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tv   Worlds Apart  RT  January 31, 2023 9:30pm-10:01pm EST

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ah hello and welcome to wells apart. as the father of greek tragedy asked phyllis a remark more than 2 and a half millennia go. truth is always the 1st casualty of war. in the case of the ukrainian war with unprecedented levels of censorship and deliver distortions. truth had been banished, even before the interstate hostilities began, but maybe truth or on the ring reality paved the way to peace. well, to discuss that i'm now joined by nikolai petro professor political science at the university of rhode island and also the tragedy of your praying. what the classical
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greek tragedy can teach us about conflict resolution. professor petra is great to talk to you and thank you very much in advance for this the rather unusual. i'm pretty intriguing. look at the ukranian conflict. ok, i look forward to discussing it. now, given you a focus on the greek to g, g, dns, a, let me quote one more of them are, sophocles go asserted that all men make mistakes, but a good man yields. when he knows that his course of action is wrong, repairs the evil, the only crime, according to sophocles, is pride isn't what your book is all about. that this conflict essentially rose out of hubris, of hubris, of the political elite, which, by the way, asian greeks considered as one of the biggest things. yes. but not just this tragedy and not just this war. all wars arise out of hubris,
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which at the beginning of and as i would say, the middle to the end of the 20th century. we had a number of realist political thinkers, international relations theorists, people like hands morgenthau and reinhold neighbor, who highlighted this as a common human flaw. and encouraged statesman of their era, the cold war to look beyond it and to compare their predicament during the cold war to the predicament of their predecessors, including all the way back to the greeks and persians. and i think it would be very good for all of us to look back to that example. and remember that the lessons that they tried to provide to us, which professor richard nedley about who i relied on
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a lot and coming up with this concept and applying it refers to as the tragic vision of politics. what i appreciate in your book is that not only references to ancient literature, but also your political directness. you're essentially saying that your queen was conflicted, even before the russian military incursion began reach, which is an obvious thing, but it's a pretty both statement to make in this day and age are man, do you trace the origins of this war well, in literary and political debates, i argue it can be traced roughly a 150 years back. of course, have you read ukrainian nationalist historians? he goes all the way back to the origins of roost and the conflict which i see. i get
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a lot of historical analogies and biblical analogies to cain and abel, and romulus and remus and jacob and esau, this conflict of 2 brothers. and so this theme recurs in a ukrainian nationalist, historical writings, and the problem, the injustice that they, that they highlight is that the wrong brother, the got the benefits and it should have been them. it should have been here, which was the mother, right. who said is, and therefore, should have dominated over the great your asian landmass and must be, should have been the provincial backwater professor. as far as i understand that your stations, it's not just a historical grievance, it's actually a lead to reality because as you state in your book, the conflict within the ukraine stems from the states reluctance to recognize the so called are the ukraine. the fact that this 3rd of its population considered
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themselves russians in terms of that cultural identity and ukrainian, and in terms of that civic identity. and i think this is actually a crucial point to a size that these people consider ukraine as their own country. full stop, why do you think this state refused to reciprocate by full accepting that identity regardless of the language they speak with the books they read? because early on after and in the years get roughly decade, i would say i'm more following ukrainian independence. they made the wrong choice, or they made a nationalist choice rather than a civic choice. at the time. the idea of federalism in ukraine, we go back all the way to the late 900 century. it was recognized that there was
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a great diversity in the territory of ukraine, and that federalism would offer an optimal solution which had been tried all around the world, basically exchanging freedom of a local culture in exchange for civic loyalty. and that that was a perfectly good formula for patriotism. however, over this time, there was a counter veiling argument made by ukrainian nationalists, many of whom drew their inspiration from ancestors who had emigrated to the west after world war 2. and it seems that they retained a sense of entitlement to be able to define what is the true
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ukraine even against those who are living in the country at the time. and they brought this sense of entitlement. and to some extent, i would say vengeance in their hearts or what had been done. they see it during world war 2 to their, to their, to their parents and grandparents. and as a result, to try to construct the ukraine, which was more thoroughly and truly you credit purely ukrainian, which is really a nationalistic, your credit, where it's not just a nationalist, but it's a pretty xenophobic statement suggesting that some people living within the country are deeper than others in cultural or, you know, blood line terms, but, and you are pretty explicit in your book about, you know, parking this with
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a ukrainian leads. but i wonder if it's just that tunnel vision their own grievances, or do you think perhaps they were also how by ukraine's western allies. because in the greek tragedies, we have a characteristic who sort of found the flames of castilla to, for their own, usually less than noble aims. inevitably, and again, i don't see this particular conflict as different from any other civil war. most civil wars, i would say all civil wars have an external component because they're always neighbors or other forces that would derive benefits from either the weakening of the country that is undergoing this catastrophe or from a replacement of the older lead with a new will lead more sympathetic to them and ukraine,
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which could have been and, and this to some extent, i still hope is destined to be at the crossroads of europe. it has to recognize itself as a cross roads as a bridge. but instead, so far as has articulated in it's among its elite, i would again argue a sense that we are a bulwark against the east. so an extension of the west pushing back of the eastern part of, of europe, which i do consider again russia to be part of eastern europe. i would also say, going back to your earlier point about nationalism, i have a very specific and i hope, precise definition of nationalism which is indeed it is a form of totalitarianism. i see nothing, nothing since the end of the 19th century. that in novels
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nationalism, nationalism has been transformed in by the 920 s already and certainly by the lighting thirty's and 19 forties into an instrument of totalitarianism. and it becomes today the only truly effective and resonant instrument of national totalitarian. now you mentioned the crane being in the crossroads between east and west and. 6 some of our viewers may know that your friend's name is literally translated as being on the edge or, or cry. and i person, i think that sort of underlines the borderline character, always historic and political development and heard. some analysts suggest that, you know, those countries that happened to be in between big council, big civilizations are essentially destined to lean one way or another rather than trying to sort of cultivate that national identity from within and pick and choose from various corners what they want to utilize, do you agree with this, this is,
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do you think your credit has no other choice than you know, joining one side against the other or could it truly develop something in an indigenous if her country is to have a reason to exist? it does so by doing exactly what you said by picking and choosing what is indigenous to it, and distinguishing that new amalgam from what is being offered to the people across the border. so i disagree with that thesis because i think ukraine does exist, should exist, and it is precisely the best option i suspect for its future is to find that amalgam of the cultures that are within it and turn it into something unique and flourishing. that that would define it
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in distinction, but not conflict, but simply the difference between itself and its neighbors. well, professor control, we have to take a very short break right now, but we will get back in just a few moments they can, ah ah, [000:00:00;00]
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a listen look and you live muscles. if you look on the initial, do want to club not to get a can use to put by you when you do or 2. but you also still received on those of you with what i see these teeny bussey's though group you motivation says do it on both a
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welcome back to wells and part with nikolai petro, professor of political science at the university of rhode island, author off the tragedy of ukraine, what classical greek tragedy can teach us about conflict resolution. professor petra, before the break, we were talking about ok. ukraine's as a stan she'll need to find its own unique national identity, its own national south, and many russian thinkers, including i'm for your president. blood in a wooden argued that the choice that the ukrainian leadership has made so far pretty consciously is to you know, trying those authentic are limited facility that existed within the ukraine population against the soviets or right later against the russians and utilize it into a political mechanism of sort of unifying the country from within and attracting
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weston financing. i can understand cynical part of me can understand the sort of a political and a necessity or utility of that. but in terms of military and defense strategy, wasn't that rack last? what other country would tolerate that hostile state on its borders, especially when it's burned by the deform analysis of the country? one of the confusing aspects for analyst. so this conflict is that russia for nearly 30 years did tolerate. so the question in the minds of western analysts is what changed now? and this is indeed a difficult question to answer. but i think perhaps the answer lies in the sense of who would cup of tolerance has been over. bill.
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and a couple of events of last year, even preceding the offer to renegotiate essentially a nato strategy which they know rejected at the end of 20 let jeremy 2020. what go on. yeah. i, i thought were even more suggestive. and then decorative of what i under estimate it, along with most western analysts, the degree of, of the anger of the russian elite against the western. and then professor petro, isn't it understandable that the most school would the weight or try to delay this difficult decision? because you mentioned this, the fratricidal one that you mentioned came in and, well, you know, when we consider ukrainians, you know, not necessarily our brothers, but most of us have relatives there. so for any russian leader to launch a military operation, there would be a very, very, very difficult choice,
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both on international grounds and particularly domestic grounds. but i think the kremlin line has been pretty explicit. the reason they did it was because the west intensified the weapon is ation the militarization of ukraine throughout 2021. do you believe the kremlin narrative there? the way i would say is politics? is that a matter of what i believe it's what the individual actors believe and their inability to listen to the other side is what makes conflict happen. so i'm sure that the kremlin believes what it believes, and in nato. nato capitals, they believe, are exactly the opposite and in their own righteousness and of their inability to see beyond that, on both sides a leads to the i have to put it this way, the victimization of ukraine. as a matter fact, i was thinking the other day,
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how on the one hand on the west is willing to sacrifice ukraine so long as it does not join in an alliance with russia and russia. exactly the same way. russia cannot tolerate the ukraine. that is an alliance with the west. so the only thing that both sides outside of ukraine have in common is that they're willing to see the destruction of ukraine. and that's why if you crane is to get out of this situation for it, so it needs to rely on its own internal forces and internal, which means reaching out and establishing domestic unity, which is unfortunately not, not the policy of the current ukrainian government, not the policy of the current, previous ukrainian governments. but this is something that your book suggests. i know you see greek tragedy as a kind of therapy that aspires to restore social harmony. 8 but i,
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i assure that this restoration of social harmony has ever been part of the grant in policy. because i think, as we have just discussed, that they've been aiming for the opposite. what can possibly inspire them to change course for their own good. well, there is a significant mythology in ukraine. i know i think it is. storage has recently spoken out against the ukranian, him national him. but it actually talks about how we are all brothers in the of, of the same cause a crow route. and there's a lot of unifying mythology, i talk about subordinate, which is a con, so they have a day of subordinates in ukraine, which is celebrated every year. these good policies,
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these, these correct policies try for national unity. the problem is they have been misinterpreted under nationalism. to mean this part is good. and national unity will require the destruction of what is unhealthy in your grade. and then it becomes simply a matter of targeting and persecuted and eliminating the people who are we don't match your stereotype and that is not, will never succeed. that that just has never succeeded in human history, and it will not cannot succeed in ukraine. you mentioned then the rise all of the nationalist or far right movement. then, you know, russians put it in terms of the nasa thread, which some of the was believe is a huge exaggeration. but when we actually look and compare the nice experiment with what's going on in the ukraine today,
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i sometimes feel that you know what hitler and people around him did this. you know, some manipulation of the collective, unconscious that you know, they were approaching in an experimental manner. but and many of the ukrainian leaders are very conscious about repeating some of the nasa practices were misleading that our own people let alone inviting why right and malicious from all over the world to gain military hands on experience of fighting. now you can describe all of that as a russian propaganda. the nasa wired. but what about the biking potential of those militants when they come back to the united states? when they come back to britain, don't they represent the certain danger to your own people? yes. ok. but again, i don't think of it strictly in terms of naziism because not susan was not even the goal for
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a cognate parties in eastern europe and even fascism. there were subtle differences all along the way. even in the 930 and 940 s. and to draw an analogy of any current political movement to a nazi movement is simplistic. let me clarify my point. i don't try to draw direct analogies. but as you see, historical patterns or literary patterns tend to repeat themselves. and if you look, for example, at the bolshevik movement, you know, the russians would hate me mentioning that bolshevism in the same sentence with masses. but it was a very limited, very radical group that too called the entire country and change its history for, for many decades. and it started with some national or international is that he's been if quickly revolved into outright violence and depressions and purging. what have you, and it seems that me have sort of the same dynamic, perhaps of
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a different proportions, but the same dynamic being used here, don't you think? so? yes. and, but in as, as a, as an academic who does think about these historical patterns and connections, i like to put it in terms of the phrase of lesser known, but more significant, historically tendency towards integral nationalism. and so i can come back to my fundamental conclusion that nationalism is the evil and nationalism in facts all of us and will continue to do so inevitably, so long as we have nation states, but prioritize our national interests, our national identity, and our differences with others. now i'm not saying that we should just get rid of everything and hold hands and kiss and hug,
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because that's not going to happen. but it is very possible to live in a world of nation states and recognize its flaws. and to keep those flaws ever before us as warning signals as to what can happen when we exaggerate the importance of national identity. i gotcha. now you're also going back to greek tragedy as a practical way of resolving tensions or, you know, addressing facilities among nations. you mentioned that it's actually, it has a pretty sort of practical layout for how it could be practiced. it consists of 3 points. i know this is recognizing tragedy, recognizing your own role in what happened as our sis purging the soul of toxic emotions like vengeance or hatred and sort of freeing the way for more pro social feelings like compassion and finally dialogue which you define as
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a form of self transformation which allows for a new form of a relationship to take place. i think in this day and age and in this day and age everything is turned upside down. the, the most we can hope for at this point is, is dialogue, you know, bringing the parties to negotiating table. you cannot print it, you cannot require them to sort of, you know, go through a catharsis, or even, you know, take hold of their own, takes talk of their own actions. do you think any dialogue would be effective without analysis and catharsis? first, you know, so that sequence has to occur and dialogue occurs not because 2 people sit down and say they want to talk. but when they actually feel the need to do so, and the need for that comes from the recognition that, oh my gosh. it's partly my fault, and i noticed this, then,
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since it's partly my fault, how can i contribute to the healing? that's a catharsis. replacing the rage and hate, with emptiness, and then in the emptiness, pity and compassion can come in. and finally, out of that pity and compassion can come dialogue, which enables you to truly see the other person as your cell and who recognize your needs in the needs of others and the humanity of your enemy, which is, i guess the final, but also a very crucial question here, because i think the russian culture is distinct when it comes to respecting your enemies. because if you historically look at how much russians have taken from there, you know, i hear series be this weeds the turns the touch of even the collective west after the cold war. we've always sought to practically approach our enemies and you know, a whale of whatever good practices that they can offer. and i think that's also,
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you know, partially and a consequence of mature state and sort of experiential history. when you know that history is long down, ukraine as conflict and young as it is, as it's as a state ward itself, something like that, canada war to treat enemies with respect. does it know how to do it without humanizing at least one fellow citizens? what prospect is there for the state to, to exist? there is not you, you have to develop a constituency which wants to support the existence of that civic culture. both the individual culture, the cultural components of it, the hearth and whole, but also the civic identity, the political construct of it. and you know,
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as recently as 2020 or 21. i quote president victor yoshika who said, well, your credit is still a quality nation because it hasn't accomplished that until it does, it will remain that. and there is no sense in fooling yourself. i sometimes hear from critics write me and say, oh, this is naive or on the other hand, this is already. we're now beyond that because the war has united us war never unites, never, not unite for a very brief moment. and then as soon as that moment is over, everybody's out each other's throats again, unless they can focus on the issues that divided them in the 1st place. and that's why there will be no, there is no external solution to ukraine's problem in all resides within an and the healing and peace. not just in your grain, but i think in europe as
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a whole will begin when ukraine healed itself. professor petrie, we have to leave it there, but it's been a fascinating conversation. thank you very much for that. thank you. my pleasure. and thank you for watching hope to hear again on walter part. ah ah, almost one year into the conflict. no major western leader is called for talks to bring peace to ukraine and europe. instead, we are witnessing dangerous escalation. the great tank debate has settled. will it be fighter jets next? where does the same
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with ah, [000:00:00;00] with hello and welcome to cross top, where all things are considered. i'm peter lavelle almost one year into the conflict. no major western leader is called for talks to bring peace to ukraine and europe. instead,


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