Donald Hank
Will 2017 look like 1917?
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By Donald Hank
June 10, 2014

I average about 120 emails a day, mostly forwards and opinions on current political and economic events and conditions. Lately, I am seeing a trend: More and more disgruntled Americans of both major political parties as well as independent voters and non-voters, are saying that the government is no longer a viable avenue for change. They are increasingly saying the only venue left for change is the streets and the barricades. If the trend continues, something will happen. It is in the air and we all sense it, if only subliminally.

I was just now re-reading an old text I was assigned in a Russian course, titled "A lecture on Russian history," written in 1962 by Michael Karpovich, a Harvard professor, who reviews Russian history from the beginning of the 19th century and eventually points out the salient causes of the Russian Revolution. The populace at the time was definitely not left leaning and Lenin's Bolsheviki did not enter the picture until later. Most Russians had no desire for their country, with its traditionally minded Russian Orthodox grassroots, to become communists; nor did most of them entertain such a possibility. But throughout the political spectrum, the citizenry had one thing in common: deep resentment of Czar Nikolay – an understandable, if not justified, sentiment. In contrast to the Russia of that time, with the conservative in power and the powerless leftist opposition chafing, our political landscape is essentially inverted, with the left in power and the powerless conservatives chafing. But the anger is growing, just as it was then.

It is interesting to note that the drama started in 1914, when, as Karpovich notes, the czar had a chance to defuse the tension by uniting the nation in war. In fact, the opposition cooperated with the dynasty during most of the war. However, the czar dropped the ball with his insensitive policies.

At least 4 things exacerbated the mood in 1917:

1 – a wearisome war effort that seemed futile to most Russians

2 – worker unrest

3 – the impression that the czar, supposedly chosen by God, was weak and led around by the nose by outsiders

4 – scandals, notably the influence of Rasputin the depraved "Mad Monk," on the czar's court

Unrest was in the air.

I was startled at what the author said about the mood just before the revolution (my translation):

"On the one hand, everyone was kind of expecting revolution, everyone kind of considered it inevitable, and yet on the other hand, when it came, everyone was caught unawares and everyone was unprepared for it – both the government and the opposition parties; the masses and the army."

"This unprepared and, to some extent, sudden nature of the revolution significantly explains its further course. The government was overthrown without a fight in the course of a few days. A dynasty that had lasted for 300 years vanished without any real attempt to defend itself because by that time it had no defenders. A contemporary observer was right when he said that the Russian monarchy ended in suicide."

Fellow Americans, consider these same 4 items as they apply to the US right now:

1 – the last 60 years of futile and lost wars.

2 – the unrest among American workers who can't find jobs.

3 – a White House resident, supposedly chosen by the People, seeming to take orders from the same supranational puppeteers as his predecessor had. They both signed on to the 2008 bank bailout bill. They both wanted amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. They both threatened or waged military action against countries that were not enemies of the American people. They both pursued seemingly inept economic and monetary policies. Both men's wars – like Clinton's – favored Muslims and put Christians in foreign countries in a precarious position, killing many and forcing others to leave their homelands. The wars of the last few decades had bipartisan support, but increasingly more support from the top ranks than from the grassroots.

4 – the scandals, from the acquittal of the New Black Panther criminals to Fast and Furious; from Benghazi to Bergdahl; the hordes of illegal aliens given aid and comfort by the central government, the Bundy ranch face-off and more.

Consider our modern day czar, the head of a hundred year old empire that some believe started when Lincoln denied the States the right of self-determination, then spiraled down to the income tax and creation of the Fed in 1913, followed by years of lax lending and Keynesian policies that led to the Great Depression and delayed its resolution. Then came a long series of wars that never ended and clearly will never end as long as we the people are mere bystanders in the political process. Now Poroshenko, the US puppet in Kiev who promised to implement a "peace" plan, defies Russia with a litany of grossly unfair demands imposed on the large numbers of ethnic Russians in the Southeast whose once-official mother language, along with a modicum of self government in their territories, is now denied them. Rumors of soldiers being executed by the US-backed Right Sector for refusing to fire on their brothers, and of wounded fighters being taken from hospitals and summarily shot, are swirling in the Russian language media and internet. The US is calling the shots there and it clearly wants war.

Note, however, that no army has ever survived a march through Ukraine and into Russia. Ask Bonaparte and Hitler. Do the White House resident's advisors even know that much about history or about the cultures of the countries they taunt and invade?

Do most Americans want this war? Of course not.

Finally, compare the lack of self-defense on the part of the government with the Bundy ranch face-down, where the government agents with the high powered rifles turned tail and ran when faced by armed cowboys on horseback.

Will 2017 here look like 1917 in Russia? 2014 already looks like 1914.

© Donald Hank

 

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Donald Hank

Until July of 2009, Don Hank was operating a technical translation agency out of his home in Wrightsville, PA. He is now retired and residing in Panama with his wife and daughter.

A former language teacher, he holds an undergraduate degree in French and German from Millersville State University (PA), a Master's degree in Russian language and literature from Kutztown State College (also in PA), has studied Chinese for 3 years in Taiwan at the Mandarin Training Center, and is self-taught in other languages, having logged a total of 8 years abroad in total immersion situations.

He is also the founder of Lancaster-York Non-Custodial Parents, a volunteer organization that provides Christian counseling for non-custodial parents.

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