Belarus

Had Russia embraced British values of individual freedom, the rule of law, free trade and enterprise it would probably be one of the most powerful countries on the planet. The reason it's backward is because of the crackpot government and endless corruption. I don't think it will change any time soon.
Not just Russia. The two preconditions for success are rule of law and property rights.

See also every third world shit hole ex colony and compare to the ones that kept those two concepts.
 
Who knows really, but watching current trends, the country is far more disunited and fractious than at any time since the Civil War and that has led me to speculate.

Who's Steamy anyway?

(Edited for mong typo and twattish autocorrect).
Steamy, as mentioned by others, is Steamboat. He was previously here under another username but flounced and came back under a new one. He's a root'n, toot'n, shoot'n Wyoming cowboy, or at least he is in his imagination. He's actually a minor civil servant in the Wyoming bureaucracy and wouldn't know how to survive without Starbucks.

But he has guns he assures us, and he isn't afraid to use them to bring down tyrannical government. Except that when the big moment actually arrives he winds his neck in at warp speed and suddenly remembers that he has an appointment to take the wife's shih tzu dog in to get it's fur shampooed or something like that.

A lot of sound and fury emanates from him, but not much action of significance. When he drops the pretence he can engage in some fairly reasonable conversation. He feels compelled though to put on a sort of act that he seems to have acquired from watching too many cowboy movies and taking in uncritically the propaganda mythology version of American history taught to him in school.

If you take what he says literally then you might get the impression that Wyoming is about to rise up in war against Washington. When it comes time to actually do anything about it however he rapidly deflates and changes the subject to something he can talk reasonably about.

And that pretty much sums up all but a small handful of that sort in the US. There's a lot of talk, but except for a tiny handful it's all just posturing. The same applies to most of the leftists who make up the other side of the debate in the US, except of course they will add some "dynamic discount shopping" into the mix when given the opportunity.

There is no major serious political movement in the US to actually break up the country. There are only two political parties that matter, and both are national in scope and outlook. The system has also heavily tilted the playing field against any sort of new or third party arising which can challenge or replace the incumbent parties and so start a separatist movement. It's democracy of a sort, just not democracy as we know it.
 
Belarus has trod a dangerous line, trying to be authoritarian enough to satisfy the Vlad tyranny next door, but europhile enough to work with the EU. A perpetual buffer state.
The problem is it just isn't very competent, and the Lukashenko one man band is stale and unpopular.
Unless Belarus offers up a Lukashenko clone oppressive enough to satisfy Moscow, Moscow will install one, and Belarus will lose its tenuous independence.

And Steamy is @Steamboat, a stereotypical good ol' boy Trump cultist, closet Fascist, and village idiot.
Lukashenko spent his time in power using the threat of tilting towards the EU to extract money from Russia, and visa versa. He was remarkably good at sitting on the fence and making himself the "indispensable man" to all sides.

Ultimately though Belarus's economy is heavily based on importing subsidised oil from Russia, refining it and turning it into chemicals, and re-exporting it to western Europe, the Baltic, and the world. This petroleum based industry was their inheritance from the Soviet days.

So long as Belarus don't stray too far away from Moscow the money will keep rolling in. If they step too far out of line however, then the subsidies will stop and Russia will find other more grateful recipients for their largess elsewhere. Belarus will go bankrupt, much of their industry will shut down, and the EU will find themselves with another penniless neighbour begging for aid.

Because of this the EU had long turned a blind eye towards what happened in Belarus. The EU are even less well able at this time to take on another financial burden should Belarus collapse economically.

This story is increasingly unlikely to have a happy ending for anyone.
 
To suggest that other countries will change is making the very myopic mistake by viewing them through Western glasses and expecting that they want freedom and Democracy. We made that mistake in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In reality, quite a few of them are very happy to live under despotic crackpots and backward regimes. Just look at the Russian trolls on here defending Putin. The Russians have a world view that forms part of their national identity and it's difficult for Westerners to understand. Recall in the late 90s when Communism collapsed, uncle Yeltsin was getting drunk and naked in the White House with Bill Clinton and there was even talk of Russia joining NATO. What happened to those halcyon days?
The Yeltsin years may have looked great from a Western perspective, but Russians remember them as the time of great privation during which life expectancy dropped precipitously. Putin has held onto power for so long because he was remembered as the man who pulled Russians out of the abyss into which Yeltsin had dropped them, and returned the country to relative prosperity.

(...) Unless you completely dismantle a country and dominate them militarily (like with Japan and Germany) then you won't change their culture. I imagine it would be even more difficult to do when Islamic religion is involved because it forms a fundamental core of their identity and most would rather die than give that up. (...)
Before the turn towards dictatorship both Germany and Japan had a history of multi-party parliamentary democracy of a sort, even if not to the degree they had today. The occupation powers didn't create the modern political cultures of Japan and Germany, they simply created a degree of stability in which already existing democratic structures could re-establish themselves. Many of the current post-war major parties are simply re-founded versions of parties that can trace their roots back to the late 19th century or the very early years of the 20th.

What happened in Germany and Japan (and Italy, and others) is that economic collapse produced political collapse, and dictatorship strode into the resulting void.
 
(...) Imho,the Muscovite mindset will remain for a while, you only have to see how the Russians behave online. Many of them view the West with suspicion (& rightly so given their history with Napoleon and Hitler). Most have only just got off the plough and the awesome ideas of self government will seem radical. The slavs (slaves) have traditionally been subservient to the Cossacks and ruling elite.
As mentioned by others, there is no connection between "slav" and "slave". This is one of those popular theories that was created out of thin air by the apparent similarity to English-speaking eyes of the two words.

As for Cossacks, they're just Russians who led a frontier lifestyle.

Whilst Dickens was writing Oliver Twist the Russian peasantry were still living in medieval serfdom. (...)
And also at the same time as Dickens was writing Oliver Twist many Americans were living as literal slaves. Perhaps you also regard that fact as a compelling explanation of much of American politics?
 
........... As for Cossacks, they're just Russians who led a frontier lifestyle. .................

Originally not just Russians, but an amalgam of peoples from various nations and backgrounds who came together in the steppe marchlands on the south-eastern borders of what became the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the lands to the east and south.

 
And also at the same time as Dickens was writing Oliver Twist many Americans were living as literal slaves. Perhaps you also regard that fact as a compelling explanation of much of American politics?

Yes, three words.

Black lives matter.
 
There's a fair amount of 'Black Lives Didn't Matter And Still Don't In Many Cases'.

And that is part and parcel of the American experience and that the founding fathers made everyone free and equal, provided you were white, Anglo Saxon and Protestant.

Everyone else, especially slaves, had to fight for their rights, and that is still reflected in American society today, particularly in the south.

I'd still cut them some slack though, the documents of liberty are fairly unique in modern history and they certainly wouldn't have been written in Arabic, Russian or Chinese.
 
I'd still cut them some slack though, the documents of liberty are fairly unique in modern history and they certainly wouldn't have been written in Arabic, Russian or Chinese.
Some of the ideas reflect a unique recent Anglo-Saxon experience but the basic concept that people should not be property was neither original nor unique to America, Anglo-Saxons or Europe.
 
Some of the ideas reflect a unique recent Anglo-Saxon experience but the basic concept that people should not be property was neither original nor unique to America, Anglo-Saxons or Europe.

I imagine being the subject of a tyrannical ruler is much the same thing. The modern idea of liberty is a rare thing if we define it as a combination of national, political and individual freedom. Most countries have never experienced all of these things at the same time, they may be free individuals but lack political freedom like in modern day Russia, or they may have political freedom but lack national freedom like post-war Germany. Alternately, they may lack all three and be satellite states like occupied Europe. To have national, political and individual freedom is a unique Western phenomenon.

The only guarantee throughout history is that most people seek power to subdue others.
 
I imagine being the subject of a tyrannical ruler is much the same thing. The modern idea of liberty is a rare thing if we define it as a combination of national, political and individual freedom. Most countries have never experienced all of these things at the same time, they may be free individuals but lack political freedom like in modern day Russia, or they may have political freedom but lack national freedom like post-war Germany. Alternately, they may lack all three and be satellite states like occupied Europe. To have national, political and individual freedom is a unique Western phenomenon.

The only guarantee throughout history is that most people seek power to subdue others.
Or they may have been illegally occupied by Russia.
 
The modern idea of liberty is a rare thing if we define it as a combination of national, political and individual freedom.
I'm not entirely certain what you mean by 'national freedom'. Would you mind expanding?
 
I'm not entirely certain what you mean by 'national freedom'. Would you mind expanding?

The freedom of a country to choose its own foreign policy.

An example would be West Germany immediately post WW2. Individuals could live as they pleased and Germany had its own political parties (within reason). However, the main administration and sovereignty remained under control of the allied powers.
 
The freedom of a country to choose its own foreign policy.
The formal or the actual freedom? Switzerland has formal sovereignty but in reality many of its actions in international relations are constrained by the political situation in central Europe or by the network of agreements it's signed up to.
 
The freedom of a country to choose its own foreign policy.

An example would be West Germany immediately post WW2. Individuals could live as they pleased and Germany had its own political parties (within reason). However, the main administration and sovereignty remained under control of the allied powers.
Not quite. Both Germany’s remained client states.
 

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