Putin, Bukovsky, and National Sovereignty

 

shutterstock_175007894Vladimir Bukovsky was prominent in the dissident movement within the old Soviet Union, and spent 12 years in prisons, labor camps, and psychiatric hospitals. He has lived in Britain since the late 1970s, and has been a vocal opponent of Vladimir Putin, referring to Putin and his circle as the heirs of Lavrenty Beria — Beria being Stalin’s notorious secret-police chief. Bukovsky also expressed the opinion that the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko (in Britain, by radioactive polonium) was done at the behest of Russian authorities. So you can be pretty sure that Bukovsky isn’t on Vladimir Putin’s list of ten favorite people.

Recently, Bukovsky has been charged with child pornography by British authorities. Claire Berlinski believes that he was likely framed by the Russian regime. (More from Claire here.) It certainly seems quite possible that Putin’s intelligence agencies planted the evidence on Bukovsky’s computer, and I am happy that Claire is going to be further investigating this matter, which has received little attention from the legacy media.

I tend to believe that Claire is right and Bukovsky is innocent, though I have no way of putting probabilities on this at the moment. I am also impressed by the logic of Diana West’s question: “Is there a sentient person, naturally revolted by the thought of child pornography, even five or six images’ worth, going to believe for one minute that the British state, for decades having turned the blindest and hardest and most craven of eyes against the sexual despoilment and prostitution of generations of little British girls at risk at the hands of criminal Islamic “grooming” gangs, has suddenly developed some compelling interest in protecting the welfare of children, and thus turned its avenging sword on … Vladimir Bukovsky?”

Above and beyond this specific case — and it is extremely important to ensure that Bukovsky gets fair treatment by the British judicial system, which seems unlikely without considerable sunlight on the matter — there is an overwhelmingly critical general issue involved here: that of national sovereignty. There is little question that Litvinenko was murdered at the behest of people in the Russian government. There is no question at all that the ayatollahs running the Iranian government called for the murder of Salman Rushdie, a citizen of Britain, because they didn’t like something he wrote. There is no question at all that many imams throughout the Islamic world are calling for the murder of people in other countries, based on the opinions of those people, and there is no question at all that Iranian authorities are actively encouraging acts of violence against Israel. And there is no question at all that German authorities are prosecuting a comedian for insulting a foreign leader, at the behest of Turkish ruler Erdoğan.

John Kerry, America’s idiot Secretary of State, recently talked to a group of college students about a borderless world, which he apparently either believes is inevitable or of which he actually approves. But in the universe that actually exists, a borderless world is one in which foreign leaders and rabble-rousers can cause great harm to citizens of other nations, with the governments of those nations either unable or unwilling to protect them.

G. K. Chesterton is credited with the saying, “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.” (ascribed to Chesterton by John F. Kennedy — the actual Chesterton quote can be found here.) But I doubt if Kerry has ever read Chesterton, and also doubt that he would be capable of understanding him.

Global interchange facilitates many good things, in trade, culture, and human connections. It can also be a vector for bad things such as epidemics and cross-border murder and intimidation. Cheerleading for a borderless world, without serious consideration of how to encourage the good and prevent the bad, is highly irresponsible.

At a bare minimum, each civilized government should ensure that a legal proceeding against its one of its citizens that appears likely to have been instigated by a foreign power should be carefully vetted before proceeding. Each civilized government should also react very strongly to any call by a foreign government for the murder of one of its citizens or residents — ranging from trade sanctions up to the funding of the overthrow of the regime in question and continuing, in extreme cases, to military action.

Claire could use some additional contributions to assist with her work on the Bukovsky case; the link is here.

previously posted at Chicago Boyz

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  1. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Well Mr. Bukovsky should be very careful. Polonium laced tea may still be on his menu. What better way to prevent him from clearing his name then to be sure the child porn charges outlive the man himself.

    • #1
  2. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    The thing that gets me about this case is that the British court system publicly misrepresented the charges it was filing against Bukovsky, issuing a press release making it appear as though he was being charged with something even worse than he was actually charged with doing, and then issued a gag order on British reporters who might want to report on it.  That press release negates any legitimate reason it may have had for issuing the gag order.

    I’m also annoyed that, although National Review published Claire’s excellent article on the topic, it certainly didn’t make it easy to go back and find it without using an external search engine.

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Doug Watt:Well Mr. Bukovsky should be very careful. Polonium laced tea may still be on his menu. What better way to prevent him from clearing his name then to be sure the child porn charges outlive the man himself.

    I don’t think he needs to worry about that.  That would make him a martyr, and wouldn’t do anything beyond what they’ve already done to intimidate others. What they’re doing to him now is worse than that.

    • #3
  4. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Bukovsky is a dying man; the worst that can be done to him now is to murder his reputation.

    • #4
  5. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Related: counterdeception unit to close

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    David Foster:Related: counterdeception unit to close

    Interesting.  And it takes place while it is simultaneously pressuring private social media companies to help create “counternarratives.”

    • #6
  7. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    David Foster:Bukovsky is a dying man; the worst that can be done to him now is to murder his reputation.

    Which is of course what the Soviets are trying to do. I fully expect that this is all in prelude to an even grander white washing of Russian history in Putin’s attempt to revitalize the old dictatorships as a means of justifying his current one. The discrepancies and incoherence between the Tsars and the Communists will be all smoothed over by the concept of National Greatness and power. The critics of each will be silenced and discredited.

    • #7
  8. KC Mulville Inactive
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    The willingness to fight for one’s beliefs is usually an indication of how deeply you’re committed to those beliefs.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve come to see the “immigration debate” as a stand-in for something deeper: namely, a commitment to American ideals. Those who believe strongly in American ideals naturally believe that this country needs to preserve those ideals, and insist that immigrants must be willing to support those ideals. On the other hand, if you think America is just another location on the map, then what difference does a border make?

    If immigration was merely about the willingness to welcome outsiders, then we conservatives would be delighted to bring in more people to share the values we hold dear. But if immigration is pushed with the stipulation that our values be abandoned, then immigration is an attack on those values under the mask of “compassion.”

    Kerry’s woolly-headed lecture about living in a borderless world is testimony to how the Left sees things. America is just a location.

    The OP is about national sovereignty. Sovereignty means nothing if you don’t believe in your country in the first place.

    • #8
  9. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    David,

    Your arguments are well taken. You are highlighting what I would call the differences between a healthy exercise of National Right, an abusive aggressive unwarranted extension of National Right, and a false assertion of Cosmopolitan Right.

    First, the bad guys. Putin and Litvinenko, the Ayatollah and Salmon Rushdie, Erdogan and the comedian, and the Mullahs and Israel. These are all aggressive abusive hyper-extensions of National Right. The countries that the offensive behaviours are directed against must exercise their own National Right and rebuff these incursions. The proper role in this for Cosmopolitan Right is to support the individual countries who must protect their National Right.

    Instead, we have the oddball Kerry invoking a fantasy Cosmopolitan Right that has no meaning whatsoever. Cosmopolitan Right would help individual countries defend their borders (and their citizens within their borders) instead of removing these borders entirely. Kerry’s fantasy is an appeal to irrational irresponsibility. He hopes that this will be mistaken for Ethics. Perhaps the very young or very mindless will fall for this gibberish.

    I think the rest of us have had it.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #9
  10. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    KC Mulville:

    The OP is about national sovereignty. Sovereignty means nothing if you don’t believe in your country in the first place.

    For sure.  If you don’t believe your country has anything to offer, you will have no reason to try to protect it.

    • #10
  11. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    James Gawron:Your arguments are well taken. You are highlighting what I would call the differences between a healthy exercise of National Right, an abusive aggressive unwarranted extension of National Right, and a false assertion of Cosmopolitan Right.

    Nicely put.  One historical precedent worth recalling:  the Nazis in Germany were very active in stirring up German-speaking populations in Czechoslovakia…and disaffected people in Austria as well…to undermine the governments of those countries.

    • #11
  12. Canadian Cincinnatus Inactive
    Canadian Cincinnatus
    @CanadianCincinnatus

    Well said David!

    • #12
  13. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    David Foster:Related: counterdeception unit to close

    How funny is it that I click the link and get “This story is no longer available on this site”?

    • #13
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