have discussed this idea on several occasions with world leaders, and they have showed their support. At the summit of CIS leaders held at the end of last year, we all agreed on one thing: it is essential to pass on to future generations the memory of the fact that the Nazis were defeated first and foremost by the Soviet people and that representatives of all republics of the Soviet Union fought side by side together in that heroic battle, both on the frontlines and in the rear.During that summit, I also talked with my counterparts about the challenging pre-war period.

That conversation caused a stir in Europe and the world. It means that it is indeed high time that we revisited the lessons of the past. At the same time, there were many emotional outbursts, poorly disguised insecurities and loud accusations that followed. Acting out of habit, certain politicians rushed to claim that Russia was trying to rewrite history. However, they failed to rebut a single fact or refute a single argument. It is indeed difficult, if not impossible, to argue with the original documents that, by the way, can be found not only in the Russian, but also in the foreign archives.

Thus, there is a need to further examine the reasons that caused the world war and reflect on its complicated events, tragedies and victories, as well as its lessons, both for our country and the entire world. And like I said, it is crucial to rely exclusively on archive documents and contemporary evidence while avoiding any ideological or politicized speculations.

I would like to once again recall the obvious fact. The root causes of World WarII mainly stem from the decisions made afterWorld WarI.The Treaty of Versaillesbecame a symbol of grave injustice for Germany. It basically implied that the country was to be robbed, being forced to pay enormous reparations to the Western allies that drained its economy. French marshal Ferdinand Foch who served as the Supreme Allied Commander gave a prophetic description of that Treaty: "This is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years."

It was the national humiliation that became a fertile ground for radical sentiments of revenge inGermany. The Nazis skillfully played on people's emotions and built their propaganda promising to deliver Germany from the "legacy of Versailles" and restore the country to its former power while essentially pushing German people into war. Paradoxically, the Western states, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States, directly or indirectly contributed to this. Their financial and industrial enterprises actively invested in German factories and plants manufacturing military products. Besides, many people in the aristocracy and political establishment supported radical, far-right and nationalist movements that were on the rise both in Germany and inEurope.

The "Versailles world order" caused numerous implicit controversies and apparent conflicts. They revolved around the borders of new European states randomly set by the victors in World WarI. That boundary delimitation was almost immediately followed by territorial disputes and mutual claims that turned into "time bombs".

One of the major outcomes of World War I was the establishment of the League of Nations. There were high expectations for that international organization to ensure lasting peace and collective security. It was a progressive idea that, if followed through consistently, could actually prevent the horrors of a global war from happening again.

However, the League of Nations dominated by the victorious powers of France and the United Kingdom proved ineffective and just got swamped by pointless discussions. The League of Nations and the European continent in general turned a deaf ear to the repeated calls of the Soviet Union to establish an equitable collective security system, and sign an Eastern European pact and a Pacific pact to prevent aggression. These proposals were disregarded.

The League of Nationsalso failed to prevent conflicts in various parts of the world, such as the attack of Italy on Ethiopia, the civil war inSpain, the Japanese aggression against China and the Anschluss ofAustria. Furthermore, in case of the Munich Betrayal that, in addition toHitlerandMussolini, involved British and French leaders, Czechoslovakia was taken apart with the full approval of the League of Nations. I would like to point out in this regard that, unlike many other European leaders of that time, Stalin did not disgrace himself by meeting with Hitler who was known among the Western nations as quite a reputable politician and was a welcome guest in the European capitals.

Poland was also engaged in the partition of Czechoslovakia along with Germany. They decided together in advance who would get what Czechoslovak territories. On September20,1938, Polish Ambassador to GermanyJzef Lipski reported to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Jzef Beck on the following assurances made by Hitler: "in case of a conflict between Poland and Czechoslovakia over our interests in Teschen, the Reich would stand by Poland." The Nazi leader even prompted and advised that Poland started to act "only after the Germans occupy the Sudetes."

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Poland was aware that without Hitler's support, its annexationist plans were doomed to fail. I would like to quote in this regard a record of the conversation between German Ambassador to Warsaw Hans-Adolf von Moltke and Jzef Beck that took place on October1,1938, and was focused on the Polish-Czech relations and the position of the Soviet Union in this matter. It says: "Mr. Beck expressed real gratitude for the loyal treatment accorded [to] Polish interests at the Munich conference, as well as the sincerity of relations during the Czech conflict. The attitude of the Fhrer and Chancellor was fully appreciated by the Government and the public [of Poland]."

The partition of Czechoslovakia was brutal and cynical. Munich destroyed even the formal, fragile guarantees that remained on the continent. It showed that mutual agreements were worthless. It was the Munich Betrayal that served as a "trigger" and made the great war in Europe inevitable.

Today, European politicians, and Polish leaders in particular, wish to sweep the Munich Betrayal under the carpet. Why? The fact that their countries once broke their commitments and supported the Munich Betrayal, with some of them even participating in divvying up the take, is not the only reason. Another is that it is kind of embarrassing to recall that during those dramatic days of 1938, the Soviet Union was the only one to stand up for Czechoslovakia.

The Soviet Union, in accordance with its international obligations, including agreements with France and Czechoslovakia, tried to prevent the tragedy from happening. Meanwhile, Poland, in pursuit of its interests, was doing its utmost to hamper the establishment of a collective security system in Europe. Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jzef Beck wrote about it directly in his letter of September19,1938 to the aforementioned Ambassador Jzef Lipski before his meeting with Hitler: "in the past year, the Polish government rejected four times the proposal to join the international interfering in defense of Czechoslovakia."

Britain, as well as France, which was at the time the main ally of the Czechs and Slovaks, chose to withdraw their guarantees and abandon this Eastern European country to its fate. In so doing, they sought to direct the attention of the Nazis eastward so that Germany and the Soviet Union would inevitably clash and bleed each other white.

That is the essence of the western policy of appeasement, which was pursued not only towards the Third Reich but also towards other participants of the so-called Anti-Comintern Pact the fascist Italy and militarist Japan. In the Far East, this policy culminated in the conclusion of the Anglo-Japanese agreement in the summer of 1939, which gave Tokyo a free hand in China. The leading European powers were unwilling to recognize the mortal danger posed by Germany and its allies to the whole world. They were hoping that they themselves would be left untouched by the war.

The Munich Betrayal showed to the Soviet Union that the Western countries would deal with security issues without taking its interests into account. In fact, they could even create an anti-Soviet front, if needed.

Nevertheless, the Soviet Union did its utmost to use every chance of creating an anti-Hitler coalition. Despite I will say it again the doubledealing on the part of the Western countries. For instance, the intelligence services reported to the Soviet leadership detailed information on the behind-the-scenes contacts between Britain and Germany in the summer of 1939. The important thing is that those contacts were quite active and practically coincided with the tripartite negotiations between France, Great Britain and the USSR, which were, on the contrary, deliberately protracted by the Western partners. In this connection, I will cite a document from the British archives. It contains instructions to the British military mission that came to Moscow in August1939. It directly states that the delegation was to proceed with negotiations very slowly, and that the Government of the United Kingdom was not ready to assume any obligations spelled out in detail and limiting their freedom of action under any circumstances. I will also note that, unlike the British and French delegations, the Soviet delegation was headed by top commanders of the Red Army, who had the necessary authority to "sign a military convention on the organization of military defense of England, France and the USSR against aggression in Europe."

Poland played its role in the failure of those negotiations as it did not want to have any obligations to the Soviet side. Even under pressure from their Western allies, the Polish leadership rejected the idea of joint action with the Red Army to fight against the Wehrmacht. It was only when they learned of the arrival of Ribbentrop to Moscow that J. Beck reluctantly and not directly, through French diplomats, notified the Soviet side: " in the event of joint action against the German aggression, cooperation between Poland and the Soviet Union is not out of the question, in technical circumstances which remain to be agreed." At the same time, he explained to his colleagues: " I agreed to this wording only for the sake of the tactics, and our core position in relation to the Soviet Union is final and remains unchanged."

In these circumstances, the Soviet Union signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany. It was practically the last among the European countries to do so. Besides, it was done in the face of a real threat of war on two fronts with Germany in the west and with Japan in the east, where intense fighting on the Khalkhin Gol River was already underway.

Stalin and his entourage, indeed, deserve many legitimate accusations. We remember the crimes committed by the regime against its own people and the horror of mass repressions. In other words, there are many things the Soviet leaders can be reproached for, but poor understanding of the nature of external threats is not one of them. They saw how attempts were made to leave the Soviet Union alone to deal with Germany and its allies. Bearing in mind this real threat, they sought to buy precious time needed to strengthen the country's defenses.

Nowadays, we hear lots of speculations and accusations against modern Russia in connection with the Non-Aggression Pact signed back then. Yes, Russia is the legal successor state to the USSR, and the Soviet period with all its triumphs and tragedies is an inalienable part of our thousand-year-long history. However, let us recall that the Soviet Union gave a legal and moral assessment of the so-called MolotovRibbentrop Pact. The Supreme Soviet in its resolution of 24December1989 officially denounced the secret protocols as "an act of personal power" which in no way reected "the will of the Soviet people who bear no responsibility for this collusion."

Yet other states have preferred to forget the agreements carrying signatures of the Nazis and Western politicians, not to mention giving legal or political assessments of such cooperation, including the silent acquiescence or even direct abetment of some European politicians in the barbarous plans of the Nazis. It will suffice to remember the cynical phrase said by Polish Ambassador to Germany J.Lipski during his conversation with Hitler on 20September1938: "for solving the Jewish problem, we [the Poles] will build in his honor a splendid monument in Warsaw."

Besides, we do not know if there were any secret "protocols" or annexes to agreements of a number of countries with the Nazis. The only thing that is left to do is to take their word for it. In particular, materials pertaining to the secret Anglo-German talks still have not been declassified. Therefore, we urge all states to step up the process of making their archives public and publishing previously unknown documents of the war and pre-war periods the way Russia has done it in recent years. In this context, we are ready for broad cooperation and joint research projects engaging historians.

But let us go back to the events immediately preceding the Second World War. It was nave to believe that Hitler, once done withCzechoslovakia, would not make new territorial claims. This time the claims involved its recent accomplice in the partition of Czechoslovakia Poland. Here, the legacy of Versailles, particularly the fate of the so-called Danzig Corridor, was yet again used as the pretext. The blame for the tragedy that Poland then suffered lies entirely with the Polish leadership, which had impeded the formation of a military alliance between Britain, France and the Soviet Union and relied on the help from its Western partners, throwing its own people under the steamroller of Hitler's machine of destruction.

The German offensive was mounted in full accordance with the blitzkrieg doctrine. Despite the fierce, heroic resistance of the Polish army, on 8September1939 only a week after the war broke out the German troops were on the approaches to Warsaw. By 17September, the military and political leaders of Poland had fled to Romania, abandoning its people, who continued to fight against the invaders.

Poland's hope for help from its Western allies was in vain. After the war against Germany was declared, the French troops advanced only a few tens of kilometers deep into the German territory. All of it looked like a mere demonstration of vigorous action. Moreover, the Anglo-French Supreme War Council, holding its first meeting on 12September1939 in the French city of Abbeville, decided to call off the offensive altogether in view of the rapid developments in Poland. That was when the infamous Phony War started. What Britain and France did was a blatant betrayal of their obligations to Poland.

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Later, during the Nuremberg trials, German generals explained their quick success in the East. The former chief of the operations staff of the German armed forces high command, General Alfred Jodl admitted: " we did not suffer defeat as early as 1939 only because about 110 French and British divisions stationed in the west against 23 German divisions during our war with Poland remained absolutely idle."

I asked for retrieval from the archives of the whole body of materials pertaining to the contacts between the USSR and Germany in the dramatic days of August and September1939. According to the documents, paragraph2 of the Secret Protocol to the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 23August1939 stated that, in the event of territorial-political reorganization of the districts making up the Polish state, the border of the spheres of interest of the two countries would run "approximately along the Narew, Vistula and San rivers". In other words, the Soviet sphere of influence included not only the territories that were mostly home to Ukrainian and Belarusian population but also the historically Polish lands in the Vistula and Bug interfluve. This fact is known to very few these days.

Similarly, very few know that, immediately following the attack on Poland, in the early days of September 1939 Berlin strongly and repeatedly called on Moscow to join the military action. However, the Soviet leadership ignored those calls and planned to avoid engaging in the dramatic developments as long as possible.

It was only when it became absolutely clear that Great Britain and France were not going to help their ally and the Wehrmacht could swiftly occupy entire Poland and thus appear on the approaches to Minsk that the Soviet Union decided to send in, on the morning of 17September, Red Army units into the so-called Eastern Borderlines, which nowadays form part of the territories of Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania.

Obviously, there was no alternative. Otherwise, the USSR would face seriously increased risks because I will say this again the old Soviet-Polish border ran only within a few tens of kilometers of Minsk. The country would have to enter the inevitable war with the Nazis from very disadvantageous strategic positions, while millions of people of different nationalities, including the Jews living near Brest and Grodno, Przemyl, Lvov and Wilno, would be left to die at the hands of the Nazis and their local accomplices anti-Semites and radical nationalists.

The fact that the Soviet Union sought to avoid engaging in the growing conflict for as long as possible and was unwilling to fight side by side with Germany was the reason why the real contact between the Soviet and the German troops occurred much farther east than the borders agreed in the secret protocol. It was not on the Vistula River but closer to the so-called Curzon Line, which back in 1919 was recommended by the Triple Entente as the eastern border of Poland.

As is known, there is hardly any point in using the subjunctive mood when we speak of the past events. I will only say that, in September1939, the Soviet leadership had an opportunity to move the western borders of the USSR even farther west, all the way to Warsaw, but decided against it.

The Germans suggested formalizing the new status quo. On September28,1939 Joachim von Ribbentrop and V.Molotov signed in Moscow theBoundary and Friendship Treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union, as well as the secret protocol on changing the state border, according to which the border was recognized at the demarcation line where the two armies de-facto stood.

In autumn1939, the Soviet Union, pursuing its strategic military and defensive goals, started the process of the incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Their accession to the USSR was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities. This was in line with international and state law of that time. Besides, in October1939, the city of Vilna and the surrounding area, which had previously been part of Poland, were returned to Lithuania. The Baltic republics within the USSR preserved their government bodies, language, and had representation in the higher state structures of the Soviet Union.

During all these months there was an ongoing invisible diplomatic and politico-military struggle and intelligence work. Moscow understood that it was facing a fierce and cruel enemy, and that a covert war against Nazism was already going on. And there is no reason to take official statements and formal protocol notes of that time as a proof of friendship' between the USSR and Germany. The Soviet Union had active trade and technical contacts not only with Germany, but with other countries as well. Whereas Hitler tried again and again to draw the Soviet Union into Germany's confrontation with the UK. But the Soviet government stood firm.

The last attempt to persuade the USSR to act together was made by Hitler during the visit of Molotov to Berlin in November1940. But Molotov accurately followed Stalin's instructions and limited himself to a general discussion of the German idea of the Soviet Union joining the Tripartite Pact signed by Germany, Italy andJapanin September1940 and directed against the UK and the USA. No wonder that already on November17 Molotov gave the following instructions to Soviet plenipotentiary representative in London Ivan Maisky: "For your informationNo agreement was signed or was intended to be signed in Berlin. We just exchanged our views in Berlinand that was allApparently, the Germans and the Japanese seem anxious to push us towards the Gulf and India. We declined the discussion of this matter as we consider such advice on the part of Germany to be inappropriate." And on November25 the Soviet leadership called it a day altogether by officially putting forward to Berlin the conditions that were unacceptable to the Nazis, including the withdrawal of German troops from Finland, mutual assistance treaty between Bulgaria and the USSR, and a number of others. Thus it deliberately excluded any possibility of joining the Pact. Such position definitely shaped the Fuehrer's intention to unleash a war against the USSR. And already in December, putting aside the warnings of his strategists about the disastrous danger of having a two-front war, Hitler approved the Barbarossa Plan. He did this with the knowledge that the Soviet Union was the major force that opposed him in Europe and that the upcoming battle in the East would decide the outcome of the world war. And he had no doubts as to the swiftness and success of the Moscow campaign.

And here I would like to highlight the following: Western countries, as a matter of fact, agreed at that time with the Soviet actions and recognized the Soviet Union's intention to ensure its national security. Indeed, back on October1,1939 Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty back then, in his speech on the radio said, "Russia has pursued a cold policy of self-interest But that the Russian armies should stand on this line [the new Western border is meant] was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace." On October4,1939 speaking in the House of Lords British Foreign Secretary Halifax said, "it should be recalled that the Soviet government's actions were to move the border essentially to the line recommended at the Versailles Conference by Lord Curzon... I only cite historical facts and believe they are indisputable." Prominent British politician and statesman D.Lloyd George emphasized, "The Russian armies occupied the territories that are not Polish and that were forcibly seized by Poland after the First World War ... It would be an act of criminal insanity to put the Russian advancement on a par with the German one."

In informal communications with Soviet plenipotentiary representative Maisky, British diplomats and high-level politicians spoke even more openly. On October17,1939 Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs R. A. Butler confided him that the British government circles believed there could be no question of returning Western Ukraine and Belarus to Poland. According to him, if it had been possible to create an ethnographic Poland of a modest size with a guarantee not only of the USSR and Germany, but also of Britain and France, the British government would have considered itself quite satisfied. On October27,1939, Chamberlain's senior advisor H.Wilson said that Poland had to be restored as an independent state on its ethnographic basis, but without Western Ukraine and Belarus.

It is worth noting that in the course of these conversations the possibilities for improving British-Soviet relations were also being explored. These contacts to a large extent laid the foundation for future alliance and anti-Hitler coalition. Churchill stood out among other responsible and far-sighted politicians and, despite his infamous dislike for the USSR, had been in favour of cooperating with the Soviets even before. Back in May1939, he said in the House of Commons, "We shall be in mortal danger if we fail to create a grand alliance against aggression. The worst folly would be to drive away any natural cooperation with Soviet Russia." And after the start of hostilities in Europe, at his meeting with Maisky on October6,1939 he confided that there were no serious contradictions between the UK and the USSR and, therefore, there was no reason for strained or unsatisfactory relations. He also mentioned that the British government was eager to develop trade relations and willing to discuss any other measures that might improve the relationships.

****

The Second World War did not happen overnight, nor did it start unexpectedly or all of a sudden. And German aggression againstPolandwas not out of nowhere. It was the result of a number of tendencies and factors of the world policy of that time. All pre-war events fell into place to form one fatal chain. But, undoubtedly, the main factors that predetermined the greatest tragedy in the history of mankind were state egoism, cowardice, appeasement of the aggressor who was gaining strength, and unwillingness of political elites to search for a compromise.

Therefore, it is unfair to claim that the two-day visit to Moscow of Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop was the main reason for the start of the Second World War. All the leading countries are to a certain extent responsible for its outbreak. Each of them made fatal mistakes, arrogantly believing that they could outsmart others, secure unilateral advantages for themselves or stay away from the impending world catastrophe. And this short-sightedness, the refusal to create a collective security system cost millions of lives and tremendous losses.

Saying this, I by no means intend to take on the role of a judge, to accuse or acquit anyone, let alone initiate a new round of international information confrontation in the historical field that could set countries and peoples at loggerheads. I believe that it is academics with a wide representation of respected scientists from different countries of the world who should search for a balanced assessment of what happened. We all need the truth and objectivity. On my part, I have always encouraged my colleagues to build a calm, open and trust-based dialogue, to look at the common past in a self-critical and unbiased manner. Such an approach will make it possible not to repeat the errors committed back then and to ensure peaceful and successful development for years to come.

However, many of our partners are not yet ready for joint work. On the contrary, pursuing their goals, they increase the number and the scope of information attacks against our country, trying to make us provide excuses and feel guilty, and adopt thoroughly hypocritical and politically motivated declarations. Thus, for example, the resolution on theImportance of European Remembrance for the Future of Europeapproved by the European Parliament on 19September2019 directly accused the USSR together with the Nazi Germany of unleashing the Second World War. Needless to say, there is no mention of Munich in it whatsoever.

I believe that such paperwork' for I cannot call this resolution a document which is clearly intended to provoke a scandal, is fraught with real and dangerous threats. Indeed, it was adopted by a highly respectable institution. And what does that show? Regrettably, this reveals a deliberate policy aimed at destroying the post-war world order whose creation was a matter of honour and responsibility for States a number of representatives of which voted today in favour of this deceitful resolution. Thus, they challenged the conclusions of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the efforts of the international community to create after the victorious 1945 universal international institutions. Let me remind you in this regard that the process of European integration itself leading to the establishment of relevant structures, including the European Parliament, became possible only due to the lessons learnt form the past and its accurate legal and political assessment. And those who deliberately put this consensus into question undermine the foundations of the entire post-war Europe.

Apart from posing a threat to the fundamental principles of the world order, this also raises certain moral and ethical issues. Desecrating and insulting the memory is mean. Meanness can be deliberate, hypocritical and pretty much intentional as in the situation when declarations commemorating the 75thanniversary of the end of the Second World War mention all participants in the anti-Hitler coalition except for the Soviet Union. Meanness can be cowardly as in the situation when monuments erected in honour of those who fought against Nazism are demolished and these shameful acts are justified by the false slogans of the fight against an unwelcome ideology and alleged occupation. Meanness can also be bloody as in the situation when those who come out against neo-Nazis and Bandera's successors are killed and burned. Once again, meanness can have different manifestations, but this does not make it less disgusting.

Neglecting the lessons of history inevitably leads to a harsh payback. We will firmly uphold the truth based on documented historical facts. We will continue to be honest and impartial about the events of World WarII. This includes a large-scale project to establish Russia's largest collection of archival records, film and photo materials about the history of World War II and the prewar period.

Such work is already underway. Many new, recently discovered or declassified materials were also used in the preparation of this article. In this regard, I can state with all responsibility that there are no archive documents that would confirm the assumption that the USSR intended to start a preventive war against Germany. The Soviet military leadership indeed followed a doctrine according to which, in the event of aggression, the Red Army would promptly confront the enemy, go on the offensive and wage war on enemy territory. However, such strategic plans did not imply any intention to attack Germany first.

Of course, military planning documents, letters of instruction of Soviet and German headquarters are now available to historians. Finally, we know the true course of events. From the perspective of this knowledge, many argue about the actions, mistakes and misjudgment of the country's military and political leadership. In this regard, I will say one thing: along with a huge flow of misinformation of various kinds, Soviet leaders also received true information about the upcoming Nazi aggression. And in the pre-war months, they took steps to improve the combat readiness of the country, including the secret recruitment of a part of those liable for military duty for military training and the redeployment of units and reserves from internal military districts to western borders.

The war did not come as a surprise, people were expecting it, preparing for it. But the Nazi attack was truly unprecedented in terms of its destructive power. On June22,1941, the Soviet Union faced the strongest, most mobilized and skilled army in the world with the industrial, economic and military potential of almost all Europe working for it. Not only the Wehrmacht, but also German satellites, military contingents of many other states of the European continent, took part in this deadly invasion.

The most serious military defeats in 1941 brought the country to the brink of catastrophe. Combat power and control had to be restored by extreme means, nation-wide mobilization and intensification of all efforts of the state and the people. In summer1941, millions of citizens, hundreds of factories and industries began to be evacuated under enemy fire to the east of the country. The manufacture of weapons and munition, that had started to be supplied to the front already in the first military winter, was launched in the shortest possible time, and by 1943, the rates of military production of Germany and its allies were exceeded. Within six months, the Soviet people did something that seemed impossible. Both on the front lines and the home front. It is still hard to realize, understand and imagine what incredible efforts, courage, dedication these greatest achievements were worth.

The tremendous power of Soviet society, united by the desire to protect their native land, rose against the powerful, armed to the teeth, cold-blooded Nazi invading machine. It stood up to take revenge on the enemy, who had broken, trampled peaceful life, people's plans and hopes.

Of course, fear, confusion and desperation were taking over some people during this terrible and bloody war. There were betrayal and desertion. The harsh split caused by the revolution and the Civil War, nihilism, mockery of national history, traditions and faith that the Bolsheviks tried to impose, especially in the first years after coming to power all of this had its impact. But the general attitude of the absolute majority of Soviet citizens and our compatriots who found themselves abroad was different to save and protect the Motherland. It was a real and irrepressible impulse. People were looking for support in true patriotic values.

The Nazi "strategists" were convinced that a huge multinational state could easily be brought to heel. They thought that the sudden outbreak of the war, its mercilessness and unbearable hardships would inevitably exacerbate inter-ethnic relations. And that the country could be split into pieces. Hitler clearly stated: "Our policy towards the peoples living in the vastness of Russia should be to promote any form of disagreement and division".

But from the very first days, it was clear that the Nazi plan had failed. The Brest Fortress was protected to the last drop of blood by its defenders of more than 30ethnicities. Throughout the war, the feat of the Soviet people knew no national boundaries both in large-scale decisive battles and in the protection of every foothold, every meter of native land.

****

The Volga region and the Urals, Siberia and the Far East, the republics of Central Asia and Transcaucasia became home to millions of evacuees. Their residents shared everything they had and provided all the support they could. Friendship of peoples and mutual help became a real indestructible fortress for the enemy.

The Soviet Union and the Red Army, no matter what anyone is trying to prove today, made the main and crucial contribution to the defeat of Nazism. These were heroes who fought to the end surrounded by the enemy at Bialystok and Mogilev, Uman and Kiev, Vyazma and Kharkov. They launched attacks near Moscow and Stalingrad, Sevastopol and Odessa, Kursk and Smolensk. They liberated Warsaw, Belgrade, Vienna and Prague. They stormed Koenigsberg and Berlin.

We contend for genuine, unvarnished, or whitewashed truth about war. This national, human truth, which is hard, bitter and merciless, has been handed down to us by writers and poets who walked through fire and hell of front trials. For my generation, as well as for others, their honest and deep stories, novels, piercing trench prose and poems have left their mark in my soul forever. Honoring veterans who did everything they could for the Victory and remembering those who died on the battlefield has become our moral duty.

And today, the simple and great in its essence lines of Alexander Tvardovsky's poem "I was killed near Rzhev ..." dedicated to the participants of the bloody and brutal battle of the Great Patriotic War in the center of the Soviet-German front line are astonishing. Only in the battles for Rzhev and the Rzhevsky Salient from October1941 to March1943, the Red Army lost 1,154,698people, including wounded and missing. For the first time, I call out these terrible, tragic and far from complete figures collected from archive sources. I do it to honor the memory of the feat of known and nameless heroes, who for various reasons were undeservingly, and unfairly little talked about or not mentioned at all in the post-war years.

Let me cite you another document. This is a report of February1954 on reparation from Germany by the Allied Commission on Reparations headed by Ivan Maisky. The Commission's task was to define a formula according to which defeated Germany would have to pay for the damages sustained by the victor powers. The Commission concluded that "the number of soldier-days spent by Germany on the Soviet front is at least 10times higher than on all other allied fronts. The Soviet front also had to handle four-fifths of German tanks and about two-thirds of German aircraft." On the whole, the USSR accounted for about 75percent of all military efforts undertaken by the anti-Hitler coalition. During the war period, the Red Army "ground up" 626divisions of the Axis states, of which 508 were German.

On April28,1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his address to the American nation: "These Russian forces have destroyed and are destroying more armed power of our enemies troops, planes, tanks, and guns than all the other United Nations put together". Winston Churchill in his message to Joseph Stalin of September27,1944, wrote "that it is the Russian army that tore the guts out of the German military machine".

Such an assessment has resonated throughout the world. Because these words are the great truth, which no one doubted then. Almost 27million Soviet citizens lost their lives on the fronts, in German prisons, starved to death and were bombed, died in ghettos and furnaces of the Nazi death camps. The USSR lost one in seven of its citizens, the UK lost one in 127, and the USA lost one in 320. Unfortunately, this figure of the Soviet Union's hardest and grievous losses is not exhaustive. The painstaking work should be continued to restore the names and fates of all who have perished Red Army soldiers, partisans, underground fighters, prisoners of war and concentration camps, and civilians killed by the death squads. It is our duty. And here, members of the search movement, militarypatriotic and volunteer associations, such projects as the electronic database "Pamyat Naroda", which contains archival documents, play a special role. And, surely, close international cooperation is needed in such a common humanitarian task.

The efforts of all countries and peoples who fought against a common enemy resulted in victory. The British army protected its homeland from invasion, fought the Nazis and their satellites in the Mediterranean and North Africa. American and British troops liberated Italy and opened the Second Front. The US dealt powerful and crushing strikes against the aggressor in the Pacific Ocean. We remember the tremendous sacrifices made by the Chinese people and their great role in defeating Japanese militarists. Let us not forget the fighters of Fighting France, who did not fall for the shameful capitulation and continued to fight against the Nazis.

We will also always be grateful for the assistance rendered by the Allies in providing the Red Army with ammunition, raw materials, food and equipment. And that help was significant about 7percent of the total military production of the Soviet Union.

The core of the anti-Hitler coalition began to take shape immediately after the attack on the Soviet Union where the United States and Britain unconditionally supported it in the fight against Hitler's Germany. At the Tehran conference in 1943, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill formed an alliance of great powers, agreed to elaborate coalition diplomacy and a joint strategy in the fight against a common deadly threat. The leaders of the Big Three had a clear understanding that the unification of industrial, resource and military capabilities of the USSR, the United States and the UK will give unchallenged supremacy over the enemy.

The Soviet Union fully fulfilled its obligations to its allies and always offered a helping hand. Thus, the Red Army supported the landing of the Anglo-American troops in Normandy by carrying out a large-scale Operation Bagration in Belarus. In January1945, having broken through to the Oder River, it put an end to the last powerful offensive of the Wehrmacht on the Western Front in the Ardennes. Three months after the victory over Germany, the USSR, in full accordance with the Yalta agreements, declared war on Japan and defeated the million-strong Kwantung Army.

Back in July1941, the Soviet leadership declared that the purpose of the War against fascist oppressors was not only the elimination of the threat looming over our country, but also help for all the peoples of Europe suffering under the yoke of German fascism. By the middle of 1944, the enemy was expelled from virtually all of the Soviet territory. However, the enemy had to be finished off in its lair. And so the Red Army started its liberation mission in Europe. It saved entire nations from destruction and enslavement, and from the horror of the Holocaust. They were saved at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives of Soviet soldiers.

It is also important not to forget about the enormous material assistance that the USSR provided to the liberated countries in eliminating the threat of hunger and in rebuilding their economies and infrastructure. That was being done at the time when ashes stretched for thousands of miles all the way from Brest to Moscow and the Volga. For instance, in May1945, the Austrian government asked the USSR to provide assistance with food, as it "had no idea how to feed its population in the next seven weeks before the new harvest." The state chancellor of the provisional government of the Austrian Republic Karl Renner described the consent of the Soviet leadership to send food as a saving act that the Austrians would never forget.

The Allies jointly established the International Military Tribunal to punish Nazi political and war criminals. Its decisions contained a clear legal qualification of crimes against humanity, such as genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Directly and unambiguously, the Nuremberg Tribunal also condemned the accomplices of the Nazis, collaborators of various kinds.

This shameful phenomenon manifested itself in all European countries. Such figures as Ptain, Quisling, Vlasov, Bandera, their henchmen and followers though they were disguised as fighters for national independence or freedom from communism are traitors and slaughterers. In inhumanity, they often exceeded their masters. In their desire to serve, as part of special punitive groups they willingly executed the most inhuman orders. They were responsible for such bloody events as the shootings of Babi Yar, the Volhynia massacre, burnt Khatyn, acts of destruction of Jews in Lithuania and Latvia.

Today as well, our position remains unchanged there can be no excuse for the criminal acts of Nazi collaborators, there is no statute of limitations for them. It is therefore bewildering that in certain countries those who are smirched with cooperation with the Nazis are suddenly equated with the Second World War veterans. I believe that it is unacceptable to equate liberators with occupants. And I can only regard the glorification of Nazi collaborators as a betrayal of the memory of our fathers and grandfathers. A betrayal of the ideals that united peoples in the fight against Nazism.

****

At that time, the leaders of the USSR, the United States, and the UK faced, without exaggeration, a historic task.Stalin,RooseveltandChurchillrepresented the countries with different ideologies, state aspirations, interests, cultures, but demonstrated great political will, rose above the contradictions and preferences and put the true interests of peace at the forefront. As a result, they were able to come to an agreement and achieve a solution from which all of humanity has benefited.

The victorious powers left us a system that has become the quintessence of the intellectual and political quest of several centuries. A series of conferences Tehran, Yalta, San Francisco and Potsdam laid the foundation of a world that for 75years had no global war, despite the sharpest contradictions.

Historical revisionism, the manifestations of which we now observe in the West, and primarily with regard to the subject of the Second World War and its outcome, is dangerous because it grossly and cynically distorts the understanding of the principles of peaceful development, laid down at theYaltaand San Francisco conferences in 1945. The major historic achievement of Yalta and other decisions of that time is the agreement to create a mechanism that would allow the leading powers to remain within the framework of diplomacy in resolving their differences.

The twentieth century brought large-scale and comprehensive global conflicts, and in 1945 the nuclear weapons capable of physically destroying the Earth also entered the scene. In other words, the settlement of disputes by force has become prohibitively dangerous. And the victors in the Second World War understood that. They understood and were aware of their own responsibility towards humanity.

The cautionary tale of the League of Nations was taken into account in 1945. The structure of the UN Security Council was developed in a way to make peace guarantees as concrete and effective as possible. That is how the institution of the permanent members of the Security Council and the right of the veto as their privilege and responsibility came into being.

What is veto power in theUN Security Council? To put it bluntly, it is the only reasonable alternative to a direct confrontation between major countries. It is a statement by one of the five powers that a decision is unacceptable to it and is contrary to its interests and its ideas about the right approach. And other countries, even if they do not agree, take this position for granted, abandoning any attempts to realize their unilateral efforts. So, in one way or another, it is necessary to seek compromises.

A new global confrontation started almost immediately after the end of the Second World War and was at times very fierce. And the fact that the Cold War did not grow into the Third World War has become a clear testimony of the effectiveness of the agreements concluded by the Big Three. The rules of conduct agreed upon during the creation of the United Nations made it possible to further minimize risks and keep confrontation under control.

Of course, we can see that the UN system currently experiences certain tension in its work and is not as effective as it could be. But the UN still performs its primary function. The principles of the UN Security Council are a unique mechanism for preventing a major war or global conflict.

The calls that have been made quite often in recent years to abolish theveto power, to deny special opportunities to permanent members of the Security Council are actually irresponsible. After all, if that happens, the United Nations would in essence become the League of Nations a meeting for empty talk without any leverage on the world processes. How it ended is well known. That is why the victorious powers approached the formation of the new system of the world order with utmost seriousness seeking to avoid repetition of the mistakes of their predecessors.

The creation of the modern system of international relations is one of the major outcomes of theSecond World War. Even the most insurmountable contradictions geopolitical, ideological, economic do not prevent us from finding forms of peaceful coexistence and interaction, if there is the desire and will to do so. Today the world is going through quite a turbulent time. Everything is changing, from the global balance of power and influence to the social, economic and technological foundations of societies, nations and even continents. In the past epochs, shifts of such magnitude have almost never happened without major military conflicts. Without a power struggle to build a new global hierarchy. Thanks to the wisdom and farsightedness of the political figures of the Allied Powers, it was possible to create a system that has restrained from extreme manifestations of such objective competition, historically inherent in the world development.

It is a duty of ours all those who take political responsibility and primarily representatives of the victorious powers in the Second World War to guarantee that this system is maintained and improved. Today, as in 1945, it is important to demonstrate political will and discuss the future together. Our colleagues Mr. Xi Jinping, Mr. Macron, Mr. Trump and Mr. Johnson supported the Russian initiative to hold a meeting of the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon States, permanent members of the Security Council. We thank them for this and hope that such a face-to-face meeting could take place as soon as possible.

What is our vision of the agenda for the upcoming summit? First of all, in our opinion, it would be useful to discuss steps to develop collective principles in world affairs. To speak frankly about the issues of preserving peace, strengthening global and regional security, strategic arms control, as well as joint efforts in countering terrorism, extremism and other major challenges and threats.

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Vladimir Putin: The real lessons of the 75th anniversary of World War II - The New Times

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On the Mode of Existence of Smart Urban Object – ArchDaily

Posted: May 24, 2020 at 3:15 pm

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Luk Likavan takes us on a rich and satisfying philosophical journey. From Agamben's apparatus, through Hegel's positive religion (in contemporary robes), on to its materialization in Graeber's fetishes, the author reads the smart objects that are at the basis of the smart city paradigm as fetishes of sorts. In this perspective, it is necessary to redefine the autonomy of humans through an act of reverse prostheticization: what position should humans occupy in the technosphere? And what kind of relationships are emerging, or are being consolidated, between us (humans) and them (objects)? By accepting a collective vision of intelligence as a product of human and non-human data, it is possible to move away from the notion of fetish, towards an anti-narcissistic condition that sees humans as one of the entities having agency in a universe that has moved far beyond the phenomenological.

For the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (UABB), titled "Urban Interactions," (21 December 2019-8 March 2020) ArchDaily is working with the curators of the "Eyes of the City" section to stimulate a discussion on how new technologies might impact architecture and urban life. The contribution below is part of a series of scientific essays selected through the Eyes of the City call for papers, launched in preparation of the exhibitions: international scholars were asked to send their reflection in reaction to the statement by the curators Carlo Ratti Associati, Politecnico di Torino and SCUT, which you can read here.

1. The saints are coming

In cities across Italy, something quite unusual has been happening in 2004 the figure of a new holy person known as San Precario occurred here: the patron saint of precarious, casualised, sessional, intermittent, temporary, flexible, project, freelance and fractional workers.[1] San Precario begins as a secular and ironic appropriation of religious cults, typical for many Catholic countries, but at the same time, it transcends its arbitrary, artificial origin: it becomes an effective tool to educate people around Italy about the poor conditions of the precarious workforce, to spread awareness of collective solidarity, and to mobilize workers in strikes and upheavals.[2] One can observe here a peculiar revival of religiosity a figure of the saint becomes a publicly recognized and effective mediator of the culture and politics. Awful enough to the secular mind, the saints are coming; painstakingly kept in quarantine far away from our everyday lives, these saints knock on the doors, invading our secular world.

However, it is important to note what kind of religiosity these saints bring about. Drawing from Giorgio Agambens notes on Hegel philosophy of religion, one can distinguish between natural religion and positive religion: While natural religion is concerned with the immediate and general relation of human with the divine, positive or historical religion encompasses the set of beliefs, rules, and rites that in a certain historical moment are externally imposed on an individual.[3] The positivity in the concept of positive religion denotes for Hegel those historical elements that condition philosophical thinking in a given epoch.[4] These historical elements are the set of institutions, of processes of subjectivation, and of rules in which power relations become concrete.[5] According to Agamben, the idea of positivity is then translated into the work of Michel Foucault as the notion of dispositif, i.e. an apparatus: anything that has in some way the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, model, control, or secure the gestures, behaviors, opinions, or discourses of living beings.[6] Hence, while speaking about San Precario (and other saints), it is not that much a figure of hermetic mediation between God and the Church: it is on contrary a simple, earthly crystallization of new material-semiotic apparatuses of the positivities (or dispositifs) endemic to given socio-historical constellation, the becoming of yet another positive religion.

2. Fetishes are gods under the process of construction

The curious case of San Precario belongs to a very wide class of practices of social creativity, related to objects known to social anthropologists as fetishes. According to David Graeber, a fetish is a god under the process of construction[7] it is an object that serves as a singularity mediating and petrifying cultures. An invention of a fetish equals Graeber to an institution of a new practice, and thus it is an expression of social creativity, defined as the creation of new social forms and institutional arrangements.[8] There is a long philosophical and anthropological tradition of thinking about fetishism. One notable example is Karl Marxs concept of commodity fetishism,[9] which according to Graeber falls victim to a misreading of fetishism as the production of illusions, when [w]e create things, and then because we dont understand how we did it, we end up treating our own creations as if they had power over us.[10] Graeber believes that instead of seeing fetishism as a mode of alienation from products of our own creative activity (the Marxian approach), we should simply approach it as a very profane practice of the invention of new rules and social institutions mediated by objects. In this perspective, one arrives at a very simple understanding of fetishism as a design practice, where things we make in turn re-make us.

Cities are collective design objects: material concentrations and compressions of positive religion. They are the sites of deployment of Agambenian apparatuses, creating layered infrastructural settings constantly conditioning movements of bodies in space. They are also primordial sites of social creativity. However, with arrival of smart cities discourse, our usual understanding of the social collapses the smart urban objects (autonomous vehicles, robots, sensing surfaces, recording devices etc.) populate the social sphere in increasing numbers, rotating the social towards its more-than-human future. In this sense, a smart urban object becomes a fetish of the future an object that enters social relations, formatting these relations with its power to institute new rules. After all, it is exactly the capacity for self-determination or self-legislation that is a theoretical kernel of what we use to call autonomy.[11] Thus, thanks to smart cities, it might be clear that fetishism is a practice of conspiring the social realm with objects in the world, which has always been the case: culture and sociality inevitably involve objects that gain a certain degree of autonomy.

3. Autonomy and communal rationality

What is important to keep in mind is that fetishism involves dynamics of subject/object reversals the object is suddenly treated as an autonomous agent. Benjamin Bratton calls these dynamics reverse prostheticization, when the subject becomes an object, the self becomes substance, the body becomes metabolic reserve, food machines consume you.[12] In these uncanny reversals, we humans can gain an outside view on ourselves, following Reza Negarestanis work on the philosophy of artificial intelligence.[13] This outside view becomes a new stage of Hegelian communal self-reflection of humankind.[14] Throughout history, fetishes serve as instruments of this self-reflection, whether in the form of religion or in its other modalities, thus contributing to the institution of new types of communal rationality. As an example, consider the proliferation of technical objects that condition the way how we think in the 21st century our ways of accessing and processing information are rapidly formatted by platforms that navigate communal intelligence, such as search engines, online databases and so on. For this reason, one might claim that the history of rationality is technically mediated, and the project of artificial intelligence realized in the form of smart urban objects is a continuation of this history.

The stage in which we occur now marks a redistribution of rational competences, shifting its focus from humans to more-than-human agents. The advent of artificial intelligence reveals that we have always been surrounded by autonomous objects or fetishes, if you will working with us in the acts of thinking. As Matteo Pasquinelli says: Artificial intelligence is animism for the rich, we might say. Or alternatively: animism is a sort of artificial intelligence made in the absence of electricity.[15] In this process, we see how thinking itself has always been external to the human: we merely mediate thought, and we do so while surrounded by an ensemble of fetishes. This insight is central to the outside view on ourselves: we are only a part of a metabolic nexus of thinking.

4. Ethics of metabolic multitude

As autonomy becomes property of smart urban objects, we can simultaneously observe a slow take-off of an independent evolutionary trajectory of this technical ensemble, creating a kind of a general ecology of the technosphere, of which cities are intermediary articulations.[16] In this not-so-human version of the city-to-come, Paul Virilios vision of metabolic multitude and habitable circulation is enacted and updated[17] humans become not only temporary media of architectural innovation and urban development but of intelligence itself: intelligence which otherwise exists in many forms and genres, from mineral to biological, from sub-individual to collective. With the advent of this technosphere, questions related to when to treat ourselves as autonomous individuals, and when to approach our existence as a part of a larger torrential force-field, stands at the forefront of future ethics (and politics) of urban design. In a way, old modernist dilemmas are revived, while divested of the humanist teleology at their core ensembles of smart urban objects reveal that the condition of autonomy is to mobilize the inhuman in the human, echoing words of Jean-Franois Lyotard: What if human beings, in humanism's sense, were in the process of, constrained into, becoming inhuman (that's the first part)? And (the second part), what if what is 'proper' to humankind were to be inhabited by the inhuman?[18]

The process of becoming inhuman might have at least two results, and I hope for its latter version either we copy-paste existing urban borders and environmental injustices from architecture of built environment to digital infrastructures and protocols of smart urban objects, or we substitute this regime of governance by division of urban space for the regime of generic universality.[19] While the former simply stands for investing the mirror image of existing lines of division into the public realm a project which is already pursued in urban design the latter seeks to establish a lowest common denominator for sharing the urban realm. This denominator is not any kind of old ethical (or political) value, but the simple position in an abstract address space of an urban ecosystem. It does not strip the elements of a metabolic multitude of their value, but it makes their value relational and situated just as each biological species in the forest contributes to the general choreography of the forest as an ecosystem (metabolizing different products of those species related to them in their respective region of the network), the generic universality of urban space sees each genre of intelligence as valid input into communal rationality distributed over a manifold of agents and their modalities.[20] Here lies also an opportunity to learn from those ontological imaginations outside of the scope of Western modernity.

5. Non-narcissistic theory of alienation

Another productive aspect of this emergence of communal intelligence mediated by a technical ensemble of smart urban objects is related to an opportunity to highlight those alienations that can actually move us completely elsewhere outside of the confines of simple dialectics of fetishism, where the objects we produce simply mirror ourselves. Both Marxs and Graebers view on fetishism relies on these dialectics. For this reason, they both fall under the rubric of what I would call anarcissistic theory of fetishism. In the Greek myth of Narcissus, a young and beautiful male investigates his own mirror reflection on the surface of the pond, falls in love with this image and eventually falls into the pond. Yet, we might interpret this tale not only as a parable about self-congratulatory egoism, but also as a story about the discovery of a portal to the great outdoors of planetary reality the diagram of an escape of the human into the inhuman that Lyotards question provokes. The pond stands in such an interpretation for an abyss that lurks just beneath the safe space of things intimately mirroring ourselves. Falling into this abyss means entering a realm that in its general indifference towards human beings brings an opportunity to develop a sense of generic universality. Perhaps the assemblage of smart urban objects brings this challenge to our contemporary situation: a promise of transporting ourselves into a realm where we are not the phenomenological centre of the universe, but a collective of silent agents co-curating the torrents of the planetary matter and intelligent processes, contributing to epistemic diversity of the universe itself. A potential credo of future ethics and politics of urban design thus goes as follows: Woe to those who seek to model the complex reality of urban ecosystems by an image that privileges their endemic culture of intelligence and creativity. On the contrary, carefully mixing and aligning different cultures of intelligence in multistable assemblages is the premise of this design genre.

Endnotes

About the Author

Luk Likavan is a researcher and theorist, elaborating on topics of philosophy of technology and political ecology. He studied philosophy at Masaryk University (Brno), where he is currently concluding his PhD studies in environmental humanities, and sociology at Boazii University (Istanbul). As a researcher, he was based at Wirtschaftsuniversitt Wien (Vienna), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong), and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst (Utrecht). He teaches at Center for Audiovisual Studies FAMU (Prague) and Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design (Moscow), where he also graduated from The New Normal education program in 2018.

"Urban Interactions": Bi-City Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (Shenzhen) - 8th edition. Shenzhen, China

http://www.szhkbiennale.org.cn/

Opening in December, 2019 in Shenzhen, China, "Urban Interactions" is the 8th edition of the Bi-City Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (UABB). The exhibition consists of two sections, namely Eyes of the City and Ascending City, which will explore the evolving relationship between urban space and technological innovation from different perspectives. The Eyes of the City" section features MIT professor and architect Carlo Ratti as Chief Curator and Politecnico di Torino-South China University of Technology as Academic Curator. The "Ascending City" section features Chinese academician Meng Jianmin and Italian art critic Fabio Cavallucci as Chief Curators.

"Eyes of The City" section

Chief Curator:Carlo Ratti.

Academic Curator: South China-Torino Lab (Politecnico di Torino - Michele Bonino; South China University of Technology - Sun Yimin)

Executive Curators:Daniele Belleri [CRA], Edoardo Bruno, Xu Haohao

Curator of the GBA Academy:Politecnico di Milano (Adalberto Del Bo)

"Ascending City" section

Chief Curators:Meng Jianmin, Fabio Cavallucci

Co-Curator:Science and Human Imagination Center of Southern University of Science and Technology (Wu Yan)

Executive Curators:Chen Qiufan, Manuela Lietti, Wang Kuan, Zhang Li

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On the Mode of Existence of Smart Urban Object - ArchDaily

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15 Important Pros and Cons of Ethical Egoism ConnectUS

Posted: April 9, 2020 at 6:58 pm

Ethical egoism is the acceptance of society for people to pursue their own self-interests. No one has an obligation to promote what anyone else tries to do because their personal views are the only thing that matters. That makes this theory prescriptive and normative in its application because it becomes concerned about how people behave.

It is essential to remember that the ethical version of egoism is different than the psychological form of it. The latter theory suggests that every action we take is ultimately with our self-interest in mind. That makes it more of a descriptive approach because that is a basic fact of human nature.

The argument for ethical egoism because famous in the poem The Fable of the Bees by Bernard Mandeville and The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Both works describe an environment where people who single-mindedly pursue personal gratification benefit society as a whole. The reason for this outcome is that individuals are more motivated to work hard when personal benefits come from the outcome.

1. Ethical egoism encourages self-awareness.If you can know yourself and what you need, then it is easier to stay productive in modern society. The benefits of having this trait in ones life include a higher level of emotional intelligence, greater listening and empathy skills, along with improved critical thinking. This combination of factors allows for better decisions to be made, which leads to stronger communication and better relationships.

Self-awareness enhances leadership capabilities so that your capacity for accomplishments becomes higher. You can have internal and external versions of this benefit, which involves how we see ourselves and how others see us.

2. There are more opportunities for personal improvement.If you focus on a path involving ethical egoism, then your self-interests become the top priority. Instead of striving to push others forward, youre working toward making yourself better in some way. There are six approaches that you can try with this advantage that can take your work to the next level, ranging from simple breathing exercises to delegating the work you hate to do to other people.

Everyone experiences this positive attribute of ethical egoism from a young age. You might be tempted to steal a candy bar from the store, but the external factor of getting into trouble with your parents or the police makes you decide to pursue greater needs instead. It is an approach that makes you think about your overall wellbeing first.

3. Everyone would have an opportunity to provide for themselves.Ethical egoism is an approach that says what you think or feel are the best motivators to keep you productive. Youre effectively the salesperson of your own life, earning what you believe is your full potential every day. It eliminates the idea of a safety net because the only person you can depend upon is yourself, but then society restructures itself so that every individual has opportunities to pursue their definition of success.

That doesnt mean we would eliminate poverty and hunger immediately by taking an approach that includes ethical egoism. Some people would choose to live a vagabond lifestyle where they would have few responsibilities placed on them. It does give each person a chance to take control of their lives so that they can do what they feel is right for themselves.

4. Ethical egoism allows people to implement self-care routines.When you start putting yourself first, then the first word in your vocabulary becomes no. That makes it a lot easier for you to begin working toward the goals you have in life because others are not directing your footsteps. When you eliminate the control of others, then it becomes easier to prioritize your to-do list each take. Knowing what tasks are the most essential to complete helps you to achieve a goal faster.

Ethical egoism promotes consistency in the facets of this advantage by encouraging people to build new habits. When you make a decision, then you stick to it. Youre conditioning others to accept you for who you are without judging them for being who they are.

5. No one can manipulate you when practicing ethical egoism.You become entirely immune to the idea of having someone take advantage of you when society practices ethical egoism. The people who use others to advance their personal agendas will no longer have the option to make others do favors for them that push their journey forward. Everyone will be taking that approach, so you stay in control of your circumstances at all times.

This advantage also means that others will no longer have the option to guilt you into taking actions that you dont want to do. Youre spending more time on the things in life that you enjoy doing.

6. It eliminates the autopilot approach that people take in life.Many people go through life without a cognitive awareness of their choices or themselves. This approach to life puts you on autopilot because youre allowing the routine to take control instead of your desires. If you have ever zoned out during your commute to or from work, then youve experienced this effect. Those routines can encompass years of your life without a specific direction beyond paying your bills or making enough money.

Ethical egoism pushes you toward a higher level of success. The people who find themselves stuck on autopilot tend to feel miserable and disengaged. Self-awareness is the cure that can clear your mind of the fog, making you feel like youve woken up from a long nightmare. Since society trains us on what our routines should be, a shift to ethical egoism could cause everyone to stop living in their routines.

7. Productivity would rise in society when ethical egoism is in control.When Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations in the 18th century, he suggested that when individuals pursue gratification of their insatiable desires single-mindedly, then they unintentionally benefit society as a whole. It is as if they are led by an invisible hand, as he put it in his work. The idea is that people are usually the best judges of what is in their own best interest. Individuals have more motivation to work hard to benefit themselves than to achieve any other goal.

That means productivity levels rise because everyone has a focus on what their daily needs will be. When everyone is looking out for themselves, then the general good becomes achievable because most people are not going to let themselves be run over by others.

1. It is an approach that would create a self-centered society.One of the principal tenets of ethical egoism is that no one else looks after your personal needs except you. That means everyone, including people in families, is pursuing a reflection of their self-interest. Marriages wouldnt be warm or compassionate places they would become a means to an end. Relationships with children would become the same way.

The idea that communication would improve to create stronger relationships is plausible, but ethical egoism always focuses on self-interest. If those bonds that people form no longer help to push someone forward, then society would say in this structure that you can abandon those people without a second thought.

2. There would be a loss of empathy in society with ethical egoism.Implementing a society focused on ethical egoism would cause us to lose sight of our current culture of empathy. The benefits of understanding how others think or feel are numerous, and its absence is one of the hallmarks of psychopathy. We need this trait to establish friendships, have satisfaction in our intimate relationships, and see reductions of aggression in society. Increases in empathy reduce incidents of domestic violence.

If people pursue their self-interests more than they support each other, then society would become violent. Our loss of empathy would lead to more errors, worse health outcomes, and people would feel less satisfied because each effort would become more difficult to complete.

3. It would lead to a breakdown in workplace relationships.Ethical egoism suggests that employee relationships would become problematic in a society with this structure because the business would only serve its purpose as a means to an end. The relationships formed throughout a career are focusing on what others can do for you instead of being a mutually beneficial place where a rising tide lifts all boats. Everyone would forgo what others could accomplish because their benefits are always the top priority in this structure.

4. Ethical egoism eliminates the concept of objectivity from society.If each person in society were to follow the theory of ethical egoism, then there would no longer be objectivity. No one would care about what anyone else thought with regards to their actions or pursuits. The only drive toward thoughts, feelings, and decisions would be self-interest.

That doesnt mean altruism would disappear entirely. People would still help others if there was a beneficial reason to do so, such as helping a charity because it promotes a higher level of fame. The issue here is that caring for others would often become the action of last resort instead of being a top priority.

5. It would only work if everyone was practicing this theory.Ethical egoism is a theory that only works when everyone practices it. Since people will not associate with someone for long if your words or actions are a reflection of only caring for yourself, the need to be loved by others would eventually cause this approach to malfunction. If the first priority of everyone is to profit from someone else without regard to their status in life, then those effects will eventually fail. There is nothing wrong with the approach of wanting to live life on your own terms, but the idea is to treat others in the same way that you want to be treated.

6. There are no solutions offered when conflicts of interest arise.Ethical egoism doesnt provide a solution when issues arise that involve a conflict of interest. Since most ethical issues involve this sort of problem, the approach at a societal level could cause productivity to grind to a halt. Imagine that a sewage treatment facility wants to dump raw waste into the local river. The people who live downstream from the facility would naturally object to that behavior. This approach would cause both parties to actively pursue what they want.

Ethical egoism doesnt suggest any sort of compromise to the situation. It does not encourage you to arrive at a place of common-sense resolution. You are going to win or lose because there is nothing in between those options

7. Ethical egoism goes against the principle of impartiality.The basic assumption made by most moral philosophers is that we shouldnt discriminate against people for arbitrary reasons. That means a persons gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or race shouldnt become part of the discussion because our diversity is what makes us stronger. Ethical egoism suggests that we shouldnt even try to be tolerant because it is more important to distinguish between ourselves and everyone else. Then we focus on offering preferential treatment internally or to our external factors.

Immanuel Kant argued over 200 years ago that the fundamental principle of morality is that we shouldnt make exceptions of ourselves. Thats what ethical egoism wants us to do. We shouldnt perform actions if we can honestly wish that everyone would behave in the same way under similar circumstances.

8. It isnt always in a persons best interest to pursue their own self-interest.Game theory uses the prisoners dilemma as an example of why ethical egoism is problematic. If you are in a hypothetical situation where a crime was committed and the police ask you to confess, the terms of the deal say that you get 6 months and your friend gets 10 years in prison. If your friend confesses and you do not, then the opposite result occurs. When both people confess, then you get five years, but if no one confesses, then you both get two years.

Regardless of what your friend does, the best thing to do is to confess because youll get a lighter sentence. Ethical egoism says both should pursue rational self-interest, but then the outcome is not the best possible one. It is an idea that shows how sacrificing your own interests for the good of others somethings denies the fundamental value of your own life.

Conclusion

The pros and cons of ethical egoism lead us to a place where morality becomes an individualized definition instead of a societal constraint. If killing someone was the action to take to improve ones status in society, then a refusal to commit violence would become the definition of an immoral act.

Thats why this approach, although theoretically a way to increase production and satisfaction, would ultimately create a place where no one would feel safe. It would be a chaotic environment where everyone focused on what their needs were first at the expense of everyone else.

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Ethical Egoism Theory Explained – HRF

Posted: February 29, 2020 at 11:37 pm

Ethical egoism theory provides a normative position that encourages people from a moral standpoint to do what is in their own best self-interest. This process differs from only acting upon items of self-interest or creating a rational explanation behind the need to pursue ones own self-interest.

In ethical egoism, actions which have consequences that will benefit the individual can be considered ethical, even if others hold a different definition of ethics.

The concepts of ethical egoism were first introduced by Henry Sidgwick in a book published in 1874 entitled The Methods of Ethics. Sidgwick introduced the idea of ethical egoism to counter the idea of utilitarianism, or the desire to maximize personal pleasure at all times. Egoism, Sidgwick argues, focuses on maximizing the pleasure of the individual.

Ethical egoism can be divided into three general categories.

Although it might seem to imply otherwise, ethical egoism theory does not require individuals to harm the interests of others when making a moral decision. That harm may occur as a consequence of pursuing ones own interest, but it does not promote foolishness. It does not promote always doing what one wants to do either.

That is because short-term decisions that might seem good at the time may be detrimental to a persons long-term outlook. Eating potato chips, drinking 5 sodas each day, and having cake for dinner every night might provide short-term pleasure, but ethical egoism would say such actions are not in the persons self-interest because of the threat those short-term decisions would have on long-term health.

The primary justification for ethical egoism is that each person has a natural desire to fulfill their own wants and needs. Each person is also placed into a position where they can pursue those wants and needs with whatever energy they desire. Some may choose wants over needs and suffer, while others may not be able to meet even basic needs, but that does not change the ethics in pursuing what is desired.

A popular expression in society comes from Christianity, specifically from the book of Genesis. God asks Cain where his brother happens to be. Cains response is defiant. I dont know. Am I my brothers keeper? In ethical egoism, the idea is that each person knows what is best for their short-term and long-term wants and needs. Others must make assumptions about what they are, which makes the acquiring process inefficient.

It may be a reasonable belief to assume that individuals can support one another, but it would also be a reasonable belief to assume that we would cause more harm than good when trying to meet those wants and needs for someone else.

Ethical Egoism also eliminates the concept of altruism. This is usually exampled by hunger. If you eat a sandwich in front of someone who is hungry, it would be considered an immoral indulgence because you are meeting your needs, but ignoring the needs of someone else. Yet it would be a moral indulgence to solve hunger in someone else, but creating hunger in oneself. Ethical egoism solves that problem by directing each individual to solve their own hunger problem instead of relying on someone else to do it for them.

It could be argued that every moral duty that has been accepted by various human societies over the centuries has been based on principles of ethical egoism. Whether that means love one another or always tell the truth, the goal is to improve ones own wants and needs in some way.

Ethical egoism is only as beneficial as the moral code of the person implementing this theory. A murderer could say that it is morally right to kill others because it provides them with satisfaction, especially if there is no fear of imprisonment, being caught, or having a death warrant issued after a conviction. Thieves could steal in good conscience. Husbands or wives could cheat on their spouses because concerns are for the self only.

Ethical egoism theory has its proponents and its critics. By understanding its concepts, it becomes possible to see how each person implements them in their daily lives.

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Ethical Egoism Theory Explained - HRF

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What Is Ethical Egoism? – ThoughtCo

Posted: December 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm

Ethical egoism is the view that people ought to pursue their own self-interest, and no one has any obligation to promote anyone elses interests. It is thus a normative or prescriptive theory: it is concerned with how people ought to behave. In this respect, ethical egoism is quite different from psychological egoism, the theory that all our actions are ultimately self-interested. Psychological egoism is a purely descriptive theory that purports to describe a basic fact about human nature.

Everyone pursuing his own self-interest is the best way to promote the general good. This argument was made famous by Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733) in his poem "The Fable of the Bees" and by Adam Smith (1723-1790) in his pioneering work on economics, "The Wealth of Nations."

In a famous passage, Smith wrote that when individuals single-mindedly pursue the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires they unintentionally, as if led by an invisible hand, benefit society as a whole. This happy result comes about because people generally are the best judges of what is in their own interest, and they are much more motivated to work hard to benefit themselves than to achieve any other goal.

An obvious objection to this argument, though, is that it doesnt really support ethical egoism. It assumes that what really matters is the well-being of society as a whole, the general good. It then claims that the best way to achieve this end is for everyone to look out for themselves. But if it could be proved that this attitude did not, in fact, promote the general good, then those who advance this argument would presumably stop advocating egoism.

Another objection is that what the argument states is not always true. Consider the prisoners dilemma, for instance. This is a hypothetical situation described in game theory.You and a comrade, (call him X) are being held in prison. You are both asked to confess. The terms of the deal you are offered are as follows:

Regardless of what X does, the best thing for you to do is confess. Because if he doesnt confess, youll get a light sentence; and if he does confess, youll at least avoid getting extra prison time. But the same reasoning holds for X as well. According to ethical egoism, you should both pursue your rational self-interest. But then the outcome is not the best one possible. You both get five years, whereas if both of you had put your self-interest on hold, youd each only get two years.

The point of this is simple. It isnt always in your best interest to pursue your own self-interest without concern for others. Sacrificing your own interests for the good of others denies the fundamental value of your own life to yourself.

This seems to be the sort of argument put forward by Ayn Rand, the leading exponent of objectivism and the author of "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged."Her complaint is that the Judeo-Christian moral tradition, which includesor has fed intomodern liberalism and socialism, pushes an ethic of altruism.Altruism means putting the interests of others before your own.

This is something people are routinely praised for doing, encouraged to do, and in some circumstances even required to do, such as when you pay taxes to support the needy.According to Rand, no one has any right to expect or demand that I make any sacrifices for the sake of anyone other than myself.

A problem with this argument is that it seems to assume that there is generally a conflict between pursuing your own interests and helping others.In fact, though, most people would say that these two goals are not necessarily opposed at all.Much of the time they complement one another.

For instance, one student may help a housemate with her homework, which is altruistic.But that student also has an interest in enjoying good relations with her housemates. She may not help everyone in all circumstances, but she will help if the sacrifice involved is not too great.Most people behave like this, seeking a balance between egoism and altruism.

Ethical egoism is not a very popular moral philosophy. This is because it goes against certain basic assumptions that most people have regarding what ethics involves. Two objections seem especially powerful.

Ethical egoism has no solutions to offer when a problem arises involving conflicts of interest. Many ethical issues are of this sort. For example, a company wants to empty waste into a river; the people living downstream object. Ethical egoism advises that both parties actively pursue what they want. It doesnt suggest any sort of resolution or commonsense compromise.

Ethical egoism goes against the principle of impartiality. A basic assumption made by many moral philosophersand many other people, for that matteris that we should not discriminate against people on arbitrary grounds such as race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or ethnic origin. But ethical egoism holds that we should not even try to be impartial. Rather, we should distinguish between ourselves and everyone else, and give ourselves preferential treatment.

To many, this seems to contradict the very essence of morality. The golden ruleversions of which appear in Confucianism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islamsays we should treat others as we would like to be treated. One of the greatest moral philosophers of modern times, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), argued that the fundamental principle of morality (the categorical imperative, in his jargon) is that we should not make exceptions of ourselves. According to Kant, we shouldntperform an action if we cannot honestly wish that everyone would behave in a similar way in the same circumstances.

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What Is Ethical Egoism? - ThoughtCo

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mile Durkheim and the Religion of Liberal Democracy – Tablet Magazine

Posted: November 17, 2019 at 1:45 pm

The end of the 19th century, as the Dreyfus affair shook France and anti-Semitism surfaced as a political force, was not an obvious moment for a French Jew to rediscover optimism. mile Durkheim (1858-1917), the countrys foremost sociologist, was an especially unlikely candidate for hope. He had spent the last decade in a state of well-informed anxiety. His research seemed to show that economic tensions and cultural fragmentation were unraveling the conditions for collective existence in France and throughout the world.

The 1894 condemnation of Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus by a French military tribunal on false evidence, and the ensuing partisan, virulently anti-Semitic efforts to prevent a retrial, might have confirmed Durkheims despair. Instead it revitalized his faith in France and its liberal democracy. This faith was not metaphorical. Durkheim insisted, to the chagrin of allies and opponents ever since, that democracy was a religion, and the rights-bearing individual its god. A century later, as individual rights and popular sovereignty are increasingly embattled, Durkheims intellectual legacy challenges defenders of liberalism to embrace emotion, community, and faith.

A rabbis son, Durkheim left the religion of his childhood to study philosophy in Paris. At 29, he began to teach, offering courses on political philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. These forebears, he found, had made a fatal error. Basing their theories on the notion that individuals, naturally endowed with liberty, had been brought together in an artificial social contract, they saw society as something extrinsic to human nature, and philosophical speculation as something prior to empirical research. They devised ideal constitutions in which a general will, embodied by a monarch or a majority opinion, would dominate the selfish desires of individuals. Yet these philosophers seemed to know little about individuals, society, and the state as we find them in the world. If we want to know about the nature of things or the rules for living, Durkheim chided, we must go back to things themselves, and thus to science.

Durkheim became one of the founders of sociology, a budding discipline meant to provide scientific knowledge about topics that had long been the preserve of speculation and belief. In the following decade of the 1890s, he wrote a manifesto, The Rules of Sociological Method (1894), that called for empirical research into human behavior and the evolution of social structuresonly after this kind of study, he argued, could political and ethical theorizing proceed on a sound basis. However Durkheims research for The Division of Labor (1893) and Suicide (1897) brought him to a precipice of despair.

Inspired by biology, Durkheim tried to explain why people in capitalist societies, bound by complex networks of exchange, seemed to be drifting ever further apart. Think, he asked readers, of the finches Charles Darwin had studied in the Galapagos Islands. Under the pressure of competition for resources, the members of a single species separated into a variety of new ones, each with physical features adapted to different sources of food. In what seemed to be an impeccably scientific analogy, Durkheim argued that people and societies evolve in just the same way. Members of traditional, pre-modern societies, like the original finches, are more or less identical to each other. The pressure of capitalist competition introduces a principle of differentiation, as people divide themselves into increasingly specialized economic roles, with finely tailored lifestyles, identities, and values to match.

In its economic form, as the division of labor, this growing specialization permits a vast increase in societys productive powersbut with dire social and psychological consequences. Traditional bonds of religion and family collapse, and individuals, ironically isolated by the economic forces that overwhelm them all, take refuge in illusory communities, which are too frail to bear the weight of human fate. The anarchist, the aesthete, the mystic and the socialist revolutionary, he warned, all hasten societys demise.

Durkheim saw little remedy for this crisis. Modern capitalist societies like France were losing the shared sets of values and points of reference that make life bearable, breaking down into fleeting, fragmentary tribes whose members were aggressively narcissistic and desperately lonesome. Even if by some incomprehensible miracle there appeared a moral code to reunite society, the competitive logic of the capitalist system would drive its members again into self-centeredness and division.

***

While Durkheim was researching his way into hopelessness, the 1894 condemnation of Dreyfus was transforming French politics. By 1898, many of the countrys most eminent writers, artists and scholars had come to Dreyfus defense. The more politically savvy of Dreyfus defenders, the Dreyfusards, saw his unjust sentence as an opportunity to defend the principles of human rights and to weaken the army, a bastion of conservatives who seemed to be waiting for their own chance to sabotage the Third Republic, Frances liberal democratic regime. But the republics enemies also sensed an opportunity.

Founded in 1870 after decades of authoritarian rule and frequent coups, the republic appeared to many French observers as a creation of Jews, Protestants and nonbelievers. These minorities were accused of using the forms of liberal democracy, such as an emphasis on individual rights, to protect themselves fromand indeed to oppressFrances Catholic majority.

The grain of truth in the anti-republic perspective was that minorities did have good reason to see the republic as their best defense against intolerance. The Dreyfus affair offered anti-republicans a chance to exploit anti-Semitic prejudice, charging that Dreyfus defenders treacherously insisted on the rights of the accused in order to undermine Frances national defense. If Dreyfus name were cleared, conservatives warned, military morale would plummet, leaving the nation vulnerable to a rising Germany. The rights of a single individualespecially a Jewcould not be allowed to imperil the needs of the entire country. This argument, bruited by many anti-Dreyfusards, was delivered with particular flair by literary editor Ferdinand Brunetire in an 1898 article, After the Trial.

Brunetire argued that the affair had revealed a fundamental conflict within the Third Republic between responsible people who accepted that the needs of the community must overrun individual rights, and the anarchists, socialists and radical individualists who were willing to risk the very existence of France for the sake of a single persons freedom. This was an argument that Durkheim could understand, one that might have appealed to his own concern about the pernicious individualizing forces of modern society. But Durkheim had changed his mind. In a series of essays written in 1898 and 1899, he answered Brunetire, defended the Dreyfusards, and outlined a vision of society and politics that shattered his earlier pessimism.

Durkheims thinking was transformed by an empathetic and critical engagement with the anti-Dreyfusards. In an essay on anti-Semitism, he dismissed the idea that Dreyfus opponents were motivated by hatred and prejudice. Anti-Semitism, he insisted, was an expression of capitalist societies economic troubles and moral distress, phenomena he had documented himself. Ordinary people, no less than sociologists, seek explanations for the bewilderments of modernity and, too often, find scapegoats.

In Suicide, written only a few years earlier, Durkheim saw the ideologies that arose in response to contemporary capitalism as mere continuations of its atomizing tendencies. Now, reflecting on the French response to Dreyfus convinction in 1894, Durkheim recalled a surge of joy on the boulevards. The French crowds had been delighted, Durkheim suggested, not because they had an excuse to persecute a member of a despised minority, but because they had been relieved to find themselves gathered together before an explanation and an answer to their sufferings. The structure of anti-Semitism suggested a way out of the troubles and distress of modern society: a shared longing for a comprehensible world.

The anarchist, the aesthete, the mystic and the socialist revolutionary, mile Durkheim warned, all hasten societys demise.

In a companion essay on militarism, Durkheim deepened his analysis of the anti-Dreyfus camp. Like anti-Semitism, militarism now appeared to him as a distorted form of a vital social imperative. He argued that the French people, seeing the army as their defense against Germany, had made it the object of a cult something untouchable and sacred. By sacrificing the innocent Dreyfus, they were trying to appease their god.

Durkheim could have lingered on the cruelty and irrationality of this sacrifice. Instead, he suggested that the task of liberals was to find a better cult. The French needed other ideas in which they can commune with each other, other ends to pursue in common. The Dreyfusards would have to offer not only political principles, such as individual rights, but also a sense of belonging, a form of collectivity organized around transcendent values and directed toward the realization of concrete ends. Dreyfus would be saved not by mere appeals to due process, but by a cult of justice, a collective passion for individual rights.

Such a religion of individual rights could hardly be whipped together for the occasion, Durkheim noted. But in an 1898 essay, Individualism and the Intellectuals, he argued that this religion was in fact already the common faith of France.

In another paradoxical argument, a match for his claims that the anti-Dreyfusards were motivated by a misguided love of truth and community, Durkheim set out to prove that the Dreyfusards insistence on the rights of a single person was an act of worship that united the members of the French nation to their countrymen and to a shared past. In doing so, Durkheim confronted Brunetires critique of individualism, which so resembled his own earlier assessments of modern society. Brunetire had argued that liberal democracy weakened the nation by emphasizing individual rights over the needs of the group: Countering Brunetire, Durkheim paradoxically traced the history of these rights, beginning with the Enlightenment philosophers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau who first conceived of them.

***

The Dreyfus affair had given Durkheim a new, ironic perspective on the Enlightenment project. Years before, the theories of Rousseau and his colleagues had struck Durkheim as shallow and idealistic. They had suggested that society was only a kind of contract to protect the rights of the individuals who composed it, but, as Durkheim the sociologist had showed, it was society that created individuals, not the other way around. The philosophers had been wrong about human nature and the relationship between individuals and societyyet, however mistaken, their ideas had entered into the repertoire of beliefs and prejudices shared by most French people, and so in the process attained an unexpected kind of truth.

The key ideas of liberalismthat society is founded by and composed of originally isolated rights-bearing individuals, and that the legitimacy of the state is based on its offering protection to individuals rightsare false from a scientific or philosophic point of view, Durkheim argued, in that they are unable to stand up to critical scrutiny. But they have become, as it were, effectively true, or true enough. French people believe in the existence of the liberal individual and see their history as the story of his triumph.

It was the religious fervor of the Dreyfusards that seems to have set Durkheim on this path of thought. After all, Durkheim observed, it should surprise us that thousands of people could be so committed to the defense of a single stranger. What mere individual can be worth risking the safety of a whole country? Something more than scientific or philosophical rationality must be at work. When we are horrified by violations of someones rights, Durkheim argued, we are experiencing the disgust and fear that religious believers feel when something sacred and inviolable is being transgressedthough we are not much concerned about the actual person whose rights are being violated, the particular being that constitutes himself and carries his name.

Thus it was not really Dreyfus whom the Dreyfusards wanted to defend, but an impersonal and anonymous individual, an abstract humanity in which all members of liberal democracies share. As Durkheim said: man has become a god to man each individual mind has within it something of the divine, marked by a characteristic which renders it sacred and inviolable.

Liberal democracy, Durkheim argued, is therefore best understood not as an accurate or even rational set of claims about the proper relationship between individuals and society, but rather as a religion that enshrines and celebrates the rights of the ideal, abstract individual, who is its god.

Against Brunetires charges that an exaggerated respect for individual rights was endangering the French nation, Durkheim countered that it was this religion that was its very soul. For this reason, Durkheim warned, the goal of a cosmopolitan order in which the nation-state might disappear was an illusionliberal norms can only be sustained by a community of believers rooted in shared patterns of life and circuits of feeling. Until the end of his life, despite the growing influence of international socialist movements, Durkheim hoped that French socialists would return to French traditions and abandon the dream of a global revolution; liberal democracy is a religion, but it is a national, not a universal belief system.

***

After the deceptions of his fathers Judaism, Enlightenment philosophy, and the scientific study of society, Durkheim had found what he recognized to be a new faith. For the next two decades, until his death in 1917, he would devote himself to proving that all societies have a religious basis (in his Elementary Forms of Religious Life, 1913) and to providing French teachers with the courage to embrace their role as priests of the republic. They must instill in children a democratic morality, built of respect for individual rights and love for the nation. History, for example, should be taught as the achievement of the former by the latter: the child, and later the adult, will learn that the rights that are granted to them, the freedom that they enjoy, the moral dignity that they believe themselves to possess, all of these are the creation of that personal but impersonal being we call France. Only by confronting rigidly enforced rules will children learn to respect something greater than themselvesthe basic attitude required for all religions, including that of liberal democracy.

While he did not argue that the state should limit religious freedom, Durkheim did not imagine that it could be possible to separate church and state in the sense usually understood by defenders of Frances particular form of secularism, lacit. Religion is the foundation of politics, he insisted. The Third Republic could only thrive if its defenders accepted it for what it was: the true church of the French, the institution through which they worshipped the rights-bearing individual.

Durkheims idiosyncratic calls for the state to shape individuals on societys behalf, and to manage their education as a religious enterprise, alienated potential allies, like liberal Jewish and Protestant intellectuals, who fought for a public sphere that could accommodate many forms of religious practice. Anti-Semites didnt care for Durkheim, either. In 1911, the nephew of Gabriel Tarde, a rival sociologist, co-authored a pamphlet suggesting that Durkheims conception of society was a Jewish God, a tyrannical entity ruling humanity through a caste of priests.

Later generations of French Jewish intellectuals, including Durkheims own nephew, Marcel Mauss, have not been much kinder. In the 1930s, as they watched the Nazi party take power in Germany through quasi-religious public rituals, it seemed to Mauss and Durkheims former colleague Lon Brunschvig that the sort of collective faith Durkheim celebrated was serving fascism, not democracy.

But the dangers posed by the Third Reichanti-Semitism, militarism, contempt for individual rightswere dangers Durkheim knew. It had been precisely by meditating on their social and psychological causes that he had found his controversial faith in liberal democracy. And indeed, the case of Germany, seen through Durkheims eyes, shows that what threatens democracy most is too little, rather than too much, faith in the individual.

In a 1915 pamphlet, The German Mentality and the War, Durkheim laid blame for the outbreak of World War I on German thinkers such as Heinrich von Treitschke who had doubted the capacity of individuals for moral collective action. Taking to heart the philosophical sketch of individuals offered by the Enlightenment tradition, and by social scientists like Durkheim, Treitschke saw them as essentially self-interested, isolated beings unable to form authentic social bonds that could transcend their egoism. He reasoned accordingly that instead of worshipping an ideal individual, who is never actually found anywhere, German thinkers rightly worshipped the statewhich had the advantage of actually existing. The German state, thus worshipped, was given free rein to oppress its subjects and invade its neighbors. Germanys authoritarianism and aggression were the consequences of its thinkers faith in a visible godthe state.

It might seem that by endorsing a religion of the ideal individual, Durkheim was inviting readers to embrace a noble lie about individuals, who can be dreadful. Yet far from choosing to ignore the darker aspects of human nature, Durkheim in his post-Dreyfus perspective appears to have become a more sensitive observer of its paradoxes.

Days after his son was killed in action on the Balkan front of WWI, Durkheim wrote to his nephew Mauss, life triumphs over death. He told Mauss that his grandmother, after her son had died, spent a week mourning, but on the eighth day couldnt stop herself from asking about neighborhood gossip. She had not forgotten her griefbut to be alive is ever to be pulled away from reckoning ones own pains and pleasures and to be drawn into the lives of others. What seem like the hardest things religion can demandthe overcoming of self-interestedness and of the terror of deathare in fact sublimely ordinary.

Every feature of human nature that might inspire hope, Durkheim knew, can be put to evil use. Our desire to stand together in a comprehensible world, our longing for community, and our readiness to project idealized visions over unsatisfactory realities may lead us to commit horrible deeds. But it is these enduring emotional structures that also lead us to connection with other people and offer the only possible foundation for a decent political order.

***

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Blake Smith is a Harper Schmidt Fellow at the University of Chicago, where he works on cultural ties between France and India.

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Beyond the chorus of indignation – The Jerusalem Post

Posted: October 24, 2019 at 11:28 am

Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Ras al Ain, as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Turkey on Wednesday.. (photo credit: REUTERS/MURAD SEZER)

The decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw American soldiers stationed in northeastern Syria from the Turkish border has been met across the board by a chorus of moral indignation. It has been termed a betrayal of the Kurds or an abandonment of allies.

This criticism was partly motivated by the widespread dislike and contempt in liberal circles toward the American president. Partly it was motivated by a genuine moral revulsion about leaving the Kurdish forces that fought together with America against ISIS, to face alone a Turkish powerful army.

International politics is a self-help system, meaning that each state has to take care of its own security and independence. The existence of small states is particularly precarious. For example, the Baltic states existed for only a short time between the two World Wars because Russian power was limited at that time. In the Middle East, Kuwait and Lebanon have been targets of a politicide campaign by their stronger neighbors, Iraq and Syria, respectively. The Kurdish entity in northeastern Syria was born as the result of a temporary power vacuum, as Syria and Iraq were weakened by domestic problems. The weakness of Syria also invited several Turkish conquests.

In short, reliance on powerful allies is not enough to survive in the Hobbesian world in which we live.

The Kurds should have known better and prepared for a rainy day. After all, the US has several times allied with the Kurds and then changed sides when its perceived interests demanded it. This happened in 1975 when Gerald Ford was president, and in 1992 when George H.W. Bush was president. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter even abrogated a formal agreement approved by the US Senate, a US defense treaty with Taiwan, as a price for improving relations with Beijing.

Thus, what Trump did last week accords with previous presidential decisions. Moreover, his intention to withdraw troops from Syria was announced more than a year ago. It is part of a policy approach initiated his predecessor, President Barack Obama namely, American withdrawal from the Middle East. This policy makes some sense as the US does not need Middle East oil and its military involvement in this region has been costly.

While Trump is not a reading man, his decision is in line with an old tradition that Thucydides, Machiavelli and Kissinger propagated, namely realpolitik. The expectation that states in the international system will act in accordance with ethical tenets is very nave. Generally, states pursue their interests in amoral perspective. States are not Mother Theresa. The only moral imperative is survival. Survival, security and prosperity for citizens is the goal. Egoism, not altruism, is the guiding principle.

Therefore, accusations that Trump is conducting an immoral foreign policy are off base. Presidents and statesmen should be judged by the success of achieving their states interests at the lowest cost, not by the morality of the measures taken.

It should be further noted that state interests are defined by state leaders. In democracies, such interests usually are in sync with societal preferences. And in fact, Trumps isolationist approach well reflects the sentiments of American society today. After several decades of sending US troops to the Middle East with little to show for the effort, America is tired of wars. American exceptionalism and missionary belief in the cause of democracy, that many admired over the years, seems to be in need of a break.

In any case, Trump never shared such noble instincts, and he clearly senses the negative mood in America about foreign adventures. By ordering the troops home, Trump is responding his public, and this may prove useful to him in next years presidential election campaign.

Trumps decision obviously affects Israels interests. The withdrawal of America from the Middle East allows for greater freedom of action of regional powers such as Iran and Turkey, which is bad news. Some Gulf states may gravitate toward Iran not a good development. Yet, Israel may also now enjoy greater latitude in pursuing its interests and in using force.

Instead of joining the chorus of indignation, Israel should adapt as quickly as possible to the new circumstances and find appropriate responses to a situation that, again, was not a real surprise.

Israel is very fortunate to have the US as an ally and to have a friendly president like Trump. But Israel has never relied on others for its national security. Israeli strategic thinking always has emphasized self-reliance. Today, as always, Israel must be prepared to act independently of Washington.

The writer is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (jiss.org.il).

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US Expels Cuban Diplomats for Threatening National Security – Headlinez Pro

Posted: September 24, 2019 at 5:45 pm

Yell Division spokesperson Morgan Ortagus described the two individuals as abusing their privileges of attach.

The Cuban communist regime known as the pass a indecent calumny orchestrated by the reactionary, anti-Cuban Trump administration. Cubas Ministry of International Affairs debuted a chronicle attacking the USA for its change sanctions on the regime on Friday, in anticipation for next weeks U.N. Overall Assembly overall debate.

The Division of Yell this day notified the Cuban Ministry of International Affairs that the USA requires the coming near near departure of two individuals of Cubas Permanent Mission to the United Nations for abusing their privileges of attach, Ortagus mentioned in an announcement. This is on account of their makes an strive to behavior have an effect on operations towards the USA.

Ortagus didnt title the individuals expelled from the nation, but did yell that every one Cuban regime operatives on the U.N. mission will now if truth be told be restricted to the island of Broad apple.

We defend any and all makes an strive towards the Nationwide Security of the USA seriously, and ought to continue to look at any extra personnel who would be manipulating their privileges of attach, her observation concluded.

The Cuban regime has for a long time abused the few diplomatic ties its allowed within the USA for espionage and anti-American activities. In maybe the most renowned fashionable instance of Cuban spies threatening national safety, a bunch of agents identified as the Cuban five infiltrated the Cuban exile group in Miami and gave Havana intelligence that allowed the Castro regime to abolish four American citizens. The males Carlos Costa, Armando Alejandre, Mario de la Pea, and Pablo Morales were flying ethical rescue missions in international waters when Castro agents shot their planes down; the Cuban fives intelligence gave the Cuban navy the data mandatory to search out the planes.

No subject being a sinister violation of international law, the Cuban government suffered no penalties for the murders. President Barack Obama freed the Cuban five to a heros welcome in Havana in 2014. Gael Garca Bernal is at display starring in a film glorifying the work the spies did to abolish the American citizens.

The Cuban International Ministry (MINREX) issued an outraged tweet consistent with the expulsion.

I categorically reject the unjustified expulsion of two officials on the Permanent Mission of Cuba on the U.N. and the hardening of restrictions of scoot on diplomats and families, International Ministry Bruno Rodrguez mentioned on Twitter. The implication that they committed acts incompatible with their diplomatic attach is a indecent calumny.

Rodrguez held a press conference Friday where he claimed he came upon out regarding the expulsion by intention of a U.S. diplomatic tweet. He claimed the pass introduced on absolute and packed with life rejection from our of us, our ministry, and our government.

It is fully unjustified and illegitimate to strongarm our diplomats, he complained.

Rodrguez went on to name the Trump administration a reactionary, anti-Cuban group that has hijacked American foreign coverage on Cuba and Latin America and accused Trump of lashing out at Cuba for electoral pursuits implying that strengthening national safety defenses would support Trump hold the 2020 election.

The Permanent Mission to the U.N. representing Cuba save out its maintain observation denying any wrongdoing, then admitting that American officials had notified it that the two individuals in inquire were caught enticing in destructive acts to U.S. national safety on September 12, about a week earlier than any statements on Twitter to that cease.

The point out mentioned that, unless Cuba lent data to present an explanation for [their behavior] in every other case, they [the U.S.] would demand for the required planning to occur for the departure of the two officials and their families within 48 hours, earlier than the high of the day on September 20, the observation learn.

The mission claims to own replied with their explanation for the officials behavior, but the U.S. aspect, in flagrant violation of the main tips of diplomatic protocol, determined to answer in a tweet.

The expulsions are acts of vengeance and impotence, the mission concluded.

The diplomatic scuffle comes on the eve of a week of debate on the U.N. Overall Assembly, where most of the realms heads of articulate are invited to defend the ground and discuss whatever they desire. America grants dictators and international criminals who withhold head of articulate attach immunity to back the match, ensuing in leaders delight in Miguel Daz-Canel who is now no longer the head of articulate of Cuba, but nonetheless holds the title of president addressing the assembly remaining 300 and sixty five days to bash America for imperialism.

Following a speech in which President Donald Trump entreated the realm to think again socialism, Daz-Canel contended that the realms horrors were the final consequence of capitalism, namely imperialism and neoliberalism, of the egoism and exclusion that accompany this vogue, and of an financial, political, social, and cultural paradigm that privileges that accumulation of wealth in few hands on the associated rate of exploitation and misfortune of the heaps.

While in Novel York, Daz-Canel enjoyed a widely known person-studded welcome organized by Robert Effect Niro and concluded the day out with a night of salsa dancing.

Follow Frances Martel onFacebookandTwitter.

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You say you want a revolution – Boulder Weekly

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 3:55 am

For journalist and author Don Lattin, the truth used to be simple, or at least it appeared to be. With capital T Truth as his professions first pursuit, Lattins spent a career diligently reporting his stories with a commitment to get at all sides of an issue. Until recently, he always wrote in the third person in hopes of providing expository and unbiased reports.

As a journalist, I am really kind of old school, Latin says. For most of my career, I was a dirty word because its not about me, its about the story.

But whether he likes it or not, Lattin acknowledges that the world of journalism is changing, and fast. Hes ber aware of the rise of the blog-o-shepre, click-bait content and opinion pieces, and he worries that, in general, journalism is becoming too egocentric.

I feel [first person reporting] is often self-indulgent, he says. At its heart, the job is to go out and do actual reporting, which is hard and expensive, but really important. So yeah, you could say I am actually concerned about the direction journalism is going.

It isnt just the macro-level changes that concern him, but specifically how the rise of pseudo-journalism might discredit the more controversial subjects of religion and psychedelics he researches. When dealing with the scientific legitimization of things like God and altered states of mind, it seems to him ever more important to maintain a line of objectivity.

Lattins latest book is a long-form investigation into the ongoing wave of scientific research and an epic attempt to offer in-depth coverage of the ongoing renaissance in psychedelic science. Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy is in essence an unbiased look at the recent history and credible prospects for using MDMA, psilocybin and ayahuasca to treat mood disorders and promote spiritual well-being.

But what started out as a straightforward journalistic pursuit got complicated when he found the scientific community was wrestling with its own questions of objectivity.

In writing the book, I found that there is a debate going on in psychedelic scientific and journalistic circles about how open people should be in talking about their own experiences, especially if you are breaking the law, Lattin says.

As a writer, what I struggled with in this book was when to get in, and when to get out, in terms of my story because it can begin to feel too self-indulgent. You want to be in it, to help the reader connect, but if youre in it too much it becomes self-indulgent.

Ultimately I thought it was important for me to experience the drugs and sacred plant medicines and to include that as a part of the narrative, although in limited measure. In the book, I am asking people to tell me very intimate details about their lives about their addictions, diseases and psychological intimacies. I felt I had to sort of do the same.

Coincidentally or not, considerations of egoism are not just prevalent in the ethical considerations of researchers, but in the nature of psychedelic experiences themselves. In treating certain psychological diseases like, psilocybin-assisted therapy for addiction is that the drugs allow people to transcend their ego.

Scientists think the mystical state achieved by consumers while on psilocybin is, essentially, ego dissolution. That is to say that, by way of the drugs, you are suddenly connected to this bigger thing through which you obtain unitive experiences, a sense of oneness and feelings of gratitude and selflessness.

To be sure, it can go the other way too, as a portion of users report feelings of grandiosity reporting feeling like everything in the world is revolving around them. According to Lattin, to which side the cookie crumbles depends on and speaks to the larger question of the whole human search for spirit thing.

Its like that Beatles song, Revolution, Lattin says. You say you want a revolution? You know, that you want to change the constitution? He pauses to laugh. Well, you know, youd better free your mind instead.

Back in my day, when I first started thinking and experiencing psychedelic culture, that was the idea, anyway before you get involved in politics you need to become more enlightened yourself. Thats all fine and good, but you risk becoming a navel gazer who is too self-indulgent.

It will be interesting to see how the psychedelic community will evolve in that way whether our conversations about evolutions in consciousness will be big enough to consider how it might change our world for the better and not just our own minds.

Clarification and correction: In last weeks column, Star power, the author said the species had no genetic precursors and that there were no near-genetic relatives of the plant. Cannabis sativa has an inconclusive taxonomic organization and evolutionary history and no definitive claims can be made to that end.

Also, Cannabis sativa is not the only plant in existence to display its gender physically as written in the column.

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