Monday, August 21, 2006

Kasparov Playing Chess Without a Board
By Alexander Marriott

Gary Kasparov, the recently retired world chess champion, was perhaps the greatest chess player of all time. His reign at the top of the chess world was long and marked by great duels with other chess giants like Karpov and of course his matches against various versions of IBM supercomputers. It was a shock to the chess world, among others, when Kasparov announced his retirement to pursue a career in Russian politics, the principal aim of which is to see Putin and his cronies out of office. Kasparov is a liberal in the European sense, the classical sense of that term, he is a limited government pro-capitalism pro-freedom guy, the kind of guy a place like Russia needs many more of.

There is a problem though. Kasparov, while fighting a good fight against a would-be tyrant like Putin and his aristocratical allies, is making many mistakes and ultimately hurting his own cause. His problems range from allying himself with all anti-Putin forces, including the National Bolsheviks, to calling for improper constitutional reforms, like turning the Russian constitution into an even more rank copy of the French constitution, which it already heavily draws upon. There is no doubt that common cause needs to be made with other political groups aside from liberals and that serious constitutional reform needs to take place, but their are rational limits to both that Kasparov should keep in mind if he wishes to achieve anything against Putin and for a free Russia.

That Putin needs to go in undeniable for those who care about economic and personal liberty. Putin's crackdown on his enemies, most notoriously against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose Yukos oil company has now been declared bankrupt and parcelled out to Putin's cronies at the state oil company. Combine that with Putin's consolidation of the infant free pree in Russia under state-run media, his romanticization of Soviet-era relics like the national anthem and the cult-of-personality around the leader (i.e. Putin), and his manipulation of all recent elections and you have the makings of a stunning reversal in Russian politics. Such a reversal has been in the offing almost from the beginning of the Federation, ever since the failure to pass any substantial free market reforms under Yeltsin. Private property is still rare and state property is the payola of Putin's cronyism. Capitalism still has never had a run in Russia and yet the Russian people seem to think that capitalism and a democratic process (i.e. elections) are synonymous. Capitalism takes the blame for the corruption and the stagnant economy that were and still are the hallmarks of Russian tyranny.

Enter Gary Kasparov. That Putin thinks Kasparov is a serious threat is undeniable. A Kasparov staffer was badly beaten several months before the recent G8 summit in Moscow and numerous staffers for the alternative freedom summit were arrested days before that event. Kasparov is a popular national hero and a very articulate man who clearly is a Russian patriot. That Kasparov is a liberal makes him one of the few on the freedom side of Putin with any real clout. This is why it is so disheartening to see Kasparov teaming up with the likes of Eduard Limonov, leader of the National Bolsheviks whose only objection to Putin can be that Putin is fixing the elections for Putin and not Limonov. No one, including Kasparov, can think Limonov would not reinstate the Soviet tyranny which would make Putin look like the two-bit KGB agent that he was/is. To team up with such a group and person can only tell the Russians who wish to save Russia from a slide toward tyranny that the possible alternative in a free election is something far worse than Putin, which plays right into Putin's hands. This does not mean Kasparov should take on Putin alone, but it does mean he should have some standards and limits about who he allies himself with. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, a principle sadly illustrated by the Allied alliance with Stalin in World War II. Putin, liberal that he is, should and must realize this if he has any hope to succeed.

As for constitutional reform, this is the fundamental defect of the Russian political world. When the Soviet Union collapsed and the Russian Federation was born there was a chance for a revolutionary constitutional shift in Russia. Instead of a dramatic change, Russia was given a meek transformation from cheaply veiled despotism to officially sanctioned command state with elections. By adopting a French model (i.e. heavily empowered President with a weak parliament whose leadership is largely in the hands of the President) with few dramatic economic reforms the Russians guaranteed themselves a Putin (i.e. would-be tyrant who relies on the immense power of his office to corrupt the entire body politic). Kasparov has suggested moving more in the direction of the French model, as if that hasn't caused enough problems. His reasoning seems to rely on the misperception that the current Federation constitution is built on a British model, which is entirely incorrect. The British model is a limited monarchy constructed over a 1000 years of legal decisions and compacts, charters, and parliamentary compromises. The British model is one of legislative supremacy now, the executive power has gathered in Parliament over the last 150+ years. The Russian model is nothing close to this, executive and to a somewhat lesser extent legislative power reside in the President, as in France. Neither France nor England should be the model for constitutional reform. The United States or Swiss constitutions, modified of their various defects, would be excellent models for the Russian Federation and would take account of the various peoples which make up the country. Whatever constitutional reform plan is forwarded though, it won't work without guarantees of actual individual rights, including economic private property rights and the complete denationalization of all industries and non-essential state property in Russia.

Constitutional reform should be second to getting rid of Putin, but it should also be taken more seriously and require a further selectivity of one's allies. Kasparov has yet to learn this lesson for the former task and until he does, both goals are in peril of being crushed by Putin through the weight of fear of Bolshevism and indifference to Kasparov's compromised message. Right now, Kasparov's queen is in jeopardy.


Anonymous said...

Dear Alexander,

Im sorry, but this all
sounds like paranoia and where
would be without the
flag and those who protect it...soldiers and
government..respect is due.

Remeber we must be civilized in order to be
a group...we cannot be "Caribs", maybe even if wed rather. Governments that are corrupt are bound to fail, because the populace eventually revolts due to injustice(s)...the Truth is strong and no one can crush it. They may hold it back, shape it to their advantage with confusing facts, but all in all everything comes out in the wash...

Hitler was a madman, a great orator and commander, but we all beat him and made him commit suicide, right? He was that the end he received what he gave death. Saddam, the sadass, was beat too, in the 90's we just didnt finish up.

We love our solders and dont let their blood fall for anything. They are protecting us, otherwise we wouldnt be here on our duffs writing about it all. Dare we say, Sadam would be on the shore with Iranian friends? Never...

THe middle east is the problem today...Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan our war with ideaologies that refute sense, life, and progress into a new lifestyle that could create learning, advances, growth spritually and self actualization. Their afraid of change. Remember what Neitzsche said about change...something like:
well, my words are=just because its always been that way and done such and such a way, doesnt mean it was done right.

Conspiracies are at best or at all, if at all, only the type of thing like "damage control"....what would you do if you were public. You would do damage control, and that is not CONSPIRACY, SORRY!

This stuff sells Newspapers, keeps people busy and only seems to annoy me, amuse me and make me burst~HA!

Accept the offical investigations' outcome; do you really believe that people go into Government doing public service, rejecting personal potential tremendous profits,(those who are corrupt get caught, even YEARS later..), just to do justic for you and I.

I think public service is a noble profession. I write to public officals often, I dont expect to be their pen pals, but I state views and express my ideas as humbly and respectfully as I may, just to help out. (Sinner like us all, but I want to make a contribution, and thats it, at least right now..)

You sited the post office: Welll.......
Hey, do you want the post office job, not so glamourous, not so exciting, not so social and seemingly mundane to keep someone happy? Think about it, dealing with people, doing extremely detailed, important documentable work, with necessary accuracy, repitively, having few "day brightning customers?" Talking through a window, making change, working a computer, postal machine and sorting? This is good work, Id take the job, but their is a certain and explainable amount of
impounded pressure in that job....ACCURACY FOR THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY.

People who govern incorrectly are not philosophers they are motivated by something else. We always find out what...

PRESIDENT BUSH, is a man of spirituality, ruled by reasoning based on destiny and rule of law, I think he is essenially a very good man, perhaps innundated and advised by 3D and in a dimension that traps him as Victim and VIctor. What we need to do is appeal to his sense of GOd's righteousness, not ours, we are sinners,inept and finite, but together as a group we will prevail in Iraq, The Middle East in general and bring other deficient, decrepit and bloody governments to righteousness that they too are seeking in their ideaologies; this pertains to anywhere in the world today or always or anytime, before, since or ever...

He doesnt think wed loose, we wouldnt but the cost is just too high; If you get this Mr. President, please, pray and turn to The cross, this war is a "run away train" like the song Im listening to right now.

'This love have turned into a runaway train..."
(Those happen to be the words Im listening appropriate).

Appropriate is conference and withdrawl with All the nations at war from war....we are not Jesus, we just worship Him...

I sound like a pshyco but Hey, Its Sunday, that gives me the right...its "Little Easter," after all.

The Lord doesnt want war. When he came he was opposed to our GOvernment(s)' He will work through all of us to get a cease and decist of war in Iraq and elsewhere. Its the best I can share on this.

Secularly, Id say, if you really believe that President Kennedy was killed by the Government, they killed him because he was 'inconvenient?' WHAT~
come on now. He was working through a war, no one in government or society would like to seek the death of a leader, which they elected in such a popular vote, just because of 'current events' Hey, dont you think that Mr. Kennedy was living in a time where he had to draw on WHO HE WAS, NOT SO MUCH RULE OF LAW, BUT JUDGEMENT, EXPERIENCE AND THE ADVICE AND INFORMATION GIVEN....DONT YOU SEE IT ALL HAPPENING AGAIN..

"Oh, 'hang 'em high, we shouldnt be there" we dont impeach or penialize, censure of even disrespect THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENCY, just because things are going wrong...

When things go wrong, just make them right, dont point fingers, dont look for the responsible party, it doesnt change the fact that coffins are coming home, does it?
Does it make the blood not flow>the media and government go bizerk? 'People in society to reject and become alienated by the lack of TRUTH, JUSTICE and ADHERENCE TO THE LAW?

Mistakes are not intentional gestures. NO one stands to profit from a cut in the pipeline, we dont seize other countries resources and monopolize their cities and stay to govern them; we only come to advise, to install and create peace, life, standards of living and something like what we have, gradually things settle, but we dont gain.

IE...Our 'private contractors' are being killed too, how do we gain from that?

Conspiracy? NOne. I disagree strongly, because there is so much in classified information, too explosive and inflamatory for the common man, that we need to trust government, here, because we are free; because we can write these blogs; because we can call OUR PRESIDENT a Liar and whatever we wish, and never go to jail, get killed or even fined or penialized for it...we are human and allowed to live as we wish within the law. Life is good. Remember that. There are such negative overtones and cinicism in your work here, I agree with your disgust for the conspiracy theory, but you seem jaded. Im so sorry you have some of those views.

Remain looking for inconsistencies, action consistancty within word and deed, reactionary review of their peers, (remember they have the classified information too, so their revolt is what we need to follow!)

We dont know what Mr. President "knew and when he knew it," yes it rings of 'Watergate,'(woefully and with all due respect I say what I say, necessarilly, in my view, I say this), that happened when I was only a child, (Im 40 now), but I get the ideas as parallel; in that people are going to have to explain exactly when and what they knew, what the information was and why they advised what they did.

My main statement is:
"Trust the truth, eventually everything else fails, falters and flys away furiously fearful, HA!

Please be sure to write back, this is about identity as an American, not just blogging for fun. Were talking about the world and whether it will ever be brought to a Higher Plain where existance is not sparse, horrible, mundane, warlike, hellish or corrupt, get get get gotten, forgotten, beating, shipwrecked and robbed.

Be good to yourself.

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