Tensions Between US & Russia Are Worse Than You Realize – Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

“I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.”

 

– Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

Despite an interest in geopolitics, I haven’t really written anything on the concerning and worsening tension between the government of the United States and the government of Russia. I intentionally wrote government twice in order to emphasize the fact that 99.9% of Americans do not have real grievances with actual Russian people, and vice versa. This is a high-level conflict between powerful “leaders” playing a game of Risk with average citizen as pawns. This is how it’s always been. As human beings, we should never lose sight of this so the mistakes we make in the future aren’t nearly as tragic as those made by our ancestors.

One disconcerting thing I have noticed amongst some “liberty-minded” people I follow, is a knee-jerk tendency to pick a side in this affair. When it comes to powerful men running centralized nation-states with nuclear weapons, there are no church boys involved. I have noticed a desire to defend Russia every step of the way in what appears to be a simple-minded emotional reflex birthed in justifiable disgust with what they see happening in their home nations (the U.S. and UK in particular).

This behavior has always made me uncomfortable, and reminds me very much of how people get upset with one fake political party and then vote for the other guy simply because they are not a Democrat or a Republican. The best choice is to accept they are both useless and not vigorously defend either party. I take the same tact when it comes to battles between nation-states. Just because I am disgusted and horrified with what is happening in these United States, doesn’t mean I need to slavishly defend Russia, Vladimir Putin or pick any sides in a conflict in which the primary losers will always be powerless civilians.

I’ve never been to Russia, thus my opinion of the country is basically worthless. Nevertheless, based on what I have read and observed, I’d still much rather live in the U.S. than Russia despite all of our society’s failings and decay in recent decades. While this view could certainly change as time and events unfold, that is how I strongly feel at the moment. Putin is by all accounts an authoritarian cult-like leader who wants to ban Bitcoin, journalism can be a deadly affair, and oligarchs continue to run free (as long as you are friends with Putin). Recall my recent post: American Upper Middle Class Share of Wealth is Worse than Every Country Besides Russia and Indonesia. Yes, “besides Russia and Indonesia.” Russia is no economic utopia.

Nevertheless, this piece isn’t meant to be a pointless debate about which overly-centralized, archaic and corrupt nation-state is better than the other. Neither place has a political or economic structure that even comes close to providing a fertile environment in which human existence can reach its highest potential. Rather, both nation-states are controlled by a small group of ambitious, authoritarian and, when necessary, ruthless and violent men and women. That said, there are two reasons I think the following remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are so important.

First, as someone who spends much of his time analyzing and critiquing the many destructive policy decisions made by American “leaders,” I was shocked to find how accurate his description of the U.S. power structure’s mindset seems to be. He gets it, and he is more or less trying to warn the world that America’s leaders are basically power-drunk children. I concur.

Second, Lavrov also describes the negative impact that this behavior has had on the Russian psyche generally. He expresses dismay that the U.S. status quo sees the world as unipolar, and attempts to tackle every problem from the perspective that might is right. In no uncertain terms, Lavrov makes it clear that Russia will not stand for this. I don’t think the Russians are bluffing, so this is a very dangerous situation.

If there was actually someone in the U.S. State Department capable of such introspective and clear thinking, we might actually diffuse this situation. Don’t hold your breath.

Here are some excerpts from Mr. Lavrov’s remarks at the XXII Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy in Moscow on November 22, 2014. The whole thing can be found here, which I strongly suggesting reading in full.

I’m happy to be at this annual Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy (Russian abbreviation SVOP). It is always a great pleasure for me to meet people and feel the intellectual potential, which enables the Council, its leaders and representatives to respond to global developments and analyse them. Their analysis is always free from any hysteria, and its members offer well-grounded and solid arguments, taking a step back, since those caught in the midst of events can hardly adopt an unbiased perspective. We are inevitably influenced by the developments, which makes your observations, analysis, discourse and suggestions even more valuable to us.

 

Naturally, I will start with Ukraine. Long before the country was plunged into the crisis, there was a feeling in the air that Russia’s relations with the EU and with the West were about to reach their moment of truth. It was clear that we could no longer continue to put issues in our relations on the back burner and that a choice had to be made between a genuine partnership or, as the saying goes, “breaking pots.” It goes without saying that Russia opted for the former alternative, while unfortunately our Western partners settled for the latter, whether consciously or not. In fact, they went all out in Ukraine and supported extremists, thereby giving up their own principles of democratic regime change. What came out of it was an attempt to play chicken with Russia, to see who blinks first. As bullies say, they wanted to Russia to “chicken out” (I can’t find a better word for it), to force us to swallow the humiliation of Russians and native speakers of Russian in Ukraine.

 

Honourable Leslie Gelb, whom you know all too well, wrote that Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU had nothing to do with inviting Ukraine to join the EU and was aimed in the short term at preventing it from joining the Customs Union. This is what an impartial and unbiased person said. When they deliberately decided to go down the path of escalation in Ukraine, they forgot many things, and had a clear understanding of how such moves would be viewed in Russia. They forgot the advice of, say, Otto von Bismarck, who had said that disparaging the millions-strong great Russian people would be the biggest political mistake.

 

President Vladimir Putin said the other day that no one in history has yet managed to subjugate Russia to its influence. This is not an assessment, but a statement of fact. Yet such an attempt has been made to quench the thirst for expanding the geopolitical space under Western control, out of a mercantile fear to lose the spoils of what they across the Atlantic had persuaded themselves was the victory in the Cold War.

 

The plus of today’s situation is that everything has clicked into its place and the calculus behind the West’s actions has been revealed despite its professed readiness to build a security community, a common European home. To quote (singer/song-writer) Bulat Okudzhava, “The past is getting clearer and clearer.” The clarity is becoming more tangible. Today our task is not only to sort out the past (although that must be done), but most importantly, to think about the future.

 

Talks about Russia’s isolation do not merit serious discussion. I need hardly dwell on this before this audience. Of course, one can damage our economy, and damage is being done, but only by doing harm to those who are taking corresponding measures and, equally important, destroying the system of international economic relations, the principles on which it is based. Formerly, when sanctions were applied (I worked at the Russian mission to the UN at the time) our Western partners, when discussing the DPRK, Iran or other states, said that it was necessary to formulate the restrictions in such a way as to keep within humanitarian limits and not to cause damage to the social sphere and the economy, and to selectively target only the elite. Today everything is the other way around: Western leaders are publicly declaring that the sanctions should destroy the economy and trigger popular protests. So, as regards the conceptual approach to the use of coercive measures the West unequivocally demonstrates that it does not merely seek to change Russian policy (which in itself is illusory), but it seeks to change the regime — and practically nobody denies this.

 

We hear the daily repeated mantra that Washington is aware of its own exclusiveness and its duty to bear this burden, to lead the rest of the world. Rudyard Kipling spoke about “the white man’s burden.” I hope that this is not what drives Americans. The world today is not white or black, but multi-coloured and heterogeneous. Leadership in this world can be assured not by persuading oneself of one’ exclusiveness and God-given duty to be responsible for everyone, but only by the ability and craft in forming a consensus. If the US partners committed their power to this goal, this would be priceless, and Russia would be actively helping them.

 

However, so far, US administrative resources still work only in the NATO framework, and then with substantial reservations, and its writ does not reach beyond the North Atlantic Alliance. One proof of this is the results of US attempts to make the world community follow its line in connection with the anti-Russian sanctions and principles. I have spoken about it more than once and we have ample proof of the fact that American ambassadors and envoys across the world seek meetings at the highest level to argue that the corresponding countries are obliged to punish Russia together with them or else face the consequences. This is done with regard to all countries, including our closest allies (this speaks volumes about the kind of analysts Washington has). An overwhelming majority of the states with which we have a continuing dialogue without any restrictions and isolation, as you see, value Russia’s independent role in the international arena. Not because they like it when somebody challenges the Americans, but because they realize that the world order will not be stable if nobody is allowed to speak his mind (although privately the overwhelming majority do express their opinion, but they do not want to do so publicly for fear of Washington’s reprisals).

 

Many reasonable analysts understand that there is a widening gap between the global ambitions of the US Administration and the country’s real potential. The world is changing and, as has always happened in history, at some point somebody’s influence and power reach their peak and then somebody begins to develop still faster and more effectively. One should study history and proceed from realities. The seven developing economies headed by BRICS already have a bigger GDP than the Western G7. One should proceed from the facts of life, and not from a misconceived sense of one’s own grandeur.

 

In attempting to establish their pre-eminence at a time when new economic, financial and political power centers are emerging, the Americans provoke counteraction in keeping with Newton’s third law and contribute to the emergence of structures, mechanisms, and movements that seek alternatives to the American recipes for solving the pressing problems. I am not referring to anti-Americanism, still less about forming coalitions spearheaded against the United States, but only about the natural wish of a growing number of countries to secure their vital interests and do it the way they think right, and not what they are told “from across the pond.” Nobody is going to play anti-US games just to spite the United States. We face attempts and facts of extra-territorial use of US legislation, the kidnapping of our citizens in spite of existing treaties with Washington whereby these issues are to be resolved through law enforcement and judicial bodies.

 

According to its doctrine of national security, the United States has the right to use force anywhere, anytime without necessarily asking the UN Security Council for approval. A coalition against the Islamic State was formed unbeknownst to the Security Council. I asked Secretary of State John Kerry why have not they gone to the UN Security Council for this.

 

Francis Fukuyama recently wrote the book, Political Order and Political Decay, in which he argues that the efficiency of public administration in the United States is declining and the traditions of democratic governance are gradually being replaced with feudal fiefdom ruling methods. This is part of the discussion about someone who lives in a glass house and throws stones.

Indeed, describing, lamenting and suggesting remedies for the above is basically what Liberty Blitzkrieg is all about. Don’t forget, an academic study from Princeton and Northwestern already proved the U.S. is nothing more than an oligarchy. See: New Report from Princeton and Northwestern Proves It: The U.S. is an Oligarchy.

So far, those who are not guided by real problems, but rather by a desire to quickly grab things from freshly turned up ground. It is deplorable. Exporting revolutions – be they democratic, communist or others – never brings any good.

 

I can’t fail to mention Russia’s comprehensive partnership with China. Important bilateral decisions have been taken, paving the way to an energy alliance between Russia and China. But there’s more to it. We can now even talk about the emerging technology alliance between the two countries. Russia’s tandem with Beijing is a crucial factor for ensuring international stability and at least some balance in international affairs, as well as ensuring the rule of international law. We will make full use of our relations with India and Vietnam, Russia’s strategic partners, as well as the ASEAN countries. We are also open to expanding cooperation with Japan, if our Japanese neighbours can look at their national interests and stop looking back at some overseas powers.

 

There is no doubt that the European Union is our largest collective partner. No one intends to “shoot himself in the foot” by renouncing cooperation with Europe, although it is now clear that business as usual is no longer an option. This is what our European partners are telling us, but neither do we want to operate the old way. They believed that Russia owed them something, while we want to be on an equal footing. For this reason, things will never be the same again. That said, I’m confident that we will be able to overcome this period, lessons will be learned and a new foundation for our relations will emerge.

The similarities to the period just before WWI are indeed striking, as Niall Ferguson noted in an excellent Op-Ed in August. Hopefully we can be smarter this go around.

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Leveraged Algorithm's picture

Lets just worry about Ferguson.....

Publicus's picture

Like an unstoppable force, World War 3 is coming. Have your house in order.

Paveway IV's picture

 

"...Hopefully we can be smarter this go around..."

“To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.”  - Friedrich Nietzsche

Anusocracy's picture

Russia is closer to creating a NWO.

The US is closer to creating a NWO.

It is not whether one or the other is better, but which one is the most dangerous.

TeamDepends's picture

Remember Zemir Begic!!! While Michael Brown was maybe, possibly, maybe the victim of racism; Begic was attacked by hammer-wielding savages solely because the color of his skin. He died defending his wife.

Frolf's picture

Looks like we're gonna need a clean up on eisle three

kliguy38's picture

this is diplomatic speech for "this shits gonna get real" and make no mistake no one wins at this game

Ignatius's picture

As I was reading this very rational evaluation and offer to 'cool things out',  a delusional neocon voice echoing in my head was heard replying to Lavrov "So it's war you want, is it."

Dangerous times, indeed.

Mister Ponzi's picture

Journalism can be a deadly affair in the U.S. as well. See the example of Michael Hastings.

Headbanger's picture

Publicus is right "While Obama Prepares for War With White Americans..

Russia Prepares for World War III"

http://johngaltfla.com/wordpress/2014/12/01/while-obama-prepares-for-war...

Again.  Obama WANTS Ferguson to explode into a nation wide race war so he can declare Martial Law that suspends the Constitution thus allowing him to stay in Office indefinitely!

Keyser's picture

The difference is that Putin has a backbone... Barry, meh, not so much... Now where is that red line again?

zhandax's picture

Barry is a paid puppet, Putin is a leader.  Explains all the humorous picture contrasts.

cnmcdee's picture

Sorry to have to post this all over but it must be warned.

A DIRTY NUKE WILL TAKE OUT 5 CITY BLOCKS OF CHICAGO in the spring of 2015, by the US government itself!
  - Iran will be blamed as the perpetrators and the public will DEMAND the nuking of Iran in retaliation (which to the benefit of the Globalist interest's they will gleefully comply).
  - Iran oil facilities will be taken off line by bombing reducing 2 million barrels of day of production to get oil prices back up.
 -  Russia will loose there only major ally (Iran) from the strikes.  They will be unable to stop the US strikes as the US will have the political currency required for this attack since from the public and international perspective the US was hit first.
 -  Canada will be annexed in a back room deal as a result of this attack - being blamed for allowing the 'Iranian terrorists' into the country, and also as a punishment for Harper setting up trade deals with China bypassing the US dollar.
 - The US will default on it's debt eventually (by the fall??)!!  International investors will also get a back room deal for pennies on the dollar.
 - The US will be under emergency police powers (not called martial law) this will be the answer to all future riots and uprisings.
 - All 401K's will be frozen, bank balances and stocks over a certain value will be frozen.  It will be called the 'Obama Freeze' - thus all US citizens will have their assets frozen inside the country preventing a bank run (captive citizens / captive investors.)
 - Once the US defaults on it's debts  some time by the fall of 2015 the timing is not exactly known - international investment into the country will halt, and by this eventually cease.  The US will be desperate for investments and this will cause interest rates to skyrocket.  Unlocked mortgages will skyrocket in tandem with people walking on their homes, causing a real estate price collapse in excess of what happened in 2008.
 - This false flag must be conducted in the spring to give a good bombing window to run it's course through the summer.  Iran is mountainous and stormy making a bombing campaign difficult in the winter.

Israel will be an ally in this coming strike, and will also be using nuclear warheads against Iran. When they do this every regional Muslin nation will be unified and launch war against Israel.

But what the US does not know is that in the fall of 2015 a tsunami about 300 ft high is going to strike the West coast of America and cripple her.  She will be unable to help Israel as a half dozen nations will declare full war against Israel and what happened to Iran.

THE ONLY ESCAPE VEHICLE IS PHYSICAL GOLD.  When there is nowhere to invest because the stock market tanks from these events by the fall of 2015,  and the government is defaulting on debt,  the banks have frozen accounts, and real estate prices are collapsing because of shock interest rates from the coming default - THE ONLY ESCAPE VEHICLE WILL BE PHYSICAL GOLD.  While prices will fall on everything  denominated under the US dollar 40-80% gold will appreciate 250%.

If you buy $100,000 in physical today it will have 10X the purchasing power by the winter of 2015 ($1,000,000).

ZippyBananaPants's picture

So you have turned $100,000 into one million, but when one million dollars in paper money is worth one tenth or $100,000 what have you really done?

cnmcdee's picture

You missed it.  You buy 1000 ounces of gold for $130,000.  2015 comes and all the crap that goes with it., prices fall on everything but gold appreciates as the only escape vehicle and 'investment of desperation'.  Now your 1000 ounces of gold are worth $250,000 street value.  However everything has fallen dramatically in price.  Because the US has defaulted on it's debt, causing shock interest rates the $800,000 house now sells for $150,000 let's say.  So you sell half your gold and buy the $800,000 house for 500 ounces with half remaining to still spend.. Make better sense?

A82EBA's picture

I'd rather buy a houseboat to avoid property taxes on $800k house

 

What will cause the psunami?

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Please check your math. One thousand ounces of gold at $1300 per would be $1,300,000.

Mad Muppet's picture

I can see someone has been spending a bit too much time hanging out with Alex Jones and Dave Hodges. I'd love to see your tin-foil collection.

jedclampet's picture

Interesting but need some sources. Not that i don't believe you :)

MrButtoMcFarty's picture

If it is a Race War they want....It is a Race War they shall lose.

gimme-gimme-gimme's picture

The USA has shit all over where they eat and sleep, and now that it's filled with all that shit, they want to shit all over where Russia eats and sleeps.

This has nothing to do with NWO. It only has to do with how much the USA can steal to keep the ponzi going a little longer for the country and people as a whole.

Lore's picture

You just summarized the NWO: the pursuit of a steeper, more stable, less ethical pyramid: basically, Heaven for psychopaths.

jeff montanye's picture

not sure about less ethical, but steeper pyramids would seem to be less stable.

here's hoping.

Lore's picture

Absolutely, less ethical: psychopathically so.

Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes

"Top sucks from bottom until there is nothing left to suck."

layers's picture

Great cite of Andrew Lobaczewski's book. It describes exactly what happened back 'then' and where we are, or more importantly where we might going. Nazi Germany was a 'dry run' folks... IMHO.

Nexus789's picture

I guess Russia and China don't want to eat, sleep and shit as underdogs to the US.

noben's picture
noben (not verified) Anusocracy Dec 2, 2014 12:48 AM

I'd settle for a BWO:  a Better World Order than the f*cked up shite we have now.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Im just glad someone like kreiger is making the point i have been trying to make here for a while now- you don't need to pick sides in this usgov vs russia shitshow. It is possible to be amused at how foolish the obama admin looks in all this without glorifying putin as some great advocate of freedom. He isnt, and its offputting to hear a mostly libertarian/minarchist/anarchist crowd cheer the guy on. Sure, Putin is playing the game better than Obama, but I certainly don't want him ruling over me. This is as silly as the red team/blue team arguements people get in sometimes, but Ill spell it out again : YOU DON"T HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER

besnook's picture

there is no picking of sides in this conflict. i am american. i am for the usa. i am not for the current usa .gov. it is on the wrong side of history. if the neocons continue their ignorance and/or arrogance in the face of history on this self destructive path then i am all for putin, or anyone else, helping to put these neocon crazies back in the basement where they belong so we can have our usa back where it belongs. if putin rolls into dc atop a tank i will cheer for him. if he stays i will kill him.

jeff montanye's picture

poetic license, but well written.

it's not that putin is so good but who else is opposing the metasticizing menace that is the u.s. national government, particularly since 9-11 (although the philippines, central america and vietnam were especially shameful)?

you take them where you can find them.

Latina Lover's picture

I agree wth the overall tenor of the article.

Contrary to mindless Ukie troll opinion,  I am not a FSB agent working for the Kremlin.  Instead I am an American disgusted with our endless foreign wars and aggressions . 

 

BlindMonkey's picture

I am mostly in the pro-russia camp. I believe that Russia would prefer to simply conduct commerce and get on with life. The U.S. is dangerously trying to keep the petrodollar King. They will fail and very likely plunge the world into war. Too bad we have to live through this shit.

sleigher's picture

You have to look at the brighter side of things like world war.  Yes it is going to be difficult.  But think of all the wrongs you will be able to make right in the chaos.

Big Corked Boots's picture

"the brighter side of... world war."

Yes, tell us stories of bravery, camaraderie and of the glory that will come to the victors.

Two Theives and a Liar's picture

Not sure any wrongs can be "righted" in a multi-thousand megaton nuclear winter...unless you think the human species very existence is "wrong".

BlindMonkey's picture

"Dahlburg reported from Kiev."

 

 


MrPalladium's picture

"Sure, Putin is playing the game better than Obama, but I certainly don't want him ruling over me."

To my knowledge, nobody at ZH wants Putin to rule over us. We just want him to make it imposssible for the U.S. to continue its policy of endless war.

To the extent Putin does this he is pursuing the interests of both Russia and the people (as opposed to the elites and .gov) of the U.S.

Russia just wants to do business, and thus its counter weight to the insane U.S. foreign policy of world domination is a win for both Russia and America.

hobopants's picture

Putin cannot solve the cultural disaster at the root of the US's problems, until there is a change in the mindset of the people the show goes on. Putin is not a super hero, and the only result of escalating tensions between our two countries is a nasty war, not liberty and justice for all.

We put too much of the blame on the Elite here, and not enough on the people around us, the enablers, no Russian politician is going to fix that problem. It has to be handled at home.

 

tvdog's picture

A major military defeat would make war less palatable to the American people.

Nexus789's picture

There would be no one let to express a view. 

Lea's picture

"We put too much of the blame on the Elite here, and not enough on the people around us, the enablers, no Russian politician is going to fix that problem. It has to be handled at home."

Absolutely right, only you can't. Your divisive culture prevents it. America is a place where everyone wants to be a winner and where no-one wants to sacrifice one inch to the common good. Think of an orchestra: for there to be harmony, everyone must play the same tune. In the USA, what you have is a cacophony, because each musician wants to play his own tune - fuck what the others are playing - loud enough to cover everyone else. They don't even believe in the obvious: submitting to the will of the majority in support of the common good.
A country where one single voice can be as loud as the will of millions, and get its way against masses of people, is bound to remain a hopeless headache because of an ongoing, never-ending battle of conflicting egos, tiny lobbies, associations, minorities, feminists, etc, calling into question every dratted decision or agreement. And on, and on, and on... nothing is ever settled, nor can it be.

Compare it with what Putin says : "In Russia live Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, should speak Russian, and should respect the Russian laws. If they prefer Shari'ya Law, then we advise them to go to those places where that's the state law. Russia does not need minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell 'discrimination'".
In Russia, this applies to every minority: racial, religious, ethnic, sexual, etc. In America, that is viewed as unspeakable "fascism", when it's only common sense every Russian (well, over 85%) agree with. If you don't want your society to crumble under the weight of internal divisions, keep it together. One rule, one law, no different treatments, the same rights, duties, benefits and opportunities apply to all.

Only, Russia is a cohesive society. Biiiiiiig difference.  

localizer's picture

@MrPalladium - really well put, mate! Agree completely with your line of thought. Insane NWO policies must be stopped or it will lead to a global disaster whereby NOBODY is a winner... in that sense Putin (and to some extent the BRICS) are the hope of humanity, as strange as it may sound...

hobopants's picture

@ Greenskeeper_carl

I'm with you on this one, posting this article was a step in the right direction for ZH. Too many great contributors down here have gotten the ban hammer, or simply left over this particular issue. You shouldn't be Pro-anything except critical thought, and this nationalistic cheerleading bullshit needs to stop. Step away from the pom-poms.

Ginsengbull's picture

Perhaps they are two sides of the same coin, playing us against each other.

 

0bama could have been indoctrinated by the KGB.

old naughty's picture

two sides of the same coin; or two different coins...no matter. Playing us against each other is exactly what the ptb wants/needs.

Indoctrinated by the KGB would make him think like Put-in...doubt that he had the capacity.

Teleprom-puppet is what he is.

Having said that...This is a great piece that delivered the needed punch, hopefully, to shake up many of us who would toe the nationalistic line. that was perhaps the biggest culprit for both world wars behind (real-ly?) us.

Not having high hope tho.

lakecity55's picture

At this point, that may be good, since he would be told to take a dive in a war scenario, thus avoiding nuke attacks. Later, we can toss him out and into jail.

 

bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

Yes you do need to pick a side, logic and reason demand it. You just dont like what your reason picks for a side, if reason you still have.