Another reporter concern-trolling the Ukrainian protesters’ arms

One of the "armed" protestors we saw had what looked like this Russian Baikal air gun.

One of the “armed” protestors we saw had what looked like this Russian Baikal air gun. To gun-blind Fisher, this is the face of escalation.

This time, it’s the Washington Post’s lightweight “expert” on UW, Max Fisher.  Fisher’s relevant experience? Nil. But hey, he has “a master’s degree in security studies from Johns Hopkins University.” Oooooh… can we touch him?

Fisher’s point, which is hilariously mooted by events now, is that Yanukovych must win because the protesters didn’t stick to his (Fisher’s, the armchair expert’s) beau ideal of Ghandian non-violence. No doubt Yanukovych is running around Kharkov showing everybody this in the Post.

You could hardly blame the besieged protesters if they wanted to fight firepower with firepower. Still, if this were to become a trend and protesters were to increasingly bear and use arms to defend against security forces, that could actually spell doom for their movement. It could be the best thing to happen to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych since clashes reignited earlier this week.

via If Ukraine protesters are shooting back, that’s great news for the government.

Fisher’s justification for his ahistorical, now proven-incorrect, and just generally dumb-ass post? Research that he claims to have done for that master’s degree, but that is tragically unpublished.

Sometimes “master” is only half a word.

So what was his methodology, to the extent that he describes it?

When civil resistance movements popular uprisings adopt small arms use, they become much more likely to fail and the government becomes more likely to survive intact. That was a conclusion I reached, anyway, as part of my graduate research on government crackdowns against popular democratic movements. I surveyed 20 attempted uprisings over the past century and found overwhelming evidence that when protesters take up arms in large numbers they make their movement far likelier to fail. Within those cases, the chance that a popular uprising would “outlast” the government and ultimately secure its goals was cut almost in half if the protesters took up arms.

AK-47Let us get this straight. He cherry-picked 20 insurgencies or uprisings from the literally thousands worldwide over a century, and proved what he wanted to prove.

Revolutions never win, it’s science, or at least whatever kind of cod science they teach in the Hopkins security studies program. (We can see it now… acres of journalists crafting narratives around anecdotes, while barnacled professors nod paternally).

Revolutions never win if they take up arms. And now back to you, at the Congress of the Republic of Vietnam.

But before we do that, let’s mine Fisher’s folly for some more examples of his, er, mastery. This is more mastery than what lots of people write:

It’s really, really difficult to overstate the importance of the military in moments of mass popular protest or uprising: ultimately, they have the monopoly on force, and they can decide the outcome if they want to.

Got that? If the rebels take up arms, the military has a monopoly of force.

See, that’s why the Iraqi Sunni minority took their licking in 2004 and we never heard another peep out of them. More mastery?

[T]he protesters are legitimizing the use of deadly force, and eroding the taboo against open shooting…

Max Fisher, Master in Security Studies from the Bitch Had It Coming School of Interpersonal Relations. See, what Max understands from his classroom mastership, that you probably didn’t pick up out at the war he’s spent the last bakers-dozen years not participating in, is that the nobility and purity of the martyrdom of the protesters is only noble and pure if they just lie there to get martyred. Well, maybe they can hide a little. But fighting back is right out.

Needless to say, the 1st Armored Division will never be commanded by a man with a Master in Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University. And that’s a good thing.

Now, Max is not very bright, and he’s not very honest, but he’s not a complete imbecile, and he does find a truffle in his continual rooting:

[P]opular uprisings ultimately succeed because the military sides with them, explicitly or implicitly. We saw this in Romania in 1989, for example, when the military largely refused orders to put down protests, helping to doom leader Nicolae Ceaușescu. And we saw it in Egypt in 2011, when the military parked tanks around protesters to protect them from security forces, and shortly after forced out President Hosni Mubarak.

He has a point there, and what cemented the victory — so far — of the Ukrainian protesters was the volte-face of the actual units that initiated the shooting, or at least, the command echelons high above them. The Ukrainian Army stayed in its barracks, but the Interior Ministry, police, and other security services put their guns at the disposal of the revolution. After it was clear the revolution shot back.

But that becomes much less likely if protesters start using small arms. Militaries are just much less comfortable aiding a protest movement that shoots back

This is, of course, nonsense. The protest movement is only shooting “back” if the military (or militarized police) are shooting at them.

[W]hen protesters and police are shooting one another in the streets, the military becomes more likely to step in.

But the military can pick either side, or neither. In 1956, most of the Hungarian military picked the rebel side. (They got their clock cleaned). In 1953, the nascent Nationale Volksarmee and the Volkspolizei picked the government side. In 1981, the Polish Army stepped in between protesters and their own Soviet overlords. In 1968, the Czechoslovak Army sat it out. And that’s just Europe.

Starting as early as 1973, Afghan citizens began resisting their nation’s “government monopoly of force.” How’d that turn out? (Well, the repercussions are not done repercussing, yet, but the civilians won by 1978, and again by 1989, and again by 1992. And then blew it all infighting).

So no, Max Fisher’s tiny, cherry-picked, molested little data set doesn’t prove a damn thing. And he needs to get out more — and not to the hotel bars where the Post reporters usually write their stuff based on what their local stringers bring them.

We wonder if he makes them say, “yes, Master.”

Update, and a thought

Compare the frightful performance of the US media with the performance of the state-controlled Ukrainian media and it;s not too different; here’s a recounting of a couple of young Ukrainian activists’ encounter with their own Piers-Morgan-like shill newsreader.

A thought: however the young rebels feel about the events of the last weeks, tomorrow will dawn on a Ukraine still surrounded by Russian power, and still divided ethnically, politically and now, in loyalties. There are several paths forward from here, but they’re all difficult.

Update II

Part of the backlash is a call for a gun rights constitutional amendment in Ukraine. Sounds like an idea whose time has come. Peace, out, as the hippies say.

8 thoughts on “Another reporter concern-trolling the Ukrainian protesters’ arms

  1. Yank lll

    Amazing, the nerve of the Quisling Cult..
    Imagine the concept of being a winning victim because you refused to resist your oppressor effectively just to maintain the moral high ground so they can bury you under it…

    Too bad the VC didn’t believe in his horse shit. I cant imagine not shooting at someone who is shooting at you.. makes no difference who it might be, the concept is pure lunacy.
    It appears he is trying to create a foundation for the stupid to not fight back here should we ever get pissed off enough to say No More.. should that ever happen it wont be anything like rocks and stones.

    Yank lll

  2. AlanH

    Max Fisher’s “research” is probably a third rate version of Erica Chenoweth’s second-rate writing that has proven absolute Molly for the foreign policy wonks and peace institutes. That’s right, the renowed Erica of TED talk renown, whose article/book “Why Civil Resistance Works.” “In December 2013, Foreign Policy named Chenoweth one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of the year “for proving Gandhi right,” noting her work on providing evidence for the efficacy of nonviolent political movements.”

    If you read that last sentence you’ll get the drift of the meme: “Violence fails and only peaceful demonstrations and such lead to success.” She, and the people who’ve showered her with awards for her thesis, apparently never heard of the Indian National Army, missed the Russian Revolution, Iraq, Afghanistan, and myriad other significant successful uses of violence to gain political results. Mao? Hitler? The president of the local Iron Workers’ Local? I’ve read her work carefully. It is stunning (or typical?) that her work is called ‘research.’ But don’t take my word for it. Max Fisher is a pale copy.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Yes, nonviolence, because everybody knows that the Partition of India in 1947 was acompanied by bouquets all round, with Nehru and Jinna smiling “namaste” and “salaam” at each other… [Heavenly Music UP, fade to titles ovet pictures of gamboling kittens, and Benetton children holding hands…]

      God (whichever!) deliver us from dewy-eyed Acela Corridor “experts” who can give a good TED talk but can’t even be relied on to hunker down in the center of the wagon circle and reload our Winchester 73s with the other girl children.

      Of course, the same set of usual suspects is still assigning Rigoberta Menchu’s book to defenseless freshmen.

  3. RobRoySimmons

    Violence works, the Left has proven it beyond a doubt. What these vermin mean to say is a rif off of cultural Marxism meant to keep the American Prole confused. A lefty is probably about two good probing questions from resorting to violence or at least thinking about it, I personally never buy their act. But its what we deserve when we allow them a hint of being morally superior, doubt on our side, encouragement for them.

  4. Aesop

    Notably, Gandhi had the wit to try pacifism with the British, and not against the Germans, Russians, Japanese, or Chinese, just for alternative examples.

    People like Fisher who can’t do that math are well-advised to re-watch the after-films of the Holocaust and tapes of the goings on at Tiananmen Square in 1989 until the penny drops.

    The speed course is to hand them a set of tie-dyed rompers and a protest sign, and helpfully drop them in front of gas-masked bumbling National Guard troops amidst a fog of CS gas, just before someone decides to open fire.

    It doesn’t necessarily make them smarter, but it has an excellent prospect of reducing their subsequent journalistic logorrhea to a level that comports with one’s own sense of harmony.

  5. 6pounder

    Soooooo, if Americans had had left their guns at home and staged peaceful demonstrations in the 1770s then we would have won our independence from England instead of still being a colony?

    1. Bill K

      Har! Just like in 1947, those same British were so willing to let the Jews declare independence with nary a shot, except as served in the King David Hotel.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Two of the most interesting guerilla or underground organizations ever were the Irgun and the Stern gang. Both of them produced future Israeli prime ministers, something that no one would’ve expected during the two decade plus era of labor party domination.

        A very good book, long out of print, covers the assassination of the British High Commissioner in Palestine, whom I believe was Lord Moyne. It’s called The Deed, and it’s by Gerald …something.

        They also found a pretty direct way to get the British to stop hanging their people.

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