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[Sep 18, 2019] The specter of Marx haunts the American ruling class - World Socialist Web Site

Nov 06, 2018 | www.wsws.org
White House report on socialism

Last month, the Council of Economic Advisers, an agency of the Trump White House, released an extraordinary report titled "The Opportunity Costs of Socialism." The report begins with the statement: "Coincident with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, socialism is making a comeback in American political discourse. Detailed policy proposals from self-declared socialists are gaining support in Congress and among much of the younger electorate."

The very fact that the US government officially acknowledges a growth of popular support for socialism, particularly among the nation's youth, testifies to vast changes taking place in the political consciousness of the working class and the terror this is striking within the ruling elite. America is, after all, a country where anti-communism was for the greater part of a century a state-sponsored secular religion. No ruling class has so ruthlessly sought to exclude socialist politics from political discourse as the American ruling class.

The 70-page document is itself an inane right-wing screed. It seeks to discredit socialism by identifying it with capitalist countries such as Venezuela that have expanded state ownership of parts of the economy while protecting private ownership of the banks, and, with the post-2008 collapse of oil and other commodity prices, increasingly attacked the living standards of the working class.

It identifies socialism with proposals for mild social reform such as "Medicare for all," raised and increasingly abandoned by a section of the Democratic Party. It cites Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher to promote the virtues of "economic freedom," i.e., the unrestrained operation of the capitalist market, and to denounce all social reforms, business regulations, tax increases or anything else that impinges on the oligarchy's self-enrichment.

The report's arguments and themes find expression in the fascistic campaign speeches of Donald Trump, who routinely and absurdly attacks the Democrats as socialists and accuses them of seeking to turn America into another "socialist" Venezuela.

What has prompted this effort to blackguard socialism?

A series of recent polls in the US and Europe have shown a sharp growth of popular disgust with capitalism and support for socialism. In May of 2017, in a survey conducted by the Union of European Broadcasters of people aged 18 to 35, more than half said they would participate in a "large-scale uprising." Nine out of 10 agreed with the statement, "Banks and money rule the world."

Last November, a poll conducted by YouGov showed that 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 29 would prefer to live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country.

In August of this year, a Gallup poll found that for the first time since the organization began tracking the figure, fewer than half of Americans aged 18–29 had a positive view of capitalism, while more than half had a positive view of socialism. The percentage of young people viewing capitalism positively fell from 68 percent in 2010 to 45 percent this year, a 23-percentage point drop in just eight years.

This surge in interest in socialism is bound up with a resurgence of class struggle in the US and internationally. In the United States, the number of major strikes so far this year, 21, is triple the number in 2017. The ruling class was particularly terrified by the teachers' walkouts earlier this year because the biggest strikes were organized by rank-and-file educators in a rebellion against the unions, reflecting the weakening grip of the pro-corporate organizations that have suppressed the class struggle for decades.

The growth of the class struggle is an objective process that is driven by the global crisis of capitalism , which finds its most acute social and political expression in the center of world capitalism -- the United States. It is the class struggle that provides the key to the fight for genuine socialism.

Masses of workers and youth are being driven into struggle and politically radicalized by decades of uninterrupted war and the staggering growth of social inequality. This process has accelerated during the 10 years since the Wall Street crash of 2008. The Obama years saw the greatest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in history, the escalation of the wars begun under Bush and their spread to Libya, Syria and Yemen, and the intensification of mass surveillance, attacks on immigrants and other police state measures.

This paved the way for the elevation of Trump, the personification of the criminality and backwardness of the ruling oligarchy.

Under conditions where the typical CEO in the US now makes in a single day almost as much as the average worker makes in an entire year, and the net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans has doubled over the past decade, the working class is looking for a radical alternative to the status quo. As the Socialist Equality Party wrote in its program eight years ago, " The Breakdown of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism in the United States ":

The change in objective conditions, however, will lead American workers to change their minds. The reality of capitalism will provide workers with many reasons to fight for a fundamental and revolutionary change in the economic organization of society.

The response of the ruling class is two-fold. First, the abandonment of bourgeois democratic forms of rule and the turn toward dictatorship. The run-up to the midterm elections has revealed the advanced stage of these preparations, with Trump's fascistic attacks on immigrants, deployment of troops to the border, threats to gun down unarmed men, women and children seeking asylum, and his pledge to overturn the 14th Amendment establishing birthright citizenship.

That this has evoked no serious opposition from the Democrats and the media makes clear that the entire ruling class is united around a turn to authoritarianism. Indeed, the Democrats are spearheading the drive to censor the internet in order to silence left-wing and socialist opposition.

The second response is to promote phony socialists such as Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and other pseudo-left organizations in order to confuse the working class and channel its opposition back behind the Democratic Party.

In 2018, with Sanders totally integrated into the Democratic Party leadership, this role has been largely delegated to the DSA, which functions as an arm of the Democrats. Two DSA members, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Rashida Tlaib in Detroit, are likely to win seats in the House of Representatives as candidates of the Democratic Party.

The closer they come to taking office, the more they seek to distance themselves from their supposed socialist affiliation. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, joined Sanders in eulogizing the recently deceased war-monger John McCain, refused to answer when asked if she opposed the US wars in the Middle East, and dropped her campaign call for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The working class and youth are increasingly looking for a socialist alternative, but their understanding of socialism and its history is limited. Here the role of the revolutionary party, the Socialist Equality Party, is critical. It alone seeks to arm the emerging mass movement of the working class with a genuine revolutionary, socialist and internationalist program.

The SEP fights to mobilize and unite the working class in the US and internationally in opposition to the entire ruling elite and all of its bribed politicians and parties. As our program explains:

But socialism will be achieved only through the establishment of workers' power. This will be a difficult struggle Socialism is not a gift to be given to the working class. It must be fought for and won by the working class itself.

The task facing workers and youth looking for the way to fight against war, inequality, poverty and repression is to join and build the Socialist Equality Party to lead the coming mass struggles of the working class.

Barry Grey

[Sep 10, 2019] The idea tha the USA won the Cold War is questionable

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As early as the late 1940's, some of us living in Russia saw that the regime was becoming dangerously remote from the concerns and hopes of the Russian people. The original ideological and emotional motivation of Russian Communism had worn itself out and become lost in the exertions of the great war. And there was already apparent a growing generational gap in the regime. ..."
"... By the time Stalin died, in 1953, even many Communist Party members had come to see his dictatorship as grotesque, dangerous and unnecessary, and there was a general impression that far-reaching changes were in order. ..."
"... Nikita Khrushchev took the leadership in the resulting liberalizing tendencies. He was in his crude way a firm Communist, but he was not wholly unopen to reasonable argument. His personality offered the greatest hope for internal political liberalization and relaxation of international tensions. ..."
"... The more America's political leaders were seen in Moscow as committed to an ultimate military rather than political resolution of Soviet-American tensions, the greater was the tendency in Moscow to tighten the controls by both party and police, and the greater the braking effect on all liberalizing tendencies in the regime. Thus the general effect of cold war extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980's.... ..."
"... In the competition between major powers and/or alliances there are several somewhat complementary aspects of power: economic or physical aspect to create things of "value" (added by the commerce and industry of the entity), the military power, and moral aspects of the entity in terms of political and cultural resolve and unity. ..."
Sep 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 07, 2019 at 07:23 AM

https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/09/note-to-self-_the-ten-americans-who-did-the-most-to-win-the-cold-war-hoisted-from-the-archiveshttpswwwbradford-de.html

September 5, 2019

Note to Self: The Ten Americans Who Did the Most to Win the Cold War *

Harry Dexter White... George Kennan... George Marshall... Arthur Vandenberg... Paul Hoffman... Dean Acheson... Harry S Truman... Dwight D. Eisenhower... Gerald Ford... George Shultz

* https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/02/note-the-ten-americans-who-did-the-most-to-win-the-cold-war-archive-entry-from-brad-delongs-webjournal.html

-- Brad DeLong

anne -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 07:24 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/28/opinion/the-gop-won-the-cold-war-ridiculous.html

October 28, 1992

The G.O.P. Won the Cold War? Ridiculous.
By George F. Kennan

The claim heard in campaign rhetoric that the United States under Republican Party leadership "won the cold war" is intrinsically silly.

The suggestion that any Administration had the power to influence decisively the course of a tremendous domestic political upheaval in another great country on another side of the globe is simply childish. No great country has that sort of influence on the internal developments of any other one.

As early as the late 1940's, some of us living in Russia saw that the regime was becoming dangerously remote from the concerns and hopes of the Russian people. The original ideological and emotional motivation of Russian Communism had worn itself out and become lost in the exertions of the great war. And there was already apparent a growing generational gap in the regime.

These thoughts found a place in my so-called X article in Foreign Affairs in 1947, from which the policy of containment is widely seen to have originated. This perception was even more clearly expressed in a letter from Moscow written in 1952, when I was Ambassador there, to H. Freeman Matthews, a senior State Department official, excerpts from which also have been widely published. There were some of us to whom it was clear, even at that early date, that the regime as we had known it would not last for all time. We could not know when or how it would be changed; we knew only that change was inevitable and impending.

By the time Stalin died, in 1953, even many Communist Party members had come to see his dictatorship as grotesque, dangerous and unnecessary, and there was a general impression that far-reaching changes were in order.

Nikita Khrushchev took the leadership in the resulting liberalizing tendencies. He was in his crude way a firm Communist, but he was not wholly unopen to reasonable argument. His personality offered the greatest hope for internal political liberalization and relaxation of international tensions.

The downing of the U-2 spy plane in 1960, more than anything else, put an end to this hope. The episode humiliated Khrushchev and discredited his relatively moderate policies. It forced him to fall back, for the defense of his own political position, on a more strongly belligerent anti-American tone of public utterance.

The U-2 episode was the clearest example of that primacy of military over political policy that soon was to become an outstanding feature of American cold war policy. The extreme militarization of American discussion and policy, as promoted by hard-line circles over the ensuing 25 years, consistently strengthened comparable hard-liners in the Soviet Union.

The more America's political leaders were seen in Moscow as committed to an ultimate military rather than political resolution of Soviet-American tensions, the greater was the tendency in Moscow to tighten the controls by both party and police, and the greater the braking effect on all liberalizing tendencies in the regime. Thus the general effect of cold war extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980's....

ilsm -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 08:28 AM
Very interesting observation.

In the competition between major powers and/or alliances there are several somewhat complementary aspects of power: economic or physical aspect to create things of "value" (added by the commerce and industry of the entity), the military power, and moral aspects of the entity in terms of political and cultural resolve and unity.

Early in my time in the service, when I had time to think being at a remote station I decided the west had the marked economic advantage, particularly as the green revolution permitted some higher level of nutrition security.

Later on I recall discussions where the collapse of the Soviet Union was assured but would take in to the 21st century to occur. The big question then was "would a nuclear exchange occur in the way of a peaceful collapse".....

The presence of the A Bomb in some ways prevented war in other encouraged intrigue and small scrapes in to each other's spheres.

There was a bit of the Divine in the world getting through the Cold War.

The Berlin wall came down as hoped but 25 years earlier than I expected.

Plp -> ilsm... , September 07, 2019 at 08:58 AM
Stalin built the party military complex that ran Russia from 1932 to 1989

Cold war liberals built uncle's post was military industrial complex as a counterpart to Stalin's

alas thanx to guys from wasp firms on Wall Street like Dean Acheson that knew the planet was ours to pluck post 1946

anne -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:14 AM
These are important comments, and deserve to be saved and gradually expanded on. I appreciate this.
ilsm -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:35 AM
As an aside the Ukraine farmers whom Stalin "collectivized" were seen as impediment to industrializing.......

interesting too, how LBJ kept guns and butter and went pedal to the metal in Vietnam......

politics has always (since June 1950, anyway) "ended when the pentagon appropriations bills were up for enacting".

Which may be synonymous with the proscription about politics kept out of diplomacy?

anne -> ilsm... , September 07, 2019 at 09:15 AM
Do save and develop this interesting thinking further over time.
Plp -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 08:46 AM
KENNAN Was a lucky guy. He hit the right notes at the right time and then as he got second thoughts and better vision. Like yugoslaving peoples China in 1949
He was side tracked and then sent out to ivy pastures
Plp -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 08:53 AM
U 2

Nonsense. The moment to engage was 1953 -54 and yes a goo regime blocked it

But it was Truman that crossed the parallel in 1950 and tried to liberate north Korea

It was Kennedy that preferred brinksmanship to real engagement. Brush wars and regime change to accommodation. Missile racing to sensible unilateralism

Yes LBJ was an ignorant oaf on foreign policy. But it was Nixon that finally used PRC as Yugo twenty years too late of course

The cold war was invented by democrats and exploited by republicans for domestic shindiggery. Tragicomedy cinescope scaled

EMichael -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:18 AM
Yes, very clever how democrats coerced Stalin into annexing eastern Europe and placing millions of people under total control in every way of life.

Your ideology trumps facts when needed.

ilsm -> EMichael... , September 07, 2019 at 09:39 AM
democrats + Truman and Churchill......

Had FDR survived the 3 western sectors of Germany would have been demilitarized, and agrarian.

Churchill conned Truman to use Potsdam as a replay of Munich!

Keenan's angst was the "militarized" usurped "containment".

Stalin may not have been replaying 1938........

Plp -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 08:37 AM
Pompous banality worthy of a tenured entitled utterly secure mind

I don't like or respect Brad but I do enjoy him ss a punching bag

Plp -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 08:39 AM
Nixon and Kissinger won the cold war For God sake. Everyone knows that

George Schultz and KENNAN?

Where's Joe McCarthy? And Paul Nitze

ilsm -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 08:51 AM
Where is Luce?

Truman and Acheson.... were there when Keenan went off to teach instead of be ignored.

Marshall aside from his plan, he and his Army staffers just off beating Hitler knew Chiang was not worth propping.

The Luce empire went all cold warrior over "who lost China" which gave Joe McCarthy a drum.

ilsm -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:27 AM
:<)

You could have no Cold War without the agitprop. As with the GWOT today.

The one no loser in the demise of the commies: the MIC!

ilsm -> Plp... , September 07, 2019 at 09:41 AM
As Vinegar Joe Stillwell observed.......

eventually Stillwell went.

anne -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 09:31 AM
Obviously since there is a determined American Cold War effort being waged right now, American historians were mistaken at the end of the 1980s. There had been no winning of the Cold War, nor even a clear and shared understanding of what the Cold War was about. If the Cold War was only about balancing the Soviet Union and developing economically far beyond the Soviet Union and Soviet ideas faltering, that happened. However, there was obviously more or with no Soviet Union to counter we would not now be taking policy steps to carry on the Cold War.

[Sep 09, 2019] Russians still wonder if perestroika was a curse or a blessing by ALEXANDROVA Lyudmila

Sep 09, 2019 | tass.com

Many voice conflicting judgments, but an impartial look back on history produces the unequivocal conclusion: yes, mistakes and shortcomings were many, but without perestroika the world would have never been what it is today MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. Thirty years after the Soviet leadership under Mikhail Gorbachev embarked on a policy of reforms that would go down in history under a name sounding very oddly to a foreign ear - perestroika - Russians are discussing those events of their country's recent history again. Many voice conflicting judgements, but an impartial look back on history produces the unequivocal conclusion: yes, mistakes and shortcomings were many, but without perestroika the world would have never been what it is today. On April 23, 1985 the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party gathered for its historic full-scale meeting to set course towards what was described as fundamental reorganization and acceleration of the Soviet Union's economic development after a long period of what was condemned as stagnation. The new course, originally expected to overhaul and invigorate the Soviet system, ended in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"The gist of what happened then was simple: at the very top a decision was a made the people are free to express their thought in public and for that they will neither risk losing their life or go to jail or even go jobless," says the founder of the Yabloko party, Grigory Yavlinsky. "There emerged the freedom of speech. The feeling of fear vanished. Full stop. All other processes that followed were nothing but consequences. The previous political system was built on falsehoods. The advent of truth caused a lethal effect on that system, and it fell apart."

"Perestroika's worst problem was there was no strategic planning. The reform plan and its end goal were very unclear all along," Sergey Filatov, the former chief of staff of Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin told TASS. "Without a plan the policy was doomed to fail."

And still, Filatov said, perestroika caused a tremendous impact: it triggered reforms and showed the people that changes were possible even under the old system.

"Perestroika was an intricate process," says Aleksei Makarkin, the first deputy president of the Political Technologies Centre. "It was first a belated attempt to reform the economy, then the ensuing chaos, and ultimately an attempt to defuse popular anger with political reform. The process eventually broke bounds. It all ended with the collapse of the country. Gorbachev merely tried to make that process controllable more or less," Makarkin told TASS.

Gorbachev was forced to launch economic reforms, because the main engine that kept the Soviet economy going was the export of oil. When oil prices slumped, something had to be done right away," Makarkin recalled. "His predecessors had drawn up no strategic plans. Nobody dared touch the system. Later, when some steps began to be taken at last, it turned out that no one had the slightest idea of how to go about that business. Conflicting decisions followed in quick succession. First, an attempt was made to speed up economic development and diversify the economy at a time when oil prices plummeted. In 1987 the attempt failed. Other remedies began to be tried. Some traces of a free market economy began to develop, such as cooperatives in the services and public catering. Some components of a controlled market economy cropped up."

The rapprochement with the West under Gorbachev was started with a far-reaching aim, Makarkin believes. In that situation the Soviet economy was no longer capable of carrying the burden of the Cold War and the arms race. "Without that no rapprochement might have ever happened. Also, there was the war in Afghanistan that had to be curtailed."

"In general, the Gorbachev era in home and foreign policies was that of haste, inconsistency, belated decisions and forced moves. In the meantime, the people's living standards slumped and protest sentiment soared. Attempts to woo the general public reached nowhere. In 1987-1988 social discontent soared and Boris Yeltsin emerged as its embodiment."

"Hoping to ease tensions in society political reforms were declared only to cause centrifugal processes," Makarkin recalls. "As a result, the Soviet republics began to drift ever farther apart - some before the August 1991 coup, and others after. A counter-attempt to create something like a federation or confederation drew strong objections from the hard-line conservatives, which led to the country's utter collapse.

But perestroika should not be painted only in dark colours, Makarkin said.

"One should remember that Gorbachev gave the people freedom - first, economic, and then political. For instance, the freedom to travel out of the country and back: something everybody takes for granted. It was under Gorbachev that the Church regained full legitimacy. Lastly, the freedom of speech, which has long become a fact of life."

"Also, Gorbachev largely takes the credit for avoiding a large-scale civil war and chaos and total chaos in a vast country, however tragic the unrest in Tbilisi, Vilnius and Nagorno-Karabakh of those days may still look these days. He decided against the extreme scenario implying the use of force, which many interpreted as a sign of weakness. It should be remembered: those who dared use force merely accelerated the country's collapse."

The policy of perestroika proclaimed in the Soviet Union in 1985 has caused more harm than good, say 55% of Russians, as follows from a Levada poll held in March. In contrast to this, ten years ago 70% said perestroika was a bad choice.

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[Sep 09, 2019] Obviously since there is a determined American Cold War effort being waged right now, American historians were mistaken at the end of the 1980s.

Notable quotes:
"... There had been no winning of the Cold War, nor even a clear and shared understanding of what the Cold War was about. ..."
"... If the Cold War was only about balancing the Soviet Union and developing economically far beyond the Soviet Union and Soviet ideas faltering, that happened. However, there was obviously more or with no Soviet Union to counter we would not now be taking policy steps to carry on the Cold War. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , September 07, 2019 at 09:31 AM

Obviously since there is a determined American Cold War effort being waged right now, American historians were mistaken at the end of the 1980s.

There had been no winning of the Cold War, nor even a clear and shared understanding of what the Cold War was about.

If the Cold War was only about balancing the Soviet Union and developing economically far beyond the Soviet Union and Soviet ideas faltering, that happened. However, there was obviously more or with no Soviet Union to counter we would not now be taking policy steps to carry on the Cold War.

[Sep 09, 2019] Who Won the Cold War? by John Payne

Notable quotes:
"... No, America lost the Cold War. We may be richer than when it started, but a larger portion of our incomes go to the government . Even worse, the United States now leads the world in imprisonment –not just by rate but in absolute terms as well, with 1 out of every 150 Americans behind bars. This is largely a consequence of the War on Drugs, which is a war the American government wages upon its own citizens. In the years of the Cold War and since, we have become substantially less free. ..."
Nov 09, 2009 | www.theamericanconservative.com

As everyone should know by now but probably does not, this is the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The first breach in that wall set off a chain reaction that would eventually topple Communist governments and liberate people across half of Europe. It would also end the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Block, substantially diminishing the possibility for nuclear annihilation. However, when people say that the West–or more particularly, America–won the Cold War, I'm not exactly sure what they mean.

Of course, America still exists as a country while the Soviet Union does not, but in a war that is supposedly about ideas and ideals, victory must me something more than outlasting your opponent.

I think the more appropriate way to look at the matter is to ask: who has benefited the most from the end of the Cold War? Clearly, it is the peoples of East Germany, Poland, Estonia, etc. that have gained the most. They are far richer than they were twenty years ago, and more importantly they are able to speak and think as they please without fear of imprisonment, torture, and possibly death at the hands of their governments. Even Russia, which is still far from free, is a much freer place than it was under the Soviets. Dissident journalists do still turn up missing, but to be known as a dissident journalist in the Soviet Union was almost an impossibility. The post-Communist states all have a long way to go to complete freedom, but with few exceptions , they are all now much closer to that ideal than they were twenty years ago.

But can we say that the people of the United States also won the Cold War? Sadly, I do not believe so. After World War II, the United States' standing army likely would have shrunk back to the small peacetime numbers that existed for most of our history if it weren't for the Cold War. Instead, the U.S. military spread across the world, allegedly to keep the country free from the horrors of Communism. Ironically, keeping the people of America free required enslaving a large percentage of her young men through the country's first peacetime draft. And of course, soldiers must be housed, equipped, fed, and paid, which required a higher level of taxation than Americans were used to in peacetime. Twenty years ago, the United States could have reversed this course and reaped the peace dividend, but instead the government pressed ahead and extended American influence into the former Soviet Block–taking on new powers and responsibilities along the way.

No, America lost the Cold War. We may be richer than when it started, but a larger portion of our incomes go to the government . Even worse, the United States now leads the world in imprisonment –not just by rate but in absolute terms as well, with 1 out of every 150 Americans behind bars. This is largely a consequence of the War on Drugs, which is a war the American government wages upon its own citizens. In the years of the Cold War and since, we have become substantially less free.

One right that is still largely intact is the Freedom of Religion, but most versions of American Christianity today bear little resemblance to the teachings found in the Gospels. In this country today, people tend to worship the American Jesus , more known for killing "hajis" than offering salvation. Christianity has become a state religion in this country as it was for the Roman Emperor Constantine, and it is put to the same use of justifying military power. Perhaps even worse than using the Prince of Peace for war, the president (provided he is of the right party, of course) is now viewed by most as an avatar of God on Earth if not God himself. Many American Christians have rendered everything unto Caesar and have nothing left for God.

The world is a far freer place than it was twenty years ago, but America is not. Kierkegaard once wrote "What slave in chains is as unfree as a tyrant!" As the tyrant of the world, America is enslaved to all. Truly, America has gained the world, but lost her soul.

woodbutcher says: November 9, 2009 at 8:44 pm

America has gained the world, but lost her soul. That is what we get for trying to legislate morality .

... ... ...

Thomas says: November 10, 2009 at 1:53 am

And yet we had plenty of (perhaps more) morality laws before the War on Drugs

Perhaps the problem is that the government does not defend its borders (well, that and the intelligence agencies have long funded some operations with drug money look at Afghanistan!)?

Not everything illegal has a special allure, it really depends on enforcement of the law.

And, John, a lot of Eastern Europe is NOT better off than it was 20 years ago, particularly now that their speculative bubbles have burst. The signs are shinier, there are more decent restaurants, but many other economic, social, and moral declines. And East Europeans have gained freedom in many ways, but lost it in others.

People forget that many of the anti-Communist movements like the New Forum activists in the DDR or Solidarnosc in Poland claimed they were pro-socialist (just for a more democratic, participatory regime). The original point was not joining NATO and mass privatisation, but rather civil liberties, and, sometimes, true conservative principles (pro-church, rediscovering a spiritual mission of their people). But church attendance has increased slightly while (corporal, at least) immorality has increased significantly! What gain is that? Much of the national infrastructure was stolen by oligarchs who took the money to Switzerland, much others were sold to foreigners.

Basically, (most of) East Europe has been absorbed into the control of the international financial elite (or NWO or whatever you prefer to term it).

Thomas says: November 14, 2009 at 3:05 am T.O.M.-

There are some very secular, more generous welfare states with considerably more civil liberties. Of course they have their own problems, but that is not the source of our War of Terror, War on Drugs, USA Patriot Act, etc. Paleoconservatives are too often naifs in suggesting, essentially, that some lead us on the road to Hell with good intentions. It is actually direct corruption in our govt that is the source of all our greatest national catastrophes.

I found a figure for Cuba. The 2005 official statistics put it at about 490 per 100K, so about 70% the US rate – still high, but no cigar. Oh I see a more recent (2008?) rate of 531, but still keeping pace with the US at about 70% its rate. That is a British univeristy study – they estimate the Sudanese rate about 1/20 the US rate (so they had a civil war, but they aren't totalitarian, what did you think?). Zimbabwe is given as about 1/5 the US rate. The link, if it works to post it here-

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/downloads/wppl-8th_41.pdf

Thomas O. Meehan says: November 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm T

Thomas, were you referring to England and the continental welfare states with their anti free speech laws, confiscatory taxation and intrusive regulation of every stage of life? Welfare states must be coercive in order to function. That's why conservatives off all types abhor them.

The percentage of population in incarceration can be a deceptive statistic. States lie about these things for a start. Totalitarian states like Cuba and China have the option of simply killing offenders and of course many people just flee state control.

The US has a large degree of incarceration due to the popularity of "Get tough on drug offender" legislation. We have a large criminal underclass in this country and after decades of revolving door justice, the public just got fed up. It may not be humane, but it works. That's democracy for you.

By the way, there is no system more involved in the criminal justice system than our welfare bureaucracy. Most criminals are born into to welfare, graduate to truancy and addiction and then crime, all under the watchful eye of social workers, guidance counselors, school psychologists, court appointed counselors and probation officers, etc. etc. But this shouldn't take any of the luster off welfare states, right?

Thomas says: November 15, 2009 at 4:42 am

Actually, China records their executions, they do not just shoot criminals on sight. Neither does Cuba. And neither of those countries would qualify as the top 10 or 20 draconian, authoritarian states (i.e., where citizens shake in fear of the police) at the moment.

England is widely known to be the most surveillance over its population, but it also has the weakest welfare state in Western Europe!!!! Scandinavia has much more freedom in general and much stronger welfare. Your attempt to make some sort of correlation is ridiculous. None of these countries has a PATRIOT ACT, where you can be deemed an enemy and held indefinitely. Britain has tried several times to enact something similar, but the Lords always block it. It would be absurd in Germany even.

The United States is simply no longer a beacon of civil liberties even compared with true welfare states. Sorry.

And if you are worried about the existence of a criminal underclass, you can probably blame the extreme inequalities of wealth, the co-existence of hyper-First World and quasi-Third World elements. All of Latin America has the same, though their welfare states are rarely very advanced. I think you would find the same trend in Africa.

Mind you, I don't want to be like Sweden. I would prefer America to return to the 50s (not entirely, but overall it would be an improvement). In the 50s there was a more even redistribution of wealth and less nanny statism because there was more direct dirigisme. The State was more involved in industrial planning and regulated trade and financial institutions. Individuals paid less tax because corporations paid more. If the economy is planned such that productive employment is a priority, then you can maintain a stable working class. If you take that away, like the US and UK have done, then you get a permanent underclass with no prospects of a stable life.

Thomas O. Meehan says: November 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm

The problem with the 1950's is that they inevitably evolve into the 1960's. And soon we're where we are now. That's the way of welfare states, they introduce such dependency, indolence and corruption that they just grow. But hey they always have their defenders. As for the lack of a Patriot Act in Europe, you must be kidding. The least you could do is read the British press. British subjects can be criminally charged for suggesting that heterosexual couples make better adoptive parents than homosexuals. The French police do as they please, and always have. The British do have preventative detention.

Nobody said that the Chinese and or Cubans shot people out of hand. But they do shoot people rather than feed them for long periods, as we do. You can believe their statistics if you want to.

Our underclass remains a dangerous nuisance despite public education, taxpayer supported charity care, a multitude of Federal and State programs and affirmative action. Of course we are importing more every day, adding to the income disparity you speak of. Perhaps we should deport people to level out the disparity a bit. What do you think?

I like your idea of our no longer being a beacon. It's attracting the wrong sort.

Thomas says: November 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Yes, of course we should deport people. Illegal immigration is not the source of the US socioeconomic problems, but it compounds them by a serious factor.

Being a former resident of Houston, where parts of the city (probably the most red-voting major city in the US) were literally crawling with illegals who undercut everyone else's wages (that's why they are here), I can attest a bit to the corrupting effect this has on everyone involved.

[Sep 09, 2019] Who Won the Cold War by Jordan Michael Smith

Notable quotes:
"... Westad faults Truman for being unwilling or unable to extend Franklin Roosevelt's friendly policy toward the USSR. ..."
"... "The Soviet assistance program for China was not only the biggest Moscow ever undertook outside its own borders," Westad writes. "It was also, in relative terms, the biggest such program undertaken by any country anywhere, including the US Marshall Plan for Europe." Within a decade following this generosity, they almost fought a nuclear war. ..."
"... WESTAD ALSO wrote a book on the fall of détente, for which he distinctly blames Americans. "Nixon and Kissinger had gone further in attempting to manage the Cold War together with the Soviet Union than most Americans were willing to accept," he writes. "Most Americans were simply not willing to tolerate that the United States could have an equal in international affairs, in the 1970s or ever." This is where Gaddis's immersion in American documents might have been helpful. Most Americans, at least on the anti-détente side, were worried not that the Soviet Union was at parity with the United States, but that it had actually exceeded America's capabilities. However wrongheaded and overly alarmist that perspective was, its importance in explaining American behavior should not be overlooked. ..."
"... Westad will have none of it. "Intent to move away from the Cold War as a national emergency, Eisenhower ended up institutionalizing it as policy and doctrine," he writes. "On the Korean War, the new president simply got lucky. . . . The turn toward a policy of massive nuclear retaliation meant preparing for strategic warfare on a scale that so far had seemed unimaginable." Pages later, he adds, ..."
"... Eisenhower lacked the imagination and political will to think about ending the Cold War after Stalin's death. This is a provocative portrayal of Eisenhower, a welcome antidote to the revisionism that can approach hagiography. But it is undercut by Westad's slight documentation. ..."
"... Cold War triumphalism has had pernicious effects on American foreign policy. A straight line can be drawn from the idea that Ronald Reagan's military buildup and assertive rhetoric ended the Cold War to the fantasy that the United States could rebuild the Middle East. The prominence of neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration was due largely to the widespread belief that they had been right in seeing the transformative potential of American power during the Cold War. Though Donald Trump was able, in the Republican primaries in 2016, to counter delusions of American omnipotence with delusions of American seclusion, the messianic streak still runs strong in the Republican Party and in segments of the Democratic Party. Its absence in current political debates should be seen as temporary. When it inevitably arises again, trouble will ensue. "We all lost the cold war," Gorbachev once said. The difficulty arises when one party thinks it won. ..."
August 27, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History (New York: Basic Books, 2017), 720 pp., $35.00.

IN 2005 , the Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis released his book, The Cold War: A New History . Glowing reviews of the book followed in the New York Times and Foreign Affairs . Among the few dissenters was Tony Judt, a New York University historian who died in 2010. Judt had opposed the Iraq War, when so many other intellectuals -- including Gaddis -- joined in the delusions that George W. Bush could, should and would democratize the Middle East. By 2005, those fantasies were discredited by events in Mesopotamia (though Gaddis was unchastened, arguing in the American Interest as late as 2008 that the senior goal of American foreign policy should be "ending tyranny").

In the New York Review of Books , Judt argued that "John Lewis Gaddis has written a history of America's cold war: as seen from America, as experienced in America, and told in a way most agreeable to many American readers." However brilliant his works had been during the Cold War, Gaddis became an American triumphalist once the Berlin Wall collapsed. He had comparatively little understanding of the Soviet experience and, most egregiously, didn't seem to care much about the enormous damage both superpowers inflicted on what was then called the Third World. The result, Judt argued, was that the Cold War was "a story still to be told."

With Odd Arne Westad's new book, the story is now told. Westad is the coauthor of several books on the Cold War, as well as coeditor of the three-volume Cambridge History of the Cold War . He also wrote The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times , which won the Bancroft Prize. As its title indicates, The Global Cold War suggested that the Cold War was very much a globe-spanning conflict, migrating into areas far beyond the borders of the two superpowers.

His new book integrates that focus on the developing world with a more traditional emphasis on the great powers. It is aimed at a general rather than a scholarly audience, with far fewer footnotes or archival research than his previous works (more on that later). The Cold War: A World History is told chronologically, but unlike most books on the subject, it begins with the right period.

THE FIRST well-regarded book on the war written from a post–Berlin Wall perspective was Martin Walker's Cold War, published in 1994. Like so many others to come, it began with the dissension in the Allied ranks in the closing years of World War II. By beginning with an earlier period, Westad advances beyond that approach. He is able to devote some attention to the ideological sources of the struggle, which began with Lenin's interpretation of communism, prioritizing global revolution and antagonism toward the noncommunist world. "The Cold War was born from the global transformations of the late nineteenth century and was buried as a result of tremendously rapid changes a hundred years later," he writes. Those changes include decolonization, the ascension of the United States to world power and the gradual decline of scientific socialism, as well as the two world wars. "The Great War jumpstarted the destinies of the two future Cold War Superpowers. It made the United States the global embodiment of capitalism and it made Russia a Soviet Union, a permanent challenge to the capitalist world." Westad also makes the thought-provoking claim, rather unusual in a book on the Cold War, that

it is therefore quite possible that the Cold War will be reduced in significance by future historians, who from their vantage point will attach more significance to the origins of Asian economic power, or the beginning of space exploration, or the eradication of smallpox.

Westad proceeds from there through all the stops along the way to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Separate chapters examine India, China, the Middle East and Latin America, as well as summaries of Richard Nixon's diplomacy and the reigns of Kennedy, Brezhnev and Gorbachev. That he manages to do all this in largely sequential fashion is doubly impressive.

The Cold War evinces a lifetime of research and thought on the subject. Compelling ideas and valuable insights appear frequently, such as: "In spite of their attractiveness on a global scale, neither the Soviet nor the US system was ever fully replicated elsewhere." Or the explanation for communism's appeal in Vietnam: "One reason, ironically, was the integration of Vietnamese elites into French culture and education, from whence the post-1914 generation took over the radicalization that was prevalent among French youth, too." Or: "In Asia as in Europe, US policy in the early Cold War was more oriented toward the expansion of capitalism as such than toward a unique preservation of US national economic advantage or the interests of specific US companies."

Westad's assessment is that some sort of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union was inevitable once the common foe of Nazi Germany was extinguished. "Leaders of the two countries had seen each other as adversaries ever since the Russian Revolution of 1917, and in some cases even before that," he writes. Illustrative of his measured approach throughout the book, Westad assigns blame for the conflict to both parties, though not so much that he is unable to make moral distinctions. Stalin's determination to establish control in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland, contributed greatly to the breakdown of good relations with Britain and the United States. But, he writes, "it was containment that made postwar conflict into a Cold War." The United States was unwilling to grant the Soviets a traditional sphere of influence, let alone see them as a comparable power deserving of commensurate respect. Seen from 2017, it might seem absurd that so many Europeans, even in England, looked upon the Soviet Union with admiration and gratitude. But, however much Americans like to forget it, it was the Red Army that "tore the guts out of the German military machine," in Winston Churchill's colorful phrase.

Westad faults Truman for being unwilling or unable to extend Franklin Roosevelt's friendly policy toward the USSR. Stalin might have hunkered down and developed foreign-policy paranoia regardless of Truman's behavior, he concedes. "But the intensity of the conflict, including the paranoia that it later produced on both sides, might have been significantly reduced if more attempts had been made by the stronger power to entice Moscow toward forms of cooperation." This is somewhat unfair to Truman. The day he was sworn in as president after Roosevelt's death, Truman said in a statement he intended "to carry on as he believed the President would have done." There is little reason to doubt his sincerity. In From Roosevelt to Truman , University of Notre Dame professor Wilson Miscamble credibly argued that Truman began his presidency with open-mindedness toward the Soviets but was convinced by events that cooperation was impossible. He wasn't alone.

ASIA, MEANWHILE , experienced rapid decolonization. Both the United States and the Soviet Union were resolutely opposed to traditional European imperialism, however much they acted as imperialist powers in their own regions. Combined with the destitution of the former colonial powers, this meant that Asian nations were freer to pursue their own destinies. Of course, in Japan and Korea, those destinies were determined by their occupiers, who molded these societies in their own images. It is a sign of Westad's attentiveness to facts that, without ever succumbing to anything resembling American chauvinism, he can write something as direct as: "The Korean War came from Stalin's change of mind. If he had not given the go-ahead to Kim, there would have been no war."

Westad betrays no romanticism toward the Soviet Union or its communist admirers -- that might seem like a low bar, but there are still scholars like Bruce Cumings who look fondly on the Marxist regimes -- but the book makes the clear-eyed observation,

Only by industrializing fast could a country become socialist and modern. The policy had an obvious appeal: in countries on the European periphery, where there was a profound sense of having fallen behind, and in countries outside of Europe, such as China, Korea, and Vietnam, rapid industrialization seemed indeed to be the way forward.

Westad might have added that the Soviet Communist Party's untouchable command of power was similarly appealing to political leaders and intellectuals worldwide.

Immediately prior to The Cold War , Westad's latest book was a study of China's foreign policy since 1750. His mastery of the subject is evident in a chapter called "China's Scourge." It is valuable not only for a discussion of how the Chinese Communist Party managed to win the civil war against the Nationalists, but also for a succinct reminder of why and how swiftly relations dissolved between the CCP and the Soviets. "The Soviet assistance program for China was not only the biggest Moscow ever undertook outside its own borders," Westad writes. "It was also, in relative terms, the biggest such program undertaken by any country anywhere, including the US Marshall Plan for Europe." Within a decade following this generosity, they almost fought a nuclear war.

Similarly incisive here is a chapter on India. Often neglected in general histories of the Cold War, India was for a while the leader of the Non-Aligned nations. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was progressive, but intent on keeping his newly independent country truly independent. This, of course, infuriated the Americans, for whom any friendliness with the USSR was interpreted as hostility to them. And yet, when India's moral purity conflicted with its conflict with China, nationalism prevailed, leading to a brief war. "In spite of its many efforts, even a country as a significant as India was never able to fully break away from the global conflict molding its policies," Westad concludes.

WESTAD ALSO wrote a book on the fall of détente, for which he distinctly blames Americans. "Nixon and Kissinger had gone further in attempting to manage the Cold War together with the Soviet Union than most Americans were willing to accept," he writes. "Most Americans were simply not willing to tolerate that the United States could have an equal in international affairs, in the 1970s or ever." This is where Gaddis's immersion in American documents might have been helpful. Most Americans, at least on the anti-détente side, were worried not that the Soviet Union was at parity with the United States, but that it had actually exceeded America's capabilities. However wrongheaded and overly alarmist that perspective was, its importance in explaining American behavior should not be overlooked.

Indeed, Westad's decision to reduce the research shown to the readers in this book makes some of his unorthodox judgments difficult to credit. Most conspicuously, Westad assesses Dwight Eisenhower harshly, but without offering enough support for his claims. In the late 1950s and 1960s, the evaluation of Ike was decidedly mixed. He was too complacent, it was said, too moderate and timid. He favored a strategic posture built around nuclear weapons that led to an arms race. He failed to confront Joe McCarthy and McCarthyism. He initiated the first of many ill-considered CIA interventions in foreign countries, in Guatemala and Iran. And he added a religious dimension to the Cold War, which elevated the conflict beyond the already-dangerous levels that existed when he took power in 1953.

That perception gave way in the 1980s to a consideration that Eisenhower was not complacent, but subtle. The opening of archives in the 1970s convinced many that his was, as the political scientist Fred Greenstein put it in his 1982 book of the same name, "the hidden-hand presidency." The popular historian Stephen Ambrose did much to further this view, first in 1981's Ike's Spies: Eisenhower and the Espionage Establishment , and then in a biography, released in two volumes in 1983 and 1984. (Writing in the New Republic in 2006, the journalist John Judis observed that Ambrose's books "changed many a liberal's view of the general," counting himself among them.)

The revisionist view of Eisenhower has now become orthodoxy. He routinely numbers among historians' rankings of the top ten presidents. Far from sharing the contemporary perception of him as popular but ineffectual -- "It's just like Eisenhower. The worse I do, the more popular I get," JFK said after the Bay of Pigs disaster -- we like Ike as much as the people who wore his campaign buttons. Celebrity architect Frank Gehry designed an Eisenhower memorial that Congress has funded to the tune of $100 million, to sit across from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, on Washington's Independence Avenue.

Most scholars lean toward the view that Ike was a first-rate Cold War strategist. He balanced the budget thrice, halting the unsustainable economic and military buildup that resulted from the Korean War. He set diplomatic precedents by meeting with Soviet leaders and organizing purposeful summits. And he outflanked domestic hysteria, establishing a bipartisan commitment to a strategy of containment. Predominant is the view expressed by Robert Bowie and Richard Immerman in their book, Waging Peace: How Eisenhower Shaped a Cold War Strategy :

Later events . . . have enhanced appreciation of his prudent and sober judgment. In a turbulent and dangerous stage of East-West relations, with an untested and erratic Soviet leadership and a changing strategic environment, Eisenhower managed a succession of crises and set a course that preserved both security and peace.

Westad will have none of it. "Intent to move away from the Cold War as a national emergency, Eisenhower ended up institutionalizing it as policy and doctrine," he writes. "On the Korean War, the new president simply got lucky. . . . The turn toward a policy of massive nuclear retaliation meant preparing for strategic warfare on a scale that so far had seemed unimaginable." Pages later, he adds,

If the president was not a Cold War hysteric, neither was he someone who could conceive of a world without the confrontation with the Soviet Union. Eisenhower lacked the imagination and political will to think about ending the Cold War after Stalin's death. This is a provocative portrayal of Eisenhower, a welcome antidote to the revisionism that can approach hagiography. But it is undercut by Westad's slight documentation.

Cold War triumphalism has had pernicious effects on American foreign policy. A straight line can be drawn from the idea that Ronald Reagan's military buildup and assertive rhetoric ended the Cold War to the fantasy that the United States could rebuild the Middle East. The prominence of neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration was due largely to the widespread belief that they had been right in seeing the transformative potential of American power during the Cold War. Though Donald Trump was able, in the Republican primaries in 2016, to counter delusions of American omnipotence with delusions of American seclusion, the messianic streak still runs strong in the Republican Party and in segments of the Democratic Party. Its absence in current political debates should be seen as temporary. When it inevitably arises again, trouble will ensue. "We all lost the cold war," Gorbachev once said. The difficulty arises when one party thinks it won.

Jordan Michael Smith is the author of the Kindle single Humanity: How Jimmy Carter Lost an Election and Transformed the Post-Presidency .

[Sep 08, 2019] Note: The Ten Americans Who Did the Most to Win the Cold War: Hoisted from the Archives

Sep 08, 2019 | www.bradford-delong.com

Hoisted from the Archives : Note: The Ten Americans Who Did the Most to Win the Cold War :

*Also, almost surely an "Agent of Influence" and perhaps an out-and-out spy for Stalin's Russia. If so, never did any intelligence service receive worse service from an agent than Stalin's Russia did from Harry Dexter White....

Donald Pretari said...

I'm reading "The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order (Council on Foreign Relations Books (Princeton University Press))" by Benn Steil and wanted to share this quote with you.

"As regards the economics White advocated, they were hardly Marxist. They were by this time what would be described as thoroughly Keynesian. He insisted that government should take an active role in supporting economic activity; certainly more so than was orthodox before the Great Depression, but he never pushed for broad government control of the means of production. His writings on international monetary affairs express a concern with the need to fashion a system that "reduces the necessity of restrictions on private enterprise."As for White's domestic politics, these were mainstream New Deal progressive, and there is no evidence that he admired communism as a political ideology." Reply February 15, 2019 at 12:49

jorgensen said...

Vannevar Bush pushed for government support of science after the Second World War and should get some credit for America's scientific dominance through the Cold War. Reply February 16, 2019 at 15:38

andres said... The above list is old hat, so to speak. I would add the following two lists:

Russians Who Did the Most to Win the Cold War (for both sides):

1. Georgi Zhukov (Was an unbelievable s.o.b. during WWII, but did the right thing having the Red Army side with Khruschev and Malenkov against Beria).
2. Nikita Khruschev (secret speech, ousting of Stalin's old cronies and final unwillingness to go to war over Cuba outweigh Hungary and U-2 incident, imo).
3. Aleksandr Solshenitsyn (self-explanatory).
4. Boris Pasternak (Dr. Zhivago is a better read than The Gulag Archipelago).
5. Roy Medvedev (Let History Judge).
6. Vasili Arkhipov (Don't Push the Button I).
7. Andrei Sakharov (self-explanatory).
8. Stanislav Petrov (Don't Push the Button II).
9. Mikhail Gorbachev (glasnost plus withdrawal from Afghanistan).
10. Boris Yeltsin (lousy president, but energetic opposition to August 1991 coup was vital).

Americans Who Tried Their Best to Make the U.S. Lose the Cold War.

1. Douglas MacArthur.
2. John Foster Dulles.
3. Allen Dulles.
4. Barry Goldwater.
5. Robert McNamara/McGeorge Bundy/Maxwell Taylor/W.W. Rostow (joint award for Vietnam)
6. William Westmoreland (made it even worse).
7. Richard Nixon (carpet bomber in chief, plus undermined 1968 Vietnam peace talks).
8. Henry Kissinger (took over from JF Dulles as military coup enabler in chief, and nearly pushed India to Russia's side after giving a blank check to Pakistan).
9. Ronald Reagan (was clearly pointed toward WWIII before Schultz and GHW Bush brought him around).

(There are lots more, but I've tried to limit the list to those who were either in the executive branch or came close (Goldwater). LBJ could also be included, but it is still being argued whether he led his cabinet or his cabinet led him into Vietnam). Reply February 16, 2019 at 22:52

[Sep 07, 2019] "Certain key unknown figures in the Federal Reserve may have 'conspired' with key unknown figures at the Bank of New York to create a situation where $240 billion in off balance sheet securities created in 1991 as part of an official covert operation to overthrow the Soviet Union, could be cleared without publicly acknowledging their existence.

Sep 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Tunga , 12 minutes ago link

Oh those securities!

""Certain key unknown figures in the Federal Reserve may have 'conspired' with key unknown figures at the Bank of New York to create a situation where $240 billion in off balance sheet securities created in 1991 as part of an official covert operation to overthrow the Soviet Union, could be cleared without publicly acknowledging their existence. These securities, originally managed by Cantor Fitzgerald, were cleared and settled in the aftermath of September 11th

through the BoNY. The $100 billion account balance bubble reported by the Wall Street Journalas being experienced in the BoNY was tip of a three day operation, when these securities were moved from off-balance-sheet to the balance sheet.

Tunga , 12 minutes ago link

https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/epr/02v08n2/0211flempdf.pdf

pparalegal , 3 minutes ago link

Oops. Building 7 and all the records gone in a collapsed vertical pancake. What a shame.

[Sep 02, 2019] The Russian Oligarchs by Lawrence Bush

Notable quotes:
"... By the late 1990s, national income had fallen by more than 50 percent(compare that with the 27 percent drop in output during the great American depression), investment by 80 percent, real wages by half, and meat and dairy herds by 75 percent. . . . while epidemics of cholera and typhus . . . re-emerged, millions of children suffer[ed] from malnutrition and adult life expectancy . . . plunged." Several of the oligarchs were prosecuted and harassed by Putin's government between 2000 and 2004, before an unofficial agreement was struck to permit most of them to keep their lives and their fortunes as long as they demurred from opposing Putin's political power. ..."
intpolicydigest.org
Mikhail Khodorkovsky was found guilty of fraud related to his control of Siberian oil fields through his Yukos corporation and was sentenced to nine years in prison on this date in 2005. Khodorkovsky, who was behind bars until Vladimir Putin pardoned him in 2013, is half-Jewish (on his father's side).

Many of the Russian oligarchs, most of whom exploited their political connections during the privatization years under Boris Yeltsin's highly corrupt government to become hugely wealthy, are similarly half-Jewish or Jewish, including Boris Berezovsky, who took over Russia's main television channel and died under uncertain circumstances (likely suicide) in 2013; Alexander Abramov, a steel magnate; Mikhail Fridman, a banker; Roman Abramovich, a younger billionaire investor; Viktor Vekselberg, an aluminum tycoon; and Leonid Mikhelson, a natural-gas billionaire, and a half-dozen others.

The shock-capitalism that vaulted these men to the Forbes list of billionaires is known in Russia as the katastroika and "brought in its wake mass pauperisation and unemployment," writes Seumas Milne in The Guardian , "wild extremes of inequality; rampant crime; virulent antisemitism and ethnic violence; combined with legalised gangsterism on a heroic scale and precipitous looting of public assets. . . .

By the late 1990s, national income had fallen by more than 50 percent(compare that with the 27 percent drop in output during the great American depression), investment by 80 percent, real wages by half, and meat and dairy herds by 75 percent. . . . while epidemics of cholera and typhus . . . re-emerged, millions of children suffer[ed] from malnutrition and adult life expectancy . . . plunged." Several of the oligarchs were prosecuted and harassed by Putin's government between 2000 and 2004, before an unofficial agreement was struck to permit most of them to keep their lives and their fortunes as long as they demurred from opposing Putin's political power.

"The oligarchs, idiotically rich in a country that was largely poor, and given to parading their wealth in a manner that makes American hip-hoppers look like an especially reticent community of Amish farmers, could certainly have given any former Soviet citizen pause to wonder, as he queued for beetroot, what the proletarian revolution had been for. The oligarchs, not content with buying companies, villas, yachts, planes and the most beautiful of Russia's beautiful women, also bought power. In 1996, they connived to engineer the re-election of the politically and physically ailing Boris Yeltsin. In 2000, they helped steer Yeltsin's successor into power -- Vladimir Putin, a saturnine former spook with the KGB, and its descendant organisation, the FSB. This, as Russian Godfathers demonstrates, may have been the moment at which the oligarchs out-clevered themselves." –Andrew Mueller, The Guardian

[Aug 30, 2019] Hollywood reboots Russophobia for the New Cold War by Max Parry

See also National Security Cinema The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood by Matthew Alford
Aug 30, 2019 | www.unz.com

It is apparent that the caricature of the Soviet Union in both productions is really a stand-in for the present-day Russian government under Vladimir Putin. As only American exceptionalism could permit, Hollywood did not hold the same disdain for his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, whose legacy of high inflation and national debt have since been eliminated. In fact, most have forgotten that the same filmdom community outraged about Russia's supposed interference in the 2016 U.S. election made a celebratory movie back in 2003, Spinning Boris , which practically boasted about the instrumental role the West played in Yeltsin's 1996 reelection in Russia.

The highly unpopular alcoholic politician benefited from a near universal media bias as virtually all the federation's news outlets came under the control of the 'oligarchs' (in America known simply as billionaires) which his economic policies of mass privatization of state industry enriched overnight.

Yeltsin initially polled at less than 10% and was far behind Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov until he became the recipient of billions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) thanks to his corrupt campaign manager, Anatoly Chubais, now one of the most hated men in all of Russia. After the purging of votes and rampant ballot-box stuffing, Yeltsin successfully closed the gap between his opponent thanks to the overt U.S. meddling.

Spinning Boris was directed by Roger Spottiswoode, who previously helmed an installment in the James Bond series, Tomorrow Never Dies . The 1997 entry in the franchise is one of thousands of Hollywood films and network television shows exposed by journalists Matthew Alford and Tom Secker as having been influenced or directly assisted by the Pentagon and CIA in their must-read book National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood. Based on evidence from documents revealed in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, their investigation divulges the previously unknown extent to which the national security complex has gone in exerting control over content in the film industry. While it has always been known that the military held sway over movies that required usage of its facilities and equipment to be produced, the level of impact on such films in the pre-production and editing stages, as well as the control over non-military themed flicks one wouldn't suspect to be under supervision by Washington and Langley, is exhaustively uncovered.

As expected, Hollywood and the military-industrial complex's intimate relationship during the Cold War is featured prominently in Alford and Secker's investigative work. It is unclear whether HBO or Netflix sought US military assistance or were directly involved with the national security state in their respective productions, but these are just two recent examples of many where the correlated increase in geopolitical tensions with Moscow is reflected. The upcoming sequel to DC's Wonder Woman set to be released next year , Wonder Woman 1984, featuring the female superhero " coming into conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1980s ", is yet another. Reprising her role is Israeli actress and IDF veteran is Gal Gadot as the title character, ironically starring in a blockbuster that will demonize the Eurasian state which saved her ethnicity from extinction. Given the Pentagon's involvement in the debacle surounding 2014's The Interview which provoked very real tensions with North Korea, it is likely they are at least closely examining any entertainment with content regarding Russia, if not directly pre-approving it for review.

Ultimately, the Western panic about its imperial decline is not limited to assigning blame to Moscow. Sinophobia has manifested as well in recent films such as the 2016 sci-fi film Arrival where the extra-terrestrials who reach Earth seem more interested in communicating with Beijing as the global superpower than the U.S. However, while the West forebodes the return of Russia and China to greater standing, you can be certain its real fear lies elsewhere. The fact that Chernobyl and Stranger Things are as preoccupied with portraying socialism in a bad light as they are in rendering Moscow nefarious shows the real underlying trepidation of the ruling elite that concerns the resurgence of class consciousness. The West must learn its lesson that its state of perpetual war has caused its own downfall or it could attempt a last line of defense that would inevitably conscript all of humanity to its death as the ruling class nearly did to the world in 1914 and 1939.

[Jul 06, 2019] In practice, the USSR behaved exactly like a brutal totalitarian theocracy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Maher was right. I've been saying for decades -- since Brezhnev was still alive -- that the Soviet Union was a functional theocracy. ..."
"... In practice, the USSR behaved exactly like a brutal totalitarian theocracy would. They had an impersonal god (the theory of history that would lead inevitably to heaven on Earth) which the government treated as the source of their authority and their justification for everything they did in the name of the Revolution. ..."
"... They had a state church (the Communist Party -- no rivals allowed) that you needed to join to get anywhere in society. They had prophets (look what they did with Lenin after his death), saints (heroes of the Revolution), idols, sacred texts that could not be challenged, brutal suppression of other religions, witch hunts for heretics (anyone who opposed the Revolution). ..."
"... So yes: the USSR turned "communism" into their de facto state religion. ..."
Jul 03, 2019 | theamericanconservative.com

Douglas K 3 days ago • edited

To this day, Maher's response still leaves me dumbfounded: "I would say that's a secular religion." Before Douthat could ask what the hell a secular religion is, Maher changed the subject. The meaning of Maher's nonsensical statement was clear: everything Maher doesn't like is religion.

Maher was right. I've been saying for decades -- since Brezhnev was still alive -- that the Soviet Union was a functional theocracy. Sure, they didn't use God or angels or miracles in their rhetoric, but that's just surface trappings.

In practice, the USSR behaved exactly like a brutal totalitarian theocracy would. They had an impersonal god (the theory of history that would lead inevitably to heaven on Earth) which the government treated as the source of their authority and their justification for everything they did in the name of the Revolution.

They had a state church (the Communist Party -- no rivals allowed) that you needed to join to get anywhere in society. They had prophets (look what they did with Lenin after his death), saints (heroes of the Revolution), idols, sacred texts that could not be challenged, brutal suppression of other religions, witch hunts for heretics (anyone who opposed the Revolution).

So yes: the USSR turned "communism" into their de facto state religion. No, they didn't include personified invisible spirits in their ideology. But if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ....

[Jun 30, 2019] Khrushchev and Mao

Notable quotes:
"... Mao only understood power. He sensed Khrushchev as 'weak' and acted as if he wanted to be the new Stalin. He also made international statements that made the US-USSR relations much worse. He berated Khrushchev for seeking co-existence with the West and pressed on for more World Revolution. ..."
"... It was all so stupid. China and Russia could have gotten along well if not for Mao's impetuosity. Of course, Khrushchev could be reckless, contradictory, and erratic, and his mixed signals to the West also heightened tensions. Also, he was caught between a rock and a hard place where the Eastern Bloc was concerned. He wanted to de-Stalinize, but this could lead to events like the Hungarian Uprising. ..."
Jun 30, 2019 | www.unz.com

Priss Factor , says: Website June 29, 2019 at 12:04 am GMT

Abrams is giving the West too much credit for the Sino-Soviet rift of the late 5os and 60s.

That was NOT the doing of the CIA or Western Europe. It was 90% the fault of Mao who tried to shove Khrushchev aside as the head of world communism. Because Stalin had treated Mao badly, Khrushchev wanted to make amends and treated Mao with respect. But Mao turned out to be a total a-hole. There are two kinds of people: Those who appreciate friendly gestures and those who seek kindness as 'weakness'.

It's like Hitler saw Chamberlain's offer as weakness and pushed ahead. Being kind is nice, but one should never be kind to psychopaths, and Khrushchev was nice to the wrong person.

Mao only understood power. He sensed Khrushchev as 'weak' and acted as if he wanted to be the new Stalin. He also made international statements that made the US-USSR relations much worse. He berated Khrushchev for seeking co-existence with the West and pressed on for more World Revolution.

He also ignored Soviet advice not to attempt radical economic policies (that were soon to bring China to economic ruin -- at least Stalin's collectivization led to rise of industry; in contrast, Mao managed to destroy both agriculture and heavy industry).

When Stalin was alive, he didn't treat Mao with any respect, and Mao disliked Stalin but still respected him because Mao understood Power. With Stalin gone, Khrushchev showed Mao some respect, but Mao felt no respect for Khrushchev who was regarded as a weakling and sucker.

It was all so stupid. China and Russia could have gotten along well if not for Mao's impetuosity. Of course, Khrushchev could be reckless, contradictory, and erratic, and his mixed signals to the West also heightened tensions. Also, he was caught between a rock and a hard place where the Eastern Bloc was concerned. He wanted to de-Stalinize, but this could lead to events like the Hungarian Uprising.

Anyway, Putin and Xi, perhaps having grown up in less turbulent times, are more stable and mature in character and temperament than Mao and Khrushchev. They don't see the Russo-China relations as a zero sum game of ego but a way for which both sides can come to the table halfway, which is all one can hope for.

[Jun 26, 2019] Black Markets Show How Socialists Can't Overturn Economic Laws Zero Hedge

Jun 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Black Markets Show How Socialists Can't Overturn Economic Laws

by Tyler Durden Tue, 06/25/2019 - 22:45 3 SHARES

Authored by Allen Gindler via The Mises Institute,

If we consider economics to be an objective science, its rules should also have universal significance and use, despite differences in societal order. However, socialists of the materialist camp are committed to the idea that common ownership of the means of production would change the way economic laws unfold under socialism. Basically, they reject the notion of the universality and objectivity of economic rules by suggesting that the laws would change along with a change to the social formation.

Thus, communists adhered to the Marxian idea that socialism would rectify a "surplus value" law, end the "exploitation" of workers, and efficiently regulate the production, distribution, and consumption aspects of the economy. They sought to eliminate the market regulatory mechanism and replace it with directives of the central planning authority. Bolsheviks enthusiastically got down to business: they eradicated private property, collectivized everything and everyone, and implemented an official planned economy.

Did it effectively turn off market relations as they thought it would?

No. In contrast to the common perception, socialism has been unable to kill the market economy. The market went underground and turned into a black market. Black markets existed in capitalist countries as well, but they worked underground because they dealt in illegal commodities and services. The black market under socialism served the same purpose, but the list of commodities and services included mostly items of everyday and innocent consumption that people under capitalism could easily purchase in stores. Virtually all groups of personal consumption products found their way to the black market at some time and in some places. Everything from jar lids to toilet paper was subject to black-market relations.

Despite the proclaimed planned economy, people were engaged in market relations on all levels and trusted more the price of the goods and services that were established by the market and not dictated by the government. The official exchange rate of the ruble to the dollar was 0.66 to 1 in 1980. But nobody except party nomenclature was able to enjoy such a favorable exchange rate. At the same time, the black market offered 4 rubles for 1 American dollar.

There was no production of jeans in the Soviet Union, but like all their peers abroad, Soviet youth wore jeans. The price was 180–250 rubles for a pair depending on the brand, which was almost twice as much as the monthly wage of an entry-level engineer. A visiting nurse charged 1 ruble for one injection if a patient lived below the fifth floor. The price reached 1.5 rubles for patients who lived on the fifth floor and up. A plumber happily repaired a faucet for just a bottle of vodka.

Two Prices for Everything

Therefore, in the Soviet Union, any significant goods had two price tags: one real and another virtual. The state set the first price through some obscure methods; the usual mechanism of supply and demand established the second price on the market. If you were lucky, after several hours of standing in a queue, you could purchase goods at the state price. However, due to the chronic lack of everything for everyone, the same product could be bought on the black market at a much higher price. The virtual price became real on the black market and reflected the actual value of the goods for the buyer. The presence of two price tags is a confirmation of the thesis of Ludwig von Mises regarding the impossibility of economic calculations under socialism. At the same time, this is proof of the immortality and immutability of the economic laws of the free market, even under a totalitarian regime. Therefore, two economic systems and two sets of prices co-exist under socialism.

People were forced to use the services of the black market, even under the penalty of severe punishment, including up to the death penalty. Almost the entire society was engaged in various corruption schemes to support a certain standard of living. There was a paradoxical situation when the shelves of the supermarkets were empty, but refrigerators at home were more or less full. The black market was filled with smuggled goods from abroad, as well as commodities produced in underground workshops. But more often, everyday products were specifically kept from retail to create a shortage and sell them on the black market at a speculative price. Socialism had undermined the normal flows of production, distribution, and consumption by ignoring the objective laws of economics. Nevertheless, an underground market and the intrinsic entrepreneurial spirit of the people helped them survive the socialist madness.

Regardless of the proclaimed successes of the Soviet economy reported by Communist party leaders, the socialist economy was unable to compete with its capitalist counterparts. Communists decided to create a system that somehow mimicked the work that a free market had successfully and automatically performed for centuries. Thus, they introduced socialist competition that was supposed to replace free market competition. Surely enough, it was an inadequate and unfortunate replacement. The rewards for winners in the capitalist competition were far higher than for the winners under socialism. For example, the capitalist winner enjoyed a significant increase in well-being.

Moreover, the principal winner of the free market competition was society as a whole. This is a natural feature of a free market economy and the main reason why the evolution of human societies selected this mode of production. A competition during socialism gave to the winners some publicity, a certificate of honor, maybe a trip to a "sanatorium" (that is, a health spa), and other bagatelles that people usually did not appreciate. But most importantly, society as a whole did not enjoy a significant improvement in well-being.

People were not sufficiently stimulated and were underpaid, which explained the lower labor productivity compared to capitalist countries. Moreover, this is despite the notion that the means of production, at last, belong to the workers themselves. People had a famous saying that can be considered the quintessence of Soviet-style socialism: "They [the government] pretend to pay, and we pretend to work."

Socialism is a set of systems that try to artificially inhibit the free flow of objective economic laws by creating subjective barriers in the form of specific legislation and punitive policies . Socialists mistakenly think that if they assault private property and market relations, the economic laws will also change. They have taken up the task which, in principle, has no rational solution. Nothing good comes from the idea of ignoring or violating the fundamental laws of economics. These laws still exist, regardless of opinions and neglect to recognize their real character and the impossibility of changing them.

Socialism disrupts the evolutionary process and leads society to a dead end. The desperate economic situation of ordinary folks in Venezuela , Cuba , and North Korea -- the remnants of socialist undertakings -- is a direct result of building a society in defiance of the natural action of the fundamental law of economics. As a rule, socialist regimes were buying time by employing slave labor, plunder, coercion, and everything else that an aggressive totalitarian regime could offer. However, in the end, the means of socialistic life support was exhausted, and than returning to the natural and healthy market relations, where the laws of economics work for the benefit of the human race.

The same laws of market economics have worked in different human societies: from pre-historic to post-industrial, but still socialists continue to entertain the idea of tampering with these forces of nature.

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[Jun 23, 2019] A modern example is the oligarchs who carved up the commons in a collapsing and disintegrating Soviet Union

Notable quotes:
"... It's not entrepreneurial; it's base rent-seeking and it was a violent act of forced approbriation by denying natural rights to others. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 06:27

@johncj

So easy to say when you so blithely ignore the historical injustices, the inequality of opportunity and the theft - the first person to claim a parcel of land as their own exclusive property was committing an act of theft.

It's not entrepreneurial; it's base rent-seeking and it was a violent act of forced approbriation by denying natural rights to others.

The subsequent claims to title are enforced by the threat of violence through the emergence of a pervasive state.

A modern example is the oligarchs who carved up the commons in a collapsing and disintegrating Soviet Union. Their's was an act of theft committed against society and the common good. Your definition of freedom is predicated on theft and is a denial of natural freedoms,

[Jun 21, 2019] The shadow economy in the USSR how it all began

Jun 21, 2019 | weaponews.com

The question about the causes of the collapse and destruction of the Soviet Union – is not idle. It does not lose its relevance today, 22 years after occurred the death of the Soviet Union . Why? because some on the basis of this event concluded that, say, the capitalist model of the economy more competitive, more efficient and has no alternatives. American political scientist Francis Fukuyama after the collapse of the Soviet Union even hastened to declare that it was the "End of history": humanity has reached the highest and last stage of its development in the form of a universal, global capitalism. The relevance of studying the shadow economy, ssco opinion of this kind of political scientists, sociologists and economists, discussing the socialist economic model does not deserve attention.

Better to focus on improving the capitalist model of the economy, i. E. A model that targets all members of society to the enrichment, and a means of enrichment (profit) is the exploitation of one person by another. However, there are such "Natural" attributes of the capitalist model of social and income inequality, competition, cyclical crises, bankruptcies, unemployment and the like. All proposed improvements are aimed only at mitigating the inhuman consequences of capitalism that is reminiscent of utopian attempts to limit the appetite of a wolf devouring a sheep. We proceed from the fact that the key socio-economic characteristics of the socialist model are welfare for all members of society (goal), public ownership of the means of production (the main means), income generation solely for labor, planned nature of the economy, centralization of management, command positions of the state in the economy, the social consumption funds, the limited nature of commodity-money relations and so on. While this refers to the well-being not only in the form of products and services that are vital (biological) needs of the person.

This would also include public safety and defense, education, culture, conditions of work and rest. Of course, socialism – not only the economy and social relations. It also implies a certain type of political power, ideology, a high level of spiritually-moral development of society and another. High moral and spiritual requests should assume that there are higher goals in relation to socio-economic objectives.

But let's focus now is on the socio-economic aspect of the socialist model. So the erosion of the socialist model began long before the tragic events of december 1991, when it signed the infamous agreement on the division of the ussr in the bialowieza forest. It was already the final act of the political order. It is not only the date of death of the ussr, and date of full legalization of a new socio-economic model, which is called "Capitalism". However, implicitly capitalism germinated in the depths of soviet society for nearly three decades.

The soviet economy de facto has acquired the traits of a mixed. It combined socialist and capitalist structures. However, some foreign researchers and politicians said that de facto in the Soviet Union there was a complete restoration of capitalism in the 1960-ies – 1970-ies. The restoration of capitalism was linked to the emergence and development in the bowels of the ussr the so-called shadow or "Second" economy.

In particular, in the early 1960-ies member of the german communist party willy dickhut began publishing their articles, which stated that since coming to power in our country n. With. Khrushchev happened (not started, but it happened!) the restoration of capitalism in the ussr. The shadow economy functioned on the principles different from the socialist. Anyway, she was tied to corruption, embezzlement of state property, receipt of unearned income, in violation of the laws (or use of "Holes" in the legislation). Not to be confused with the shadow economy "Informal" economy, which is not contrary to the laws and principles of the socialist system, but complemented the economy "Official".

First of all, this self-employment – for example, the work of the farmer on the plot or the citizen in his summer cottage. And in the best of times (under stalin) widely developed the so-called fishing cooperation, which was occupied by production of consumer goods and services. In the Soviet Union state and party authorities chose to ignore the phenomenon of the shadow economy. No, of course, the police had uncovered and suppressed various operations in the sphere of the shadow economy. But the leaders of the ussr, commenting on this kind of history, fobbed off with phrases such as "Exception", "Some shortcomings", "Defects", "Bugs" and the like.

For example, in the early 1960-ies of the then first deputy of the ussr council of ministers anastas mikoyan has identified black market in the Soviet Union as "A handful of some dirty foam appearing on the surface of our society. "The shadow economy of the ussr: acincinnati some serious research shadow ("Second") economy in the ussr was conducted until the late 1980-ies. Abroad, such studies came first. First of all we should mention the work of american sociologist gregory grossman (university of california), which was called "Destructive independence. The historical role of genuine trends in soviet society".

She became widely known after was published in 1988 in the book "The light at the end of the tunnel" (university of berkeley, edited by stephen f. Cohen). However, the first article of grossman on this topic appeared in 1977 and was called "The second economy in the ussr (journal problems of communism, september-october 1977). You can also mention the book emigrated to the United States , the soviet lawyer konstantin simis "Corruption in the Soviet Union – the secret underground world of soviet capitalism", published in 1982. The author in the 1970-ies is closely in contact with some shady businessman, a lawyer which he performed at the trials.

However, quantitative assessments of shadow ("Second") economy k. Simes does not. Later appeared the work of american sociologists and economists of Russian origin Vladimir tremlia and michael alexeev. Since 1985, gregory grossman and Vladimir treml produce periodic collections of the "Second economy" of the ussr. Releases continued until 1993, only 51 were published a study involving 26 authors.

Many studies represented surveys of families of immigrants from the Soviet Union (a total of 1061 family). To studies have also used surveys of emigrants from other socialist countries, the official statistics of the ussr, publications in mass media and scientific journals of the Soviet Union . Despite the differences in some quantitative estimates of the individual authors, these differences were not fundamental. The differences arose due to the fact that some authors considered "Informal economy", the other – the shadow economy; however, their definitions of both economies could not match. Here are some results of these studies. 1.

In 1979 the illicit manufacture of wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages, as well as speculative resale of alcoholic beverages produced in the "First economy", provided the income, equal to 2. 2% of gnp (gross national product). 2. In the late 1970-ies in the ussr was flourishing black market gasoline. From 33 to 65% of purchases of gasoline in urban areas of the country, individual owners of cars had petrol sold by drivers of public enterprises and organizations (gasoline were sold at a price below the state). 3. In the soviet hairdresser 'left' incomes exceeded the amounts that customers have paid through cash.

This is just one example of what some state-owned enterprises de facto belonged to the "Second" economy. 4. In 1974 the share of employment in private and home gardens accounted for almost a third of the total working time in agriculture. And this was almost 10% of the total working time in the soviet economy. 5. In the 1970-ies, about a quarter of agricultural products produced on private plots, much of it was directed at kolkhoz markets. 6.

In the late 1970's, around 30% of all income of the urban population was obtained through various types of private activity – both legal and illegal. 7. By the end of 1970-ies the proportion of people employed in the "Second economy", reached 10-12% of the total workforce in the ussr. At the end of 1980-ies there appeared a number of works on the shadow and "Second" economy in the ussr. First and foremost is the publication of the soviet economist tatyana results and director of the research institute of the state planning commission valery rutgajzer. Here is the data from the t.

The results of the "Shadow economy of the ussr". The annual value of illegally produced goods and services in the early 1960-ies amounted to about 5 billion rubles, and in the end of 1980-ies was already reached 90 billion rubles. At current prices, the gnp of the ussr was (in billions of rubles): in 1960 – 195; in 1990, 701. Thus, the economy of the ussr for thirty years has increased 3. 6 times, and the shadow economy – 14 times.

If in 1960 the shadow economy relative to official gdp was 3. 4%, while by 1988 this figure rose to 20%. However, in 1990 it was equal to 12. 5%. This decline was due to changes in soviet legislation, which transferred to discharge a legal a range of economic activities, which were previously considered illegal. The number of employed in the shadow economy, estimated to be the results, in the beginning of 1960-ies was 6 million people, and in 1974 their number increased to 17-20 million people (6-7% of the population). In 1989, the such shadow was already 30 million people, or 12% of the population of the ussr. The threats and consequences of the development of the shadow economy in sssri american and soviet researchers pay attention to some features of the shadow economy and its impact on the overall situation in the Soviet Union .

[Jun 14, 2019] From Russian oil to rock'n'roll: the rise of Len Blavatnik

Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al June 7, 2019 at 3:28 pm

Financial Crimes: From Russian oil to rock'n'roll: the rise of Len Blavatnik
https://www.ft.com/content/c1889f48-871a-11e9-a028-86cea8523dc2

He made a fortune in the chaotic world of 1990s Russian capitalism, then took a place at the heart of the British establishment

Striding the halls of an English stately home, dressed in full costume as Victorian prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, Len Blavatnik was celebrating his 60th birthday. Grammy-winner Bruno Mars sang. Guests -- some in frock coats, others dressed as Leo Tolstoy, Rasputin or Chinese emissaries -- mixed with rock stars, celebrities and business tycoons.

Themed as an imaginary conference chaired by Disraeli, the June 2017 party was emblematic of Blavatnik's extraordinary rise from his birth in Soviet Ukraine to one of the UK's richest people
####

A lot more at the link.

So why did Abramovic get the bum rush? He's kept his head down, not made waves, behaved himself and spent a lot of money in the UK (Chelsea FC) which the above FT article sniffs at as unworthy (snobs), but the Brit government still stiffed his visa and he hasn't been back to the UK even though he now also has I-sraeli citizenship that affords him visa-free entry to the UK. Is it because the UK and others need some oligarchs on the side just in case their dream comes true and they need to parachute in some reliable Russians? That wouldn't surprise me. Government in waiting. Maybe Abramovic said "No." Wrong answer.

moscowexile June 8, 2019 at 11:57 pm
Parachute in some reliable Russians ???

You mean "Sir" Leonard Blavatnik?

Леонид Валентинович Блаватник (Сэр Леонард Блаватник; англ. Sir Leonard Blavatnik или Len Blavatnik; род. 14 июня 1957, Одесса -- американский и британский предприниматель и промышленник еврейского происхождения. В 2015 году возглавил список богатейших людей Великобритании Russian Wiki

Leonid Valentinovich Blavatnik (Sir Leonard Blavatnik or Len Blavatnik); born 14 June 1957, Odessa – American and British entrepreneur and industrialist of Jewish ancestry. In 2015, headed a list of the richest people in Great Britain

[May 22, 2019] The KGB plotters of 1991 had thought that post-Communist Russia would be treated by the West like the prodigal son, with a fattened calf being slaughtered for the welcome feast. To their disappointment, the stupid bastards discovered that their country was to play the part of the fattened calf at the feast, and they were turned from unseen rulers into billionaires' bodyguards

May 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jake says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT 100 Words This is good writing: "The KGB plotters of 1991 had thought that post-Communist Russia would be treated by the West like the prodigal son, with a fattened calf being slaughtered for the welcome feast. To their disappointment, the stupid bastards discovered that their country was to play the part of the fattened calf at the feast, and they were turned from unseen rulers into billionaires' bodyguards.

Jake says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 3:22 pm GMT Andropov's mother was Jewish.

[Apr 08, 2019] Has Privatization Benefitted the Public naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... Privatization typically enriches the politically connected few who secure lucrative rents by sacrificing the national or public interest for private profit, even when privatization may not seem to benefit them. ..."
"... For example, following Russian voucher privatization and other Western recommended reforms, for which there was a limited domestic constituency then, within three years (1992-1994), the Russian economy had collapsed by half, and adult male life expectancy fell by six years. It was the greatest such recorded catastrophe in the last six millennia of recorded human history. ..."
"... Soon, a couple of dozen young Russian oligarchs had taken over the commanding heights of the Russian economy; many then monetized their gains and invested abroad, migrating to follow their new wealth. Much of this was celebrated by the Western media as economic progress. ..."
Apr 08, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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<img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" /> Has Privatization Benefitted the Public? Posted on April 7, 2019 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield Jerri-Lynn here. Another succinct post by Jomo Kwame Sundaram that makes clear the "benefits" of privatization are not evenly distributed, and in fact, typically, "many are even worse off" when the government chooses to transfer ownership of the family silver.

Note that SOE is the acronym for state owned enterprise.

For those interested in the topic, see also another short post by the same author from last September, debunking other arguments to promote the privatization fairy, Revisiting Privatization's Claims .

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former UN Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development. Originally published at Inter Press Service

In most cases of privatization, some outcomes benefit some, which serves to legitimize the change. Nevertheless, overall net welfare improvements are the exception, not the rule.

Never is everyone better off. Rather, some are better off, while others are not, and typically, many are even worse off. The partial gains are typically high, or even negated by overall costs, which may be diffuse, and less directly felt by losers.

Privatized Monopoly Powers

Since many SOEs are public monopolies, privatization has typically transformed them into private monopolies. In turn, abuse of such market monopoly power enables more rents and corporate profits.

As corporate profits are the private sector's yardstick of success, privatized monopolies are likely to abuse their market power to maximize rents for themselves. Thus, privatization tends to burden the public, e.g., if charges are raised.

In most cases, privatization has not closed the governments' fiscal deficits, and may even worsen budgetary problems. Privatization may worsen the fiscal situation due to loss of revenue from privatized SOEs, or tax evasion by the new privatized entity.

Options for cross-subsidization, e.g., to broaden coverage are reduced as the government is usually left with unprofitable activities while the potentially profitable is acquired by the private sector. Thus, governments are often forced to cut essential public services.

In most cases, profitable SOEs were privatized as prospective private owners are driven to maximize profits. Fiscal deficits have often been exacerbated as new private owners use creative accounting to avoid tax, secure tax credits and subsidies, and maximize retained earnings.

Meanwhile, governments lose vital revenue sources due to privatization if SOEs are profitable, and are often obliged to subsidize privatized monopolies to ensure the poor and underserved still have access to the privatized utilities or services.

Privatization Burdens Many

Privatization burdens the public when charges or fees are not reduced, or when the services provided are significantly reduced. Thus, privatization often burdens the public in different ways, depending on how market power is exercised or abused.

Often, instead of trying to provide a public good to all, many are excluded because it is not considered commercially viable or economic to serve them. Consequently, privatization may worsen overall enterprise performance. 'Value for money' may go down despite ostensible improvements used to justify higher user charges.

SOEs are widely presumed to be more likely to be inefficient. The most profitable and potentially profitable are typically the first and most likely to be privatized. This leaves the rest of the public sector even less profitable, and thus considered more inefficient, in turn justifying further privatizations.

Efficiency Elusive

It is often argued that privatization is needed as the government is inherently inefficient and does not know how to run enterprises well. Incredibly, the government is expected to subsidize privatized SOEs, which are presumed to be more efficient, in order to fulfil its obligations to the citizenry.

Such obligations may not involve direct payments or transfers, but rather, lucrative concessions to the privatized SOE. Thus, they may well make far more from these additional concessions than the actual cost of fulfilling government obligations.

Thus, privatization of profitable enterprises or segments not only perpetuates exclusion of the deserving, but also worsens overall public sector performance now encumbered with remaining unprofitable obligations.

One consequence is poorer public sector performance, contributing to what appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. To make matters worse, the public sector is then stuck with financing the unprofitable, thus seemingly supporting to the privatization prophecy.

Benefits Accrue to Relatively Few

Privatization typically enriches the politically connected few who secure lucrative rents by sacrificing the national or public interest for private profit, even when privatization may not seem to benefit them.

Privatization in many developing and transition economies has primarily enriched these few as the public interest is sacrificed to such powerful private business interests. This has, in turn, exacerbated corruption, patronage and other related problems.

For example, following Russian voucher privatization and other Western recommended reforms, for which there was a limited domestic constituency then, within three years (1992-1994), the Russian economy had collapsed by half, and adult male life expectancy fell by six years. It was the greatest such recorded catastrophe in the last six millennia of recorded human history.

Soon, a couple of dozen young Russian oligarchs had taken over the commanding heights of the Russian economy; many then monetized their gains and invested abroad, migrating to follow their new wealth. Much of this was celebrated by the Western media as economic progress.

diptherio , April 7, 2019 at 9:11 am

SOE must stand for "state owned enterprise."

Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author , April 7, 2019 at 9:30 am

Yes it does. I've now added a sentence to my introduction to make that clear. I noticed the omission when I was uploading the post, but wasn't sure whether readers would be confused.

Thanks for your comment.

caloba , April 7, 2019 at 10:45 am

As a rule of thumb, I'd say that any privatisations that require the introduction of convoluted pseudo-market structures or vast new regulatory bureaucracies or which derive most of their ongoing income from the public sector are likely to be contrary to the long-term public interest. In the UK, unfortunately, all these ships sailed a long time ago

DJG , April 7, 2019 at 11:15 am

After the recent Chicago municipal elections, I wrote up some notes on the reasons for the discontent. This article by Sundaram explains exactly how these schemes work. Further, you can apply his criteria of subsidies for the rich, skimming, and disinheriting the middle class and poor to all of the following instances in Chicago.

If I may–some for instances of how Sundaram's observations turn up in U.S. cities:

Chicago is the proving grounds for thirty or so years of the Democrats' surrender to neoliberalism and austerity politics. Let us not forget, brethren and sistren, that Rahm is the Spawn of Bill + Hill as well as dear friend and advisor of Obama. So there is the work of Daley to undo and the work of the Clintonians to undo. It will take more than one term for Lightfoot.

Consider:
–Parking meters and enforcement have been privatized, starving the city of funds and, more importantly, of its police power.
–Taxes have been privatized in TIFs, where money goes and is never heard from again.
–There have been attempts to privatize the park system in the form of the Lucas museum and the current Obama Theme Park imbroglio, involving some fifty acres of park land.
–The school system has been looted and privatized. The Democrats are big fans of charter schools (right, "Beto"), seeing them as ways to skim money off the middle class and the poor.
–Fare collection on public transit has been privatized using a system so deliberately rudimentary and so deliberately corrupt that it cannot tell you at point of service how much you have paid as fare.
–Boeing was enticed to Chicago with tax breaks. Yes, that Boeing, the one that now deliberately puts bad software in your airplane.
–Property tax assessment has been an opaque system and source of skimming for lawyers.
–Zoning: Eddie Burke, pond scum, is just the top layer of pollution.
–And as we have made our descent, all of these economic dogmata have been enforced by petty harassment of the citizenry (endless tickets) and an ever-brutal police force.

And yet: The current Republican Party also supports all of these policies, so let's not pretend that a bunch of Mitch McConnell lookalikes are headed to Chicago to reform it.

California is no better , April 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm

Providing professional services i.e. architecture, engineering, etc. for a public entity, local or federal, does not yield unreasonable profits. Typically, the public agencies have their own staff to monitor and cost control a project. The professional services provided to private developers yields far more profit- oftentimes twice the profits associated with public agency work. Most professional services companies will transition their work to the public agencies during a recession.

At any rate, especially in Illinois, privatizing the work to avoid pension liabilities is no longer a choice. Michael Madigan pension promises will require the public to maintain a public service budget with no staff to fill potholes. Essentially, these are the no work jobs made popular by the Soprano crew twenty years ago.

Discussion of the downside of the privatization of public services is merely an oscillation from discussing the weather, the Bears or any other kitchen table discussion – nothing more than pleasant small talk to pass the time.

Privatization, at any cost, is no longer a choice. We have abused the pension system and now the public must pay for private companies to provide the most basic services.

stan6565 , April 7, 2019 at 6:36 pm

The question is, what can one do to help arrest this wholesale theft of public resources and their expropriation into the hands of well connected. " Public", as in, it is the working public over the last 100 or 200 years that created (or paid for), the electricity grid, or public schools, or entire armed or police forces

I keep thinking that perhaps an Act could or should be introduced here in UK (same for the States, i suppose), which should ensure that all politicians that enable any type of privatisation of public resources or PFI arrangement (yes that old chesnut), should be made personally responsible for the results therof.

And any losses to the public accidentally or "accidentally" occasioned by such commandeering over public resources, to be treated like deliberate misappropriation by the said public officials.

With the financial and custodial penalties as may be appropriate.

Anybody out there with similar thoughts or should i really try harder and give up on drugs?

eg , April 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Michael Hudson, to his immense credit, explains the pernicious effects of privatization of common goods repeatedly throughout his work, and demonstrates that it has been with us at least as long as the ancient practice of land alienation and rural usury.

Natural monopolies ought to be nationalised, full stop.

Grizziz , April 7, 2019 at 12:39 pm

I support public ownership of natural monopolies, however it would be helpful if these pieces contained data, case studies or footnoted entries providing some empirical evidence of the author's thesis.

Thuto , April 7, 2019 at 1:00 pm

This article comes at a time when the clarion call for privatizing Eskom, SA's electricity utility, is hitting deafening levels. To the private sector, efficiency = maximizing profits by making the "bloated" enterprise lean (aka cutting the workforce) and quite literally mean (aka cutting services to "unprofitable" segments of the market, iow, the poor and vulnerable). When profits soar because the holy grail of efficiency is achieved, the mainstream business press brings out the champagne and toasts this "success" as proof that the previously "moribund" (they always exaggerate the state of things) monopolistic monolith has been given a new lease on life by privatizing it and the template is set for rescuing other "ailing" SOEs.

The drawbacks are never laid out as cleary as they are in this article and the plight of those worst affected, whether laid-off workers or those whose services have been cut, never makes it into the headlines.

PhilB , April 7, 2019 at 2:53 pm

And then there is prison privatization where the burden of operation and maintaining the institution should clearly be on the public so as to be constant reminder of the burden, among others reasons. The motivations by private prison operators to reduce services and costs out of site of the pesky prying eyes of the public are manifold.

RepubAnon , April 7, 2019 at 7:54 pm

Privatization is a great way to avoid having user fees wasted by providing services, and instead put to better use funding the re-election campaigns of politicians supporting privatization. Plus, it provides much-needed consulting fees for former politicians as well as job-creating 7-figure salaries for the CEOs,

(/snark, if you couldn't tell)

On a side note, the Dilbert comic strip is written about private industry ,

Iapetus , April 7, 2019 at 3:39 pm

There was a rudimentary plan put forward last June that recommended some pretty substantial privatizations of U.S. government assets and services which include:

-Privatizing the US Post Office ( through an Initial Public Offering or outright sale to a private entity ).
-Sell off U.S. government owned electricity transmission lines ( U.S. government owns 14% of this nations power transmission lines through TVA, Southwestern Power Administration, Western Area Power Administration, and Bonneville Power Administration ).
-Spin-off the Federal Aviation Administrations air traffic control operations into a private nonprofit entity.
-Spin-off the Department of Transportations operations of the Saint Lawrence Seaways Locks and Channels into a private non-profit entity.
-End the federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then regulate a new system of private guarantors for their MBS securities.

Not sure if these are still being considered.

Tom Stone , April 7, 2019 at 3:54 pm

There's no way I could ask that question with a straight face.

Jack Parsons , April 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm

At heart, the problem with privatization is that marketing to a government-employed purchaser or "purchase influencer" is ridiculously cheap, due to their poor accountability strictures.

This is abetted by the Katamari Damacy process (self-accretionary tendency) of money and power.

https://youtu.be/-U_Tccwyh70?t=139

The Rev Kev , April 7, 2019 at 7:50 pm

In Oz the electricity grids were privatized as they would be cheaper that way – or so people were told. Instead, the cost of electricity has risen sharply over the years to the point that it is effecting elections on both the State and Federal level as the price hikes are so controversial. A problem is that those companies have to pay back the loans used to buy the public electricity grids and as well, the senior management award themselves sky-high wages because they are totally worth it. These are factors that were never present when it was publicly owned. And just to put the boot in, those very same companies have been 'gold-plating' the electricity grid for their gain-

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-18/australian-gold-plated-power-grid/8721566

Meanwhile, whatever money the governments made selling their electricity companies has been long spent on white elephants or buying themselves re-elections by giving out goodies to voters.

Procopius , April 7, 2019 at 8:54 pm

buying themselves re-elections by giving out goodies to voters.

I don't reside in the states, so I don't see much of the detail of daily life. What are these "goodies" of which you speak? In what I am able to read on the internet, people aren't being given goodies any more. At least the old-time politicians handed out jobs, and turkeys at Christmas. The current crop do hand out jobs to their kids and immediate family, but not so much to anyone else.

[Apr 03, 2019]

Apr 03, 2019 | kononenkome.livejournal.com

Долгие годы я жил в ощущении правильности произошедшего в 1991 и 1993 годах. Хотя, конечно, у меня были серьезные внутренние разногласия с той толпой, которая носилась по Москве и ломала памятники. Но я это в себе как-то давил. В 1993 году мне казалось правильным, что танк стреляет по дому с вооруженными людьми. Я тоже хотел раздавить гадину, потому что гадина представлялась мне гадиной. Я был юн и еще не понимал, что демократия -- это всегда толпа, ломающая памятники. И что любой парламент -- это всегда гадина. Но это не значит, что его надо из танков расстреливать.

Но даже когда ко мне пришло понимание этих двух постулатов, я все равно продолжал смеяться над мифологией защитников гадины. О массовых расстрелах на стадионе "Красная Пресня". И, конечно, о таинственных снайперах, которые стреляли по простым прохожим. Зачем снайперам стрелять по простым прохожим? Какой в этом военный тактический смысл? Однако время всё ставит по своим местам. Снайперы, стреляющие по простым прохожим нужны для того же, для чего нужны две бочки хлора. Для провокации.

А где же еще мы видели снайперов, стрелявших по людям для провокации насилия? Правильно, мы видели их в Киеве на Майдане. И вот когда у тебя в голове вдруг складывается Майдан и 1993 год, то становится неприятно. Потому что ты начинаешь понимать природу произошедшего в 1993 году. Это был такой же Майдан. И он, как и в Киеве, победил. Раздавили гадину. Америка, матушка-спасительница, помогла. И в 1993м. И в 2014. Только почему же ты, сволочь, тогда был на одной стороне, а потом -- на другой? А потому что дурак был.

А когда картинка сложилась, сразу же много стало понятнее. И весь тот ад девяностых, который был так похож на то, что ныне происходит на Украине. Война против собственных граждан негодной, разворованной армией. Полный крах экономики, зависимость от денег МВФ, выделяемых по милостивому разрешению США. Вооруженные люди, убивающие друг друга в центрах городов.

Эта мысль может показаться диковатой, но вот, наконец, у нее случилось документальное подтверждение. В США опубликованы расшифровки телефонных разговоров президента Билла Клинтона. В том числе и с президентом Борисом Ельциным. В которых Ельцин пугает Клинтона коммунистами, жалуется, что коммунисты, если победят, могут отобрать Крым (!). И просит два с половиной миллиарда долларов на выборы. После чего МВФ выделяет России займ, а в Москве приезжают американские политические консультанты. И выборы 1996 года превращаются в Оранжевую революцию -- только вместо концертов на Майдане тур "Голосуй или проиграешь". А в результате всё равно сфальсифицированные результаты. Методы и те же, разве что последовательность разная.

И вот с высоты этого понимания хорошо бы оглядеть перспективы. В России случился Путин, она очистилась от скверны и таки приняла вернувшийся Крым. Значит ли это, что подобный исход событий возможен на Украине? Интересная могла бы получиться экстраполяция: Порошенко находит какого-то малоизвестного человека, выходца из СБУ, которого назначает преемником. Этот человек выгоняет американцев, восстанавливает экономику, мирится с Донбассом, равноудаляет старых олигархов и возвращает Крым? Сценарий, как вы понимаете, фантастический. И дело даже не в Крыме, который никуда "возвращаться" не собирается, потому что он уже вернулся домой. Дело в том, что Ельцин вовсе не хотел, чтобы Путин сделал всё то, что он сделал. Он хотел просто гарантий безопасности для себя и семьи. И то, что Путин оказался не тем, кем его представлял себе Ельцин -- это счастливая случайность. Божий промысел, если хотите. Pussy Riot просили Богородицу, чтобы она забрала Путина, а устами художника всегда говорит Бог. То есть, прося Богородицу, чтобы она забрала Путина, Pussy Riot тем самым (и сами того не понимая) говорили нам, что Богородица Путина нам дала. Это шутка, конечно. Впрочем, как мне кажется, довольно изящная.

Порошенко, разумеется, тоже ничего из того, что сделал Путин, не хочет. Он хочет или остаться у власти (что мирным путем невозможно) или же обеспечить себе безопасность. Кто именно мог бы обеспечить ему такую безопасность (то есть -- быть потенциальным украинским Путиным) отсюда пока никак не просматривается. Но вопрос ведь не в этом. Вопрос в том, будет ли к этому иметь отношение Богородица.

А также в том, что нам теперь совсем не с руки смеяться над нынешней Украиной и ее выбором. Мы с вами вышли из такого же дерьма. Природа современного русского государства такая же -- поддержанный американцами майдан. И хорошо бы никогда об этом не забывать. И соответственно относиться к тем, кто тоскует по тем временам.

А лично мне достаточно того, что Богородица не послушала Pussy Riot. И слава богу.
RT

[Mar 31, 2019] What is the purpose of Russiagate hysteria?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The purpose is very simple: to create the perception that the government of Russia still somehow controls or manipulates the US government and thus gains some undeserved improvements in relations with the U.S. Once such perception is created, people will demand that relations with Russia are worsened to return them to a "fair" level. While in reality these relations have been systematically destroyed by the Western establishment (CFR) for many years. ..."
"... It's a typical inversion to hide the hybrid war of the Western establishment against Russian people. Yes, Russian people. Not Putin, not Russian Army, not Russian intelligence services, but Russian people. Russians are not to be allowed to have any kind of industries, nor should they be allowed to know their true history, nor should they possess so much land. ..."
"... Russians should work in coal mines for a dollar a day, while their wives work as prostitutes in Europe. That's the maximum level of development that the Western establishment would allow Russians to have (see Ukraine for a demo version). Why? Because Russians are subhumans. ..."
"... The end goal of the Western establishment is a complete military, economic, psychological, and spiritual destruction of Russia, secession of national republics (even though in some of them up to 50% of population are Russians, but this will be ignored, as it has been in former Soviet republics), then, finally, dismemberment of what remains of Russia into separate states warring with each other. ..."
"... The very concept of Russian nation should disappear. Siberians will call their language "Siberian", Muscovites will call their language "Moscovian", Pomorians will call their language "Pomorian", etc. The U.S. Department of State will, of course, endorse such terminology, just like they endorse the term "Montenegrian language", even though it's the same Serbo-Croatian language with the same Cyrillic writing system. ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Mar 30, 2019 8:51:37 PM | link

@b:
What is the purpose of making that claim?

The purpose is very simple: to create the perception that the government of Russia still somehow controls or manipulates the US government and thus gains some undeserved improvements in relations with the U.S. Once such perception is created, people will demand that relations with Russia are worsened to return them to a "fair" level. While in reality these relations have been systematically destroyed by the Western establishment (CFR) for many years.

It's a typical inversion to hide the hybrid war of the Western establishment against Russian people. Yes, Russian people. Not Putin, not Russian Army, not Russian intelligence services, but Russian people. Russians are not to be allowed to have any kind of industries, nor should they be allowed to know their true history, nor should they possess so much land.

Russians should work in coal mines for a dollar a day, while their wives work as prostitutes in Europe. That's the maximum level of development that the Western establishment would allow Russians to have (see Ukraine for a demo version). Why? Because Russians are subhumans.

Whatever they do, it's always wrong, bad, oppressive, etc. Russians are bad because they're bad. They must be "taught a lesson", "put into their place". It would, of course, be beneficial and highly profitable for Europeans to break with Anglo-Saxons and to live in peace and harmony with Russia, but Europeans simply can not overcome their racism towards Russians. The young Europeans are just as racist, with their incessant memes about "squatting Russians in tracksuits", "drunken Russians", etc., as if there's nothing else that is notable about a country of 147 million people.

The end goal of the Western establishment is a complete military, economic, psychological, and spiritual destruction of Russia, secession of national republics (even though in some of them up to 50% of population are Russians, but this will be ignored, as it has been in former Soviet republics), then, finally, dismemberment of what remains of Russia into separate states warring with each other.

The very concept of Russian nation should disappear. Siberians will call their language "Siberian", Muscovites will call their language "Moscovian", Pomorians will call their language "Pomorian", etc. The U.S. Department of State will, of course, endorse such terminology, just like they endorse the term "Montenegrian language", even though it's the same Serbo-Croatian language with the same Cyrillic writing system.

[Feb 27, 2019] Forward, Comrades

Feb 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

wikipedia , Feb 18, 2019 3:56:45 PM | link

Forward, Comrades (Russian: Вперед, товарищи; Chinese: 前进,达瓦里希; pinyin: Qiánjìn, dáwǎlǐxī; literally: "Advance, tovarish") is a 2013 Chinese animated short film by Wang Liyin of the Beijing Film Academy. The film focuses on the fall of the Soviet Union as its main theme, told from the perspective of a young girl. As an original net animation with a strong political backdrop, the film has triggered strong reactions from various audiences.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forward,_Comrades

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkHM4ajLfD0

[Feb 18, 2019] The real Russian Tragedy -- plunder by superor transnational forces, and first of all the USA, after the dissolution and convertion to the neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... But while China has succeeded in conserving a degree of control on capital outflows and private accumulation, the characteristic of Putin's Russia is an unbounded drift into kleptocracy. Between 1993 and 2018, Russia had massive trade surpluses: approximately 10% of GDP per annum on average for 25 years, or a total in the rage of 250% of GDP (two and a half years of national production). In principle that should have enabled the accumulation of the equivalent in financial reserves. This is almost the size of the sovereign public fund accumulated by Norway under the watchful gaze of the voters. The official Russian reserves are ten times lower – barely 25% of GDP. ..."
Feb 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Feb 17, 2019 9:10:39 PM | link

vk, james, pft, et al

One would have to be incredibly naive on the order of say a 3 year old or maybe Forrest Gump to believe Putin isn't a very wealthy man who will never want for anything as long as he has billionaire cronies indebted to him politically in one way or the other.

Of course, some people must cling to their illusions, er I mean their idealism, of others no matter what. Dog knows why.

Thomas Piketty :

More generally, the Soviet disaster led to the abandon of any ambition of redistribution. Since 2001, income tax is 13%, whether your income be 1,000 roubles or 100 billion roubles. Even Reagan and Trump have not gone as far in the destruction of progressive taxation. There is no tax on inheritance in Russia, nor in the People's Republic of China. If you want to pass on your fortune in peace in Asia, it is better to die in the ex-Communist countries and definitely not in the capitalist countries such as Taiwan, South Korea or Japan where the tax rate on inheritance on the highest estates has just risen from 50% to 55%.

But while China has succeeded in conserving a degree of control on capital outflows and private accumulation, the characteristic of Putin's Russia is an unbounded drift into kleptocracy. Between 1993 and 2018, Russia had massive trade surpluses: approximately 10% of GDP per annum on average for 25 years, or a total in the rage of 250% of GDP (two and a half years of national production). In principle that should have enabled the accumulation of the equivalent in financial reserves. This is almost the size of the sovereign public fund accumulated by Norway under the watchful gaze of the voters. The official Russian reserves are ten times lower – barely 25% of GDP.

Where has the money gone? According to our estimates, the offshore assets alone held by wealthy Russians exceed one year of GDP, or the equivalent of the entirety of the official financial assets held by Russian households. In other words, the natural wealth of the country, (which, let it be said in passing, would have done better to remain in the ground to limit global warming) has been massively exported abroad to sustain opaque structures enabling a minority to hold huge Russian and international financial assets. These rich Russians live between London, Monaco and Moscow: some have never left Russia and control their country via offshore entities. Numerous intermediaries and Western firms have also recouped large crumbs on the way and continue to do so today in sport and the media (sometimes this is referred to as philanthropy). The extent of the misappropriation of funds has no equal in history.

donkeytale , Feb 17, 2019 10:59:25 PM | link

james,

Well, there can be no doubt Amerikkkans, Euros, Asians, Middle Easterners, grifters, entrepreneurs, lumpen proles and many others of all persuasions participated in the sacking of Russia's national wealth since the fall of the USSR. Probably even a few Canadiens took part. Lol.

Capitalust feeding frenzies of this magnitude are ugly sights to behold, like the Washington DC pig trough on a daily basis.

Russia's is truly a global phenomenon to be sure.

Or maybe a "globalist" phenomenon is a better way to putin words.

And of course, the chart at the top of Piketty's post is most interesting too....it shows the US equally as unequal as Russia. I'm not letting the US off the hook here in any way shape or form. But this thread is about Russia and worse exposits a demented sort of idealism by many posters about the country and its Dear Leader that is unwarranted, IMHO. Not you of course.

The heinous accumulation of Russian wealth is intertwined...leaving Russia and shunted through tax havens, laundered, anonymised and ending up invested in the West....not back home in Mother Russia....where it could lead to more economic development and opportunities for the non-oligarchs....instead of more growth in the US and West, where agin most ends up in the pockets of our own oligarchs, one Donald Trump among them.

This is a Russian Tragedy.


[Jan 20, 2019] Is "zastoy"(stagnation) a blessing in disguise fir Russian citizents ?

Jan 20, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , January 17, 2019 at 03:19 PM

http://glineq.blogspot.com/2019/01/russias-circular-economic-history.html

January 17, 2019

Russia's circular economic history?

Today I participated in a nice web-based program started by the Central Bank of Russia (it will be posted soon). An economist is being interviewed by another, and then the one who has been interviewed becomes in his/her turn the interviewer of yet a third one. My friend Shlomo Weber, the head of the New School of Economics interviewed me, and then I interviewed Professor Natalya Zubarevich, from the Lomonosov Moscow State University and a noted scholar of Russian regional economics.

Just a couple of days ago Natalia gave a very well-received talk at the Gaidar Forum in Moscow on (what one might call) "unhealthy convergence" of Russian regions. In fact, Natalia shows that most recently regional per capita GDPs have started a mild convergence, but that this is due first to low growth rate of most of them and the economy as a whole, and to the redistribution mechanism (mostly of the oil rent) between the regions. A healthy convergence, Natalia says, would be the one where economic activity, and especially small and medium size private businesses, were much more equally distributed across some ninety subjects of the Russian Federation. She also had very interesting insights into the excessive "verticalization" of economic power and decision-making in Russia, and the economic growth of Moscow (much faster than of any other part of Russia) driven by centralization of that power, and concentration of large state-owned or state-influenced enterprises as well as bureaucracy in Moscow.

What most attracted my attention during Natalia's presentation at the Gaidar Forum was her description of the current period of low growth rates in Russia as zastoi, or stagnation. Now, zastoi has a very special political meaning in Russian because it was a disparaging term used in the Gorbachev era, and by Gorbachev himself, to define the Brezhnevite period of declining growth rates, lack of development perspectives, unchanging bureaucracy, and general demoralization and malaise.

But I asked Natalia the following question. Looking over the past 150 years of Russian history (and I think it is hard to go further back), were not really the best periods for ordinary people exactly the periods of zastoi: incomes rose by little for sure, but the state repression was weak, there were no wars, and probably if you look at violent deaths per capita per year, the lowest number of people died precisely during the periods of zastoi. So perhaps that zastoi is not so bad.

Natalia said, "I know I lived through the Brezhnevite period. Many people were demoralized; but I used it to study. I never read so many books and learned so much as then -- you could do whatever you wanted because your actual job really did not matter much." (Even art, as I saw in the Tretyakovska Gallery, even if some of these paintings were never exhibited in the official museums, seems to have done well during the Brezhnevite zastoi. And as the recent film, which I have not seen, but read the reviews, Leto, appears to indirectly argue as well.)

The best growth periods, as Natalia said, and as is generally accepted by economic historians were the 1950s up to about 1963-65, and then the period of the two first Putin's terms. In both cases, the growth spurs came as a ratchet effect to the previous set of disasters: in the Khrushchev period, to the apocalypse of the Second World War, in the Putin period, as a reaction to the Great Depression under Yeltsin during the early transition.

So this then made us think a bit back into the past (say, going back to 1905) and put forward the following hypothesis: that Russian longer-term economic growth is cyclical. The cycle has three components. First a period of utter turbulence, disorder, war, and huge loss of income (and in many cases of life as well), followed by a decade or so of efflorescence, recovery and growth, and finally by the period of "calcification" of whatever (or whoever) that worked in that second period -- thus producing the zastoi or stagnation.

I do not know if this is something specific to the Russian economic history. It made me think of Naipaul's observation on successful and unsuccessful countries. The history of the former consists of a number of challenges and setbacks indeed, but certain things are solved forever, and then new challenges appear. Take the United States: the Indian challenge and then the independence from Britain were not easy to overcome/acquire, but eventually, they were and they never came back; then the Civil War and the Emancipation; then the Great Society etc. But unsuccessful countries, according to Naipaul (and he had, I think, Argentina in mind) always stay within the circular history. The same or similar events keep on repeating themselves forever without any upward trend -- and no single challenge is forever overcome. In each following cycle everything simply repeats itself.

The challenges for Russia today is, I think, to break this cycle.

-- Branko Milanovic

[Jan 08, 2019] Alexander Rutskoi: The Shelling of the Parliament in 1993 Was Directed From Washington. Also 30 staff members of the CIA worked in the government. They led the imaginary auctions, government bonds, were admitted to the top secret information.

Notable quotes:
"... A conversation in the radio studio "Komsomolskaya Pravda" with the Hero of the Soviet Union, the first and the last vice-president of Russia, Alexander Rutskoi and the former head of the President's Security Service (by definition, the closest person to Yeltsin's body), Alexander Korzhakov. ..."
"... (of the Communist Party – author's note) ..."
"... – If I understand it, it was then when you collected "11 suitcases of compromising evidence" against Yeltsin's team? Which also played a role in the confrontation. ..."
"... . About 30 staff members of the CIA worked under the guise of consultants with reformers in the government. And much more. And these were imaginary auctions, state bonds, what was the way they all were thought out? This process was led by staff members of the CIA, who worked in the government of the Russian Federation. ..."
"... I repeatedly asked Yeltsin: is it possible the work of foreign intelligence officers in the administration of the US President? He: Alexander Ivanovich, are you accidentally drunk? – No. I did not drink. I'm just asking you this question. – He: Of course not. – Why do we have 30 employees (of CIA)? And admitted them to top secret information? Where do we go? They are conducting these boys, who do not understand what they are doing, they get up these ugliness. And what will be the results? ..."
"... 30 staff members of the CIA worked in the government. They led the imaginary auctions, government bonds, were admitted to the top secret information. ..."
"... – And what happened to the words about Nechaev? ..."
"... – Listen, let's be honest. You were with Yeltsin in 1991 on one side of the barricades. You saw him, and thats why in the 1993 did not believe that he would go for blood, for assault. Was it so? ..."
"... It was later learned that Gorbachev had created the State Emergency Committee in March 1991, this was his initiative. He went to Foros to absolve himself of responsibility. ..."
"... Once again, when Yeltsin was going to hide in the US embassy in 1991, I stopped him, I said: Boris Nikolayevich, you can not do this, you are the head of Russia, how are you going to escape, let me fly to Foros. So Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov and I flew to Foros to take Gorbachev out of there and bring him back to his place. ..."
"... But in 1993, everything was planned differently. Here is the Maydan in Kiev – this is one in one repetition, a little under another sauce, really. But the conductors were from the same address. All these orders came from Washington. Because the tele-shooting was done, the operators were at such profitable points to completely shoot this massacre. They were seated in advance. And when the "Alpha" (Special Force unit) refuses to storm the building, they kill their fighter Sergeev, sniper kills him in the back, to provoke "Alpha". ..."
"... The Maidan in Kiev is one in one repetition of events in Moscow in 1993. But the conductors were from one place – from Washington. The operators were placed in advance so as to completely shoot this massacre. And when "Alpha" refuses to storm the building, the sniper kills their fighter Sergeev to provoke "Alpha". ..."
"... – And what did happen with those closets in which there was compromising material? ..."
"... – The situation was such that I was put to Lefortovo (detention unit for state security – author's note) ..."
"... – Korzhakov would better tell how at Vnukovo airport he met the snipers, who flew not from our country, how they went to Sofrino and got sniper rifles, how they planted these snipers on the roof and started killing policemen and representatives of the armed forces, gawkers and others. For what? – To provoke this assault. ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

A conversation in the radio studio "Komsomolskaya Pravda" with the Hero of the Soviet Union, the first and the last vice-president of Russia, Alexander Rutskoi and the former head of the President's Security Service (by definition, the closest person to Yeltsin's body), Alexander Korzhakov.

Twenty-two years ago, Moscow shuddered from the tank volleys, and people all over the country clung to TV screens, on which Western TV stations broadcasted how Yeltsin's loyal troops fire at the rebel troops of the Supreme Soviet (Parlament) of Russia. The opposition of the Armed Forces and the President Yeltsin with his team, on the one hand, and Rutskoi and Khasbulatov with the deputies, on the other, ended in great blood. Incongruous with the one that spilled two years earlier, when the Emergency Committee tried to keep the USSR.

This was the beginning of our conversation in the radio studio "Komsomolskaya Pravda" with the Hero of the Soviet Union, the first and the last vice-president of Russia, Alexander Vladimirovich Rutskoi and the former head of the President's Security Service (by definition, the closest person to Yeltsin's body), Alexander Vasilyevich Korzhakov.

... ... ...

Rutskoy:

– Yeltsin's main argument against the Supreme Council was that it prevented him from "carrying out reforms." What kind of reforms? – The privatization. I was appointed to lead the Interdepartmental Commission on Combating Corruption, and I had information about how it was conducted. Port Nakhodka went in ownership for 100 thousand dollars, Achinsk alumina plant for 180 thousand, Uralmash, giant, the pride of our country, went to Bendukidze's property for 500 thousand dollars, not for money but for vouchers. What is this nonsense? After all, we proposed alternative privatization. First, the service sector. I still, being a member of the Central Committee (of the Communist Party – author's note) , I was expelled from the party for factionalism, suggested: why should the state have hairdressers, tailors, canteens, cafes, restaurants? Let's privatize it, but on a competitive basis. A person wins a contest, gets this object into management and pays real estate, the cost of this object to the mortgage. The money goes to the social development fund of the country, which is subordinated to a collegial body, not to the executive branch, to the Supreme Council. And then the issues of building schools, hospitals, polyclinics, roads, housing and everything else would be resolved.

The port of Nakhodka was privatized for 100 thousand dollars, the Achinsk alumina plant for 180 thousand, Uralmash, the giant, the pride of our country, went into the ownership of Bendukidze for 500 thousand dollars. And it was not money, but vouchers.

This was our most important contradiction with Yeltsin and his team. And imagine how much money would go into this social fund. And today, the problems in the social sphere would be solved tenfold at the expense of that has touched.

– If I understand it, it was then when you collected "11 suitcases of compromising evidence" against Yeltsin's team? Which also played a role in the confrontation.

Rutskoy:

– I figuratively said that those are 11 suitcases. You know, such fireproof large metal cabinets. And there were documents in them. Not compromising evidence, but documents, including all of these scams with privatization . About 30 staff members of the CIA worked under the guise of consultants with reformers in the government. And much more. And these were imaginary auctions, state bonds, what was the way they all were thought out? This process was led by staff members of the CIA, who worked in the government of the Russian Federation.

I repeatedly asked Yeltsin: is it possible the work of foreign intelligence officers in the administration of the US President? He: Alexander Ivanovich, are you accidentally drunk? – No. I did not drink. I'm just asking you this question. – He: Of course not. – Why do we have 30 employees (of CIA)? And admitted them to top secret information? Where do we go? They are conducting these boys, who do not understand what they are doing, they get up these ugliness. And what will be the results?

30 staff members of the CIA worked in the government. They led the imaginary auctions, government bonds, were admitted to the top secret information.

– Alexander Vasilievich, I was 31 years old and I was sitting at that time in the company of Englishmen, who, going crazy, asked me: "Sasha, is this a movie?" And I answered them that yes, only documentary and live". And they, even more crazy, bawled: "They must not shoot the Parliament by tanks "

... ... ...

They figured out Yeltsin but conductors directed the country

Rutskoy:

– Yeltsin's only correct decision for all his being in office was to resign and make his successor a worthy man who pulled the country out of this humiliating situation. Incidentally, I have repeatedly told Yeltsin who his security service is, I asked – remove these guys: both Barsukov and Korzhakov, they will then make you a gift that you will never wash off. And in 1996, Yeltsin had the intelligence to get rid of these persons.

– You do not like them.

– You know, I always went to Boris Nikolaevich and, before making any public statements, talked with him. And what did Korzhakov do? He resorted to Yeltsin and sang a song to him, that I saw a chair under him. If you want I tell an interesting episode. There were a strike at the automobile plant "ZIL". Boris Nikolayevich, as always, on vacation. It is clear what a vocation it was. I got a call with the command from the President to go to ZIL and to work out. I walk along the corridor, towards goes Viktor Palych Barannikov, the Minister of Security. "Where are you going?" – "To ZIL, there's a strike. I was given a commission from Boris Nikolayevich." – "Can I go with you?" – "Of course?". We had come, listened to the workers. I convinced them that we must go back to the machines, stop the strike and so on. And I allowed myself such a statement: "Boris Nikolayevich will come, I will ask him to give me an opportunity to attach my guard to Nechayev (he was an economy minister), I will give him your salary, three thousand rubles. And I'll see how this figure and rascal will live." Farther. We sit at the one birthday party. Boris Nikolaevich asks me a question. I look, there is a dictophone at his hands. He said me: Have you got three thousand rubles with you? I say that I got more. And my brains turn on here. I see the recorder. Yeltsin is on public, and this is the first circle, ministers, say, basically of the power structure. He turns on the dictaphone. And there goes this record, but in another form – that Yeltsin will come, and I'll give him three thousand, I'll attach my guard to him and so on.

Read also: Hommage a Domenico Losurdo

– And what happened to the words about Nechaev?

They have deleted that part, and it turned out that I would do this to Yeltsin. Silent scene in the hall. And then Barannikov takes out a dictophone from his pocket. And turns on a full record, as it was. So, Yeltsin takes his recorder and launches in Korzhakov. Korzhakov bent down and the tape recorder flew to the wall, smashed to smithereens.

Yeltsin takes the recorder and launches in Korzhakov. Korzhakov bent down and the tape recorder flew to the wall, smashed to smithereens

– Listen, let's be honest. You were with Yeltsin in 1991 on one side of the barricades. You saw him, and thats why in the 1993 did not believe that he would go for blood, for assault. Was it so?

– Well, frankly, I hoped so. In 1991, there was a situation When some information arrived that the assault was about to begin, Yeltsin immediately got into the car and was going to leave for the US embassy. It was later learned that Gorbachev had created the State Emergency Committee back in March of 1991, it was his initiative. He flew to Foros when a cope started in August to absolve himself of responsibility.

It was later learned that Gorbachev had created the State Emergency Committee in March 1991, this was his initiative. He went to Foros to absolve himself of responsibility.

Once again, when Yeltsin was going to hide in the US embassy in 1991, I stopped him, I said: Boris Nikolayevich, you can not do this, you are the head of Russia, how are you going to escape, let me fly to Foros. So Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov and I flew to Foros to take Gorbachev out of there and bring him back to his place.

But in 1993, everything was planned differently. Here is the Maydan in Kiev – this is one in one repetition, a little under another sauce, really. But the conductors were from the same address. All these orders came from Washington. Because the tele-shooting was done, the operators were at such profitable points to completely shoot this massacre. They were seated in advance. And when the "Alpha" (Special Force unit) refuses to storm the building, they kill their fighter Sergeev, sniper kills him in the back, to provoke "Alpha".

The Maidan in Kiev is one in one repetition of events in Moscow in 1993. But the conductors were from one place – from Washington. The operators were placed in advance so as to completely shoot this massacre. And when "Alpha" refuses to storm the building, the sniper kills their fighter Sergeev to provoke "Alpha".

Neither "Alpha" nor "Vympel" went to the assault.

– But after all "Alpha" and "Vympel" did not go to storm the Kremlin too. Remember, you ordered the pilots to bomb the Kremlin?

– I did not make such an order.

– You went on the air. I heard it with my ears.

– It was a psychological intimidation for the Kremlin – That is the first. And the second, what was the way to stop them? I think, at least they will come to their senses, stop doing it.

– And what did happen with those closets in which there was compromising material?

– The situation was such that I was put to Lefortovo (detention unit for state security – author's note) , and the next day, these non-combustible metal cabinets were cracked and under the direction of Korzhakov these folders were extracted. Where did they go, these folders, who gave the order to Korzhakov to withdraw everything related to the work of the interdepartmental commission? No answer.

– There is a feeling that personal scores are not all finished between you

– Korzhakov would better tell how at Vnukovo airport he met the snipers, who flew not from our country, how they went to Sofrino and got sniper rifles, how they planted these snipers on the roof and started killing policemen and representatives of the armed forces, gawkers and others. For what? – To provoke this assault.

Korzhakov would better tell how at Vnukovo airport he met the snipers, who flew not from our country, how they went to Sofrino and got sniper rifles, how they planted these snipers on the roof and started killing policemen and representatives of the armed forces, gawkers and others. For what? – To provoke this assault.

I have nothing to hide. I have published the minutes of my interrogations. And the book "Bloody Autumn" I wrote, deliberately, without even a hint on any emotions. I took the date, the documents of the Supreme Council, which were released on that date, the decisions of the Kremlin on the same date, and made a diary of events. In the end wrote: and now everyone draw conclusions themselves, who is to blame that the blood of compatriots was spilled, that our country was simply smeared, that the Soviet Union was destroyed, and people with far from a decent biography were given the national property of the country. That's what I and many of my comrades could not agree with, but it happened.

– It happened. And God grant us that we will never do it again.

Published at http://antiterror.one/en/node/38

[Jan 01, 2019] Gorbachov role in the collapse of the USSR

YouTube
Jan 01, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Why Mikhail Gorbachev was elected General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee on March 11, 1985? Was there a will of Yuri Andropov? What was the cause of the sudden death of defense Minister Dmitry Ustinov, who could be the first person in the country? Was the Secretary General Konstantin Chernenko really poisoned by low-quality fish? And why did Victor Grishin lose his chance to become the Secretary General of the "master of Moscow"?


Дима Горный , 1 year ago (edited)

Gorbachev was recruited in 1976-77 years when he visited Europe, then eliminate Kulakov and promote the Central Committee Gorbachev. I am sure that the KGB had their own people recruited by the CIA and pursued a policy of promoting their candidacy for the post of first person of the USSR.

valentina Валентина , 2 years ago (edited)

The stupidest commentaries are here. This rotten system has outlived its usefulness.........and no leader was able to save her. There is no progressive Communist state in the world and can not be!

Ацеховская Татьяна , 1 year ago

Not Gorbachev, so someone else.The USSR was naive and doomed.What, one Gorbachev did everything? Full of vultures sat and waited for the corpse. My uncle, being the mayor of Tikhvin, in the late 70s, said that the country is doomed because we are engaged in self-eating.Huge funds went to support the Communist parties around the world.

Oberst , 1 week ago

@Asenovska Tatiana uncle rasskazyval, as mayor....What the University taught me.....

And I , being the senior officer, after 4 wounds the write-off on the ground, the pilot....Past Afghan, and not only.....

I saw our planes to be cur in peaces on orders from Gorbachev.... .And submarines, costing hundreds millions. Payed by people who save on everyting to secure indepence of the country.

And this creature, was given Nobel Peace Prize for selling everthing to the USA for pennies on the dollar...

The West praised him, and he DESTROYED noth the ARMY AND NAVY and then the USSR ... He gave up our victory in WWII without and fight's...

After Gorbachov the USA was able to bomb Belgrade, and Iraq, and Livia without any fear for retribution. He should be executed . And the body of this traitor should be disposed in manure...

And if not Putin, we would be the colony of the USA much like Latin american countries. .And the USA would bomb Syria into stone age, kill the President and grap all the oil

Only Putin is not GORBACHEV!!!!! And the Big Uncle blew up in Syria and they did not risk thier place to test Russia anti-aircraft missile systems.

Tamara G , 3 years ago

Gorbachev first created a deceptive impression of a young, wise, business-like head of state. In fact, he was a banal traitor of his country, sold the sovereignty of a great country for perdpnal fortume and villa in Germany. While Wewst grbbed all opur natiural resourses and large part of iundustry. YELTSIN destroyed completely the economica, and high technolgy ijndurites in the country, sold everything to oligarchs for pennies. Both Gorbachev and Yeltsin are enemies of the Fatherland .

Высоковольтный Сыр , 1 year ago (edited)

Gorbachev came to the sinking ship and it was too late to patch the holes in it. The cold war and the arms race sucked the last currency reserves from the USSR. The Kremlin Party bonzes forgot about the economy, forgot about the people. They were obsessed with matching the weaponry of the phantom enemy (Americans), and as a result of the cold war the USSR disintegrated and broke up into 15 independent States.

While we can blame the weakling and traitor Gorbachev, even before him the agriculture was in deep and irreversible decline. We were forced to buy grad for abroad. After the US has imposed sanctions that have artificially reduced oil prices to such a low level that game was over. Currency flow from oil sales seizes and there was no alternative then to take loans from the West.

The Treasury started printed too much rubles, inflation started and with it nationalist feeling that finished off the country. Add to this Chernobyl disaster. When in Armenia in December 1988 there was the major earthquake, the Kremlin requested the "decadent West" about the humanitarian aid.

Economy of the Soviet Union fell through the floor and no wonder Gorbachev was tilted towards the West, toward privatization of the industries.

Of course he was a fool and allowed West to plunder the country, but essentially he have no choice, reforms were needed and he lost control of them, tried to stage a fake coup to regain control and was deposed as the result. Because he was very weak, incompetent politician, not fit for such a grave moment in the history of the country, he destroyed the country.

The socialist camp collapsed, and Gorbachov refused to help the socialist countries, it was necessary to save his own ass. He also finished stupid and unnecessary war in Afghanistan. That was the only positive step he made. And that was too little too late.

Fartoviy 777 , 4 months ago

Instead of that asshole, Heydar Aliyev should have been elected by Politburo. The only person who was really able to pull the country out of the crisis, it was Aliyev G. in any other scenario, the country was doomed to collapse . And about Gorbachev , you can say so in Russian history , no traitor is worse and higher rank than this pederast!!!, All pleasant viewing!

Caucasus man , 5 days ago

And why the interior Ministry, KGB were inactive. As well as Party Control? How could this hump with foreign help and some special color revolution technology to destroy all the obstacles. How he managed to subdue the Politburo power structure ( including the axis of the Gromyko-Primakov and Yakovlev) ? As he had no trouble to expel from the Central Committee able and less corrupted members of the Central Committee (V. Sherbitsky , V. Grishin, G. V. Romanov, G. A. Aliyev, D, Kuhn...)? 

BValeri52 , 1 week ago

Gorbachev - zero as the head of state, but the soil he has prepared Khrushchev and Brezhnev (Moskva), they let the country drift, theft, drunkenness, took away people's faith.

YURY RUDY , 5 days ago (edited)

А хули дебилам объяснять. Горбачев открыл окно в мир. Живите уроды ,работайте развивайтесь. Но началась элементарная борьба за власть. Так как в этой стране на протяжении всей истории ничего путного создать не умели. Что с татар взять. Страна не могла не развалится. Если бы не Беловежское соглашение, крови было бы немерянно. В каждой республики были свои лидеры которые тупо хотели быть президентами и якобы независимыми.. Кто виноват ,что страна наводнена ублюдками у власти. которые вместо того что бы создавать могучую страну напичканную всей таблицей Менделеева, начали ее растаскивать.И грабят по сей день, под руководством Единой россии. Вспомните как все визжали, когда страна стала открываться. Когда народ перестал поклонятся импортным одноразовым зажигалкам и фантикам от жвачек. Думать надо, прежде чем повторять кремлевские методички. Теперь катаетесь на Порше кайене, живете в особняках и хотите назад в СССР. Я с вас хуею..


Володимир Завірюха
, 1 week ago

Хорошо помню 1985 год когда вьібрали Горбачева .То у нас в Тернополе наш учитель политекономии тогда говорил нам студентам что старьіе партейцьі говорят что Горбачев будет изменик .А почему мьі спрашивали .А потому что он не любит наши отечественьіе костюмьі а любит английские ....Сколько лет прошло а только времья показало кто прав а кто нет .Китай например посмотрел на нашу историческую ошибку и принимает все необходимьіе мерьі чтобьі подобньіх Горбачевьіх там у руля власти не оказалось ....Все большие Иудьі бьіли меченьіе ,как и бьіл мечен Горбачев ...Горбачева можна сравнить из Нероном которьій розвалил большое ....

Низами Мамедов , 3 days ago

У господина Млечина с аналитикой большие проблемы, а ведь журналист должен знать всё о своём герое. В отношении Горбачёва он так и не понял, почему Семи- частный отверг кандидатуру Горбачёва. Семичастный знал, что Горбачёв не чист на руку, короче говоря один из первых советских мафиози в г. Ставрополе по производству алкоголя. Мне лично рассказал об этом брат убитого по приказу Горбачёва следователя (по пути из Краснодара в Невинномысск), который напал на след этого упыря, но ему была устроена автомобильная катастрофа, в которой погиб этот следователь. А почему Брежнев убрал Семичастного, потому что Семичастный знал всю кухню правительственного переворота по смещению Хрущёва, поэтому Брежнев, по словам самого Семичастного убрал его из Москвы подальше, и в Киеве устроил третьим замом председателя правительства Украинской ССР, выступая Семичастный сказал, я так и не понял, кем я стал работать, работы практически не было, он просто отсиживался на этой высокой должности до пенсии.


Mihrutka Mikhail
, 2 weeks ago

Слушаю и все время одна мысль в голову лезет - как же надо было руководить страной , до какого идиотизма довести ситуацию с продуктами питания , если академики и композиторы с мировым именем и даже дочь генсека !!!! искали знакомства и расположения директора магазина !!! . О чем думают люди , пишущие вечные сентенции - "какую страну мы потеряли " - а ведь в провинции было все гораздо хуже и японцы создали анекдот - "Самая лучшая система снабжения создана в СССР - все товары завозятся в Москву - а благодарный народ САМ развозит по стране..." Не могла быть жизнеспособной страна при таком маразме..


Slava Boyka
, 1 week ago

Лично мне похуй!!! Если сравнить СССР ,где все было нельзя и под запретом, под наблюдением людей в плащах и шляпах,то при Горбачеве, народ вздохнул глоток свежего,опьяняющего,долгожданного и запретного воздуха из вне... Первые кооперативы, джинсы, машины, кафе, иномарки,музыка, фильмы!!! Что то новое принес! Нельзя так,было больше жить.. Виновен он во многом,но есть и плюсы его политики. Предали его, а он предал нас....


джек машкин
, 5 months ago

Горбачёв был типичный южный дурачок . Они умеют 3 вещи -выглядеть выгодно(лучше чем есть на самом деле ,подмазать где надо , и болтать .... А ЛЮБОЕ дело которое им поручишь -ОБГАДЯТ . СИСТЕМА СССР была уже слаба тем ,что потеряла ЖЁСТКОСТЬ и ЗАЩИТУ от Дурака . При Хрущёве -она сработала и дурачка убрали ,при Горби - ЕМУ ДАЛИ РУЛИТЬ ,и ВСЁ развалилось .

Zigmas Kreipavičius , 3 days ago

Михаил Сергеевич разрушил империю зла

Vanjka Vstanjka , 1 year ago

Престарелый Черненко - это плохо. А не престарелые Горбачёв, Яковлев, Шеварднадзе и Лигачёв - это жутко хорошо? Дело, похоже, не только и не столько в возрасте, сколько в деловых и моральных качествах его носителей. Все члены названнй компашки реально вредили и реально (и крепко) навредили стране. А ведь престарелыми они отнюдь не были!


Евгений Карандашев
, 1 week ago (edited)

Поражаюсь туполобости некоторых "демократов-капиталистов" в комментариях. Почти тридцать лет мы живём в капиталистическом обществе, имеем полный доступ к любой информации - изучай сколько влезет, называется... И вы за эти тридцать лет так и не смогли впихнуть в свой мозг информацию о происходящих в мире тенденциях, её систематизировать и сделать из неё вывод - вы безнадёжны.

Никто из вас не удосужился изучать источники разной направленности по теме капитализма и социализма, вы лишь прочли/услышали что-то одно, и приняли это за аксиому. Это совершенно ненаучный и не конструктивный подход к изучению проблемы! К сожалению, некоторые люди просто не способны думать объёмно, для них существует только плоскость или даже прямая линия, что есть признак ужасно узкого кругозора.

Я увидел в комментариях одно выражение, которое просто повергло меня в шок: "Нет на свете ни одного прогрессивного коммунистического государства и быть не может!" - здрасте! :D Вы хоть историю-то изучали? То есть СССР не был мировой сверхдержавой? А, ну да, это же была "страшная, отсталая, грязная и бедная страна-недоразумение, которая возникла по ужасной ошибке", как же я мог забыть современных историков) А как-же нынешний Китай? Он официально считается экономической сверхдержавой, кандидатом в мировые сверхдержавы, и темпы развития в нём имеют наивысший показатель на данный момент.

Плоскость и однонаправленность вашего мышления меня просто поразила, вы имеете радикальные взгляды, а радикализм - это всегда ошибочно. Кто-то написал: "Китай только официально коммунистический, на деле в нём другое устройство!" - ну это просто апогей идиотизма) Вы разве не понимаете, что человеческие взгляды могут совершенствоваться и изменяться, а система реформироваться? В Китае именно социалистический строй, который претерпел реформацию, в которой безусловно нуждался. Советский социализм также нуждался в реформации, и никто не говорит, что он был идеальным социализмом.

Совершенствование системы - это неотъемлемая часть прогресса, и если вы считаете, что социализм может быть только таким, каким он был в СССР - то вы глубоко ошибаетесь, и совершенно не понимаете значение слова "прогресс". Китай построил такой социализм, который даёт ему возможность делать поистине чудеса экономики, Китай богатеет и уровень жизни в нём растёт - если это не прогресс, то что тогда? Также хочу упомянуть КНДР. Да-да, США на неё повесили ярлык "отсталого голодающего тоталитарного государства", и скорее всего вы, радикальные капиталисты, даже не думали с ними спорить и что-то дополнительно про КНДР узнавать, что, опять-же, говорит о плоскости и некритичности, я бы даже сказал суеверности вашего мышления. КНДР - страна очень маленькая, в основном с горной местностью, и природных ресурсов в ней очень мало. "Демократы" из ООН и НАТО обложили КНДР санкциями со всех сторон, из-за которых она не может развивать внешнюю торговлю, что губительно для маленькой страны с худым запасом ресурсов. Поддерживать экономику, снабжать людей достатком товаров и в целом держать страну на современном уровне в условиях торговой изоляции и недостатка ресурсов - это неподъёмная задача для капитализма. Но корейский социализм умудрился, при всех этих условиях, победить голод, поддерживать бесплатное образование, медицину и т.д., обеспечивать людей местом жительства, работой и доходом, сохранить суверенность своего государства и идеологию, и, ВНИМАНИЕ, создать с нуля ядерную бомбу . Это чудеса, северокорейский строй решает задачи, которые поистине неподъёмные в её условиях.

Конечно, в КНДР жесткий тоталитаризм, ведь когда страна изолирована от внешнего мира во всех аспектах, соседние страны настроены враждебно (а со стороны США вообще идёт угроза прямого вторжения, или даже ядерного удара), со страной ведут жёсткую идеологическую информационную войну, сохранить существующий строй - задача крайне сложная, и выполнить её можно только при жёсткой дисциплине и контрпропаганде. Я уважаю Северную Корею, она наглядно показывает, что социализм может творить чудеса. Конечно же, я вас переубедить не смог, радикальные вы капиталисты, но тем из вас, кои способны хоть немножко думать своей черепушкой, я, возможно, поселил мысль о том, что социализм - это далеко не только плановая экономика, что он может меняться и прогрессировать, что именно к нему идут все развитые страны, и что утопический коммунизм - это строй, который мы ещё представить себе не можем, но который обязательно наступит через многие годы, или столетия прогресса. Избавляйтесь от своих радикальных взглядов, и старайтесь думать объективно - это очень полезно для кругозора. Спасибо.


Asus Z370
, 1 year ago

По Млечину : хорошо разработанная и осуществлённая операция по устранению конкурентов и внедрению "своего". Возникают вопросы: кто проводил операцию? Где была организация отвечающая за государственную безопасность (КГБ)? В 2017м демпартия США подняла вой о,якобы,вмешательстве России в избирательный процесс в США. Кто ответит:было ли вмешательство заграницы в процессы, о которых поведал Млечин? Если было,то России так же, по образу и подобию, надо поднимать вой. Это серьёзно.Кто ответит?


Вин Лу
, 3 years ago

ЦРУ того времени было значительно круче чем КГБ. К тому же против КГБ действовала и МИ6 и израильская разведка!


MUZZY BUZZY
, 2 days ago

Горбачев попал в Политбюро на место убитого Мащерова, которого убили за 2 недели до преступления к обязанностям в Политбюро.


Александр Скрыбель
, 3 days ago

Горбачев Родину продал, а Ельцин её пропил. Горбачев виноградники повырубал, а Ельцин травил народ не качественным спиртом. В итоге, если бы не Путин, то развязка была бы давным давно, хотя он тоже не подарок, отдал страну на разграбление олигархам.


болельщик Тотенхэм Хотспур
, 2 weeks ago

Горбачёв типичный номенклатурщик. Послушный, мягкий, ну может и прогибался ради своей высокой карьеры, но наверняка не чаял президентом стать. Но потом когда всё случилось, стал входить во вкус, то есть жена стала проникаться важностью своего положения при таком муженьке. А когда пришлось отказаться от власти он НИСКОЛЬКО не скорбел о потерянном кресле и стране. Его посдили "на мягкую подушечку" и он стал жить поживать в Америке, даже не понимая, что его бездарность, как политика, послужила развалу СССР. Он не понимает этого и сейчас. А может НЕ желает признавать. Может на смертном одре передумает строить из себя униженного и оскорблённого и в чём-нибудь признается, хотя бы самому себе. Правда, для этого смелость нужна.


KainTanatos
, 3 weeks ago

Горбачев не увлекался горячительными напитками???? Ну ну!!! Я родственник председателя крайкома СК в бытность Горбачева...Его из машин вытаскивали лежа


Борис Павлов
, 1 month ago

Это был заговор партийной элиты о разрушении системы они уже зажратые были СССР побоку им был


DOGRU OLAN
, 2 months ago

Нечего горбачева обеливать!Он виноват,да еще как!Будь он трижды проклят!Этот человек не руководитель,разве не видно было из его речей,что за он скоморох?!Как может шут руководить огромной страной и как вообще можно было доверить легкомысленному человеку руководить государством,он же не "А ни Б,НИ КУКАРЕКУ"?!Полный идиот!!!!!


Kamtayak Abdr
, 5 months ago

Перед развалом Союза ,этот придурок начал обсирать КАЗАКСТАН,я тогда ушёл в запас,и было обидно за академика Кунаева,За родину мою,а на флоте мы гордились ,когда перед строем кораблей Старший офицер Азаров говорил казакстанцы ,мы едим хлеб из каз-й муки тушёнка из kz,балык и икра,одеты мы в KZ канадки и свитера из Кызыл орды,А вот атомные ПЛ из казакстанского титана- и мы были горды за казакстан И вот ОН наносит обсирающий удар?а дальше нам все стало ясно.


pavel pavel
, 2 weeks ago

Млечный как всегда врет , не умного Горбатого плохо говорящего по русски двигала ЦРУ и как я понимаю сейчас многие советские парта геносе знали об этом , почему , ???почему они продали все советское в котором жили ???за деньги или разочарование произошло от этого марксизма и ленинизма, ,,,мы простые люди не когда не узнаем...но я уверен , что Брежнев уже был не руководитель что Путин ,,,,почему ???что то им мешает , а то и наоборот они и есть гарантия чтоб страна не развивалась ,

Boris Petrovich , 5 months ago

Пшеницу покупали в Канаде,Союз изжил себя,,,вина Горбача только в одном,,,первое Крым хохлам не отдавать,,и русских в Прибалтике не трогать,все это надо было говорить Бушу,,ставить условия

Ravil Aitov , 5 years ago

Похоже ЦРУ круче КГБ.

[Dec 29, 2018] Throughout its existence the Soviet Union was hobbled by the sanctions imposed on it by the capitalist world

Dec 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Dec 27, 2018 5:01:47 PM | link

Throughout its existence the Soviet Union was hobbled by the sanctions imposed on it by the capitalist world. Despite being uniquely qualified, by virtue of its geography and culture, to survive without being part of the international economy, it had to pay much more, by being forced to rely on its own resources, than other countries for every advance that it made economically.
And then it was constantly under threat of coordinated military attack by the richest and most technically advanced powers, led by the anglo-US empire. Twice it was invaded by massive international coalitions, in 1918 and 1041. Twice its industrial base and its infrastructure were reduced to smoking ruins.Twice it had to rebuild, from the ground up without the assistance of foreign capital.
By contrast the imperial powers, bent on crushing it by economic or military means, throughout its existence came through the period virtually unscathed-its great rival the US actually thrived from threw two world wars.
It was this fate which China, under imperial pressure after the 1949 Revolution, was determined to escape. And so far, since it changed course and played the US and the Soviet Union off against each other, it has made great strides forward-advances complementing the enormous gains made after 1949, during which period all the basic indicators of well being, life expectancy included, rose and a firm base was established for future improvement. And this at a time when the US used every means in its power, including biological warfare, to weaken China and reduce its people to starvation.
For example China-well known for its polluted air-is well in advance of North America in its development of renewable energy sources and seems genuinely committed to replacing fossil fuels.
Nor is it using its growing strength to engage in military adventures and impose its rule on others.
It is important when considering China not to repeat the mistakes of some of the neo-Trotskyist factions whose theory that the Soviet Union was just another capitalist society (something that most Russians disagree with) was an important part of the Empire's ideological struggle against the Soviet Union in the world and socialism everywhere. China is not a communist country but it serves its people much better than, for example, India. And it certainly plays a vital role, together with Russia in resisting the Imperial ruling class's campaigns to reduce the globe to accepting the diktats of Washington, Wall St and Hollywood.

[Dec 21, 2018] Vadim Rogovin and the sociology of Stalinism by Andrea Peters

Notable quotes:
"... The State and the Opposition ..."
"... Social Development and Societal Morals ..."
"... Social Development and Societal Morals ..."
"... Was There an Alternative? ..."
"... Political Education ..."
"... Economic Sciences ..."
"... Sociological Research ..."
"... The Revolution Betrayed ..."
"... Was There an Alternative? ..."
Sep 25, 2018 | www.wsws.org

... In the introduction to the second volume in his series, The State and the Opposition , Rogovin noted:

A peculiarity of the counter-revolution realized by Stalin and his accomplices was that it took place under the ideological cover of Marxist phraseology and never-ending attestations of loyalty to the October Revolution Naturally, such a counter-revolution demanded historically unprecedented conglomerations of lies and falsifications, the fabrication of ever-newer myths

Similar to the Stalinists, modern anti-communists use two kinds of myths: namely, ideological and historical. Under ideological myths we have in mind false ideas, oriented to the future -- that is, illusory prognoses and promises. These sorts of products of false consciousness reveal their mythological character by way of their practical realization.

Myths that appeal not to the future but to the past are another matter.

In principle, it is easier to expose these myths than anti-scientific prognoses and reactionary projects.

Like ideological ones, historical myths are a product of immediate class interests products of historical ignorance or deliberate falsification -- that is, the concealment of some historical facts, the tendentious exaggeration, and the distorted interpretation of others.

Refuting these myths is only possible by rehabilitating historical truth -- the honest portrayal of actual facts and tendencies of the past.

In this work, Rogovin argued that the fundamental problem facing the USSR was "a deepening of socially unjustified differentiation of incomes and the comforts of life." "Workers regularly encounter instances of unearned enrichment through the deceit and the ripping-off of the state and the people. [ ] Certain groups of the population have the means to meet their needs at a scale beyond any reasonable norms and outside of their relationship to social production. [ ] There does not exist any systematic control of sources of income and the acquisition of valuable goods," he wrote.

In a remarkable statement, inequality, he insisted, not wage-leveling, expressed "in essence, the social structure of [Soviet] society."

Rogovin called for the implementation of income declarations, whereby people would be required to report the size of their total income, not just their official wages, so that the government and researchers might actually know the real distribution of earnings. He advocated for the establishment of a "socially-guaranteed maximum income" to combat "unjustified inequality."

Vadim Rogovin and Nina Naumova's 1984 Social Development and Societal Morals

Elsewhere, Rogovin further argued that inequality lay at the center of the USSR's falling labor productivity. In a work co-authored with Nina Naumova, Social Development and Societal Morals , he maintained that the socio-economic crisis facing the USSR stemmed from the fact that inequality was growing in Soviet society; people worked poorly in the Soviet Union not because their work was inadequately remunerated relative to others, but because their commitment to social production had been eroded by intensifying social stratification that was unrecorded in official statistics.

In 1983, the very same year that Rogovin authored his critical report on the state of inequality in the USSR that ended up in the hands of the Moscow authorities, another sociologist, Tatyana Zaslavskaya, would issue a report, kept secret at first but later leaked to the Western press, advocating a transition to "economic methods of management," -- in other words, market-based reforms. A central aspect of this was policy centered around increasing inequality in workers' compensation in order to stimulate production. Zaslavskaya noted at the time that such reforms would be opposed by what she described as "the more apathetic, the more elderly, and the less qualified groups of workers."

In a few years, Zaslavskaya would become a leading advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev and one of the main architects of the pro-market, perestroika reforms. In 1986, she was appointed the head of the Soviet Sociological Association. Her positions were widely embraced by the discipline.

Tatiana Zaslavskaya and Mikhail Gorbachev 1989 at Congress of People's Deputies. [Copyright RIA Novosti]

In contrast, Rogovin's views were frequently, and ever more so, the object of sharp criticism. In 1985, a discussion occurred at the Institute of Sociology regarding a report produced by Rogovin and his research team about Soviet lifestyles. In it, Rogovin made openly critical comments about the anti-egalitarian impact of the shadow economy and the transfer of wealth through inheritance. It was sharply criticized by some of the Institute's top scholars, who both disagreed with its content and were nervous about the response it might get from the authorities. At the discussion, one such individual remarked:

The report by the author presented here has two basic failings: 1) it is inadequately self-critical; 2) the authors, and in particular, Rogovin himself, aren't appropriately thinking of the addressee to whom this report is directed. The report is going to the highest levels [of the Communist Party] and superfluous emotion is not necessary. The next criticism [I have] is about "unjustified inequality." In principle, there can be no such thing.

[ ] in the note to the TsK KPSS [Central Committee of the Communist Party] [ ] the recommendations [that you make] demand the utmost care in how you approach them, particularly those that relate to the "third economy" and taxes on inheritance. [There should be] a minimum of categoricalness and a maximum of conciliatoriness.

As the decade wore on, Rogovin began to adopt an ever more critical stance on perestroika , whose devastating economic consequences were increasingly showing themselves. Rather than bringing prosperity to the masses, Gorbachev's reforms created a total crisis in the state sector of the economy, exacerbating widespread shortages in food, clothing and other basic necessities. Economic growth declined from 1986 onwards. In 1989, inflation reached 19 percent, eroding the gains the population had made in income over the preceding years. As the scholar John Elliot noted, "When account is taken of additional costs, real per capita income and real wages probably decreased, particularly for the bottom half of the population. These costs included: deteriorating quality and unavailability of goods; proliferation of special distribution channels; longer and more time-consuming lines; extended rationing; higher prices and higher inflation-rates in non-state stores (e.g., collective farm market prices were nearly three times those in state stores in 1989); virtual stagnation in the provision of health and education; and the growth of barter, regional autarky, and local protectionism."

Newly established private enterprises had great leeway to set prices because they faced little to no competition from the state sector. They charged whatever the market would bear, which led to substantial increases in income inequality and poverty, with the most vulnerable layers of the population hardest hit. The changes were so severe that Elliot insists that "income inequalities had actually become greater in the USSR than in the USA." In the late 1980s, fully two-thirds of the Soviet population had an income that fell below the officially-recommended "decent level" of 100 to 150 rubles a month. At the same time, the shadow economy alone is estimated to have produced 100,000–150,000 millionaires in the late 1980s. By the early 1990s, one-quarter of the population or 70 million people were destitute according to official Soviet estimates. Miners' strikes and other signs of social discontent erupted across the country.

Sociologists were intimately aware of the growing popular discontent. The Communist Party bureaucracy called upon them to help manage the situation. In 1989, the director of the Institute of Sociology received a request from the highest layers of the Communist Party. He was asked to respond to a letter from a rank-and-file party member that expressed extreme hostility towards the country's "elites." The letter writer described the party as dominated by an "opportunist nucleus" and called for the waging of a "class war" by the working masses against their policies. The ideology division of the Central Committee of the Communist Party wanted the Institute's director to respond to the letter because the sentiments expressed in it were "widespread (representative) [sic] among the working class."

Soviet economist and sociologist Genady Lisichkin

In the midst of these circumstances, Rogovin came under fire in one of the country's media outlets for articles he was writing against the promotion of social inequality. Since the mid-1980s, he had been championing the implementation of income declarations that would require people to report their full earnings, progressive taxes, and a socially-declared maximum income. Based on the amount of positive correspondence he was receiving from readers, it was clear that his views resonated with the population, a fact noted by Western scholars at the time. In a public press debate with the economist Gennady Lisichkin, the latter accused Rogovin of wanting to strengthen the hand of the bureaucracy and implied that he was a Stalinist. He was allegedly guilty of "Luddism," religious-like preaching, misquoting Marx to find support for his arguments, wanting the state to have the power to move people around "like cattle," defending a deficit-system of distribution based on "ration cards," suffering from "left-wing" infantilism, and being a "demagogue" and a "war communist." He attempted to link Rogovin to the very force to which he was most hostile -- Stalinism. The head of the Soviet Sociological Association, Tatiana Zaslavskaya, openly endorsed Lisichkin's positions.

The disagreements between Rogovin and other scholars over perestroika evolved into a fierce dispute about Soviet history and the nature of Stalinism. Rogovin identified a relationship between cheerleading for pro-market reforms and historical falsification. There was an increasingly widespread effort to link egalitarianism with Stalinism, the struggle for equality with political repression. In Was There an Alternative? , Rogovin frequently talked about the fact that the move towards a market economy was accompanied by the propagation of myths about Soviet history. This was one of those myths.

In 1991, Zaslavskaya co-authored a book that claimed that the Soviet Union's problems lay in the fact that in the late 1920s it abandoned the New Economic Policy (NEP), during which the government had loosened state control of the economy and restored market relations to an extent, in an effort to revitalize the economy under conditions of isolation, backwardness, and near economic collapse due to years of war. A one-sided and historically dishonest account of the NEP, this work did not contain any discussion of the political struggle that occurred during the NEP between Stalin and the Left Opposition over the malignant growth of inequality, the bureaucratization of the state and economy, and the crushing of inner-party democracy. The book skipped over this history because it would have cut across one of the central arguments made at the time in favor of perestroika -- that market relations were inherently at odds with the interests of the Communist Party bureaucracy. The book's account of labor policy under Stalin was also false. It insisted that during the 1930s revolutionary enthusiasm was the primary method used to stimulate people to work, ignoring the fact that income inequality rose substantially at this time. As the scholar Murray Yanowitch has pointed out, under Stalin "equality mongering" was labeled the brainchild of "Trotskyites, Zinovievites, Bukharinites and other enemies of the people."

In the 1980s, sociologists and other scholars promoting perestroika sought to imbue these policies with a humanitarian mission, insisting that market reforms would allow "the human factor," which had been crushed under the weight of bureaucratic stagnation, to rise again. The "human factor" was defined as man's desire for personal recognition through differentiated, material reward. It was supposedly the primary driver of human activity. To the degree that official wage policy in the USSR led to a relatively egalitarian distribution of social resources with wages leveled-out between skilled and unskilled labor, it flew in the face of man's desire for recognition of his own individual contribution. Rising inequality in income -- necessitated by the demands of socio-economic development -- was part of the process of "humanizing socialism." The argument was made that increasing social stratification would ultimately provide real "socialist justice."

As Tatiana Zaslavskaya claimed in 1990, "Despite all its limitations, the 'classical' market is, in fact, a democratic (and therefore anti-bureaucratic) economic institution. Within the framework of its exchange relationships, all participants are at least formally equal; no-one is subordinated to anyone else. Buyers and sellers act in their own interests and nobody can make them conclude deals they do not want to conclude. The buyers are free to select sellers who will let them have goods on the most advantageous terms, but the sellers too can chose buyers offering the best price."

In making this argument, scholars relied upon the official Soviet definition of socialism -- "from each according to his ability, to each according to his labor" -- that was enshrined in the country's 1936 constitution. This was also known as the Stalin constitution.

In 1988, Rogovin used the concept of the "human factor" to make a very different argument. In a piece entitled, "The Human Factor and the Lessons of the Past," he insisted that the defense of social inequality by the Soviet elite was one of the key reasons why the "human factor" had degenerated in the USSR. The very best elements of "the human factor" had been crushed by Stalin during the Terror. Corruption, disillusionment, parasitism, careerism and individual self-promotion -- the most distinctive features of the Brezhnev era -- were the "human factor" created by Stalinism. In promoting inequality and the market, Rogovin insisted, perestroika did not mark a break with Stalinism or the legacy of the Brezhnev era, as was so often claimed, but rather their further realization.

One year later he wrote, "The adherents of the new elitist conceptions want to see Soviet society with such a level of social differentiation that existed under Stalin but having gotten rid of Stalinist repression. It is forgotten that the debauched character of these repressions [ ] flowed from the effort to not simply restrain, but rather physically annihilate above all those forces in the party and in the country that, though silenced, rejected the social foundations of Stalinism."

After years of studying these questions in near-total isolation, Rogovin was finally able to write openly about this subject. He tested the waters by first publishing "L.D. Trotsky on Art" in August 1989 in the journal Theater . It was followed shortly thereafter by an article entitled "The Internal Party Struggles of the 1920s: Reasons and Lessons," also published in a journal outside of his discipline, Political Education . Moving closer to a forum likely to be followed by his colleagues in sociology, in early 1990 Rogovin published "L.D. Trotsky on NEP" in Economic Sciences . And finally, a few months later, "L.D. Trotsky on Social Relations in the USSR" came out in the flagship journal of his discipline, Sociological Research .

Rogovin's first article on the subject within his discipline reviewed Trotsky's role in Soviet history during the 1920s and summarized his seminal work, The Revolution Betrayed . It made clear to whom Rogovin fundamentally owed the views he had been advancing over the course of the previous decade.

Trotsky, however, continued to be vilified by Soviet officialdom. In 1987, on the 70th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, Gorbachev described Trotsky as "the arch-heretic of Soviet history, an 'excessively self-assured politician who always vacillated and cheated."

As a result of Rogovin's profound sympathies for Trotskyism and efforts to place his work in the tradition of the Left Opposition's critique of Stalinism, he was increasingly isolated from his colleagues, several of whom entered the Yeltsin administration and helped facilitate the eventual implementation of shock therapy, a key component of capitalist restoration in Russia. His discipline never forgave him for his intransigence and principles. One will find almost no mention of Rogovin or his contributions in the numerous monographs and other publications that have come out over the last 20 years about sociology in the USSR.

But Rogovin's isolation from Soviet sociology did not undermine his capacity to work. Rather, it coincided with the start of the publication of Was There an Alternative? In 1992, Rogovin met the International Committee of the Fourth International, and established a close political and intellectual relationship with the world Trotskyist movement that would intensify over the course of the next several years. This relationship was the basis upon which Rogovin made his immense contribution to the fight to defend Trotsky and historical truth. Two recently republished tributes to Rogovin by David North review this history.

Despite his death twenty years ago, through his work Rogovin continues his struggle to arm the working class with historical consciousness.

[Nov 24, 2018] Oil and commodity markets were used as a finishing move on the Soviet system.

Nov 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

RioGrandeImports, 21 seconds ago link

Oil and commodity markets were used as a finishing move on the Soviet system. The book, "The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century" by James R. Norman details the use of oil futures as a geopolitical tool. Pipelines change the calculus quite a bit.

[Nov 10, 2018] How Secession from the Soviet Union Created Booming Economies and Innovative Government Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... With all due cynical respect... I find it highly ironic that some of the biggest money launderers and Mafiosi are Baltic banks. The hilarity never ends. ..."
"... Full scale bull ****. No single former Soviet bloc country get into economic level of pre-Berlin wall fall. They are done. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

DoctorFix , 46 minutes ago link

With all due cynical respect... I find it highly ironic that some of the biggest money launderers and Mafiosi are Baltic banks. The hilarity never ends.

Moribundus , 1 hour ago link

Here is classic: GDP PPP per capita. What to pay attention.

#1, After 30 years and joining EU and NATO there is no difference in former Soviet bloc. Just looks like Russia is greatest profiteer. Now those parasites are chained to west.

#2, countries of former Soviet bloc are in better shape than countries that were in sphere of western imperialism. Especially look at countries where USA imperialism worked since 1823 Monroe's doctrine. Chart shows that in 200 years USA was not able to achieve much progress despite permanent military interventions and political influence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

Moribundus , 1 hour ago link

Latvia, a disappearing nation

https://www.politico.eu/article/latvia-a-disappearing-nation-migration-population-decline/

Moribundus , 1 hour ago link

Full scale bull ****. No single former Soviet bloc country get into economic level of pre-Berlin wall fall. They are done.

Europe's Depopulation Time Bomb Is Ticking in the Baltics

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-20/europe-s-depopulation-time-bomb-is-ticking-in-the-baltics

Cohen-cide-nce , 2 hours ago link

The balts have become them most libtarded cucks in the EU. They all need to get nuked. Bunch of atheist-feminist faggots.

Dick Buttkiss , 1 hour ago link

Due punishment, no doubt, for being on the cutting edge of technology-driven economic development and personal freedom.

From what planet/galaxy/universe does your information emanate?

Trader200K , 2 hours ago link

As much as I like the idea of taking my state to Estonia status, too many winner-take-all politicians and weak thinkers to recognize that new borders would solve lots and lots of problems.

Socialists are clearly smart, but in actuality just simple evil, immoral thieves. They will be unlikely to support any secession because they know their enemies are the source of their lucre.

Balkanization, what little there will be, will most likely come after we are drug into WWIII and we are back to a 1700's subsistence existence.

A pessimist is never disappointed, but I will happily take an optimist's surprise if people just stop and live and let live.

Flankspeed60 , 3 hours ago link

If at first you don't secede.............

Dick Buttkiss , 2 hours ago link

.............. try, try to "Unchain America" next July 4. What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a joining of hands across the land, if not to secede, then to affirm our right to, one state at a time?

Are one in 66 Americans not prepared to do so?

Salzburg1756 , 3 hours ago link

So... Diversity is their strength? Or was I misinformed?

Dick Buttkiss , 3 hours ago link

It's 2,790 miles from New York to Los Angeles, which is 14,731,200 feet. At three feet per person, it would take around 4,910,400 people -- less than 1/66th of the US population -- to make a human chain like the three Balkan states did.

Count me in.

[Oct 02, 2018] I myself think the USSR collapsed because of two main factors that are inteconnected with the world geopolitics of its time

Oct 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Oct 1, 2018 1:34:54 PM | link

@ Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 1, 2018 1:25:43 AM | 73

The collapse of the USSR is a very complex issue, and we still don't have a consensus (among the people who study this seriously).

I myself think the USSR collapsed because of two main factors that are inteconnected with the world geopolitics of its time:

1) the USSR couldn't make the transition from the second to the third industrial revolution in the 70s (i.e. from fordism to toyotism/ohnism). Albeit it is true the USA never really embraced toyotism (just some pockets in the Silicon Valley and the financial sector), it is a fact the capitalist world, as a whole, did, because it worked out in Japan and South Korea -- many of these techonologies bleeding to the world market.

The USSR, since Stalin, adopted a method of "socialist primitive accumulation", where every techonological revolution depended on a forced (centralized) global collectivization: the old had to be entirely dismantled for the new to be built over the carcass of this old. This was a brutal (albeit quick and effective) method, so it was always risky and left the USSR exposed to the capitalists militarily.

Another problem with the USSR system was that toyotism was based on heavy investment in "human capital", i.e. investment on the workers' education and specialization. Forced collectivization, therefore, excluded the possibility of toyotism by design, so it was never truly an option for the post-Stalin Soviet leaders.

In a world only the USSR and the COMECON countries existed, it could've be stationed in the second industrial revolution forever: the USSR never had a recession (except in 1990 and 1991, when it was already de facto capitalist). It was stagnant, but not collapsing. But it didn't exist alone: on the other side of Berlin, there was the capitalist world, and, in this dual world, not transitioning to toyotism was not an option for the Soviet Union.

2) In a bipolar world, with the toyotism path closed, Soviet bureaucrats developed a class sentiment, which put pressure from the inside on the Soviet inherent egalitarian system. In other words, the USSR was a victim of its own success: the problem was that that success came too early, in a world where capitalism still existed.

In the 1980s, the USSR had already eradicated poverty and the most well-paid worker (a high bureaucrat) received four times the salary of the lowest-paid worker. The basic public services (transport, education and healthcare) already were free at the point of use and universal and of a very good quality.

The problem was that the USSR emphasized too much on the production of infrastructure and too little on consumption goods, which were already of a poor quality when compared to the Western ones. The high Soviet bureaucracy, in constant contact with the capitalist world, was then slowly, but surely, coopted by the delicacies of the West, and thus developed a urge of class distinction.

This "urge" can be illustrated by an anecdote. When Yeltsin was still the President of Soviet Russia, George H. W. Bush invited him to Houston. There, he was marvelled by Jack Daniel's whiskey and asked for some cases for the trip back. Therefore the joke he sold the Soviet Union for two cases of Jack Daniel's.

[Sep 29, 2018] A CIA lucky break How the death of the 'Smiling Pope' helped Washington win the Cold War -- RT Op-ed

Notable quotes:
"... "The true treasures of the Church are the poor, the little ones to be helped not merely by occasional alms but in the way they can be promoted," ..."
"... "He talked particularly of his concern over 'Los Desaparecidos', people who had vanished off the face of Argentinian earth in their thousands. By the conclusion of the 15th minute audience the General began to wish that he had heeded the eleventh-hour attempts of Vatican officials to dissuade him coming to Rome," ..."
"... "His mind was as strong, as hard and as sharp as a diamond. That was where his real power was. He understood and had the ability to get to the centre of a problem. He could not be overwhelmed. When everyone was applauding the smiling Pope, I was waiting for him 'tirare fuori le unghie', to reveal his claws. He had tremendous power." ..."
"... But John Paul I never lived to exercise his "tremendous power." ..."
"... "The public speculation that this death was not natural grew by the minute. Men and women were heard shouting at the inert form: Who has done this to you? Who has murdered you?" ..."
"... David Yallop revealed that on the day of his death, the Pope had discussed a reshuffle of Vatican staff with Secretary of State Cardinal Jean Villot, who was also to be replaced. Yallop claimed that the Pope had a list of a number of clerics who belonged to the Freemasons, membership of which was strictly prohibited by the Church. The most sinister of these Masonic lodges was the fiercely anti-communist Propaganda Due (P2), which held great influence in Italy at this time, being referred to as a "state within a state." ..."
"... "Had he lived another week, the United States would have been looking at a half a dozen mini-Cubas in its back yard," ..."
"... "The single fact of John Paul II's election in 1978 changed everything. In Poland, everything began Then the whole thing spread. He was in Chile and Pinochet was out. He was in Haiti and Duvalier was out. He was in the Philippines and Marcos was out," ..."
"... In 1985, Agca's confederate, Abdullah Catli, who was later killed in a car crash, testified that he had been approached by the West German BND spy organization, which promised him a large sum of money "if he implicated the Bulgarian secret service and the KGB in the attempt on the Pope's life." ..."
"... "ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman disclosed that his colleagues, under pressure from CIA higher-ups, skewed their reports to try to lend credence to the contention that the Soviets were involved. 'The CIA had no evidence linking the KGB to the plot,' Goodman told the Senate Intelligence Committee." ..."
"... In 2011, a new book entitled 'To Kill the Pope, the Truth about the Assassination Attempt on John Paul II', which was based on 20 years of research, concluded that the CIA had indeed tried to frame Bulgaria, in order to discredit communism. ..."
"... The great irony of course is that after the Berlin Wall came down, Pope John Paul II became a strong critic of the inhumane 'greed is good' model of capitalism which had replaced communism. In Latvia, he said capitalism was responsible for "grave social injustices" and acknowledged that Marxism contained "a kernel of truth." He said that "the ideology of the market" made solidarity between people "difficult at best." In Czechoslovakia, he warned against replacing communism with materialism and consumerism. ..."
"... Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66 ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
Sep 29, 2018 | www.rt.com

The sudden death of Pope John Paul I, exactly 40 years ago today, stunned the world. The 'Smiling Pope' had only served for 33 days. His demise and replacement by John Paul II marked an important turning point in the old Cold War. The year 1978, as I argued in a previous op-ed, was the year today's world was made.

There was nothing inevitable about the ascendancy of Reagan and Thatcher, the rise of groups like Al-Qaeda and IS, and the downfall of the Soviet Union. The neoliberal, neoconservative world order and its associated violence came about because of key events and decisions which took place 40 years ago. The Vatican was at the heart of these events.

The drama which unfolded there in the summer of 1978 would have been rejected as being too far-fetched if sent in as a film script. In a space of two and a half months, we had three different Popes. There was no great surprise when, on August 6, the first of them, Pope Paul VI, died after suffering a massive heart attack. The Supreme Pontiff, who had served since 1963, was 80 and had been in declining health. But the death of his much younger successor, John Paul I, a radical reformer who wanted to build a genuine People's Church, has fuelled conspiracy theories to this day.

Read more Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski walk in Camp David 09 December 1978 © AFP 1978: The year today's world was made

Cardinal Albino Luciani, the working-class son of a bricklayer (and staunch socialist), from a small town in northern Italy, was a Pope like no other. He refused a coronation and detested being carried on the sedia gestatoria – the Papal chair. He hated pomp and circumstance and pretentiousness. His speeches were down to earth and full of homely observations, with regular references to popular fiction. He possessed a gentle humor and always had a twinkle in his eye. He was by all accounts an incredibly sweet man.

But there was steel there, too. Luciani was determined to root out corruption, and to investigate the complex financial affairs of the Vatican's own bank, and its connection to the scandal-hit Banco Ambrosiano.

While he had declared communism to be incompatible with Christianity, his father's egalitarian ethos stayed with him. "The true treasures of the Church are the poor, the little ones to be helped not merely by occasional alms but in the way they can be promoted," he once said. At a meeting with General Videla of Argentina, he made clear his abhorrence of fascism. "He talked particularly of his concern over 'Los Desaparecidos', people who had vanished off the face of Argentinian earth in their thousands. By the conclusion of the 15th minute audience the General began to wish that he had heeded the eleventh-hour attempts of Vatican officials to dissuade him coming to Rome," noted David Yallop in his book 'In God's Name'.

One cleric, Father Busa, wrote of John Paul I: "His mind was as strong, as hard and as sharp as a diamond. That was where his real power was. He understood and had the ability to get to the centre of a problem. He could not be overwhelmed. When everyone was applauding the smiling Pope, I was waiting for him 'tirare fuori le unghie', to reveal his claws. He had tremendous power."

But John Paul I never lived to exercise his "tremendous power." He was found dead in his bed on the morning of September 28, 1978. The official story was that the 'Smiling Pope' had died from a heart attack. But it wasn't long before questions were being asked. John Paul I was only 65 and had appeared to be in fine health.

The fact that there was no post-mortem only added to the suspicions. "The public speculation that this death was not natural grew by the minute. Men and women were heard shouting at the inert form: Who has done this to you? Who has murdered you?" wrote David Yallop.

Read more © Tony Gentile / Reuters 'Sex is a gift of God': Pope Francis shares benefits of 'passionate' love, slams pornography

David Yallop revealed that on the day of his death, the Pope had discussed a reshuffle of Vatican staff with Secretary of State Cardinal Jean Villot, who was also to be replaced. Yallop claimed that the Pope had a list of a number of clerics who belonged to the Freemasons, membership of which was strictly prohibited by the Church. The most sinister of these Masonic lodges was the fiercely anti-communist Propaganda Due (P2), which held great influence in Italy at this time, being referred to as a "state within a state." The murky world of P2, and its leaders' links with organized crime, the Mafia and the CIA is discussed in 'In God's Name'.

Another writer, Lucien Gregoire, author of 'Murder by the Grace of God', points the finger of blame squarely at the CIA. He notes a seemingly strange coincidence, namely that on September 3, 1978, just 25 days before the Pope himself died, Metropolitan Nikodim, the visiting leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, who was later revealed to have been a KGB agent, fell dead at John Paul's feet in the Vatican after sipping coffee. He was only 48.

Gregoire says that the CIA dubbed John Paul I 'the Bolshevik Pope' and was keen to eliminate him before he presided over a conference the Puebla Conference in Mexico. "Had he lived another week, the United States would have been looking at a half a dozen mini-Cubas in its back yard," he writes.

While there's no shortage of suspects if you believe that John Paul I was murdered, it needs to be stressed that despite the contradictory statements made about the circumstances of his death, and the strange coincidences, no evidence has yet been produced to show that his death was not a natural one. What we can say though is that there will have been quite a few powerful and influential people in Italy and beyond who were relieved that the 'Smiling Pope' had such a short time in office.

His successor, the Polish Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, who took the name 'John Paul II' as a homage to his predecessor, made it clear that investigating the Vatican's financial activities and uncovering Freemasons was not a priority. As a patriotic Pole, his appointment was manna from Heaven for anti-communist hawks in the US State Department. "The single fact of John Paul II's election in 1978 changed everything. In Poland, everything began Then the whole thing spread. He was in Chile and Pinochet was out. He was in Haiti and Duvalier was out. He was in the Philippines and Marcos was out," said Joaquin Navarro-Valls, John Paul II's press secretary.

The way that Pope John Paul II spoke out against what he regarded as communist repression, not only in his native Poland but across Eastern Europe and beyond, saw him being toasted by the neocon faction. It might not have been just words either, which helped undermine communist rule. There was a rumor that 'God's Banker' Roberto Calvi, who in 1982 was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London, had sent $50mn to 'Solidarity' in Poland on behalf of the Pope.

Read more FILE PHOTO: At the invitation of the Constantinople Patriarch, heads of all Orthodox churches meet at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, on MArch 9, 2014. Murad Sezer Biggest rift in modern Orthodox history? Russian Church won't work w/ Constantinople-chaired bodies

In May 1981, John Paul II was shot and wounded by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca. Neocons in the US promoted the narrative that it was a communist plot (organized by Bulgaria), but Sofia denied involvement. In 1985, Agca's confederate, Abdullah Catli, who was later killed in a car crash, testified that he had been approached by the West German BND spy organization, which promised him a large sum of money "if he implicated the Bulgarian secret service and the KGB in the attempt on the Pope's life."

Martin Lee, writing in Consortium News, also notes that in 1990, "ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman disclosed that his colleagues, under pressure from CIA higher-ups, skewed their reports to try to lend credence to the contention that the Soviets were involved. 'The CIA had no evidence linking the KGB to the plot,' Goodman told the Senate Intelligence Committee."

In 2011, a new book entitled 'To Kill the Pope, the Truth about the Assassination Attempt on John Paul II', which was based on 20 years of research, concluded that the CIA had indeed tried to frame Bulgaria, in order to discredit communism.

The great irony of course is that after the Berlin Wall came down, Pope John Paul II became a strong critic of the inhumane 'greed is good' model of capitalism which had replaced communism. In Latvia, he said capitalism was responsible for "grave social injustices" and acknowledged that Marxism contained "a kernel of truth." He said that "the ideology of the market" made solidarity between people "difficult at best." In Czechoslovakia, he warned against replacing communism with materialism and consumerism.

Having enlisted the assistance of the Vatican in helping to bring down 'The Reds', the neo-liberals and neo-cons then turned on the Church. The Church survived communism, but it hasn't fared too well under consumerism. The Vatican is nowhere near as influential as it was in 1978. The US, meanwhile, unconstrained by a geopolitical counter-weight, threw its weight around the world after 1989, illegally invading and attacking a series of sovereign states.

One can only wonder how different things might have been if the 'Smiling Pope' had lived.

Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

[Aug 25, 2018] How to interfere in a foreign election by Stephen Kinzer

Notable quotes:
"... "I guess we've just got to pull up our socks and back ol' Boris again," Clinton told an aide. "I know the Russian people have to pick a president, and I know that means we've got to stop short of giving a nominating speech for the guy. But we've got to go all the way in helping in every other respect." Later Clinton was even more categorical: "I want this guy to win so bad it hurts." With that, the public and private resources of the United States were thrown behind a Russian presidential candidate. ..."
"... Four months before the election, Clinton arranged for the International Monetary Fund to give Russia a $10.2 billion injection of cash. Yeltsin used some of it to pay for election-year raises and bonuses, but much quickly disappeared into the foreign bank accounts of Russian oligarchs. The message was clear: Yeltsin knows how to shake the Western money tree. In case anyone missed it, Clinton came to Moscow a few weeks later to celebrate with his Russian partner. Oligarchs flocked to Yeltsin's side. American diplomats persuaded one of his rivals to drop out of the presidential race in order to improve his chances. ..."
"... Yeltsin won the election with a reported 54 percent of the vote. The count was suspicious and Yeltsin had wildly violated campaign spending limits, but American groups, some funded in part by Washington, rushed to pronounce the election fair. The New York Times called it "a victory for Russia." In fact, it was the opposite: a victory by a foreign power that wanted to place its candidate in the Russian presidency. ..."
"... American interference in the 1996 Russian election was hardly secret. On the contrary, the press reveled in our ability to shape the politics of a country we once feared. When Clinton maneuvered the IMF into giving Yeltsin and his cronies $10.2 billion, the Washington Post approved: "Now this is the right way to serve Western interests. . . It's to use the politically bland but powerful instrument of the International Monetary Fund." After Yeltsin won, Time put him on the cover -- holding an American flag. Its story was headlined, "Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisors Helped Yeltsin Win." The story was later made into a movie called "Spinning Boris." ..."
"... This was the first direct interference in a presidential election in the history of US-Russia relations. It produced bad results. Yeltsin opened his country's assets to looting on a mass scale. ..."
"... It is a delightful irony that shows how unwise it can be to interfere in another country's politics. If the United States had not crashed into a presidential election in Russia 22 years ago, we almost certainly would not be dealing with Putin today. ..."
Aug 19, 2018 | www.bostonglobe.com

FOR ONE OF THE world's major powers to interfere systematically in the presidential politics of another country is an act of brazen aggression. Yet it happened. Sitting in a distant capital, political leaders set out to assure that their favored candidate won an election against rivals who scared them. They succeeded. Voters were maneuvered into electing a president who served the interest of the intervening power. This was a well-coordinated, government-sponsored project to subvert the will of voters in another country -- a supremely successful piece of political vandalism on a global scale.

The year was 1996. Russia was electing a president to succeed Boris Yeltsin, whose disastrous presidency, marked by the post-Soviet social collapse and a savage war in Chechnya, had brought his approval rating down to the single digits. President Bill Clinton decided that American interests would be best served by finding a way to re-elect Yeltsin despite his deep unpopularity. Yeltsin was ill, chronically alcoholic, and seen in Washington as easy to control. Clinton bonded with him. He was our "Manchurian Candidate."

"I guess we've just got to pull up our socks and back ol' Boris again," Clinton told an aide. "I know the Russian people have to pick a president, and I know that means we've got to stop short of giving a nominating speech for the guy. But we've got to go all the way in helping in every other respect." Later Clinton was even more categorical: "I want this guy to win so bad it hurts." With that, the public and private resources of the United States were thrown behind a Russian presidential candidate.

Part of the American plan was public. Clinton began praising Yeltsin as a world-class statesman . He defended Yeltsin's scorched-earth tactics in Chechnya, comparing him to Abraham Lincoln for his dedication to keeping a nation together. As for Yeltsin's bombardment of the Russian Parliament in 1993, which cost 187 lives, Clinton insisted that his friend had "bent over backwards" to avoid it. He stopped mentioning his plan to extend NATO toward Russia's borders, and never uttered a word about the ravaging of Russia's formerly state-owned economy by kleptocrats connected to Yeltsin. Instead he gave them a spectacular gift.

Four months before the election, Clinton arranged for the International Monetary Fund to give Russia a $10.2 billion injection of cash. Yeltsin used some of it to pay for election-year raises and bonuses, but much quickly disappeared into the foreign bank accounts of Russian oligarchs. The message was clear: Yeltsin knows how to shake the Western money tree. In case anyone missed it, Clinton came to Moscow a few weeks later to celebrate with his Russian partner. Oligarchs flocked to Yeltsin's side. American diplomats persuaded one of his rivals to drop out of the presidential race in order to improve his chances.

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Four American political consultants moved to Moscow to help direct Yeltsin's campaign. The campaign paid them $250,000 per month for advice on "sophisticated methods of polling, voter contact and campaign organization." They organized focus groups and designed advertising messages aimed at stoking voters' fears of civil unrest. When they saw a CNN report from Moscow saying that voters were gravitating toward Yeltsin because they feared unrest, one of the consultants shouted in triumph: "It worked! The whole strategy worked. They're scared to death!"

Yeltsin won the election with a reported 54 percent of the vote. The count was suspicious and Yeltsin had wildly violated campaign spending limits, but American groups, some funded in part by Washington, rushed to pronounce the election fair. The New York Times called it "a victory for Russia." In fact, it was the opposite: a victory by a foreign power that wanted to place its candidate in the Russian presidency.

American interference in the 1996 Russian election was hardly secret. On the contrary, the press reveled in our ability to shape the politics of a country we once feared. When Clinton maneuvered the IMF into giving Yeltsin and his cronies $10.2 billion, the Washington Post approved: "Now this is the right way to serve Western interests. . . It's to use the politically bland but powerful instrument of the International Monetary Fund." After Yeltsin won, Time put him on the cover -- holding an American flag. Its story was headlined, "Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisors Helped Yeltsin Win." The story was later made into a movie called "Spinning Boris."

This was the first direct interference in a presidential election in the history of US-Russia relations. It produced bad results. Yeltsin opened his country's assets to looting on a mass scale. He turned the Chechen capital, Grozny, into a wasteland. Standards of living in Russia fell dramatically. Then, at the end of 1999, plagued by health problems, he shocked his country and the world by resigning. As his final act, he named his successor: a little-known intelligence officer named Vladimir Putin. It is a delightful irony that shows how unwise it can be to interfere in another country's politics. If the United States had not crashed into a presidential election in Russia 22 years ago, we almost certainly would not be dealing with Putin today.

[Jul 29, 2018] The USA intentionally tried to destroy Russia after the dissolution of the USSR

Notable quotes:
"... This silly article is proof, as if more was needed that what passes for Russia scholarship in the US is little more than politicized group-think. ..."
"... Russia has risen from utter economic, political, and societal collapse (gold reserves, factories, military secrets, science labs stripped bare and shipped or brain-drained out of the country; millions of pre-mature deaths; plunging birth rates) to recover, within a mere 20 years, to the point where the population has stabilized and the nation can credibly hold its own again on the world stage. Infrastructure is being rebuilt and modernized, the military has been restructured and re-equipped, pensions and salaries have risen 3 or 4-fold. ..."
Jul 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

John Perry July 28, 2018 at 1:48 pm

"Vladimir Putin rode a counter-wave of anti-Western nationalism to power in Moscow."

Uh, no. Putin came to power at a time when Russia seemed to be falling apart, quite literally. There was war in Chechnya, open criminal activity on the streets, and clear social decay. Putin's popularity begins with his address to the nation after the bombing of the Moscow metro, promising that the government (which he did not then lead) would chase those responsible down and kill them, even if that meant chasing them into outhouses. The relationship between the bombing and Putin's rise is so well-known that the conspiracy theorists who have Jay Nordlinger's ear over at National Review claim that the bombing was a set up by Putin's pals in the FSB, precisely to bring Putin to power.

My wife is Russian, from the city of Kazan in the Tatar Republic (part of Russia; it's complicated), and when we were merely pen pals in 2003 she wrote me what it was like. It was bad, very bad. At one point her entire neighborhood was placed under curfew on account of open warfare between criminal gangs. And of course when we visit the cemetery today one sees the striking spike in tombstones whose date of death is at some point in the mid- to late 90's, when it all seemed to be going to pieces and the government didn't even pay its own employees for half a year.

Today, by contrast, Russians can walk the streets more or less without fear, count on a paycheck, read in the news how their country has sent yet another capsule of Western astronauts to the international space station (because Westerners haven't been able to do that for the better part of a decade, thanks to Bush and Obama), and even find jobs in a successful tech sector (Kaspersky, JetBrains, Yandex, the list goes on).

But, hey, if you want to fantasize that Putin's rise is thanks to anti-Western sentiment, you go ahead and do that.

John Perry , says: July 28, 2018 at 1:53 pm
One other comment, if I may. I share the concern most Westerners have about Russia's seizure of Crimea. But where is our concern about Turkey's 40-plus-year occupation of northern Cyprus, also sparked by internal political disorder on the island? Why is it alright for a NATO country to invade another nation and prop up its separatists, expel the inhabitants of a disfavored ethnic group -- in this case, the Greeks?
Rodrigo Alvarez , says: July 28, 2018 at 6:15 pm
Shame on TAC for publishing this garbage. For one, Putin more or less saved Russia as a sovereign state, it is easy to forget the sorry condition Russia was in at the turn of the century. Without him, Russia would've most likely been dismembered or simply colonized by the West and China. He has performed admirably in the face of massive odds. Russia will still exist in 100 years as the state of the Russian and other native people of its land – can the same be said of the United States? Russia is slowly climbing its way out of the pit of despair created by 80 years of Communism, the United States is crawling into the very same pit.
Cynthia McLean , says: July 28, 2018 at 6:27 pm
I am much more concerned that voter roll purges, suppression of the vote, Citizen's United Dark Money and folks like the Kochs and Addelson are undermining US democracy than the Russians. As for the aggression of military machines around the world, the US wins hands down.
Groucho , says: July 28, 2018 at 6:37 pm
Like Fran my inclination was to bail after the first paragraph but I pushed on.

In the first paragraph Mr Desch lays out his position which is well within the bounds of polite discussion that Russia is a corrupt oligarchy but don't worry because it's an economic and military basketcase.

Where to start?

1. Corrupt kleptocracy. The Russian oligarchy/ mafia was a biproduct of the privatization binge that followed the collapse of the USSR. This evolved under the disastrous Yeltsin aided and abetted by US elites. The case of William Browder is instructive. Putin has taken significant measures to reassert government control and has greatly improved the lot of the average Russian.

2. Political freedom. Putin did not inherit a developed liberal democracy. Russia needs to be judged in the context of its own historical timeline in this regard not compared to western democracies. Do you prefer Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov? In contrast compare the state and trajectory of US democratic institutions to, say the 1970s.

3. Human rights. Again the situation in Russia vis a vis human rights needs to be judged in terms of Russia's history not against Western nations with a long-standing tradition of human rights and political freedoms. That said, the illusion of political repression is largely overstated. For example Putin is routinely accused of murdering journalists but no real proof is ever offered. Instead, the statement is made again in this article as though it were self evident.

4. Foreign aggression. This is my favorite because it flies in the face of observable reality to the point of being ridiculous. Russia did not invade Ukraine. It provided support to ethnic Russians in Ukraine who rebelled after the illegal armed overthrow of the Russian leaning democratically elected president.That coup was directly supported by the United States. Far from ratcheting up tensions Russia has consistently pressed for the implementation of the Minsk accords. Putin is not interested in becoming responsible for the economic and political basket case which is Ukraine. The "largely bloodless" occupation of Crimea was actually a referendum in which the citizens of Crimea overwhelmingly supported annexation to Russia. Again This result makes sense in light of even a basic understanding of Russian history. Finally, in the case of Georgia Russia engaged after Georgia attacked what was essentially a Russian protectorate. This was the conclusion reached by an EU investigation.

Russia's so-called aggressive foreign-policy has been primarily in response to NATOs continuous push eastward and the perceived need to defend ethnic Russians from corrupt ultranationalist governments in former republics of the USSR. This is what Putin was talking about when he called the dissolution of the USSR one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century – the fact that, overnight 20 million Russians found themselves living in foreign countries. It wasn't about longing for a Russian empire.

As for the current state of Russias military capabilities, Mr Desch Would do well to read Pepe Escobar's recent article in the Asia Times. Russian accomplishments in Syria illustrated a level of technology and strategic effectiveness that rivals anything the US can do. Name one other nation – other than the US – that can design and build a world class 6th generation fighter jet or develop its own space program. Even Germany can't do that.

This silly article is proof, as if more was needed that what passes for Russia scholarship in the US is little more than politicized group-think.

laninya , says: July 28, 2018 at 7:45 pm
VG1959
"It is in the pursuit of empire that Putin, like Napoleon or Hitler before him, threatens the stability of Europe and by extension world peace."

Ah! ha!ha! Right.

Like Russia with a population of 150 million persons inhabiting a land mass that stretches across 9 or 10 time zones, from the Arctic pole to the Black Sea is chafing for "lebensraum" !?

No, Russia just wants to develop what it already owns. And, trying to do it on the strength of their own efforts (no overseas colonies filling the coffers), on a GDP as Winston, above, has pointed out which is smaller than that some US states. They're focussed, not on grabbing tiny, constipated territories like Estonia. Latvia, and Lithuania (full of Nazi sympathizers), but on bringing back to life those ancient trade routes which are their inheritance from the past (the Silk Road, primarily).

Why not just leave them alone and see what they can do? Those who have been relentlessly picking fault with Russia (and North Korea) might want to put down their megaphones and start taking notes.

What I mean is: pause for a moment to consider that:

1. Russia has risen from utter economic, political, and societal collapse (gold reserves, factories, military secrets, science labs stripped bare and shipped or brain-drained out of the country; millions of pre-mature deaths; plunging birth rates) to recover, within a mere 20 years, to the point where the population has stabilized and the nation can credibly hold its own again on the world stage. Infrastructure is being rebuilt and modernized, the military has been restructured and re-equipped, pensions and salaries have risen 3 or 4-fold.

2. North Korea, in 1953, had been so destroyed by war that no structures over a single story were left standing (and American generals were actually barfing into their helmets at the horror of what had been done to those people). The DPRK authorities, helpless to assist the population, could only advise to dig shelters underground to survive the winter. Yet, 70 years later, under international sanctions designed to starve those traumatized people into surrender, North Korea has restored its infrastructure, built modern cities, and developed a military apparatus able to credibly resist constant threats from abroad.

See: rather than picking nits to find things that are not yet perfectly hunky-dory with the governing structures/systems in those countries, I'm taking notes!!

Because, I'm convinced that if those people (those nations) were able to do what they've done with the time and resources they've had to work with, there is absolutely no reason and no excuse for our rich nations of "the West" to be caught in a nightmare of austerity budgeting, crumbling infrastructure, collapsing pensions, and spiralling debt.

Funny how the English speaking world SO resisst learning something that could actually do us a whole lot of good. I don't know who coined the terms "stiffnecked" and "bloodyminded", but it sure describes us!

connecticut farmer , says: July 29, 2018 at 12:43 pm
"From Moscow's perspective, the events in Kiev in late 2013 and 2014 looked suspiciously like a Western-backed coup."

Gee, ya think? Kinda reminds one of the 1996 Russian election. But, hey, don't broadcast this because, after all, too many people might start, er, noticing.

EliteCommInc. , says: July 29, 2018 at 1:11 pm

"They may be weakened, but their ability to make trouble is undiminished, given their aptitude for cyberattacks."

And if you have evidence that Russia so engaged, the FBI has a place for you.

[Jul 18, 2018] The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Neoliberal Coin

Notable quotes:
"... There are many modern myths. One of them is about the events of 1989 as being the culmination of a grand historical struggle for freedom and liberty. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For years prior to 1989 the West through a combination of both legal business and criminal activity had interpenetrated the Communist elites with lucrative deals and promises of all kinds. ..."
Jul 18, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin by Dan Corjescu

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.

-- Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"

There are many modern myths. One of them is about the events of 1989 as being the culmination of a grand historical struggle for freedom and liberty. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For years prior to 1989 the West through a combination of both legal business and criminal activity had interpenetrated the Communist elites with lucrative deals and promises of all kinds.

This situation was even more pronounced in "non-aligned" Yugoslavia who for years had maintained CIA and American and West European business contacts.

In effect, the "cold war" witnessed a rapid convergence between the economic and power interests of both Western and Communist elites.

The "Communists" (in name only of course) quickly realized the economic benefits available to them through at times open at times clandestine cooperation with Western business/criminal interests.

Eventually, Communist elites realized that they had an unprecedented economic opportunity on their hands: state privatization made possible, in part, with active Western participation.

For them, "Freedom" meant the freedom to get rich beyond their wildest dreams.

And the 1990's were just that. A paradise for thieving on an unimaginable scale all under the rubric of the rebirth of "capitalism and freedom".

The true outcome of that decade was that the old communist elites not only retained their social and political power behind the scenes; they also were able to enrich themselves beyond anything the communist dictatorships could ever hope to offer them in the past.

Yes, the price was to give up imperial, national, and ideological ambitions. But it was a very small price to pay; since the East European elites had ceased to believe in any of those things years earlier.

The only firm belief they still held was the economic betterment of themselves and their families through the acquisition by any means of as many asset classes as possible. In effect, they became the mirror image of their "enemy" the "imperialist capitalist West".

This was not a case of historical dialectics but historical convergence. What appeared as a world divided was actually a world waiting to be made whole through the basest of criminal business activity.

But being clever thieves they knew how to hide themselves and their doings behind superficially morally impeccable figures such as Vaclav Havel and Lech Wałęsa, to name just a few. These "dissidents" would be the faces they would use to make a good part of the world believe that 1989 was a narrative of freedom and not outright pubic theft which it was.

Yes, people in the east, even in Russia, are freer now than they were. But it should never be forgotten that the events of 1989/1990 were not even remotely about those revolutionary dreams.

It was about something much more mundane and sordid. It was about greed. It was about the maintenance of power. And finally it was about money.

How deep has the Western nexus of power and wealth gone into the heart of the East? So far indeed that one can easily question to what extent a country like Russia is truly a "national" state anymore and rather just a territory open to exploitation by both local and global elites.

For that matter, we can ask the same question about the USA.

... ... ...

[Jul 06, 2018] I am pretty sure without WWII there would be no 1991.

Notable quotes:
"... While not being a fan of Stalin, I acknowledge that only the people who rose to the top before Bolsheviks took power were good for anything. Those who rose after, from Khruschev on, were worthless nonentities. I consider this negative selection of leaders as one of the drawbacks of the Soviet system. ..."
Jul 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

Sergey Krieger , June 16, 2018 at 6:12 pm GMT

@AnonFromTN

Compared to modern western leaders Kruschev was rather good leader and Brezhnev is downright genius. I was and am actually fond of Dear Leonid Iliich. So I believe it is not a matter of social political organization but systematic and probably human feature.

The West has been producing non entities, idiots and morons at the top with unerring consistency. It is just that conditions in the West are far more forgiving than in Russia. Also we have not mentioned destruction and suffering caused by war in ussr somewhat lagging in few aspects of life standards. Socialism slogan is from everyone by their abilities to everyone for their contribution.

Hence obviously hardworking and better contributing people should be rewarded especially like in Stalin times via glorifying and promoting them to higher status. Stahanov movement comes to mind.

I think Stalin genius is underappreciated. Regarding weapons manufacturing I believe it was a matter of great patriotic war shock.

That war in every respect has caused great damage to us including probably due to huge loss of Tim and best human material laying foundation for further problems. Stalin wasted 8-10 years of his life to first win the war and then rebuild the country. Imagine no war. I am pretty sure there would be no 1991.

AnonFromTN , June 16, 2018 at 2:47 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

While not being a fan of Stalin, I acknowledge that only the people who rose to the top before Bolsheviks took power were good for anything. Those who rose after, from Khruschev on, were worthless nonentities. I consider this negative selection of leaders as one of the drawbacks of the Soviet system.

Materially the people in some Western countries lived better than the Soviet people. However, the difference was ~2-3-fold at best, not 10+-fold as many in the USSR believed, and there were (and are) very few countries with higher living standards than Russia. As far as psychological wellbeing is concerned, the USSR compared to the West even better, except for the people with excellent education and willingness to work hard, like me. That's the PR campaign Soviet authorities lost to their peril: the support of better intellectually equipped and the most active people.

I agree that nobody, even the laziest and most useless, should go hungry today, but the difference between what those get and what hard-working people get should be many-fold. Otherwise, the society provides disincentive for the people who can contribute, dragging itself down.
Also, USSR should have paid more attention to the production of consumer goods, even if it meant fewer tanks and artillery pieces. It's policies made all these tanks useless, anyway, not to mention that today these tanks and other military hardware is used against Russia by former "brothers" (with "bothers" like that, who needs enemies).

AnonFromTN , June 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

I agree that the people who went to college in Soviet times are better educated and more creative than recent graduates. I am pretty sure that recent successes of Russian MIC are largely due to the Soviet legacy. We'll see what happens next, as "effective managers" they are cranking out now are totally useless in real life.

[Jun 19, 2018] How The Last Superpower Was Unchained by Tom Engelhardt

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits. ..."
"... This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn't) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn't have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, "contained." ..."
"... In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called "the shadows"). ..."
"... The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels. ..."
Jun 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Engelhardt via The Asia Times,

Think of it as the all-American version of the human comedy: a great power that eternally knows what the world needs and offers copious advice with a tone deafness that would be humorous, if it weren't so grim.

If you look, you can find examples of this just about anywhere. Here, for instance, is a passage in The New York Times from a piece on the topsy-turvy Trumpian negotiations that preceded the Singapore summit. "The Americans and South Koreans," wrote reporter Motoko Rich, "want to persuade the North that continuing to funnel most of the country's resources into its military and nuclear programs shortchanges its citizens' economic well-being. But the North does not see the two as mutually exclusive."

Think about that for a moment. The US has, of course, embarked on a trillion-dollar-plus upgrade of its already massive nuclear arsenal (and that's before the cost overruns even begin). Its Congress and president have for years proved eager to sink at least a trillion dollars annually into the budget of the national security state (a figure that's still rising and outpaces by far that of any other power on the planet), while its own infrastructure sags and crumbles. And yet it finds the impoverished North Koreans puzzling when they, too, follow such an extreme path.

"Clueless" is not a word Americans ordinarily apply to themselves as a country, a people, or a government. Yet how applicable it is.

And when it comes to cluelessness, there's another, far stranger path the United States has been following since at least the George W Bush moment that couldn't be more consequential and yet somehow remains the least noticed of all. On this subject, Americans don't have a clue. In fact, if you could put the United States on a psychiatrist's couch, this might be the place to start.

America contained

In a way, it's the oldest story on Earth: the rise and fall of empires. And note the plural there. It was never – not until recently at least – "empire," always "empires." Since the 15th century, when the fleets of the first European imperial powers broke into the larger world with subjugation in mind, it was invariably a contest of many. There were at least three or sometimes significantly more imperial powers rising and contesting for dominance or slowly falling from it.

This was, by definition, the history of great powers on this planet: the challenging rise, the challenged decline. Think of it for so many centuries as the essential narrative of history, the story of how it all happened until at least 1945, when just two "superpowers," the United States and the Soviet Union, found themselves facing off on a global scale.

Of the two, the US was always stronger, more powerful, and far wealthier. It theoretically feared the Russian Bear, the Evil Empire , which it worked assiduously to " contain " behind that famed Iron Curtain and whose adherents in the US, always modest in number, were subjected to a mania of fear and suppression.

However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits.

This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn't) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn't have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, "contained."

In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called "the shadows").

The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels.

That was the situation until December 1991 when, at the end of a centuries-long imperial race for power (and the never-ending arms race that went with it), there was just one gigantic power left standing on Planet Earth. It told you something about the thinking then that, when the Soviet Union imploded, the initial reaction in Washington wasn't triumphalism (though that came soon enough) but utter shock, a disbelieving sense that something no one had expected, predicted, or even imagined had nonetheless happened. To that very moment, Washington had continued to plan for a two-superpower world until the end of time.

America uncontained

Soon enough, though, the Washington elite came to see what happened as, in the phrase of the moment, " the end of history ." Given the wreckage of the Soviet Union, it seemed that an ultimate victory had been won by the very country its politicians would soon come to call "the last superpower," the " indispensable " nation, the " exceptional " state, a land great beyond imagining (until, at least, Donald Trump hit the campaign trail with a slogan that implied greatness wasn't all-American any more).

In reality, there were a variety of paths open to the "last superpower" at that moment. There was even, however briefly, talk of a "peace dividend" – of the possibility that, in a world without contesting superpowers, taxpayer dollars might once again be invested not in the sinews of war-making but of peacemaking (particularly in infrastructure and the well-being of the country's citizens).

Such talk, however, lasted only a year or two and always in a minor key before being relegated to Washington's attic. Instead, with only a few rickety "rogue" states left to deal with – like gulp North Korea, Iraq and Iran – that money never actually headed home, and neither did the thinking that went with it.

Consider it the good fortune of the geopolitical dreamers soon to take the reins in Washington that the first Gulf War of 1990-1991, which ended less than a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, prepared the way for quite a different style of thinking. That instant victory led to a new kind of militarized dreaming in which a highly tech-savvy military, like the one that had driven Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in such short order, would be capable of doing anything on a planet without serious opposition.

And yet, from the beginning, there were signs suggesting a far grimmer future. To take but one infamous example, Americans still remember the Black Hawk Down moment of 1993 when the world's greatest military fell victim to a Somali warlord and local militias and found itself incapable of imposing its will on one of the least impressive not-quite-states on the planet (a place still frustrating that military a quarter-century later).

In that post-1991 world, however, few in Washington even considered that the 20th century had loosed another phenomenon on the world, that of insurgent national liberation movements, generally leftist rebellions, across what had been the colonial world – the very world of competing empires now being tucked into the history books – and it hadn't gone away. In the 21st century, such insurgent movements, now largely religious, or terror-based, or both, would turn out to offer a grim new version of containment to the last superpower.

Unchaining the indispensable nation

On September 11, 2001, a canny global jihadist by the name of Osama bin Laden sent his air force (four hijacked US passenger jets) and his precision weaponry (19 suicidal, mainly Saudi followers) against three iconic targets in the American pantheon: the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and undoubtedly the Capitol or the White House (neither of which was hit because one of those jets crashed in a field in Pennsylvania). In doing so, in a sense bin Laden not only loosed a literal hell on Earth, but unchained the last superpower.

William Shakespeare would have had a word for what followed: hubris. But give the top officials of the Bush administration (and the neocons who supported them) a break. There had never been a moment like it: a moment of one. A single great power left alone, triumphant, on planet Earth. Just one superpower – wealthy beyond compare, its increasingly high-tech military unmatched, its only true rival in a state of collapse – had now been challenged by a small jihadist group.

To president Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, and the rest of their crew, it seemed like nothing short of a heaven-sent opportunity. As they came out of the shock of 9/11, of that " Pearl Harbor of the 21st century ," it was as if they had found a magic formula in the ruins of those iconic buildings for the ultimate control of the planet. As secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld would instruct an aide at the Pentagon that day, "Go massive. Sweep it up. Things related and not."

Within days, things related and not were indeed being swept up. The country was almost instantly said to be "at war," and soon that conflict even had a name, the Global War on Terror. Nor was that war to be against just al-Qaeda, or even one country, an Afghanistan largely ruled by the Taliban. More than 60 countries said to have "terror networks" of various sorts found themselves almost instantly in the administration's potential gunsights. And that was just to be the beginning of it all.

In October 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan was launched. In the spring of 2003, the invasion of Iraq followed, and those were only the initial steps in what was increasingly envisioned as the imposition of a Pax Americana on the Greater Middle East.

There could be no doubt, for instance, that Iran and Syria, too, would soon go the way of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush's top officials had been nursing just such dreams since, in 1997, many of them formed a think-tank (the first ever to enter the White House) called the Project for the New American Century and began to write out what were then the fantasies of figures nowhere near power. By 2003, they were power itself and their dreams, if anything, had grown even more grandiose.

In addition to imagining a political Pax Republicana in the United States, they truly dreamed of a future planetary Pax Americana in which, for the first time in history, a single power would, in some fashion, control the whole works, the Earth itself.

And this wasn't to be a passing matter either. The Bush administration's "unilateralism" rested on a conviction that it could actually create a future in which no country or even bloc of countries would ever come close to matching or challenging US military power. The administration's National Security Strategy of 2002 put the matter bluntly: The US was to "build and maintain" a military, in the phrase of the moment, " beyond challenge ."

They had little doubt that, in the face of the most technologically advanced, bulked-up, destructive force on Earth, hostile states would be "shocked and awed" by a simple demonstration of its power, while friendly ones would have little choice but to come to heel as well. After all, as Bush said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in 2007, the US military was "the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known."

Though there was much talk at the time about the "liberation" of Afghanistan and then Iraq, at least in their imaginations the true country being liberated was the planet's lone superpower. Although the Bush administration was officially considered a "conservative" one, its key officials were geopolitical dreamers of the first order and their vision of the world was the very opposite of conservative. It harkened back to nothing and looked forward to everything.

It was radical in ways that should have, but didn't, take the American public's breath away; radical in ways that had never been seen before.

Shock and awe for the last superpower

Think of what those officials did in the post-9/11 moment as the ultimate act of greed. They tried to swallow a whole planet. They were determined to make it a planet of one in a way that had never before been seriously imagined.

It was, to say the least, a vision of madness. Even in a moment when it truly did seem – to them at least – that all constraints had been taken off, an administration of genuine conservatives might have hesitated. Its top officials might, at least, have approached the post-Soviet situation with a modicum of caution and modesty.

But not George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and pals. In the face of what seemed like the ultimate in possibilities they proved clueless when it came to the possibility that anything on Earth might have a shot at containing them.

Even among their critics, who could have imagined then that, more than 16 years later, having faced only lightly armed enemies of various sorts, still wealthy beyond compare, still with a military funded in a way the next seven countries couldn't cumulatively match, the United States would have won literally nothing?

Who could have imagined that, unlike so many preceding imperial powers (including the US of the earlier Cold War era), it would have been able to establish control over nothing at all; that, instead, from Afghanistan to Syria, Iraq deep into Africa, it would find itself in a state of " infinite war " and utter frustration on a planet filled with ever more failed states , destroyed cities , displaced people , and right-wing "populist" governments, including the one in Washington?

Who could have imagined that, with a peace dividend no longer faintly conceivable, this country would have found itself not just in decline, but – a new term is needed to catch the essence of this curious moment – in what might be called self-decline?

Yes, a new power, China, is finally rising – and doing so on a planet that seems itself to be going down . Here, then, is a conclusion that might be drawn from the quarter-century-plus in which America was both unchained and largely alone.

The Earth is admittedly a small orb in a vast universe, but the history of this century so far suggests one reality about which America's rulers proved utterly clueless: After so many hundreds of years of imperial struggle, this planet still remains too big, too disparate, too ornery to be controlled by a single power. What the Bush administration did was simply take one gulp too many and the result has been a kind of national (and planetary) indigestion.

Despite what it looked like in Washington once upon a time, the disappearance of the Soviet Union proved to be no gift at all, but a disaster of the first order. It removed all sense of limits from America's political class and led to a tale of greed on a planetary scale. In the process, it also set the US on a path to self-decline.

The history of greed in our time has yet to be written, but what a story it will someday make. In it, the greed of those geopolitical dreamers will intersect with the greed of an ever wealthier, ever more gilded 1%, of the billionaires who were preparing to swallow whole the political system of that last superpower and grab so much of the wealth of the planet, leaving so little for others.

Whether you're talking about the urge to control the planet militarily or financially, what took place in these years could, in the end, result in ruin of a historic kind. To use a favored phrase from the Bush years, one of these days we Americans may be facing little short of "regime change" on a planetary scale. And what a piece of shock and awe that's likely to prove to be.

All of us, of course, now live on the planet Bush's boys tried to swallow whole. They left us in a world of infinite war, infinite harm, and in Donald Trump's America where cluelessness has been raised to a new power.

[Jun 11, 2018] Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse - YouTube

Mixture of interesting although almost irrelevant information about personalities such as Gorbachov and his wife (viewed over rose glasses) with some idiotic statements. Avoid.
The collapse of the USSR was the collapse of the society which ideology (Marxism-leninism) collapsed and replacement it with neoliberalism. Neoliberal counterrevolution.
Also the economics of the USSR was a war economics. Part of it was due to the threat from the West and embargo on high tech. Part due to own military-industrial complex. Agriculture was a failure. The net result was deterioration of he standard of living in 80th. People because seduced by western consumerism and elite was seduced by neoliberal ideology. So neoliberal revolution (counter-revolution) logically followed
Jun 11, 2018 | www.youtube.com

April 5, 2017
In this lecture, William Taubman, professor of Political Science at Amherst College and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, sheds a light on how Mihail Gorbachev undermined the Soviet system in pursuit of his dream of the democratized country.


Scorpius , 6 months ago

The West will always hate Russia. Because the Soviet Union destroyed the colonial world order where the rules of the West. Despotism of the "white man" was destroyed, and enslaved peoples of Africa, Asia, Islamic world, Latin America was released. In the 19th century, the West ruled the world, now only n their historical lands. Russia has caused considerable damage to Western domination.

Lord pikkasso , 5 months ago

Why USSR collapsed according to America, Fake news. The USSR empire collapsed for the same reasons that European empires collapsed. The American empire has been in decline for a while now and will eventually collapsed too.

UserNameMandatory , 4 months ago

Good for insight into Gorbachev. That's all.

Michelle Rice , 3 months ago

Brezhnev started the ball rolling , USSR was already a sinking ship when Gorbachev took over , he was the fall guy !!!!

Daniel Wong , 1 month ago

The USSR was doomed to collapse. It is a totally corrupted union, with selfish leaders who lived in luxury while the people lived in poverty. However, it devoted its resources to military development. No extra resources were given to production of consumer goods and foods for the people. Its union comprises many countries with different races and cultures, which could never be reconciled. Its collapse is just a matter of time, and could not blame Gorbachev.

[Apr 18, 2018] The strategies put in place during the Yeltsin years to plunder the assets of the new CIS.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lozion | Apr 17, 2018 1:56:16 PM | 3

I know b is not fond of us posting content from other blogs but the Saker has just put up a must-read interview with a personal favorite author of mine, F. William Engdhal, entitled "The rape of Russia". Very informative, it documents the strategies put in place during the Yeltsin years to plunder the assets of the new CIS. Enjoy!

http://thesaker.is/the-rape-of-russia-saker-blog-exclusive-interview/

[Apr 18, 2018] A Note on KGB Style -- Central Intelligence Agency

Apr 18, 2018 | www.cia.gov

After collapse of the USSR the mount of infometion that has flown to the West is staggering. KGB might be then most open of intelleigence services in this sense. multiple defector probably created a very complete picture of the organization and its methods.

July 2, 1996

A NOTE ON KGB STYLE

Wayne Lambridge

The KGB like any enduring institution has a style, its own way of doing things. When we seek to understand the service and its officers, we should perhaps pay attention to how they do business as well as to what kind of business they do. This article is intended to raise the subject for discussion, to present largely one man's opinion. It is far from a definitive study.

By way of indicating something about KGB style, consider the implications for the organization as a whole of a communication system that carries one tenth or less as much traffic -- both electric and by pouch -- as its American equivalent. The KGB sends very few cables and its dispatches are infrequent. For maximum security, they are pouched on undeveloped microfilm, which is recovered and printed when the dispatch reaches its destination. Although Moscow headquarters does excellent and prompt printing, both exposure and development are sometimes haphazard in the field. Ten years ago, they were downright unreadable at times. Now, the quality is generally better. Volume, however, does not seem to have risen much.

The prints of the developed films are seen by the Rezident (the KGB Chief of Station) and by the case officer concerned. In large Rezidentury (KGB Stations) some intermediate may also read the traffic, but that is by no means always the case. The Rezident keeps a file -- sometimes in the form of notes or perhaps as copies of pertinent cables and dispatches -- for reference. The case officer keeps all his files in a briefcase or a notebook. Calling them "files" is perhaps misleading. It is better to say that the KGB officer keeps a movable In-Box. When a document leaves that box it is either returned to the Rezident or destroyed and the fact of destruction recorded. The case file is really in the case officer's head. The excellent memory that KGB officers often display concerning the details of their operations may well be traceable to the necessity of remembering the vital information on each operation that they cannot look up anywhere. Of course, when a new case officer replaces an old one, especially if the latter has been unable to brief his successor fully, complications may ensue. Illness, car accidents and PNG'ing have led to real chaos in some KGB operations when a harassed new man has tried to tie down the broken threads of a departed colleague's dropped contacts.

Although the amount of paper that he sees is small, the KGB case officer is held strictiy accountable for each sheet of it. When he destroys a document, a notation to that effect is included on a record. Even his scrap paper may bear a serial number and have to be accounted for. At the Moscow headquarters each document is sewn into the file by the senior officer directly responsible for the case. A special record of all documents in the file is kept by the case officer and its accuracy is regularly verified by the case officer's supervisor. Safe storage areas are locked and sealed with wax each night.

The ritual of sewing in the documents is often regarded as a waste of time by senior case officers in Moscow. Nevertheless, they would not dream of delegating the job. It seems to have a symbolic significance as an embodiment of both their authority and their responsibility.

The KGB case officer is his own intel assistant. At headquarters he does his own traces, gets his own documents from the archives and handcarries his own messages. Not too long ago, he also often wrote or typed his own dispatches. Even now he may write his own telegrams and personally take them and dispatches to his supervisor for review. In the field he is, if anything, even more responsible for doing everything connected with his operation except for technical surveillance and the like where he must call on experts.

The field case officer under official cover often works at his cover job about as much as do his colleagues who do not have intelligence responsibilities. This obligation is usually not as demanding on the case officer's time as it might first appear because KGB cover slots are usually selected so that cover duties complement intelligence tasks to a substantial degree. By contrast, other KGB officers have virtually no serious cover responsibilities and rely on the all-embracing security system of the Soviet colony to protect their true affiliation. In either case, the 'KGB officer is not expected to spend much time on the administrative or reporting aspects of his intelligence job. Within the limitations of his cover assignment, he is supposed to be out on the street, making contacts, working agents and performing other intelligence tasks, reporting only the highlights and the most crucial information back to headquarters.

In developing new sources, he will usually bring things along to the point where recruitment or some other substantial development is clearly foreseeable before asking for traces from headquarters or getting approval to go ahead with his plan. Local informers and support agents are sometimes picked up without reference to headquarters at all, except perhaps after the fact of recruitment. The KGB officer must account with some precision, however, for his operational expenditures and is usually quite limited in what he can spend for development prior to coming up with a concrete proposal for recruiting a source.

Once an agent is recruited or is established as a source, headquarters' control and demands for accountability are exacting, though never voluminous. For a recruited source with significant access, a senior officer, such as a branch chief or his deputy is specifically charged with responsibility for the case. Moscow's concern to insure that information is really coming from the source as described by the case officer and that the source is bona fide is very considerable. Somewhat by contrast, Moscow's requirements (outside of S&T operations) sometimes seem quite general, apparently leaving it up to the case officer and source to report what seems to them most important. On the other hand, reporting is expected to be factual and documentary, if possible. Sometimes the KGB seems obsessed with documents as the only reliable sources. Speculation is not usually encouraged.

In such a system of extreme compartmentation and vertical lines of communication and authority, the advisory role of staffs and other elements not within the chain of command is small. The First Chief Directorate, the foreign intelligence arm of the KGB, has a counterintelligence unit, for example, that actually takes over a case from the regular chain of command in the event that the agent appears to be doubled, compromised or in danger of compromise. The field case officer may remain the same, but in Moscow the Counterintelligence Service assumes full authority for directing the case. Deception and some types of complex political action operations often appear to be run directly by the headquarters element, Department A, that prepares the operation in Moscow. In such cases, of course, local assets of a Rezidentura may well be employed in support, but the operations are frequently run by specialists.

The typical KGB officer, trained in an environment where political agitation is part of daily fare, sees political action and propaganda as part of his regular routine. There are numerous examples of Soviet officers around the world who seem to concentrate almost exclusively on pushing the Soviet line on the issues of the day with whatever contacts they meet. To them the political approach is not something apart from spotting, developing, assessing, recruiting and agent handling. It is integral to that effort. Some do it crudely, some ineffectively, some with great skill. The point is that in almost all cases, it is a part of the operation.

In addition to politics, KGB recruiting and training of staff personnel emphasizes operational and area knowledge and experience from bottom to top. The main sources for new KGB officers are the institutes of International Affairs and Eastern Languages in Moscow. These institutions, which are better compared to the U.S. service academies than to other organizations of higher learning in America, prepare young Soviet citizens for careers abroad not only in the intelligence services, but for the foreign service, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Radio Moscow, etc. Assignment of a student after graduation is worked out among the various consuming organizations. The students are under what amounts to military discipline and are required to accept the assignment given them. Few students, see much difference among the organizations these days except for differences in pay, length and location of overseas service and other practical matters.

In the course of their education the students learn two or three foreign languages well and study the history and culture of the area in which they specialize in considerable detail, although current politics is likely tobe a much weaker course than history. Access to native sources is still circumscribed. A substantial number of students go for a year or more as exchange students or as trainees with Soviet organizations working abroad. As a result, they often end up knowing the area, its language, its politics, customs, police systems, local geography and so on very well. Although the old-style Soviet intelligence officer who was raised in the shadow if not the institutions of the Komintern and could recruit agents through appeals to an international revolutionary ideology are long since past, the newest generation of Soviet intelligence officers can be quite effective by trading on their precise knowledge of target personalities and the problems and frustrations of the countries in which they operate.

A KGB officer is ranked in his service by two systems. He progresses up the ladder from junior lieutenant to senior lieutenant and so on up to colonel and general. At the same time, he is classified as a junior case officer, case officer or senior case officer and then as he progresses further by his position, such as Rezident, which he may hold. His pay depends on his ranking in both hierarchies and there is no necessary coincidence between where he stands in one and where he stands in the other. The operational designations are based on his experience and performance as an operator. His formal rank is largely based on length of service up through major or lieutenant colonel. The chain of command is designated through the operational positions rather than formal rank. For example, a major of State Security from some other part of the KGB might be transferred into the First Chief Directorate under the designation of junior case officer and find himself subordinate to a senior lieutenant who had attained the position of case officer.

The phenomenon of marked disparity between formal rank and operational designation was probably more common during the period of considerable expansion of the First Chief Directorate's personnel ten and more years ago than it is today. At that time officers from other branches of the service were being brought into the First Chief Directorate more frequently than they are now. Nevertheless, the emphasis on operational experience and operational ability continues to be a marked element of the KGB style. The top officers in the service, for example, usually involve themselves directly in operations. They meet and develop agent candidates, they recruit and they handle agents.

In part this is a consequence of the strongly operational orientation of the KGB as a whole. A direct involvement in operations comes naturally to almost everyone in the organization. This operational orientation is manifest also in the concentration of relatively few cases per case officer. Generally, one man may handle four or five agents or targets under development. He is not expected to spread his range of intelligence activities further, although he may well be encouraged to develop a large circle of casual contacts from whom a relatively small number of serious targets may be selected.

From the foregoing one can see that the typical KGB officer is a man who sees himself in a strict vertical chain of command. He expects to do everything necessary for his operation without much outside help, except in technical matters. Depending upon circumstances, the case officer may be closely guided by the Rezident in a particular operation, but he is not supposed to discuss it with anyone else. (Gossip and shop-talk are endemic, however, in part to overcome the excessive official compartmentation.) Although the case officer is held strictly to account for the results of his actions, he is not expected to report on day-to-day developments to headquarters and in fact the capacity of his communications system is far too limited to permit him to do so. He is street-oriented in the concept of his job and does not put in a lot of time at the desk writing reports, reading guidance from headquarters or maintaining his files. When he has a problem he takes it up with his boss and he is generally not expected to have many problems. He is supposed to know the difference between what he really needs consultation about and what he ought to be able to handle on his own.

His boss in turn has the responsibility of not only guiding the case officers that work for him, but of ensuring that vital information pertinent to the work of one case officer but acquired through another is made available. In both operational guidance and information sharing, the role of the Rezident is crucial. There is virtually no lateral distribution of communications and an extreme emphasis on compartmentation. Although the rigid compartmentation of the system is probably a major vulnerability, superiors both in the field and headquarters are usually able to keep up with each case because they are not overwhelmed with paper. Relatively primitive (in terms of capacity) communications equipment and the custom that each officer prepare his own reports and keep them brief make it possible for such reports as do get written to be read all the way up the chain of command. The general in command of the First Chief Directorate has been reported on several occasions as reading all the incoming traffic. Much of the outgoing traffic is also signed personally by him.

The strictness of the chain of command and the limited amount of communications place a great weight of responsibility on each Rezident and on each case officer. As with all Soviet officials, KGB case officers have a norm to fulfill for the year and are usually called to account for their activities during part of the annual home leave in the Soviet Union. In a system like that, if something goes wrong, someone must be found to have been responsible. This can encourage an extreme of caution, particularly when the relations between case officer and the Rezident are not of the best or when the headquarters desk officer is not cooperative and understanding of the problems in the field.

Although we are accustomed to think of Soviet organizations as highly impersonal, in the KGB personalities and the private connections of individual officers are often crucial to the success or failure of an operation -- or a career. In many ways, the KGB is an organization made to order for the man who wants to claim all the glory for himself and put all the mistakes on the backs of his subordinates. Family connections or other personal contacts have special significance in this sort of an organization because they can provide a secure and effective second channel for communication in a system in which there is otherwise only one narrow route watched over by jealous monitors for all the messages an officer may want to send.

The emphasis on the role of the individual in the organization also has its advantages, of course. A capable officer, particularly one from an influential family, working under a Rezident who knows his business and will accept responsibility is likely to find himself in a stimulating work environment that may compensate very well for shortcomings of the service or the Soviet system as a whole that might otherwise disturb him.

While the KGB style as outlined above is in many ways admirably suited to running operations, it appears to have limitations in the way it makes use of the product of its operations and in evaluating whether the operations themselves are really worthwhile. There are enough instances on record to permit the generalization that in political matters especially Moscow is often reluctant to receive bad news. The ambitious case officer may find himself frustrated by pressure to conform, either from his Rezident or from Moscow, when he tries to report things as he sees them. To a large degree this is probably an inevitable manifestation of the extreme isolation from the outside world in which the Soviet policy makers live and their lack of exposure to unwelcome information. In addition, the emphasis on operations as such and the overall environment of the KGB, which is predominantly an internal security, criminal investigation, and antisubversive organization, probably discourages the kind of critical intellect by whom frank reporting, regardless of its content, is most prized.

This last consideration, the emphasis on an investigative, operational style at the expense of analytical curiosity, may well be the source of considerable tension within the First Chief Directorate today. Bigoted and inflexible ultimate consumers are problems enough. But also the older generation of KGB officers, including many of today's Rezidenty, was largely trained in war time and internal security operations. Their juniors, speaking broadly, are more academically inclined, more tempted to discourse on their theories, more interested in foreign societies and politics per se and less dedicated to fulfilling the obligations of the party and the state. They are often perceptive and realistic about developments not only abroad, but also in their own country. Bearing in mind the importance of personal relations and the dependence of juniors on seniors in the rigid chain of command, the signs we see these days of tension and cynicism among these younger officers should not be surprising.

As they rise in the KGB, we may see some organizational changes over time. If these changes preserve the laconic style of communication while at the same time do away with some of the most cumbersome and archaic aspects of the communications and records keeping systems, the KGB could become an even more formidable institution than it is today. The problem of encouraging intelligence analysis and imaginative, critical thinking is a problem for Soviet society as a whole. As a part of that society, the KGB shares the problem, but probably not in greater degree than other Soviet institutions and possibly less than many.

Judgments about the influence the KGB style has on KGB officers as individuals, about the implications for KGB operations of the way they do business, about the relevance of the style to Western operations against Soviet targets, and about many other related matters lead us beyond the scope of this note which, as stated in the introductory paragraph, hopes only to raise an interesting topic for further comment. If this piece succeeds in making the point that KGB organizational style is important to Western intelligence and that we should concern ourselves with it more than we have, it will have served its purpose.

[Mar 10, 2018] From Yeltsin to Putin: Chubais, Liberal Pathology, and Harvard's Criminal Record

Highly recommended!
Mar 10, 2018 | www.rusjournal.org

From Yeltsin to Putin: Chubais, Liberal Pathology, and Harvard's Criminal Record

Matthew Raphael Johnson

Johnstown, PAWhen the USSR collapsed in 1990-1991, Gorbachev was incapable of handling thesituation. Boris Yeltsin came to power both bureaucratically and popularly. He was named theChief of the Presidium, but in June of 1991, he was elected in a popular election where heearned 57% of the popular vote.

With a small army of American advisers, Yeltsin began selling off Soviet era assets.The problem was that the process had nothing to do with markets. Privatization of assets wentto a handful of well-connected politicians and bureaucrats who came to control the economyas a whole.1 They had amassed a huge number of shares by 1995, and hence, the post-Sovietoligarchy was born. The fact is that the work of 70 years of Soviet labor went to the pocketsof two or three dozen people.2

The rising oligarchs could easily manipulate the court system and tax police, sincethere was no real law governing private enterprise. Russia was led to the brink of anarchy. By1998, according to a paper by Sergei Guriev and Andrei Rachinsky, the oligarchs comprisedabout 700 individuals that completely controlled Russia's economic assets.3

The Western Elites and the Ivy League as a Criminal Syndicate

In NS Leonov's book (only in Russian), The Way of the Cross: Russia from 1991-2000, he states, as the first "reform" of Yeltsin's government :

Government "reforms" that began Gaidar's privatization scam was the seizure of the savings of the people. These were taken by force, though not directly. Inflation and economic collapse made the transfer of funds easy. State control was removed from prices and the "free market" would ensure the enrichment of corruption. This was the level of cynicism the new democracy had reached, while simultaneously preaching the sanctity of private property. What did not melt away in the deliberate fleecing of the people was taken by other means. An estimate of the total taken thisway is about 300 billion rubles, and it had the proper effect: without money, rebellion was difficult. They cried out in frustration.4

Nothing was done according to democratic norms, which is odd since democracy was the buzzword that made these economic decisions seem political. At almost no time in the history of the USSR did one man, Chubais and his allies, have such total and irresponsible control over the Russian economy. When the voucher program was introduced in 1992, massive inflation resulted. Soon, each 10,000 ruble voucher was worth very little. It was rendered null regardless, since the state refused to consider the vouchers as legal tender.

1 Hoffman, D. The Oligarchs: Wealth And Power In The New Russia. Public Affairs Books, 2011 (cf esp ch12).

2 Kotz, D.M. Russia's Financial Crisis: The Failure of Neoliberalism? Z Magazine, (1998), 28-32

3 Guriev, S. and Andrei Rachinsky. The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism. Journal of EconomicPerspectives, 19(1), (2005), 131-150 http://pages.nes.ru/sguriev/papers/GurievRachinsky.pdf

4 Leonov, NS. The Way of the Cross: Russia from 1991-2000. Moscow: Russia House, 2002 (All citations aremy translations from the Russian.

Making the entire scam even more blatant, Chubais inserted a rider to the law stating that the value of the voucher would only exist until late 1993. In 1992, Yeltsin's popularity went from 50% in January to 30% in August, and from there to single digits.

By July of 1992, Chubais was hated. This led Yeltsin to limit the power of parliament, increase his executive power and totally dominate the regions. This was done with western backing and was a far greater centralization of power than Putin was later to be condemned for. He had already banned the Communist Party, helping to break his main opposition and prevent their imminent reelection in Parliament. The fraud of democracy was clearly open.

Soon Chubais and his crew stated that there was no benchmark value for any sold property. The institution in charge of this, the Russian Federal Property Fund and related agencies, therefore, began from arbitrary benchmarks. Ultimately, major firms were being sold for 1-5% of their value. Worse, some of these were defense plants, bought up by shallcompanies operates by the CIA – this was Hay's job. Therefore, scientific advances of the USSR were now entirely in American hands.

In 1992, Yeltsin did fairly well in a referendum, receiving about 50% approval, but at this date, privatization had just begun. Elections a bit later were to belie this vote. Yeltsin himself clearly had no confidence in this referendum. Having no confidence in that vote, Yeltsin then, again with western backing, banned all opposition protests in Moscow. Then, making matters worse, he signed order 1400 in September of 1993 which stripped the Congress of People's Deputies of all power. For the upcoming elections, Yeltsin passed a law saying that only 25% of voters needed to show for it to be valid. This was a means of making sure that opposition boycotts could not win. Yeltsin soon after banned the main opposition newspaper.

Russia's privatization scam was created, directed and imposed by Harvard University and carried out by two "professors" whose incompetence is rivaled only by their lack of accountability. Anatoly Chubais, probably the most hated man in Russia, was an old friend of Harvard "economist" Andrei Shleifer, who was also working with Harvard don Jonathan Hay (who according to the FSB, is CIA). Chubais, functioning as a Russian dictator since Yeltsin was not functional at the time, put the privatization scheme into Harvard's hands. Apparently having no workable knowledge of Russian life, the Harvard elite, believing themselves infallible, quickly proved their theories not only false, but directly responsible for ruining thelives of millions.5

1994-1995 was the period of the solidification of the oligarchic clans, their connection with the United States, and the complete collapse of the state. Oligarchic clans, created by Chubais, filled the vacuum with private armies, political machines and newspapers. In the US, conservative and liberal alike called this the "free market" and democracy. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, of Jewish origin and endlessly changing political positions, became the government's ace in the hole: whenever the US questioned the increasingly obvious destruction of Russia, Yeltsin would trot this clown out to make some typically outrageous statement. In 1995, it was clear that Zhirinovsky both "loved Hitler" and was "proud" of Russia's victory in the Great Patriotic War. Clearly in the pocket of Yeltsin, Zhirinovsky a)kept US aid money coming into his efforts, b) siphoned off serious criticism, c) easily associated nationalist views with this kind of rhetorical nonsense.

Chubais continued to hang onto power. Not being a Russian citizen (and yet having all that power), he clearly equated the oligarchic clans as "democracy." In Davos, 1996, he met with the heads of all the clans including Guzinsky, Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, Friedman, Potanin and many others, and formed a political movement designed to keep nationalist and communists out of power.

5 McClintick, D. How Harvard Lost Russia. Institutional Investor, 2006. http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article/1020662/How-Harvard-lost-Russia.html?ArticleId=1020662&single=true#.UY7blLWG2So

This move shows that Chubais backed the oligarchs, did not consider them "unintended consequences" and sought their assistance to stay in power: All in the name of democracy.

Yeltsin, now at 3% (with the same margin of error) began to implement populist measures, but now was isolated. Winning a strangely high 33% of the vote in the 1996 elections, it can only be attributed to a) electoral fraud, or b) the fact that Gen. Alexander Lebed had been talked into entering a sort of coalition with Yeltsin. If they won, then Lebed's rival Pavel Grachev, would be history. Yeltsin won the second round with just over 50%, as the oligarchs and Chubais personally spend a small fortune bribing artists, journalists, writers and, making an even worse mockery of democracy, busing thousands of urban youth into Moscow to ensure their support.

Harvard's Sinister Role

Harvard University spent quite a bit of its money to restructure Russia. The US government sued some of them, specifically, Andrei Shleifer, for breach of contract. Many economists from Harvard worked for the State Department so as to be able to control Russia for the better. The fraud of the Russian economy was in part blamed on these advisers, whowere forced to pay more than $31 million to the US government for "conspiracy to defraud."

Harvard had authored the plan that Gorbachev had requested to turn Russia into a capitalist state. This was the plan that was enacted. The Harvard Institute for International Development in Russia was the group created at Harvard and sponsored by the US government. This is what was sued over. The US government argued that the reform program was a failure, and the planners, living in America, knew it was a failure and continued to defend it – with taxpayer money. Even worse, as it turns out, Shleifer was rigging some of the auctions himself, investing his own money in firms that he knew would turn a profit, even if overseas.

The US Justice Department in 2000 sued, among others, Shleifer and Hay for defrauding the US government. The Justice Department stated:

The United States alleges that Defendants' actions undercut the fundamental purpose of the United States' program in Russia -- the creation of trust and confidence in the emerging Russian financial markets and the promotion of openness, transparency, the rule of law, and fair play in the development of theRussian economy and laws.6

Since they were using $40 million in taxpayer money, the cold-blooded desolation of Russia implicated the US. The civil lawsuit argued, to simplify, that Harvard's economists, especially Shleifer (and his wife), was investing taxpayer money in Russian companies about which they were giving financial advice. Harvard admitted guilt in the form of a $25 million settlement. How much of this assisted their victims in Russia is not known.7

In response to the suit, lawyers for Shleifer and his co-conspirator, Jonathan Hay, sneered to the press: "We are confident that, as the civil case unfolds, the court will confirm that the Harvard program significantly fostered Russian reform and that the government received its money's worth." As it turns out, even their lawyers did not believe this, since their defense rested, not on the denial that conflict of interest existed, but that they were never bound by such ethical rules.8

6 "United States of America, Plaintiff v. the President and Fellows of Harvard College, Andrei Shleifer, Jonathan Hay, Nancy Zimmerman, and Elizabeth Hebert, Defendants" (2000)

7 His crimes and the full nature of the lawsuit and evidence can be found here: Wedel, J. Who Taught CronyCapitalism to Russia? How Harvard and the 'U.S. Government's Aid Agency became part of the RussianProblem. The Wall Street Journal Europe, March 19, 2001

In 2005, a federal judge found Shleifer guilty of professional fraud. The disgraced "professor" paid the US government $2 million, and his wife, operating yet another scam, settled out of court for $1.5 million. Harvard paid about $10 million in legal fees to defend their role in the starvation of Russia.9

For all that, Shleifer remains a celebrated professor at Harvard and the toast of academia worldwide. His academic stock has not suffered in theleast from this. Just as puzzling, Harvard suffered no diminution in prestige. This is especially puzzling in that ivy league scandals erupt seemingly on a daily basis. This Teflon world exists partly due to the protection of former Harvard President, World Bank economist and Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, also a pivotal figure in the Russian fiasco.10

Summers is partly to blame for the American sub-prime mortgage disaster since hewas pivotal in removing many of the regulatory barriers that forbade predatory lendingpractices. Therefore, the execrable Summers is the co-author of not one but two national meltdowns. Summers, after being forced to resign from Harvard based on an unrelated set of sins,11 was quickly rehired as a "professor" by the government. Then, Summers became a leading figure in Obama's economic brain trust, was soon after appointed as part of the "oversight"panel for the UN's economic programs and became a member of the Group of 30, a highlyelite and secretive organization created by the Rockefeller family.

Like Summers and Shleifer, Chubais was also handsomely rewarded for his direct role in the Russian cataclysm. He was soon placed on the board of JP Morgan, and, to no one's surprise, was granted a seat on the ultra-elite Council on Foreign Relations, another powerful conclave within the Rockefeller cult.12

Summer's career, his almost comic legacy of failure and ignorance, and the criminal impoverishment of Russia (not to mention the 2007 US meltdown) wholly destroy the "elitestatus" of places like Harvard.13 This set of scandals, largely unknown to a bewildered and exhausted American public, shows the profound and pervasive putrescence of academia, especially in the Ivy leagues. It brought into question academic tenure, unearned salaries, and the famed academic insulation from consequences arising from their theories. The Harvard civil suit and all it entails demonstrates the incompetence of those paid to implement policy and their ability to get their hands on taxpayer money. It shows a reprehensible and reckless disregard for the welfare of others that is rewarded with academic posts, social prestige, ostentatious wealth and immense power.

It might be worth mentioning that the behavior patters of Chubais conforms almost perfectly to the Triarchic diagnostic model of psychopathy as developed by Skeem, et al in 2011. First, it is typified by a pathological arrogance. The victim has full confidence that he is above the law, or that the law only applies to others. Second, the victim shows an impulsive and anti-social temper that focuses only on short term gratification based on the lowest motives. Because of these two symptoms, the victim either does not perceive or does not have any restraints on his destructive behavior. Finally, and most significantly, the victim feels no remorse for the consequences of his actions. Other criteria related to these includeparasitic behavior, superficial charm, grandiosity, ingenious criminal ideas, and assertive narcissism.14 Yeltsin, quoted in Leonov's book, called Chubais "an absolute Bolshevik by temperament and mentality." The basic consensus about Chubais' behavior is that he cared little for construction, and only for destruction.

8 Seward, Z. Harvard To Pay $26.5 Million in HIID Settlement. Crimson, July 20059 The guilty verdict and settlement issues are summarized in the Crimson article above.

10 Finucane, M "Feds Sue Harvard over Russia Advisers." ABD News; also see Wedel, Janine R. The HarvardBoys Do Russia. The Nation, 2008; and "Larry Summers, Robert Rubin: Will The Harvard Shadow EliteBankrupt The University And The Country?" The Huffington Post, Jan 2010: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harry-r-lewis/larry-summers-robert-rubi_b_419224.html

11 These had something to do with comments about intellectual differences between men and women. That this contrived controversy erupted just as Harvard was paying off the federal government is no coincidence.

12 Levy, Ari. Summers Joins Andreessen Horowitz as a Part-Time Adviser to Entrepreneurs. Bloomberg, June2011 and Greenwald, Glenn. Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and Wall Street's ownership of government.Salon, 2009

13 As far as ivy league fraud and incompetence go, this is just one scandal out of hundreds.

The political lesson of this is unfortunate: the diagnostic criteria for criminal psychopathy are precisely the qualities required for success in big business and government. Even the best intentioned politician or businessman must display some combination of thesevices in order to successfully compete in these fields. What passes as virtue in libera lcapitalism is actually an undisguised form of mental illness.

Leonov speaks in more detail about his pathology:

Evil lurks in Chubais' colorless eyes. He arrogantly uses his supporters in public. Assertiveness and phony composure is his cynical way. Yeltsin was seen by him as merely manageable. Yeltsin was easy to manipulate due to his unpopularity. He did not have the intellectual wherewithal to fight back. He was compliant and signed anything on cue. He saw the Duma as mere formalism that can be bypassed. In reality, he just relied on Presidential decrees.

Of course, all of this in the name of democracy. Rather than deal with the fallout for the sins of others, Yeltsin did one excellent thing for Russia – appointed Vladimir Putin astemporary president on new year's eve, 1999. As was proper, Putin guaranteed Yeltsin immunity from prosecution, which meant he could no longer be used as a scapegoat. Putin, to make a long story very short, brought Russia from a GDP that was 98th in the world to 2014,where it is 8th. For the period 1991-1997, the transfer of wealth from Russia to the oligarchs was roughly $1.75 trillion. This was not "lost" to Russia, since wealth is not "lost." It merely changed hands. Under Chubais and Harvard, the economic contracted by almost 90%.

For all that, Yeltsin's party received 15% of the vote. With instructions from the US, Yeltsin, after this humiliation, created the idea of a "consensus document." The point is to create the illusion of agreement. Several western NGOs designed a position paper which supported "free market" reforms. Representatives of the new rich in Russia signed this document, which was then trumpeted as proof of social cohesion around Yeltsin.

Bernard Black et al, writing in 2009, described the devastation of this shock treatment for Russia and Ukraine in 1994:Russia's mass privatization. . . permitted insiders (managers and controlling shareholders) to engage in extensive "self" or "inside" dealing. . . which the government did nothing to control. Later privatization "auctions" were a massive giveaway of Russia's most important companies at bargain prices to a handful of well-connected "kleptocrats". . . Medium-term prospects are grim; the Russian ruble has plunged; the Russian government has defaulted on both its dollar denominated and ruble-denominated debt; most banks are bankrupt; corruption is rampant; tax revenues have collapsed; capital flight is pervasive; and the government (whomever the Prime Minister happens to be at the moment) seems clueless about what to do next.15

14 Skeem, JL, Polaschek, DLL, Patrick, CJ, and S Lilienfeld. Psychopathic Personality: Bridging the GapBetween Scientific Evidence and Public Policy. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 12 (3): 95–1622011

15 Black, et al, 1

This scheme represents one of the most luridly thoroughgoing, colossal and overwhelming failures in economic history. The role of the US government, international financial agencies and elite academia in this monumental disaster is well known. During the well publicized destruction and starvation of Russia, the British journal Euromoney named Chubais the "Worlds Greatest Finance Minister," as yet another means of displaying theelite's lack of accountability. In the Financial Times of 2004, A. Ostrovsky states "Chubais makes no excuses and feels no remorse over the most controversial privatization of all - the 'loans-for-shares' deal, in which he handed control of Russia's largest and most valuable assets to the group of tycoons [sic] in return for loans and support in the 1996 election for the then ailing Yeltsin."16

Once this became plain, the architects of the plan backed off, blaming everyone else for the issues. He writes in Foreign Affairs that the "Russian people" must vote for "democracy" in the 2000 elections. At the time, his own popularity was running about 2-3%. Hence, he did not mean "democracy" in the normal sense of the word. The real change was between 1994-1996. Here, the oligarchs were openly ruling with Yeltsin, who was often drunk and would disappear for weeks on end. It didn't matter. The oligarchs bought up most of the banks, then issued licenses to trade internationally that only they could have. As the government got desperate, the oligarchs stepped in and loaned Moscow the money to continue to function. Russian was not a "government" in any sense of the word. About 700 major families controlled almost the entire Russian economy and hence, the state as well.

The Results of the Scam

Government revenues went down by over 50% in this same time. Wages went down by about 75% by 1998. In 1992, the inflation rate was almost 1000%. Light industry, that is, the consumer sector, lost about 90% of its capital, the hardest hit sector of all. Machinery of all kinds fell by about 75%, meaning that 75% of the machines useful in the Russian economy had been liquidated (or were just not used) by 1998. The only thing that kept Russiaafloat was the black market.17

The state could no longer enforce its laws, and hence, men started not showing up for the draft. Republic after republics declared independence, to be immediately recognized by the US. So, what can we conclude here? Very few deny that Yeltsin was a failure, but a failure of the worst kind. This kind of economic destruction has never been seen before outside of warfare. Government revenues and expenditures collapsed, hence, an already bad infrastructure was made far worse. Believe it or not, from 1992-1999, the Russian government collected about $6 billion all told. Hence, the state did not function.

Interest rates were high, about 300% in 1994, so credit was available only to the very rich, who controlled the (now private) central bank in the first place. Nearly everyoligarchical bank was connected with organized crime. In fact, there is no substantial difference between the oligarchs and organized crime.18

Under the oligarchs, tax collection collapsed. Industrial production went down by 25% in just a few years. By 1997, Russia had defaulted on its debts. Between 1991 and 1998,Russian GDP fell by almost 40%. Life expectancy went down from 68 to 56 years. Russians became impoverished. Money was so scarce that, by 1996, most trade was done through barter. Importantly, these oligarchs became a state within a state. Tax collection had collapsed, and the new Russia was completely broke. With the Asian meltdown in 1998, interest rates for Russian borrowing went to 300%. 19

16 Arkady Ostrovsky, Father to the Oligarchs. Financial Times, 2004.

17 Graham, Thomas. From Oligarchy to Oligarchy: The Structure of Russia's Ruling Elite. Demokratizatsiya7(3), (1997) 325-340

18 ibid

Yeltsin's popularity by 1998 went to about zero. Since then, pro-western (that is, pro freemarket) parties have polled no more than 5-7% of the vote combined. Yeltsin resigned the Presidency in 1999 and appointed Vladimir Putin as president.

A man of immense mental and physical strength, he sought to discipline the oligarchs, rebuild Russia and create a modern economy. As soon as Putin took office, he went after the media monopoly of Vladimir Guzinsky. Soon, numerous oil firms and banks were investigated for tax fraud. Some oligarchs fled the country, others like Mikhail Khordokovsky, ended up in prison. Attempting to split the oligarchs, playing one fraction against another, Putin's popularity soared, and Russian economic growth recovered.20 Since the meltdown in 1998, the Russian economy has gone from $1 trillion to $2.5 trillion by 2011. Growth rates remain high, and Russia enjoys both a trade and budget surplus. In the first eight years of Putin's presidency, the Russian GDP increased by over 75%.

Near the end of 1993, about 18-20 billion rubles had fled the country. As 1994 dawned, the population was impoverished. Malnutrition was becoming a problem, and alcoholism was increasing, as was suicide and all manner of social pathology. By 1994, thedeputy interior minister, Vladimir Kozlov, stated that about 40% of the economy is nowcriminalized. Leonov writes,

V. Polevanov [deputy prime minister at the time] notes that the total nominal valueof the voucher fund (about $1.5 trillion rubles) was 20 times less than the cost fixed assets industry, fired up for auction. One Moscow, where privatization was notcarried out on the residual and by market value, gained 20% of the enterprises 1.8 trillion rubles, while income from the rest of Russia in the first two years of privatization amounted to only $1 trillion rubles.

The above argument is abstract. In this section, a case study will be analyzed in detail to show how these forces come to be, how they operate, and how they attempt to insulate themselves from its consequences. Traumatic economic events do not occur due to abstract or impersonal forces. People, very powerful people, create the conditions that destroy entire economies. Economic self-interest is the engine of these irrational policies. Economics depicts social actors and institutions as calculating machines with no identity or purpose. The result is that economics is always treated in the passive voice, which is a fundamental mystification.

The Second Half of the 1990s

Showing Chubais complete rejection of supporting Russian interests, Leonov writes,

Soon, it became clear that Chubais committed his sins only because he was controlled by others. The real owners of Russia. In 1998, Russia was continuing to disaster, that is, total bankruptcy. At this point, even after the default, American investors finally got the message and moved their cash out of Russian securities. This strengthened the effect of the default. As he became CEO of RAO (etc), he sold to foreigners a 32% chunk of Russian energy concerns, which violated all Russian laws. This meant, of course, that foreigners now could block Russian energy policy.

Chubais and his Harvard friends did not believe in their own rhetoric. Their had quickly moved into the most luxurious apartments and appointed to themselves very high salaries. Nothing about their world was based on the market principles they hypocriticallyadvocated. While advocating the rule of law, the oligarchical firms allied with Chubais werenot paying taxes; but it just so happens that the criminal code recently passed did not considerthis a crime. In 1997, there was no question that Chubais was evading taxes as well.

19 Ibid, cf esp 330-332

20 Sakwa, R. Putin and the Oligarchs. New Political Economy, 13(2) (2008): 185-191

Admitting his guilt, he paid about 500 million rubles, which was just a small amount of what he owed. His power did not diminish, but it remains a fact that no dictator in Russian history had the power that Chubais had. In the name of market reform and the rule of law,Chubais was receiving millions from shall companies for non existent services. Alexander Lebed remained the sole source of opposition to Chubais once Yeltsin sought treatment for heart illness. Chubais, realizing the general's recent spike in popularity for negotiating successfully with Chechen rebels, invented a slew of charges that the general conspired with these same militants. Chubais had become so powerful that he was no longer required to be creative. Lebed was dismissed from his post, proving that Chubais was, in fact, a dictator.21

In the name of the rule of law, Chubais made mafia gangster Boris Berezovsky "deputy director of the security council." Potanin, another underworld billionaire, was named "Deputy Prime Minister." Chubais was rubbing Russia's face in his power, typical of thepsychotic. Soon, all major television channels were in the hands of two mafia dons, Berezovsky and Guzinsky.

Leonov writes:

By 1996, all the financial power was concentrated in the hands of a small group of businessmen almost exclusively Jewish. It consisted of Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, Alexander Smolensky, Pyotr Aven, Boris Chait, and Vitaly Malkin. Major bankers also included gentiles Potanin and Vinogradov, the only two.

Since the state had collapsed, these oligarchs acted as the state treasury and profited from it. Billions continued to be looted and wound up in banks in Israel, Britain and the US. Yet, elections were coming up. An ailing Yeltsin dismissed Chernomyrdin's "government," which included Chubais. Boris Berezovsky began, in his words, to rally all the "democraticand reformist forces in Russia" to prevent his own possible dispossession.

Typical of the psychotic, these men knew no limits. They began issuing high yield junk bonds, eventually promising to pay out, in some cases, 180%. Foreigners were buying these bonds to the point where almost 30% of all marketable securities of the Russian "state"were owned by outsiders. It was another scam, and the bankers refused to pay anypercentage, and even more, demanded the return of Chubais to government. Chubais quicklyflew to Washington, warning of a communist-nationalist resurgence. $6 billion was quickly given, which was never seen again.

Forming a shadow government, Russia's bankers dictated terms to Yeltsin. In their generosity, they agreed to not demand immediate debt payment from the Russian taxpayer. Yet, to punish Yeltsin, this oligarchy declared that it will reduce the sale of foreign currency. Putting downward pressure on the ruble, the oligarchs got their revenge for the tepid rebellion of Yeltsin. This is what drove the junk bonds as high as 180%; the ruble was suddenly worth nothing. In fear, Yeltsin put the banker's friend, Chernomyrdin, back in power in late summer, 1998.22

21 Ostrovsky, Arkady. Father to the Oligarchs. Financial Times, 2004

22 Russian Federation: Selected Issues 2012 International Monetary Fund IMF Country Report No. 12/218http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2012/cr12218.pdf and Oliker, O, and T. Paley. Assessing Russia's

As typical of capitalist democracies, the political clique took the fall for the private sector. Yeltsin was blamed for the disaster, though his power was nil. That winter, Russia froze with millions unable to buy fuel. The perfect man was chosen for the prime ministership, Yevgeny Primakov, with no apparent beliefs of any kind. Quickly, Primakov demanded the return of Chubais and others who caused the mess, in order to repair it.

The default that August destroyed any bank not immediately under the oligarchs. GDPfell by 200-300 billion rubles. Industry was devastated. In one month, September of 1998, the average Russian income fell by over 30%. The Federation Council, too late, officially declared Chubais and crew as "negligent and incompetent." At the same time, the banking oligarchy was speculating in currency markets, making a profit estimated at the time of 5.5billion rubles in 1997.

Bill Clinton at the time cared only about the possibility of the Lebed coup. Primakov, however, began to strengthen the state as the only possibly solution to the total dissolution of Russia as a political entity. Soon, the dependable Zhirnovsky was again trotted out, with the occasional spray painted swastika to re-direct attention and create the "extremist" threat. More political groups, heretofore unknown, showed up in Moscow with strange uniforms and rallies. Gaidar was quick to link them with the communists, creating a convenient, single group for the masses to visualize.

In the midst of the meltdown, the system took advantage of the perfectly timed murder of Galina Starovoitova, a westernizing politician. 15,000 members of the opposition were rounded up and the "democratic forces" demanded emergency powers. The westenizers even created their own "nationalist" political group, "Fatherland" in order to siphon off opposition activists. In a display showing excellent acting, Yeltsin, in December of 1998, disbanded the group as a "threat" to "democracy." Of course, western Russia experts breathed a sigh of relief that "fascism" was not coming to Russia.

Solzhenitsyn refused to be a part of the charade, refusing to accept the Medal of St. Andrei from Yeltsin. A long time nationalist, Solzhenitsyn realized that in giving this award, Yeltsin was currying favor. Another misdirection was the attempted impeachment of Yeltsin in 1998, as if he was in charge of the disaster he only vaguely understood. Like the Clinton impeachment, it was an absurdity, deliberately designed to protect those with actual power (that is, the private sector) who created the disaster. The Commission decided that Yeltsin had "exceeded his power" as president, as if this is the reason why Muscovites just froze the previous winter. Using political figures to cover for the banking cartel is as old as the Medicis in Florence. Then, in another mockery of Russia, Yeltsin was blamed 100% for the disaster ofthe previous decade.23

Given all this, you are now ready to understand Putin. He came to power as Premier under Yeltsin when the latter resigned in 1999. Yeltsin's popularity rating was between 3-5%. All aid from the IMF was stolen and funneled into the hands of the oligarchs. Oil and gas firms had their profits pocketed in the same way, tax free. As Yeltsin retired, he gave many of his friends immunity from prosecution.

Putin as the Restorer of Sanity

Putin's leadership restored confidence in the currency, the state and the law. Oligarchystill exists in Russia (as elsewhere), but the monopoly position they used to wield is no more.Russian oil firms have come under the control, though not the ownership, of the state, sinceoligarchs were planning on selling assets to Exxon-Mobil, which led to the "KhordokovskyDecline. The Rand Corporation, 2002http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monograph_reports/2007/MR1442.pdf23 Guriev, S. and Andrei Rachinsky (2005). The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism. Journal of EconomicPerspectives, 19(1), (2005) 131-150 http://pages.nes.ru/sguriev/papers/GurievRachinsky.pdfaffair." Mikhail Khordokovshy was an oligarch who controlled YUKOS, one of Russia's mostpowerful oil firms. In the interest of national security, Putin placed Khordokovsky under arrest. He was indeed guilty of tax evasion, but his plans to see Russian strategic assets to Americans was too much for Putin to stomach. The more oligarchs Putin put in jail, the more popular he becomes.

Putin's policy has been to tread softly, taking on only the most powerful and obnoxious of the oligarchs. He has made strategic alliances with some in order to intimidate others While Russia has been rebuilt and the state became powerful, the oligarchs still have fight left in them, and Putin acts cautiously. Putin's basic approach has been to guide investment and control the flow of investment funds so they benefit Russia, not the oligarchy. The state does not own the economy, but it does oversee it. The oligarchy gave Putin no other choice.

The oligarchs financed all of Yeltsin's election campaigns and public image in Russia at the time. The point was to keep Yeltsin in power long enough so that the oligarchs could get their cash out of the country. They knew that eventually, a popular government would punish them. Putin, to a great extent, was this punishment.

Putin created an entirely new Russian government, when local districts under his control. Needless to say, the regional governments had been bought, and Putin could have no dealings with them. Some of them even had their own foreign policy! All those sent to govern the regions were from the security services or the army. This was no accident. Putin restructured the Upper House (the Federation Council) so as to permit his government to have a say in who gets appointed to it. 24

Putin insisted that local law must be consistent with federal law. This is because local leaders were creating their own countries, and this could not stand. Putin then permitted oligarchs and their puppets to be tried as violators of the constitution. Let me give you one example. In 2003, the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky had taken over the Russian oil giant Yukos. Now, Putin got intelligence that Khodorkovsky was planning on entering intobusiness with Exxon-Mobil, permitting their penetration into the Russian market. Realizing this was a security threat (which it was, since it would mean that Exxon would control much of Russia's oil), he had Khodorkovsky arrested. Is list of crimes was well known, but the stategot him on taxes, which was a no-brainier. Putin was immediately attacked or "authoritarianism" by the press in the west.

So why does the west heap abuse on this man?

He reformed the tax code, putting in place a 13% flat tax on all income and investments. About half of regional prosecutors were removed from their positions due toe xtreme corruption. All Russians knew that already. He quickly ended the war in Chechnya, making sure a Chechen, pro-Russian government was put in charge.

He brought together the top 13 oligarchical families to a conference he organized. He told them that their rule was over. He forced them to pay millions in back taxes to the state, and to create several important charitable funds with their stolen money.

He was going to use the state to pressure their media into being more objective, pro-Russian and pro-state. Since the oligarchs controlled the press, it made sense that this had to be fought. To call this "assaulting press freedom" is absurd.

He realized that the political opposition in Russia was created by the oligarchy. Hence, there was no actual party development. Few parties had an agenda (except the communists, who did well), and these were mostly personal vehicles for their founders.

Putin also shifted investment away from oil and towards higher end items. This was needed to diversify the economy. The judiciary is independent. Today, about 70% of people who sue the state for various reasons win. Putin also introduced the jury.25

24 Sakwa, R. Putin and the Oligarchs. New Political Economy, 13(2), (2008), 185-191

It's tough to argue with Putin's success:

Labor productivity grew 49 percent 1995-2005, ranging from a 23 percent improvement in retailing to a 73 percent rise in construction. Total factor productivity grew by 5.8 percent per year, and the World Bank estimates that only one third of that increase came from increased capacity utilization. Firm turnover (i.e. the exit of inefficient firms and the entry of new ones) accounts for half the total improvement. Stock market capitalization rose to 44 percent of GDP by 2005, while the RTS index went from 300 in 2000 to 2,360 in December 2007.

In September 2006 the market capitalization of the 200 biggest firms was $833 billion (one third of which was Gazprom). The percent of the population living in poverty fell from 38 percent in 19998 to 9.5 percent in 2004, and the share of family budgets spent on food fell from 73% in 1992to 54% in 2004.

The only macroeconomic indicator that gives cause for concern is inflation, which dropped from 20 percent in 2000 to 9 percent in2006, before creeping back up to 11-12 percent level.26

Now, "market capitalization" and other such elite measures are not the whole story. They can exist with an economy failing in other respects. However, before wealth can b eredistributed, it has to exist. Accumulating what can then be redistributed are what these numbers are telling us. Given all this, however, it should come as no surprise that those who are condemning Putin today backed the privatization deals 20 years ago.

W. Thompson, writing in the Guardian in the Summer of 2003, states:

Fiscal consolidation has probably contributed more than any other single factor to restoring the authority and legitimacy of the formerly bankrupt state. Exceptionally favorable economic circumstances account for much of this improvement, but so also do better expenditure management, the reform of tax legislation and more efficient administration. The state's rule-making capacity has also grown markedly.

Unlike Yeltsin, Putin has a compliant parliament and presides over a government that, for all its internal divisions, is not riven by the factional conflicts that marked the 1990s. The result has been a flood of new legislation, much of it directly concerned with state reconstruction.27

Thompson speaks the truth. "Exceptionally favorable economic circumstances "can not cause national success. They do not in Ukraine, much of Africa or Detroit. They must be identified and utilized with substantial skill. Circumstances, of themselves, tell us nothing. The "compliant parliament" exists because of Putin's popularity, though Thomas seems to suggest that such legislative cooperation is required in times of emergency. Worried about bureaucratic corruption, Putin passed several laws limiting the discretionary power of federal agencies. Reform has reduced corruption, endemic at onepoint. Business is much easier to accomplish. Putin's reelection numbers roughly mirror his popularity in the country, and his opposition, backed by the US, has no agenda whatsoever.

25 Lavelle, P Putin's "Authoritarianism" vs. the "Commentariat". Commentary, 2004ahttp://www.futurebrief.com/peterlavelle004.asp and Lavelle, P Russia's Economic Future. Commentary,2004 http://www.futurebrief.com/peterlavelle.asp

26 Rutland, P. Putin's Economic Record. Wesleyan University, CT, 2008

27 Thompson, W. Putin's Success. The Guardian; June 2003 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jun/08/russia.theworldtodayessays

They simply want more Yeltsinism.

As of January 1 of this 2013, Russia's anti-bribery legislation is the toughest in the world. In Russia, about 92% of American businesses think that Russian investment is a good thing, and that Russia is a decent place to do business. The IMF has stated that part of Putin's success is is utilization of capital that was left idle. Utilization of the country's resources has increased from about 50% in 2000 to over 76% today. But in order to do this, he needed to destroy the power of the oligarchs at the regional level.

Conclusion

The simple fact is that Putin's authoritarianism was forced upon him. He did use a heavy hand, but not nearly as heavy as Yeltsin. He realized that it was either a strong hand or chaos. As the state has been rebuilt, so have oversight bodies empowered to check it'sbehavior. Putin launched a bunch of commissions to look into corruption in different areas o the country, knowing full well that his popularity is based on that, plus economic growth.Putin needed to increase the potential of the state before the state itself could grow. Hence,the reformation of all police agencies gave them a direct line to the Kremlin, but, by 2002,crime was still rife. Now, all that has changed.

It makes sense to call Putin a reaction to Yeltsin, chaos and oligarchy. His policies make no sense without the background. Things appear differently when contrasted with the free-fall collapse of the Yeltsin years.

Putin then did two things: first, to build up the rudiments of a new state, one that can permit business to thrive and destroy oligarchy. He needed a new law code, more centralized structures and an end to regional independence. Second, he was to create a new macroeconomic structure, with strong fiscal and oversight measures. Russia now runs a trade and budget deficit. He then stabilized the currency.

Once economic growth took off, he tried to get as much money out of foreign banks as possible. He first backed big business (for the sake of growth), then shifted more recently to backing smaller business. He then engaged in education and pension reform. He turned Russia to the east, allying with China to cooperate in their tremendous economic growth.

It is easy to forget that all that Putin is "blamed" for was suggested by western elites for Yeltsin. Liberal democracy in the eastern bloc has, without exception, merely been a cover for the most cynical sort of exploitation. In the name of "democracy" the eastern bloc melted into the bank accounts of both foreign and local elites. Warlords developed with private armies that, in the 1990s, were the subject of some journalistic treatment. A Russia in collapse is far more dangerous for the west than anything Putin has dreamed about.

Rationally, the enforced, rehearsed and studied contempt of Putin can only exist because the west had other plans for Russia, as a hinterland for cheap, educated labor and resources. Western collapse is assured precisely because Russia is not prostrate and under the thumb of Exxon-Mobil. Putin will have the last laugh, which, when the smoke clears, is the only real cause of the west's irrational hatred.

... ... ...

[Mar 10, 2018] In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter's National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions.

Notable quotes:
"... In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter's National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. ..."
"... State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea "that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets." [Scott, 2007, pp. 67] In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini. This idea is based on ideas from British Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an "arc of crisis" and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union ..."
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

catherine -> SmoothieX12 ... , 04 February 2018 at 12:21 AM

''Establishment in saturated with neocons and likes. They are the swamp. ''

The locust keep trying and trying, destruction is their life's work.

'1977-1981: Nationalities Working Group Advocates Using Militant Islam Against Soviet Union'

In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter's National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. The Islamic populations are regarded as prime targets. Richard Pipes, the father of Daniel Pipes, takes over the leadership of the NWG in 1981. Pipes predicts that with the right encouragement Soviet Muslims will "explode into genocidal fury" against Moscow. According to Richard Cottam, a former CIA official who advised the Carter administration at the time, after the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1978, Brzezinski favored a "de facto alliance with the forces of Islamic resurgence, and with the Republic of Iran." [Dreyfuss, 2005, pp. 241, 251 - 256]

'November 1978-February 1979: Some US Officials Want to Support Radical Muslims to Contain Soviet Union'

State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea "that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets." [Scott, 2007, pp. 67] In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini. This idea is based on ideas from British Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an "arc of crisis" and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union

Kooshy -> catherine... , 04 February 2018 at 12:06 PM
Yes, US was the first country to proudly deliver Manpads to be used by "rebels" (Mojahadin later Taleban) against USSR in Afghanistan back in 80s. And, as per the architect of support for the rebels (Zbigniew Brzezinski) very proud of it with no regret. With that in mind, I don't see how western politicians, the western governments and their related proxy war planers, will be regretting, even sadden, once god forbid we see passenger planes with loved ones are shot down taking off or landing at various western airports and other places around the word. Just like how superficialy with crocodile tears in their eyes they acted in aftermath of the terrorist events in various western cities in this past 16 years. Gods knows what will happens to us if the opposite side start to supply his own proxies with lethal anti air weapons. "Proudly", I don't think anybody in west cares or will regret of such an escalation.

[Mar 08, 2018] Every crook in Russia who feels the long hand of the law about to nab him runs off to the West and claims asylum. This says much more about the West than about Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Actually an interesting metamorphose happen right at the border crossing. A crook instantly became the staunch defender of western democracy and its (aka neoliberal) values against Russian backwardness, paranoia and kleptocratic state headed by evil Putin who personally torture innocent girls from Pussy Riot wearing his old KGB uniform ..."
"... BTW I would object about the term "Stubborn Deniers of Reality" applied to Western Journalism. I think a more proper definition is "Creators of artificial reality". Masters of illusion, so to speak. And that's would be a proper classification of Bachelor and Masters degree in journalism instead of "Bachelor of arts", etc. used today. And truth be told this esoteric art reached the level of perfection and sophistication in comparison with which all those circus magicians are just children. ..."
Mar 08, 2018 | marknesop.wordpress.com

kievite , June 1, 2013 at 8:48 am

Actually an interesting metamorphose happen right at the border crossing. A crook instantly became the staunch defender of western democracy and its (aka neoliberal) values against Russian backwardness, paranoia and kleptocratic state headed by evil Putin who personally torture innocent girls from Pussy Riot wearing his old KGB uniform :-)

I would call this sudden attraction to democratic values at the border crossing a "crooks survival instinct" in action. Crooks are always crooks.

BTW I would object about the term "Stubborn Deniers of Reality" applied to Western Journalism. I think a more proper definition is "Creators of artificial reality". Masters of illusion, so to speak. And that's would be a proper classification of Bachelor and Masters degree in journalism instead of "Bachelor of arts", etc. used today. And truth be told this esoteric art reached the level of perfection and sophistication in comparison with which all those circus magicians are just children.

BTW who would explain to me the meaning of the term of BS in English. Is this about deception, or an attempt to cover own incompetence (posturing as an expert in subject about which the BS artist has no clue) or about pure propaganda or about meaningless drivel designed to hide the real motives ?

Reply kirill ,

[Mar 02, 2018] It was only after the mid-70s, when the USSR begun to stagnate (it never had a recession), that the military spending theorists begun to sprout

Notable quotes:
"... So, albeit the USSR registered up to 17% of GDP spending on the "military" (as some sources claim) -- you have to take it with a grain of salt. ..."
"... Another problem with this "too much military" theory is the logic behind it. During the 50s and 60s, the USSR was also spending a lot on the military, but it didn't stop it growing 15%-10% yoy ..."
"... It was only after the mid-70s, when the USSR begun to stagnate (it never had a recession), that the military spending theorists begun to sprout. The question is the same about the ill fate of the welfare state in Western Europe in the end of the 70s: which came first, the egg or the chicken. Putting it in another way: was it the Soviet was spending that caused its long stagnation or was it its long stagnation that made its military spending look big? ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

VK , Mar 1, 2018 8:47:38 PM | 43

The war hawks in my beloved country are the Soviet Politburo clamoring for a larger army, navy, air force to be equipped with the most expensive weaponry. Back in the 80's the Soviet Union had an army of 5M, they it is less than 1M and is purely defensive. We on the other hand have built up our Defense Budget to epic levels and have consultant after consultant telling us that it is at an all time low.

- Posted by: Christian Chuba | Mar 1, 2018 4:14:46 PM | 20

The USSR had deeper problems than that.

It's not that the Soviet expenditure with the military was a problem. On the opposite: the Soviet were very familiar with the concept of dual industry, them being the masters of WWII. Many industries in the USSR that were officially military were actually civilian: the most colorful example being the airplane industry, which could produce either civilian or military aircraft. Another example: the USSR was the biggest agriculture tractor producer in the world at one point. These tractors were produced in the same industrial plants as the one used to produce battle tanks. So, albeit the USSR registered up to 17% of GDP spending on the "military" (as some sources claim) -- you have to take it with a grain of salt.

Another problem with this "too much military" theory is the logic behind it. During the 50s and 60s, the USSR was also spending a lot on the military, but it didn't stop it growing 15%-10% yoy .

It was only after the mid-70s, when the USSR begun to stagnate (it never had a recession), that the military spending theorists begun to sprout. The question is the same about the ill fate of the welfare state in Western Europe in the end of the 70s: which came first, the egg or the chicken. Putting it in another way: was it the Soviet was spending that caused its long stagnation or was it its long stagnation that made its military spending look big?

[Feb 08, 2018] Try Googling Riggs Bank – a lot of interesting information emerges, on matters such as their involvement with Prince Bandar. So, what we are dealing with is a joint Anglo-American attempt to create a comprador oligarchy who could loot Russia s raw materials resources

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Not only large elements of the American and British intelligence services, but the 'Borgistas' in both countries, now including large elements of the academic/research apparatus and most of the MSM, really are joined at the hip. ..."
"... A relevant element of such collusion has to do with the creation of the Yeltsin-era Russian oligarchy. On this, a crucial source are interviews given by Christian Michel and Christopher Samuelson, who used to run a company called 'Valmet', to Catherine Belton, then with the 'Moscow Times', later with the 'Financial Times', in the days leading up to the conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in May 2005. ..."
"... On the subject of the competence of MI6, what seems to me a total apposite judgement was provided by the man whom Steele and his associates framed over the death of Litvinenko, Andrei Lugovoi. ..."
"... 'Litvinenko used to say: They are total retards in the UK, they believe everything we are telling them about Russia.' ..."
"... Throughout life, I have repeatedly come across a game played on certain kinds of élite Westerners, which, in honor of Kipling, who gave brilliant depictions of it, I call 'fool the stupid Sahib.' Both people from other societies, and their own, often play this game, and the underlying mentality not infrequently involves a combination of a sense of inferiority and contempt for the gullibility of people who are thought of -- commonly with justice -- as not knowing how the world really works, and thus being open to manipulation if one tells them what they want to hear. ..."
"... Irrespective of whether Lugovoi was accurately reporting what Litvinenko said, however, a mass of 'open source' evidence testifies to the extreme credulity with which officials and journalists on both sides of the Atlantic treat claims made by members of the 'StratCom' groups created by the oligarchs whose initial training was done by Valmet. ..."
"... (One good example is provided by the way that Sir Robert Owen and his team took what the surviving members of the Berezovsky group told them on trust. Another is the extraordinary way MSM figures continue to claim made by Khodorkovsky and his associates seriously.) ..."
"... When I discover that John Sipher is a 'former member of the CIA's Clandestine Service', who also worked 'on Russian espionage issues overseas, and in support of FBI counterintelligence investigations domestically,' then his apologetics for Steele seem not only to suggest he may be another 'total retard' -- but to point towards how the Anglo-American collaboration actually worked. (See https://www.politico.eu/article/devin-nunes-donald-trump-the-smearing-of-christopher-steele/ .) ..."
"... Another characteristic of these 'retards' is that they seem unable to get their story straight. In his piece last September defending the dossier, Sipher wrote that 'While in London he worked as the personal handler of the Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko.' Apparently he didn't know that the 'party line' had changed -- that when Steele emerged from hiding in May, his mouthpiece, Luke Harding of the 'Guardian', had explained: 'As head of MI6's Russia desk, Steele led the inquiry into Litvinenko's polonium poisoning, quickly concluding that this was a Russian state plot. He did not meet Litvinenko and was not his case officer, friends said.' ..."
"... The whole situation with Russia, of which, be it her economy, history, military, culture etc., is not known to those people, is a monstrous empirical evidence of a complete professional inadequacy of most people populating this bubble. ..."
"... Most of those people are badly educated (I am not talking about worthless formal degrees they hold) and cultured. In dry scientific language it is called a "confirmation bias", in a simple human one it is called being ignorant snobs, that is why this IC-academic-political-media "environment" in case of Russia prefers openly anti-Russian "sources" because those "sources" reiterate to them what they want to hear to start with, thus Chalabi Moment is being continuously reproduced. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

David Habakkuk , 08 February 2018 at 09:57 AM

All,

A number of points.

1. Not only large elements of the American and British intelligence services, but the 'Borgistas' in both countries, now including large elements of the academic/research apparatus and most of the MSM, really are joined at the hip.

It is thus an open question how far it is useful to speak of British intelligence intervening in the American election, rather than the American section of the 'Borg' and their partners in crime 'across the pond' colluding in an attempt to mount such an intervention with a greater appearance of 'plausible deniability.'

2. A relevant element of such collusion has to do with the creation of the Yeltsin-era Russian oligarchy. On this, a crucial source are interviews given by Christian Michel and Christopher Samuelson, who used to run a company called 'Valmet', to Catherine Belton, then with the 'Moscow Times', later with the 'Financial Times', in the days leading up to the conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in May 2005.

(See http://mikhail_khodorkovsky_society_two.blogspot.co.uk .)

This describes the education in 'Western banking practices' given to him and his Menatep associates by Michel and Samuelson, starting as early as 1989, and also their crucial involvement with Berezovsky.

We are told by Belton that: 'With the help of British government connections, Valmet had already built up a wealthy clientele that included the ruling family of Dubai.' As to large ambitions which Michel and Samuelson had, she tells us: 'Used to dealing with the riches of Arab leaders, they found Menatep, by comparison still relatively small fry. By 1994, however, Menatep had started moving into all kinds of industries, from chemicals to textiles to metallurgy. But for Valmet, which by that time had already partnered up with one of the oldest banks in the United States, Riggs Bank, and for Menatep, the real prize was oil.'

Try Googling 'Riggs Bank' -- a lot of interesting information emerges, on matters such as their involvement with Prince Bandar. So, what we are dealing with is a joint Anglo-American attempt to create a 'comprador' oligarchy who could loot Russia's raw materials resources.

3. On the subject of the competence of MI6, what seems to me a total apposite judgement was provided by the man whom Steele and his associates framed over the death of Litvinenko, Andrei Lugovoi.

In the press conference in May 2007 where he responded to the request for his extradition submitted by the Crown Prosecution Service, he claimed that: 'Litvinenko used to say: They are total retards in the UK, they believe everything we are telling them about Russia.'

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence ">https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence">http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

It seems to me quite likely, although obviously not certain, that this did indeed represent the view of many of the 'StratCom' operators around Berezovsky of people like Steele.

Throughout life, I have repeatedly come across a game played on certain kinds of élite Westerners, which, in honor of Kipling, who gave brilliant depictions of it, I call 'fool the stupid Sahib.' Both people from other societies, and their own, often play this game, and the underlying mentality not infrequently involves a combination of a sense of inferiority and contempt for the gullibility of people who are thought of -- commonly with justice -- as not knowing how the world really works, and thus being open to manipulation if one tells them what they want to hear.

Some fragments of a mass of evidence that this was precisely what Litvinenko did were presented by me in a previous post.

Irrespective of whether Lugovoi was accurately reporting what Litvinenko said, however, a mass of 'open source' evidence testifies to the extreme credulity with which officials and journalists on both sides of the Atlantic treat claims made by members of the 'StratCom' groups created by the oligarchs whose initial training was done by Valmet.

(One good example is provided by the way that Sir Robert Owen and his team took what the surviving members of the Berezovsky group told them on trust. Another is the extraordinary way MSM figures continue to claim made by Khodorkovsky and his associates seriously.)

Accordingly, when I read of anyone treating practically anything that Steele claims as plausible, I try to work out how much of a 'retard' they must be, starting with a baseline of about 50%.

4. In the light of the way that the reliance on the dossier in the FISA applications absent meaningful corroboration is being defended by Comey and others on the basis that Steele was 'considered reliable due to his past work with the Bureau', the question is how many people in the FBI must be considered to have a 'retard' rating somewhere over 90%.

When I discover that John Sipher is a 'former member of the CIA's Clandestine Service', who also worked 'on Russian espionage issues overseas, and in support of FBI counterintelligence investigations domestically,' then his apologetics for Steele seem not only to suggest he may be another 'total retard' -- but to point towards how the Anglo-American collaboration actually worked. (See https://www.politico.eu/article/devin-nunes-donald-trump-the-smearing-of-christopher-steele/ .)

5. Another characteristic of these 'retards' is that they seem unable to get their story straight. In his piece last September defending the dossier, Sipher wrote that 'While in London he worked as the personal handler of the Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko.' Apparently he didn't know that the 'party line' had changed -- that when Steele emerged from hiding in May, his mouthpiece, Luke Harding of the 'Guardian', had explained: 'As head of MI6's Russia desk, Steele led the inquiry into Litvinenko's polonium poisoning, quickly concluding that this was a Russian state plot. He did not meet Litvinenko and was not his case officer, friends said.'

(See http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/09/a_lot_of_the_steele_dossier_has_since_been_corroborated.html ; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/07/former-mi6-agent-christopher-steele-behind-trump-dossier-returns-to-work .)

6. In his attempts to defend the credibility of the dossier, Sipher also explains that its -- supposed -- author was President of the Cambridge Union. Here, two profiles of Steele on the 'MailOnline' site are of interest.

In one a contemporary is quoted:

"'When you took part in politics at the Cambridge Union, it was very spiteful and full of people spreading rumours," he said. "Steele fitted right in. He was very ambitious, ruthless and frankly not a very nice guy."

The other tells us that he born in Aden in 1964, and that his father was in the military, before going on to say that contemporaries recall an 'avowedly Left-wing student with CND credentials', while a book on the Union's history says he was a 'confirmed socialist'.

(See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4115070/Chris-Whatsit-brilliant-Cambridge-spy-spent-life-battling-KGB-MI6-agent-wife-s-high-heels-stolen-Kremlin-spooks-revealed-Litvinenko-poisoned-Putin-s-thugs.html ; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4115070/Chris-Whatsit-brilliant-Cambridge-spy-spent-life-battling-KGB-MI6-agent-wife-s-high-heels-stolen-Kremlin-spooks-revealed-Litvinenko-poisoned-Putin-s-thugs.html .)

From my own -- undistinguished and mildly irreverent -- Cambridge career, I can testify that there was indeed a certain kind of student politician, whom, if I may mix metaphors, fellow-students were perfectly well aware were going to arse-lick their way up some greasy pole or other in later life.

It was a world with which I came back in contact when, after living abroad and a protracted apprenticeship in print journalism, I accidentally found employment with what was then one of the principal television current affairs programmes in Britain. In the early 'Eighties I overlapped with Peter -- now Lord -- Mandelson, who became one of the principal architects of 'New Labour.'

7. Given that at this time British intelligence agencies were somewhat paranoid about CND, there is a small puzzle as to why on his graduation in 1986 Steele should have been recruited by MI6. In more paranoid moments I wonder whether he did not already have intelligence contacts through his father, and served as a 'stool pigeon' as a student.

But then, people like Sir John Scarlett and Sir Richard Dearlove may simply have concluded that someone with 'form' in smearing rivals at the Union was ideally suited for the kind of organisation they wanted to run.

8. From experience with Mandelson, and others, there are however other relevant things about this type. One is that they commonly love Machiavellian intrigue, and are very good at it, within the worlds they know and understand.

If however they have to try to cope with alien environments, where they do not know the people and where such intrigues are played much more ruthlessly, they are liable to find themselves hopelessly outclassed. (This can happen not simply with the politics of the post-Soviet space and the Middle East, but with some of the murkier undergrowths of local politics in London.)

Another limitation on their understanding is that the last thing they are interested in his how the world outside the bubbles they prefer to inhabit operates, and they commonly have absolutely contempt for 'deplorables', be they Russian, British or American. This can lead to political misjudgements.

9. So it is not really so surprising that, when Berezovsky's 'StratCom' people told them that the Putin 'sistema' really was the 'return of Karla', people like Steele believed everything they said, precisely as Lugovoi brought out.

There is I think every reason to believe that, from first to last, the intrigues in which he has been involved have involved close collusion between them and elements in American intelligence -- including the FBI. As a result, a lot of people on both sides of the Atlantic have repeatedly got into complex undercover contests in the post-Soviet space which ran right out of control, creating a desperate need for cover-ups. A similar pattern applies in relation to the activities of such people in the Middle East.

SmoothieX12 -> David Habakkuk ... , 08 February 2018 at 11:28 AM
Another limitation on their understanding is that the last thing they are interested in his how the world outside the bubbles they prefer to inhabit operates, and they commonly have absolutely contempt for 'deplorables', be they Russian, British or American. This can lead to political misjudgements.

It is not just "can" it very often does. The whole situation with Russia, of which, be it her economy, history, military, culture etc., is not known to those people, is a monstrous empirical evidence of a complete professional inadequacy of most people populating this bubble.

Most of those people are badly educated (I am not talking about worthless formal degrees they hold) and cultured. In dry scientific language it is called a "confirmation bias", in a simple human one it is called being ignorant snobs, that is why this IC-academic-political-media "environment" in case of Russia prefers openly anti-Russian "sources" because those "sources" reiterate to them what they want to hear to start with, thus Chalabi Moment is being continuously reproduced.

In case of Iraq, as an example, it is a tragedy but at least the world is relatively safe. With Russia, as I stated many times for years--they simply have no idea what they are dealing with. None. It is expected from people who are briefed by "sources" such as Russian fugitive London Oligarchy or ultra-liberal and fringe urban Russian "tusovka". Again, the level of "Russian Studies" in Anglophone world is appalling. In fact, it is clear and present danger since removes or misinterprets crucial information about the only nation in the world which can annihilate the United States completely in such a light that it creates a real danger even for a disastrous military confrontation. I would go on a limb here and say that US military on average is much better aware of Russia and not only in purely military terms. In some sense--it is an exception. But even there, there are some trends (and they are not new) which are very worrisome.

[Jan 30, 2018] How We Got Donald Trump by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... members of Washington's smart set, Republicans and Democrats alike, declared that the opportunities now presenting themselves went beyond the merely stupendous. Indeed, history itself had ended. With the United States as the planet's sole superpower, [neo]liberal democratic capitalism was destined to prevail everywhere. ..."
"... In the 1990s, rampant victory disease fueled extraordinary hubris and a pattern of reckless behavior informed by an assumption that the world would ultimately conform to the wishes of the "indispensable nation." In the years to come, an endless sequence of costly mishaps would ensue from Mogadishu to Mosul. ..."
"... Trump is not a revolutionary, and he is not the devil. He simply represents an attempt late in a systemic downward cycle to correct few excesses and buy some time. ..."
"... The beneficiaries of the excess policies – cheap labor businesses, ethnic castes, trans-gender professionals, open border fanatics, military extremists – are fighting tooth and nail to keep any change from happening. They are at this point beyond hysteria, they sense the goodies might be slipping from their hands (it is mostly about their jobs and careers). ..."
"... Two fundamental omissions from the analysis are: in domestic policies the devastating impact of affirmative action on the next generation of young, white males. And in foreign policy the equally devastating impact of Bill Clinton's attack on Serbia (to create a 'Muslim' Kosovo statelet in Europe) had on the international law and norms. Iraq inevitably followed Serbia. ..."
Jan 30, 2018 | www.unz.com

1989: The Fall of the Berlin Wall. As the Cold War wound down, members of Washington's smart set, Republicans and Democrats alike, declared that the opportunities now presenting themselves went beyond the merely stupendous. Indeed, history itself had ended. With the United States as the planet's sole superpower, [neo]liberal democratic capitalism was destined to prevail everywhere.

There would be no way except the American Way. In fact, however, the passing of the Cold War should have occasioned a moment of reflection regarding the sundry mistakes and moral compromises that marred U.S. policy from the 1940s through the 1980s. Unfortunately, policy elites had no interest in second thoughts -- and certainly not in remorse or contrition.

In the 1990s, rampant victory disease fueled extraordinary hubris and a pattern of reckless behavior informed by an assumption that the world would ultimately conform to the wishes of the "indispensable nation." In the years to come, an endless sequence of costly mishaps would ensue from Mogadishu to Mosul.

When, in due time, Donald Trump announced his intention to dismantle the establishment that had presided over those failures, many Americans liked what he had to say, even if he spoke from a position of total ignorance.

Beckow , January 30, 2018 at 7:53 pm GMT

Those who hate Trump, will hate Trump. And very little of what they write will not be colored by the hatred.

The analysis – although based on a sound historical premise – is off by miles. It focuses on personalities and avoids mentioning the systemic failures by Western institutions, from media to academia, from Hollywood to UN. Trump is not a revolutionary, and he is not the devil. He simply represents an attempt late in a systemic downward cycle to correct few excesses and buy some time.

The beneficiaries of the excess policies – cheap labor businesses, ethnic castes, trans-gender professionals, open border fanatics, military extremists – are fighting tooth and nail to keep any change from happening. They are at this point beyond hysteria, they sense the goodies might be slipping from their hands (it is mostly about their jobs and careers).

Two fundamental omissions from the analysis are: in domestic policies the devastating impact of affirmative action on the next generation of young, white males. And in foreign policy the equally devastating impact of Bill Clinton's attack on Serbia (to create a 'Muslim' Kosovo statelet in Europe) had on the international law and norms. Iraq inevitably followed Serbia.

Why are these points left out? Because they would make the neo-liberal Democrats look bad? Right, Gore as president, that would had fixed it all

David In TN , January 30, 2018 at 11:13 pm GMT
Bacevich didn't write a word about the Open Borders fetish of both parties from which Trump dissented, or seemed to. Not a word. And this played no small part in Trump winning the GOP nomination and the election.

[Jan 27, 2018] The Rich Also Cry by Israel Shamir

Highly recommended!
Fantastic article. A very plausible hypothesis. "The Deal. Connected people, in-the-know, claim that a top-secret agreement was reached between the late Mr Yeltsin and his cronies, on one side, and The West, on the other side, in 1991. Yeltsin et al had sold Russia's interests down the river, and in return, The West allowed the bastards to hoard their ill-gotten gains in the Western financial system. Yeltsin et al had promised to let the Soviet republics go; to disarm; to follow the Washington Consensus, i.e. to stick to the liberal economic model; to allow the free import of consumer goods; to allow Western access to the Russian military complex; to let the West write Russian laws; to permit the free outflow of capital from Russia. The West promised to bring investment, to let Russia live in peace, to keep NATO away from Russian borders."
Notable quotes:
"... And now, at last, as the feasts are over, the real trial begins. The US is preparing a new round of sanctions, including seizure of Russian oligarch assets. They are ripe for collection. The confiscation of Russian holdings in Cyprus banks in 2013 passed without a hitch and served as a trial balloon. Putin didn't object overmuch, for he is a sworn enemy of offshore accounts. None of the fleeced Russian businessmen succeeded in recovering their losses in court. Now is the time for the real thing, and much of the anti-Russian hysteria is aimed at preparing the ground for the seizure. In this way, they plan to get a cool trillion dollars into the US Treasury. Who will lose his assets and who will survive, this is the talk of the day in Moscow. ..."
"... Now we are coming to a difficult part. The Deal. Connected people, in-the-know, claim that a top-secret agreement was reached between the late Mr Yeltsin and his cronies, on one side, and The West, on the other side, in 1991. Yeltsin et al had sold Russia's interests down the river, and in return, The West allowed the bastards to hoard their ill-gotten gains in the Western financial system. Yeltsin et al had promised to let the Soviet republics go; to disarm; to follow the Washington Consensus, i.e. to stick to the liberal economic model; to allow the free import of consumer goods; to allow Western access to the Russian military complex; to let the West write Russian laws; to permit the free outflow of capital from Russia. The West promised to bring investment, to let Russia live in peace, to keep NATO away from Russian borders. ..."
"... Mr Putin inherited The Deal. Slowly, the Deal has been eroded from both sides. NATO troops moved eastward, no sizeable investment came in, the West supported Chechen rebels. Russia limited Western access to its military-industrial complex; took Crimea; regained some of its international independence. ..."
"... The powerful personalities of Yeltsin's era remained embedded in the upper echelons of Putin's state. Chubais and Kudrin were and are untouchable. They are connected with the FRS and the IMF, they go to Bilderberg and Davos, they are often described as 'the colonial administration'. ..."
"... They steal with both hands, and do it with impunity. Just last week it was revealed and published that Mr Chubais and Mr Kudrin appropriated a cool billion dollars of Russian state money while repaying the Soviet debt to the Czech Republic. ..."
"... Yeltsin's oligarchs remained as rich as they were; Yeltsin's family still possesses immense riches. And Putin does not dare to touch them. He goes hat in hand to open a Yeltsin's Memorial Centre; he is courteous with Yeltsin's widow and daughter. Putin's establishment cautiously avoided celebration, or even mention of the Revolution centenary, in keeping with Yeltsin's anticommunism. This is the Deal. ..."
"... Putin has been unhappy with the Deal for a long time, vocally so since his Munich talk in 2007, but he stuck to the script. Even now, Russia's economy follows the liberal model; billions of dollars are being siphoned out of Russia monthly; billions of dollars' worth of Western manufactured consumer goods are imported and sold in Russia, though it would make perfect sense to organise local manufacture. Russia's Central Bank is directly connected to the Western finance system, and its emission is limited by the amount of hard currency in its coffers. The Rouble carry trade prospers, like the Yen carry trade did years ago. ..."
"... This presented the golden opportunity for the anti-Putin activists, the time they can collect the fruit of their hard work. A somewhat typical anti-Putin activist is an émigré, Mr Andrey Illarionov, a Yeltsin man, an ex-adviser to President Putin (until 2005), a US resident, a member of the loony Cato Institute and an adept of Ayn Rand. He is an anti-Russian fanatic; next to him Rachel Maddow is a Putin groupie and Tokyo Rose a symbol of patriotism. ..."
"... Speaking to the Congress Committee of Foreign Affairs in 2009, he famously claimed about the US administration policy towards Russia that "it is not even an appeasement policy so well known to us by another Munich decision in 1938, it is a surrender. A full, absolute, unconditional surrender to the regime of secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". Despite these fighting words, he is a frequent visitor to Moscow, and he never misses a demo where he can call out "Putin must leave" apparently unafraid of the "secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". This is all you should know about the totalitarian Russian regime! ..."
"... Now Mr Illarionov is lobbying the US Congress to remove its threats from the heads of those deserving oligarchs, who (in his words) amassed their fortune before advent of Mr Putin and "in order to survive, they had been forced to pay a large tribute to the Kremlin". His lobbying effort on behalf of the Old Money people has been shared and supported by two notorious Putin haters, a fellow émigré Piontkovsky and a Swedish Neo-Con Anders Aslund. ..."
"... This is not a coincidence; the Russian Old Money is solidly in bed with the Clinton camp. If Friedman succeeds in escaping the sanctions, it will be an additional proof that the Bankers still have the upper hand in the US Administration. ..."
"... Echo Moskwy ..."
"... But perhaps it is too late for him. An unverifiable odd rumour has risen in Moscow. They say that the Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin has strong backing among the "siloviki", that is Putin's appointees, often but not exclusively of security services background, for they are unhappy with Putin's adherence to the Deal. But that will be the subject of my next piece. ..."
"... Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net ..."
"... That is my understanding also but I could be wrong. Excellent piece. But I have one small point–the crawling re-nationalization of many crucial industries did happen on Putin's watch. But in general, as I stated many times, he faces an inevitable meeting, if he were to survive as a politician, with the issue of 1990s robbery and with necessity to dismantle Yeltsin's "heritage'. ..."
"... I wonder how much of what Israel wrote might be real thing. If Putin really is going to do what you are writing he is going to be company of Russia history greatest. ..."
"... There is also indeed a question of all those offshore capitals which are stolen money. Considering state resources and capabilities there definitely might be an offer they cannot refuse to just give money back. ..."
"... Putin sure as hell has all necessary resources to make this offer. ..."
Jan 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

While you have probably already forgotten the feast, Russia is only now slowly coming back to life after its overlong Christmas break completed on January 14 by the quaintly named Old New Year, or even perhaps by the Epiphany on January 19. Everybody went somewhere, even candidates for the presidential race coming in on March 18: the Communist one went to ski in Austria, while the right-winger went to Bali. On the eve of Epiphany, they dipped in the ice-cold waters: the ultimate trial of Russian fitness. Not only he-man Putin, but even she-woman Sobchak did it!

And now, at last, as the feasts are over, the real trial begins. The US is preparing a new round of sanctions, including seizure of Russian oligarch assets. They are ripe for collection. The confiscation of Russian holdings in Cyprus banks in 2013 passed without a hitch and served as a trial balloon. Putin didn't object overmuch, for he is a sworn enemy of offshore accounts. None of the fleeced Russian businessmen succeeded in recovering their losses in court. Now is the time for the real thing, and much of the anti-Russian hysteria is aimed at preparing the ground for the seizure. In this way, they plan to get a cool trillion dollars into the US Treasury. Who will lose his assets and who will survive, this is the talk of the day in Moscow.

The Russian assets in the west could be divided into New Money, assets of Putin's people, and the Old Money, assets of Yeltsin's people. The sanctions are supposed to deal with Putin's people, but Russian experts think the Old Money is more vulnerable, for a good reason. The New Money is under Putin's protection. If the US or any other western authority grabs it, the Russian government may seize Western shares in Russian companies and properties.

But what about the Old Money? Its owners, elder oligarchs, are extremely worried about Putin's nonchalance. Putin takes it easy, they say. Ma'alish , the Arab in Putin says. Que sera sera , says his inner Frenchman. And this nonchalant attitude drives the oligarchs crazy. They want him to fight and save their money. They insisted on his meeting with President Trump in Vietnam; some say the meeting took place in the depth of the night, far from prying eyes, and didn't bring results. Now Putin says to the Old Money: if you want to save your money, repatriate it to Russia. We aren't that mad, they reply. You have to defend us anyway! That was the Deal!

Now we are coming to a difficult part. The Deal. Connected people, in-the-know, claim that a top-secret agreement was reached between the late Mr Yeltsin and his cronies, on one side, and The West, on the other side, in 1991. Yeltsin et al had sold Russia's interests down the river, and in return, The West allowed the bastards to hoard their ill-gotten gains in the Western financial system. Yeltsin et al had promised to let the Soviet republics go; to disarm; to follow the Washington Consensus, i.e. to stick to the liberal economic model; to allow the free import of consumer goods; to allow Western access to the Russian military complex; to let the West write Russian laws; to permit the free outflow of capital from Russia. The West promised to bring investment, to let Russia live in peace, to keep NATO away from Russian borders.

Mr Putin inherited The Deal. Slowly, the Deal has been eroded from both sides. NATO troops moved eastward, no sizeable investment came in, the West supported Chechen rebels. Russia limited Western access to its military-industrial complex; took Crimea; regained some of its international independence.

Putin was elected, or you may say, he was appointed to stick to the Deal and to serve as the Supreme Arbiter among the oligarchs, with very little of a power base of his own. Slowly, he created his own oligarchs (they are described as "siloviki", though not all of them have some security forces background), and he had built up a limited power base; though many important positions, in particular in the economic sphere, remained in the hands of the Old Guard, Yeltsin's men. This, too, was a part of the Deal.

The powerful personalities of Yeltsin's era remained embedded in the upper echelons of Putin's state. Chubais and Kudrin were and are untouchable. They are connected with the FRS and the IMF, they go to Bilderberg and Davos, they are often described as 'the colonial administration'.

They steal with both hands, and do it with impunity. Just last week it was revealed and published that Mr Chubais and Mr Kudrin appropriated a cool billion dollars of Russian state money while repaying the Soviet debt to the Czech Republic. The worst Putin can do about them is to give them a fat chunk of the Russian economy to chew on, while limiting their access to the rest. So he gave Mr Chubais the Rusnano company that made no profit but embezzled billions . This was the Deal.

Yeltsin's oligarchs remained as rich as they were; Yeltsin's family still possesses immense riches. And Putin does not dare to touch them. He goes hat in hand to open a Yeltsin's Memorial Centre; he is courteous with Yeltsin's widow and daughter. Putin's establishment cautiously avoided celebration, or even mention of the Revolution centenary, in keeping with Yeltsin's anticommunism. This is the Deal.

The topmost schools of Russia, the most endowed, the most privileged schools for the children of the new nobility are the HSE, (the Higher School of Economics, a clone of the LSE and the economic think-tank of the government), and MGIMO, (Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the school for perspective diplomats). Their graduates were been trained to despise Russia and admire the neo-liberal West (just like the Indian students trained by the Brits, had admired England and despised their country in the days of the British Raj). Professor Medvedev of the HSE called upon Russian government to transfer the Russian Far North to the international community, though this is the place of the greatest gas reserves (he kept his position). Professor Zubov of the MGIMO had compared Putin to Hitler, and denounced Russian diplomats as liars (his contract hasn't been prolonged). All that is a part of the Deal.

Putin has been unhappy with the Deal for a long time, vocally so since his Munich talk in 2007, but he stuck to the script. Even now, Russia's economy follows the liberal model; billions of dollars are being siphoned out of Russia monthly; billions of dollars' worth of Western manufactured consumer goods are imported and sold in Russia, though it would make perfect sense to organise local manufacture. Russia's Central Bank is directly connected to the Western finance system, and its emission is limited by the amount of hard currency in its coffers. The Rouble carry trade prospers, like the Yen carry trade did years ago.

Meanwhile, the Deal has been undone from the West, as a result of the epic struggle between Bankers and Producers, otherwise described as Liberals vs. Conservatives, or Globalists vs. Regionalists, personalised as Clinton vs. Trump. Yeltsin's people are historically aligned with the Clinton camp. Now, their assets in the West, previously protected by the Deal, have lost their protection and come up for grabs.

The Old Money people are putting their effort into persuading the West, namely the US, to let them live in peace and instead confiscate the pro-Putin New Money.

This presented the golden opportunity for the anti-Putin activists, the time they can collect the fruit of their hard work. A somewhat typical anti-Putin activist is an émigré, Mr Andrey Illarionov, a Yeltsin man, an ex-adviser to President Putin (until 2005), a US resident, a member of the loony Cato Institute and an adept of Ayn Rand. He is an anti-Russian fanatic; next to him Rachel Maddow is a Putin groupie and Tokyo Rose a symbol of patriotism.

Speaking to the Congress Committee of Foreign Affairs in 2009, he famously claimed about the US administration policy towards Russia that "it is not even an appeasement policy so well known to us by another Munich decision in 1938, it is a surrender. A full, absolute, unconditional surrender to the regime of secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". Despite these fighting words, he is a frequent visitor to Moscow, and he never misses a demo where he can call out "Putin must leave" apparently unafraid of the "secret police officers, chekists and Mafiosi". This is all you should know about the totalitarian Russian regime!

(Émigrés are frequently like that, and the US, a country of immigrants, had been vulnerable to the attack by Illarionov Syndrome, by listening to Masha Gessen, or to Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi émigré who claimed Iraq has had WMD, to Alexander Solzhenitsyn with his horror stories about GULAG, etc. I made it a rule to moderate my critique of Israel while abroad, in fear of failing the Illarionov Sanity Test.)

Now Mr Illarionov is lobbying the US Congress to remove its threats from the heads of those deserving oligarchs, who (in his words) amassed their fortune before advent of Mr Putin and "in order to survive, they had been forced to pay a large tribute to the Kremlin". His lobbying effort on behalf of the Old Money people has been shared and supported by two notorious Putin haters, a fellow émigré Piontkovsky and a Swedish Neo-Con Anders Aslund.

Direct and generous beneficiaries of their lobbying are the Three Alpha Jews, Peter Aven, Michael Friedman and Herman Khan. They are owners of the Alpha Bank, a very big Russian bank , and they are Old Money oligarchs from Yeltsin's days when their kin ruled the land.

Michael Friedman, the fat guy with a jolly piglet face, rose to his eminence from being a ticket tout selling illegally obtained opera tickets to Western tourists near Bolshoi Theatre; afterwards he became The Mind behind all ticket mafias in Moscow, and then proceeded to banking and so many other things.

Like many Old Money guys, Friedman earns money in Russia, but siphons it off for Jewish causes. He is a co-founder of a "Jewish Nobel Prize", also called Genesis Prize, a cool million dollars being given annually to a deserving Jew, the most recent one being the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg who called Donald Trump, "the faker". This is not a coincidence; the Russian Old Money is solidly in bed with the Clinton camp. If Friedman succeeds in escaping the sanctions, it will be an additional proof that the Bankers still have the upper hand in the US Administration.

Alternatively, it could mean they are just smart and able to play the both houses. The Three Alpha Jews had been mentioned in the Steele Dossier as the conduit of Putin influence for Trump and against Clinton in the recent US Presidential elections. (They are suing Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed for spreading the accusation).

According to an even better conspiracy theory spread on the social networks, both Mr Illarionov and the smart Alpha Jews are a sleeper cell organised by cunning Mr Putin to ensure his survival in the most adverse conditions. All of them were very friendly with Putin; perhaps they just pretended to become his enemies, the conspiratorially minded journalist from the anti-Putin Echo Moskwy has implied.

Leaving the conspiracy theories aside for a while, we can reach a conclusion. The forthcoming attack of the US establishment on Russian assets is likely to undermine the Old Money of the Yeltsin Oligarchs, and not only them. This confiscation will spell the death knell to the notorious Deal, and then we shall see Putin Unbound.

But perhaps it is too late for him. An unverifiable odd rumour has risen in Moscow. They say that the Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin has strong backing among the "siloviki", that is Putin's appointees, often but not exclusively of security services background, for they are unhappy with Putin's adherence to the Deal. But that will be the subject of my next piece.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review .


Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 3:17 pm GMT

The forthcoming attack of the US establishment on Russian assets is likely to undermine the Old Money of the Yeltsin Oligarchs, and not only them. This confiscation will spell the death knell to the notorious Deal, and then we shall see Putin Unbound.

That is my understanding also but I could be wrong. Excellent piece. But I have one small point–the crawling re-nationalization of many crucial industries did happen on Putin's watch. But in general, as I stated many times, he faces an inevitable meeting, if he were to survive as a politician, with the issue of 1990s robbery and with necessity to dismantle Yeltsin's "heritage'.

Alias Anonymous , January 26, 2018 at 3:52 pm GMT
"Que sera sera". One of my favorite songs. Sung by Doris Day and was a hit in the 1950′s. Italian in origin and translates to "whatever will be, will be".
Anon Disclaimer , January 26, 2018 at 4:24 pm GMT
On topic, hoping to elicit comments: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5315353/Tycoon-swaps-Putins-daughter-glamorous-socialite.html

Slightly OT: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5314897/George-Soros-calls-Trump-blistering-Davos-speech.html

That masterful Freud! Mafia govmn't = pure projection. Plus the war cry for 2018 is official.

The swipe at Solzhenitsyn beneath you, Mr. Shamir.

Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm GMT
@Anon

The swipe at Solzhenitsyn beneath you, Mr. Shamir.

When did Solzhenitsyn gain the sainthood status? Can you remind us please.

Sergey Krieger , January 26, 2018 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

Agree. I wonder how much of what Israel wrote might be real thing. If Putin really is going to do what you are writing he is going to be company of Russia history greatest.

Sergey Krieger , January 26, 2018 at 8:02 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

There is also indeed a question of all those offshore capitals which are stolen money. Considering state resources and capabilities there definitely might be an offer they cannot refuse to just give money back.

Andrei Martyanov , Website January 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

there definitely might be an offer they cannot refuse to just give money back.

Putin sure as hell has all necessary resources to make this offer.

[Jan 13, 2018] Stephen F. Cohen The US Betrayed Russia, but It Is Not News That s Fit to Print (Podcast)

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The New Republic ..."
"... Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The National Interest ..."
"... The American Conservative ..."
"... Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | russia-insider.com

New evidence that Washington broke its promise not to expand NATO "one inch eastward" -- a fateful decision with ongoing ramifications -- has not been reported by The New York Times or other agenda-setting media outlets John Batchelor Jan 11, 2018 | 2,513 70

John Batchelor has a very popular political talk show on America's largest radio network, WABC.

He has Stephen Cohen on live in the studio almost every week for a full 45 minute segment, the only guest he gives that much time to.

Why? Because Cohen's appearances are killing the ratings. America seems to be thirsting for an alternative and critical view of Obama's Russia policy.

See below for a summary of this program courtesy of The Nation .

http://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/6588850-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-was-gorbachev-deceived-and-other-media-mysteries-left-unreported-part-1-of-2-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAD9tV1qyiWQA

http://embeds.audioboom.com/posts/6588851-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-was-gorbachev-deceived-and-other-media-mysteries-left-unreported-part-2-of-2-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAD9tV1qziWQA

Cohen returns to a subject he has treated repeatedly since the 1990s, mainstream media malpractice in covering Russia, but with a new and highly indicative example that is both historical and profoundly contemporary.

There have been three relevant major episodes of such malpractice. The first was when American newspapers, particularly The New York Times , misled readers into thinking the Communists could not possibly win the Russian Civil War of 1918–20, as detailed in a study by Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz, published as a supplement to The New Republic , August 4, 1920. (Once canonical, the study was for years assigned reading at journalism schools, but no longer it seems to be.)

https://lockerdome.com/lad/9533801169000550?pubid=ld-1806-5338&pubo=http%3A%2F%2Frussia-insider.com&rid=russia-insider.com&width=745

Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia .)

The third and current episode grew out of the second but spread quickly through the media in the early 2000s with the demonization of Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin's successor, and now is amply evidenced by mainstream coverage of the new Cold War, Russiagate's allegation that "Russia attacked American democracy" in 2016, and much else related to Russia. This rendition may be the worst, certainly it is the most dangerous.

Media malpractice has various elements -- among them, selective use of facts, some unverified, highly questionable narratives or reporting based on those "facts," mingled with editorial commentary passed off as "analysis," buttressed by carefully selected "expert sources," often anonymous, and amplified by carefully chosen opinion page contributors. Throughout is the systematic practice of excluding developments (and opinion) that do not conform to the Times ' venerable motto, "All the News That's Fit to Print." When it comes to Russia, the Times often decides politically what is fit and what is not. And thus the most recent but exceedingly important example.

In 1990, Soviet Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed not only to the reunification of Germany, whose division was the epicenter of that Cold War, but also, at the urging of the Western powers, particularly the United States, that the new Germany would be a member of NATO. (Already embattled at home, Gorbachev was further weakened by his decision, which probably contributed to the attempted coup against him in August 1991.)

Gorbachev made the decision based on assurances by his then–Western "partners" that in return NATO would never be expanded "one inch eastward" toward Russia. (Today, having nearly doubled its member countries, the world's most powerful military alliance sits on Russia's western borders.) At the time, it was known that President George H.W. Bush had especially persuaded Gorbachev through Secretary of State James Baker's "not one inch" and other equally emphatic guarantees.

Now, however, the invaluable National Security Archive at George Washington University has established the historical truth by publishing, on December 12 of last year, not only a detailed account of what Gorbachev was promised in 1990–91 but the relevant documents themselves . The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: All of the Western powers involved -- the US, the UK, France, Germany itself -- made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways. If we ask when the West, particularly Washington, lost Moscow as a potential strategic partner after the end of the Soviet Union, this is where an explanation begins.

And yet, nearly a month after the publication of the National Security Archive documents, neither the Times nor The Washington Post , which profess to be the nation's most important, reliable, and indispensable political newspapers, has published one word about this revelation. (Certainly the two papers are pervasively important to other media, not only due to their daily national syndicates but because today's broadcast media, especially CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS, take most of their own Russia-related "reporting" cues from the Times and the Post .)

How to explain the failure of the Times and Post to report or otherwise comment on the National Security Archive's publication? It can hardly be their lack of space or their disinterest in Russia, which they featured regularly in one kind of unflattering story or another -- and almost daily in the form of "Russiagate." Given their immense daily news-gathering capabilities, could both papers have missed the story? Impossible, even more so considering that three lesser publications -- The National Interest , on December 12; Bloomberg , on December 13; and The American Conservative , on December 22 -- reported and commented on its significance at length.

Or perhaps the Times and Post consider the history and process of NATO expansion to be no longer newsworthy, even though it has been the driving, escalatory factor behind the new US-Russian Cold War; already contributed to two US-Russian proxy hot wars (in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine since 2014) as well as to NATO's ongoing buildup on Russia's borders in the Baltic region, which is fraught with the possibility of an actual war between the nuclear superpowers; provoked Russia into reactions now cited as "grave threats"; nearly vaporized politically both the once robust pro-American lobby in Moscow politics and the previously widespread pro-American sentiments among Russian citizens; and implanted in at least one generation of the Russian policy elite the conviction that the broken promise to Gorbachev represented characteristic American "betrayal and deceit."

Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives .) Russians can cite other instances of "deceit," including President George W. Bush's 2002 unilateral abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Obama's broken promise that he would not use a 2011 UN Security Council resolution to depose Libyan leader Gaddafi. But it is the broken promise to Gorbachev that lingers as America's original sin, partly because it was the first of many such perceived duplicities, but mainly because it has resulted in a Russia semi-encircled by US-led Western military power, an encroachment that continues today.

Given all this, we must ask again: Why did neither the Times nor the Post report the archive revelations? Most likely because the evidence fundamentally undermines their essential overarching narrative that Putin's Russia is solely responsible for the new Cold War and all of its attendant conflicts and dangers, and therefore that no rethinking of US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991 is advisable or, it seems, permissible, certainly not by President Donald Trump. Therein lie the national-security dangers of media malpractice, and this example, while of special importance, is far from the only one in recent years. In this regard, the Times and Post seem contemptuous not only of their own professed journalistic standards but of their purportedly cherished adage that democracy requires fully informed citizens.

If Americans cannot rely on the Times and Post , at least in regard to US-Russian relations, where can they seek the information and analysis they need? There are many valuable alternative media outlets, but few hard-working citizens have time to locate and consult them. Cohen recommends that they turn to two websites that almost daily aggregate reporting, analysis, and opinion not to be found in the Times , Post , or most other mainstream publications. One is Johnson's Russia List . The other is the website of the American Committee for East-West Accord , of which Cohen is a board member. Upon request, both will come to your computer. The former requests a nominal donation but does not insist on it. The latter is free. For readers who worry about international affairs, the new US-Russian Cold War, and America itself, the information and perspectives they will gain from these sites are invaluable.

Source: The John Batchelor Show

Vtran , January 11, 2018 11:09 AM

American citizens Never have adhered to agreements, Cease Fires, Peace Agreements ....Just look at the First Nations

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 11, 2018 3:28 PM

It is something of a mystery that this should have escaped Gorbachev, although Cohen does say that Conservatives warned him against going with the flow on this one. He ignored them.
There's an old saying about leopards and never changing their spots. I guess he was as fooled, as many are, that the appalling history of the US was in each case a separate incident, involving and caused by different people, and therefor "it will be different this time." Gorbachev was willing to overlook the horrific evidence of an Anglo West planning to destroy the Russia who had saved their bacon by winning WWII for them; and to destroy her utterly and horrifically. That he could overlook that beggars belief.
It's so essential to get the bigger picture, to read the History of the Nations you are dealing with extensively, to determine how to connect the dots to find the pattern, and to realise that ultimately nations are an aggregate of systems - and a system is far more powerful than most individuals [until you find a rare person who knows how to break the system].
Sadly, it seems that they had fallen for the idea too, that, as V. P. said when Russia abandoned communism, their opponent would "to them hand the sword". i.e. would become partners and equals. That was never going to happen. It also shows us, once again, that all too often political leaders are not well enough educated, not well enough informed and not bright enough, to undertake the job of national leader which they do.
And we are not interested nor thoughtful enough to demand better.

Tommy Jensen Isabella Jones , January 11, 2018 5:41 PM

...And we may not be educated suficient to look through the matter.
Before 1968 in Nordic countries with Sweden had hollistic education systems, making academics able to see the whole picture.

After 1968-70 they changed the education system so the working class could get academic degrees, but separated the disciplines so you only were able to see your part and not the whole picture and leaving out history and roots.
Newspeak was introduced and started.
Its about classes, deliberately leaving the knowledge and whole picture to the elite.

Any hollistic educated who analyse US history should be able to see that you deal with a hypocrite and liar country throughout from start up til today.
When Russia with its excellent education system missed the point in 1990´es I think it maybe more due to their previous suffering and emotional culture, than to actual foolishness as we can see the Russians quickly raised their heads again from the ashes.

John Mason Tommy Jensen , January 12, 2018 12:52 AM

Same happened here in Australia Tommy, they lowered the education standard so that anyone can obtain a University Degree under the belief that everyone is entitled to one and not only those best suited. Now one has idiots running corporations and in politics. Getting them out is the problem. I have always expressed concern that those who wish to go into politics and government should present to the Public a full resume as anyone would who is seeking a senior position in a corporation.

Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 3:29 AM

Very true John.
If you look at the entire system, we see that immense power over the lives of millions of people is given to those who don't have to show any form of qualification for the job; any training; or prior experience, assessment by qualified experience assessors.

In fact, all they have to be able do is to generate money for themselves by making promises to others using taxpayer money; present themselves in a slick, eye catching fashion like an aspiring film actor auditioning for a role; lie; as Vladimir Putin said "make promises better than those of your competitor"; and sell meaningless words better than a used car salesman.

In other words, present themselves to voters as an ignorant, inexperienced psychopathic, criminally fraudulent, snake oil salesman. And then we wonder why that's exactly what we get as our "leaders". !!

John Mason Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:18 AM

Very passionate you are on this subject your profundity is a source of enlightenment Isabella.

Isabella Jones John Mason , January 12, 2018 10:42 AM

Thank you John - yes I do feel deeply that as civilisations, we have strayed from so much that is balanced, natural, and optimal for human growth and happiness. We have so much in our cultures that beggars belief in it's stupidity- and as always, the very stupid are too stupid to know that they are very stupid. I see us preening ourselves as the epitome of civilisation, when research into the distant past shows we have had about 3.5 thousand years of slow, non-stop collapse including an arrogant ignorance.
Yet the answers are so close to hand. It's only an understanding of where we have all gone wrong, and a willingness to do what needs to be done to correct it which will stop us falling into the night, I suspect.
Then again, I remember that everything happens in circles, and follows Universal Laws. Maybe we have no course but to follow the natural pattern we have put ourselves on try to learn from it.
Thanks for your kind words John.

Isabella Jones Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 9:46 PM

Yes, all this was about the time they introduced the "expert". Prior to that idea, a well educated, intelligent person was held to have a wide ranging education, and to be familiar with many different disciplines. They they got the "expert" idea - a mechanic in my - then - University Department informed me that "expert means, here is x which marks the spot of a drip under pressure" !! :-)
Now we have people who know more and more about less and less until they reach the pinnacle where they know absolutely everything about nothing.
Yes, I think the Russian education got infected by America, and in the struggle to break free of all the other disasters that caused - just to survive as a country and as a people - this is an issue that has had to be put on a back burner. But they are doing fine in spite of it, and I'm sure will find their way back to the best of the Soviet times education.

Vtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 2:58 PM

I still (and know not alone) feel Gorbachev is a Traitor that "sold" the USSR, the People of the USSR for Personal ("friends") gain .... so he knew what would happen !

Remember the people of the USSR wanted to work through the "problems / issues" leaving the USSR intact but Gorbachev decided to GO AGAINST the Wishes of the People / Wishes of the country and allowed the regions to "break free" including denying the right for Crimea to Return to RF (loaned to Ukraine while USSR existed) .... why would you Do that except for your own agenda !

And Where does Gorbachev live .... but in U$ america ... and every time he visits RF he comes with masses of Body Guards

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 4:30 PM

That last part is very interesting Vtran - I didn't know he lived in America.
I hadn't caught up with any documentation about his "friends", although there is the comment - with the long/lat given of the area on the documentary "The Unknown Putin" - that Gorbachev sold to US what wasn't his to sell - a huge chunk of sea off the coast of Russia, containing massive amounts of oil deposits!! He did it to get the money to try and defeat Yeltsin!! So, he has a track record, and as the saying goes "he who lies once, lies ten times". The principle holds for everything, as well as lying. I also didn't know that there were grass roots movements of people trying to stop the collapse of the USSR.
Can you recommend any good modern history resource which covers these events please?
I got a lot from that excellent documentary, but as is so often one is left wanting more.
I know Vladimir Putin doesn't like him - not one bit. I could "read" it from the Stone Interviews :-)
I certainly agree with you - that if he did all that, selling out the people of Russia - no way does he deserve to be grouped with them, they aren't "his" people, in that case - then yes, he was a sellout traitor. Should count himself lucky to be alive!!

Vtran Isabella Jones , January 12, 2018 10:34 PM

Isabella,, I will look for a document regarding Gorbachev selling out the people of the USSR .... However my comment is personnel ... all Russians I know, all people of the ex USSR (except those of fanatical Ukraine) speak as One ...The did not at the USSR to break ... their views were "over ridden" !
-
Interesting comment of "selling off which does not belong" reminiscent of Alaska where the Gold supposedly exchange disappeared after the western inspired revolution of 1918 !

Isabella Jones Vtran , January 12, 2018 10:38 PM

Joined a small river of disappeared gold from many places Vtran with Libya and Iraq being the latest!!

Le Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 12:58 AM

Quote: Over 500 treaties were made with American Indian tribes, primarily for land cessations, but 500 treaties were also broken, changed or nullified when it served the government's interests.

Qua Patet Orbis Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:31 AM

White men speak with forked tongue....

Le Ruse Qua Patet Orbis , January 12, 2018 3:34 AM

Like that one ??
View Hide

Vtran Le Ruse , January 12, 2018 2:49 PM

Because U$ Americans citizens thought the had "Given away STOLEN Worthless Land" .... and then found that "Worthless Land" contained "Yellow Gold" ...... later more so called "Worthless Land" contained Black Gold and so it went on

Le Ruse Vtran , January 12, 2018 7:30 PM

Yupp...
Like the mineral & natural wealth of Russia, doesn't belong to Russia, but belong to the WORLD (a.k.a. City of London/Wall St) ??
Mad Madeleine Notsobright.

Kjell Hasthi Vtran , January 11, 2018 7:51 PM

Who was Christopher Columbus? Any can check it out. My guess as another Vtran.
- What do you see?
- No gold yet?
- Of course there is gold there
It was the same as Europa. War in Indians replaced war on Muslim.

paul , January 11, 2018 11:35 AM

This a a very unhelpful spin by Cohen. Dugin, addressing the end of the cold war, reports that Brzezinski once told him, "we tricked you." That's what happened. This is what Russians need to think about when speaking with their common law partners.

Alberto , January 11, 2018 12:52 PM

I have wondered many times how the S Union, a nation with so many brilliant people, could chose someone like Gorbatchev to lead the country.
Reagan and Thatcher did whatever they wanted with him. They achieved all their objectives in dealing with Gorbachev because he was receptive, soft and a puppet. Worst of all, he was a mix of an idiot and naif by believing them.
It was hard to build the S Union, very hard, and Gorbatchev wanted to make a transition from socialism to capitalism in one year. Only an idiot could think like that.
He is the main responsible not only of the demise of the S Union but of the shameful accumulation of wealth in the hands of a bunch of soulless oligarchs whose wealth, to date, remain untouched.
As a communist, I ask myself how could a guy like him lead the S Union. Yeltsin was another calamity but the main responsible of the debacle is Gorbachev.
As a result of his stupidity, not only millions of Soviets encountered poverty and criminality, but he opened the way to the unipolar world. Many invasions took place because the US. did not face any opposition.
North Korea had to rearm itself to protect. Cuba underwent a terrible period.
Gorbachev will go down in the history of Russia and communist from across the world as an idiot, as an irresponsible leader and as a traitor.

mark Alberto , January 11, 2018 2:30 PM

This is very true. Millions died as a result of this colossal stupidity. Tens of millions more suffered appalling misery and destitution. Several countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, have been completely destroyed. These are crimes on a gargantuan scale. And there has been zero accountability.

Alberto mark , January 11, 2018 2:37 PM

Right, zero accountability because the S Union was influential on world institutions. Because of "imported liberalism in 365 days" many factories closed (because they were not "modern"), many good engineers became poor, families destroyed, all sorts of gangs emerged, collective property and natural resources went to oligarchs without scruples for a cheap price. And there was no bread in stores.

All thanks to Gorbachev who was in power almost 17 years, a long period in which he succumbed to the sweet-talk of Reagan and Thatcher.

VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 3:16 PM

Having lived through the incredible 90s and the end of the Soviet Union, I believe that it was not wrong for Gorbachev to seek partnership with the West. That move brought all of mankind back from the precipice of total extinction. It was the LYING and deceitful actions of the "superior and civilized" West that betrayed the world and their own interests, just to expand their territory and control, like some mindless plague that knows no morality.

There must be balance in world affairs. Power corrupts and absolute power has corrupted the US/EU/NATO gang absolutely. The West's loss is the worlds gain. Russia will lead the free nations away from the rotten and putrid fate offered by the death merchants of the West.

AM Hants VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 4:50 PM

I remember those times, but, it was 'Spitting Image' that made the memories. The thought of John Major, still makes my skin crawl.

Nuclear War...

Play Hide
Krestovan VeeNarian (Yerevan) , January 11, 2018 10:23 PM

Russia cannot seem to be able to lead itself from the cluches of the ooligarks who out send capital Russia desparately needs. If and when Russia cleans up the mess that Gorby, Gelsman, and others made, there will not be any free nations or any hope for peace and freedom in this late stage of mankind's probationary time.

Gerry Hiles , January 11, 2018 1:05 PM

No wonder we are in deep trouble! How shall I say? Well Stephen Cohen is too pedestrian, to put it mildly. There is nothing I have ever heard him say that I did not know years ago. Wow the NYT and WaPo both publish fake news and omit what isn't convenient ideologically. Go suck eggs granny. Even if large numbers of people in the US now listen to him (which I very much doubt), he's too late by decades and will probably never catch up with the fact that 9/11 was an inside job/CIA/Mossad operation. As for Gorbachev, Yeltsin, US deception, etc., he could have asked me a thing or six back in the 80s when Gorbachev was best buddies with Reagan and Thatcher, it was bleedin' obvious that he was a dupe, though at first I was hopeful for glasnost and perestroika.

Not that I didn't have hopes for the Soviet Union anyway, nor that I didn't understand hanging on to Eastern Europe for too long, because of US betrayal after WW2 ... heck Prof Cohen, since when hasn't Russia been betrayed?. Too late for all those who either couldn't or wouldn't be informed decades ago. Too late for there to be any chance of averting escalation to WW3, unless by more or less luck, such as the US internally imploding like the Soviet Union did but, unlike the Soviet Union's collapse by US design, collapse of its own hubris and Empire over-reach, perhaps. Academics generally do not impress me.
.
Sorry if I have condensed too much, but I daresay some will know what I'm getting at.

John McClain , January 11, 2018 12:01 PM

As a "well informed American", a retired Marine, and having spent some two decades in research of our "national history", as it relates to the status of the world today, I have to say, I've not deliberately read either paper since I was in third or fourth grade, and then only because we lived in Massachusetts for a couple years.

I spent nine years in Chicago, before entering the Marines, and as a "paper boy", laughed at headlines every day, knowing the lies for what they were, and having "truth" solely because my parents subscribed me to Popular Mechanics and Popular Science, because I'm dyslexic, had problems in school, but am endowed with talent in mechanics and the hard sciences.

Those two magazines spent their pages defining the world of mechanics, moving forward, and the world of science, advancing, and while most facts regarding "our state of our Nation" were indirect, just part of background, when a boy reads such cover to cover, every month dozens of times, for a decade and more, the bits and pieces add up and paint a picture behind the "mechanical issue or science issue", that is easily seen, looking past, and is intrinsically absolutely true, because no part was put up for the purpose of "the big picture", but the big picture naturally emerges, when sufficient bits and pieces of data accumulate, and we add them to what has long been accepted as true, tested and tried.

Having come to understandings by multiple articles on definitive science and engineering, with background bits and pieces coalescing, simply reading headlines were nothing but amusing, and the greatest factor was wondering how adults could believe this trash.

I began with the intent to debunk all the conspiracy theories regarding McCarthy and government, and ended up with the certainty McCarthy was right, he simply named them wrong, they were "Bolsheviks", using socialism and communism for cover, with the full intent of overthrowing our government, and they have continued to this day.

We have become "an empire whose people follow the Emperor, even when he dances around with no clothes, never believing that boy who actually sees.
Semper Fidelis,
John McClain
Vanceboro, NC, USA

AM Hants John McClain , January 11, 2018 4:35 PM

Well said. It is quite refreshing, as I have been upsetting a few of your neighbours over on Info Wars. The activists, who are desperate for a war with Iran, managed to leave Breit Bart for the day and flock to one of the articles. Together with those that have no idea that the US is in a bad way, economically. As I find myself being labelled a Soros paid troll. The standard of debate is quite soul destroying, until you can get somebody, who does not need personal insult to enhance their argument. Which is so liberating.

Socrates207 , January 11, 2018 4:24 PM

You have to be very naive to trust the American government, it is like to trust Al Capone. No wonder Putin doen's trust them one inch.

DIRTY TEXAN , January 12, 2018 11:36 AM

For those who know what Russians are this is no surprise. A classless herd of sheep lead by a maniacal leader. If you think ISIS or Hitler were bad you should read about Russian history and the atrocities they have perpetrated and continue today.

AM Hants , January 12, 2018 7:40 AM

Off topic, but, related. A few interesting articles that all merge together.

Putin: Turkey not responsible for drone attack; Russia knows who was
Russian President calls drone attack "provocation" aimed at causing rift between Russia and Turkey... http://theduran.com/putin-t...

WATCH as US denies involvement in drone attack on Russian base in Syria... http://www.fort-russ.com/20...

How does Ukraine, fit into it, bearing in mind that Ukraine is planning similar in Crimea. The same Ukraine that does so well from having the US Bio-weapons factories up and running. Not forgetting that NATO is also setting up a base in Khakov, non-NATO territory and close to the bio-weapons factories. Then you have the mother craft, found hovering around the Russian bases in Syria and her sister working so hard around Crimea.

Remember the Pentagon begging for Russian DNA? Now what was that all about?

Kharkov Is Forcibly Prepared For The Status of a NATO Base (remember Ukraine is a non-NATO nation)...http:// www.stalkerzone.org/kharkov ...

US Military Bio-labs in Ukraine, Production of Bio-weapons and "Disease Causing Agents"

In 2015, American alternative media outlet InfoWars accused the Pentagon of developing new types of biological weapons in secret military laboratories in Ukraine. The facilities were constructed under the terms of the bilateral agreement signed between the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Department of Defense in 2012.

Today thirteen American military bio-labs operate in Ukraine, The International Mass Media Agency reports. They employ only American specialists being entirely funded from the budget of the Department of Defense. Local authorities have pledged not to interfere in their work. These military labs are reported to be mainly involved in the study and production of disease-causing agents of smallpox, anthrax and botulism. The facilities are located in the following Ukrainian cities: Odessa, Vinnytsia, Uzhgorod, Lviv (three), Kharkiv, Kyiv (four), Kherson, Ternopil.

http://theinformer.life/us- ...

Russia Says U.S. Expanding Bioweapons Labs in Europe U.S. denies claim outlined in new Russian strategy http://freebeacon.com/natio...

AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:02 PM

Slightly off topic, but, another story of the West trying to upset Russia. Followed by what came next, which made me seriously laugh. The first article is well worth reading, just for the awe aspect and mega congratulations to the team. The 2nd article, just made me laugh. You gotta love those sanctions. Where there is a will there is a way.

Russia Wins in Arctic After U.S. Fails to Kill Giant Gas Project... https://www.bloomberg.com/n...

What comes next?

HEY TRUMP, LOOK WHO WILL WARM UP THE EAST COAST, GAS FROM MOTHER RUSSIA TO WARM CHILLY BOSTON !... http://nrt24.ru/en/news/hey...

View Hide
AM Hants AM Hants , January 11, 2018 6:21 PM

Yamal LNG and container tanks. View Hide

Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 5:23 PM

President Gorbachev has made clear several times that the agreement reached with the former Soviet Union regarding NATO and the reunification of Germany was specific to the East/West line through Germany. To date Germany and NATO have kept that promise.

What are Russia's rights? Well, Moscow simply has no right to expect that her neighbors do not enjoy the sovereign right to join any alliances each may wish.

Krestovan Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 10:36 PM

Providing they were sovereign which they are not but under the EU control.

observerBG Mia Williams , January 11, 2018 6:44 PM

James Baker (and others) told Gorbachev that NATO will not expand to the East so western powers are a bunch liars, that's for sure.

As for sovereign rights, that also depends if the organisation is willing to accept a certain country, not only if the country wants to join it. Germany and France for example blocked Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO in 2008. Countries are also allowed to join NATO in order to contribute to its security and i'm not sure about the "gain" of taking small countries on the border of the biggest nuclear power. That increases the possibility for arms race and for war between the major powers, that's for sure.

Also it is unclear how "sovereign" these decisions are, since lots of western money was invested in media, NGOs and political leaders and parties in Eastern Europe in order to promote pro-NATO views. US government officials bragged about "investing" 5 billion dollars in Ukraine for that purpose.

So those countries and their politicians were basically bribed, while their population propagandised via foreign sponsored media. This has nothing to do with sovereignity, rather its about interfering in other countries affairs.

Moreover, the US uses loopholes in international law in order to support rebels in various countries, to stage coups and to interefere in democracy and elections, with the aim of changing the politics of the target country, and even balkanising/disintegrating the target country.

Well, if the US can do that, others can too, hence the rebels in Ukraine, who are now preventing the country from joining NATO.

It could be much more simple. An agreement for buffer zone between NATO and Russia, so that peace and stability are secured. Or it could be "my way or the high way" mentality, which of course leads to wars and destabilisation. Which will not be a good thing in the nuclear proliferation era.

Russia wants peace and stability. The US does not. Its entire geopolitical strategy is based on destabilising the rest of the world, so that it remains divided and mired in internal squabbles, and no strong power could arise there. In addition to fueling conflict and selling weapons to both sides while staying out of it. Divide and rule.

The Russian (and Chinese - OBOR) strategy will be to stabilise, unite and interconnect the rest of the world, particularly Eurasia, in order to overthrow the US - the great disruptor. And as of now, they are winning.

Mia Williams observerBG , January 11, 2018 8:29 PM

Personally speaking, I have little choice but to go with what Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan, along with FM Shevardnadze and Secretary Baker, have said on the subject. Not moving NATO troops or equipment one step east of the East/West German line of the time was promised. This happens to fall precisely in line with what German Chancellor Schroeder has said and written as well. The context of the discussions were in the context of Germany, not the whole of Europe.

According to President Gorbachev the collapse of the Soviet Union was not conceivable at that time. Thus, according to Mr. Gorbachev, he never participated in any discussion of Soviet States joining (or not joining) NATO.

Lastly, I reject the popular notion in some circles that all who align themselves with Russia do so out of free will but those who align themselves with the U.S. and the West must be corrupt or coorced. I believe such ideas ring of arrogance and dismissiveness.

observerBG Mia Williams , January 12, 2018 11:36 AM

This is not what recent US media says on ths topic.

"the collection shows that top officials from the U.S., Germany and the U.K. all offered assurances to Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand toward the Russian borders. The documents make clear that the Western politicians meant no expansion to Eastern European countries, not just the East German territory."

https://www.bloomberg.com/v...

http://nationalinterest.org...

http://beta.latimes.com/opi...

http://www.theamericanconse...

The context here is about NATO expansion in Eastern Europe, to the east of Germany, whether the new (former soviet) states existed or not.
Large parts of EE were never part of the USSR.

"Lastly, I reject the popular notion in some circles that all who align
themselves with Russia do so out of free will but those who align
themselves with the U.S. and the West must be corrupt or coorced. I
believe such ideas ring of arrogance and dismissiveness."

Thanks for the straw man, but i did not say that.

About this, i will say several things. First, there are no bigger and more sophisticated liars than western elites. They are specialists in hiding and masking their interests behind "freedom", "democracy" and "human rights". The russians are more direct and directly talk about russian interests, economic gains, "the fate of our people in this or that country", etc.

Second, if you look at russian foreign policy docs and statements you will notice that russians embrace multipolarity and significantly lower level of interference in other peoples affairs. Specifically, the russians do not try to impose their "system", or developmental model, or culturo-religious model on other countries. After the fall of communism, Russia no longer believes that it should impose its "model" or "system" on other countries, and it does not believe that such an attempt could work either. So Russia accepts the cultural and developmental differences and diversity in the different countries of the world, and does not try to remake it in its own image, or push for "one size fits all" models. For example Russia does not believe that its own "state capitalism" should be imposed everywhere, the way the US believes that its own neo-liberal capitalism should be imposed everywhere.

In comparison, the West and especially the US is messianic and self-obsessed, with strong belief in its own superiority and maniacal desire to impose its own cultural and economic models on everyone else, whether they like it, or not. It thus believes that it "knows better" than anyone else, and therefore should rule the world "for its own good".

In other words the US interferes everywhere and sees the whole world as its playground and even property, something that it can change or remake the way it sees fit. Its like someone who wants to make decisions instead of you "for your own good", which implies that everyone else is mentally inferior to the US, that the whole world is in custody of the US "parent", who knows "better" than anyone else. It becomes crazed and obsessed if its model and culture are rejected by someone, as if that fatally weakens its confidence in itself.

In comparison, the russians are much more direct that things are about pure interests, and are also not interested in interfering at the level or scope the US does. They do not want to remake Poland, Britain, Korea or Iraq in their own image and are ok with whatever culture or economic model these people have. Russia has several military bases abroad in comparison to 700 bases for the US, and that tells you what is going on. Russia can also interfere sometimes, but for far more practical (and real) reasons, mostly in their neighbours, with the aim of ensuring its own security (anti-terrorism), or for making sure that NATO military can not be deployed en masse near its borders. There can be also some economic interference (gas disputes) or attempts to protect russian minorities abroad. But russian interference does not come close to the level of the US one, or the scope of the US one, and certainly does not include messianic dreams about remaking the whole world in its own image, and Russia definitely does not see the world as its playground. The russian embrace of multipolarity means that Russia accepts that there will be countries with vastly different cultures, economic and developmental models, even very different than the russian one, that there will be many powers, and that Russia can not impose its views on the rest of the planet.

John Tosh , January 11, 2018 3:51 PM

The attack on Russian airbase in Syria is a sign that the Central Intelligence Agency is sleepwalking into 3rd world war

For the CIA's information at the start of WW3, the CIA will be nuked since everyone knows it is the brain and actor for the entire Western group of criminals.

CIA you will be nuked. Those CIA agents who survived will be hunted down in different countries like the dogs they are. Many CIA superior officers will sell out their boses and subordinates to survive at the end there would be no more CIA. Just like the NAZIs.

QE ornotQE John Tosh , January 12, 2018 7:38 AM

Look up DUMBs and YouTube a guy called Phil Schneider. The elites (including the CIA) will be as safe and secure as possible in the event of a nuclear war.

Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:05 PM

Russia was not betrayed by USA. Russia was letting themselves willingly being betrayed, this is a big difference. The Russians were shining all over their faces, dreaming, hoping to become Europeans, and getting coca-cola, friendships, scolarships and dollars from the Americans...............LOL.
The Russians loved to be betrayed man, you loved it man................LOL.

Peter Paul 1950 Tommy Jensen , January 11, 2018 12:26 PM

If you really believe your words then they just reveal that you have an underdeveloped character and lack of empathy towards your own self ... and towards others ... and an even larger deficit in history ... the uprising in Russia 1991 and tanks shooting holes in the White House in Moscow were absolutely not about becoming Europeans or the want of Coca Cola and Big Macs that were then introduced and made available thanks to Yeltsin ... a US puppet ... you love nothing Tommy ... and you are LOLing yourself in an illusion if you try making others believe anybody would love to be betrayed ...

AM Hants Peter Paul 1950 , January 11, 2018 1:02 PM

I have got a project for you, if interested. Andrew came up with a wonderful idea for one of your images. A pyramid, of 'yes' men/women, with their noses firmly embedded in the butts of those above them. If you fancy some artwork, public friendly and nothing that would frighten us, or get you banned, I will leave it to you.

You can even use these characters and their friends that arrived in 2017.

[Jan 02, 2018] Another strong suggestion that Gorbachov was traitor not just a person who lost control of the events he himself initiated

Notable quotes:
"... [Choose a single Handle and stick to it, or else use Anonymous/Anon. Otherwise, your comments may be trashed.] ..."
Jan 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

pet , December 30, 2017 at 3:33 am GMT

[Choose a single Handle and stick to it, or else use Anonymous/Anon. Otherwise, your comments may be trashed.]

For such an uncritical defender of everything Russian, Mr. Saker would be well advised to undertake an objective analysis of the Russian policies and actions from the time of Gorbachev to the current time in order to look for the true causes of the dismal geo-strategic position of Russia today, instead of blaming it all on western "partners" only. I'm sure he would be able to find a plenty of strategic mistakes done by the Russian leadership including Putin, during more than 3 decades, some of them result of naked ignorance and others result of pure stupidity.

He would also have to touch on the issue of the "despotic" nature of the Russian state whereby one man, whether able or not, decides about everything while everyone else applauds.

Some suggested points for the analysis: betrayal and hand-over of East Germany against its will, dissolution of Warsaw Pact without any paperwork (parallel dissolution of NATO was very much discussed at the time but Russians didn't even ask for it), dissolution of the USSR absolutely contrary to the interests of Russian people, destruction of "Mir" station, betrayal of Serbia, Cuba, siding with "partners" on Iran, Libya, North Korea etc., giving up on Vietnam and many Soviet friends and allies all over the world, half-hearted "intervention" in Georgia, loss of Ukraine due to negligence, occasional mistreatment of Belarus for its refusal to sell out to Russian oligarchs, total lack of care for the Russians stranded all over former Soviet space etc. etc.

All theses things add up leading to where we are today. (I'm not even touching upon the state of affairs inside Russia regarding corruption, salaries, oligarchs, social justice and many others).

El Dato , December 30, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT
@pet

destruction of "Mir" station

Woah slow down there. It was a piece of aging junk, had already had fire aboard, had nonfunctional solar panels, the computers were fritzing out, mold was growing in the isolation. The ISS, formerly Space Station Freedom, formerly Space Station Alpha, was taking shape. Time to dump that assemblage of canisters.

Far more important is to have a heavy launcher like the Energia so you can launch it again and service it. Well, that doesn't exist either now. SAD!

Have some old school space dreaming instead:

Red Star, Winter Orbit (1983), Text .

I still prefer Hinterlands (1981). Text .

We had really settled in for Soviet Union forever. Amazing.

[Dec 25, 2017] US Swindled Russia

Dec 19, 2017 | Washington's Blog

... ... ...

Until now, apologists for the U.S.-Government side have been able to get away with various lies about these lies, such as that there weren't any, and that Gorbachev didn't really think that the NATO issue was terribly important for Russia's future national security anyway, and that the only limitation upon NATO's future expansion that was discussed during the negotiations to end the Cold War concerned NATO not expanding itself eastward (i.e., closer to Russia) within Germany, not going beyond the then-existing dividing-line between West and East Germany -- that no restriction against other east-bloc (Soviet-allied) nations ever being admitted into NATO was discussed, at all. The now-standard U.S. excuse that the deal concerned only Germany and not all of Europe is now conclusively disproven by the biggest single data-dump ever released about those negotiations.

This release on December 10th, by the National Security Archives, of a treasure-trove of all the existing documentation -- 33 key documents -- that's been made available to them from numerous archives around the world, and brought together finally for the very first time complete and in chronological order, makes crystal clear that the American apologists' lies about the lies WERE lies, not accurate accounts of the history, at all.

The assemblers at the National Security Archives assume that the numerous and repeated false promises that were made by Bush's team were mistakes, instead of as what they so clearly were (but you'll judge it here for yourself): strategic lies that were essential to Bush's goal of America ultimately conquering a future isolated Russia that would then have little-to-no foreign allies, and all of whose then-existing-as-Soviet allied nations within the Soviet Union itself, and beyond, including all of its former Warsaw Pact allies, would have become ultimately swallowed up by the U.S.-NATO bloc, which then would be able to dictate, to a finally alone nation of Russia, terms of Russia's ultimate surrender to the U.S. That view (which the National Security Archives documents to be clearly true, even as it denies it and says that only Bill Clinton and subsequent Presidents were to blame) is now exposed irrefutably to have been the U.S. plan ever since GHW Bush's Presidency.

In other words: This release of documents about the turning-point, provides capstone evidence that the U.S. never really had been in the Cold War against communism; the U.S. was instead aiming ultimately to be the imperial nation, controlling the entire planet. For America's Deep State, or what President Eisenhower famously warned about as the "military-industrial complex," the Cold War was actually about empire, and about conquest, not really about ideology at all. This also had been shown, for example, by America's having assisted so many 'former' Nazis to escape and come to America and to be paid now by the U.S. Government. After World War II, the top level of the U.S. power-structure became increasingly taken over by the military-industrial complex, America's Deep State, so that increasingly the U.S. Government is in a condition of "perpetual war for perpetual peace" -- a warfare state and economy: fascism.

Here, then, are highlights from this historic data-dump, presented in chronological order, just as in the release itself, and with a minimum of added commentary from myself [placed in brackets], but all stripping away here the dross of accompanying inconsequentials, and leaving only the golden steady core of stunningly successful American deceit of Russia. These are those highlights, from the December 10th data-dump, which the National Security Archives headlined " NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard " and sub-headed "Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner," so that the swindlers (or as the National Security Archive view them as having instead been blunderers) can become immediately recognized and known.

All of these documents pertain to negotiations that occurred throughout the month of February 1990, and a few relate also to the immediate aftermath. That's the crucial period, when the geostrategic reality of today (which all the world now know to be a continuation of the Cold War, but this time against only Russia, and not against the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact) was actually created.

At the negotiations' start, West Germany's Chancellor Helmut Kohl's agent, Germany's Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, stated publicly to the whole world, West Germany's initial offer to the Soviet Union's President Mikhail Gorbachev, and this offer did not include a simultaneous termination of both military alliances -- the Soviets' Warsaw Pact and America's NATO -- but instead only a promise that NATO would never absorb any additional territory, especially to the east of West Germany (and this publicly made promise was never kept). So: right from the get-go, there was no actual termination of the Cold War that was being proposed by the U.S. group, but only an arrangement that wouldn't threaten Russia more than the then-existing split Germany did (and yet even that promise turned out to have been a lie):

Document 01
U.S. Embassy Bonn Confidential Cable to Secretary of State on the speech of the German Foreign Minister: Genscher Outlines His Vision of a New European Architecture.
1990-02-01
Source: U.S. Department of State. FOIA Reading Room. Case F-2015 10829

"This U.S. Embassy Bonn cable reporting back to Washington details both of Hans-Dietrich Genscher's proposals – that NATO would not expand to the east, and that the former territory of the GDR in a unified Germany would be treated differently from other NATO territory."

Document 02
Mr. Hurd to Sir C. Mallaby (Bonn). Telegraphic N. 85: Secretary of State's Call on Herr Genscher: German Unification.
1990-02-06
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990.

"The U.S. State Department's subsequent view of the German unification negotiations, expressed in a 1996 cable sent to all posts, mistakenly asserts that the entire negotiation over the future of Germany limited its discussion of the future of NATO to the specific arrangements over the territory of the former GDR." [The National Security Archives' calling that Bill-Clinton-era State Department cable 'mistaken' is unsupported by, and even contradicted by, the evidence they actually present from the February 1990 negotiations.]

Document 03
Memorandum from Paul H. Nitze to George H.W. Bush about "Forum for Germany" meeting in Berlin.
1990-02-06
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library

"This concise note to President Bush from one of the Cold War's architects, Paul Nitze (based at his namesake Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies), captures the debate over the future of NATO in early 1990. Nitze relates that Central and Eastern European leaders attending the 'Forum for Germany' conference in Berlin were advocating the dissolution of both the superpower blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, until he (and a few western Europeans) turned around that view and instead emphasized the importance of NATO as the basis of stability and U.S. presence in Europe."

Document 04
Memorandum of Conversation between James Baker and Eduard Shevardnadze in Moscow.
1990-02-09
Source: U.S. Department of State, FOIA 199504567 (National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38)

"Baker tells the Soviet foreign minister, 'A neutral Germany would undoubtedly acquire its own independent nuclear capability. However, a Germany that is firmly anchored in a changed NATO, by that I mean a NATO that is far less of [a] military organization, much more of a political one, would have no need for independent capability. There would, of course, have to be iron-clad guarantees that NATO's jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward.'"

Document 05
Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
1990-02-09
Source: U.S. Department of State, FOIA 199504567 (National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38)

"Even with (unjustified) redactions by U.S. classification officers, this American transcript of perhaps the most famous U.S. assurance to the Soviets on NATO expansion confirms the Soviet transcript of the same conversation. Repeating what Bush said at the Malta summit in December 1989, Baker tells Gorbachev: 'The President and I have made clear that we seek no unilateral advantage in this process' of inevitable German unification. Baker goes on to say, 'We understand the need for assurances to the countries in the East. If we maintain a presence in a Germany that is a part of NATO, there would be no extension of NATO's jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.'"

Document 06
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow. (Excerpts)
1990-02-09
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Fond 1, Opis 1.

"The key exchange takes place when Baker asks whether Gorbachev would prefer 'a united Germany outside of NATO, absolutely independent and without American troops; or a united Germany keeping its connections with NATO, but with the guarantee that NATO's jurisdiction or troops will not spread east of the present boundary.' Turning to German unification, Baker assures Gorbachev that 'neither the president nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,' and that the Americans understand the importance for the USSR and Europe of guarantees that 'not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.'"

Document 07
Memorandum of conversation between Robert Gates and Vladimir Kryuchkov in Moscow.
1990-02-09
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, Box 91128, Folder "Gorbachev (Dobrynin) Sensitive."

"This conversation is especially important because subsequent researchers have speculated that Secretary Baker may have been speaking beyond his brief in his 'not one inch eastward' conversation with Gorbachev. Robert Gates, the former top CIA intelligence analyst and a specialist on the USSR, here tells his kind-of-counterpart, the head of the KGB, in his office at the Lubyanka KGB headquarters, exactly what Baker told Gorbachev that day at the Kremlin: not one inch eastward. At that point, Gates was the top deputy to the president's national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, so this document speaks to a coordinated approach by the U.S. government to Gorbachev."

Document 08
Letter from James Baker to Helmut Kohl
1990-02-10
Source: Deutsche Enheit Sonderedition und den Akten des Budeskanzleramtes 1989/90

"Baker especially remarks on Gorbachev's noncommittal response to the question about a neutral Germany versus a NATO Germany with pledges against eastward expansion."

Document 09
Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl
1990-02-10
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006)

"Prepared by Baker's letter and his own foreign minister's Tutzing formula, Kohl early in the conversation assures Gorbachev, 'We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity. We have to find a reasonable resolution. I correctly understand the security interests of the Soviet Union, and I realize that you, Mr. General Secretary, and the Soviet leadership will have to clearly explain what is happening to the Soviet people.' Later the two leaders tussle about NATO and the Warsaw Pact, with Gorbachev commenting, 'They say what is NATO without the FRG. But we could also ask: What is the WTO without the GDR?' When Kohl disagrees, Gorbachev calls merely for 'reasonable solutions that do not poison the atmosphere in our relations' and says this part of the conversation should not be made public."

Document 10-1
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze notes from Conference on Open Skies, Ottawa, Canada.
1990-02-12
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.

"Notes from the first days of the conference are very brief, but they contain one important line that shows that Baker offered the same assurance formula in Ottawa as he did in Moscow: 'And if U[nited] G[ermany] stays in NATO, we should take care about nonexpansion of its jurisdiction to the East.'"

Document 10-2
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 12, 1990.
1990-02-12
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.

"This diary entry is evidence, from a critical perspective, that the United States and West Germany did give Moscow concrete assurances about keeping NATO to its current size and scope. In fact, the diary further indicates that at least in Shevardnadze's view those assurances amounted to a deal – which Gorbachev accepted."

Document 10-3
Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 13, 1990.
1990-02-13
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.

"Stepanov-Mamaladze describes difficult negotiations about the exact wording on the joint statement. 'During the day, active games were taking place between all of them. E.A. [Shevardnadze] met with Baker five times, twice with Genscher, talked with Fischer [GDR foreign minister], Dumas [French foreign minister], and the ministers of the ATS countries,' and finally, the text of the settlement was settled."

Document 11
U.S. State Department, "Two Plus Four: Advantages, Possible Concerns and Rebuttal Points."
1990-02-21
Source: State Department FOIA release, National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38.

"The American fear was that the West Germans would make their own deal with Moscow for rapid unification, giving up some of the bottom lines for the U.S., mainly membership in NATO."

Document 12-1
Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
1990-02-20
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )

"Bush took the opportunity to lecture the Czech leader about the value of NATO and its essential role as the basis for the U.S. presence in Europe."

Document 12-2
Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
1990-02-21
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )

"Bush's request to Havel to pass the message to Gorbachev that the Americans support him personally, and that 'We will not conduct ourselves in the wrong way by saying "we win, you lose." Emphasizing the point, Bush says, 'tell Gorbachev that I asked you to tell Gorbachev that we will not conduct ourselves regarding Czechoslovakia or any other country in a way that would complicate the problems he has so frankly discussed with me.' The Czechoslovak leader adds his own caution to the Americans about how to proceed with the unification of Germany and address Soviet insecurities. Havel remarks to Bush, 'It is a question of prestige.'"

[I think that Havel was deceived to believe that "prestige" was the issue here. This is what the U.S. team wanted the Soviet team to think was the U.S. team's chief motivation for wanting NATO to continue. But subsequent historical events, especially the U.S. team's proceeding under President Bill Clinton and up through Donald Trump to expand NATO to include, by now, virtually all of the Warsaw Pact and of the Soviet Union itself except for Russia, in NATO, proves that U.S. aggression against Russia has been the U.S. aim from the start, and the U.S. Government has been working assiduously at this plan for ultimate conquest. I think that Havel's use there of the word "prestige" was very revealing of the total snookering of Gorbachev that Bush achieved. Gorbachev and his team trusted the U.S. side. Russia has paid dearly for that. If the U.S. side continues and NATO isn't voluntarily terminated by the U.S. Government, then WW III will be the inevitable result. NATO will end either after the 'conquest' of Russia or before that WW-III 'conquest' (likelier to be actually destruction of the entire world) even happens. The world, today, will decide which. NATO should have ended in 1991, when the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact did.]

Document 13
Memorandum of Conversation between Helmut Kohl and George Bush at Camp David.
1990-02-24
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu /)

"The Bush administration's main worry about German unification as the process accelerated in February 1990 was that the West Germans might make their own deal bilaterally with the Soviets (see Document 11) and might be willing to bargain away NATO membership. The German chancellor arrives at Camp David without [West German Foreign Minister] Genscher because the latter does not entirely share the Bush-Kohl position on full German membership in NATO, and he recently angered both leaders by speaking publicly about the CSCE as the future European security mechanism.[11] Bush's priority is to keep the U.S. presence, especially the nuclear umbrella, in Europe: 'if U.S. nuclear forces are withdrawn from Germany, I don't see how we can persuade any other ally on the continent to retain these weapons.' [Bush wanted Lockheed and other U.S. weapons-makers to continue booming after the Cold War 'ended' -- not for the nuclear-weapons market to end. Bush continued:] 'We have weird thinking in our Congress today, ideas like this peace dividend. We can't do that in these uncertain times.' [For the U.S. team, 'perpetual war for perpetual peace' would be the way forward; a 'peace dividend' was the last thing they wanted -- ever.] At one point in the conversation, Bush seems to view his Soviet counterpart not as a partner but as a defeated enemy. Referring to talk in some Soviet quarters against Germany staying in NATO, he says: 'To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.'" [I earlier had placed that crucial secret statement from Bush into historical perspective, under the headline, " How America Double-Crossed Russia and Shamed the West ".]

Document 14
Memorandum of conversation between George Bush and Eduard Shevardnadze in Washington.
1990-04-06
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )

"Shevardnadze mentions the upcoming CSCE summit and the Soviet expectation that it will discuss the new European security structures. Bush does not contradict this but ties it to the issues of the U.S. presence in Europe and German unification in NATO. He declares that he wants to 'contribute to stability and to the creation of a Europe whole and free, or as you call it, a common European home. A[n] idea that is very close to our own.' The Soviets -- wrongly -- interpret this as a declaration that the U.S. administration shares Gorbachev's idea."

Document 15
Sir R. Braithwaite (Moscow). Telegraphic N. 667: "Secretary of State's Meeting with President Gorbachev."
1990-04-11
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

"Ambassador Braithwaite's telegram summarizes the meeting between Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hurd and President Gorbachev, noting Gorbachev's 'expansive mood.' Gorbachev asks the secretary to pass his appreciation for Margaret Thatcher's letter to him after her summit with Kohl, at which, according to Gorbachev, she followed the lines of policy Gorbachev and Thatcher discussed in their recent phone call, on the basis of which the Soviet leader concluded that 'the British and Soviet positions were very close indeed.'"

Document 16
Valentin Falin Memorandum to Mikhail Gorbachev (Excerpts)
1990-04-18
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006)

"This memorandum from the Central Committee's most senior expert on Germany sounds like a wake-up call for Gorbachev. Falin puts it in blunt terms: while Soviet European policy has fallen into inactivity and even 'depression after the March 18 elections in East Germany, and Gorbachev himself has let Kohl speed up the process of unification, his compromises on Germany in NATO can only lead to the slipping away of his main goal for Europe – the common European home. 'Summing up the past six months, one has to conclude that the "common European home," which used to be a concrete task the countries of the continent were starting to implement, is now turning into a mirage.' While the West is sweet-talking Gorbachev into accepting German unification in NATO, Falin notes (correctly) that 'the Western states are already violating the consensus principle by making preliminary agreements among themselves' regarding German unification and the future of Europe that do not include a 'long phase of constructive development.' He notes the West's 'intensive cultivation of not only NATO but also our Warsaw Pact allies' with the goal to isolate the USSR. He also suggests using arms control negotiations in Vienna and Geneva as leverage if the West keeps taking advantage of Soviet flexibility. The main idea of the memo is to warn Gorbachev not to be naive about the intentions of his American partners: 'The West is outplaying us, promising to respect the interests of the USSR, but in practice, step by step, separating us from "traditional Europe".'"

Document 17
James A. Baker III, Memorandum for the President, "My meeting with Shevardnadze."
1990-05-04
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, Box 91126, Folder "Gorbachev (Dobrynin) Sensitive 1989 – June 1990 [3]"

"Baker reports, 'I also used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive.'"

Document 18
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
1990-05-18
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Fond 1

"When Gorbachev mentions the need to build new security structures to replace the blocs, Baker lets slip a personal reaction that reveals much about the real U.S. position on the subject: 'It's nice to talk about pan-European security structures, the role of the CSCE. It is a wonderful dream, but just a dream. In the meantime, NATO exists. ' Gorbachev suggests that if the U.S. side insists on Germany in NATO, then he would 'announce publicly that we want to join NATO too.' Shevardnadze goes further, offering a prophetic observation: 'if united Germany becomes a member of NATO, it will blow up perestroika. Our people will not forgive us. People will say that we ended up the losers, not the winners.'"

Document 19
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Francois Mitterrand (excerpts).
1990-05-25
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros

"[Miterrand] implies that NATO is not the key issue now and could be drowned out in further negotiations; rather, the important thing is to ensure Soviet participation in new European security system. He repeats that he is 'personally in favor of gradually dismantling the military blocs.' Gorbachev expresses his wariness and suspicion about U.S. effort to 'perpetuate NATO'." [This was extraordinary documentation that the U.S. team had deceived Gorbachev to think that they were trying to suggest to him that both military alliances -- NATO and Warsaw Pact -- would be ended, but that Gorbachev was "wary" and "suspicious" that maybe they didn't really mean it. Stunning.]

Document 20
Letter from Francois Mitterrand to George Bush
1990-05-25
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files

True to his word, Mitterrand writes a letter to George Bush describing Gorbachev's predicament on the issue of German unification in NATO, calling it genuine, not 'fake or tactical.' He warns the American president against doing it as a fait accompli without Gorbachev's consent implying that Gorbachev might retaliate on arms control (exactly what Mitterrand himself – and Falin earlier – suggested in his conversation). Mitterrand argues in favor of a formal 'peace settlement in International law,' and informs Bush that in his conversation with Gorbachev he "'indicated that, on the Western side, we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country's security.'"

Document 21
Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush. White House, Washington D.C.
1990-05-31
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Moscow, Fond 1, opis 1.[12]

"Baker repeats the nine assurances made previously by the administration, including that the United States now agrees to support the pan-European process and transformation of NATO in order to remove the Soviet perception of threat. Gorbachev's preferred position is Germany with one foot in both NATO and the Warsaw Pact -- the 'two anchors' -- creating a kind of associated membership. Baker intervenes, saying that 'the simultaneous obligations of one and the same country toward the WTO and NATO smack of schizophrenia.' After the U.S. president frames the issue in the context of the Helsinki agreement, Gorbachev proposes that the German people have the right to choose their alliance -- which he in essence already affirmed to Kohl during their meeting in February 1990. Here, Gorbachev significantly exceeds his brief, and incurs the ire of other members of his delegation, especially the official with the German portfolio, Valentin Falin, and Marshal Sergey Akhromeyev. Gorbachev issues a key warning about the future: 'If the Soviet people get an impression that we are disregarded in the German question, then all the positive processes in Europe, including the negotiations in Vienna [over conventional forces], would be in serious danger. This is not just bluffing. It is simply that the people will force us to stop and to look around.' It is a remarkable admission about domestic political pressures from the last Soviet leader."

Document 22
Letter from Mr. Powell (N. 10) to Mr. Wall: Thatcher-Gorbachev memorandum of conversation.
1990-06-08
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office

"Gorbachev says he wants to 'be completely frank with the Prime Minister' that if the processes were to become one-sided, 'there could be a very difficult situation [and the] Soviet Union would feel its security in jeopardy.' Thatcher responds firmly that it was in nobody's interest to put Soviet security in jeopardy: 'we must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured.'"

Document 23
Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl, Moscow (Excerpts).
1990-07-15
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros

"This key conversation between Chancellor Kohl and President Gorbachev sets the final parameters for German unification. Kohl talks repeatedly about the new era of relations between a united Germany and the Soviet Union, and how this relationship would contribute to European stability and security. Gorbachev demands assurances on non-expansion of NATO: 'We must talk about the nonproliferation of NATO military structures to the territory of the GDR, and maintaining Soviet troops there for a certain transition period.' The Soviet leader notes earlier in the conversation that NATO has already begun transforming itself. For him, the pledge of NATO non-expansion to the territory of the GDR in spirit means that NATO would not take advantage of the Soviet willingness to compromise on Germany."

[Of course, Gorbachev never knew that Bush had instructed his agents, on the night of 24 February 1990, "To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat," indicating that for the U.S. aristocracy, conquest of an isolated Russia was the actual ultimate aim -- there would be no actual end of the Cold War until the U.S. would conquer Russia itself -- grab the whole thing. Gorbachev was, it is now absolutely undeniable, conned.]

Document 24
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush
1990-07-17
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons (( https://bush41library.tamu.edu/ )

"In this phone call, Bush expands on Kohl's security assurances and reinforces the message from the London Declaration: 'So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe.'"

Document 25
September 12 Two-Plus-Four Ministerial in Moscow: Detailed account [includes text of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany and Agreed Minute to the Treaty on the special military status of the GDR after unification]
1990-11-02
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Condoleezza Rice Files

"the agreed text of the final treaty on German unification. The treaty codified what Bush had earlier offered to Gorbachev – 'special military status' for the former GDR territory. At the last minute, British and American concerns that the language would restrict emergency NATO troop movements there forced the inclusion of a 'minute' that left it up to the newly unified and sovereign Germany what the meaning of the word 'deployed' should be. Kohl had committed to Gorbachev that only German NATO troops would be allowed on that territory after the Soviets left, and Germany stuck to that commitment, even though the 'minute' was meant to allow other NATO troops to traverse or exercise there at least temporarily. Subsequently, Gorbachev aides such as Pavel Palazhshenko would point to the treaty language to argue that NATO expansion violated the 'spirit' of this Final Settlement treaty."

[Obviously, now, it was no "Final Settlement" at all.]

Document 26
U.S. Department of State, European Bureau: Revised NATO Strategy Paper for Discussion at Sub-Ungroup Meeting
1990-10-22
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Heather Wilson Files,

"Joint Chiefs and other agencies, posits that '[a] potential Soviet threat remains and constitutes one basic justification for the continuance of NATO.' At the same time, in the discussion of potential East European membership in NATO, the review suggests that 'In the current environment, it is not in the best interest of NATO or of the U.S. that these states be granted full NATO membership and its security guarantees.' The United States does not 'wish to organize an anti-Soviet coalition whose frontier is the Soviet border' – not least because of the negative impact this might have on reforms in the USSR. NATO liaison offices would do for the present time, the group concluded, but the relationship will develop in the future. In the absence of the Cold War confrontation, NATO 'out of area' functions will have to be redefined." [Clearly, they wanted the revolving door to land them in high-paid positions supported by U.S. weapons-making corporations, not just in retirements with only military pensions. Or else, they just loved war and, like Bush, didn't want there to be any "peace dividend."]

Document 27
James F. Dobbins, State Department European Bureau, Memorandum to National Security Council: NATO Strategy Review Paper for October 29 Discussion.
1990-10-25
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library: NSC Philip Zelikow Files

"This concise memorandum comes from the State Department's European Bureau as a cover note for briefing papers for a scheduled October 29, 1990 meeting on the issues of NATO expansion and European defense cooperation with NATO. Most important is the document's summary of the internal debate within the Bush administration, primarily between the Defense Department (specifically the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney) and the State Department. On the issue of NATO expansion, OSD 'wishes to leave the door ajar' while State 'prefers simply to note that discussion of expanding membership is not on the agenda .' The Bush administration effectively adopts State's view in its public statements, yet the Defense view would prevail in the next administration."

[This allegation, by the National Security Archives, fundamentally misrepresents, by its underlying assumption that the Bush Administration's statements such as that NATO would move "not one inch to the east" weren't lies but instead reflected Bush's actual intention. They ignore altogether Bush's having secretly told his vassals on the crucial night of 24 February 1990, "To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat." Gorbachev believed that this was to be a win-win game; but, the U.S. side were now under secret instructions that it's to be purely more of the win-lose game, and that now a lone Russia would end up being its ultimate loser. The despicable statement by the National Security Archives, "yet the Defense view would prevail in the next administration," presumes that it didn't actually already 'prevail' in the Bush Administration itself. It prevailed actually in George Herbert Walker Bush himself, and not only in his Defense Department. Bush brilliantly took advantage of Gorbachev's decency and expectation that Bush, like himself, was decent. Bush lied -- and his team and their successors ever since have been carrying out his vicious plan. The National Security Archives downplays to insignificance Bush's crucial instruction to his people, "To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn't. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat." That statement, at that crucial moment, is what enables us to understand what was actually going on throughout these negotiations. The Archives' blaming only Bill Clinton and the other Presidents after Bush is a despicable lie. And it wasn't just "the Defense view" -- Cheney -- who prevailed within the Bush Administration there. Cheney, like Baker, were doing what GHW Bush had hired them to do. Baker's job was to lie. If it weren't, then he'd have told Gorbachev the next day not to trust what the Bush team were saying, but instead to demand everything to be put in writing in the final document, and to assume the worst regarding anything that the Bush team were refusing to put in writing in the final document. Baker was a lawyer, and a very skilled liar, who was just doing his job for Bush. For some inexplicable reason, the National Security Archives simply assumes otherwise.]

Document 28
Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite diary, 05 March 1991
1991-03-05
Source: Rodric Braithwaite personal diary

"British Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite was present for a number of the assurances given to Soviet leaders in 1990 and 1991 about NATO expansion. Here, Braithwaite in his diary describes a meeting between British Prime Minister John Major and Soviet military officials, led by Minister of Defense Marshal Dmitry Yazov. The meeting took place during Major's visit to Moscow and right after his one-on-one with President Gorbachev. During the meeting with Major, Gorbachev had raised his concerns about the new NATO dynamics: 'Against the background of favorable processes in Europe, I suddenly start receiving information that certain circles intend to go on further strengthening NATO as the main security instrument in Europe. Previously they talked about changing the nature of NATO, about transformation of the existing military-political blocs into pan-European structures and security mechanisms. And now suddenly again [they are talking about] a special peace-keeping role of NATO. They are talking again about NATO as the cornerstone. This does not sound complementary to the common European home that we have started to build.' Major responded: 'I believe that your thoughts about the role of NATO in the current situation are the result of misunderstanding. We are not talking about strengthening of NATO.'"

Document 29
Paul Wolfowitz Memoranda of Conversation with Vaclav Havel and Lubos Dobrovsky in Prague.
1991-04-27
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, FOIA release 2016

"These memcons from April 1991 provide the bookends for the 'education of Vaclav Havel' on NATO (see Documents 12-1 and 12-2 above). U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz included these memcons in his report to the NSC and the State Department about his attendance at a conference in Prague on 'The Future of European Security,' on April 24-27, 1991. During the conference Wolfowitz had separate meetings with Havel and Minister of Defense Dobrovsky. In the conversation with Havel, Wolfowitz thanks him for his statements about the importance of NATO and US troops in Europe. In conversation with Dobrovsky, Wolfowitz remarks that 'the very existence of NATO was in doubt a year ago.'"

Document 30
Memorandum to Boris Yeltsin from Russian Supreme Soviet delegation to NATO HQs
1991-07-01
Source: State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), Fond 10026, Opis 1

"This document is important for describing the clear message in 1991 from the highest levels of NATO – Secretary General Manfred Woerner – that NATO expansion was not happening . The audience was a Russian Supreme Soviet delegation, which in this memo was reporting back to Boris Yeltsin (who in June had been elected president of the Russian republic, largest in the Soviet Union), but no doubt Gorbachev and his aides were hearing the same assurance at that time. The emerging Russian security establishment was already worried about the possibility of NATO expansion, so in June 1991 this delegation visited Brussels to meet NATO's leadership, hear their views about the future of NATO, and share Russian concerns.

Woerner had given a well-regarded speech in Brussels in May 1990 in which he argued: 'The principal task of the next decade will be to build a new European security structure, to include the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. The Soviet Union will have an important role to play in the construction of such a system. If you consider the current predicament of the Soviet Union, which has practically no allies left, then you can understand its justified wish not to be forced out of Europe.' Now in mid-1991, Woerner responds to the Russians by stating that he personally and the NATO Council are both against expansion -- '13 out of 16 NATO members share this point of view' -- and that he will speak against Poland's and Romania's membership in NATO to those countries' leaders as he has already done with leaders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia."

[Dec 22, 2017] When Washington Assured Russia NATO Would Not Expand by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... The problems now of USA in global politics in general, and with Russia in particular, was not the NATO expansion but the corrupted neoliberal economic model that the USA and the West imposed on themselves and Russia. Russia after Yeltsin and during the time V. Putin is in power limited the scope and the damage the neoliberal system was doing to the country, but the USA and the West continue on the same corrupted neoliberal path up until today. Another cause of the geopolitical problems the USA have now were and are the wars in the Middle East. ..."
"... If the US wants to ring Russia with bases why should't US taxpayers pay for it? DOD's budget is partly for imperial policing and partly a regional and corporate gravy train. It has some true "defense" functions but those are very limited. Why would Germans or the French want to pay extra taxes to protect themselves from a "threat" that if it even exists is because of aggressive American foreign policy? ..."
"... Bacevich nails it again. As a Cold War veteran I couldn't agree more. The United States didn't "win" the Cold War -- the USSR "lost" it, instead. Therein lays a huge difference. You don't kick a dog when he is down. The mindless expansion of NATO eastward following the demise of the USSR in 1991 was stupid–anyone who knows Russian history and geography is keenly aware of this fact. Putin, just like Trump, is trying to make his country great again. Surprise!!! ..."
"... Given Russia's history of being invaded from the West, with Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union being the bloodiest conflict in human history, it is remarkable to me that our government cannot understand why expanding NATO eastward would be viewed as very alarming to the Russians. ..."
"... American elites spend American treasure for their imperium, so that American elite interests take precedence, as per Nuland's "F -- the E.U." Confoundedly, Andy omits the Ukraine putsch she midwived. He who pays the piper calls the tune – and if a Europe still occupied by American forces as the continuation of WWII were to pay its own money, that military occupation would shortly end, just as the withdrawal of Soviet support ended their European satrapies' support of the Warsaw Pact. ..."
"... I was thinking the same thing as Sal. Almost the entire Elite Nomenklatura in Washington and Wall Street can be considered a collective "nasty piece of work" given all of the social and economic wreckage that they have produced both at home and abroad. Putin/Russia's excesses don't hold a candle to the catastrophes ginned up by that crew of arrogant militarists and corrupted parasites. ..."
"... Colonel Gaddafi believed the United States and refused to develop nuclear weapons. But leader of North Korea does not want to believe the USA. What do you think, why is this? ..."
"... These satrapies are offering the US forward deployment for military assets, possibly including first strike and decapitation weapons again – as Germany did before the reunification – as well as basing for missile defense systems that will eventually -- if they ever work -- complement these destabilizing weapon systems. They also provide bases without which US operations in the Middle East and the Mediterranean would be much more costly, if not difficult. These "privileges" come at substantial cost, as South Korea is in the process of recognizing. ..."
"... It should also be noted that US activities in Georgia and Ukraine preceded Putin's "act of transgression". It should further be noted that the Georgia conflict is very much an example of the erosion of international norms that Clinton and Kohl initiated in the Balkan conflict – which Russia explicitly warned the US about. ..."
"... It is completely unbelievable that the Soviets (after two invasions by Germany that killed about 27 million Soviets) would have just shrugged at the idea of NATO expanding to Poland let alone the Ukraine. The real question is why didn't Gorbachev insist on a written treaty. There was nothing in US history that should have made him expect honesty so why nothing in writing? I have no doubt he was lied to or manipulated but was he really that naive or incompetent to trust the US? ..."
"... Right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I told my wife that, while the Soviets came in 'last' in the Cold War, the US came in second-to-last. I told her that Japan won the Cold War. The Soviets made tanks, the US made tanks and Japan made Nissans. My 1985 Nissan pickup truck still runs great and where are all the tanks today? Mind you, this was before the collapse of the Japanese stock market. ..."
"... Russia bought that land from Sweden, the same as the US bought Alaska. They gave them their independence after the revolution. All of these countries were dictatorships before the WWII and all of them voted and asked to join the USSR. ..."
"... On that note, I really think that my interview with Professor Richard Sakwa (Chatham House) titled "Between the Cold War and the Cold Peace: How the West betrayed Russia" may also be of your interest. ..."
"... Deep State's durable foreign policy, which is always the de facto policy, is remarkably resilient no matter which political party is elected to fill the chairs. Elections and the will of the voters have virtually no influence on it, except in the tenor of the propaganda. ..."
"... I am amazed at all of the commenters who think expanding NATO up to the borders of Russia is a great idea. How would you like for Russia to form a military alliance with Mexico and for the Russian military to be conducting exercises along our southern border with Mexico? ..."
Dec 20, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
President George H. W. Bush and President Mikhail Gorbachev sign United States/Soviet Union agreements to end chemical weapon production and begin destroying their respective stocks in the East Room of the White House, Washington, DC in June 1990. (White House photo) Statecraft is a complicated business, but the criteria by which we judge statesmen turn out to be less so. The central question reduces to whether those charged with formulating policy succeed in enhancing the power and security of the nation they lead.

Yet near-term advantage does not necessarily translate into long-term benefit. With the passage of time, a seemingly clever gambit can yield poisonous fruit. So it is with the way the George Herbert Walker Bush administration managed the end of the Cold War.

From a geopolitical perspective, the Cold War from the very outset had centered on the German question. Concluding that conflict necessarily required resolving Germany's anomalous division into two halves, with West Germany a key member of NATO and East Germany occupying a similar status in the opposing Warsaw Pact. Of course, no such resolution could be possible unless the victors of World War II, primarily the United States and the Soviet Union, but also Great Britain and France, all concurred.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev provided the necessary catalyst to make agreement possible. Gorbachev's bold effort to reform and thereby save the USSR, launched in the mid-1980s, converted the belt of Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe from a source of strategic depth to a collection of liabilities. When Gorbachev signaled that unlike his predecessors he had no intention of using force to maintain the Soviet Empire, it almost immediately disintegrated. With that, momentum for German reunification became all but irresistible.

By the end of 1989, the issue facing policymakers on both sides of the rapidly vanishing Iron Curtain was not whether reunification should occur, but where a reunited Germany would fit in a radically transformed political landscape. Already possessing the biggest economy in all of Europe, Germany seemed certain to become even more of a powerhouse once it had absorbed its formerly communist eastern precincts. No one -- including German Chancellor Helmut Kohl -- thought it a good idea to allow this new Germany to become a free-floater, situated in the center of Europe but untethered from the sort of restraints that the Cold War had imposed.

For Washington, London, and Paris, the solution was obvious: keep the Germans in a warm but firm embrace. Ensuring that a united Germany remained part of NATO would reduce the likelihood of it choosing at some future date to strike an independent course.

The challenge facing the Western allies was to persuade Gorbachev to see the wisdom of this proposition. After all, twice within memory, Germany had invaded Russia, inflicting almost unimaginable damage and suffering. That the Soviets might view with trepidation the prospect of a resurgent Germany remaining part of an explicitly anti-Soviet military alliance was not paranoia. It was prudence.

To make that prospect palatable, the Bush administration assured the Soviets that they had nothing to fear from a Western alliance that included a united Germany. NATO no longer viewed the USSR as an adversary. Apart from incorporating the territory of the former East Germany, the alliance was going to stay put. Washington was sensitive to and would respect Russia's own security interests. So at least U.S. officials claimed.

Thanks to newly declassified documents published by the National Security Archive, we now have a clearer appreciation of just how explicit those assurances were. Among the documents is the transcript of an especially revealing conversation between Gorbachev and Secretary of State James Baker in Moscow on February 9, 1990.

The discussion touched on several topics, but centered on the German question. As Baker framed the issue, history was now handing the victorious allies an opportunity to correct the mistakes they had made in the wake of World War II. "We fought alongside with you; together we brought peace to Europe," Baker told Gorbachev. "Regrettably, we then managed this peace poorly, which led to the Cold War," he continued.

"We could not cooperate then," he said. "Now, as rapid and fundamental changes are taking place in Europe, we have a propitious opportunity to cooperate in the interests of preserving the peace. I very much want you to know: neither the president nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place."

Washington's intentions were friendly. Gorbachev could absolutely count on the Bush administration to support his perestroika and glasnost initiatives. "In a word, we want your efforts to be successful," Baker insisted. Indeed, he continued, "if somewhere in the course of events you feel that the United States is doing something undesirable to you, without hesitation call us and tell us about it."

By extension, there was no need for Gorbachev to trouble himself about NATO. The alliance provided "the mechanism for securing the U.S. presence in Europe," which, Baker implied, was good for everyone. Keeping G.I.s in Europe would prevent Germany from once more becoming a troublemaker, benefiting all parties to include the USSR.

"We understand," Baker continued, "that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction [emphasis added]." Indeed, the proposed U.S. approach to negotiating terms for ending Germany's division would "guarantee that Germany's unification will not lead to NATO's military organization spreading to the east."

The secretary of state then posed a hypothetical. "Supposing unification takes place," he asked Gorbachev, "what would you prefer: a united Germany outside of NATO, absolutely independent and without American troops; or a united Germany keeping its connections with NATO, but with the guarantee that NATO's jurisprudence [jurisdiction?] or troops will not spread east of the present boundary?"

The issue was one he wished to discuss with his colleagues, Gorbachev replied, remarking only that "it goes without saying that a broadening of the NATO zone is not acceptable."

To which Baker responded: "We agree with that."

Later that very year German reunification became an accomplished fact. By the end of the following year, Gorbachev was out of a job and the Soviet Union had become defunct. Before another 12 months had passed, Baker's boss lost his bid for a second term as Americans elected their first post-Cold War president. By this time, countries of the former Warsaw Pact were already clamoring to join NATO. The administration of Bill Clinton proved more than receptive to such appeals. As a consequence, the assurances given to Gorbachev were rendered inoperative.

NATO's eastward march commenced, with the alliance eventually incorporating not only former Soviet satellites but even former Soviet republics. In effect, U.S. policymakers responded favorably to the aspirations of Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians while disregarding Russian security interests, apparently assuming that Kremlin leaders had no recourse but to concede.

As long as Russia remained weak, that may well have been the case. As if to press home the point, Clinton's successors even toyed with the idea of inviting Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO -- more or less the equivalent of incorporating Cuba and Mexico into the Warsaw Pact back in the bad old days.

At that point, a Kremlin leader less trusting of the West than Gorbachev had been decided that enough was enough. Vladimir Putin, a very nasty piece of work but also arguably a Russian patriot, made it clear that NATO's eastward expansion had ended. Putin's 2008 armed intervention in Georgia, annexation of the Crimea in 2014, and multiple incursions into Ukraine beginning that same year elicited howls of protest from the Washington commentariat. Putin, they charged, was trampling on the "norms" of international conduct that were supposed to govern behavior in the post-Cold War world.

But Putin was not wrong to observe that the United States routinely exempted itself from any such norms when it perceived its own vital interests to be at stake. For roughly a quarter century, the United States had paid no price for picking Gorbachev's pocket back in 1990. Indeed, nations once unhappily lodged within the Soviet sphere had thereby benefited greatly. NATO became a club open to everyone but Russia. In Washington's favored formulation, Europe thereby became "whole and free." Now, however, the bills incurred by this feckless policy are coming due and Europeans are looking to the United States to pay them.

Today's NATO consists of 29 nations, nearly double what its membership was when Secretary Baker promised Gorbachev that the alliance would not advance a single inch eastward. When it comes to paying for the collective defense, few of those nations contribute their required share. In effect, America's allies expect it to do the heavy lifting. The United States has thereby incurred burdensome obligations without accruing any obvious benefit. Once more, over 70 years after World War II, the United States is sending its troops to defend Europeans fully capable of defending themselves. Donald Trump has charged, not without cause, that our allies are playing us for suckers.

In today's Washington, where Russophobia runs rampant, it has become fashionable to speak of a New Cold War, provoked by Putin's aggressive actions. Yet if we are indeed embarking upon a new age of brinksmanship, we can trace its origins to 1990 when Putin was merely a disgruntled KGB colonel and we were playing the Soviets for suckers.

In his meeting with Gorbachev, Baker expressed regret about the victorious allies mismanaging the opportunity for peace created by the end of World War II. A similar judgment applies to the opportunity for peace created by the end of the Cold War. Upon reflection, the United States might have been better served had it honored its 1990 commitment to Gorbachev.

Andrew J. Bacevich is TAC's writer-at-large.

Cynthia McLean December 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Thank you for being such a truth-teller.

One point, not made, is the Profit -- in billions $$ -- that US armaments corporations have made by supplying weapons to all these ex-soviet states.

The US is not to be trusted on much of anything except its belief that Might is Right.

Xtof , says: December 22, 2017 at 1:56 pm
AB is partly correct in that both Baker and Genscher did make very bold proposals to Soviet leadership about the future of NATO – – Baker's 'not one inch into East Germany' conception being less extensive than Genscher's comprehensive non-expansion 'Tutzing formulation' – – but he should have put much greater emphasis on at least two points: 1) that these proposals were merely suggestions, and were designed to 'feel out' Soviet leadership on what it was willing to negotiate regarding German reunification; second, and arguably even more important, both of these conceptions did not have the support of either the West German Chancellor or the U.S. President – – points which also follow from the 'recently declassified diplomatic record' (so read the Bush-Kohl dialogue, and see that they were completely unified on German reunification without any conditions or restrictions to be placed on NATO) – – and thus both Foreign Minister Genscher and Secretary of State Baker were completely hamstrung at the time when each made his conception known.

We could add a third key point, and that is that, even if Gorbachev or Shevardnadze had decided to push for EITHER the Baker or Genscher Plan – – and we can easily appreciate why no Soviet official would be either willing or able to think in terms of post-Warsaw Pact, let alone post-Soviet, times and thus of their forthcoming Russian Federation's future relationship with NATO – – then they would have publicly met with the same unified American-West German refusal to put conditions on NATO that Bush & Kohl had previously agreed; so, in effect, with these two supporting an open-ended future of NATO, any Soviet leader would have been told 'nyet' if he had sought to codify Baker's or Genscher's conceptions into a formal agreement.

Last, on the subject of what NATO did finally agree with the Russian federation, review the text of the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, and you'll find two very nice surprises from early post-Cold War history: 1) that NATO was quite willing to codify its plans for membership expansion, principally to reassure Federation leadership that its planned expansion had no hostile intent whatsoever toward the Fdereation; and 2) that Yeltsin, as Federation President, did not feel threatened in the least by NATO expansion, and he said so publicly he didn't like that expansion, and also said so publicly, but it's very telling that he never felt threatened by it. Furthermore, NATO still avoided stationing its forces into the Eastern part of the reunified German state until well after the Soviet collapse.

Given the article at hand, that's all that AB should need to know about the stark differences between Yeltsin's Federation and Putin's, and the amazing continuity between NATO's late Cold War and its early post-Cold War position regarding its expansion plans and how this continuity fits nicely with the context of the only major treaty to be negotiated with the Federation.

jjc , says: December 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm
This article links to the National Security Archive's recent collection of documents which clearly demonstrates the assurances made to Gorbachev were sourced widely among NATO members, much more so than previously understood. The opinions expressed in, for example, the 2014 Brookings article – shared by a commentator – which downplays the matter, are now outdated.

Sphere of influence: the argument that Russia has no right to have opinions on regional politics, or security concerns, usually ignores major contextual information; i.e the NATO expansion has occurred during a transformation from defensive alliance to a more assertive posture, as seen in Serbia and Libya. It has occurred while the US has assumed a military posture based on world hegemony and clearly stated objectives of preventing other states from ever posing a challenge to this primacy. It occurred while arms treaties (ABM) were broken and while missile systems were introduced to the region. Important as well to acknowledge Russia as a major nuclear power, and this policy of poking the bear, so to speak, seems needlessly aggressive and unintelligent.

Further, the situation in Ukraine appears to have been a deliberate provocation sought by the Anglo bloc of the NATO alliance, in concert with the more paranoid political actors of the region. A negotiated political settlement had been reached concerning the Maidan. The subsequent coup was an expressly deliberate reaction to prevent this settlement from going into effect. The USA, UK, and Canada provocatively determined the coup as "legitimate", and in doing so chose to assist in the destabilization of the country. This Anglo bloc has promoted a false and incomplete narrative of events, and stepped up a dangerous militarization of the region justified by this false account.

LouisM , says: December 19, 2017 at 11:55 pm
This betrayal may actually get rectified but much of it is outside the hands of the EU and in the hands of Russia (my opinion).

Thanks to US support under Trump the VISEGRAD is front and center while western Europe takes a backseat. The neocons may want to use the VISEGRAD as a launching point for Russia but I do not think that is Trumps agenda. The fear in Poland, Hungary, Czech and Slovak Republics is not from the US or its warmongering anti-Russian neocons. It comes from Russia's relationship with its former satellites since they were freed and joined EU and NATO.

All VISEGRAD nations have said they will take no more muslim or African migrants even if it means fines, loss of aid or an exit. The stance of the VISEGRAD is expanding to Lithuania, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia. This would effectively fence off much, if not all, of the land route to Europe.

Russia doesn't want African and muslim migrants either.

If Russia can create a detent with the VISEGRAD and allay their fears then Russia could diffuse much of the need for the NATO weaponry that Russia feels threatened. At the rate Europe and Russia are depopulating, even a small war would be lunacy.

The other thing Russia craves are goods, services, technology, etc which the VISEGRAD would gladly offer in exchange for Russian goods and services.

Further, we have seen common ground with VISEGRAD and Russia against migrants. The VISEGRAD is willing to stand apart from the EU if necessary. Russia may not get the VISEGRAD to leave NATO but Russia might get the VISEGRAD to operate more independently of the EU and NATO. The fundamental point here is a simple one. The VISEGRAD has the potential to either be a barrier to Russia or a buffer zone from the EU and NATO to Russia. Much of this is really up to Russia's ability to allay past fears and take a new approach.

Further I don't think Trump would object. My observation of Trump is that he has more contempt than respect for Sweden, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, etc. NATO nations that cannot control their borders and do not maintain their 2% commitment of GDP are parasites and freeloaders to Trump. However Trump shows great respect to the VISEGRAD for protecting its borders and NATO commitments.

Historically, its worth noting about the VISEGRAD countries. They suffered more than the mass murders and totalitarianism of being communist satellites of the Soviet Union. Prior to that these nations were destroyed when Russia invaded to the west and when Europe invaded to the east. The VISEGRAD does not want to be the battle field for a Russia defending itself against NATO or NATO defending itself against Russia. The VISEGRAD knows that they suffer and lose under either scenario. The VISEGRAD wants security guarantees from Russia and NATO. Knowing this, Russia could reframe the entire dynamic of the VISEGRAD. It wouldn't be a full win for Russia but if played well, then it might be just be enough for the US, VISEGRAD and Russia.

Don N , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:03 am
Poor Russia, a country that occupied, then annexed the Baltic States against their will.
Poor Russia, a country that banned Ukrainian language and culture, starved to depopulate it, then tried to replace its people with Russians.
Poor Russia, the country that occupied Eastern Europe and had no compunction about rolling tanks down the streets of Prauge when they had the audacity to want to determine their own destiny.
Poor Russia, a country that took "active measures" and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and set it's troops and media to foment rebellion in the Donbass.

There is a good reason all these countries sought protection from repeated, constant acts of Russian aggression against their sovereignty.

The US leads a coalition of free nations that don't want to be treated upon by the boot off Russian oppression. After the end of the Cold War the Russians were under no threat from NATO whatsoever. Their actions are the actions of a bully and it is a poor strategy to hide in a corner and cower. The Russians are free to take their place as one of the most powerful members of the coalition of free nations. Instead they have decided to embark on their current pathetic path.

Realist , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:53 am
The US government is untrustworthy and corrupt. This has been the case foe decades.
Mark Thomason , says: December 20, 2017 at 4:58 am
In light of this, what is China to make of its concerns for spread of US forces to its Yalu border, very close to Beijing? Assurances? Bah. They'd have to be nuts, and they are not that.
Terrence Moloney , says: December 20, 2017 at 5:11 am
Mr Bacevich seems to think that a backroom conversation between one cabinet member of the U.S. and the leader of the USSR constitutes some sort of binding treaty on the U.S. and NATO. This will be news to all the other NATO countries and to Congress who admitted the Baltic States and Poland some 15 years after this friendly chat. Indeed, news to Russia too who weren't overjoyed by NATO's expansion but recognized it as a legitimate decision that a sovereign country can make, as Russia's defense minister in 2002, Sergei Ivanov, stated in 2002. No mention of Baker's 'promise'. Indeed, Russia had, and has, little choice to respect these choices because they were at the time claiming the Baltic States freely joined the USSR in 41.
More broadly, this article and similar ones never explain precisely how NATO expansion has harmed or threatens Russia or precipitated any of the difficult events of the past decade. Does anyone really suppose that if NATO were not in Estonia the events in Georgia, Ukraine and Crimea would have unfolded differently? Can Mr Bacevich explain what might have been different if NATO hadn't expanded? In all likelihood, if NATO hadn't expanded, we'd all be significantly more nervous about unimpeded Russia activity in Eastern Europe post-Crimea. The EU, already under strain from the Euro crisis, might not have survived. It's impossible to say, but it's equally true that none of the "NATO's eastern mistake" team can ever put their finger on the harm posed by NATO's expansion. It's always something vague, like 'Russia's legitimate zone of interest' or 'putting Russia in a corner'. But anyone can readily see that none of these countries pose the slightest threat to Russia. Latvia is not gearing up for an invasion of Russia despite its annexation of Abrene by the Soviets that the Russia's have held onto. Nor is Russia in a corner; it's the largest country on Earth with enormous potential as the only bona fide Eurasian country, with land borders on two of the largest economic zones -- the EU and China -- in the world. Its problems are almost entirely its own doing.
Lastly, this article makes some of the historic elisions common to its genre: Russia was not invaded in WW1 unless you call Poland, Belarus and the Baltic States "Russia". This will be news to the locals. Nor did anyone pick Gorbachev's "pocket", unless you suppose all those Eastern European peoples are nothing more than Russia's possessions. But, to slightly expand a quote of Latvia's former President, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, "The Lord did not put [Eastern Europeans] on Earth simply to please the Russians."
Janek , says: December 20, 2017 at 6:04 am
The logic of the article by A. J. Bacewich does not make any sense. What J.A.Bacewich is saying in this article is that United States of America in 1990 effectively committed Yalta 2 through president G. H. W. Bush and the secretary of state J. Baker. From what AJB writes in his piece it looks like the only purpose for the USA and NATO to fight the 'cold war' was to unite Germany. Where is the logic in that kind of thinking? If uniting Germany was the only purpose? What was the point in keeping the Germans in the framework of NATO, and NATO itself with the USA military presence probably at the same level as during the 'cold war' apparently, according to the logic of JAB, in perpetuity just to keep the Germans subdued and out of "troubles". The costs of that would be probably higher for the USA that they are now. Does JAB thinks that the USSR (Russia) and obviously Germany would stay at the same military and economic level as in 1980-90? Only very naive person could think like that. It does not matter how you call it, USSR or Russia, sooner or later that country would bounce back as she did with V. Putin.

It does not matter if NATO expanded or not, at this time (2017), USSR or Russia would be back with the vengeance as she is now. The problems now of USA in global politics in general, and with Russia in particular, was not the NATO expansion but the corrupted neoliberal economic model that the USA and the West imposed on themselves and Russia. Russia after Yeltsin and during the time V. Putin is in power limited the scope and the damage the neoliberal system was doing to the country, but the USA and the West continue on the same corrupted neoliberal path up until today. Another cause of the geopolitical problems the USA have now were and are the wars in the Middle East.

Does JAB thinks that if NATO would not expand and with Russia was left as she was in 1990 today the military expenses for the USA would be less than they are today? I do not think so. I think probably by now you would not have USA and NATO in Europe especially in Western Europe. What NATO expansion accomplished was prevention of war in Europe. The problem was not the expansion of NATO, but irresponsible and shortsighted imposition of the corrupted neoliberal economic order on the US, the West and on the Russia plus the wars in the Middle East. To blame the current USA political problems on the expansion of NATO is not based on reality and on what happened after 1990s, it is simply trying to stick head in the sand by those responsible for the current global problems. After all what was the point of fighting the cold war? Would it not be cheeper, and more acceptable for people like JAB, for the USA to cede the Europe to the USSR right after WW2 ?

Sal , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:04 am
Why in the world must you repeat the "nasty piece of work" mantra? Do you really believe it or is it to gain acceptance? Or do you preface every mention of US presidents, justifiably, with the same "nasty piece of work"?
J Harlan , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:23 am
"Donald Trump has charged, not without cause, that our allies are playing us for suckers."

If the US wants to ring Russia with bases why should't US taxpayers pay for it? DOD's budget is partly for imperial policing and partly a regional and corporate gravy train. It has some true "defense" functions but those are very limited. Why would Germans or the French want to pay extra taxes to protect themselves from a "threat" that if it even exists is because of aggressive American foreign policy?

US taxpayers are being played for suckers but by their own defense department not Europeans.

anyname , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:46 am
First time see real Russians point of view here. It was so dump to lost good communication with our ally WW2
DanJ , says: December 20, 2017 at 8:51 am
Negotiating any agreement is a lengthy process, and parties cannot be bound by all offers and counter-offers floated during discussions. What is in the actual treaty counts. If there had been a mutual agreement that NATO would not expand, then it would have been put on paper. It was not.

Gorbachev asked for -- and got -- substantial financial help in repatriating his troops from East Germany, and did not demand checks to NATO expansion.

Mark Pando , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:33 am
Bacevich nails it again. As a Cold War veteran I couldn't agree more. The United States didn't "win" the Cold War -- the USSR "lost" it, instead. Therein lays a huge difference. You don't kick a dog when he is down. The mindless expansion of NATO eastward following the demise of the USSR in 1991 was stupid–anyone who knows Russian history and geography is keenly aware of this fact. Putin, just like Trump, is trying to make his country great again. Surprise!!!
Kent , says: December 20, 2017 at 10:47 am
Having the Europeans pay for their own security would end up destroying the American empire. They will want to purchase weapons manufactured in Europe, not America, to give their own people jobs. They will need to develop weapons that are on par with American weapons and so will commit to the necessary R&D. Their own MIC will develop, and they will need to find reasons to use these weapons, which will require constant replacement and upgrades.

And pretty soon Europe will return to its imperialist ways of old, with no need for America.

Should that be a goal of ours?

ScottA , says: December 20, 2017 at 10:54 am
Quite an outstanding article Mr. Bacevich.

Given Russia's history of being invaded from the West, with Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union being the bloodiest conflict in human history, it is remarkable to me that our government cannot understand why expanding NATO eastward would be viewed as very alarming to the Russians.

In my opinion the best and most realistic movie about Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union is the German made movie "Stalingrad" made in 1992 by the production team that made "Das Boot" to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the bloodiest battle in human history. I think that watching this movie is helpful in understanding the Russian psyche and why the Russians view the West moving its military forces eastward as particularly alarming.

Ahdrey , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:19 am
20 years, Americans and Europeans lied that promises not. Putin said that we were deceived, but the Europeans smiled and continued to lie. So why now are you surprised of the rigidity of Russia's position? We tricked the Americans and the Europeans we'll be remembered for a thousand years and give to his descendants so they always kept the powder dry. NATO is a punitive organization and someday we will have to face. The fate you have created.
Viriato , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm
As usual, the U.S. won the war but lost the peace. One question, though: Why are the Russians so angry about NATO expansion? Yes, it's a broken promise on our part. Yet, that aspect of it aside, why the anger? Why are they so opposed to the expansion of a defensive alliance -- one which they could someday join? How, exactly, does the expansion of a defensive alliance threaten their security interests?
Michael Kenny , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:33 pm
The classic blinkered cold war distortion. Washington never assured "Russia" of anything in 1990. The country we now call "Russia", the Russian Federation, has existed as a sovereign state only since 26 December 1991. Thus, by very definition, the US could not have "assured" Russia of anything before that date.

The picture quite correctly identifies Gorbachev as the president of the Soviet Union. He was never at any time president of Russia, which has had only two presidents since it became independent: Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. It is American cold war dinosaurs, who simply can't get their heads around the idea that the Soviet Union and communism are gone forever, who are the cause of the "new cold war".

If they would stop treating the Russian Federation as the if it were the Soviet Union and start treating as what it actually is, one of 15 successor states to the Soviet Union, on the same basis as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova etc., NATO expansion would be no problem. Indeed, if US cold warriors hadn't obstructed it, Russia, Ukraine and Georgia would have become members of the alliance at the same time. The fact that Putin is every bit as much a cold war dinosaur as his American counterparts doesn't change that. And none of that gives the Russian Federation the right to deny the sovereignty of any of the other successor states and, even less, to invade and annex their territory. American cold warriors caused the problem with Putin. It is up to them to clean up the mess their blinkered and outdated world view caused. Capitulating to Putin and arrogantly asserting the right to give away other people's countries does not achieve that purpose.

Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm
American elites spend American treasure for their imperium, so that American elite interests take precedence, as per Nuland's "F -- the E.U." Confoundedly, Andy omits the Ukraine putsch she midwived. He who pays the piper calls the tune – and if a Europe still occupied by American forces as the continuation of WWII were to pay its own money, that military occupation would shortly end, just as the withdrawal of Soviet support ended their European satrapies' support of the Warsaw Pact.
Kuzmich Mar , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm
Guys, you first confess that you have deceived us for 20 years, and then wonder why we are against NATO enlargement? Guys, you're ohueli. Why should we trust you at all? Why should we believe that NATO is a defensive alliance?
SteveM , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:20 pm
Re: Sal, "Why in the world must you repeat the "nasty piece of work" mantra? Do you really believe it or is it to gain acceptance? Or do you preface every mention of US presidents, justifiably, with the same "nasty piece of work"?

I was thinking the same thing as Sal. Almost the entire Elite Nomenklatura in Washington and Wall Street can be considered a collective "nasty piece of work" given all of the social and economic wreckage that they have produced both at home and abroad. Putin/Russia's excesses don't hold a candle to the catastrophes ginned up by that crew of arrogant militarists and corrupted parasites.

Dr. Bacevich should either tone down his histrionic shibboleth's against Vladimir Putin or else expand his target set to include the larger universe of native political-crony trash.

harry colin , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm
I'm another Cold War veteran who agrees with Mr. Pando about the article. The same people who are clamoring about Russia denying the sovereignty of independent nations were very likely cheerleaders each time the US tried to remove Castro, when we invaded Panama, Iraq, and bombed the Serbs in the Balkans. As for Ukraine, the Crimea has always been mostly Russian until Khrushchev gave it away in the mid 50's to achieve some internal political aims.

Despite the explosive growth of NATO, the Baltic nations are really not "free" because of the guarantees of the alliance. If Putin wanted to invade them he could have them easily; stashing one brigade of US troops over there would have only the effect of daring an American president to risk a nuclear exchange with a country able to defend itself. If anyone thinks any of these C-in-C's would do any nuclear sabre-rattling because Russian tanks are rolling into Talinn, I have a deed to a wonderful NY bridge for you.

Kuzmich Mar , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm
Colonel Gaddafi believed the United States and refused to develop nuclear weapons. But leader of North Korea does not want to believe the USA. What do you think, why is this?
Tiktaalik , says: December 20, 2017 at 1:59 pm
DanJ, you don't honor even signed agreements, so who cares? In the end it was very dumb move that completely cured most of the Russian population from giving any trust to the West sirens. Good for the US (presumably) in the short run, very bad in the long
Tiktaalik , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm
For amateur lawyers here -- why should have Russia stuck to the Budapest memo? It haven't been ratified, guys
b. , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm
This links to a useful reference, but the article has its omissions and misrepresentations. "The United States has thereby incurred burdensome obligations without accruing any obvious benefit."

This is unadulterated BS. These satrapies are offering the US forward deployment for military assets, possibly including first strike and decapitation weapons again – as Germany did before the reunification – as well as basing for missile defense systems that will eventually -- if they ever work -- complement these destabilizing weapon systems. They also provide bases without which US operations in the Middle East and the Mediterranean would be much more costly, if not difficult. These "privileges" come at substantial cost, as South Korea is in the process of recognizing.

It might be customary for the hegemony to extract a tax from its satraps, but the incessant whining is beginning to wear.

It should also be noted that US activities in Georgia and Ukraine preceded Putin's "act of transgression". It should further be noted that the Georgia conflict is very much an example of the erosion of international norms that Clinton and Kohl initiated in the Balkan conflict – which Russia explicitly warned the US about.

The expansion of NATO, more often than not, did not exactly solicit full-throated endorsement from legacy members either.

But the really important omissions here concern the main actors – Gorbachev, Baker, Bush et.al. Is it really convincing to assume that Gorbachev was not aware of the US propensity to scrap treaties and agreements as soon as administrations change? Maybe my perspective is distorted by the Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump "experience" of the modern US, and actors like Reagan – whose violations of international law and norms are well known – and Bush Sr. – who made his career by such acts – actually had a record of behaving honorably, and Gorbachev had reason to trust their word, instead of insisting on a ratified treaty.

How likely is it that Gorbachev knew very well that Germany might be re-unified with a claim to become "neutral" – as Stalin had once proposed – only to re-join NATO under some pretext within the decade? How exactly was any of these "commitments" to be guaranteed between nations that did not exactly have a record of upholding the international order and the peace at all cost?

More importantly, is there any reason to assume that Baker actually believed a single word of what he said, or that he expected Gorbachev to believe any of it? We have to remember that this is the man who "managed" Ronald Reagan's attempt to discuss abolition of nuclear weapons with Gorbachev. Whatever Gorbachev might have believed, might have had to believe, or might have had to pretend to believe, it does not appear reasonable to trust Baker's words then or later with respect to these gentlemen and their "agreements".

There is every reason to believe that Clinton did to the international order as he did to international banking and financial industries, and that his legacy is exceeded in impact and damage only by Bush and Obama in sins of commission (the former) and omission (the latter). There is every reason to believe that US – and especially Democratic Party – insistence on breaking and ultimately breaking apart Russia as a project of "national interest" is shortsighted and idiotic, and that within a context of power as described by Bismarck and Machiavelli, it was very much in European and US interest to offer Russia a place in balance to China, India and other emerging powers.

But this recognition does not really need an proof, claimed or real, that the US misled Gorbachev and Russia. This may well have been a criminally fraudulent move, but more importantly, it was a criminally stupid one, motivated by those two primal drivers of the American Prosperity gospel – shortsighted greed and willful ignorance.

b. , says: December 20, 2017 at 2:11 pm
"Washington never assured 'Russia' of anything in 1990. The country we now call 'Russia', the Russian Federation, has existed as a sovereign state only since 26 December 1991."

As an added benefit, not resorting to the exegesis of the historical record of the various gambits performed by the great gamblers of their day would also spare us this level of armchair litigation.

J Harlan , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm
It is completely unbelievable that the Soviets (after two invasions by Germany that killed about 27 million Soviets) would have just shrugged at the idea of NATO expanding to Poland let alone the Ukraine. The real question is why didn't Gorbachev insist on a written treaty. There was nothing in US history that should have made him expect honesty so why nothing in writing? I have no doubt he was lied to or manipulated but was he really that naive or incompetent to trust the US?
Steve , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm
Right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I told my wife that, while the Soviets came in 'last' in the Cold War, the US came in second-to-last. I told her that Japan won the Cold War. The Soviets made tanks, the US made tanks and Japan made Nissans. My 1985 Nissan pickup truck still runs great and where are all the tanks today? Mind you, this was before the collapse of the Japanese stock market.
brylcream , says: December 20, 2017 at 3:55 pm
@ Don N
December 20, 2017 at 12:03 am

"Poor Russia, a country that occupied, then annexed the Baltic States against their will."

Russia bought that land from Sweden, the same as the US bought Alaska. They gave them their independence after the revolution. All of these countries were dictatorships before the WWII and all of them voted and asked to join the USSR.

"Poor Russia, a country that banned Ukrainian language and culture, starved to depopulate it, then tried to replace its people with Russians.
Poor Russia, the country that occupied Eastern Europe and had no compunction about rolling tanks down the streets of Prauge when they had the audacity to want to determine their own destiny.

Poor Russia, a country that took "active measures" and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and set it's troops and media to foment rebellion in the Donbass."

Actually, the Soviets made Ukraine, there was no any Ukraine or 'Ukrainians' before the 20th century. Also they imposed official Ukrainization through their political and educational system. The people were losing their jobs if they weren't using Ukrainian, there was a precise article in a criminal code.
The Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia after a violent armed coup in Kiev. That was a third referendum held in Crimea after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

oleg petrov , says: December 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm
Double standarts:

NATO troops in Baltic states, AMB system in Poland (western border of Ukraine) must not be Russia security concern, but Russia's troops on eastern border pf Ukraine & Kaliningrad anclave-certainly is NATO concern. Taking Kosovo from Serbia? annexation of east Jerusalem & Gollan Heights is right, returning Crimea by Russia is wrong, USA invasion in Iraq, US arming & financing anti-Asad rebels(some are real terrorists) in Syria is good, Russia support for separatists in East Ukraine is bad. Not keeping promoces about NATO non-expansion is right, not keeping promice of Budapest memorandum by Russia is wrong.

In other words:"US & NATO masturbation is so good for population, and only Russia masturbation is very bad for population".

someuaguy , says: December 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm
I saw the translation of this article on a Russian site, and it's amazing. Does the United States have people who understand that other countries also have their own national interests? Adopting this fact will eliminate many of the problems of misunderstanding Russian politics.

The commentator above said:

"Washington never assured" Russia "of anything in 1990. The country we now call" Russia ", the Russian Federation, has existed as a sovereign state only since December 26, 1991."

So, the Russians do not know at all that Russia is then "did not exist." START 1 was also signed by Gorbachev, and he respected the Russian Federation.

Dennis , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:15 pm
NATO should have been disbanded along with the Warsaw Pact after 1990. What was supposed to be a defensive pact against the USSR became an offensive war-mongering machine in control of neo-cons making war on Serbia in the late 90s and manufacturing false-WMD claims against Iraq in the 2000s. Anyone and everyone involved in high-command positions at NATO, including Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, should be indicted for war crimes.
tz , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:28 pm
I'm more worried about when Turkey provokes Israel to attack it and invokes Article 5.
Mark Krvavica , says: December 20, 2017 at 9:50 pm
With the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991, there was no need for NATO. The U.S. should have left this Cold War relic during the 1990s.
Stephen Reynolds , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:41 am
James Baker could give assurances about how the president was thinking. He could not make a formal commitment. Gorbachev knew that (or do you think he was an incompetent negotiator?). Nevertheless, the formal agreement contained no restrictions on NATO. There was no commitment.

Mr Bacevich is better on the topic nevertheless, because he recognizes that the driver in NATO expansion was not Bill Clinton or the Pentagon or NATO generals but Visegrad and the Baltic countries. About Visegrad, read Joanna Gorska's _Dealing with a Juggernaut_. The Baltic states were in fact already threatened by post-Soviet early on. TAC and the Progressives are apparently regretful that the West has been unwilling to throw these countries to the crocodile. I prefer the attitude expressed by Strobe Talbot, in _The Russia Hand_, for example.

NATO did not rush in admitting countries that were more than an inch east of Berlin. It practiced due diligence. It did some unfortunate things indirectly affecting Russia and the new NATO members, first by not limiting itself to stopping Serbian excesses in Bosnia-Hercegovina but attacking Serbia directly and sponsoring the transfer in Kossovo to an Albanian mafia. And it abandoned restraint and good sense in speaking of membership for Ukraine and Georgia. Russia's response was of the sort likely to make Ukrainians and Georgians want to join NATO, but for the time being at least the issue is not alive.

The responsibility borne by the West in these matters consists mostly of its embrace of neoliberalism and the neolib world order. "Shock therapy" gave Russia a miserable decade (the 1990s) and a distaste for Western democracy. It also made EU membership unattractive to Ukraine. But when Yanukovych moved to join Putin's Eurasian Union instead, the Ukrainians saw their country on the path to becoming a Russian satellite state. The future they wanted was exemplified by Poland, which had weathered the Great Recession better than most and was a free country in most respects. The future they saw looming was exemplified by Bielarus, ruled for a generation by a bloody-handed thug and economically almost where it had been in the Soviet period. Victoria Nuland and the CIA could not possibly have brought the numbers to the Maidan that actually appeared there. She should certainly have kept a lower profile, but Yanukovych was overthrown by the Ukrainians, not by outside agitators.

Oh, and then there is Harry Colin's assertion that "the Crimea has always been mostly Russian until Khrushchev gave it away in the mid 50's . . . ." Well, the population there has not been mostly Ukrainian ever, true. But always–apparently "always" now begins with the reign of Catharine II. Previously it was Greek, Armenian, Tatar, and so on, but not Russian. Catharine sent in Russian settlers just so Mr Colin could make his remark. What do the Tatars think of it?

Adriel Kasonta , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:55 am
Great article Professor! I really enjoyed it.

On that note, I really think that my interview with Professor Richard Sakwa (Chatham House) titled "Between the Cold War and the Cold Peace: How the West betrayed Russia" may also be of your interest.

KR

Dan Green , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:55 am
Three current world Powers. The US, Russia, and China. Both armed to the gills as they say. Each with a distinct model , which included starting wars if it serves their individual interest. The worrisome fact is both Russia and China have chosen the leaders and support their intentions. We change foreign policy as often as I change my underwear.
Mark VA , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:08 am
Not expanding NATO upon the demise of the USSR, would have been synonymous with the USA agreeing that Russia has a right to a permanent "sphere of influence". Also, it would have revived the discredited "Enlightenment" division of real Europe into "Europe" and "East of Europe";

At any rate, perhaps Mr. Bacevich can make his case in Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Prague, Bratislava, Bucharest, Sofia, and also Minsk, Tbilisi, Yerevan, and first and foremost, Kiev;

If the truth is on his side, then these peoples should see it as well, and accept their "permanent station in life". But seriously, here is a worthwhile history lesson:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/oIFfQqa32ic?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Joe Porreca , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:40 am
"Putin was not wrong to observe that the United States routinely exempted itself from any such [supposed post Cold War international] norms when it perceived its own vital interests to be at stake," states Dr. Bacevich, which suggests that there have been American foreign interventions since the end of the Cold War which have been in American vital interests. I don't know which interventions these might have been, but Putin has probably also observed that the U.S. feels free to intervene internationally even when its vital interests are not at stake.
stefan , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:04 am
I am in favor of American Empire, as it is probably the best thing going, compared to all other possible alternatives. However, in order to assert and enforce empire, Americans need to do the hard work of colonizing, of actually going there to instill their way of life, their values, their language, their know-how, their vision, their interests and control. The problem I see is that Americans are too unsure of themselves (too lazy, too decadent, too exhausted, too weak, and too unprepared) to make the sacrifices necessary to be really good colonizers, to be real leaders, and without this there can be no real Empire.
Hexexis , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm
"Donald Trump has charged, not without cause, that our allies are playing us for suckers."

Appears we've all but begged them to do so. Even if those allies commence paying "their fair share,"it's not clear how the US of A benefits. We'll still do their fighting & jack up the defense funding accordingly.

& If the Trump biz career is any example, he'll happily shell out $5 of tax money for every $1 we get in return. The NATO comic opera will not end its run even if those allies ceased playing us for suckers seconds after this post.

Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:23 pm
"Americans need to do the hard work of colonizing, of actually going there to instill their way of life"

A new Hard Core SJW Peace Corps! That's the ticket. Unpaid interns for corporate consumerist capitalism! It's gonna be a hard sell, so hardball will be required. The full faith and credit of the United States Armed Forces, or less overt, the CIA and regime change?

Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:28 pm
"The worrisome fact is both Russia and China have chosen the leaders and support their intentions. We change foreign policy as often as I change my underwear."

Deep State's durable foreign policy, which is always the de facto policy, is remarkably resilient no matter which political party is elected to fill the chairs. Elections and the will of the voters have virtually no influence on it, except in the tenor of the propaganda.

The designated enemies remain designated, no matter what any politician promises to get votes.

Fran Macadam , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:34 pm
"I am in favor of American Empire, as it is probably the best thing going"

This sentiment is only vicarious, unless you are of the tiny minority of Americans who benefit from the conflicts and deaths necessary to try to establish rule of one country's economic elites by subjugating every other nation's people.

Even so, only those bribed in dollars in foreign satrapies to be puppet leaders, would agree that it is the best of all possible worlds to be dominated by a foreign nation.

Terry Washington , says: December 22, 2017 at 5:56 am
I tend to agree with the critics of this article. Firstly was a promise allegedly made to Gorbachev by the Administration of Bush Senior(Republican) somehow binding on that of Bill Clinton(Democrat) and their successors (Bush Junior, Obama and Trump)? I think NOT!

Secondly the issue should be WHAT DO the former Soviet Republics and peoples of Eastern Europe want? If they wish to join NATO, then surely that is their right as free and independent sovereign states. Whether the Kremlin likes or lumps it is neither here or there. Contrary to what the likes of Nigel Farage (in my own country) may think, Eastern Europe is NOT some kind of dependency of Muscovy's in perpetuity!

Dieter Heymann , says: December 22, 2017 at 8:35 am
This article is fully consistent with what my family in Germany holds. NATO is needed to control a revival of dangerous German nationalism and relationships with Russia must be peaceful.
Tom Maertens , says: December 22, 2017 at 9:28 am
Bacevich seems to have missed Gorbachev's denial that there were any promises made on NATO expansion, and second, such commitments would have been to a country that ceased to exist prior to NATO expansion. Or does he think Europe still has commitments to the Austro-Hungarian Empire?

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2014/11/06/did-nato-promise-not-to-enlarge-gorbachev-says-no/

ScottA , says: December 22, 2017 at 11:16 am
I am amazed at all of the commenters who think expanding NATO up to the borders of Russia is a great idea. How would you like for Russia to form a military alliance with Mexico and for the Russian military to be conducting exercises along our southern border with Mexico?

If Russia attacks a member of NATO along its border that means that the US is at war with Russia which means a draft. Would any of the people who think NATO expansion is a great idea be willing to fight the Russians over Eastern Europe or have a member of their family go and fight?

Fighting the Russians on their own turf didn't work out to well for Napoleon and Hitler and I don't think it would work out for us too well either. We haven't been in a major war since World War 2 and I don't think our general population is ready for a big war with Russia.

The "safe space" generation is going to have a hard time fighting in the Russian winter. To think otherwise is foolhardy.

Tom Maertens , says: December 22, 2017 at 11:26 am
It is clear that Bacevich started with a political conclusion -- that Russia's sphere of influence encompasses all of Eastern Europe -- and then tried to muster historical/legal arguments to support that conclusion.

In the process, he has distorted history and left out anything that damages his conclusion. Among them:

The Russo-Ukraine border treaty of November 1990, signed by Yeltsin, guaranteed the existing borders between Russia and Ukraine;

There were also obligations under the COE, the OSCE and the UN Charter. Russia ignored all of those in forcibly annexing Crimea.

Lavrov later lied about the Budapest Memorandum, claiming it contained only one obligation, not to use nuclear weapons.

Here is the real story: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2016/01/28/mr-lavrov-russia-and-the-budapest-memorandum/

Mark VA , says: December 22, 2017 at 12:35 pm
Fair points, ScottA, but let's clarify your position:

(a) Should NATO defend Western Europe, if it is ever attacked by Russia? Alternately, are the people of Eastern Europe intrinsically different from Western Europeans? Retreating to the position that such an attack is unlikely is an evasion – so, da or nyet?

(b) It is true that Russia was attacked by Napoleon, and the USSR, while an ally of Nazi Germany, was then betrayed and attacked by Hitler. Does this give Russia today a right to a permanent sphere of influence in Eastern Europe? Da or nyet?

(c) If da, how would a Westerner make that case to Eastern Europeans? Please give it a try;

In my opinion, both NATO in the west and China's New Silk Roads (One Belt and One Road Initiative) in the east and south, exert a calming influence on any imperial stirrings of the Rulers of Muscovy. I also believe that the majority of the Russian people would prefer a peaceful and prosperous Russia, over momentary euphorias over this or that conquest;

What I admire about Russia is her spiritual and cultural powerhouse: Orthodox Liturgy and architecture, icons, chants, Sugar Plum Fairies, Brothers Karamazov, fairy tales – to mention just a random fraction of the Russian treasure. Imperialism, nyet.

[Dec 19, 2017] Mark Ames Kathy Lally Was Caught Trying To Censor Journalism In Russia and Now Deceitfully Claims She s a Victim naked capit

Notable quotes:
"... You see? Lally's gloating, smug colonialist triumphalism was the norm in expat circles. That was what we were fighting. And sometimes the outrage got out of control. But it's beyond grotesque that our outrage should be picked over for language crimes by a sloppy, inept, conscience-free writer like Lally. When the crimes of Western journalists during the Yeltsin era are chronicled, I kinda think it'll be the callous triumphalism with which she and her Clintonite buddies watched millions of Russians die that are condemned–not the tonal lapses of a low-budget dissident rag like eXile, shaking its puny fist at this corruption. ..."
"... "Each month thousands of Russians were dying prematurely. Such a drop in life expectancy, labeled 'excess deaths,' has always been a standard algorithm in demographers' calculations of the death toll of the great disasters -- whether Stalin's collectivization in the 1930s, Pol Pot's rule in Cambodia in the 1970s, or the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s. American demographer Nicholas Eberstadt estimated that the number of 'excess deaths' in Russia between 1992 and 1998 was as high as 3 million. By contrast, Eberstadt observed, Russia's losses in World War 1 were 1.7 million deaths." ..."
Dec 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Tom , December 19, 2017 at 7:48 am

I lived in Moscow in the Nineties as well. I hugely enjoyed the Exile and read it whenever I had a chance to pick it up in some restaurant or night club.
Let us put is like that: in 1992 CNN was so scared that they actually paid an East German female friend of mine with tolerable Russian and less English to travel the subway!!!! Maybe in the US the subway tends to get even more dangerous when it is getting dangerous above ground. Well possible. In Moscow though the metro was always the safest place you could be. That is because the subway in Moscow is not just an ordinary means of getting from place to place. It is the marvel of the city, the pride of every citizen (rightly so) and the very last thing that would turn chaotic.

CNN insanely decided to not let their US employees check out the metro. And their employees didn´t object !!! Not surprisingly US journalism was bullshit. They had no idea of how ordinary people lived.

The Exile was the exact opposite. They lived like ordinary Muscovites and they knew what was really going on.

Mark Ames was referring to the default of 1998. I was earning money then a travelling engineer for a German tool machine factory. . How anybody in his right mind could believe that the then merry go round of paying for maturing bonds by issuing ever higher interest bonds (insanely high interest) could go on forever is beyond me. Everybody and his granny knew that this baby would go bust. In the German paper of record – the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – their Moscow economic correspondent openly wrote about the coming default.

Why didn´t their US colleagues? The exception being the exile? Because they believed their own propaganda. And the reason they could believe it is because they lived in a secure, insulated bubble and as a rule had no or atrocious Russian.

Same like today. Nothing has changed. If you want to know what goes on in Russia don´t read the US press.

The Rev Kev , December 19, 2017 at 9:04 am

And this is what those journos missed by not going into the Moscow metro-
http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-metro-stations-look-like-palaces-2016-1/?r=AU&IR=T/#other-stations-have-less-cultural-significance-but-are-still-beautiful-like-moscows-taganskaya-metro-station-which-opened-in-1950-5

JBird , December 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm

My God, those stations are just otherworldly. Thank you for the link.

Michael Olenick , December 19, 2017 at 8:55 am

Great piece, Mark! I wrote a comment on the Washington Post piece I suspect nobody read. Even from Lally's hit job, and a little background research, I picked up that Lally was working to call out the censors. You shouldn't be so modest about your prior paper: the eXile did great work now and, I'm told by friends in the Moscow expat community, you remain the talk of the town, even if the town has settled down a lot lately. The WaPo should feel ashamed running that piece but, after deciding to, they should have approached you and Matt for a fact-check if not a rebuttal. That seems to be the way with a lot of older media though; the quality control hasn't just gone in the tank – it's been long since flushed – and they don't admit they're wrong even when the mistakes are blatant. It's why I'm pleased to write for and read NC (and thank you, Yves, for publishing this).

On the "sexism" related to her original allegations she's ignoring the context of Russia, especially back then. Even today Russia is not a quiet, politically correct kind of place. The choices available to American expat reporters during the Yeltsin and early Putin era was either try to sterilize, treat it like a zoo with the Russians starring as the animals, or contextualize and explain. Choosing that last option produced the most accurate reporting while infuriating the highfalutin our-shit-don't-stink "professional" American press corps. The gall of you and Matt to suggest the Russians aren't any worse obviously still stings, a decade after you last drank vodka while watching the river in Moscow.

masson , December 19, 2017 at 11:20 am

Lally complains about Taibbi being mean to her after she wrote a report in 1999 unironically starting a paragraph with "The latest affirmation of the anarchy that lies deep in the Russian soul " This just after shock therapy has killed millions of Russians. In this new screed she has the audacity to link to it.

I think she deserved every bit of scorn.

rusti , December 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

You see? Lally's gloating, smug colonialist triumphalism was the norm in expat circles. That was what we were fighting. And sometimes the outrage got out of control. But it's beyond grotesque that our outrage should be picked over for language crimes by a sloppy, inept, conscience-free writer like Lally. When the crimes of Western journalists during the Yeltsin era are chronicled, I kinda think it'll be the callous triumphalism with which she and her Clintonite buddies watched millions of Russians die that are condemned–not the tonal lapses of a low-budget dissident rag like eXile, shaking its puny fist at this corruption.

I'm a bit underwhelmed by the explanation that many of the outrageous antics of eXile's authors could be classified as "fighting smug colonialist triumphalism" or "shaking its puny fist", but I can agree with the fundamental point that it is absolutely shocking that someone who lived through this:

"Each month thousands of Russians were dying prematurely. Such a drop in life expectancy, labeled 'excess deaths,' has always been a standard algorithm in demographers' calculations of the death toll of the great disasters -- whether Stalin's collectivization in the 1930s, Pol Pot's rule in Cambodia in the 1970s, or the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s. American demographer Nicholas Eberstadt estimated that the number of 'excess deaths' in Russia between 1992 and 1998 was as high as 3 million. By contrast, Eberstadt observed, Russia's losses in World War 1 were 1.7 million deaths."

could walk away thinking that THEY were unfairly victimized. Ames and Brecher/Dolan are providing an extremely important service in highlighting similarly terrifying and shocking dynamics at work today with hacks like Michael Weiss broadcasting toxic garbage with a big megaphone that helps provide an intellectual veneer for the mass starvation of Yemeni children or sectarian death squads in Syria or a possible catastrophic war with Iran, so I hope people will continue to listen to them. The same goes for Taibbi in highlighting systematic racism and abuse of power by banks and lobbyists.

[Dec 17, 2017] Sorry Chump. You Didn't Have It In Writing by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... And even IF Gorbachev would have had it in writing, it would not have made a bit of difference. ..."
"... There is, actually, no excuse for Gorbachev's giving away the store without an iron-clad treaty, ratified in both the USSR and the USA. ..."
"... The US has threatened the USSR/Russia since 1918 when the UK, USA and their allies including Australia invaded from 7 different directions in a 3 year campaign. ..."
"... That combined with US subversion and no doubt bribes and false promises leads to only one conclusion. Russia has good reason to be afraid of America. ..."
"... Maybe capitalism is the foundation of the problem, but the framework is militarism, weapons production and sales, attacking people around the world, spying on everyone, and imprisoning the underclass to keep them from attacking the wealthy. Take away those structural elements and the US will collapse. ..."
"... Are we not aware that the US foreign policy is by and for the economic benefit of Wall Street? Lies are the norm to hide WS involvement. National security is a scam to hide lies. ..."
"... Handing the territories of the USSR over to the US on a handshake, that is what Gorbachev will be known for. It was no mistake. ..."
"... The present demonization of Putin has been mainly continuation of business as usual. But Putin has stood up to the interests behind the IMF, the FED, the BIS, etc., making him a hero to the entire educated world. Maybe one day soon America will join the educated world. One can only hope. ..."
"... How could any nation trust the USA who has broken every treaty they have agreed to! England all through history has coveted Russia for their vast natural resources. England has always been a wicked nation. ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | Information Clearing House "

At a time when the United States is convulsed by anti-Russian hysteria and demonization of Vladimir Putin, a trove of recently declassified Cold War documents reveals the astounding extent of the lies, duplicity and double-dealing engaged in by the western powers with the collapsing Soviet Union in 1990. I was covering Moscow in those days and met some of the key players in this sordid drama. Ever since, I've been writing that the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, were shamelessly lied to and deceived by the United States, Britain, and their appendage, NATO.

All the western powers promised Gorbachev and Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand eastward by 'one inch' if Moscow would pull the Red Army out of East Germany and allow it to peacefully reunify with West Germany. This was a titanic concession by Gorbachev: it led to a failed coup against him in 1991 by Communist hardliners.

The documents released by George Washington University in Washington DC, which I attended for a semester, make sickening reading (see them online). All western powers and statesmen assured the Russians that NATO would not take advantage of the Soviet retreat and that a new era of amity and cooperation would dawn in post-Cold War Europe. US Secretary of State Jim Baker offered 'ironclad guarantees' there would be no NATO expansion. Lies, all lies. Gorbachev was a humanist, a very decent, intelligent man who believed he could end the Cold War and nuclear arms race. He ordered the Red Army back from Eastern Europe.

I was in Wunsdorf, East Germany, HQ of the Group of Soviet Forces, Germany, and at Stasi secret police HQ in East Berlin right after the pullout order was given. The Soviets withdrew their 338,000 troops and 4,200 tanks and sent them home at lightening speed. Western promises made to Soviet leaders by President George W. H. Bush and Jim Baker quickly proved to be empty. They were honorable men but their successors were not. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush quickly began moving NATO into Eastern Europe, violating all the pledges made to Moscow. The Poles, Hungarians and Czechs were brought into NATO, then Romania and Bulgaria, the Baltic States, Albania, and Montenegro. Washington tried to get the former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. The Moscow-aligned government of Ukraine was overthrown in a US-engineered coup. The road to Moscow was open.

All the bankrupt, confused Russians could do was denounce these eastward moves by the US and NATO. The best response NATO and Washington could come up with was, 'well, there was no official written promise.' This is worthy of a street peddler selling counterfeit watches. The leaders of the US, Britain, France, Belgium and Italy all lied. Germany was caught between its honor and imminent reunification. So even its Chancellor Helmut Kohl had to go along with the West's prevarications.

At the time, I wrote that the best solution would be for the demilitarization of formerly Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe. NATO had no need or business to expand eastward. Doing so would be a constant provocation to Russia, which regarded Eastern Europe as an essential defensive glacis against invasions from the West. Now, with NATO forces on its western borders, Russia's deepest fears have been realized. Today, US military aircraft based on the coasts of Romania and Bulgaria, former Warsaw Pact members, probe Russian airspace over the Black Sea and the vital strategic port of Sevastopol. Washington talks about arming chaotic Ukraine. US and NATO troops are in the Baltic, on Russia's northwestern borders. Polish right-wingers are beating the war drums against Russia. In 1990, KGB and CIA agreed to the principal of 'not one inch' eastward for NATO.

Former US ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, confirms the same agreement. Gorbachev, who is denounced as a foolish idealist by many Russians, trusted the Western powers. He should have had a battalion of New York City garment district shyster lawyers to document his agreements in 1990. He thought he was dealing with honest, honorable men, like himself. Is it any wonder after this bait and switch diplomacy that Russia has no trust in the Western powers? Moscow watches US-run NATO oozing ever eastwards. Today, Russia's leaders firmly believe Washington's ultimate plan is to tear apart Russia and reduce it to an impotent, pauper nation.

Two former Western leaders, Napoleon and Hitler, had similar plans. Instead of carrying on about Hitler's duplicity after Munich, we should look at our own shameless behavior after 1990. Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia. https://ericmargolis.com

Mark A. Goldman · 7 hours ago

There are enough articles at this website in any one week or month for one to realize we do not live in a free country being led by people who intend to keep their oath of office.

... ... ...

Socrates pointed out that only honorable men can ever find true happiness. But that insight only points out what necessary for happiness to occur, but not what is sufficient. Freedom is also necessary, for in the absence of freedom people are prevented from living honorably.

Honor requires the courage to tell the truth and live in alignment with the truth. And without that, dignity too is lost. And what about compassion. And what about love. All of that will be lost to our posterity if we are unable to gain our freedom. And we will not gain our freedom without striving for it with every ounce of courage and intelligence we can find within us.

isabellainecuador 93p · 5 hours ago
Very well said. I have been saying as much for some time. Only President Putin actually lives by those aphorisms. I shall visit your website. Thank you
Vera Gottlieb · 6 hours ago
And even IF Gorbachev would have had it in writing, it would not have made a bit of difference.
guest · 6 hours ago
Exactly! And Gorbachev was clearly a fool to have taken up US/Nato on a gentleman's promise. It is equally probable he was bought off or was an absolute dunce.
LITCHFIELD · 2 hours ago
There is, actually, no excuse for Gorbachev's giving away the store without an iron-clad treaty, ratified in both the USSR and the USA.

It took years to get a treaty between Hungary and romania.
It took years to get a treaty between Ukraine and Romania.
It took years for Romania and other Eastern Bloc countries to be accedted into NATO. There were numerous contingencies to be satisfied.

And Gorbachev just says, "OK, Whatever you say, I believe you! It does not wash.

JGarbo · 1 hour ago
Gorbachev was no fool. He knew the West's promises were nothing, but he also knew his country was bankrupt. He gave Russia a breathing space, which after the pillage under Yeltsin, has proved beneficial.
bozhidar balkas · 6 hours ago
Vera,

That's fair an assumption

Fritz666 · 6 hours ago
LOLOLOL..this is about as bogus as it gets. Russian leadership is no more affraid of the U.S. than they are of a street thug.
Fitzhenrymac 127p · 5 hours ago
The US has threatened the USSR/Russia since 1918 when the UK, USA and their allies including Australia invaded from 7 different directions in a 3 year campaign.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_intervention...

Then there was the 1945 dropping of the atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima which were more to threaten the Soviets than Japan.

Immediately following that was the occupation of South Korea and the stationing of more atomic bombs there.

But the real clincher was the stationing of nuclear weapons in NATO countries right on the border of the Soviet Union. The huge, highly realistic and nuclear armed Abel Archer war games in 1983, not only nearly caused an actual nuclear war but also caused many in the Soviet leadership to believe that resistance beyond its own borders against America was a zero sum game.

That combined with US subversion and no doubt bribes and false promises leads to only one conclusion. Russia has good reason to be afraid of America.

participant2943 89p · 3 hours ago
Yes, Russia has good reason to be afraid of the US on two fronts -- 1 - US terrorism and 2 - imposition of depraved and destructive US political ideologies.
Cameron · 6 hours ago
The enemy here is capitalism -- Russia (and China) pose threats to the dominance of U.S. capital and therefore are demonized and lied to and for that matter treated in any manner conducive to the continued dominance of U.S. capital. This is the nature of capitalist relations between nations in its imperialist stage. It is a race to the death to crown the chief exploiter and manipulator of collective human labor and the commodities it produces. In this stage of capitalism if it isn't the U.S. who is scheming to rule it would be another. The only solution is to put an end to the rule of capital.
participant2943 89p · 3 hours ago
Maybe capitalism is the foundation of the problem, but the framework is militarism, weapons production and sales, attacking people around the world, spying on everyone, and imprisoning the underclass to keep them from attacking the wealthy. Take away those structural elements and the US will collapse.

Death and destruction are the only visible supports for the US as a "country". Other countries are busily caring for refugees, addressing fossil fuel and methane gas damage, providing health care, and advancing science and the arts. Not the US. The US today is weapons + carnage +threatening other countries + internal political collapse.

olde reb · 5 hours ago
Are we not aware that the US foreign policy is by and for the economic benefit of Wall Street? Lies are the norm to hide WS involvement. National security is a scam to hide lies.

John Stinnett used the FOIA to obtain government documents that established FDR developed a 17 month agenda with his Wall Street cronies to impose sanctions on Japan to force the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese codes were easily broken. WW One was also another false flag operation to prevent default on huge loans WS had made to European nations.

You might also consult with John Perkin's CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN that details his (concealed) employment by Wall Street to set up international loans with sovereign nations designed to go into default using their control of the IMF and WB with enforcement by the CIA and the US military. cf. Michel Chossudovsky's GLOBALIZATION OF POVERTY and his GLOBALIZATION OF WAR.

For details on how one of the first arrangements with the CIA and Wall Street was arranged by Allen Dulles, even before he was appointed Director of the CIA, you might read DEVILS CHESSBOARD by Stephen Kinzer, THE BROTHERS by David Talbot, or CIA AS ORGANIZED CRIME by Douglass Valentine. Writings by Fletcher Prouty, Antony Sutton, Nomi Prins, and many more are available. Let me know when you have finished these.

Even professor Michael Hudson has written that Wall Street's (Goldman Sachs) objective in Greece is to destroy the nation. http://farmwars.info/?p=12078 NEW WORLD ORDER DEAD AHEAD

Crosswinds · 5 hours ago
"H.W. BUSH AND JAMES BAKER" were "HONORABLE MEN?" (DECEIT/TREACHERY/DUPLICITY
is their common core nature.)
Edcdecedc · 4 hours ago
Handing the territories of the USSR over to the US on a handshake, that is what Gorbachev will be known for. It was no mistake. Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin are pieces of the same $hit.
Chas · 3 hours ago
Not the sharpest knife in the draw are you! But then history is not taught extensively in US schools, is it! Stop embarrassing yourself, child!
Tobey Llop · 2 hours ago
It's hard for me to consider that the Russians didn't assume the Americans were lying. By withdrawing troops from a pointless deployment, they were saving resources. It was a spiritual step up for the Russians. Since then, the Russian economy has improved substantially.

The American government is, by my research, basically a puppet to the banking cabal that has been profiting from wars since the 1700's.

They were behind and profited from the Russian revolution, the American Civil War, both world wars, the Cold War, the annexation of Palestine for a Zionist state, and now present efforts to start a third world war, be it Syria, Iraq, Libya, or wherever trouble can be stirred.

The present demonization of Putin has been mainly continuation of business as usual. But Putin has stood up to the interests behind the IMF, the FED, the BIS, etc., making him a hero to the entire educated world. Maybe one day soon America will join the educated world. One can only hope.

vicenr · 3 hours ago
The part of the story missing is what happened next? Hungary, Czech Republic and now Poland are a bit miffed at the way things have gone. Other than turn their nations into a door mat that NATO and Russia fight upon what did they get?

They got a missile launching pad that if war breaks out will be targeted and most likely destroyed. They got an EU that if it resembles anything, it most closely represents the old Supreme Soviet. Naw. This story has just begun.

Jim · 3 hours ago
How could any nation trust the USA who has broken every treaty they have agreed to! England all through history has coveted Russia for their vast natural resources. England has always been a wicked nation.
Yury · 1 hour ago
Usually articles by Eric Margolis have more substance and are more objective. First, even today the US cooperates with Russia on several fronts. Today Putin called Trump to thank him for supplying to Russia by CIA of Info that led to the arrest of several Islamist terrorists who wanted to explode a bomb in St. Petersburg. Clear example of cooperation.

As far as the promise to Gorbachev of not expanding NATO eastward, it was made to the leader of the Soviet Union not the leader of Russia. When the Soviet Union collapsed, such promise simply had no longer any effect since the country to which it was made no longer existed.

Still the US and other western countries didn't want to expand NATO until Yeltsin agreed to its expansion to Poland in August 1993 as reported for example in NYT http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/26/world/yeltsin-u...

In that article, by the way, it is stated that even then there were big problems between Russia and Ukraine. So to repeat all the time that the "government of Ukraine was overthrown in a US-engineered coup" is something I didn't expect from Margolis.

Barberry37 77p · 35 minutes ago
<<....the United States is convulsed...>>

I hardly think so Mr. Margolis. I would say that probably 98% of the population of Canada and the USA are totally comatose and probably won't even hear the Last Trumpet

[Dec 17, 2017] Newly-Declassified Documents Show Western Leaders Promised Gorbachev that NATO Would Not Move One Inch Closer to Russia by George Washington

Notable quotes:
"... By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog ..."
"... When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30) ..."
"... Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO ..."
"... IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes? ..."
"... Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin. ..."
"... History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-( ..."
"... first draft of history ..."
"... Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power. ..."
"... Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do ..."
"... The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout? ..."
"... the whole treatment of Russia as a beaten country (when they very clearly didn't feel like that) was beyong stupid, it was , and the West should have learned from history (how it ended with Germany post WW1). ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture. Yes, ultimately it was US decision (because they could have just keep saying no, although polish minority in the US is large – it's larger than Jewish, although I suspect there is an overlap. Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... I suspect one of the reasons they actually agreed to it in the end was because they thought Russia was done for (who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic), and NATO was just a fomality that would be gone in a decade. ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic ..."
"... "Russia is finished" ..."
"... WW2 was "won" by Russia defeating Germany, while losing 30 million people. The US "won" WW2 by bombing a quarter million citizens at Hiroshima/Nagasake, while losing maybe 250,000 soldiers in the total war effort.. ..."
"... Gentlemen prefer jackboots ? ..."
"... The U.S. and its allies made a set of commitments to Gorbachev, and then Bill Clinton broke those promises. Full stop. Bush then doubled down. Obama and Trump added Albania, Croatia and Montenegro because I guess it's now a required machismo ritual. (interestinng coincidence that accessions just happened to be scheduled for the first six months after open-seat Presidential elections, no?) The consequences of those decisions are the responsibility of the inhabitants of the White House, and no one else's. ..."
"... The recent history, with savage civil wars in Yugoslavia, Moldavia and Ukraine, shows that there are enough wacky people imbued with detestation for their neighbours to overwhelm the sane ones. Echoes of what some Ukrainian groups tell about e.g. Poles make me think we should be wary of those old grievances. ..."
"... A century ago, Russians had a positive image amongst Eastern Europeans (except Poles). The ones who were the target of contempt and detestation were the Austrians and the Turks. Perhaps the next generation will have entirely forgotten about the Russians of the Warsaw Pact, the COMECON and the "limited sovereignty". ..."
"... Lost in your one-sided account of the brave Hungarians is the fact that a non-trivial contingent of those invading the USSR during the Second World War were Hungarians. There were a lot of fascists in Hungary, and no joke about it, and they willingly participated in the invasion. ..."
"... Instead the western powers got greedy, expanded up the the Russian border, lined it with Special Forces formations and future nuclear first-strike-missiles and holds NATO tank parades literally blocks away from the Russian border. Epic fail that. ..."
"... Nice thought but the military industry can't have peace and harmony. NATO was very quick to start talking about Islam as the next threat after the fall of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The entrenched USG neocons will foster a demonization of Putin (and Russia) until they achieve WWIII; but an objective evaluation of Russian superiority in weapons suggests that theirs is a suicide mission. Peruse the saga of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea, and the US military fear of Soviet defense missile systems, to understand. ..."
"... except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor. ..."
"... the reneging of Baker's promise + regime change in Iraq + regime change in Libya + near regime change in Syria demonstrate to everyone outside of Nato that the US/the West can't be trusted to honor international law -- regardless of the administration (Dem or Rep). And other countries will act accordingly ..."
"... In the book "Who Lost Russia", the author, Peter Conradi, mentions a political lobby group funded by the defense contractors to promote NATO expansion to the East in the 1990s. Does anyone have information concerning this group and its influence? ..."
"... By the late 90s, with Yeltsin in charge, Russian opposition was less of an issue. In the end, NATO stumbled into enlargement, telling itself that it would be confined to the V3/4 and that would be it. But as a number of us pointed out at the time, once you start, there's no logical point at which you stop. And so Ukraine. ..."
"... tell it to the American Natives (Indians). The US lies to eveyone to gain land and leverage. ..."
"... Another problem, and much more significant one, was that Russia adopted capitalist at the very unfortunate moment of the domination of neoliberalism which led to many catastrophic decisions. ..."
"... I find it hard to believe that Gorbachev, or indeed anyone in international politics, would trust the US government or US ruling class absent some sort of material verification, guarantees, even hostages. That requires some explanation. ..."
"... The Warsaw Pact was USSR military colonialism. NATO was US military colonialism. What does an imperial power do when its "enemy" vacates a space, asking for neutrality? It takes over, demanding tribute. The tribute in this case was neoliberalism, to the benefit of US business, especially the MIC. ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. This is a more purely geopolitical piece than we normally run. The reason for featuring it is that this bit of history is vital to understanding current US/Russian relations.

Even though experts have acknowledged that Secretary of State James Baker promised Mikhail Gorbachev that the Western powers would not move NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries, they claimed that the Russians were naive to have taken this promise as meaningful. The argument went that the US regarded only obligations committed to writing as binding, while the Soviets regarded firm, unambiguous statement by parties authorized to negotiate as commitments.

As the post below describes in detail, the Russians have more basis for feeling abused by the US and its allies than the US defense above indicates. Not only did Baker repeat his "not one inch eastward" declaration on three separate occasions, many national leaders and top-level diplomats in NATO countries, such as Maggie Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, and Francois Mitterand, both affirmed that they would respect the security interests of the former USSR and would also involve it in European "security structures."

And as we've said repeatedly, when the Clinton Administration broke these commitments by moving NATO eastward in 1997, cold warrior George Kennan predicted that it would be the worst geopolitical mistake the US ever made.

By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog

The U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time it broke up and many other experts have said that the West promised Gorbachev that – if the USSR allowed German re-unification – NATO wouldn't move "one inch closer" to Russia.

While Western leaders have long denied the promise, newly-declassified documents now prove this.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University reported Tuesday:

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker's famous "not one inch eastward" assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University ( http://nsarchive.gwu.edu ).

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels

The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates's criticism of "pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn't happen."

***

The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear "that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an 'impairment of Soviet security interests.' Therefore, NATO should rule out an 'expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.'" The Bonn cable also noted Genscher's proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO

This latter idea of special status for the GDR territory was codified in the final German unification treaty signed on September 12, 1990, by the Two-Plus-Four foreign ministers (see Document 25). The former idea about "closer to the Soviet borders" is written down not in treaties but in multiple memoranda of conversation between the Soviets and the highest-level Western interlocutors (Genscher, Kohl, Baker, Gates, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major, Woerner, and others) offering assurances throughout 1990 and into 1991 about protecting Soviet security interests and including the USSR in new European security structures . The two issues were related but not the same. Subsequent analysis sometimes conflated the two and argued that the discussion did not involve all of Europe. The documents published below show clearly that it did.

The "Tutzing formula" immediately became the center of a flurry of important diplomatic discussions over the next 10 days in 1990, leading to the crucial February 10, 1990, meeting in Moscow between Kohl and Gorbachev when the West German leader achieved Soviet assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east

***

The conversations before Kohl's assurance involved explicit discussion of NATO expansion, the Central and East European countries, and how to convince the Soviets to accept unification. For example, on February 6, 1990, when Genscher met with British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, the British record showed Genscher saying, "The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next ." (See Document 2)

Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev

Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the "not one inch eastward" formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev's statement in response to the assurances that "NATO expansion is unacceptable." Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place," and that the Americans understood that "not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction." (See Document 6).

Here are two relevant excerpts from Document 6 :

***

The National Security Archive report continues:

Baker reported: "And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO's jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [ .] He then added, 'Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.'" Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl's benefit, "By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable." ( See Document 8)

Well-briefed by the American secretary of state, the West German chancellor understood a key Soviet bottom line, and assured Gorbachev on February 10, 1990: "We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity." (See Document 9).

Here is a related excerpt from Document 9 :

The National Security Archives report concludes:

All the Western foreign ministers were on board with Genscher, Kohl, and Baker. Next came the British foreign minister, Douglas Hurd, on April 11, 1990.

***

Hurd reinforced the Baker-Genscher-Kohl message in his meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow, April 11, 1990, saying that Britain clearly "recognized the importance of doing nothing to prejudice Soviet interests and dignity." (See Document 15)

The Baker conversation with Shevardnadze on May 4, 1990, as Baker described it in his own report to President Bush, most eloquently described what Western leaders were telling Gorbachev exactly at the moment: "I used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive." (See Document 17)

Baker said it again, directly to Gorbachev on May 18, 1990 in Moscow, giving Gorbachev his "nine points," which included the transformation of NATO, strengthening European structures, keeping Germany non-nuclear, and taking Soviet security interests into account. Baker started off his remarks, "Before saying a few words about the German issue, I wanted to emphasize that our policies are not aimed at separating Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union. We had that policy before. But today we are interested in building a stable Europe, and doing it together with you." (See Document 18)

The French leader Francois Mitterrand continued the cascade of assurances by saying the West must "create security conditions for you, as well as European security as a whole." (See Document 19) Mitterrand immediately wrote Bush in a " cher George " letter about his conversation with the Soviet leader, that "we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country's security." (See Document 20)

At the Washington summit on May 31, 1990, Bush went out of his way to assure Gorbachev that Germany in NATO would never be directed at the USSR : "Believe me, we are not pushing Germany towards unification, and it is not us who determines the pace of this process. And of course, we have no intention, even in our thoughts, to harm the Soviet Union in any fashion. That is why we are speaking in favor of German unification in NATO without ignoring the wider context of the CSCE, taking the traditional economic ties between the two German states into consideration. Such a model, in our view, corresponds to the Soviet interests as well." (See Document 21)

The "Iron Lady" also pitched in, after the Washington summit, in her meeting with Gorbachev in London on June 8, 1990. Thatcher anticipated the moves the Americans (with her support) would take in the early July NATO conference to support Gorbachev with descriptions of the transformation of NATO towards a more political, less militarily threatening, alliance . She said to Gorbachev: "We must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured . CSCE could be an umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into discussion about the future of Europe." (See Document 22)

The NATO London Declaration on July 5, 1990 had quite a positive effect on deliberations in Moscow, according to most accounts, giving Gorbachev significant ammunition to counter his hardliners at the Party Congress which was taking place at that moment.

***

As Kohl said to Gorbachev in Moscow on July 15, 1990, as they worked out the final deal on German unification: "We know what awaits NATO in the future, and I think you are now in the know as well," referring to the NATO London Declaration. (See Document 23)

In his phone call to Gorbachev on July 17, Bush meant to reinforce the success of the Kohl-Gorbachev talks and the message of the London Declaration. Bush explained: "So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO ; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe." (See Document 24)

The documents show that Gorbachev agreed to German unification in NATO as the result of this cascade of assurances , and on the basis of his own analysis that the future of the Soviet Union depended on its integration into Europe, for which Germany would be the decisive actor. He and most of his allies believed that some version of the common European home was still possible and would develop alongside the transformation of NATO to lead to a more inclusive and integrated European space, that the post-Cold War settlement would take account of the Soviet security interests. The alliance with Germany would not only overcome the Cold War but also turn on its head the legacy of the Great Patriotic War.

But inside the U.S. government, a different discussion continued , a debate about relations between NATO and Eastern Europe. Opinions differed, but the suggestion from the Defense Department as of October 25, 1990 was to leave "the door ajar" for East European membership in NATO . (See Document 27)

***

As late as March 1991, according to the diary of the British ambassador to Moscow, British Prime Minister John Major personally assured Gorbachev, "We are not talking about the strengthening of NATO ." Subsequently, when Soviet defense minister Marshal Dmitri Yazov asked Major about East European leaders' interest in NATO membership, the British leader responded, " Nothing of the sort will happen ." (See Document 28)

When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30)

Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO

Anti-Schmoo , December 15, 2017 at 4:22 am

IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes?

Jim Haygood , December 15, 2017 at 7:26 am

Nice timing for the release of these archives on Dec 12th. Yesterday the WaPo posted an article "based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U.S. officials" titled "Doubting the Intelligence: Trump Pursues Putin and Leaves a Russian Threat Unchecked":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/

Axiomatic to the WaPo hacks authors is that NATO ranks right up there with the 1776 Declaration and the Constitution as a bedrock US principle. Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin.

Naturally the new archives released by GWU play no part in the WaPo story two days later, since they aren't "fitted to the narrative."

History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-(

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

Any time you hear or read a Russian conspiracy theory in the MSM or elsewhere, substitute the words "Jews" for "Russians" and the words "International Jewry" for "Russia". Then re-read the sentence.

See how ugly that sentence now looks?

So why should we rightfully decry such racism against Jews or others, but applaud the same sort of racism when it is directed against Russians?

Jfree , December 15, 2017 at 4:32 am

Interesting to see these first draft of history discussions come out. At roughly the same time, Jeanne Kirkpatrick wrote an article directed more to a public discussion that the end of the 40-year Cold War could lead to America once again becoming a normal country in normal times . With its implication that NATO's very existence might not even be necessary anymore.

Gotta say the thing that most disappoints me is that none of these conversations ever actually occurred in any public – anywhere. There was absolutely zero public discussion about what a post-Cold War world and its mutual obligations might look like.

Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power.

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

Yeah, but then the Deep State might actually have to get *jobs*.

skippy , December 15, 2017 at 4:33 am

Ask the Afghani Mujaheddin

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 4:44 am

You cannot read this alone – I said so before, and will again.

Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do.

It was a symbol, more than anything else. You need to remember that all of those countries had Soviet troops (and nuclear weapons), some since WW2, and ALL of them had their citizens killed by Soviet troops (Czechoslovakia 1968, Hungary 1956, Poland pre-and post WW2) within living memory.

Clinton resisted this (for a time, and I believe on advice of his security advisors), but in the end was won over. I have actually talked to a few people from V4 who were involved in this at a quite high level, so feel like I can comment.

Ignoring the above is to me just a sort of different American bubble that says "everything (for one group good, for another bad) that happens in the world is because America wishes so". It entirely ignores the history and the political situation in the area at the time.

That's not to say US couldn't have played it better – but it was not "America wake up and said "let's extend NATO for the kicks of it"" either.

Yves Smith Post author , December 15, 2017 at 5:20 am

Did you read the post? The commitments weren't just from the US. They were also from the leaders of Germany, France, and the UK.

The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout?

Quentin , December 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

Maybe Poland has more clout because the rest of Europe and the US see Poland as part of their world. Not so much Turkey, which didn't get into any European 'game' plan until the end of the Ottoman empire, especially beginning with Ataturk. Before that, it was more an enemy if anything. And Russia then? Well Russia has always been seen as the big, bad freak who refuses to comply and conform, submit, to the West's deepest wishes.

Carolinian , December 15, 2017 at 9:10 am

I'm reading a book about the Crimean War and even in the middle of the 19th cent. there was widespread sentiment in England that the Russians were Slavic barbarians threatening the rest of Europe with their size, expansionist ambitions and different version of Christianity. So perhaps the current Russophobia has deeper roots than we realize and may center on Old Blightey with the cousins along for the ride. In this scenario Poland became the buffer zone against the Russians and was much quarreled over by the great powers.

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 7:13 am

I can't answer that – but the reality is, that US was giving V4 "No" answer when they were lobbying for it, and it took them years to get there.

If US was so keen to do it, it would have been done by Bush, not Clinton towards the end of hist first term. Clinton told Havel (and I have it from a person who was in the room at the time) that his military/security advisors were telling him "No".

Donald , December 15, 2017 at 7:30 am

What difference would it make to the Russians if Clinton was told not to do it and then did it anyway? You are arguing in effect that the US had good intentions and didn't want to break its word, but that is a secondary issue. The issue here is that not only did the US break its word, but we have been misled about it.

I was thinking about this in connection with a story about Yemen in the Intercept a couple of days ago. It seems that our ambassador to Yemen was more hawkish than some others in the Obama Administration. I think we should know as much as possible about how such decisions ar made and I thought the story was useful, but I can imagine how it would be spun if the mainstream press were ever pressured into covering our horrific role in Yemen with as much energy as they pour into Russiagate. They would look for a sc