[For an update on Russian Nazism and Nemtsov’s murder, click here. For a second update on Putin’s devolution and the national-scale Russian-Nazi thug “Strelkov,” click here. For two British views on the effect of Nemtsov’s murder, click here. For a recent post on electric cars’ underappreciated advantages, including variable range and variable performance, click here. For a short post on what may become the iCar, click here
Pose the title’s question to one of the remaining members of the “Greatest Generation.” What answer will you get? There will be images of Adolf Hitler, “sieg heil
!” (“Hail victory!”) salutes, Swastikas, goose-stepping storm troopers, brutal conquest, and the Holocaust. Amidst a swirl of terrible images, survivors of history’s most gruesome war will have no doubt in their minds what “Nazism” is.
But times change. If the truth be told, Nazism is no longer a German phenomenon. It’s anything but. Yet the word and the evil still exist.
Germans gave Nazism a memorable, two-syllable name. But they didn’t invent it. It was around for a long, long time before Adolf Hitler.
It was there when Rome annihilated Carthage. It was there when the Mongol “hordes” massacred whole Eurasian cities, leading no one alive. It was there when the Ottoman Empire’s Turks wrought near-genocide on defenseless Armenians. It was there in the Japanese rape of Nanking. This all happened before the Third Reich fell.
In Germany today, there’s not much Nazism left. Today’s Germans are the most sincerely repentant among all of history’s brutal conquerors
. They’ve built memorials and monuments to their bestiality in the Holocaust. And they’ve passed laws making denying history a criminal offense. Dachau and its gas chambers are now a sombre museum.
of Germany, Nazism is alive and well. It lives in the Islamic State, which cold-bloodedly murders others who do not share both Islam and its own bizarre, extremist ideology. It lives among the Russian troops and Russian partisans
driving refugees west and east from Debaltseve and Donyetsk. It lives among freedom fighters struggling in Ukraine, some of whom are actual cultural and genetic descendants of Ukrainian partisans who once fought for Nazi Germany
. It exists in the various European fringe parties that want to expel or marginalize helpless Muslim immigrants seeking a better life. It’s especially vibrant among those who believe that Muslims are somehow genetically inferior or culturally violent.
It lives in places as disparate as Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and the American South and Northwest. It lives in the hearts of Hamas partisans in Gaza who urge killing Israeli children while they hide innocent Muslim children near their weapons caches. It lives in the minds of “Orthodox” Israelis who cheer destruction of Gazan people and homes but won’t serve in the Israeli army and see the suffering firsthand. It lives in the minds of American police who kill or injure unarmed people of color when they wouldn’t a white man because, deep down, they think people of color are categorically more dangerous or less worthy, or that no one important really cares about them. It lives in the minds of Yanks who—despite all evidence and humanity—insists that our President is not one of us
and doesn’t love the country that gave him the chance to be President despite his much-oppressed race.
Sometimes we call these offshoots or regrowths “Neo-Nazis,” to distinguish them from the now-all-but-vanished German kind. Yet except for nationality and ethnicity, they are all the same.
Nazism is Nazism. It’s an extreme form of the tribalism
that arose out of our species’ biological evolution, but which our social
evolution must some day overcome if our species is to survive.
Although convenient shorthand, the two-syllable word “Nazi” is a misnomer. Once it was an acronym for “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
,” or “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.” That was Hitler’s political party.
But the root words “socialist” and “workers” were and are misleading. There’s nothing “socialist” about Nazism. It took the great private
German industrial combines (including Krupp and Bayer) as it found them and bent them to a tyrant’s ends. Germany remained firmly capitalist throughout the Third Reich—a corporate totalitarian state run by a clique of evil, uncultured men who had managed to capture the spirit of a resentful nation battered by a previous war, defeat, and the Allies’ misguided collective punishment
Nor was the Nazi Party a workers’ party. Although it won its first national election fairly, it quickly morphed into a brutal totalitarian organ that captured and controlled German politics, finance, industry and media by force, threat of force, and terror. Then Nazi Germany fought history’s biggest, longest and most horrible ground war with the Soviet Union, which styled itself the “workers’ paradise.”
There have never been two more adamant mortal national enemies than corporate Nazi Germany and the “proletarians” from the Soviet “worker’s paradise” in World War II. So much for “socialism” and “workers.”
However much a misnomer it may have been, German Nazism was not just an atrocity. It was an unutterably tragic mistake.
At the dawn of the twentieth century, Germany had one of two most advanced societies on Earth (the other being Britain’s). Bach, Brahms and Beethoven reigned supreme in music, Göthe, Schiller and Heine in literature. Men like Bose, Euler, Gauss, Planck and Schödinger—not to mention Albert Einstein, a German Jew who thought and wrote in German—dominated math and physics.
Not only was Germany at the apex of the arts and sciences. Many in the West naïvely saw Nazi
Germany as a savior from something even worse: Soviet Communism and its Terror. When Hitler’s armies began marching east, many ordinary Eastern Europeans at first fought for and with them, until then-Germany’s “master race” ideology trod them under foot. As I’ve outlined elsewhere
, the Ukrainians (along with the Poles) were among the most deluded and betrayed of this kind.
Unfortunately, Germany’s Nazi leaders were a clique of psychopaths dominated by a deranged former corporal and house painter. Neither they nor their extreme-tribalist “master race” ideology were clever enough to take advantage of these “facts on the ground.”
But what might
have happened if then-Germany’s best
had ruled in their places? It’s interesting to speculate. Here’s one possible alternative history:
After its bloodless “Anschluss” (annexation) of Austria and nearly bloodless invasion of Czechoslovakia, Germany’s blitzkrieg quickly conquers Belgium, France and Luxembourg. Then Germany turns east, but not with further blitzkrieg. Instead, it tills the fertile soil for anti-Soviet action in Poland and Ukraine, with months of political and undercover action.
With this groundwork done, the conquest of Poland and Ukraine is quick and (compared to actual history) painless. Most Poles prefer efficient and fair German rule to domination by Soviet Russia. They fight with German troops or stay at home. Nearly all Ukrainians want to remove the Soviet pillager that had battered their country with coercion and starvation during the inter-bellum period.
Having learned the lessons of Napoleon and Tolstoy’s War and Peace, German leaders are smart enough to stop there. There is no German invasion of Russia, no Battle of Stalingrad, no Siege of Leningrad, no years-long scorched-earth war on the frozen plains of Russia. Stalin, relieved of the pressure of threatened invasion of his still-nascent nation from the West, turns to fortifying the Soviet Union’s new western frontier, and to Japan.
With Russia in the Pacific war early and for real, and Germany essentially out, Japan makes a truce and departs from China and Korea, if not from Malaysia and Singapore and a few conquered Pacific Islands. Germany sues for peace, offering freedom or substantial autonomy for Belgium, France and Luxembourg. Not having been goaded by countless atrocities, Britain and the other Allies heave a huge sigh of relief and make a deal. (After all, the map of Europe changed dramatically after the First World War, and nobody seemed to mind much.)
The result? Yet another new map of Europe, with post-war Germany at its heart, a bridge between East and West.
The result today? A much larger Germany, not the US or China, is the world’s number-one economy. Russia (or what remains of the Soviet Union) is far advanced socio-economically, having avoided the catastrophic losses of history’s most costly and terrible mechanized invasion. Nuclear energy has been developed (probably by Germany, from which the most important physicists came), but nuclear weapons are still only a theory. The total of wartime deaths worldwide was a bit over seven million, less than one seventh of the actual total and less than in World War I. The world is a happier, more prosperous, less fearful and more productive place.
Of course there are questions regarding this alternative history, as with any counterfactual scenario. If Germany had had better leaders than Hitler, would it have made war at all? Could there have been any other consequence to the Allies’ disastrous collective punishment of the loser Germany after World War I than—as actually happened—an explosion of German resentment and rage?
No alternative history can ever claim accuracy. There are too many variables. You never get to rerun the tape. But the mere plausibility of this much more pleasant outcome for our species reveals an essential truth. Nazism was neither a rational strategy for Germany nor an inevitable outcome of Germany’s postwar mistreatment by the World War I Allies (against which our own Woodrow Wilson advised). Nazis and Nazism betrayed Germany, not to mention human civilization and the human race.
Having given us all a memorable name for Nazism, Germans have expunged it from their home. But the rest of us have not. We Yanks have plenty in our midst. We even have a private
propaganda organ of great power (Fox) that fosters Nazi-like ideology among us. The Russians, with their tribalist action in Eastern Ukraine, have a Nazism problem of their own.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth advised us against Nazism in the most memorable way possible
. “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” he told us. “Love thy enemy.”
Jesus knew nothing about evolution. Nor did the people of his time. But in advising us to love each other and to cooperate, he advised us to cherish our species’ single greatest competitive and survival advantage. It’s not our brains, our warm-blooded bodies, or our opposable thumbs. It’s our ability to communicate, empathize, and cooperate, which vastly enhances all of our other abilities, including our limited intelligence.
In all its many forms, Nazism is the antithesis of cooperation and humanity. It says, in essence, “You are inferior and subhuman. (Or you are violent, an infidel, lazy, criminal, or useless.) I will kill you just because you are you. Or, if you don’t do what I want, I will stomp on your face.”
To the first variant of Nazism, there is no answer but violence. The second variant admits of non-violent resistance, like that of King, Gandhi and Mandela. But more often than not, the actual
answer to any
kind of Nazism is violence, rebellion, or terrorism.
The best approach, of course, is to stamp out Nazism before it grows strong, with understanding, inclusion and empathy
. Only if we do that can we solve the worst problems facing our species and requiring our global cooperation, including climate change, nuclear proliferation, and oil’s rapidly approaching exhaustion
The Germans have seen the light and have given us a memorable name for our species’ most fatal character flaw. But outside of Germany it lives on. Fighting, suppressing and destroying it everywhere are every human being’s job one.
Russian Nazism Growing Plain
Three earmarks of Nazism were unmistakable in Nazi Germany. The first was extreme tribalism, a form of extreme nationalism that excluded even fully-German Jews and eventually motivated the Holocaust. The second was annexation of neighbors, beginning peacefully but soon morphing into blitzkrieg. The third was liquidation of domestic opposition by murder and terror.
Now every one of these earmarks is appearing in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The tribalism is already there, in Putin’s “aggrieved Russians” excuse for territorial acquisition in what used to be Ukraine. It’s also there in his people, exemplified by a Russian’s mother’s “pride” in her son’s wounds, which he suffered fighting Kiev “because we are Russian.” The annexation is already there, in Crimea and maybe soon in the Donbass.
Now the third earmark has popped up: the murder of Boris Nemtsov on the Krelin’s doorstep in Moscow
Nemtsov had twice been Deputy Prime Minister of Russia. He was a liberal thinker and anti-corruption crusader, with an independent mind and a populist bent. He rose to prominence under Boris Yeltsin and was highly popular in his Yaroslavl region.
At one time, Nemstov was a credible political rival to Putin. He had a fallout with Putin some years ago, and Putin has used every lever of his overwhelming power to undermine Nemtsov ever since. Most tellingly, Nemtsov was reportedly
about to publish evidence of Russian troops’ presence in Eastern Ukraine. Now he is dead.
All this makes a question I posed two weeks
ago infinitely more pointed. Have Russians become the new Nazis?
Is Crimea Russia’s Austria, annexed without a fight, as in Germany’s Anschluss
? Is the Donbass Czechoslovakia, or maybe Poland, to be annexed with greater force but still short of general war? Is Vladimir Putin another Adolf Hitler, or another Josef Stalin, each of whom originally won power in fair elections and then consolidated it by violence and terror?
There are differences, to be sure. Today’s Russian nationalism is nowhere near as exclusive, extreme, brutal and terroristic as German Nazism at its height. The “conquest” of the Donbass is not as bloody and abrupt as Germany’s invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland. At least not yet. And so far we have only one prominent, apparently political murder, plus a number of jailings of lesser figures, including the oligarch Khodorkovsky (now in exile) and the blogger Navalny (jailed sporadically but repeatedly on minor charges).
But creeping Nazism is still Nazism. Vladimir Putin is far cleverer and more subtle than Adolf Hitler. Maybe he is also much less violent.
But times have changed. There were no nuclear weapons when the man who named Nazism built the so-called Third Reich. Now there are, and Russia has—at very least—the second largest and most terrible stockpile of them. Under the cover of its nuclear umbrella, Russia’s modernized armed forces, run by an ex-spook with a Metternich complex, could make infinite trouble in Europe and the world.
Already Putin has shown his propensity. His policies and his arms have reduced Syria to rubble and are in the process of doing the same to Eastern Ukraine.
Even if the probability is not (yet) very high, the risk of Russia becoming this
century’s Nazi Germany is by far the most menacing development of our new century. Next to that risk, Syria’s devastation, the imminent Greek default, North Korea, the Islamic State, and even a nuclear Iran pale into insignificance.
In the worst case, a nuclear Iran cold devastate the Middle East. But ever since its 1980s war with Iraq, Iran has been cautious and circumspect in its international relations. A Nazified Russia could be a serious threat not only to Europe, but to our entire species. And unlike Iran, Russia has very few people, let alone in power, who remember personally what war is like. Putin is not one of them.
We don’t yet know who really killed Nemtsov. It might have been Russian Mafia or an offended oligarch. It might have been a misguided act of Islamists. In the murky, secretive, Machiavellian nation that Putin has built, we may never know. Or we may find out, decades later, that Putin’s had his hand in, just as we now know that the Nazis themselves burned down the Reichstag, terminating Germany’s nascent democracy.
What we do
know is that there is now a runaway authoritarian government in Moscow. Unlike every other major power today, including China, Russia has a single, solitary man at its helm. And, despite his deceptive shrugs, he’s a macho man.
Just as Mao was really China’s last emperor, Putin is now Russia’s latest tsar. His government is consolidating its power with jailings, political trials and now, perhaps, murder. It has behind it the world’s and history’s second most effective propaganda machine (after our Fox): Putin-controlled Russian TV.
Putin’s government is already behind two disastrous foreign military adventures, by proxy in Syria and directly in Eastern Ukraine. It won’t listen to its best international friend, Angela Merkel, who now confesses she can’t understand Putin.
Apart from economic sanctions, which so far have been ineffective, the Russian people and the world have come up with nothing to check Putin’s caprice. Under these circumstances, can another Cuban Missile Crisis be more than a few years away?
Our species got lucky that time. Two Russians joined an American
and managed to stave off nuclear Armageddon. Do we want to try our luck a second time?
It is now becoming clear that Vladimir Putin, not IS or Kim, is the chief threat to global peace and security and our species’ long-term survival. Every civilized Russian, every civilized nation, and every civilized leader should now become devoted to a single cause: checking Vladimir Putin’s power and, eventually, slowly and peacefully
, producing “regime change” in Russia.
Our and China’s differences are minuscule in comparison. Xi Jinping is also consolidating his power. But he’s only the leading hand on a seven-member committee. Unlike Russia, China has many checks and balances, nearly all of which are unwritten and unseen. So far, Xi’s power has been directed primarily at purging China’s rampant corruption; he has skillfully tamped down the Chinese nationalism that threatens war in Asia.
In contrast, Putin has reveled in and fostered nationalism and already has promoted two horrible wars. We should enlist China’s aid and cooperation in reining him in.
Update II (3/1/15): “Strelkov” Redux and Putin’s Flaws
It’s hard to gauge a national mood from abroad. And you have to discount foreign news for bias in our Yankee press, even beyond the private right-wing propaganda organ Fox. That said, the national mood in Russia today seems more dangerous than it has been since the Soviet Siege of Berlin and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Exhibit A in evidence is the murder of Boris Nemtsov discussed above
. Exhibit B is the current status of Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, aka “Strelkov.” According to the Washington Post
In the year since the conflict began in Ukraine, Russian society has mobilized around the concept of an existential clash with the West. Putin warned darkly of a “fifth column” of Western-oriented Russians, and Nemtsov was surely high on the list. State-run television constantly pushes the accusation that U.S.-backed fascists are perpetrating genocide in Ukraine. Igor Strelkov, a far-right nationalist with dreams of establishing a new Russian Empire, was for a time last year one of the most popular figures in the country when he led pro-Russian rebel forces in eastern Ukraine.
I have written a whole essay
on the imperial-scale Russian-Nazi thug “Strelkov.” But there are only three things you need to know about him. First, his self-adopted surname is very close to “Shooter” in Russian. He thus defined himself by his weapons, recalling Mao’s cynical slogan, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
Second, “Strelkov,” is a suspected war criminal. He was the self-proclaimed “Defense Minister” of the self-proclaimed “Donyetskii Republic,” the first Eastern Ukrainian Region to seek independence from Kiev and annexation by Russia a year ago. He was in charge of separatist-rebel forces in Donyetsk when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down, killing nearly 300 innocent foreign fliers.
Finally, “Strelkov” is as Russian as Putin himself. His real name is Russian, not Ukrainian. His adopted nom de guerre
is also Russian. If Western reports are to be trusted, he is a former FSB agent and a retired Russian intelligence colonel. After the downing of MH 17, he fled (or was extracted) back into Russia to a hero’s welcome.
There is still no publicly released proof of precisely how and by whom MH 17 was shot down. But if separatist forces did it, “Strelkov,” as their commander, is at very least criminally negligent, as I have analyzed
. He should be in a prisoner’s dock, awaiting trial in the International Criminal Court. Instead, he is a Russian hero, protected by Putin’s patronage and Russia’s nuclear umbrella.
I am no idle Putin basher. In several essays on this blog, I have praised Putin’s intelligence and leadership of Russia. See, for example, 1
Putin is largely responsible for Russia’s rapid, bloodless and mostly painless rejection of the fictional economic system once known as Soviet Communism. He has cooperated with the West in such things as fighting the Taliban and terrorists in the Af/Pak region. For a time, he appeared receptive to making private business a greater part of Russia’s economy and Russia a part of the global economy. If Putin, like our George Washington
, had anointed a successor and stepped down after his first two terms as Russia’s duly-elected president, he would have remained in the first rank of our species’ great leaders.
Putin knows his native Russia well, perhaps better than any person on this planet. But he has little knowledge of or understanding of the world outside Russia. Consequently, he has little ability to predict the consequences of his and Russia’s actions there.
Let’s review the evidence. Putin did not foresee that his adamant support of Assad would turn Syria into a killing field of rubble, lead to the rise of the Islamic State, and threaten to engulf the entire Middle East. Neither he nor anyone else has a good plan to put the Islamic Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Putin did not foresee that continuing to support the tyrant Yanukovich, whom Putin himself despised, would result in Yanukovich’s overthrow. He still does not understand that the overthrow was not a CIA plot, but a natural popular reaction to a medievally posh tyrant, a puppet of Russia, in the twenty-first century.
Having grabbed Crimea bloodlessly and painlessly, Putin did not foresee that encouraging and fostering the separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine would cause a real civil war on Russia’s doorstep. He did not foresee the displacement of now over a million innocent civilians, both Ukrainian and Russian, and rising. Nor does he see that displacement’s similarity
to the Serbian “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia.
As that civil war intensified, Putin did not foresee how the West would react—not with misguided and futile military adventures—but with stringent economic sanctions. Nor did he foresee how damaging those sanctions would be to a Russia just getting back on its economic and industrial feet after 74 years of Soviet Communism, plus a generation more to make the transition to the market systems that the rest of the world, for better or for worse, lives by.
In short, insofar as Russia’s relationship with the rest of humanity is concerned, Putin’s remaining Russia’s supreme leader after his first two terms as president has been an unmitigated disaster. He once took a world-war battered and Cold-War spooked nation out of the isolation of Soviet Communism into a resemblance of the “normal country” that Boris Yeltsin dreamed of and appointed Putin to build. Now Putin is putting Russia right back into its self-imposed isolation cell.
So today we have a supreme irony. Modern
Germany, which named (but did not invent) Nazism, and which has purged it well at home, is now taking serious hits to its own economy in order to keep Russia from turning to Nazism. And Russia, which (in its Soviet) guise, once fought Nazi Germany to the most disastrous Pyrrhic victory in human history, is now abandoning its most successful trading relationship and a younger Putin’s dream of a peaceful trading zone from the Atlantic to the Urals. Instead, Russia is turning to China, which, having long ago streaked past Russia in the development race, will suck Russia’s oil and gas dry, leaving Russians little or nothing but richer and more dangerous oligarchs.
This is the road that Putin the Prime Minister is marching down. Why?
The best explanation I can devise is reversion to type. Putin was trained as a spook and worked as a spook for decades. That experience formed his character and his world view. He sees the world as an intelligence chessboard, a game played by intelligent, powerful people like himself. Ordinary people and honest business mean nothing to him. He tried a few times to be a statesman but, apparently, was disappointed with the slow pace of his results.
Putin’s most fatal flaw is utter ignorance of what drives our species’ activity in the twenty-first century. It’s not nineteenth-century Metternichian international power plays. It’s something much simpler and much more basic to human nature: business, commerce and trade—a quest for wealth and prosperity thorough voluntary business deals.
China understands this point. That’s how it rose, in a mere 66 years, from an impoverished and powerless victim of both Western and Japanese colonialism to its rich and powerful status today. In about the same time, and in much the same way, Japan rose from a nineteenth century imperial and colonial power to become the world’s third largest national economy. Germany has followed a similar trajectory.
The other “tigers” of Asia—South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and tiny Singapore—are following in China’s and Japan’s footsteps. Having had a small taste of Nazism in the anti-Japanese riots in China and the reciprocal anti-Chinese fervor in Japan, Xi Jinping wants nothing to do with Nazism. So far at least, he has controlled his nation’s dangerous nationalism enough to avoid slowing China’s rise.
Stalin, born Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvili, a Georgian, became Russia’s “man of steel.” (“сталь” or “stal’” means “steel” in Russian.) He is still popular in Russia, as the leader during Soviet Russia’s disastrously Pyrrhic victory over German Nazis. But, as I have analyzed
, this “man of steel’s” rule was disastrous for Russia. His ethnic cleansing by deportation displaced and impoverished tens of millions. His forced collectivization of agriculture starved millions, especially in Ukraine. His Terror and his gulags tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Had Chekhov or Tolstoy lived to see them, they would have torn their eyes out in despair. They would have thought that Ivan the Terrible had come back to life.
Contrary to popular Russian belief, Stalin’s inept and oppressive pre-war and wartime rule only prolonged Soviet Russia’s suffering
. His massacre of Polish officers allowed the German Nazi blitzkrieg to drive right up to Russia’s borders. His inept command of Soviet troops and second-guessing of his best general (Zhukov) nearly lost Moscow and the war for Russia. The coward himself was preparing to flee Moscow until his military commissars informed him that, if he did, the Russian Front would collapse.
We Yanks, too, have had our “Man of Steel.” Ours was fictional and immortal: a cartoon and animated character called “Superman,” occasionally played by real actors. He always fought for good, as only fictional characters can do.
men of steel like Stalin only bring their people misery. They are incarnations of Lord Acton’s warning that absolute power corrupts absolutely. A corollary is that power held too long—like Mao’s capricious rule in his dotage—can destroy all that a once-great leader built.
Putin, apparently, believes himself a new man of steel. He tolerates, if not encourages, adulation of a Russian-Nazi thug who calls himself “shooter.”
So Putin has becoming, or is becoming, Russia’s Dubya. The longer he stays in power, the more he will bring Russia low, as Dubya did us. What saved us Yanks was not any presumed Yankee superiority or “exceptionalism,” but effective term limits.
What Russia needs now, and what the whole world would welcome, is a government run by honest business people, who can give Russians not just relief from poverty, but the prosperity their industry and long suffering deserve. Power and respect will follow prosperity, as they have for China. So Putin can best serve his country and humanity now by finding such leaders, anointing them as Yeltsin did him, and retiring.
British Views on the Fallout from Nemtsov’s Murder:
For videos of the views of former British Ambassador to Russia Andrew Wood, click here
. For the views of Tim Ash, a British financial analyst with long experience in Russia, click here
Ash reflects the view of most investors: that Russia and Ukraine simply aren’t that important on a global scale. After all, Russia’s GDP is comparable to Italy’s. In contrast, Ambassador Wood’s largely geopolitical take is both broader and more realistic. While he speaks with an ambassador’s caution and British understatement, he sees a real risk—but still only a risk
—that Russia’s new tsarstvo
will implode, turn internally violent, and/or become something very dangerous to both Russians and world order.