The third of my three novellas about the Iraq War on Amazon!
â€œA subtle and utterly convincing portrait of manhood and friendship. Skaskiw knows the lures of war to be as innocent and concrete as they are dark and amorphous. In exploring a terrain of the intimate and familiar, he deftly reveals it to hold the same capacities for violence and betrayal found behind enemy lines.â€ â€“ Katie Chase, author of Man and Wife
A Novelette about three Iraq War veterans on a camping trip, and those feelings of betrayal and relief when you leave the military.
After visiting repeatedly, I moved to Ukraine from the United States in 2012. My parents had been born in Ukraine and taught me some of the language during my childhood in Queens, NY.
Being so close to Ukraine’s Maidan revolution and the subsequent Russian invasion gave me perspective on American perception of these events. The audacity and effectiveness of Russian propaganda has left me in utter awe. After two years of close observation, some strategies and motifs of Russian propaganda have become evident. Hopefully these lessons will lend some clarity on the information war which overlays the kinetic one. . . .
— T.S. Allen (@TS_Allen) March 30, 2016
— Jakub KalenskÃ½ (@kalenskyj) March 30, 2016
The second in a series of three novellas about the Iraq War is up on Amazon!
(fiction based on my experiences)
The second in a series of three novelette about the Iraq War. Television is about the day to day grind of combat operations, a mission to visit the parents of a civilian casualty, and the murky realities of war.
â€œThis story shows us another side of war where routine and duty go side by side with tragedy and valor.â€
â€“Andrii Drozda, Literary Critic, LitAkcent
The first in a series of three novellas about the Iraq War is up on Amazon!
(fiction based on my experiences)
A novellette (~9000 words) about the Iraq War, and the exhilaration and heartbreak of leaving it behind, based on the author’s experience. The first in a series of three.
â€œAn honest look at the everydy realities of war â€“ a must read.â€
â€“ Nolan Peterson, conflict reporter, The Daily Signal
â€œSkaskiw’s story about a man coming home from Iraq mirrors Hemingway and Tolstoy’s stories about men dying. Convoy Home is almost intolerably sad, beautiful, honest, and true.â€
â€“ Adrian Bonenberger, author of Afghan Post
1. The Enlightenment is our foundation.
2. Equality is the new communism.
3. Status, not wealth.
4. We are mostly doing justification.
5. and 6. American libertarians have a bias, taking for granted the absence of organized external enemies. Historically, survival has been a collective effort, not an individual one.
7. Never speak about natural rights again, or if you do, realize itâ€™s just shaming.
8. Strict private property is an anomaly created by violence.
10. The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is insufficient at best, and at worst, a tool for scoundrels.
(previously unpublished essay)
The national myths of Ukraine and Russia are not just different, they are mutually exclusive, and while Ukraine’s can exist without Russia, the Russian idea plunges into an identity crisis without Ukraine.
Both claim the legacy of Kievan Rus, the mythologized and idealized kingdom is considered a well-spring of Slavic culture and Orthodox Christianity. It was obliterated by the Mongols in 1241. Here, the narratives diverge.
Russian ideologues consider themselves the great uniters and political champions of Slavic peoples. Kiev was the wellspring of their culture and religion, and Moscow has been and remains their natural political center ever since the principality of Muscovy “affirmed itself as a regional hegemon.” A unification, which, in the word of Putin adviser Alexander Dugin, occurred “not by the conquest, but by the genesis of Russian Statehood.” See Alexander Dugin’s “Open Letter to the American People.”
Ukrainian ideologues, whom Dugin refers to as “Western Russians,” consider themselves the unfortunate but otherwise noble descendants of Kyivan Rus whose greatest political expression for the previous several centuries were Kozak uprisings against slavery and feudal structures imposed by foreign monarchs, the Muscovites, an ethnically mixed Finno-Ugric people and latecomers to slavic culture, having been the most aggressive and successful of the oppressors.
The conflict is obvious, and the battle-space includes Wikipedia.
Ukrainian poetry often engages the idea of a hi-jacked identity: “What are these Muscovites searching for in our torn open graves? An ancient parent? Oh, if only they could find that, our children wouldn’t be crying.”
Dugin is correct when he claims “such a State [as Ukraine] . . . never existed in history.” I would describe Ukraine as a culture attempting to defend itself through statehood. It is a remarkably resilient culture having survived centuries of imposed feudalism, Russification, Polinization, merciless Soviet purges of writers, musicians, artists and other cultural figures, Holodomor, and many dozens of laws over the course 400 years forbidding or limiting the use of the Ukrainian language. Its attempts at statehood have been miserable failures, most recently combining all the bureaucratic excess of the over-protective West with the corruption and glacial work ethic of the post-Soviet East. The recent overthrow of the Yanukovych government was a huge accomplishment and had the potential to be Ukraine’s Magna Carta moment. It still might, though the Russian invasion throws everything into question.
Russia, by contrast, is a state looking for a culture. Ever since the Grand Duchy of Muscovy’s conquest (yes, conquest) of the Kingdom of Novgorod, the idea of a Greater Muscovy people, or later, a greater Russian people, has been inseparable from forced cultural assimilation, reaching its barbaric apogee in Soviet times. The joke was that if you beat a Polish man long enough, he becomes a Russian.
The expansionist idea is evident again in the symbol of Dugin’s “Russian Spring” — golden spear points radiating in all directions.
While Dugin invokes a Russian people to describe even 9th century Kievan-Rus, the idea of a Russian people is actually only slightly older than the idea of an American people.
It was in the 18th century that Czar Peter I, formerly of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy told his diplomats to start referring to the Grand Duchy and its conquests as “Russia” — a name taken from the contested legacy of Kievan-Rus.
Though many states can be described as military unifications of more tribal kingdoms, the Russian state was particularly audacious in expanding its myth to encompass Finno-Ugrics, Slavs, Caucasians, Asians, Tartars, and other Turkik peoples.
Once Russia extended its national myth beyond the boundaries of their core population, their problem has been the unification of disparate and unwilling cultures. So it remains.
Long before Peter Sutherland’s infamous statement about “undermin[ing] national homogeneity” through mass immigration, the cultures of the steppe were being undermined by population transfers, mass deportation, language restrictions, and purges of writers, artists, musicians and other cultural figures.
What the Europeanists and globalists only now pursue with a velvet glove (or at least a leather one) has long since been pursued with an iron fist in the steppe.
Thus it is a bit peculiar to witness the alliance between the Kremlin and much of Europe’s far right. As detailed by Anton Shekhovtsov:
International â€˜observersâ€™ at the illegal and illegitimate â€˜referendumâ€™ held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea occupied by the Russian â€˜little green men.â€™ The overwhelming majority of the â€˜observersâ€™ are representatives of a broad spectrum of European extreme-right parties and organisations: Austriaâ€™s Freiheitliche Partei (FPÃ–) and BÃ¼ndnis Zukunft, Belgian Vlaams Belang and Parti Communautaire National-EuropÃ©en, Bulgarian Ataka, French Front National, Hungarian Jobbik, Italian Lega Nord and Fiamma Tricolore, Polish Samoobrona, Serbian â€˜Dveriâ€™ movement, Spanish Plataforma per Catalunya. They were invited to legitimise the â€˜referendumâ€™ by the Eurasian Observatory for Democracy & Elections (EODE) . . . Presented by Michel as â€˜a non-aligned NGOâ€™, the EODE does not conceal its anti-Westernism and loyalty to Putin, and is always there to put a stamp of â€˜legitimacyâ€™ on all illegitimate political developments, whether in Crimea, Transnistria, South Ossetia or Abkhazia. Moscowâ€™s money talks. . . .
Front Nationalâ€™s Marine Le Pen now visits Moscow on a seemingly regular basis. . . .
Jobbikâ€™s leader GÃ¡bor Vona gave a lecture at Moscow State University at the invitation of Russian right-wing extremist Aleksandr Dugin; according to Vona, it would be better for Hungary to leave the EU and join the Russia-dominated Eurasian Union. Dugin himself gave a talk in the United Kingdom at the invitation of the far-right Traditional Britain Group and wrote a letter of support to Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the now jailed leader of the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, whose political programme urges Greek society to turn away from â€˜American Zionistsâ€™ and â€˜Western usuryâ€™ towards Russia. . . .
Putinâ€™s far-right government is eager to co-operate with any European ultranationalist party unless it is critical of Russia for historical or other reasons. . . .
On April 9th, Jobbik’s MP TamÃ¡s Gaudi Nagy made a 3-minute speech against European democracy wearing a T-shirt saying “Crimea legally belongs to Russia! Transcarpathia legally belongs to Hungary!”
Of course, politics have always made strange bedfellows.
By endearing themselves to the Kremlin, they get financial support. This matters. The risk is a compromised message, and the loss of nationalist movements in in Eastern Europe where the terrifying memory of Kremlin hegemony outweighs any fear of encroaching cultural Marxism.
As observed by Steve Sailor, Ukraine’s revolution had a very nationalist and conservative character, but now that it’s accomplishment is threatened by Moscow, Ukrainians are increasingly willing to embrace whatever it can get from the West in exchange for closer ties and protection, if only economic. Since the government was toppled in February, support for joining the EU has risen from 41 to 53%. (See page 38 of this report.)
With a weakened west and a collapsing empire overseas, Russia has tremendous potential to rise as the military and resource wing of European people. They would need to refocus on their core population and fight corruption whose size, scope and callousness is unique among Europeans.
Rather than seizing this potential, they’ve returned to their failed historic role of dragging surrounding nations and people into this morass of corruption and brutality. Instead of building a foundation for commerce and trade (including trade of military protection), they’ve decided to expand the rubric of a “greater Russian people” by several hundred kilometers.
They will continue to be the Europeans distinguished by their failure at modern civilization.
I had a nightmare as a child, where goblins marched through the snow in step to the slow, steady rhythm of their drum, and the line of them extended way up into the mountains. Now, when I put my ear to the pillow, I can hear the sound again, and I remember them coming through the walls to get me.
A large, slow-moving river runs through the center of my new life. (Read more in In The Fray Magazine, Dec 08)
the Sons of Light Shall Battle with the Company of Darkness
It was a warm November second or first. The clouds spent the day gathering and breaking apart and gathering again.
The Democrats were poised to take back Congress, and even though we didnâ€™t know too much about politics, my friends and I were all jazzed . . . (read more)
Last month, the Gold Newsletter Podcast invited me to speak about my essay 30 Methods and Characteristics of Communism.
by Roman Skaskiw
French historian and philosopher Rene Girard observed, correctly in my opinion, that communism was not popular despite killing millions of people, but precisely because it killed millions of people.
Iâ€™m told that my grandfather climbed from the window of a school at which he was teaching when a breathless neighbor told him that â€œtheyâ€ were coming for him. So began his trek across war-torn Europe with my then-four-year-old mother. Another relative, who would have been some sort of great uncle to me, was taken to a labor camp in Uzbekistan for belonging to an anti-communist club in his high school. He was sixteen. His family received two letters from him â€” the first saying it was extremely cold and asking for them to send a pair of boots, the second saying that the boots had been taken by another prisoner. He did not return.
The worldview of the radical left offers many dizzying contradictions and fantasies. One of the strangest is the extent of indifference and even hostility with which radical leftists treat those who deliver on the very vision they so tirelessly advocate.
There are myriad examples, some so obvious that articulating them seems like shaking the foundation of the postmodern reality (or anti-reality) in which we live.
In The Soviet Tragedy, Martin Malia describes many Soviet citizens feeling great relief at the outbreak of World War II. These were people less than twenty years removed from devastating wars, so they were unlikely to be naÃ¯ve to the horrors, yet many welcomed the news of war because, as Malia describes, war provided a coherent, tangible reality again, in contract to the schizophrenic insanity of communism.
The incoherence is everywhere.
It’s difficult to believe, given modern rhetoric, but in the early days of communism, wealth was considered a good thing, and, they argued, communism was superior because it created more of it. By the mid-1950s, it became impossible to ignore communism’s poverty and deprivation, so rather than abandon their revolutionary ideology, the communists completely replaced what had been their fundamental goal. Yes, capitalism caused wealth, they conceded, but the wealth caused inequality, and inequality, not poverty, was the great evil against which all society’s resources must mobilize.
The intellectual bankruptcy is absolutely shameless and calls to mind an observation from the great black conservative Thomas Sowell: “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”
Philosophy professor Stephen Hicks’s excellent little book Explaining Post-Modernism details the many outrageous ideological pivots the radical left has been forced to make over the years to preserve a revolutionary posture, including even its abandonment of the presumption of truth.
Read more at the American Thinker.