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Why did we get the collapse of the USSR so wrong ?

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Collapse of the USSR was the part of triumphal march of neoliberal around the globe. Neoliberalism as Tristyism for the rick managed to displace Marxsim as the dominant ideology for almost 50 years (from approximately 1960 to 2008.

Amazingly bad timing of the collapse resulted in severe economic rape of Russia and post-soviet republics in best traditions of neocolonialism. The standard of living of Russian and Ukrainian population outside of top 10% dropped considerably and for Ukraine actually never recovered to pre-collapse level. For Russia briefly recovered and  exceeded Soviet level, but started to drop after 2008 and then collapse of oil price in 2014.  With the current exchange rate of 60 rubles per dollar average income of ordinary Russians is not impressive and Ukrainian population dropped to Central African level of poverty (less than $2 a day).  Actually for Russia it was simply a miracle that they managed to recover after such an economic rape at all.

And it is funny (and shows the power of neoliberal propaganda) how many Russians and Ukrainians are still convinced by the Hollywood movies that everybody in the US and Europe has opportunities to earn a decent living and lives a better life.  They never heard about Wal-mart single mom.

That means that collapse of the USSR was caused by the combination of several major factors qnd well as bad  timing of Gorbachov reforms and incompetence of Gorbachov as a politician. 

Among major factors (which have complex interplay with one another) we can mention:

  1. Rising neoliberalism as a new social system that displaced both New Deal capitalism (Scandinavian model) and Soviet bolshevism.
  2. Polishing the techniques of color revolutions and growing power and coordination of Western intelligence agencies. Especially in propaganda war area and well as bribing  certain circles of "intelligencia" and government officials.
  3. Discreditation of Bolshevism both as ideology and economic system. 
  4. Stagnations of soviet economy and inability even to maintain the standard of living of population which started sliding generating discontent. Which also demonstrated in stagnation of soviet science.  Many soviet scientific magazines deteriorated to junk level.  The key source of new technological and scentic information became western magazines.
  5. Bad  timing of Gorbachov reforms and incompetence of Gorbachov as a politician. 
  6. Growing influence of Western culture on the USSR which started with Elvis Presley and Beatles.  Especially Hollywood (and generally Western) films and pop music.
  7. Fossilization and degeneration of ruling elite (aka "nomenklatura")
  8. Growing effectiveness of Western sanctions and politics of economic isolation of the USSR with Nixon china  policy.  Which increased the level of stagnation of soviet economics and deprive the USSR of technological achievement of the West, which generated discontent of population.
  9. Saudi inspired oil price drop, which deprives the USSR of currency revenue.
  10. Formation of internal neoliberal "fifth-column with the in the USSR, including large part of KGB apparatus. Probably not without help of major intelligence agencies.
  11. PC and communications revolution. Proliferation of laser printers, Personal computers with modems and appearance of first network such as FIDOnet  (based on  regular phone lines), BBC and, gradually Internet (first in the form of UUCP)  that made maintenance of "hermetic" society like the USSR impossible.
  12. Excessive power of military-industrial complex in soviet nomenklatura resulting is excessive spending on defense and the maintenance of "Soviet block."

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[Feb 22, 2020] Trump Should Get Out of NATO Now, But Nicely by Ivan Eland

Notable quotes:
"... The NATO alliance was established to protect war-devastated Western European nations against a possible Soviet threat until they got on their feet economically again. Dwight Eisenhower even said that if American troops remained in Europe too long, NATO would have failed. Yet long after the European economic miracle -- amazing prosperity achieved during a robust recovery in the decade or so after the war -- and long after the Soviet Union collapsed, NATO, instead of going away, has expanded its territory and mission. The American military remains in Europe to guarantee the security of nations that have a combined GDP greater than that of the United States. Meanwhile, Russia, the successor "threat" to the Soviet Union, has a GDP equivalent to that of Spain. The overextended United States also has a staggering national debt of $23 trillion and eye-popping unfunded government mandates at all levels that amount to between $150 and $200 trillion. ..."
Feb 21, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bossing, bullying, and nickel-and-diming won't make for an easy divorce. Donald Trump at NATO Summit, Brussels, in 2018

According to Politico , the American delegation to the illustrious Munich Security Conference -- the security counterpart to the elite World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland -- was apparently "dumbfounded" by the hostile reaction they received from European speakers, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Steinmeier even took aim at the Trump administration's hallowed "Make America Great Again" slogan, accusing the United States of "rejecting the idea of the international community." Steinmeier characterized Trump's position this way: "Every country should fend for itself and put its own interests over all others 'great again' -- even at the expense of neighbors and partners."

Ironically, Steinmeier's acerbic comments seem to conclude that if the United States becomes uncomfortable with continuing to effectively subsidize the defense of wealthy European states, which have long been capable of being at least the first line of defense for themselves, it is inflicting suffering on its allies and doesn't even believe in the "international community." Steinmeier's grumbling is akin to that of an entitled young adult still living at home after being told by his parents to get a job.

The NATO alliance was established to protect war-devastated Western European nations against a possible Soviet threat until they got on their feet economically again. Dwight Eisenhower even said that if American troops remained in Europe too long, NATO would have failed. Yet long after the European economic miracle -- amazing prosperity achieved during a robust recovery in the decade or so after the war -- and long after the Soviet Union collapsed, NATO, instead of going away, has expanded its territory and mission. The American military remains in Europe to guarantee the security of nations that have a combined GDP greater than that of the United States. Meanwhile, Russia, the successor "threat" to the Soviet Union, has a GDP equivalent to that of Spain. The overextended United States also has a staggering national debt of $23 trillion and eye-popping unfunded government mandates at all levels that amount to between $150 and $200 trillion.

One might conclude from this that Trump's policy of angrily haranguing and belittling his NATO allies into coughing up a few more dollars for their own defense is the right one. Trump crudely understands the problem but has come up with the wrong solution. The many Eurocentric analysts, who dominated the American foreign policy elite during the Cold War and are now trying to hang on to relevance, keep hyping the general Russia threat by excessively demonizing its president, Vladimir Putin, who is really just another tin-pot dictator.

A third way is still possible, one that avoids both placating the hand-wringing Eurocentric establishment and the nickel-and-diming of NATO allies that Trump desires.

The worst fear of the Eurocentrics is that Trump will, before leaving office, withdraw from the NATO alliance, much as he did with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, the international agreement on climate change, and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty. Yet this is the proper, though radical, approach. It needs to be done immediately, so that it can't be reversed by the next president. The problem is that Trump has been rude and obnoxious enough to the Europeans that the divorce might very well make Britain's exit from the European Union look like a walk in the park. The ideal would have been to have had a previously cordial relationship with Europe, followed by a U.S. statement that the European economic miracle has allowed them to withstand a stagnant Russia and they need to finally take primary responsibility for their own defense.

This would have allowed the United States rebuild its dissipated power by reducing government spending and debt and reallocating the remaining military forces to the Pacific to hedge against a rising China. Such a change is critical, and it remains to be seen whether it can be achieved.

Ivan Eland is a senior fellow at the Independent Institute and director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty. His new book, War and the Rogue Presidency: Restoring the Republic After Congressional Failure, was released in May 2019.


joeo a day ago • edited

"Trump Should Get Out Of NATO Now, But Nicely" is spot on. The Obama Administration pivot to the Pacific could have be continued in a cordial fashion but that is not the Donald way. The US needs to make a treaty with Russia and leave Europe with the possible exception of Ramstein AFB.
Bjorn Andresen a day ago • edited
"Vladimir Putin is a tin pot dictator"

"Russia is stagnant"

These goofy neocon statements won't buy you anything. Stop giving legitimacy to the establishment's false narrative, it won't make the foreign policy elites accept you, you can't oppose the elite and at the same time work within the confines of the paradigm they created. Not only are such statements untrue, it's self defeating.

Selvar Bjorn Andresen a day ago • edited
Is it really false to say that Russia is stagnant though? After all, Russia has a falling population (population peaked in the early 1990s), a relatively low life-expectancy, an economy that is smaller than that of Italy's in terms of nominal GDP, and a conventional military capability that is a mere shadow of what it once was in Soviet times. Other countries (China, the U.S. etc..) may have a low fertility rate as well, but China has a massive population to start with, and the U.S. can attract immigrants fairly well. Note: I am not saying that immigration is necessarily a good thing when it is used as a means of demographic replacement to make up for a low fertility rate, but it is one way to cope with the geopolitical and economic implications of a low birth rate, at least for a time.

Certainly, Russia is not doing too badly by Third World standards, and,to be fair, I do think Putin has utilized a fundamentally weak geopolitical hand rather well. It's also pretty clear that Putin played a significant role in bringing Russia back from the brink economically and culturally following the degradation it suffered in the 1990s. For that matter, I think his popularity is likely genuine among many people in Russia, even if he is a dictator of sorts. Still, if you look at the fundamental, long-term economic, demographic, and military trends, it's hard to escape the conclusion that Russia is a declining power. Over a long enough time frame, it almost certainly is.

Sid Finster Selvar a day ago
Russia has not had a falling population for some time now.

Economic statistics are based on official numbers, which ignore the gray market economy that a lot of Russian people live on.

Selvar Sid Finster 21 hours ago
Given the fact that Russia has not had an above replacement fertility rate since the fall of the USSR, and given that it's ability to attract immigrants is rather limited (how many third world immigrants would choose Russia, over, say, Germany?), I don't see how a falling population is not inevitable for Russia in the long term. This is especially a problem for Russia given the vastness of its eastern regions, as well as how few people live in those regions to begin with.

A consistent theme of Pat Buchanan's columns about Russia is that-- given the vast population disparities involved--China is likely to start slowly colonizing Siberia at some point, at least in an implicit, economic sort of way. I do wonder if this is a likely outcome.

kouroi Selvar a day ago
Russia third world? A certain head needs to be pulled from a certain something, to put it bluntly.
Selvar kouroi 21 hours ago • edited
I said that it's doing well by Third World standards, not that it necessarily is itself a Third World nation. Historically, Russia was considered a Second World country, which makes sense.
kouroi Selvar 4 hours ago
Have a look at this second world country: https://halfreeman.wordpres...

While the US pretends to be a first world country...

Mandrake Selvar 3 hours ago
Russia has an excellent education system, its medical services are good, it has a high literacy rate, it is white and Christian, with conservative values, and it has few gun massacres.

Leaving NATO is a no-brainer. The US and Russia have a common foe - the Chicoms.

Don Quijote a day ago
The problem with disbanding NATO is that no one knows what will follow.
Would Europe go back to the intra power politics of the early 20th Century? In which case the US will likely sucked into their next war.
Or would the EU integrate it's defense and foreign policy and create a Federal Europe? And if they did, how long would it take Europe to be a peer competitor to the US?
Sid Finster Don Quijote a day ago
How many European countries have territorial claims on each other? Few to none.
How many European countries are in competition for colonies? Few to none.
Don Quijote Sid Finster a day ago
You don't need territorial issues for war, the US had no territorial issues with Iraq nor Afghanistan in 2001, it didn't prevent the US from invading both countries.

I can easily see something like social dumping starting a cascade that takes Europe to war. That is the main European fear about BREXIT.

=marco01= Sid Finster a day ago
Russia
MPC =marco01= a day ago
I think Russia is more worried about its southern flank than its western one in the long term especially once the US and its ambition is gone. Russia badly needs to get closer to Europe.
ericsiverson MPC 8 minutes ago
Russia is in Europe
ericsiverson Don Quijote 10 minutes ago
Germany will rule the E.U. just as they would have If Hitler had won the 2cd World war It will be national socialist which the Muslims will like .. The remaining Jews will have to leave or die
SatirevFlesti a day ago
NATO should have been mothballed after the fall of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. But the vested interests of the military-industrial-financial complex have kept it expanding, antagonizing Russia in its sphere of influence, seeking out new monsters (such as the unjust and illegal war on Serbia), and it mainly exists now to enrich arms producers and to support bureaucrats in Brussels with sinecures in their fancy headquarters building.
Sceptical Gorilla a day ago
>The American military remains in Europe to guarantee the security of nations that have a combined GDP greater than that of the United States

I don't believe this is true anymore. The US passed the EU in nominal GDP in roughly 2018.

K squared a day ago
Trump nicely=hyper oxymoron
Wally a day ago • edited
As an anti-war lefty, I just love this destruction of the intelligence community and hope Trump really does abandon NATO... right before we drag him out of White House in shackles... or some such thing.

It's curious the complaint about debt in this post... didn't everyone just agree to increase the defense budget last year... again?

Personan0ngrata a day ago
Trump Should Get Out of NATO Now, But Nicely

Agreed.

This would have allowed the United States rebuild its dissipated power by reducing government spending and debt and reallocating the remaining military forces to the Pacific to hedge against a rising China.

Why must the US hedge against a rising China in the Pacific ?

How is this a realistic plan of action?

China's rise has been through voluntary economic endeavors with other nations not through force of arms. Asian issues must be solved via Asian nations engaging in dialectical dialogue not US government gun-boat diplomacy.

The same logic that allows for a reduced US role in NATO (ie defending Europe) clearly shows that America's allies in the Pacific (eg Japan, S.Korea, Indonesia, etc) have more than recovered (eg Japan world's 3rd largest economy, S.Korea 12th largest, Indonesia 16th largest) from the devastation of WWII and the Korea War and are quite capable of defending themselves.

To paraphrase George Washington - trade with all entangling alliances with none.

https://www.investopedia.co...

The US has been running trillion dollar yearly deficits for over a decade with an acknowledged 23 trillion dollar debt (as of 2020) along with hundreds of trillions of dollars in unfunded future liabilities and deteriorating national infrastructure in need of over 3 trillion dollars in upgrades.

https://www.justfacts.com/n...

https://www.forbes.com/site...

https://www.maritime-execut...

In order to meet these pressing issues the US government needs to stop garrisoning (ie empire) the world under the tissue paper thin veneer of providing global stability and security (of which it can not even provide in Baltimore Md 50 miles from DC) and return it's myopic/megalomaniacal gaze to America.

kouroi a day ago
The US doesn't want outside Europe and will be pushed out kicking and screaming. Of course the Poles will cry bloody murder... Never a smart polity...
Brigadier V Mahalingam 19 hours ago
I don't think Trump is really interested in leaving NATO. US has a stable & a dependable market in Europe. US' presence in Europe prevents China & Russia spreading their wings there. It will also assist US in containing these major powers along side its efforts in South China Sea & the Info-Pacific. Internationally US gets the support of 27 Countries in all international fora. To my mind, the very reason why US continually keeps projecting Russia as an enemy is to ensure that the European countries remain tied to US.

Even if US is unwilling to let go Europe from the alliance, it is time EU abandons US & takes responsibility for itself. Europe has the potential to become an important & a powerful pole in a Multipolar world.

peter mcloughlin 14 hours ago
Russia presents more of a danger today than during the height of the Cold War: then the Kremlin had a proper buffer zone, today it has not. There is the existential threat: the reason nations to war.
https://www.ghostsofhistory...
Rossbach an hour ago
While I agree that NATO is now irrelevant and a significant waste of US tax dollars, shifting that expenditure to fight China might be an even bigger mistake. The US should withdraw its military forces from the Western Pacific for the same reason we should leave NATO. Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines should be made responsible for making their own accommodations with China.

[Feb 15, 2020] Many People In NATO Countries Say No To Supporting A NATO Ally In Military Conflict With Russia

Feb 15, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Many People In NATO Countries Say "No" To Supporting A NATO Ally In Military Conflict With Russia by Tyler Durden Sat, 02/15/2020 - 07:00 Authored by Adam Dick via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

NATO is marketed as providing each member nation with the benefit that the other member nations are committed to coming to its aid militarily in the event of an attack by another nation, especially Russia .

However, Pew Research Center poll results released Sunday indicate that the majority or plurality of people in 11 of 16 NATO countries where individuals were questioned oppose their respective governments meeting this commitment, at least if the military adversary were Russia.

These poll results indicate that serious thought should be given to disbanding NATO , an organization with a primary objective that appears to be at odds with public opinion in many NATO countries.

When asked if their respective countries' governments should use military force to defend a NATO ally country neighboring Russia with which "Russia got into a serious military conflict," people living in the 16 NATO countries tended to answer in the negative.

"No" was the answer for the majority of polled individuals in eight countries -- France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Turkey.

In three more NATO countries -- the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland -- a plurality rejected military intervention.

Only in five countries -- the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Lithuania -- did more people (a majority in each case) support such military intervention than reject it.

[Jan 27, 2020] Russia had long been the butt of jokes by other Europeans about its backwardness, "Asiatic" crudeness and atavistic religiosity and when news of the Japanese victory over the Russians in 1905 reached Europe they expressed openly their schadenfreude and glee for Russia's distress in hard times, especially for "dishonouring" European arms for being defeated by an Asiatic nation

Notable quotes:
"... How did they do it? Reading the reports and contemporary press (1924), plus the "Western" governments plots now with the Germans also part of the gang, everyone predicted the Soviets' experiment – who could not run a chicken raffle, let alone a huge country – would collapse by itself and the Russian wealthy emigres in Paris were preparing their return home on the back of the Great Powers armies under the command of Gen. Hoffmann. ..."
"... How did they do it? Perhaps the answer is revealed if we ask: what is different now? And the answer is that the Russian people were building a new country from the ruins of the old for themselves. In the process they were building Socialism. For the many detractors of the USSR here, that is the greatest sin. In their view, people should work as slaves for their masters: the capitalist class, coincidentally mostly Jewish, to rub salt into the wound. ..."
Jan 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

Parfois1 , says: Show Comment January 27, 2020 at 12:34 pm GMT

@FB What I find most surprising (and revolting) is the virulent rancour of many commenters towards the Revolutionary and WWII Russians for (and I can't see any other plausible explanation) having deposed Tsarism and Nazism respectively and, subsequently, constructing a successful competitor to the economic orthodoxy of Capitalism.

All that done from scratch within a short span of time on their own by their own efforts, a feat unequal in human history.

How they did it? After all, Russia had long been the butt of jokes by other Europeans about its backwardness, "Asiatic" crudeness and atavistic religiosity and when news of the Japanese victory over the Russians in 1905 reached Europe they expressed openly their schadenfreude and glee for Russia's distress in hard times, especially for "dishonouring" European arms for being defeated by an Asiatic nation. Not only that, by 1917 Russia was literally on its knees, the people starving, the soldiers at the front neglected, the countryside devastated, the German armies outside Petrograd and the Kerensky government making plans to leave the capital. Then the foreign invasions at Murmansk, Archangel, Baku, Manchuria and Vladivostok by Entente powers, Finland, Poland, US and Japan all ganged up in support of the Whites in the civil war that further devastated the countryside to the point that it ceased to function as a country without money and the economy ran on "war Communism" (the state had to provided all the basic needs to everyone). Famine ensued.

From that disaster that Russia was, gradually emerged a nation licking its wounds and grieving its ten million plus dead (perhaps then the greatest calamity visiting a nation ever) by putting its back to the wall and rebuilding itself, on their own and facing the hostility of all the Great Powers through sanctions and blockades.

How did they do it? Reading the reports and contemporary press (1924), plus the "Western" governments plots now with the Germans also part of the gang, everyone predicted the Soviets' experiment – who could not run a chicken raffle, let alone a huge country – would collapse by itself and the Russian wealthy emigres in Paris were preparing their return home on the back of the Great Powers armies under the command of Gen. Hoffmann.

How did they do it? Perhaps the answer is revealed if we ask: what is different now? And the answer is that the Russian people were building a new country from the ruins of the old for themselves. In the process they were building Socialism. For the many detractors of the USSR here, that is the greatest sin. In their view, people should work as slaves for their masters: the capitalist class, coincidentally mostly Jewish, to rub salt into the wound.

[Jan 19, 2020] In Europe the prime objective for the US is to prevent Russia and Germany coupling up, keeping the two tribes separate is the goal, at whatever cost.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Baron , Jan 17 2020 23:35 utc | 60

@ wagelaborer | Jan 17 2020 19:04 utc

Read wagelaborer (3)

Read wagelaborer (3)

Read wagelaborer (3) because what he says is the core to the understanding US Foreign policy, everything else is unimportant, a side dish, a noise. One possible thing missing is that in Europe the prime objective for the US is to prevent Russia and Germany coupling up, keeping the two tribes separate is the goal, at whatever cost.

The pricing of oil (and oil derivatives) in dollars is a replacement for the gold-backed dollar scrapped by Nixon in early 70s. The pricing is a must, losing it would undermine the dollar as a reserve currency. Each year, those who need to buy oil plus oil derivates have to find trillions for the buy the black gold.

Consider: Each day some 100ml barrels are produced, that's 36bn barrels a year, at a cost of $75 per barrel it's some $2.7tr needed to buy the stuff. And that's just the crude. Add the derivatives (per barrel more expensive than crude), and one's talking some $5-7tr to be found. That's what allows the US to print either IOU's i.e. the Treasuries or actual cash without any worry whatever the IOU's will ever be brought back to the mainland US in haunting inflation.

The time the pricing of oil in dollars goes, the US hegemony gets a fatal knock, from which it would be near impossible to recover bar staring a war.

Cynica , Jan 17 2020 23:49 utc | 63

It's clear that Trump does not understand - or has not understood until recently - the true goals of US foreign policy (maintaining the dollar hegemony first, promoting US business interests second). His notion of winning a war is apparently being able to send the troops home. This is at odds with the "deep state", which has no problem spending money that it sees as coming from others, as long as that money keeps coming in and it's being spent in the furtherance of geopolitical goals. Hence the continued US military presence in Afghanistan must be furthering, if not fulfilling, one or more geopolitical goals. Those goals most likely do not include "defeating terrorism". Trump may well not be aware of what the goals are.

It may be useful to draw a comparison between the US military presence in Afghanistan and its presence in Vietnam. Like Afghanistan, Vietnam seems to have been a near-pointless expenditure of resources and people - on the surface. From the "deep state's" point of view, however, Vietnam served as a bulwark against encroachment by the non-dollar-aligned part of the world. Vietnam was only abandoned once a much bigger prize became available - China. Given Afghanistan's location, it stands to reason that it too is serving as a bulwark and that its importance in the "deep state's" eyes will diminish (if not disappear) once Iran and/or Russia experiences a "change of heart".

[Jan 18, 2020] Once private ownership is banned people stop caring. Motivation to work hard is gone If you are deprived of the possibility to make money and own private property.

Jan 18, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

karl1haushofer January 15, 2020 at 11:17 am

Yalensis, earlier you said that Russia should restore communism to remove poverty.

How did that work the last time in 1917-1991? The Soviet Union collapsed and historical Russia was split into many different parts.

I expect that if Russia would experiment communism the second time the outcome would be another split of Russia. This time it would be the North Caucasus, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and possible Siberia and the Far East breaking away from Moscow.

And why is that? Because communism doesn't work, period. It has been tried several times in many different parts of the world, and it has always failed.

The basics are simple. Once private ownership is banned people stop caring. Motivation to work hard is gone If you are deprived of the possibility to make money and own private property.

Say what you want about America but there is a good reason why basically all the greatest companies in the world are American, or at least from countries that have practiced capitalism for centuries: Microsoft, Apple, Exxon, Shell, Amazon, Intel, Ford, Mercedez Benz, Toyota, Samsung etc.

You can compare how a middle class American and a middle class Soviet citizen lived in the 1980s. While a typical middle class American lived in a big house in a suburb with two cars in the household, a typical Soviet middle class citizen lived in a "kommunalka" apartment where many families had to share the same bathroom and kitchen and a Soviet citizen had to work a certain amount of years before being allowed a right to own his or her own car, usually a Soviet made Lada. Most of the Soviet citizens never had a chance to get their own car but instead of to rely on public transport.

I know you are going to say that China is a good example that communism can work. But there is one problem: China is not really a communist country anymore. Actually the rise of China began at the same moment when Deng Xiaoping allowed private property and private enterprise. The horrendous communist policies of Mao Tse Tung killed tens of millions of Chinese people before that. Allowing people to work for their own well being was that made China what it is today (China is still a poor country compared to the West, but at least hundreds of millions of people are not starving anymore as was the case during Mao's rule).

If Russia ever restored communism again it would be the end of Russia.

Moscow Exile January 15, 2020 at 11:40 am
a typical Soviet middle class citizen lived in a "kommunalka" apartment

Really?

I lived in a modern, built in the 1970s block in Voronezh in 1989.: 3 large rooms, largish kitchen, bathroom and toilet, 2 balconies , 11th floor.

I live in a similar flat now, but on the 3rd floor, built 1976, central Administrative District, Taganskiy precinct, Moskva.

The only thing communal about those 2 dwellings is the central heating, which is turned on in October and turned off in May.

In England, during my childhood I lived in a slum street built in the 1850s: no central heating, no hot water, no bathroom, no toilet. The toilet was in the yard at the back. The dewelling had 2 downstairs rooms and 2 upstairs room, a so-called "two-up, two-down". I lived there until 1960.


Wilson St. in my home town, 1969

My hometown is situated in the first capitalist country in the world.

James lake January 15, 2020 at 12:04 pm
God that picture brings back memories – we lived in similar property in Birmingham until 1978. My family came over from Ireland in the 1960s and these type of houses were common place for working class families.

You can still find them in the midlands and the north, although they have been modernised to include bathrooms.

Northern Star January 15, 2020 at 12:49 pm
Capitalism and economic Nirvana are known to be one in the same in the minds of morons.

"Indications of this failure of capitalism are everywhere. Stagnation of investment punctuated by bubbles of financial expansion, which then inevitably burst, now characterizes the so-called free market.4 Soaring inequality in income and wealth has its counterpart in the declining material circumstances of a majority of the population. Real wages for most workers in the United States have barely budged in forty years despite steadily rising productivity.5 Work intensity has increased, while work and safety protections on the job have been systematically jettisoned. Unemployment data has become more and more meaningless due to a new institutionalized underemployment in the form of contract labor in the gig economy.6 Unions have been reduced to mere shadows of their former glory as capitalism has asserted totalitarian control over workplaces. With the demise of Soviet-type societies, social democracy in Europe has perished in the new atmosphere of "liberated capitalism."7

The capture of the surplus value produced by overexploited populations in the poorest regions of the world, via the global labor arbitrage instituted by multinational corporations, is leading to an unprecedented amassing of financial wealth at the center of the world economy and relative poverty in the periphery.8 Around $21 trillion of offshore funds are currently lodged in tax havens on islands mostly in the Caribbean, constituting "the fortified refuge of Big Finance."9 Technologically driven monopolies resulting from the global-communications revolution, together with the rise to dominance of Wall Street-based financial capital geared to speculative asset creation, have further contributed to the riches of today's "1 percent." Forty-two billionaires now enjoy as much wealth as half the world's population, while the three richest men in the United States -- Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett -- have more wealth than half the U.S. population.10 In every region of the world, inequality has increased sharply in recent decades.11 The gap in per capita income and wealth between the richest and poorest nations, which has been the dominant trend for centuries, is rapidly widening once again.12 More than 60 percent of the world's employed population, some two billion people, now work in the impoverished informal sector, forming a massive global proletariat. The global reserve army of labor is some 70 percent larger than the active labor army of formally employed workers.

Adequate health care, housing, education, and clean water and air are increasingly out of reach for large sections of the population, even in wealthy countries in North America and Europe, while transportation is becoming more difficult in the United States and many other countries due to irrationally high levels of dependency on the automobile and disinvestment in public transportation. Urban structures are more and more characterized by gentrification and segregation, with cities becoming the playthings of the well-to-do while marginalized populations are shunted aside. About half a million people, most of them children, are homeless on any given night in the United States.14 New York City is experiencing a major rat infestation, attributed to warming temperatures, mirroring trends around the world."

Like Like

Patient Observer January 15, 2020 at 5:14 pm
Comrade Karl, the vast majority of poverty in this world is in capitalist countries. Latin America and Africa will toss your silly assertions in the trash bin of history.

And saying China is not communist is equivalent to saying the US is not capitalist. I leave it to your to figure out what the foregoing means.

[Jan 16, 2020] There is a silver lining to that. If another term of Trump inspires the Europeans to abrogate NATO and put an end to that alliance and create their own NEATO ( North East Atlantic Treaty Organization)

Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

drumlin woodchuckles , , January 14, 2020 at 7:29 pm

There is a silver lining to that. If another term of Trump inspires the Europeans to abrogate NATO and put an end to that alliance and create their own NEATO ( North East Atlantic Treaty Organization) withOUT America and withOUT Canada and maybe withOUT some of those no-great-bargain East European countries; then NEATO Europe could reach its own Separate Peace with Russia and lower that tension point.

And America could bring its hundred thousand hostages ( "soldiers") back home from not-NATO-anymore Europe.

[Jan 16, 2020] US Attack on Soleimani is a Signal to Russia-Iran-China Triumvirate to Cease Cooperation by Ekaterina Blinova

Jan 07, 2020 | sputniknews.com

The US is trying to stop Eurasia's economic and political integration in order to delay its own demise, say international observers, explaining what message the US sent to the Russia-China-Iran "triumvirate" by killing Quds Commander Qasem Soleimani. The assassination of Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and commander of the Quds Force, in a targeted US air strike on 3 January came on the heels of joint naval exercise launched by Russia, Iran and China in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.

The "growing Russia-China-Iran trilateral convergence", as The Diplomat dubbed it in late December, is seemingly hitting a raw nerve in Washington : speaking to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) on 2 January, Rear Admiral Khanzadi, the Iranian navy commander, said that Washington and its allies had held an emergency meeting aimed at disrupting the drills.

US Opposes Rapprochement of Russia, China and Iran Amid Policy of 'Maximum Pressure'
"Recent violent US attacks against Iranian allies in Iraq and Syria, culminating in the killing of Iran's Major General Qasem Soleimani, are, in the wider geopolitical sense, meant to send signals to the building Eurasian triumvirate to cease their collaborative activities, let alone longer-term strategic and Belt and Road Initiative-linked designs," says Pye Ian, an American economic analyst and private equity executive.

According to Ian, the US decision to step up pressure on Tehran might be stemming from Washington's apparent belief that Iran is "the 'weakest link' in the strengthening Eurasian alliance".

However, "Russia, China and Iran cannot be attacked overtly, let alone invaded, occupied or 'regime changed'," the economic analyst highlights.

Christopher C. Black, a Toronto-based international criminal lawyer with 20 years of experience in war crimes and international relations, echoes the American economist.

"It is in response to the close relationship between Russia, Iran and China and it is no coincidence that this murder took place just as the joint naval exercises in the Persian Gulf came to an end," he said. "Further, it is a threat to Russian strategic interests in Syria and to Syria itself."

Apart from this, the move indicates that "one of the reasons for US pressure on Iran is to control the oil supply to China in order to cripple China's development," Black suggests.

Russia and its military successes in the region have become yet another irritant for Washington, according to Max Parry, an independent American journalist and geopolitical analyst.

"The US likely feels the need to re-assert itself as a hegemonic power in the region, considering it is Moscow that emerged as the new honest peace broker in the Middle East with the Syrian conflict," Parry notes. "Russia completely outmanoeuvred Washington and by the end of the war, Turkey was practically in Moscow's camp. Trump has reset US foreign policy with the withdrawal from Syria and the targeting of Iran."

By killing Soleimani, the US "has completely overplayed its hand and this could be the beginning of the end for Washington because a war with Iran would be no cakewalk", he emphasises.

© AFP 2019 / ALY SONG / POOL Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attend the Expo Center before the opening ceremony at the Expo Center at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai on May 21, 2014 Eurasian 'Triumvirate' is Moving Away From the US Dollar

According to Ian, in addition to being a thorn in Washington's flesh, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran have something else in common: the three nations have increasingly been drifting away from the US dollar.

The trend followed the Trump administration's:

· unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA) in May 2018;

· trade war waged against the People's Republic of China by Washington since March 2018;

· series of anti-Russian sanctions imposed against Moscow under the pretext of the latter's interference in the US 2016 presidential elections, something that Russia resolutely denies.

The economic analyst explains that "the dollar's universal confidence trick requires uniform adherence, by natural adoption or by force". While the US allies remain obedient to the dollar- dominated system, those who resisted it such as Iraq under Saddam, Libya under Gaddafi and Venezuela under Chavez "triggered some Atlanticist force, either overtly or clandestinely, in order to try and put those nations back on a compliant page."

However, "the current state of dollar printing by the US Fed ad infinitum cannot last forever," Ian stresses.

"The global East and South are already ahead of Transatlantic banking, in a sense, by shifting further out of the dollar and Treasury securities into their own, or bilateral, currency exchanges, gold, and/or domestic or collaborative cryptocurrency endeavours," he says.

Russia, China, Iran, as well as India and some other Eurasian nations are switching to trading in local currencies and continuing to amass gold at a steady pace . Thus, for instance, Russia produced over 185.1 tonnes of gold in the first six months of 2019; the country's bullion reserves reached 72.7 million troy ounces (2,261 tonnes) as of 1 December 2019. For its part, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) has accumulated 1,948.3 tonnes of the precious metal as of December 2019, according to World Gold Council.

Ian foresees that if the world's nations continue to shift out of US Treasury obligations and choose alternative currencies for energy pricing, trading and reserves recycling, it may "cause US interest rates to fly higher, cratering consumer, institutional and public debt obligations and re-importing an obscene level of inflation back into the US".

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

[Jan 15, 2020] Macron's Great Leap East Revives the Spirit of De Gaulle

Dec 07, 2019 | canadianpatriot.org
Macron is a going through a crisis.

On the one hand he is a creature of the technocratic neo-liberal order which is committed to unilateralism and "post-nation-statism". On the other hand he is a creature of France – a nation with strong (though easily forgotten) nationalist traditions stretching back to King Louis XI, the founder of the first modern nation state, Cardinal Mazarin who organized the Peace of Westphalia that established modern thoughts on nation states, Jean-Baptiste Colbert who's economic theories gave meaning to economic sovereignty in the modern era, to Sadi Carnot who's application of Colbertist economics and resistance to British manipulation got him killed in 1895, to Charles de Gaulle, who established the 5 th Republic and devoted his life to resisting the Deep State on the basis of peaceful relations with Russia and China.

Then there is the populist rage of the French which dates back to the colorful days of the French revolution which established a unique tradition of mass revolts against the established order when it becomes abusive of the people this provides a "bottom up" factor which any politician desirous of keeping their heads attached to their necks must keep in mind.

For these two reasons (top down traditions of statecraft and bottom up traditions of freeing corrupt leaders' of their heads from their bodies), Macron has found himself joining President Trump's call to re-introduce Russia back into the G8, and has made major maneuvers to re-orient France towards a pro-China policy becoming the guest of honor at China's International Expo where $15 billion of deals were signed on energy, aerospace and agricultural initiatives.

Macron has even enraged Europe's technocratic elite by questioning the foundations of the European Union's viability while at the same time aptly criticizing NATO of 'brain death' . The crisis caused by the unravelling of the globalist vision of a post-nation state world order has resulted in an emergency conference in London to figure out how NATO can be saved from its total irrelevance. Faced with the anti-NATO sentiment expressed by Macron and Trump in recent months, and the emergence of the new multipolar order which is attracting ever more nation states (including NATO members) into its sphere of influence, Jens Stoltenberg made the desperate assertion that China must be made a target of the military alliance saying that China "is coming closer to us, investing heavily in infrastructure. We see them in Africa, we see them in the Arctic, we see them in cyber space and China now has the second-largest defense budget in the world."

The NATO Disorder and the Economic Meltdown

Today, after decades of neoliberal practices have undermined the once powerful agro-industrial capacities of France under the "post-industrial" Euro, it has become evident that austerity and increased taxes are the only solutions which the technocrats running the European Central Bank will permit. Since Euro membership forbids any nation to create a debt which is greater than 3% of GDP, the means to generate sufficient state credit to build large scale projects needed for an economic recovery do not exist.

In other words, from the standpoint of the Trans-Atlantic rules of the game, the situation is hopeless.

For all of his problems, Macron isn't blind to this fact and can see that Russia and China have successfully transformed the international order with the advent of the Belt and Road Initiative. He can see that this system uniquely offers western leaders (who wish to keep their heads in the face of the oncoming economic collapse), the only viable means to provide jobs, security and long term economic growth to their people since it is rooted in long term, open system thinking which is not connected to Hobbesian closed system geopolitics. De Gaulle would be happy to see this shift.

The Revival of de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle was among a network of leaders who fought valiantly against the cancerous deep state that had formerly supported fascism in WWII. While Franklin Roosevelt had to do battle with such pro-fascist organizations such as the JP Morgan-funded Liberty League and Council on Foreign Relations from 1933-1945, President De Gaulle had to contend with the pro-Nazi Petain government whose agents immediately took over controls of France in the wake of WWII, and didn't go away upon the General's ascension to the Presidency during the near collapse of the 5 th republic in 1959.

De Gaulle strategically fought tooth and nail against the pro-NATO fascists led by General Challe who attempted two coup attempts against De Gaulle in 1960 and 1961 and later worked with MI6 and the CIA using private contractors like Permindex to arrange over 30 assassination attempts from 1961-1969.

De Gaulle was not only successful at taking France out of the NATO cage in 1966 , but he had organized to ensure Algeria's independence against the will of the entire deep state of France who often worked with Dulles' State Department to preserve France's colonial possessions. De Gaulle also recognized the importance of breaking the bipolar rules of the Cold War by reaching out to Russia calling for a renewed Europe " from the Atlantic to the Urals " and also an alliance with China with the intent of resolving the fires lit by western arsonists in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam whose independence he was committed to guaranteeing. De Gaulle wrote of his plan in his Memoires:

"My aim, then, was to disengage France, not from the Atlantic Alliance, which I intended to maintain by way of ultimate precaution, but from the integration carried out by NATO under American command; to establish relations with each of the states of the East bloc, first and foremost Russia, with the object of bringing about a détente, followed by understanding and cooperation; to do likewise, when the time was ripe, with China"

After arranging a treaty with China's Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, India's Prime Minster Nehru and the leadership of Cambodia in 1963 to create a China led block to resolve the crisis in Southeast Asia with France's help, De Gaulle became the first western head of state to recognize China and establish diplomatic relations with the Mainland on January 31, 1964. He saw that China's growth would become a driving force of world development and saw a friendship based on scientific and technological progress to be a source of France's renewal. Attacking the false dichotomy of "Free liberal capitalism" vs "totalitarian communism", De Gaulle expressed the Colbertist traditions of "dirigisme" which have historically driven France's progress since the 17 th century when he said "We are not going to commit ourselves to the empire of liberal capitalism, and nobody can believe that we are ever going to submit to the crushing totalitarianism of communism."

The De Gaulle-Kennedy Alliance

De Gaulle had great hopes to find like-minded anti-colonialist leaders and collaborators who were fighting against the deep state in other countries. In America he was inspired by the fresh leadership of the young John F. Kennedy whom he first met in Paris in May 1961. Of Kennedy he wrote "The new President was determined to devote himself to the cause of freedom, justice, and progress. It is true that, persuaded that it was the duty of the United States and himself to redress wrongs, he would be drawn into ill-advised interventions. But the experience of the statesman would no doubt have gradually restrained the impulsiveness of the idealist. John Kennedy had the ability, and had it not been for the crime which killed him, might have had the time to leave his mark on our age."

De Gaulle's advice to Kennedy was instrumental in the young President's decision to stay out of a land war in Vietnam and led to Kennedy's National Security Action Memorandum 263 to begin a phase out of American military from Vietnam on October 2, 1963. Kenney and De Gaulle both shared the view (alongside Italian industrialist Enrico Mattei with whom both collaborated) that Africa, Asia and South America needed advanced scientific and technological progress, energy sovereignty and sanitation in order to be fully liberated by the colonial structures of Europe. All three fought openly for this vision and all three fell in the line of battle (one to a plane crash in 1961, another to several shooters in Dallas in 1963 and the last to a staged "colour revolution" in 1969.) [1]

If De Gaulle, Kennedy and Mattei were alive today, it is guaranteed they would recognize in the Belt and Road Initiative and broader Eurasian alliance, the only viable pathway to a future worth living in and the only means to save the souls of their own nations. The question is: Will Macron continue on this Gaullist path and will other nations grow the balls to follow suite, or will those imperial fascists who overthrew De Gaulle's vision in 1969 succeed once more?

Footnote

[1] It is noteworthy that the same Montreal-based Permindex Corporation which was expelled from France for having orchestrated at least two attempts on De Gaulle's life was found by New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison to be at the heart of the November 22, 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy.

*The author can be reached at matt.ehret@tutamail.com

[Jan 14, 2020] Impeachment Of President Trump An Imperial War Game by By Barbara Boyd

Highly recommended!
Barbara Boyd correctly called Kent testimony "obsine" becase it was one grad neocon gallisination, which has nothing to do with real facts on the ground.
She attributed those dirty games not only to the USA but also to London.
Nov 22, 2019 | futurefastforward.com

If you want to stop the coup against the President, you must understand how Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton's State Department carried out a coup against the democratically elected government of Ukraine in 2014.

In a November 16 webcast, LaRouche PAC's Barbara Boyd presented the real story behind the present impeachment farce: how the very forces running the attack on President Trump, used thugs as their enforcers, in order to turn Ukraine into a pawn in the British geopolitical war drive against Russia.

https://youtu.be/uBg3vLjWePI

[Jan 08, 2020] Big, bad Putin attacked by slimy rat Browder.

Jan 08, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Is there a chorus of politicians singing in there about how lazy they are, and how they never bothered to verify Browder' story? The story is indeed remarkable, but not in the way that first appears.

Stephen Fry / @stephenfry

You may or may not know the remarkable story of @Billbrowder and the #MagnitskyAct - find out the startling truth by listening to
#MagnitskytheMusical by the wondrous @JohnnyFlynnHQ & @roberthudson - @BBCRadio3 7.30 Sun 12th Jan

Magnitsky the Musical

Book and lyrics by Robert Hudson
Music and lyrics by Johnny Flynn

12 January 2020
О 1 hour, 34 minutes

Johnny Flynn and Robert Hudson bring us a musical based on the
incredible story of an American venture capitalist, a Russian tax
advisor, a crazy heist, the Trump Tower meeting and the very rule of
law.

Blending music and satire, the story explores the truths and fictions
surrounding the origins and aftershocks of the Magnitsky Act; global
legislation which allows governments to sanction those who they see
as offenders of human rights.

It tells the story of a tax adviser's struggle to uncover a huge tax
fraud, his imprisonment by the very authorities he is investigating,
and the American financier's crusade for justice.

Johnny Flynn, Paul Chahidi and members of the cast perform songs in
a epic story that explores democracy, corruption, and how we
undervalue the law at our peril.

Bill Paul Chahidi Sergei Johnny Flynn Jamie Fenella Woolgar Natalia Ellie Kendrick Kuznetsov Gus Brown Guard Clive Hayward Silchenko Ian Conningham Jared Will Kirk Fisherman Neil McCaul Judge Jessica Turner

Additional singing by Sinead Maclnnes, Laura Christy, Scarlett
Courtney and Lucy Reynolds.

The cellist is Joe Zeitlin. Sound is by Peter Ringrose. Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.

[Dec 25, 2019] The USSR was no workers' paradise. For all its formal allegiance to Marx and Engels, it was a militantly hierarchical class society ruled by a tyrannical state

Dec 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

John Doe , Dec 24 2019 12:47 utc | 93

The USSR was no workers' paradise. For all its formal allegiance to Marx and Engels, it was a militantly hierarchical class society ruled by a tyrannical state. After World War Two, it held brutal military power over Eastern Europe and East Germany. Still, Soviet-era Russia created an urban and industrialized society with real civilizational accomplishments (including cradle-to-grave health-care, housing, and food security and an impressive educational system and cultural apparatus) outside capitalism. It pursued an independent path to modernity without a capitalist class, devoid of a bourgeoisie, in the name of socialism. It therefore posed a political and ideological challenge to U.S-led Western capitalism – and to Washington's related plans for the Third World periphery, which was supposed to subordinate its developmental path to the needs of the rich nations (the U.S., Western Europe, and honorarily white Japan) of the world-capitalist core.

Honest U.S. Cold Warriors knew that it was the political threat of "communism" – its appeal to poor nations and people (including the lower and working classes within rich/core states) – and not any serious military danger that constituted the true "Soviet menace." Contrary to U.S. "containment" doctrine after World War II, the ruling Soviet bureaucracy was concerned above all with keeping an iron grip on its internal and regional empire, not global expansion and "world revolution." It did, however "deter the worst of Western violence" (Noam Chomsky) by providing military and other assistance to Third World targets of U.S. and Western attack (including China, Korea, Indonesia, Egypt, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam, and Laos). Along the way, it provided an example of independent development outside and against the capitalist world system advanced by the superpower headquartered in Washington.

To make matters worse from Washington's "Open Door" perspective, the Soviet Empire kept a vast swath of the world's natural and human resources walled off from profitable exploitation by global capital.

All of this was more than enough to mark the Soviet Union as global public enemy number one for the post-WWII U.S. power elite, which had truly planet-wide imperial ambitions, unlike Moscow.

The Soviet deterrent and alternative to U.S.-led capitalism-imperialism collapsed once and for all in the early 1990s. Washington celebrated with unchallenged invasions of Panama and Iraq. The blood-drenched U.S. President George H.W. Bush exulted that "what we say goes" in a newly unipolar, post-Soviet world. Russia reverted to not-so "free market" capitalism under U.S.-led Western financial supervision and in accord with the savage austerity and inequality imposed by the neoliberal "Washington consensus." Chomsky got it right in 1991. "With the collapse of Soviet tyranny," he wrote, "much of the region can be expected to return to its traditional [subordinate] status, with the former high echelons of the bureaucracy playing the role of the Third World elites that enrich themselves while serving the interests of foreign investors." The consequences were disastrous for many millions of ordinary Russians.

Source:

How Russia Became "Our Adversary" Again
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/19/how-russia-became-our-adversary-again/


Joost , Dec 24 2019 13:22 utc | 94

@Kevin #18
"Can anyone recommend a good book on the privatization of state assets of the former USSR? Particularly one that focuses on how mid-level technocrats, often of a persecuted minority, were able to get the capital to purchase these assets."

PUTIN from Chris Hutchins is a good read that also describes the rise of the oligarchs and how Putin dealt with them. Like one oligarch made a small fortune selling the first western cars in the country and how they bought up cheap shares from the Yeltsin privatisation scheme. Privatized companies changed ownership under threats or even at gunpoint. The oligarchs were simple mobsters at the time. That is about what i vaguely remember reading the book a few years back but there is a lot more detail.

Madderhatter67 , Dec 24 2019 14:35 utc | 100
TG #29
Replacement level fertility" is the total fertility rate -- the average number of children born per woman -- at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration. This rate is roughly 2.1 children per woman for most countries, although it may modestly vary with mortality rates'

Russia 1.61 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Canada 1.6 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Japan 1.42 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Italy 1.45 children born/woman (2018 est.)
France 2.06 children born/woman (2018 est.)

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/356.html

c1ue , Dec 24 2019 15:50 utc | 104
@Kevin #18
I would suggest looking at articles in the Exile: www.exile.ru
Unfortunately, these are no longer free.
The short story: the most successful "privatizations" involved getting control of a bank, then using the bank's deposits to buy up companies.
The most successful scheme was getting control of a bank which was partly used by the Russian government for payments; I recall one example where one bank was used to clear funds paid for state enterprises - so the "privatizers" were literally pushing money out for assets and getting them back.
Further down the scale - there was all manner of chicanery including kidnapping, extortion, murder and what not.
The problem with books published in English is that you're almost guaranteed to run into thinly disguised agitprop ranging from the usual American and British academics taking the national security dime, to Khodorkovsky and the other O.G. Jewish oligarchs attempting to whitewash history: Gusinski, Berezofsky, etc.
pogohere , Dec 24 2019 18:17 utc | 107
Kevin @ 18

Try this: Wheel of Fortune: The Battle for Oil and Power in Russia – May 15, 2017

by Thane Gustafson


A review @ Amazon:

Thane masterfully succeeded in uncovering the fundamental drivers of the Russian oil industry and its interdependency with the political complex through a comprehensive and convincing historical analysis, with plenty of meaningful insights and endearing anecdotes. Rooted in Soviet legacy and having gone through the 90s bust-boom roller coaster and 2000s state reconsolidation the industry is a unique globally isolated eco system, and, with Russia as a whole, is at a crossroads. A must read for any decision maker in the O&G business.

I've read it and this review is a good summary.

[Dec 25, 2019] Gorbachev actions were a betrayal of Russian values and a historical mistake of immense proportions. Russia is learning to how to minimize the core values of the West greed, deception and narcissism.

Dec 25, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer December 24, 2019 at 4:41 am

Just a quick take, the separation of the Russian government/ruling elites from Russian culture suggests foreign influence as in Russia's elites looking to the West and aping Western ideas – think of Peter the Great or Gorbachev. That was a betrayal of Russian values and a historical mistake of immense proportions. Russia is learning to how to minimize the core values of the West – greed, deception and narcissism.

China has done a better job than Russia in that regard but on the other hand it has a vastly different history and enjoyed more isolation from Western meddling if not outright invasions.

yalensis December 24, 2019 at 10:44 am
I would make a distinction here. Mastering Western technology is not necessarily the same thing as "aping Western ideas". Also would distinguish between Peter the Great who won some remarkable geopolitical victories for Russia (think Poltava); vs Gorbachov, who completely betrayed Russia. To the extent he even left Russia vulnerable to American nuclear attack for a window of 2 whole hours, or more.
As I showed in this old post .

Gorby in phone conversation to George W. Bush Daddy:
"And now concerning Russia – this is the second most important theme of our conversations. In front of me, on the table, lies the Decree of the President of the USSR, concerning my resignation. I am hereby also relieving myself of the duties of the Commander-in-Chief and handing over my responsibilities for employing nuclear weapons , to the President of the Russian Federation. In other words, I continue to manage these affairs right up until the completion of the constitutional process. I can assure you, that everything is under strict control. The moment I announce my resignation, these orders will become effective. There will not be any kind of dispute about this. You can spend your Christmas evening in complete peace of mind."

In other words, Gorby not only left the Soviet Union completely vulnerable to nuclear attack for a period of 2 hours or so; but even announced that fact to their greatest enemy. What kind of national leader does something like that? The only reason any Russians are even around today, is because George Bush Daddy was either too kind, or too dull-witted to take advantage of that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

[Dec 25, 2019] Khruschov's granddaugher turned to be a regular neocon prostitute and bash Russia on pages on NYT

Notable quotes:
"... To use Krushchev's granddaugher as a source was also a very low blow: she's herself an op-ed "journalist" coopted by the western MSM (I remember reading her pieces when she worked for the Asia Times, and she's for sure not a specialist/expert). ..."
"... It's also false when the NYT stated Russia is some kind of last refuge for oligarchs, mafiosos and terrorists in the world. No, this refuge's name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. ..."
"... The USA is also the last refuge of Latin American dictators. More than 3,000 enemies of the State from Latin American countries live in Florida under officially recognized political asylum. Many of them are ex-generals and bankers. ..."
"... There's also a macabre message in the headline of the NYT article: that it is weird, from the American point of view, that Russia was somehow able to survive the absolute destruction that should have happened with its Shock Therapy during the Yeltsin era. ..."
"... The author indeed seems genuinely puzzled as to why didn't Russia degenerate to a Third World banana republic after the capitalist charge on the newly founded nation sponsored by the USA; after all, it worked in Latin America and many other countries. I've already discussed it here many times, and I stand by my hypothesis: Russia is still able to rest on the laurels of the good ol' Soviet Union. That windfall will soon end, so Putin must think a viable succession scheme and viabilize the five-year plans. ..."
Dec 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Dec 23 2019 18:08 utc | 25

The worst thing about the NYT piece is that it is not in the "Opinion" section, but right in the Front Page, as if it were genuine investigative journalism.

To use Krushchev's granddaugher as a source was also a very low blow: she's herself an op-ed "journalist" coopted by the western MSM (I remember reading her pieces when she worked for the Asia Times, and she's for sure not a specialist/expert).

I disagree with b about the "hidden economy" thing. Every capitalist country has a hidden economy; the USA, for example, has by far the largest shadow banking system in the world, which could easily rise its GDP by 50%. Italy recently considered including the mafia business in the GDP calculation so they could officially get out of recession. Having 20-30% of your economy "hidden", therefore, is not an excuse for the Russian Federation for the dire state of its own people.

The NYT is also wrong when it infers Yeltsin was "fixing" the Soviet economy by making it take the bitter pill. The Soviet economy begun to unravel precisely because of Gorbachev's Perestroika - which was the policy designed precisely to reform the system in the first place. Yeltsin made things even worse - far worse than a linear extrapolation even from the Gorbachev era. Indeed, that's why he was toppled in the first place.

It's also false when the NYT stated Russia is some kind of last refuge for oligarchs, mafiosos and terrorists in the world. No, this refuge's name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Thanks to its inumerous tax havens (of which the Cayman Islands are, by far, the largest), many traffickers, terrorists and oligarchs are able to roam freely around the world, with their money laundered. Many of them even buy residence in London and a British Green Card, so they can also enjoy the protections the Crown gives to its subjects. In their free time, they also buy some English football clubs, but that's another story. Switzerland also enjoy many of the perks of being a tax haven.

The USA is also the last refuge of Latin American dictators. More than 3,000 enemies of the State from Latin American countries live in Florida under officially recognized political asylum. Many of them are ex-generals and bankers.

Indeed, Russia is considered a "not free" nation precisely because this kind of financial promiscuity doesn't exist on a systemic-cultural level. Freedom, for the liberals, is nothing more nothing less than being able to freely purchase and use the commodities you bought on the free market with a certain amount of money. Russia (but mainly China) doesn't allow the western oligarchs to do that, so it is kind of a disappointment to the "vital center".

There's also a macabre message in the headline of the NYT article: that it is weird, from the American point of view, that Russia was somehow able to survive the absolute destruction that should have happened with its Shock Therapy during the Yeltsin era.

The author indeed seems genuinely puzzled as to why didn't Russia degenerate to a Third World banana republic after the capitalist charge on the newly founded nation sponsored by the USA; after all, it worked in Latin America and many other countries. I've already discussed it here many times, and I stand by my hypothesis: Russia is still able to rest on the laurels of the good ol' Soviet Union. That windfall will soon end, so Putin must think a viable succession scheme and viabilize the five-year plans.


casey , Dec 23 2019 18:12 utc | 28

@FSD:
Agreed, but I think we are seeing a strange form of mass psychogenic illness in the West ( https://quillette.com/2018/11/02/trigger-warnings-and-mass-psychogenic-illness/), and in the EU and US in particular. I strongly suspect that the farther an farther the mass media push the willingly ignorant bulk of people out into a fictional and counterfactual mental reservation, the more and more people crave distraction that, like a junkie's fix, needs to always get bigger to reach the same effect. I turned on the TV the other day and happened on a show called Masked Singer, which struck me as so insanely manic in its subject and its presentation -- loud music, flashing lights, cartoonish hosts, junkie-like pacing -- that I wondered that anyone can function anymore inside this pin-ball machine world. It's like the entire West is having, especially in its so-called cultural nodes, a collective manic episode with very real danger of self-harm.
TG , Dec 23 2019 18:21 utc | 29
Indeed. But here is yet another angle:

Because Russia's population is relatively stable, every small uptick in economic growth is pure profit. With a stable population, even 1% annual growth, compounded every year, can result in substantial prosperity before too long.

But in the United States, with open-borders cheap-labor immigration pushing the population ever higher, the numbers are different. When a population ir forced upwards, the economic demands are even higher than the population growth itself. That's because you need to not just grow the ongoing population, but provide massive investments in new infrastructure. Russia is like a person who's paid off his mortgage, and can devote all income to living and making progress. The United States is like a homeowner with a massive mortgage and who also has to pay massive taxes to pay for more sewers and roads and energy conservation etc.

So 1% annual sustained economic growth in Russia means Russia is making progress, while even 3% annual economic growth in the United States means it is falling behind.

Don't believe me? From 1950 to the present, immigration increased California's population from 10 million to about 40 million. On paper the economy boomed, but the average person is much worse off, the quality of life has tanked, roads are choked, rents are sky-high while wages are stagnant, air quality is down even with massive spending on pollution controls, poverty is the worst in the nation, homelessness is booming, etc.

joetv , Dec 23 2019 18:46 utc | 31

It's my guess Putin doesn't waste time reading the NYTs. Why should he, and for that matter why should anyone? The Times and the other Oligarch rags should be ignored by all. Break the chains. Focusing on God and family a young couple may try homesteading. Ignore the rest.

ak74 , Dec 24 2019 4:19 utc | 78
The imperial lie machine sure is disgruntled that the 1990s attempt to economically and biologically crush Russia once and for all was a failure and Russia has since been reasserting itself. It wasn't "the end of history" after all.

That was the source of the underlying current of Russia Derangement among the US elite classes (political, economic, media, academia, professional etc.), the many provocations, and then the total meltdown beginning in late 2016.

Since it really seems to be a collective mental illness (I mean that literally) afflicting a power group which is already psychotic and violent, and since it coincides with the accelerating erosion of the US imperial position, it's looking more and more likely that this must eventually lead to all-out war. I just can't imagine the US stepping back, any more than I could imagine Hitler doing so.

America's obsessive bashing of Russia (and now China) is suggestive of a deep psychological disorder.

Though the Americans and their allied apologists will insist that it is sincerely motivated by a humanitarian concern for Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights(TM), that is quite laughable given America's concentration camps for undocumented immigrants; its incarceration of immigrant children in cages; or the US Prison Industrial Complex in general, which has been called America's new Jim Crow in that it imprisons millions of African Americans and other minorities and relegates them to a new racist caste system.

No, cut through the barrage of American Moral Supremacism and other delusions, the United States is enraged that, despite its attempt to economically rape Russia in the 1990s through American-promoted Free Market reforms and Neoliberal "shock therapy," Russia is still standing and indeed resurgent.

THAT is what enrages the Americans and triggers them in rug-chewing fits of frenzy.

[Dec 20, 2019] It looks like it was Browder who killed Magnitsky, so that he can't spill the beans. And then in an act of ultimate chutzpah played the victim and promoted Magnitsky act.

Dec 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Anon [515] Disclaimer , says: December 19, 2019 at 12:31 pm GMT

Have any of you read Bill Browder's book Red Notice?

It's a great read.

The grandson of the General Secretary of the United States Communist Party, whose great auntie worked for the NKVD. His brother, Lev, is a great mathematician.

Browder worked with Robert Maxwell as an intern. That's the father of Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's facilitator.

Browder went on to Salomen Brothers and ended up being one of the largest capitalists in Eastern Europe.

For some reason the Russians believed that Browder was using front companies to aquire stakes in Russian strategic assets, then remove billions without paying taxes, apparently worth in excess of 4 billion. If Russian 'propaganda' is to be believed.

They must have wrong because Browder was able to achieve the Magnitsky Act in response.

It seemed the Russians unfairly seized shares from Browder he acquired in Gazprom, Surgutneftegaz, Unified Energy Systems, and Sidanco.

In July 2017, Browder testified to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As everyone knows, this claim about Russian collusion by Trump is 100% true, and supports the veracity of all his other claims. As the number one capitalist in Russia following the fall of the Soviet Union.

And he was a hero too. Speaking out about how Jewish Oligarchs defenestrated Russia with Yeltsin in the early 2000s and late 90s. He spoke out against his fellow Jews in what most regard as conspiracy theories. Putin even praised him for assisting in liberation from the Oligarchs.

What the Russians did was terrifying. They established a precedent where Jewish international assets and capital could be seized for interference with affairs of state.

Of course what they apparently did was steal $230m off of Browder's fund shareholders.

Russia is of course very corrupt. And Browder's testimony against Trump for alleged Russia collusion given what everyone knows speaks for his utmost veracity.

I came out of that book with the utmost admiration for Bill Browder. He did his best in Poland with depressed assets, and he had a grand adventure. He's clearly amazingly good at finance.

UncommonGround , says: December 19, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT
@Anon

I came out of that book with the utmost admiration for Bill Browder.

You don't seem to be serious, if I understood what you want to say. Even Der Spiegel has published a critical article in English about Browder, Browder is the one who pushed for sanctions against Russia because of the case Magnitsky:

Questions Cloud Story Behind U.S. Sanctions

The story of Sergei Magnitsky has come to symbolize the brutal persecution of whistleblowers in Russia. Ten years after his death, inconsistencies in Magnitsky's story suggest he may not have been the hero many people -- and Western governments -- believed him to be.

https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-case-of-sergei-magnitsky-anti-corruption-champion-or-corrupt-anti-hero-a-1297796.html

Thomasina , says: December 20, 2019 at 5:31 am GMT
@Anon You've read "Red Notice", but that is only Browder's side. To get the other side, read these articles from Consortium News:

https://consortiumnews.com/tag/william-browder/

likbez , says: December 20, 2019 at 5:50 pm GMT
@Anon After reading the book of this MI6 asset (and potential killer) who tried to fleece Russia, you probably can benefit from watching a movie by Nekrasov about him. See references in:

http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Fighting_russophobia/Propaganda_as_creation_of_artificial_reality/Browder/index.shtml

It looks like it was Browder who killed Magnitsky, so that he can't spill the beans. And then in an act of ultimate chutzpah played the victim and promoted Magnitsky act.

[Dec 17, 2019] Building trust between U.S. and Russia by Edward Lozansky

Notable quotes:
"... After a Western-backed coup overthrew the legitimate Ukrainian president in February 2014, it brought to power a government largely picked by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. People in the Donbass region did not accept the new government and made two conditions for remaining a part of Ukraine: special autonomy status and two state languages. This is exactly what Canada provides for its large French-speaking minority. ..."
"... Those with even rudimentary knowledge of Ukrainian history and its huge ethnic Russian population would agree that these demands are not unreasonable, but the post-coup government called the separatist forces terrorists, sent aviation and tanks, and started a civil war that has been raging for five years. Washington, which was in total control of the Ukrainian political class, could have resolved this crisis easily by telling the new government to accept these modest conditions. Instead, the U.S. supported Kyiv with money, weapons, military training and political support. ..."
Dec 17, 2019 | www.washingtontimes.com

At a time of one of the greatest political upheavals in American history that could spill over into foreign affairs, especially U.S.-Russian relations with unpredictable and devastating results, I thought Christmas might offer a chance for all of us to take a pause and search for an exit from the megacrisis.

Many people believe miracles do happen at Christmastime. However, it looks like we need President Trump , Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to perform at least three of them.

Those who wonder why Mr. Zelensky is on this list should recall that the Trump impeachment process started because of his phone call with this guy whose country the Democrats and their pathetic witnesses deem no less than vital to America's national security.

Let us start with Mr. Putin because someone has to take the first difficult step and he is the only one in a clear position to do it.

Dear Mr. Putin, please make a public statement that Russia pledges not to interfere in the next and future American elections. It would be good if the two chambers of the Russian parliament, the Duma and Federation Council, ratify this pledge as well. Please do it unilaterally without asking Mr. Trump and the U.S. Congress to respond in kind.

Dear Mr. Trump , please return to your earlier thinking about NATO as an obsolete organization that lost its purpose in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw military bloc. Since then, it has been searching desperately for new missions and enemies to justify its existence.

Recall that NATO's continuous expansion drive is the major factor that squandered the exceptional opportunity for U.S.-Russian rapprochement that all Russian leaders, starting with Mikhail Gorbachev, kept proposing. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat, and 18 other senators voted against President Clinton's first round of NATO expansion. "We'll be back on a hair-trigger. We're talking about nuclear war," they said.

At the same time, NATO has failed to counter international terrorism -- the real threat to European and American security. It is NATO that boosted the jihadi peril by overthrowing Libya's government, allowing that prosperous country to morph into a terrorist playground and staging point for millions of unvetted migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe.

Is NATO making America and our allies more secure? During the Cold War, when NATO allowed the West to stand firm against Soviet communist designs on Europe, the answer was an easy yes, but today, with NATO's reckless poking of the Russian bear, the answer is a resounding no.

A rebuilt NATO or a new organization, IATO -- International Anti-Terrorist Organization -- specifically targeting global jihad, would have a future with new partners including Russia, for which terrorism represents a major security threat. Georgia and Ukraine could join IATO as well, thus taking the first step toward reconciliation with Russia that NATO's insatiable expansion drive helped destroy.
French President Emmanuel Macron is the first Western leader who agrees with this point of view and is not afraid to say that "NATO's brain is dead." However, the U.S. president must take the lead to move past legacy NATO.

Dear Mr. Zelensky , I believe that you sincerely want to end the war in your country. It is not an easy job since you face a strong and vocal radical nationalistic opposition with strong neo-Nazi overtones that declares that any compromise on your side will be met with the violent resistance and another "Maidan revolution" that may lead to your overthrow. The leader of this opposition is former President Petro Poroshenko, whom Washington supported all these years and who was given a rare privilege to speak at a joint session of Congress, where members greeted him with numerous standing ovations. At the same time, Ukrainian people hated him so much that they decided to replace him with a Jewish comic actor with no political experience.

Mr. Zelensky , I wonder if you have read the book "Shooting Stars" by Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig, which describes some important episodes in which fate gave an individual a chance at a historical turning point. Zweig says fate usually chooses for this purpose a strong personality, but sometimes it falls to mediocrities who fail miserably.

You are in a position to decide which you will be, and the pass to historical Olympus is obvious.

After a Western-backed coup overthrew the legitimate Ukrainian president in February 2014, it brought to power a government largely picked by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. People in the Donbass region did not accept the new government and made two conditions for remaining a part of Ukraine: special autonomy status and two state languages. This is exactly what Canada provides for its large French-speaking minority.

Those with even rudimentary knowledge of Ukrainian history and its huge ethnic Russian population would agree that these demands are not unreasonable, but the post-coup government called the separatist forces terrorists, sent aviation and tanks, and started a civil war that has been raging for five years. Washington, which was in total control of the Ukrainian political class, could have resolved this crisis easily by telling the new government to accept these modest conditions. Instead, the U.S. supported Kyiv with money, weapons, military training and political support.

Mr. Zelensky , nowadays you and your country are used as pawns in the attempts to impeach Mr. Trump , but your prime responsibility is before Ukrainian people who dismissed the party of war and placed the fate of your country and its people in your hands. They expect you to make the right decision by choosing the road to peace.

While waiting for these miracles to materialize, I wish all a merry Christmas , happy Hanukkah and peace on earth in 2020.

Edward Lozansky is president of American University in Moscow.

[Dec 17, 2019] Investor Bill Browder's allegations –Why Spiegel is sticking to Magnitsky research – The Komisar Scoop

Dec 17, 2019 | www.thekomisarscoop.com

Investor Bill Browder's allegations –Why Spiegel is sticking to Magnitsky research By Lucy Komisar
Dec 15, 2019

This is German news magazine Der Spiegel's response to a complaint by William Browder to its editor and to the German Press Commission about its expos้ that proved he was a fraudster and his Magnitsky story a fabrication. Key parts are marked in bold. The text and documents show the Spiegel story to be correct and Browder to be a conman.

The German text is linked below; here is the English translation . And the original story in German and English .

Former major investor Bill Browder accuses SPIEGEL of misrepresenting the circumstances surrounding the death of Russian Sergei Magnitsky. SPIEGEL rejects this – and lists the arguments and facts.

Bill Browder, founder of Hermitage Capital Management, photo Luke MacGregor / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Friday, 13.12.2019 8:21 p.m.

SPIEGEL reported on the background of the so-called Magnitsky sanctions on November 23. These punitive measures, which were imposed on Russian officials by the United States, are mainly based on the account of the former major investor Bill Browder and relate to the fate of his colleague Sergei Magnitsky.

Magnitsky died in a prison in Moscow in 2009 in circumstances that were not fully understood. Browder claims Magnitsky was murdered for uncovering a tax scandal. The SPIEGEL report describes the contradictions in Browder's statements and states that he cannot provide sufficient evidence for his thesis.

Browder has now made a complaint against the text public, in the form of a letter to the editor-in-chief and a complaint to the German Press Council. In his letter, he accuses SPIEGEL of distorting the facts.

We consider the complaint to be unfounded and therefore want to make it clear once again where our considerable doubts about Brudder's story come from and why we consider it necessary to discuss it publicly. We have also made the text freely available to all SPIEGEL readers ( you can find the text here ). In this statement, we also link some of the sources to which we referred in our research.

The Magnitsky case How true is the story on which US sanctions against Russia are based?

We have corrected an error in the English version of the SPIEGEL report. There we had the information that a rubber truncheon was used, wrongly assigned to a report from 2009. In fact, it only appears in another report from 2011. The German version was correct from the start.

NOTE FROM LK: That is Der Spiegel's only mistake. The claim that a rubber truncheon was used is a Browder forgery. See this by reporter Michael Thau with whom I collaborated on exposing this very complex Browder fakery , which included inventing a form that doesn't exist and tracing a signature.

No doubt Magnitsky died a terrible death. As it was said in the SPIEGEL report, "horrible injustice" happened to him. In our view, it is also appropriate to speak of a "mercilessly omitted assistance". The "use of a rubber stick" is also indisputable . At no point in the SPIEGEL report is the issue of exonerating the Russian state from guilt for Magnitsky's death. It is about showing the inconsistencies, contradictions, and unsubstantiated claims in the story that Browder has been coming and going to Western governments for years – and which have become the basis for Western sanctions against Russian officials.

Browder's account of what happened to Sergei Magnitsky's death consists of several key elements:

How it all started: According to Browder, tax inquiries were launched in Moscow in 2007, which he described as clearly "criminal and politically motivated". The proceedings were fictitious, initiated only for the purpose of confiscating important documents from some of his letterbox companies during a search. On June 4, 2007, searches were conducted in Moscow. Numerous company documents were confiscated.

Magnitsky becomes a whistleblower: Browder claims that he entrusted Magnitsky with the investigation in 2007: three mailbox companies were hijacked after the search. According to Browder, Magnitsky reported these events to the State Investigation Committee on June 5 and October 7, 2008, and explicitly accused two police officers of the crime, Artyom Kuznetsov and Pavel Karpov. According to Browder, this advertisement gives a clear motive for the later arrest and murder of Magnitsky.

Arrest and death : A trial against Magnitsky will open in autumn 2008. The allegation is tax evasion. Magnitsky was arrested in November 2008. He died in Russian custody on November 16, 2009. Browder repeatedly describes the death as a targeted murder plot.

Browder's presentation of the exact events varied . The campaign videos that he published on Youtube are exemplary.

Among other things, it states:

"?? After Sergei Magnitsky testified against the same criminal group for an even larger crime, the same officers arrested, tortured and eventually killed Sergei to hide their crime."

"Instead of supporting Sergei Magnitsky and recognizing him as a hero, the government allowed interior ministry officers, Kuznetsov, Karpov to arrest, torture and kill him."

At every stage of this presentation, numerous points do not stand up to scrutiny. A London court came to the conclusion that Browder did not even begin to substantiate his allegations against Karpov (the full court order can be viewed here )

Again and again it becomes clear that Browder's story contains errors and inconsistencies that distort the overall picture of the events surrounding Magnitsky's death.

1. The tax investigation

The investigation started much earlier than Browder claims. While he has repeatedly stressed that he first heard the name of the investigator Artyom Kuznetsov in 2007, the opposite is well documented. Kusnezov's name is already on a letter from the tax investigator from June 2006, which went to Browder's companies.

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Letter from the Russian tax investigation 2006 PDF size: 44 kB

That Browder's team was aware of the process also results from Magnitsky's statement of June 5, 2008. There he describes that Kusnetzov requested company and bank documents at the end of May 2006. This mid-2006 investigation is also mentioned in complaints that Browder's people sent to the authorities in December 2007.

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English translation of Magnitsky's statement on June 5, 2008 PDF size: 3 MB

In addition, Magnitsky himself was questioned by the authorities in 2006 about tax inquiries. Investigations into tax evasion by mailbox companies in the vicinity of Browder, including the company "Saturn Investment", which Magnitsky was concerned with, also date from before 2004.

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English translation of Magnitsky's statement in October 2006 PDF size: 531 kB

Several court rulings were brought against Browder's companies, then the proceedings were closed, but reopened in 2008.

SPIEGEL does not adopt the views of the Russian judiciary. A final clarification on whether the allegations of tax evasion were valid would be up to an independent court, in a fair trial. It becomes clear, however, that the investigation did not suddenly start in 2007 as Browder claims, apparently recognizable without any basis. The investigation has a well-documented history. The European Court of Human Rights concluded in its judgment on the case that Magnitsky was not "arbitrarily" detained:

" The Court observes that the inquiry into alleged tax evasion, resulting in the criminal proceedings against Mr Magnitskyy, started in 2004, long before he complained that prosecuting officials had been involved in fraudulent acts."
(
Find the verdict here )

2. Magnitsky's role as a crucial whistleblower:

In Browder's account, Magnitsky's statement to investigators is the motive for his imprisonment and later targeted murder: a corrupt clique team silenced the man who was dangerous to it. This is the core of the story spread by Browder.

Browder describes Magnitsky as a decisive whistleblower. But this is a retrospective construction. Several people from Browder's team have made the same or very similar allegations against the Russian authorities, some of them earlier than Magnitsky:

The media had already reported the events. The business service Bloomberg , the "Financial Times" and the "Wall Street Journal" reported in early April 2008.

The New York Times also made public the $ 230 million fraud on July 24, 2008 (link to article ). Magnitsky, in turn, did not speak to the authorities until his statement on October 7, 2008.

This chronological sequence is one reason why observers have doubts as to whether Magnitsky was actually murdered so that the charges against the police officers are no longer raised. The allegations against the Russian police were worldwide, regardless of Magnitsky's testimony.

Human rights activist Soya Svetova, who dealt with the case from the beginning, put it this way in conversation with SPIEGEL last summer.

SPIEGEL : What about the version that was specifically targeted for being killed? Is there evidence of this?

Svetova : No. There is no evidence of this. What was the point of killing him? No sense.

SPIEGEL : Because he knew about a $ 230 million fraud.

Svetova : Yes, but not only did he know about this fraud, the entire management and colleagues also knew about it. It was written about in newspapers. He didn't reveal a secret.

SPIEGEL : But your report mentions that pressure may have been put on him while in custody.

Svetova : When he was in custody, people wanted statements from him against Bill Browder. But he didn't do any. And probably he would never have made such a statement. But killing him would have been completely pointless for them.

Svetova agreed to the interview and its recording in July 2019. In previous years, she had taken the position that there was no evidence of a targeted murder. In 2014, for example, she wrote that she could not imagine that someone had caused Magnitsky's death in a targeted manner ("Well, after five years have passed, I think this killing was not intentional" – original in Russian ).

Shortly before the publication of the SPIEGEL report in November, she said that although that was her words, she had meanwhile changed her mind and believed that targeted murder was possible. Svetova's change of heart is transparently documented in the SPIEGEL.

3. The motive for Magnitsky's arrest

Browder claims that Magnitsky was arrested to force him to withdraw his statements against the police. He was therefore tortured and murdered. Magnitsky's attorney at the time presented the situation differently right from the start. Dmitrij Kharitonov told SPIEGEL in autumn 2009 that his client was only a hostage, and that the authorities actually wanted to put pressure on Bill Browder (click here for the article ).

Kharitonov has used the phrase "hostage" more often. In an interview with the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, he reported that Magnitsky said about himself in court: "Your honor, I was actually taken hostage. My person hardly interests anyone, everyone is interested in the person of the Hermitage chiefs."( Russian text ).

Human rights activist Soya Svetova also argued in a similar fashion in an interview with SPIEGEL this summer.

Svetova : The figure Magnitsky combines the two greatest grievances in the Russian judiciary and the Russian investigative system. If a lawsuit is opened against a company and it is not possible to arrest its boss, then they take his assistant or his deputy or simply a colleague hostage. We see that in many cases: It was the same with Mikhail Khodorkovsky's group Yukos (??). First, they take hostages. Magnitsky was also a hostage. He was of no interest to anyone, they wanted Browder.

SPIEGEL : Although the Russian authorities had just thrown Browder out of the country.

Svetova : You wanted Magnitsky to tell you what terrible things Browder did. They wanted him to discredit him, that he was a fraud and tax evader. Even though they stole his companies from him.

Svetova has represented this position several times, in 2014, for example, " Radio Liberty ".

In the 2009 text report co-authored by Svetova, evidence is given that investigators, together with the prison authorities, put pressure on Magnitsky. The report also contains a corresponding quote from Magnitsky. His conditions of detention had deteriorated in coordination with the investigator of the case against him, Oleg Siltschenko. Their goal is "that I accept false accusations, burden myself and others". There is no mention of Browder's claim that Magnitsky should have revoked his statements.

The Russian original of the report is available on Browder's website ( PDF ). While the Russian text does not contain the name of the investigator Kuznetsov, the English translation also published on Browder's website expressly refers to him ( PDF ).

[LK: Browder posted the version with his forged paragraph at the top of page 3 to his website and distributed it to media, including to the Wall Street Journal , which has it on its website. The translation filed in U.S. federal court in the Prevezon case does not have that paragraph.]

4. The alleged evidence of a targeted murder plot

As alleged evidence of his thesis of targeted murder, Browder cites photos of hematomas on the dead man's hands. Some may have been handcuffed, others may have been from Magnitsky's desperate punches on a door. A fatal injury cannot be seen in the pictures .

This does not preclude Magnitsky from being killed by external violence, but there is no evidence of a targeted murder by beating eight prison guards over an hour and 18 minutes, as Browder has variously claimed.

The contradicting information about the cause of death of the Russian authorities is disturbing, it is not sufficient evidence for a targeted murder. The use of a rubber stick was also mentioned in the SPIEGEL text. [LK: Again, that is incorrect, there is no evidence of use of a truncheon. And consider, do American police who beat up prisoners write that in reports?]

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Browder's letter to SPIEGEL PDF size: 814 kB

5. Magnitsky's alleged statements against police officers Karpov and Kusnezov

Browder accuses SPIEGEL of embezzling the true content of Sergei Magnitsky's statements. That in fact, Magnitsky clearly named police officers Kuznetsov and Karpov as guilty in the statements before his arrest.

Nowhere in the two documents does Magnitsky raise a direct personal accusation against Karpov and Kusnezov.

6. The role of the police officer Karpov in the Magnitsky case

Browder accuses SPIEGEL of spreading Pavel Karpov's claim that it has nothing to do with Magnitsky's death and tax fraud. However, it is part of the journalistic due diligence to give people who have been charged with serious crimes the opportunity to comment. This also applies to Karpov.

Magnitsky's lawyer Dmitry Kharitonov has emphasized several times (for example here in conversation with the Russian radio station Echo Moscow) that Pavel Karpov played no role in the prosecution of his client. Kharitonov repeated this statement to SPIEGEL twice. Human rights activist Soja Svetova also said in the summer of 2019 with a view to Karpov: "But there is no evidence that Karpov put pressure on him (Magnitsky)."

In addition, the London High Court has also found that Browder's allegations against Karpov are insufficiently substantiated.

7. The question of money

The SPIEGEL report does not go any further into the course of the $230 million fraud, of which Browder complains. He refers to the findings of US investigators in the New York trial ( PDF ).

LK: The Justice Department acted as Browder's proxy lawyer. Its chief investigator admitted under oath that he got all his information from Browder and "the internet." The complaint filed by U.S. attorney Preet Bharara is full of fabrications and should not be believed.

However, this case is less clear than Browder claims. The responsible US investigator had to admit in a survey that his findings are based solely on statements and documents from Browder and his team. The process ended with a compromise. The Russian Kazyv clan – accused by Browder of profiting from tax fraud – has enforced the express written note that it has nothing to do with the Magnitsky case.

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Compromise between the Kazyvs and the USA PDF size: 2 MB

Browder has been interviewed in the case. Under oath, he is unable to explain how he and his people followed the cash flows. Video recordings of the statement have landed on Youtube, the transcript is available on Pacer.gov, an electronic database for documents from US proceedings.

Download PDF

Protocol from Browder's survey in the US proceedings (2015) PDF size: 761 kB

Browder was able to take a comprehensive position on SPIEGEL on all of the points covered in the report, including two talks each lasting two hours in summer.

SPIEGEL also sent questions to Browder on November 21 that go beyond the text previously published. Browder didn't respond.

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[Dec 14, 2019] A Determined Effort to Undermine Russia

Highly recommended!
The USA "Full Spectrum Dominance" doctrine requires weakening and, if possible, partitioning Russia.
Retired Australian diplomat Tony Kevin tells the audience that Skripals poisoning was a false flag operation. 7:00
He also point several weak points in Western politicians narrative about MH17
Notable quotes:
"... Cold War patterns of thinking about Russia show no sign of weakening in America ..."
"... Putin made it clear when he said the next war would not be fought inside Russia. The troglodytes in the West are unable to grasp not only what that means, but why he said it. ..."
"... The latest efforts at attacking Russia via smear, allegation and Doublespeak have been, are via that US supported supposed oversight committee, WADA which has done what the US-UK wanted: banned Russia for four years from international sporting events including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and World Cup (Football – soccer to Americans). ..."
"... I am really sick of the smearing of Russia done by the US and UK. The Skripal as well as the MH17 case are plain ridiculus. Anybody can see through these silly plants. US and UK obviously don't feel obliged to respect any international rules any more. (The one person who is suffering most at the moment from the decline in respect is Julian Assange, an Australian citizen!) ..."
"... There is "cause." Russia was our latest vassal under Yeltsin. Putin stopped the looting, and worked to benefit average Russian citizens. Just watch "The Magnitsky Act, behind the scenes" to know the "cause". ..."
"... Much of the West (i.e. Germany) has been dragged by force into damage control mode. The Magnitsky Act monster, the election interference hysteria, are just 2 crying examples met with shock and disbelief across the pond. The Fiona Hill testimony was a very telling moment for the inner workings of a self perpetuating logic. ..."
"... "Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly. But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined." ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Retired Australian diplomat Tony Kevin, in conversation with former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, says the West is unnecessarily determined to undermine Russia.

A t an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause.

When Kevin said he returned to Russia after more than 40 years in 2016 he realized he "had to take sides" in the U.S.-Russia standoff when all Nato countries boycotted the Moscow celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

"I had to take a moral position that it is not right for the West to be ganging up on Russia," Kevin says in his conversation with the former Australian foreign minister.

The New Cold War can traced back to a broken promise made to Moscow on Nato expansion eastward. "London and Washington are orchestrating a disinformation" campaign today against Russia, as the New Cold War has heated up over Syria, Ukraine, NATO troops on Russia's borders and Russiagate.

Watch the hour-long in depth discussion which was filmed and produced by Consortium News' CN Live! Executive Producer Cathy Vogan.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dJiS3nFzsWg?feature=oembed

Tags: Bob Carr Russia Russiagate Russophobia Tony Kevin Vladimir Putin


Tom Culpeper , December 11, 2019 at 16:03

Putin & the Russian citizenry play chess on this 3-dimensional world.! The Americas and their inane elites attempt checkers on their flat Earth . Pity, some such as Noam Chomsky are admirable world citizens..! Pity again.! WE will miss men of this honest calibre and down- to-earth intelligence. Bob Carr is of this cohort.

Eugenie Basile , December 10, 2019 at 03:36

The 'Russia did it' mantra is a gift for the powers in the Kremlin. It rallies most Russians behind their leaders because they are proud of their country and don't accept the West's moral hypocrite grandstanding.

Just recently the WADA proclaimed sporting ban against Russia is a perfect example. It excludes all Russian athletes because they happen to represent their country while U.S. athletes who have been caught cheating in the past are allowed to participate .

Jerry Alatalo , December 10, 2019 at 00:30

It is very encouraging to know there are good people like Mr. Tony Kevin and Mr. Bob Carr alive and sharing their powerful wisdom at this dangerous historical point on planet Earth. Mr. Kevin and Mr. Carr's immensely important and courageously honest discussion should become – immediately, and for many years to come – required study in university classrooms and government halls around this world.

Peace.

ElderD , December 9, 2019 at 15:03

Tony's (especially!) and Bob's sane and sensible view of this dangerous and destructive state of affairs deserve the widest possible distribution and attention.

George McGlynn , December 9, 2019 at 13:27

A quarter century has passed since the fall of the Soviet Union, and little has changed. Cold War patterns of thinking about Russia show no sign of weakening in America. The further we distance ourselves from the end of the Cold War, the closer we come to its revival. Hostility to Russia is the oldest continuous foreign policy tradition in the United States. It is now so much of a part of America's identity that it is unlikely to be ever cured.

peter mcloughlin , December 9, 2019 at 10:45

It is a dangerous miscalculation to think the "New Cold War" will end like the first. Russia (the USSR) had a buffer zone then, it doesn't today. For Moscow the coming war (world war) will be about survival. All that is left is the fall-back position of nuclear deterrence doctrine – annihilation. I don't think western capitals see how perilous the situation is.

Lois Gagnon , December 9, 2019 at 17:30

I agree. Putin made it clear when he said the next war would not be fought inside Russia. The troglodytes in the West are unable to grasp not only what that means, but why he said it.

AnneR , December 9, 2019 at 07:48

The latest efforts at attacking Russia via smear, allegation and Doublespeak have been, are via that US supported supposed oversight committee, WADA which has done what the US-UK wanted: banned Russia for four years from international sporting events including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and World Cup (Football – soccer to Americans).

Then there were allegations – of those "highly likely" (therefore one knows to be untrue and unadulterated propaganda to increase Russophobia) sort – about Russian hackers (always giving the impression that the "Kremlin" is behind itl) being the Labour Party's source of the Tory party's US-UK trade deal which would/will deliberately and finally destroy the NHS and replace it with (of course) US "health" insurance company profiteering.

(Always the Tory intention from the NHS's initiation in May of 1948; only its popularity among many Tory party supporters among the working and lower middle classes prevented them from a full-frontal killing off the NHS; the Snatcher's government began the undermining, via installing a top-heavy bureaucratization, siphoning off a sizable proportion of the funds that would otherwise have gone to medical care, demanding that hospitals not "lose" money – a concept completely beyond the remit of the NHS as originally conceived and constructed and like exactions.)

Then there are snide remarks about the meeting today concerning the Ukrainian Azov (Neo-Nazi) attacks on the Donbass (NOT how either the BBC or NPR speaks of this of course) in France. This struggle, between the Russian-speaking Donbass peoples and the neo-Nazis of western Ukraine, has killed many thousands of people (most likely mostly those of the Donbass). The Donbass fighters are spoken of as "Russian-supported" in an attempt to deny them and the reasons for their struggle *any* legitimacy (meanwhile the support for the neo-Nazis goes unmentioned, leaving the listener with the impression that they are the Ukrainian military, thus legitimately fighting a foreign funded and manned insurgency).

Someone even suggested that President Putin needed to be diplomatic. Really? From what I've read the man is the most diplomatic and intelligent politician (not just political leader) along with Xi Jinping and the Iranian government that exist on the world stage. None of them are hubristic, solipsistic, eager beaver killers of peoples in other countries. Unlike their western "world" political counterparts.

Jeff Harrison , December 8, 2019 at 18:30

Mad Dog Mattis spoke the truth when he said that an opponent wasn't defeated until they agreed they were defeated. The US merely assumed that Russia agreed that they were defeated and are doubling down when they now suddenly realize that Russia never said any such thing.

St. Ronnie's whole thing back in the 80's was to outspend Russia militarily and it worked well. We're trying to do it again but Russia isn't playing the same game this time and now it is the US that has a mountain of debt and Russia that doesn't.

SIPIRI tags US military spending at $650B and Russian military spending at $62B. But we know that the $650B number is bogus because it doesn't include our in-violation-of-the-NNPT nuclear program which is in the energy department or our veteran's expenses which are in HHS. I don't know what's missing from Russia's $62B but I'll bet they can sustain that a whole lot better than we can sustain our $650B and rising bill.

Antonio Costa , December 9, 2019 at 13:17

Good point regarding Russia's downsizing the Soviet Union. From Gorbachev to Putin there was NEVER a surrender, intended in any way. The intent has been multilateral partnerships. For Russia the US/West won nothing at all except the opportunity to live and work in peace. (By the way this policy has a long Russian history.)

They gave up the Warsaw Pact and America with our worthless "word" expanded NATO.

The US foreign policy has lost even the semblance of sanity. Our naked aggression is clear as never before, a mad man throwing a global fit armed with megaton nuclear projectiles on trigger first strike alert. What could go wrong?

nondimenticare , December 8, 2019 at 15:56

If, magically, Consortium News/CN Live! were a mass-distribution network/magazine (hence universally consulted), allowing the light in for the mass of the viewing and listening public, it could change the world – both an exalting and despairing thought.

Lily , December 8, 2019 at 09:52

It is a great joy to listen to this conversation!

I am really sick of the smearing of Russia done by the US and UK. The Skripal as well as the MH17 case are plain ridiculus. Anybody can see through these silly plants. US and UK obviously don't feel obliged to respect any international rules any more. (The one person who is suffering most at the moment from the decline in respect is Julian Assange, an Australian citizen!)

I wish people would have the courage to break away from the group pressure originated by a nation which has been started by killing more than 90% of the indigenous people in their country and since then has turned the worl into a very insecure place.

Chapeau, Tony Kevin! Thanks to Bob Carr and Consortiums News.

Lily , December 9, 2019 at 01:18

It seems that some facts are beginning to be realized in the military department.

www(dot)zerohedge(dot)com/geopolitical/pentagon-alarmed-russia-gaining-sympathy-among-us-troops

JOHN CHUCKMAN , December 8, 2019 at 07:30

"At an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause."

The American establishment's problem with Russia is simply that Russia is the only country on earth capable of obliterating the United States. Not even China has yet reached that capacity.

"Carthago delenda est"

Skip Scott , December 9, 2019 at 06:13

There is "cause." Russia was our latest vassal under Yeltsin. Putin stopped the looting, and worked to benefit average Russian citizens. Just watch "The Magnitsky Act, behind the scenes" to know the "cause".

Bruno DP , December 8, 2019 at 02:34

The West is ganging up on Russia? Replace "West" by "United States of America", and I will agree.

Much of the West (i.e. Germany) has been dragged by force into damage control mode. The Magnitsky Act monster, the election interference hysteria, are just 2 crying examples met with shock and disbelief across the pond. The Fiona Hill testimony was a very telling moment for the inner workings of a self perpetuating logic.

Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly.

But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined.

Martin Schuchert , December 8, 2019 at 17:33

I'm German, living in the US, and I agree with your comment. I especially love the last two sentences:

"Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly. But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined."

[Dec 10, 2019] The key factor in USSR's demise was that it couldn't sustain the competition with the West and wasn't able to develop, "progress", "grow" at the rate the West was showing off. US and USSR levels were far closer back in 1950 than in 1980, and the discrepancy was only growing

Dec 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Clueless Joe , Dec 9 2019 16:28 utc | 100

John Brewster - 90
Did you by chance confuse Russia with Italy? Because Russia has close to 150M people, not 65M, significantly more than Germany. Granted, less than USSR back in 1939, but militarily more powerful compared to Germany - and possibly with more exploited resources.

vk - 79
I tend to agree with the view that the key factor in USSR's demise was that it couldn't sustain the competition with the Kapital and wasn't able to develop, "progress", "grow" at the rate the West was showing off. US and USSR levels were far closer back in 1950 than in 1980, and the discrepancy was only growing. Reagan fanboys might argue that he sped up the decaying process, but troubles and upheavals were going to happen, no matter what. Now, why this rate of progress was so different is another matter, and probably the most important one - both for 20th century history and for the fate of the West in this century.
It's also painfully obvious that the only path outside downright servitude for Europe is to distance itself from the USA and seek if not a direct alliance at least a clear partnership with Russia and a "detente" with clear rules on their borders and a common declaration of neutrality over Ukraine - as in: no side will try to annex the whole country, which either would be split up or ideally would have a heavy dose of decentralization and localism. But it is of vital importance for the actual survival of Europe that atlanticists and Russiaphobes be hunted down and expelled from any position of power or influence - be it from economy, media, politics.

[Dec 09, 2019] NATO Seeking To Dominate The World Eliminate Competitors Russia's Lavrov

Notable quotes:
"... Image via AFP ..."
"... Lavrov told reporters Thursday: "I think that it is difficult to unbalance us and China. We are well aware of what is happening. We have an answer to all the threats that the Alliance is multiplying in this world." He also said the West is seeking to dominate the Middle East under the guise of NATO as well. ..."
"... "Naturally, we cannot but feel worried over what has been happening within NATO," Lavrov stated. "The problem is NATO positions itself as a source of legitimacy and is adamant to persuade one and all it has no alternatives in this capacity, that only NATO is in the position to assign blame for everything that may be happening around us and what the West dislikes for some reason ." ..."
"... NATO still exists, according to Lavrov, in order to "eliminate competitors" and ensure a West-dominated global system in search of new official enemies. ..."
"... I'm wondering how many NATO states don't have US Military Bases positioned in them. It's a small distance between a forward operating base and an occupying forces. ..."
"... What NATO is doing is called racketeering. Only the problem of Europe is not Russia, but the ******* Wahhabis, who are the best friends of the same Americans and NATO. ..."
"... Children sometimes need a made-up friend, and these bastards need a made-up enemy. Russia is perfect for this. ..."
"... LOL. The NATO ONLY serves US interests. It has the same function as always. Keep the US in, Russia out and Germany down. ..."
"... The collapse of the US empire has been underway for years. Nobody is excited about it because, instead of gracefully adapting to change with the dignity of a great nation, the US will continue to cling to denial, lashing out at all and sundry as reality intrudes upon the myth of American exceptionalism. ..."
"... US geopolitics has created a foe it cannot defeat without itself being destroyed. ..."
"... Technocratic sociopaths, doing a CYA for their incompetence. ..."
"... ZATO cries out in pain as it strikes you. ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

NATO Seeking To "Dominate The World" & Eliminate Competitors: Russia's Lavrov by Tyler Durden Mon, 12/09/2019 - 02:45 0 SHARES

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has charged NATO with wanting to "dominate the world" a day after 70th anniversary events of the alliance concluded in London.

"We absolutely understand that NATO wants to dominate the world and wants to eliminate any competitors, including resorting to an information war, trying to unbalance us and China," Lavrov said from Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, while attending the 26th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

He seized upon NATO leaders' comments this week, specifically Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, naming China as a new enemy alongside Russia . Stoltenberg declared at the summit that NATO has to "tackle the issue" of China's growing capabilities.

Image via AFP

Lavrov told reporters Thursday: "I think that it is difficult to unbalance us and China. We are well aware of what is happening. We have an answer to all the threats that the Alliance is multiplying in this world." He also said the West is seeking to dominate the Middle East under the guise of NATO as well.

The new accusation of 'world domination' comes at a crisis moment of growing and deep divisions over the future of the Cold War era military alliance, including back-and-forth comments on Macron's "brain death" remarks, and looming questions over Turkey's fitness to remain in NATO, and the ongoing debate over cost sharing burdens and the scope of the mission.

"Naturally, we cannot but feel worried over what has been happening within NATO," Lavrov stated. "The problem is NATO positions itself as a source of legitimacy and is adamant to persuade one and all it has no alternatives in this capacity, that only NATO is in the position to assign blame for everything that may be happening around us and what the West dislikes for some reason ."

A consistent theme of Lavrov's has been to call for a "post-West world order" but that NATO has "remained a Cold War institution" hindering balance in global relations where countries can pursue their own national interests.

NATO still exists, according to Lavrov, in order to "eliminate competitors" and ensure a West-dominated global system in search of new official enemies.


beemasters , 7 minutes ago link

Remember the last Bilderberg meeting. Russia and China were not invited. The globalists have planned this, and apparently, Russia has better intelligence to know what's going on, and they will take the necessary precautions, along with China. Let's just hope it's not going to lead us to WW3.

45North1 , 34 minutes ago link

I'm wondering how many NATO states don't have US Military Bases positioned in them. It's a small distance between a forward operating base and an occupying forces.

Helg Saracen , 49 minutes ago link

NATO is not trying to dominate, NATO is trying to extend its profit from frightened European donkeys who still believe that the USSR exists, and Uncle Joe sits in the Kremlin and eats a Christian baby in garlic sauce for lunch.

Helg Saracen , 42 minutes ago link

What NATO is doing is called racketeering. Only the problem of Europe is not Russia, but the ******* Wahhabis, who are the best friends of the same Americans and NATO.

So there will be a big "raspathosovka" with shooting and explosions, do not even doubt it.. Only the problem of Europe is not Russia, but the ******* Wahhabis, who are the best friends of the same Americans and NATO. So there will be a big **** with shooting and explosions, do not even doubt it.

I'll just repeat the erased: NATO - lovers of freebies and they don't refuse this freebie voluntarily. Children sometimes need a made-up friend, and these bastards need a made-up enemy. Russia is perfect for this.

SnatchnGrab , 2 hours ago link

NATO is obsolete. The organization no longer serves US interests, and quite frankly, hasn't for some time. I respectfully suggest the USA move all forces out of Germany on day 1, and station them at Fort Trump in Poland.

Day 2, the US forms a new "mutual defense pact" with Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. (Former Eastern Bloc nations)

Russia and Germany can duke it out, just not where our guys are hanging out. Hades, Germany and France can limp wrist at each other as they have done in the past so many times. But insofar as US troops leaving continental Europe forever? Sorry Sergei, that ain't happening, no matter how much propaganda you shove up western europe's (willing) ***.

schroedingersrat , 2 hours ago link

NATO is obsolete. The organization no longer serves US interests,

LOL. The NATO ONLY serves US interests. It has the same function as always. Keep the US in, Russia out and Germany down.

BritBob , 2 hours ago link

Meanwhile Vlad makes new friends around the world... Last year Putin signed accords with President Macri of Argentina which included Russia recognizing Argentina's Falklands claim. (La Voz, 23 Jan 2018).

An Argentinian claim based upon 'usurpation' – meaningless in the 18th century and inheritance from Spain just like Mexico inherited California and Texas.

Falklands – Argentina's Inheritance Problem (1 pg): https://www.academia.edu/35194694/Falklands_Argentinas_Inheritance_Problem

Noob678 , 3 hours ago link

NATO, ISIS, US military, muslim terror groups, all 5Eyes+1 are all Zionist proxy armies.

BobPaulson , 2 hours ago link

The NATO advantage right now is of the least dirty shirt variety. As it stands, I am not excited about the thought of the US empire collapsing. People have been predicting that for a while and for the moment, I don't see a legit replacement stepping up to the plate. The US is a crooked gangster, but the other countries are not exactly ready for the big league.

Shemp 4 Victory , 1 hour ago link

The NATO advantage right now is of the least dirty shirt variety.

The NATO disadvantage right now is of the "sitting with pants full of **** and asking others who farted" variety.

As it stands, I am not excited about the thought of the US empire collapsing.

The collapse of the US empire has been underway for years. Nobody is excited about it because, instead of gracefully adapting to change with the dignity of a great nation, the US will continue to cling to denial, lashing out at all and sundry as reality intrudes upon the myth of American exceptionalism.

I don't see a legit replacement stepping up to the plate.

US imperial decline is reminiscent of Casey at the Bat.

but the other countries are not exactly ready for the big league.

Or they've decided the US game is not worth playing.

khnum , 4 hours ago link

Since 2013 I have followed Russian foreign policy and actions in the middle east and elsewhere,thanks to statesmen like Lavrov they have crossed every t and dotted every i following international law and convention, true history will be a lot kinder to Russia than N ot A nother T errorist O rganisation

Luau , 3 hours ago link

What is happening to Europe is the same as what's happening to Russia, only Russia didn't ask for it. Nevertheless, Azeris and Tatars are on the rise demographically, and Russians are on the decline.

Arising , 4 hours ago link

Come on Mr Lavrov, how dare you use diplomacy to state the obvious?

iuyyyyui , 4 hours ago link

I don't think Russia ... or China for that matter ... need to worry much. The West is imploding and NATO will implode along with it. The West can't even depend on its technical superiority anymore ( see Boeing 737MAX ); it sure can't depend on (most of) its people to do any real fighting.

Conscious Reviver , 42 minutes ago link

I'm sure as Rome collapsed, there were half-wits back then, swearing it wasn't happening too.

Thom Paine , 4 hours ago link

NATO is fading and becoming a contradictory mess. China and Russia will be the foe, with possibly India, and far more effective, economically and militarily. Europe doesn't stand a chance against these no matter how they posture, their slope is downward.

US geopolitics has created a foe it cannot defeat without itself being destroyed.

HRClinton , 4 hours ago link

Technocratic sociopaths, doing a CYA for their incompetence.

HRClinton , 4 hours ago link

IBID:

"The problem is ZATO positions itself as a source of legitimacy and is adamant to persuade one and all it has no alternatives in this capacity, that only ZATO is in the position to assign blame for everything that may be happening around us and what the West dislikes for some reason ."

FIFY, Lavrov

ZATO cries out in pain as it strikes you.

[Dec 09, 2019] Europe's political class is psychologically unable to break free of its dominant/subordinate relationship with America

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Dec 9 2019 3:03 utc | 62

Israel Shamir quoting Prof Michael Brenner of Pittsburgh U, who has noted:

"Europe's political class is psychologically unable to break free of its dominant/subordinate relationship with America. This pattern endures despite the presence of a mentally impaired man in the White House. The prognosis, therefore: 'Wither thou goest, we go!" American leaders have exploited this compulsive deference ruthlessly. It allows Washington to ensure European fealty at virtually no cost. Moreover, they can extract compliance across a wide array of non-security issues – commercial, financial, IT (warring against Huawei), political, diplomatic – by drawing on the same free-floating loyalties.

"Europe has been obedient to the siren call of Uncle Sam in following it over the cliff time after time – in Afghanistan, in Iraq (France excepted), on Russia, on Iran (by acquiescing in severe sanctions), on Saudi Arabia, in Yemen, in embracing Bolsonaro (invited Keynoter at Davos), even on Venezuela and Bolivia. The ultimate test will come were Washington to pick a fight with China that it, and the West, cannot win; will Europe then take the final, fatal leap hand-in-hand?"

[Dec 09, 2019] When it became clear the USSR wouldn't be able to keep up technologically with the USA, Gorbachev then decided (without knowing it) it would be preferrable for The USSR to disappear than to continue to exist as a non-superpower.

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Dec 9 2019 12:08 utc | 79

More on "Western imbecilization":

A (Grudging) Defense of the $120,000 Banana

These are the successors of Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Picasso, etc. etc.

--//--

This is Brazil's "God's Army":

'Soldiers of Jesus': Armed neo-Pentecostals torment Brazil's religious minorities

First Worlders commenting here seem to have the illusion Christianism is the good brother of the three Abrahamic religions. Although I understand the pro-Christian bias coming from the Europeans (since Christianism is an inextricable aspect of European identity), this opinion is a myth: we have already tasted this in the Bolivian coup, but it's also a Latin American phenomenon.

Christians are wolves under sheep skins.

--//--

@ Posted by: pogohere | Dec 9 2019 1:25 utc | 57

The USSR had a relatively backwards transportation system (specially railways), that still used disproportional quantities of petroil to function, but that wasn't an existential threat to the nation per se , it could be modernized.

Of all the theses I've read about the collapse of the USSR, the one that most convinced me was Angelo Segrillo's "Decline of the USSR" - which I think only exists in Portuguese right now. Segrillo covers all the arguments of the time used to explain the fall of the USSR and refutes them all empirically before he lays out that the main cause of the fall of the USSR was its structural inability to implement the Third Industrial Revolution ("toyotism").

When it became clear the USSR wouldn't be able to keep up technologically with the USA, Gorbachev then decided (without knowing it) it would be preferrable for the USSR to disappear than to continue to exist as a non-superpower.

In that sense, yes, the Soviet then relatively inneficient energy use was a symptom of the underlying cause - but it wasn't the cause.

--//--

@ Posted by: bevin | Dec 9 2019 3:03 utc | 62

The problem with Europe is its geography: it is a tiny, depleted peninsula. In the 17th Century, it was an advantage, since the lack of natural resources impelled it to aggressively exploit other continents, giving birth to capitalism.

But capitalism is a global system, not a regional system. When it reached maturity, Europe slowly, but inexorably, begun to lose its competitive advantages over purely capitalist formations - the greatest of them all being the USA. Then what was an advantage became a disadvantage.

This gordian knot was cut with WWI and WWII (both were only one war, in two parts) - a last desperate attempt by British capitalism to preserve its imperialist status.

But History is unasailable: it is the saga of class struggle, of the contradictions between the modes of production and the relations of production. The result couldn't be any different: Western Europe was on its knees after WWII. The British Empire had just sold all its assets to the Americans and German men were literally prostituting themselves to American soldiers for on cigarette (and German children, for one chocolate bar). The USA was the undisputed sovereign of the European Peninsula from 1945 on.

The last leverage the European Peninsula had, in that scenario, was the USSR itself: it could ask the USA for good treatment and some dignity in exchange of not doing socialist revolutions backed up by the Soviets. The result was the Marshall Plan and a permission to revive their previous industrial parks.

That situation resulted in the rise of Atlanticism, the ideology that the USA is the legitimate heir of Western Civilization. Andy Warhol was the successor to Michelangelo.

--//--

@ Posted by: john brewster | Dec 9 2019 4:35 utc | 65

The USSR stagnated during the period that spanned from the oil crisis of 1975 until its fall in 1991.

But it only had a recession in two years of its history: the year after the Perestroika and its last year of existence. Both were very mild recessions (by capitalist standards).

Even during the infamous "Brezhnev stagnation", growth was 1-3% per year - comparable to the developed capitalist nations since the 1990s.

But the problem is that its successor states are doing objectively worse: Russia will grown a little more than 1% this year; other ex-Soviet states are more or less in the same situation (with Ukraine doing outright worse). The mircle promised to the Russians didn't come: Putin's boom of the early 2000s was not comparable to the Soviet boom. Russia's status today are completely dependent on China (which, ironically, has the Soviet system of government) and the modernization from the old Soviet weapons and know-how it already had.

[Dec 09, 2019] A Determined Effort to Undermine Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The New Cold War can traced back to a broken promise made to Moscow on Nato expansion eastward. "London and Washington are orchestrating a disinformation" campaign today against Russia, as the New Cold War has heated up over Syria, Ukraine, NATO troops on Russia's borders and Russiagate. ..."
"... Hostility to Russia is the oldest continuous foreign policy tradition in the United States. It is now so much of a part of America's identity that it is unlikely to be ever cured. ..."
"... It is a dangerous miscalculation to think the "New Cold War" will end like the first. Russia (the USSR) had a buffer zone then, it doesn't today. For Moscow the coming war (world war) will be about survival. All that is left is the fall-back position of nuclear deterrence doctrine – annihilation. I don't think western capitals see how perilous the situation is. ..."
"... Then there are snide remarks about the meeting today concerning the Ukrainian Azov (Neo-Nazi) attacks on the Donbass (NOT how either the BBC or NPR speaks of this of course) in France. This struggle, between the Russian-speaking Donbass peoples and the neo-Nazis of western Ukraine, has killed many thousands of people (most likely mostly those of the Donbass). The Donbass fighters are spoken of as "Russian-supported" in an attempt to deny them and the reasons for their struggle *any* legitimacy (meanwhile the support for the neo-Nazis goes unmentioned, leaving the listener with the impression that they are the Ukrainian military, thus legitimately fighting a foreign funded and manned insurgency). ..."
"... Mad Dog Mattis spoke the truth when he said that an opponent wasn't defeated until they agreed they were defeated. The US merely assumed that Russia agreed that they were defeated and are doubling down when they now suddenly realize that Russia never said any such thing. ..."
"... I am really sick of the smearing of Russia done by the US and UK. The Skripal as well as the MH17 case are plain ridiculus. Anybody can see through these silly plants. US and UK obviously don't feel obliged to respect any international rules any more. (The one person who is suffering most at the moment from the decline in respect is Julian Assange, an Australian citizen!) ..."
"... "From 1922 onwards the strategic purpose of the Soviet Union was to defend the Soviet Union not global domination, whereas the purpose of the "West" has always been global domination. " ..."
"... "At an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause." ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Retired Australian diplomat Tony Kevin, in conversation with former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, says the West is unnecessarily determined to undermine Russia. A t an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause.

When Kevin said he returned to Russia after more than 40 years in 2016 he realized he "had to take sides" in the U.S.-Russia standoff when all Nato countries boycotted the Moscow celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

"I had to take a moral position that it is not right for the West to be ganging up on Russia," Kevin says in his conversation with the former Australian foreign minister.

The New Cold War can traced back to a broken promise made to Moscow on Nato expansion eastward. "London and Washington are orchestrating a disinformation" campaign today against Russia, as the New Cold War has heated up over Syria, Ukraine, NATO troops on Russia's borders and Russiagate.

Watch the hour-long in depth discussion which was filmed and produced by Consortium News' CN Live! Executive Producer Cathy Vogan.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dJiS3nFzsWg?feature=oembed


ElderD , December 9, 2019 at 15:03

Tony's (especially!) and Bob's sane and sensible view of this dangerous and destructive state of affairs deserve the widest possible distribution and attention.

George McGlynn , December 9, 2019 at 13:27

A quarter century has passed since the fall of the Soviet Union, and little has changed. Cold War patterns of thinking about Russia show no sign of weakening in America. The further we distance ourselves from the end of the Cold War, the closer we come to its revival. Hostility to Russia is the oldest continuous foreign policy tradition in the United States. It is now so much of a part of America's identity that it is unlikely to be ever cured.

peter mcloughlin , December 9, 2019 at 10:45

It is a dangerous miscalculation to think the "New Cold War" will end like the first. Russia (the USSR) had a buffer zone then, it doesn't today. For Moscow the coming war (world war) will be about survival. All that is left is the fall-back position of nuclear deterrence doctrine – annihilation. I don't think western capitals see how perilous the situation is.

AnneR , December 9, 2019 at 07:48

The latest efforts at attacking Russia via smear, allegation and Doublespeak have been, are via that US supported supposed oversight committee, WADA which has done what the US-UK wanted: banned Russia for four years from international sporting events including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and World Cup (Football – soccer to Americans).

Then there were allegations – of those "highly likely" (therefore one knows to be untrue and unadulterated propaganda to increase Russophobia) sort – about Russian hackers (always giving the impression that the "Kremlin" is behind itl) being the Labour Party's source of the Tory party's US-UK trade deal which would/will deliberately and finally destroy the NHS and replace it with (of course) US "health" insurance company profiteering.

(Always the Tory intention from the NHS's initiation in May of 1948; only its popularity among many Tory party supporters among the working and lower middle classes prevented them from a full-frontal killing off the NHS; the Snatcher's government began the undermining, via installing a top-heavy bureaucratization, siphoning off a sizable proportion of the funds that would otherwise have gone to medical care, demanding that hospitals not "lose" money – a concept completely beyond the remit of the NHS as originally conceived and constructed and like exactions.)

Then there are snide remarks about the meeting today concerning the Ukrainian Azov (Neo-Nazi) attacks on the Donbass (NOT how either the BBC or NPR speaks of this of course) in France. This struggle, between the Russian-speaking Donbass peoples and the neo-Nazis of western Ukraine, has killed many thousands of people (most likely mostly those of the Donbass). The Donbass fighters are spoken of as "Russian-supported" in an attempt to deny them and the reasons for their struggle *any* legitimacy (meanwhile the support for the neo-Nazis goes unmentioned, leaving the listener with the impression that they are the Ukrainian military, thus legitimately fighting a foreign funded and manned insurgency).

Someone even suggested that President Putin needed to be diplomatic. Really? From what I've read the man is the most diplomatic and intelligent politician (not just political leader) along with Xi Jinping and the Iranian government that exist on the world stage. None of them are hubristic, solipsistic, eager beaver killers of peoples in other countries. Unlike their western "world" political counterparts.

Jeff Harrison , December 8, 2019 at 18:30

Mad Dog Mattis spoke the truth when he said that an opponent wasn't defeated until they agreed they were defeated. The US merely assumed that Russia agreed that they were defeated and are doubling down when they now suddenly realize that Russia never said any such thing.

St. Ronnie's whole thing back in the 80's was to outspend Russia militarily and it worked well. We're trying to do it again but Russia isn't playing the same game this time and now it is the US that has a mountain of debt and Russia that doesn't. SIPIRI tags US military spending at $650B and Russian military spending at $62B. But we know that the $650B number is bogus because it doesn't include our in-violation-of-the-NNPT nuclear program which is in the energy department or our veteran's expenses which are in HHS. I don't know what's missing from Russia's $62B but I'll bet they can sustain that a whole lot better than we can sustain our $650B and rising bill.

Antonio Costa , December 9, 2019 at 13:17

Good point regarding Russia's downsizing the Soviet Union. From Gorbachev to Putin there was NEVER a surrender, intended in any way. The intent has been multilateral partnerships. For Russia the US/West won nothing at all except the opportunity to live and work in peace. (By the way this policy has a long Russian history.)

They gave up the Warsaw Pact and America with our worthless "word" expanded NATO.

The US foreign policy has lost even the semblance of sanity. Our naked aggression is clear as never before, a mad man throwing a global fit armed with megaton nuclear projectiles on trigger first strike alert. What could go wrong?

nondimenticare , December 8, 2019 at 15:56

If, magically, Consortium News/CN Live! were a mass-distribution network/magazine (hence universally consulted), allowing the light in for the mass of the viewing and listening public, it could change the world – both an exalting and despairing thought.

Lily , December 8, 2019 at 09:52

It is a great joy to listen to this conversation!

I am really sick of the smearing of Russia done by the US and UK. The Skripal as well as the MH17 case are plain ridiculus. Anybody can see through these silly plants. US and UK obviously don't feel obliged to respect any international rules any more. (The one person who is suffering most at the moment from the decline in respect is Julian Assange, an Australian citizen!)

I wish people would have the courage to break away from the group pressure originated by a nation which has been started by killing more than 90% of the indigenous people in their country and since then has turned the worl into a very insecure place.

Chapeau, Tony Kevin! Thanks to Bob Carr and Consortiums News.

Lily , December 9, 2019 at 01:18

It seems that some facts are beginning to be realized in the military department.

www(dot)zerohedge(dot)com/geopolitical/pentagon-alarmed-russia-gaining-sympathy-among-us-troops

Bob Van Noy , December 8, 2019 at 09:22

Simply, wonderful

OlyaPola , December 8, 2019 at 07:43

Words are catalysts of connotations and connotations are functions of expectations/framing..

Some conflate cause with purpose thereby limiting perception of cause and purpose.

Some understand that causation is interactive and in any lateral system the genesis of causation is difficult to determine.

Some understand that evaluation is a function of purpose and that purpose can be evaluated through such portals into wonderlands such as "What is the "United States of America" and how is it facilitated?"

As thumb-nailed in the comments section of the article Capitalism's suicidal trajectory – OlyaPola
December 6, 2019 at 07:46

"From 1922 onwards the strategic purpose of the Soviet Union was to defend the Soviet Union not global domination, whereas the purpose of the "West" has always been global domination. "

From 1922 onwards various tactics have been attempted by the "West" to facilitate their purpose, including attempts at "Orange revolution" in many areas which catalysed many lateral trajectories including the process of transcendence of the "Soviet Union" by the Russian Federation in the period from 1991 to 2005.

Consequently Mr. Suslov's observation re war of "The United States of America" can be extended into present times and hence no "New cold war" exists.

""What is the "United States of America"

An initial step through the portal is that "The United States of America" is – a regime of social relations to facilitate its purpose – the social relations not being restricted to the "nation state" presently self designated "The United States of America" but including classes in other "nation states".

Consequently alternative purposes and social relations pose an existential threat to "The United States of America"; this being perceived of lesser significance in regard to "The Soviet Union" and greater in regard to the Russian Federation.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , December 8, 2019 at 07:30

"At an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause."

The American establishment's problem with Russia is simply that Russia is the only country on earth capable of obliterating the United States. Not even China has yet reached that capacity.

"Carthago delenda est"

Skip Scott , December 9, 2019 at 06:13

There is "cause." Russia was our latest vassal under Yeltsin. Putin stopped the looting, and worked to benefit average Russian citizens. Just watch "The Magnitsky Act, behind the scenes" to know the "cause".

Bruno DP , December 8, 2019 at 02:34

The West is ganging up on Russia? Replace "West" by "United States of America", and I will agree.

Much of the West (i.e. Germany) has been dragged by force into damage control mode. The Magnitsky Act monster, the election interference hysteria, are just 2 crying examples met with shock and disbelief across the pond. The Fiona Hill testimony was a very telling moment for the inner workings of a self perpetuating logic.

Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly.

But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined.

Martin Schuchert , December 8, 2019 at 17:33

I'm German, living in the US, and I agree with your comment. I especially love the last two sentences:

"Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly.
But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined."

[Dec 08, 2019] The sooner the EU Europe generally either discard NATO or create its own defence force in parallel with NATO, the better.

Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Alistair says: December 7, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT

Trump is right about the NATO members inadequate military spending; the US expects NATO members to spend 2% of their GDP on their own defence, the US however, does not require them to purchase American made weapons, they can produce their own weapons, like French do, or buy from each other like Germans -- they just have to make their military up and ready in case of emergency, that's not an unreasonable expectation.

Among the NATO members however, Canada's case is unique; due to its closeness and joint high command (NORAD) with the US -- and direct threat from Russian claim on the Canadian Arctic, Canada needs and must increase its military spending significantly, Canada should purchase modern Air force fleet, Advanced Surveillance equipment, Warships and Submarines for the defence of the Arctic; F-35, F-22, AH-64 Apache, Nuclear powered Icebreaker and Submarines etc. because all these equipment will we be partially built in Canada which bring many high tech jobs and economic growth to the Canadian communities.

Trump is right, NATO and Canada should spend much more on their own defence, and buying American advanced weapons is the best strategic choice for the Canadians forces, there shouldn't be any doubt about that.

Jmaie , says: December 7, 2019 at 6:12 pm GMT

LOL to the first comment, Russia is *zero* threat to Canada ** . Russia is zero threat to the US or Europe either. NATO has long outlived its purpose and needs to die.

** I suppose Russia could claim the north pole, and threaten to hold Santa hostage.

Alistair , says: December 7, 2019 at 8:26 pm GMT
@Jmaie Russian annexation of Crimea was a blatant assault on the International Law, yet it went off without serious consequences to Russia -- it's not a secret that Russia has claims on Canadian Arctic seabed, Russia has already planted its flag on the Arctic seabed; here is a Link that you should want to see:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/aug/02/russia.arctic
joe2.5 , says: December 7, 2019 at 11:59 pm GMT
@Alistair Alistair @ 3

I'd really be interested to understand how on earth the reintegration, by overwhelming majority in a plebiscite acknowledged by all sides as free and unconstrained, of Crimea, a Russian province for 300+ years, and a majority-Russian area for quite a long time, is "a blatant assault on the International Law".

The "International Law" you quote must be a newcomer.

voicum , says: Next New Comment December 8, 2019 at 2:46 am GMT
@Alistair

Are you insane ? This is where your money and my money should be spent ?

likbez , says: December 8, 2019 at 4:00 am GMT
@joe2.5 @4.joe2.5

"I'd really be interested to understand how on earth "

It is very easy to understand. As Upton Sinclair observed "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Alistair repeats typical neocon viewpoint. Nothing original here. Neocons make their living off threat inflation and this isn't cheap cynicism. It is simply a fact.

Fiona Hill is a shining recent example here -- this intellectual prostitute of MIC is a member of Brookings Institution, Atlantic Council and other MIC lobbing organization that promote Cold War 2 and neoliberal globalization.

The real question is "Why we should believe any of these chickenhawks?" They has been proven liars so many times that they deserve the rotten tomatoes to be thrown at them on any of their public appearances or, which is sadly impossible, at their Internet posts

But again money do not smell: unless neocons start facing very real and very personal consequences, nothing will change. And like with any sect there is small number of intellectually deficient people who still believe them.

See Stephen M. Walt https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2019/12/04/a-manifesto-for-restrainers/

3. Restrainers Want Realistic Foreign Policy Goal s. Instead of engaging in costly and futile efforts to remake the world in our image, restrainers want U.S. foreign policy to pursue more feasible objectives. The U.S. military must be strong enough to deter attacks on the U.S. homeland, a task that is relatively easy to accomplish. When necessary, the United States can also help other states uphold the balance of power and deter war in a few key strategic areas outside the Western Hemisphere. America's economic clout will also give Washington considerable influence over the institutions that manage trade, investment and other beneficial forms of international cooperation, and it should use that influence to ensure these institutions are working properly. But the United States has neither the need, the capacity, nor the wisdom to conduct massive social engineering projects ("nation-building") in deeply divided and conflict prone societies, and it should cease trying.

4. Restrainers Want Credible Foreign Commitments . The United States keeps taking on new security obligations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, but it rarely debates their wisdom or value. Americans are now formally committed to defending more countries around the world than at any time in U.S. history, even though some of these states are hard to defend, have little strategic importance for the United States, and sometimes act in ways that damage U.S. interests. Washington is also engaged in less visible military activities in dozens of other countries, some of them shrouded in secrecy. Yet anytime U.S. leaders contemplate trimming these obligations, alarmists warn that the slightest reduction in America's global presence will undermine U.S. credibility, embolden rivals, and lead to catastrophe. Having allowed itself to become overextended, the United States ends up fighting endless wars in places with no strategic value in order to convince allies and adversaries that it will still fight in places of greater importance.

animalogic , December 8, 2019 at 5:23 am GMT • 100 Words

The sooner the EU & Europe generally either discard NATO or create its own defence force in parallel with NATO, the better.

Europe MUST take control of its own destiny. It can not have an external nation, the US, with different, if not opposing interests, dictating European policy & action.

The “Russia” situation is a perfect example of this divergence of interests. Europe’s future clearly lies with greater Eurasian integration. Energy, primary products, & mercantile trade all lie to the East, through Russia to China, Vietnam etc. Notably, some countries such as Italy are already pulling away from official EU policy & turning East.

Unfortunately, The US has bribed & threatened (many) EU leaders, leaders who couldn’t even imagine a change to the status quo. Thankfully, though, it seems that many average Europeans are sick to their back-teeth with the status quo & Europe’s “evermore” subservience to US imperialism.

The Alarmist , says: Next New Comment December 8, 2019 at 10:31 am GMT

German tax-payers, like most other Europeans, see no need to spend billions of hard-earned euros against a non-existent threat from the East.

They don’t even want to spend their money turning back the actual threats spilling across their borders, but climate change is way up there on the agenda. De-industrialised Europe chock-full of third-world denizens is going to be heaven on earth.

[Dec 03, 2019] The Case of Sergei Magnitsky Anti-Corruption Champion or Corrupt Anti-Hero - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Dec 03, 2019 | www.spiegel.de

The Case of Sergei Magnitsky Questions Cloud Story Behind U.S. Sanctions

The story of Sergei Magnitsky has come to symbolize the brutal persecution of whistleblowers in Russia. Ten years after his death, inconsistencies in Magnitsky's story suggest he may not have been the hero many people -- and Western governments -- believed him to be.

ฉ Christian O. Bruch/ laif

By Benjamin Bidder

Benjamin Bidder Christian O. Bruch/ laif Benjamin Bidder

Jahrgang 1981. Studium der Volkswirtschaftslehre in Bonn, Mannheim und St. Petersburg. Absolvent der studienbegleitenden Journalistenausbildung des Institutes zur F๖rderung publizistischen Nachwuchses (ifp). Sieben Jahre Moskau-Korrespondent von SPIEGEL ONLINE. Autor des Buchs "Generation Putin - Das neue Russland verstehen". Seit September 2016 Mitglied der Wirtschaftsredaktion von SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Mehr Artikel von Benjamin Bidder Bill Browder at his office in London. Chris Gloag/ WirtschaftsWoche

Bill Browder at his office in London. November 26, 2019 12:16 PM


There's a tombstone in northeastern Moscow that bears the portrait of a man with a friendly yet somewhat uneasy smile. His name is Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky. He was born in April 1972 in Odessa, Ukraine, and died in November 2009 in Moscow. To this day, 10 years after the fact, the circumstances of his death in a Russian pretrial detention facility remain unclear.

There are two versions of what happened to Magnitsky. The more well-known version has all the makings of a conspiracy thriller. It's been repeated in thousands of articles, TV interviews and in parliamentary hearings. In this version of the story, the man from the Moscow cemetery fought nobly against a corrupt system and was murdered for it.

The other version is more complicated. In it, nobody is a hero.

The first version has had geopolitical implications. In 2012, the United States passed the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions against Russian officials who were believed to have played a role in his death. The measure was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama after receiving a broad bipartisan majority. Back then, if there was one thing that politicians on both sides of the aisle could agree on, it was their opposition to a nefarious Russian state. In 2017, Congress passed the Global Magnitsky Act, which enabled the U.S. to impose sanctions against Russia for human rights violations worldwide.

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The facilitator behind these pieces of legislation is Bill Browder, Magnitsky's former boss in Moscow. "When he was put to the ultimate test, he became the ultimate hero," Browder says of Magnitsky. Browder was born in the U.S.. For years, his company, Hermitage Capital Management, was one of the largest foreign investors in Russia. At the time, Browder was an advocate for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the West. That is, until he was prohibited from entering Russia in 2005.

Public Enemy No. 1

Today, Browder refers to himself as "Putin's No. 1 Enemy." From his office in London's Finsbury district, Browder coordinates a campaign he calls "Justice for Sergei Magnitsky." His goal is to get other countries to impose sanctions against Russia for what happened to his former employee. So far, four other countries have followed the U.S.' lead. For now, Browder is concentrating on Europe. He has spoken to politicians in Norway, Sweden and France. He came to Berlin in May and spoke with the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in Germany's federal parliament, the Bundestag. He also had an appointment at the Chancellery.

Browder tells a gripping story of how Magnitsky, the whistleblower, is believed to have died. This narrative is his ticket into the political sphere. It's why he's received by members of parliament, diplomats and human rights activists alike, often with open arms. They support his push for more legislation because they see it as setting an important precedent: Corrupt regimes all over the world that are violating their citizens' rights must be held accountable and made to suffer consequences in the form of entry bans and frozen accounts as laid out by the Global Magnitsky Act. The law makes it more difficult, if only slightly, for autocrats to sneer at and ignore human rights.

But there's another version of the Magnitsky saga, one that is more contradictory than Browder's telling and more difficult to summarize. The legal documents that underpin it fill dozens of binders, not only in Moscow, but also in London and New York. After sifting through thousands of pages, one might begin to wonder: Did the perfidious conspiracy to murder Magnitsky ever really take place? Or is Browder a charlatan whose story the West was too eager to believe? The certainty surrounding the Magnitsky affair becomes muddled in the documents, particularly the clear division between good and evil. The Russian authorities' take is questionable, but so is everyone else's -- including Bill Browder's.

The cases raises uncomfortable questions for the West. In Europe and the U.S., critics of Russia often argue from a position of moral superiority. But with the Magnitsky sanctions, it could be that the activist Browder used a noble cause to manipulate Western governments.

One thing that stays the same no matter which version is told, is this: Magnitsky is dead and he was the victim of a terrible injustice.

Magnitsky's Demise

On the evening of Nov. 16, 2009, Sergei Magnitsky died in a cell at Moscow's "Matrosskaya Tishina" pretrial detention center. A prison doctor had diagnosed him with an inflammation of the pancreas four and a half months prior, but shortly before Magnitsky was scheduled to undergo surgery, he was moved to another prison -- one without the necessary medical equipment for such an invasive procedure. The reason given for the move was that Magnitsky's cell needed to be renovated. Could that possibly be true? Even after the whistleblower's death, work still hadn't commenced, according to an investigative commission. It began looking into the case shortly after Magnitsky's death because the outrage in Moscow was so huge. The commission counted among its members respected human rights activists and opponents of the Kremlin. They analyzed notes and complaints filed while Magnitsky was in prison. They also interviewed the prison staffers who, instead of helping Magnitsky, let him die.

The commission's 20-page report offered detailed insights into the sadistic, cold-hearted nature of Russia's prison system. In the months before his death, Magnitsky was constantly moved from one cell to another. His mother brought him medications that took 18 days to reach him. In September, he was forced to wear his jacket at night because his cell window lacked a pane of glass. His cell toilet often backed up. One time Magnitsky's abdominal pains became so acute that his neighbor began desperately kicking against the door of his cell and calling for help. It took prison staff five hours to get Magnitsky to a doctor.

Sergei Magnitsky's grave at a cemetery in Moscow. Mischa Japaridze/ AP/ Picture Alliance/ DPA

Sergei Magnitsky's grave at a cemetery in Moscow.

Magnitsky's condition worsened on his last day. He was transferred back to the prison where he was originally supposed to be operated on months prior. There, the dying man began to panic. He was sedated and restrained with handcuffs. The files analyzed by the commission note the "use of a rubber baton." Magnitsky was left alone in his cell, unobserved, without a doctor. "An ill person in severe condition was effectively left without medical attention for 1 hour and 18 minutes to die," the commission wrote in its report, a chronology of merciless negligence. Yet it contains no evidence of a targeted murder.

According to Browder's more dramatic telling of the story, Magnitsky's arrest and death were a targeted act of revenge by Russian authorities against an anti-corruption activist. Browder says he tapped "my lawyer Magnitsky," to investigate a case in 2007. Over the course of his research, Magnitsky supposedly stumbled onto a crime of unprecedented proportions -- the biggest tax fraud in Russian history, perpetrated by a corrupt band of police officers and government officials.

The fraud involved a sum of $230 million (208 million euros) and a complex master plan, which, according to Browder, was run by two Moscow police officers, Artyom Kuznetsov and Pavel Karpov. The duo had initiated a fraudulent tax investigation against Browder's Hermitage Capital Management and then seized three letterbox firms that had originally been founded by Browder's people. With confiscated company deeds, the firms were transferred to middlemen who fabricated massive losses and requested the reimbursement of $230 million in taxes that Browder's company had previously paid. Karpov, the policeman, denies any involvement in the fraud or Magnitsky's death. "Browder is a liar," he says. Kuznetsov could not be reached for a statement.

Browder's Story

According to Browder, Magnitsky was onto Kuznetsov and Karpov. He also says the same officials had arranged for Magnitsky to be imprisoned and killed. Browder has told this version of events countless times. He testified in front of the U.S. Congress that Magnitsky had been "murdered." Browder told Canadian parliamentarians: "Eight riot guards with rubber batons would beat him for one hour and 18 minutes. He was subsequently found dead on the floor of that cell."

When asked, Browder cites the investigative committee's report as evidence. He does the same on his website, where he also says the same officials incriminated by Magnitsky "intentionally tortured and ultimately murdered him." The report, however, makes no such assertion of an intentional killing. The names of the two police officers, Kuznetsov and Karpov, don't even appear in the original Russian version of the commission's report. Kuznetsov is only mentioned in an English translation on Browder's website.

By now, Browder's campaign has created its own frame of reference and its own supposed evidence. Browder has often cited reports by the Council of Europe in recent years, though these are largely based on his own accounts. For instance, one Council rapporteur, former German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, referred to Magnitsky as an "independent lawyer." But one look at documents readily available online is enough to discover that Magnitsky was employed as a tax expert at an auditing firm and had worked for Browder for years.

Browder claims to be fighting for justice. One of the reasons he's so successful may be because he's adept at aligning his story with the devastating image that Russia has been projecting for years. And many media outlets believe him. Browder has given countless TV interviews on the subject. In some of the shots, viewers can see articles from prominent international media Browder has hung on his office walls -- the Washington Post , the Financial Times and Russia's Novaya Gazeta . The reports are all framed and appear to lend credibility to Browder's story. DER SPIEGEL has also written about Browder's campaign and conducted interviews with him. The New York Times won the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on Russia's legal system, including on the Magnitsky case. There are films and plays too.

But the question remains: Just how solid are the facts upon which politicians and the media are basing their judgements of this case? Various inconsistencies and contradictions are apparent in some documents that Browder's own people have published online. These include two photographs of interrogation protocols that allegedly prove how Sergei Magnitsky courageously reported the tax fraud of $230 million after discovering it. In his book, Browder writes, "Sergei set up an appointment at the Investigative Committee for 5 June 2008. (...) He sat in the chair, provided the evidence and gave his witness statement, explicitly naming Kuznetsov and Karpov."

Contradictions

The protocol itself tells a different story. Magnitsky does indeed mention the names of the two police officers nearly 30 times and describes their role during a search. But at no point does he make a concrete accusation against them personally. In a second protocol of a statement made on Oct. 7, Kuznetsov and Karpov are not mentioned at all. The first document also shows that Magnitsky did not make his statements entirely of his own free will, but as a witness in an ongoing investigation. According to other documents, the trial had been underway since February. This was confirmed to DER SPIEGEL by Magnitsky's lawyer at the time, Dmitry Kharitonov, who said his client had been summoned to testify.

Browder has a well-documented talent for selling a set of facts so that it supports his own version of events. In Moscow, this was part of his business model as an investor. According to its own calculations, Hermitage Capital Management generated a 1,500 percent return on its investments within just a few years. According to Russian investigators, a company in Browder's fund structure had wrongly paid only 5 percent in taxes, when in fact 15 percent should have been due. A double taxation agreement with Cyprus should not have been applied. Browder denies this.

One way or the other, Browder's business model was lucrative. Hermitage bought cheap shares in Russian state-owned corporations, such as Gazprom or Sberbank, from the late 1990s onward. Then he took on the conglomerates' leadership, denounced the widespread corruption and demanded reforms. If these came to fruition, the value of Browder's shares rose. If they didn't, at least the publicity of his fund grew.

Browder had his eye on Gazprom especially. In 1998, the company was worth $3.5 billion. Within seven years, that number had jumped to $160 billion. Hermitage held many shares through shell companies. Several of them perfunctorily hired mentally disabled people who they described on paper as, "analysis division experts." In fact, the people had no knowledge of this field, as several courts would later discover.

The companies took advantage of tax breaks that were intended for firms with workplace disability rates of at least 50 percent -- and not as a tax-saving model for Western investment funds. Over the course of their years-long investigations into Hermitage, Russian authorities stumbled upon a man who was helping Browder come up with his tax-saving models: Sergei Magnitsky. Browder says the practice of skirting taxes was common at the time.

When Browder talks about his fate in front of Western audiences, he makes it sound as if the investigations into Hermitage were completely arbitrary. In his book and during interviews, Browder claims that Kuznetsov, the investigator, appeared out of nowhere in 2007. This is significant because it appears to underscore that the trial was "politically motivated, fabricated" and initiated for the sole purpose of obtaining the necessary documentation for the long-planned $230-million fraud.

'A Measure of Vindication'

But the date Browder provided is incorrect. Kuznetsov's name appeared in letters to Browder's company in June 2006. At the time, the police had demanded the firm surrender its bank data. There is also proof that Browder's team knew about the letters. Indeed, they were in Browder's possession.

There is another interrogation protocol that Browder did not prominently publish online like the other two. It is from October 2006, long before Magnitsky is said to have first exposed the big tax fraud that Browder says caused him to fall out of the authorities' good graces.

According to the protocol, Magnitsky was questioned by investigators about one of the dubious letterbox firms that gave employment contracts to people with disabilities. He claims that Browder's people asked him to "to 'be' CEO for a period of reorganization." Other documents show that Magnitsky was involved in the companies as early as 2002.

Some of the people accused by Browder have begun to fight back against the allegations. The Moscow policeman Pavel Karpov, for one, who Browder claims worked with Kuznetsov to have Magnitsky arrested and killed in retaliation for his testimony, filed a defamation lawsuit against Browder in London in 2012.

The presiding judge, Justice Simon, ruled the British courts had no jurisdiction over the matter. But in his written verdict, he also wrote scathingly about Browder, calling him a "story-teller" who did "not come close to pleading facts which, if proved, would justify the sting of the libel." Simon also wrote that his assessment was to be explicitly understood as "a measure of vindication" of Karpov.

The only problem was the judge's words hardly made it into the public discourse at the time. The Guardian and other British media wrote about Karpov's humiliating defeat in the courts. Some of the language they used can be found in press releases from Browder's campaign.

A second trial in New York concerned the frozen accounts of a wealthy Russian political clan, the Katsyv family. The U.S. government imposed the sanctions because Browder had insisted that money from the million-dollar fraud had wound up with the Katsyvs. In response, the Russians hired star New York-based lawyers to defend themselves against the accusations.

Justice or Vendetta?

Browder, an otherwise talkative person, tried to avoid questioning. One video shows him running away when someone tries to present him with a subpoena. In April 2015, he was required to appear in court. Under oath and confronted with numerous documents, he answered meekly -- quite differently than during his public appearances. Lawyer Mark Cymrot, a surly litigator with a moustache, spent six hours examining him. Cymrot asked: Was Magnitsky a lawyer or a tax expert?

He was "acting in court representing me," Browder replied.

And he had a law degree in Russia?

"I'm not aware he did."

Did he go to law school?

"No."

How many times have you said Mr. Magnitsky is a lawyer? Fifty? A hundred? Two hundred?

"I don't know."

Have you ever told anybody that he didn't go to law school and didn't have a law degree?

"No."

DER SPIEGEL visited Browder in London and asked him to clarify some inconsistencies and contradictions in his story. The result was a four hour-long interview and a grudging search for information, facts and details. The meeting, which took place in a glass conference room in Browder's Finsbury office, provided insights into his tactics: Together with his Russian partners Ivan Cherkasov and Vadim Kleiner, Browder laid out dozens of documents that supposedly corroborated his version of events. Not all of them would stand up to further scrutiny.

One of the documents was a previously unpublished email from Sergei Magnitsky. It supposedly confirmed that he went to the authorities of his own volition as a whistleblower. Yet the document also makes clear that Magnitsky was instructed to come forward by a higher-ranking lawyer working for Browder. This lawyer, a Russian, admitted during the interview in London that Magnitsky had been sent as a stand-in for the CEO of a letterbox company who investigators in Moscow had actually wanted to speak to.

To further back up their story, Browder and his team also presented an article by an American journalist who had spoken to Magnitsky shortly before his arrest. The police officers Kuznetsov and Karpov had Magnitsky arrested "immediately" after the publication of the article. But nothing in the article would explain why Magnitsky was arrested. In it, he doesn't mention Karpov or Kuznetsov. The author of the article, when contacted, said he couldn't imagine that it was his piece that triggered Magnitsky's persecution.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama signing the Magnitsky Act into law. Charles Dharapak/ AP/ Picture Alliance/ DPA

Former U.S. President Barack Obama signing the Magnitsky Act into law.

Browder's campaign has turned him into a global celebrity. His publisher advertises his book, "Red Notice," as a New York Times bestseller. In interviews, he calls for Russia to be largely isolated. He attacks politicians who disagree with him. He called John Kerry, the former U.S. secretary of state, a "lapdog" and accused him of "appeasement." Browder has also called for Russia's banishment from the SWIFT banking network, which would have devastating consequences for the Russian population. But is that really necessary to ensure "Justice for Sergei Magnitsky?" Or has Browder's campaign turned into a personal vendetta?

Too Good Not to Be True

Another strange thing about this case is that those involved sometimes change their stories completely and begin saying the opposite of what they said before. Take Zoya Svetova, for instance: The Moscow-based human rights activist co-wrote the investigative commission's report. She is a Kremlin opponent and writes reports for MBKH News, the media project of the exiled Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Svetova has been intensively involved with the Magnitsky case and published regular articles about it. She is also planning to write a book.

In July, Svetova said in an interview with DER SPIEGEL that even 10 years after Magnitsky's death, she didn't think much of the theory that he was the victim of a murder plot. It was more likely that Magnitsky got into an argument with the doctors and the staff because he wasn't being medically treated. "They were beating him to pacify him," Svetova said, adding that the beatings in and of themselves did not indicate a targeted murder. There was no evidence of this, she said. "What sense would it make to murder him?" So that he wouldn't talk about the $230 million fraud anymore? By that point, news of the fraud was everywhere. "Magnitsky did not reveal any secret," Svetova said in July.

The investigative commission report she helped co-write mentions that pressure had been placed on Magnitsky while he was in prison. "They wanted testimonies against Browder. That was the motivation. He should have accused Browder of not paying taxes. Magnitsky was a hostage. He himself was of no interest to them. They wanted Browder," she said.

Svetova also said that while Magnitsky's fate was dreadful, it wasn't atypical. Failure to provide assistance as well as abuse are common in Russian prisons, she said. She wrote an article on the subject in 2010. According to information from the Council of Europe, around 4,000 prisoners died in Russia in 2014. In Germany, 150 died. "You have to know," Svetova said, "the Russian penitentiary system is very brutal."

Shortly before this article was published, however, Svetova suddenly changed her story. Now she had the feeling "that he was moved deliberately to the 'Matrosskaya Tishina' prison to kill him." She said that since July, she had gone back and re-examined all the old documents and that she now had a completely different view of things.

In August, the European Court of Human Rights announced its ruling in the Magnitsky case: Russia must pay the deceased's relatives 34,000 euros ($37,500) because the state should have protected the prisoner's life and health. Nowhere in its verdict was there any mention of murder. The judges did, however, take apart the claim that the whistleblower had been imprisoned out of revenge. Magnitsky's arrest was not without cause, they wrote, nor were the authorities' actions malicious. The investigations into Magnitsky began in 2004, long before he first approached the authorities, it says on page 39 of the court's written verdict. But that didn't stop Browder from describing the ruling as a "resounding victory."

His campaign has created a kind of perpetual motion. Browder was recently received by diplomats in Finland, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU. They summoned him to discuss a European version of the U.S.' Magnitsky sanctions. "This law will become a reality in the EU," Browder tweeted in mid-October. His chances of success aren't bad: His story is simply too good not to be true.

[Dec 02, 2019] Yuri Gararisn the the USA tecnological superiority

Dec 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Dec 1 2019 16:45 utc | 3

From Michael Roberts Blog's Facebook:
Chile - it's not just the level of inequality and austerity in the country that triggered the social uprising against the elite. On the OECD's 'better life' index, Chile scores very badly even compared to other Latin American countries.

Chile's insurgency and the end of neoliberalism

The OECD index allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life.

OECD Better Life Index

--

The Indian economy is heading into trouble - to all intent, in recession. The second-largest country in the world by population grew only 4.5 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2019, below 5 percent in the previous period and market expectations of 4.7 percent. That's the weakest pace since the first three months of 2013, mainly due to a fall in factory output and exports and a slowdown in investment.

Investment, sluggish for nearly a decade, grew a mere 1 per cent year-on-year, down from 4 per cent in the previous quarter. Manufacturing output contracted 1 per cent. Infrastructure investment has collapsed.

The government has announced several measures to boost growth including a reduction in corporate taxes, concessions on vehicle purchases, bank recapitalisation. Meanwhile, the central bank has already cut borrowing cost 5 times this year and is seen lowering rates again next week.

See my post of last May on India:

India: another China or another Brazil?

--//--

This is a very interesting example of how Western (i.e. libera, capitalist) propaganda works, and also a very illustrative example of how capitalism declined from the point of view of a person who benefitted the most from it when it was at its apex:

Perhaps it's time to remember Yuri Gagarin

The shock in the US was that the Russians were not only competitive, but had embarrassed US science and engineering by being first. In 1958, President Eisenhower signed into law the National Defense Education Act, and this enabled talented students to flow into science and engineering. The shock waves were felt throughout the entire educational system, from top to bottom. Mathematics was more important than football.

He's right in the abovementioned paragraph. If you interviewed people who were 12-14 years old between 1958 and 1963, and asked about what would be the future of the USA in the year 2000, most of them would have more or less the same answer: that the future of America was scientific, bright, of high technology; a nation where scientists and engineers would be more more venerated than tv celebrities and football/baseball players. It would be the world of the infamous "flying cars" and space exploration and colonization.

Nobody in 1963 would imagine that the USA of the 2000s would be the USA of finance, of Wall Street ; of football players, of the anti-vaxxers, of the flat earthers and of the Kardashians.

But they should've. The reason this degeneration happened is the fact that the USA is a capitalist society. In capitalism, scientific progress is accidental. What matters in the capitalist system is the valorization process, not the process of use value creation. Like any other societal formations, capitalism has a revolutionary period, an apex period, a decline period and a collapse period. In my opinion, world capitalism has just exited its apex phase and is now entering its decline phase.

Here's the propaganda part of the article:

As demonstrated by the USSR, socialism does not prohibit scientific prowess. There is a difference, of course. Socialism's success in the USSR came at the expense of millions of lives, the slave labor of millions more, and a lower standard of living. Nevertheless, the fact is that Yuri Gagarin was the first person to orbit the earth. In comparison to the US today, Soviet universities were not plagued by whining children – nor are today's Chinese universities. The Soviets thought it wiser that their young study calculus and physics.

This paragraph encapsulates all the elements of Cold War propaganda about the USSR. When I read it, it felt like a blast from the past.

First, the image of the USSR as essentially a slavery society is a Western chimera. They come from Weber -- who once theorized the USSR as a "modern Ancient Egypt" -- and the propaganda from Solzhenitsyn, who hugely exagerated the number of prisoners in the USSR.

In fact, even at the height of the GULAG era, the USSR's jailed population never went beyond 1.5% of its overall population (as we know now from Soviet official archives). That's well within the world's average. If only 1.5% of the population is able to sustain the other 98.5%, then even I want to know how the Soviets operated such an economic miracle.

Besides, the USSR obviously didn't kill "millions of people" in order to send someone to space. That's obviously absurd by any metric, logic included. First of all because this would never gather political consensus among the population, second because it is impossible to do rocket science with slave labor.

The quick rise of the Third Reich gave birth to the myth in the West that slave labor can operate miracles. Nothing is further from the truth. In Ancient times, both the Greeks and the Romans already knew slave labor was only economically viable in very basic and simple tasks, such as agriculture, mining and other domestic services. Athens achieved naval supremacy over Greece by using wage labor for its rowing and sailor crews, so that they could be professionals with high morale in the battlefield. The reason for this is that maneuvering triremes was an extremely complex art, too complex and valuable for the Athenians to trust to slaves. They also had, by the nature and complexity of the task, a naturally high degree of freedom from their "bosses". Either way, the task was simply too complex for a slave to phisically learn, since a slave was kept into his/her place through physical deprivation and domination, and a sailor had to be always fit physically and mentally to wage wars at sea. The Spartans didn't slave their coastal colonies, giving them a much larger degree of freedom (perioikoi), probably in exchange for a supply of sailors, ships. The Romans also did the same: when a slave became specialized enough in the family business (such as acting as a middle man in the paterfamilias' businesses in some coastal city), he usually "gifted" him with his freedom.

In sum: even the ancients knew that, for more complex tasks, free people were a must. Slavery was only economically viable for very simple and denigrating tasks (specially, agriculture and mining).

As for the "lower quality of living", that's highly debatable. Surely, on average, the USSR certainly didn't enjoy the same life quality than the top of the capitalist chain of the time. But inequality was much, much lower (almost negligible) except for the rural-urban divide, and there was no deprivation.

On average, life quality in the USSR was much better than the vast majority of the capitalist nations with the benefit inequality was negligible (so the average approached the median). Sure, it was no post-1980s Norway or Finland -- but those are microscopic capitalist nations, with negligible population.

Paora , Dec 1 2019 20:04 utc | 5

vk @ 3

Thanks vk. The Soviet achievements in space were the achievements of a free people who had to make superhuman sacrifices in order to preserve their freedom. Here's Boris Chertok, a remarkable Soviet space designer whose experiences stretched from the crowds of 1917 and Lenin's funeral to the construction of the international Space Station:

"I am part of the generation that suffered irredeemable losses, to whose lot in 20th century fell the most arduous of tests. From childhood, a sense of duty was inculcated in this generation - a duty to the people, to the Motherland, to our parents, to future generations, and even to all humanity.

...

Currently ... it is ideological collapse that threatens the objective recounting of [Soviet] science and technology ... motivated by the fact that its origins date back to the Stalin epoch or to the period of the 'Brezhnev Stagnation'"

[Nov 30, 2019] US Primes NATO To Confront Russia, China by M.K.Bhadrakumar

Notable quotes:
"... More importantly, the trend at the NATO foreign ministers' meeting at Brussels on November 19-20, in the run-up to the London summit, showed that despite growing differences within the alliance, member states closed ranks around three priority items in the US global agenda -- escalation of the aggressive policy toward Russia, militarization of space and countering China's rise. ..."
"... Stoltenberg said , "Space is also essential to the alliance's deterrence and defence, including the ability to navigate, to gather intelligence, and to detect missile launches. Around 2,000 satellites orbit the Earth. And around half of them are owned by NATO countries." ..."
"... "Is our enemy Russia or China as I sometimes hear?" he added at a press conference with Stoltenberg. "Is it the job of the Atlantic alliance to name them as enemies? I don't think so. Our common enemy, it seems, is the terrorism which is striking all our countries." ..."
"... The congruence of interests between Berlin and Washington vis-a-vis Macron manifested itself in the NATO's endorsement of the US-led escalation against Russia and China, with France rather isolated. However, this congruence will be put to test very soon at the summit meeting of the Normandy format over Ukraine, which France is hosting on December 9, following the NATO's London summit. France is helping Russia to negotiate a deal with Ukraine. ..."
"... With NATO being set up by Washington for a confrontationist posture, Russia and China won't let their guard down. Addressing a meeting of the Russian Federation Security Council on November 22, Putin said , "There are many uncertainty factors competition and rivalry are growing stringer and morphing into new forms The leading countries are actively developing their offensive weapons the so-called 'nuclear club' is receiving new members, as we all know. We are also seriously concerned about the NATO infrastructure approaching our borders, as well as the attempts to militarise outer space." ..."
"... The Russian response is also visible on the ground. The share of modern weapons and equipment in the Russian Army and Navy has reached an impressive level of 70 percent. The first pilot batch of next-generation T-14 Armata tanks will arrive for the Russian troops in late 2019 – early 2020. ..."
Nov 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by M.K.Bhadrakumar via The Indian Punchline blog,

The December 3-4 summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in London resembles a family reunion after the acrimony over the issue of military spending by America's European allies.

The trend is up for defence spending across European Allies and Canada. Over $100 billion is expected to be added to the member states' defence budgets by end-2020.

More importantly, the trend at the NATO foreign ministers' meeting at Brussels on November 19-20, in the run-up to the London summit, showed that despite growing differences within the alliance, member states closed ranks around three priority items in the US global agenda -- escalation of the aggressive policy toward Russia, militarization of space and countering China's rise.

The NATO will follow Washington's lead to establish a space command by officially regarding space as "a new operational domain" .

According to NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, this decision "can allow NATO planners to make a request for allies to provide capabilities and services, such as satellite communications and data imagery."

Stoltenberg said , "Space is also essential to the alliance's deterrence and defence, including the ability to navigate, to gather intelligence, and to detect missile launches. Around 2,000 satellites orbit the Earth. And around half of them are owned by NATO countries."

Equally, Washington has been urging the NATO to officially identify China's rise as a long-term challenge. According to media reports, the Brussels meeting acceded to the US demand and decided to officially begin military surveillance of China.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hit out at China after the Brussels meeting:

"Finally, our alliance must address the current and potential long-term threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party. Seventy years ago, the founding nations of NATO came together for the cause of freedom and democracy. We cannot ignore the fundamental differences and beliefs in the – between our countries and those of the Chinese Communist Party."

So far so good.

However, it remains to be seen if Washington's grand design to draw NATO into its "Indo-Pacific strategy" (read containment of China) will gain traction. Clearly, the US intends to have a say in the European allies' growing business and economic relations with China to delimit Chinese influence in Europe. The US campaign to block 5G technology from China met with rebuff from several European countries.

On the other hand, the European project has unravelled and the Franco-German axis that was its anchor sheet has become shaky. The rift between Paris and Berlin works to Washington's advantage but, paradoxically, also hobbles the western alliance system.

The French President Emmanuel Macron annoyed Germany by his recent calls for better relations with Russia "to prevent the world from going up in a conflagration"; his brutally frank remarks about NATO being "brain dead" and the US policy on Russia being "governmental, political and historical hysteria"; and his repeated emphasis on a European military policy independent of the US.

"NATO is an organization of collective defense. Against what, against who is it defending itself? Who is our common enemy? This question deserves clarification," Macron said after talks in Paris with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO's secretary-general on Thursday, according to the Times.

He argues that new talks with Russia are vital to European security and has pushed for European involvement in a new deal to replace the defunct Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

"Is our enemy Russia or China as I sometimes hear?" he added at a press conference with Stoltenberg. "Is it the job of the Atlantic alliance to name them as enemies? I don't think so. Our common enemy, it seems, is the terrorism which is striking all our countries."

The congruence of interests between Berlin and Washington vis-a-vis Macron manifested itself in the NATO's endorsement of the US-led escalation against Russia and China, with France rather isolated. However, this congruence will be put to test very soon at the summit meeting of the Normandy format over Ukraine, which France is hosting on December 9, following the NATO's London summit. France is helping Russia to negotiate a deal with Ukraine.

The recent phone calls between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky underscored the growing interest in Moscow and Kiev at the leadership level to improve relations between the two countries.

Moscow's breakthrough Avangard missile system with the hypersonic boost-glide vehicle will be deployed on combat duty with the Strategic Missile Force in December 2019

In the final analysis, the Franco-German relations are of pivotal importance to not only Europe's strategic future but the western alliance system as such. If anyone was in doubt, the French veto in October means sudden death for the proposal on European Union accession of the Balkan state of North Macedonia, which NATO is inducting as its newest member. Berlin and Washington are livid, but a veto is a veto.

With NATO being set up by Washington for a confrontationist posture, Russia and China won't let their guard down. Addressing a meeting of the Russian Federation Security Council on November 22, Putin said , "There are many uncertainty factors competition and rivalry are growing stringer and morphing into new forms The leading countries are actively developing their offensive weapons the so-called 'nuclear club' is receiving new members, as we all know. We are also seriously concerned about the NATO infrastructure approaching our borders, as well as the attempts to militarise outer space."

Putin stressed, "In these conditions, it is important to make adequate and accurate forecasts, analyze the possible changes in the global situation, and to use the forecasts and conclusions to develop our military potential."

The US-led military build-up against Russia and China will be on display in two big exercises next year codenamed ' Defender 2020 in Europe ' and ' Defender 2020 in the Pacific '.

Significantly, only four days before Putin made the above remarks, Chinese President Xi Jinping told him at a meeting in Brasilia on the sidelines of the BRICS summit that "the ongoing complex and profound changes in the current international situation with rising instability and uncertainty urge China and Russia to establish closer strategic coordination to jointly uphold the basic norms governing international relations, oppose unilateralism, bullying and interference in other countries' affairs, safeguard the respective sovereignty and security, and create a fair and just international environment."

Putin responded by saying that "Russia and China have important consensus and common interests in maintaining global strategic security and stability. Under the current situation, the two sides should continue to maintain close strategic communication and firmly support each other in safeguarding sovereignty, security, and development rights." ( Chinese MFA )

The Russian response is also visible on the ground. The share of modern weapons and equipment in the Russian Army and Navy has reached an impressive level of 70 percent. The first pilot batch of next-generation T-14 Armata tanks will arrive for the Russian troops in late 2019 – early 2020.

On November 26, Russian Defence Ministry stated that Moscow's breakthrough Avangard missile system with the hypersonic boost-glide vehicle will be deployed on combat duty with the Strategic Missile Force in December.

For the first time, the electronic warfare systems at Russia's military base in Tajikistan will be reinforced with the latest Pole-21 jamming station that can counter cruise missiles, drones and guided air bombs and precision weapon guidance systems. Moscow is guarding against the US and NATO presence in Afghanistan.

[Nov 30, 2019] Video How the U.S. Caused the Breakup of the Soviet Union - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalizat

Nov 30, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Video: How the U.S. Caused the Breakup of the Soviet Union Sean Gervasi 1992 Lecture By Sean Gervasi and Dennis Riches Global Research, November 30, 2019 Region: Russia and FSU , USA Theme: History

We bring to the attention of Global Research readers the text of an unpublished Lecture delivered in 1992 by the late Sean Gervasi on the history of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the US Strategy formulated during World War II to bring down the USSR.

The full transcript and video of Sean Gervasi's presentation is preceded by Dennis Riches Introduction

Scroll down for the Video

Introduction

We defeated totalitarianism and won a war in the Pacific and the Atlantic simultaneously We worked together in a completely bipartisan way to bring down communism So now we have to use our political processes in our democracy, and then decide to act together to solve those problems. But we have to have a different perspective on this one. It [global warming] is different from any problem we have ever faced before [i] – Al Gore

These words above were spoken by former US vice-president Al Gore in 2007 in his film An Inconvenient Truth . Because audiences at the time were in rapt awe of him, treating him as a savior in the campaign to solve the global warming crisis, they never seemed to reflect on the outrageous assumptions underlying his comments about "defeating totalitarianism" and "bringing down communism." These are worth examining for what they say about perceptions of world history among the American political class, and they even hint at how the errors in these perceptions led Mr. Gore to being self-deceived about what would be necessary to solve the problem he has devoted himself to since he has been out of power.

Although the United States played a crucial role in WWII, it was slow to get involved and it let the Soviet Union do much of the heavy lifting and suffer the heaviest losses. The United States had a lot of help in achieving the victory Mr. Gore claims for America, and we could assume he knows this, so the way he chose to describe historical events is telling.

Perhaps acknowledging the reality would have detracted from his second point about "bringing down communism." Everyone knows that what he is referring to so proudly is the destabilization and destruction of the USSR, the Warsaw bloc nations, and Yugoslavia, not the abstract notion of communism. He is referring to a "victory" which precipitated civil wars and a disastrous collapse of the economy and social welfare systems in these countries, one that killed and impoverished millions. In China, Cuba and the DPRK, contrary to what he stated, these nations' versions of socialism haven't been brought down at all. [1992]

Explicitly describing the "bringing down of communism" as America's deliberate actions to dismantle the USSR might run the risk of reminding the audience about the illegality of interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and it might have reminded people of what a betrayal this was of America's WWII ally and partner in the détente of the 1970s. The inconvenient truth is that the USSR was the WWII ally that played a crucial role in the victory that Mr. Gore claimed solely for America.

Nonetheless, the comment about "bringing down communism" is refreshingly, and maybe accidentally, very honest. Most descriptions of the Soviet collapse, even those done by historians specializing in this field, pay little attention to American efforts to undermine the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. The political class always denied that America had a plan to dismantle the USSR, and denied having any significant influence on events which they claim arose from domestic causes. If America's influence is addressed at all, it is considered as a matter of speculation, a mystery hardly worth thinking about when one can more easily look at the dramatic events that occurred on the surface within the Soviet Union in the last decade of its existence. The following transcript of the lecture by Sean Gervasi, delivered in 1992, shortly after the collapse, is unique and valuable for what it reveals about the significant, and perhaps decisive, American role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In his conclusion, Mr. Gervasi came to this judgment:

The Soviet Union today, in the absence of this extraordinarily crafty, well-thought-out, extremely costly strategy deployed by the Reagan administration, would be a society struggling through great difficulties. It would still be a socialist society, at least of the kind that it was. It would be far from perfect, but it would still be there, and I think, therefore, that Western intervention made a crucial difference in this situation."

The journey to how he came to this conclusion is well worth the reader's time.

A final comment about Mr. Gore's remarks: He is oblivious to the inconvenient solution that has been staring him in the face all these years: that the necessary reduction of carbon emissions will require severe constraints on capitalism, a thesis developed by Jason W. Moore in Capitalism in the Web of Life .[ii] Mr. Gore should know that a radical solution is needed. In his recent sequel to An Inconvenient Truth he complains about the undue influence of "money in politics" that has gotten so much worse over the last ten years, but that's as deep as the class analysis and ideological exploration can go in America. He evinces no awareness of the historical figures who developed answers to the problem of unaccountable private control of a nation's government, resources and productive capacities. Gore is still proud of having actively worked against a revolution in human affairs that aimed to curtail the savage capitalism that led to the present ecological catastrophe.

In spite of the flaws one might see in what the Soviet Union actually became, flaws that arose to a great extent because it had to fight against external threats throughout its existence, the goals of the revolution of 1917 are still relevant to the crises of the 21st century, and this is what makes Sean Gervasi's research so valuable now, after a quarter century in which America doubled down on its "winning ways" and worsened the crises that were evident long ago in 1992.

About Sean Gervasi

Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death.

Gervasi was an economist trained at the University of Geneva, Oxford and Cornell. His political career began when he took a post as an economic adviser in the Kennedy administration. He resigned in protest after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

After his resignation, Gervasi was never able to get work again in the United States as an economist, despite his impressive academic credentials. He became a lecturer at the London School of Economics after leaving Washington. Notwithstanding his great popularity, the school refused to renew his contract in 1965.

During the 1970s and 1980s he was an adviser to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East, helping them navigate the hostile and predatory world of transnational corporations and megabanks. He also worked for the UN Committee on Apartheid and the UN Commission on Namibia.

In addition, Gervasi was a journalist, contributing to a wide range of publications, from the New York Amsterdam News to Le Monde Diplomatique . He was a frequent commentator on the listener-supported Pacifica radio station WBAI in New York. In 1976, Gervasi broke the story of how the U.S. government was secretly arming the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In the late 1980s, Gervasi began to focus on the Cold War and what he called the "full court press," a basketball term for a highly aggressive "all in" strategy. In an article published in the Covert Action Information Bulletin in early 1991[iii], when the breakup of the USSR was imminent, Gervasi showed how the Reagan administration's strategy of economic isolation, a gargantuan arms buildup with the threat of a nuclear attack, overt funding of internal dissent, and CIA-directed sabotage had been decisive in bringing down the USSR. Gervasi backed up his analysis with careful scholarship and documentation.

Gervasi was widely respected as a leading independent figure in the left, but his views were contrary to the fashionable dogma that attributed the USSR's collapse almost exclusively to such things as failures of leadership, centralization of the economy, the black market, Chernobyl, or independence movements, and not to external hostility. These are the subjects which he addressed in the following lecture given to a small audience in January 1992. The lecture can still be found on internet video sites, but the thesis of this lecture still remains marginal and obscure two decades later, even though it is highly pertinent to the Cold War replay that is underway in the second decade of the 21st century -- one in which Russia stands accused of turning the tables and doing a comparatively very tame version of the propaganda war waged on the USSR in the 1980s.

After 1992, Gervasi focused his attention on the breakup of Yugoslavia, which he discovered was a replay of the strategy used to break up the Soviet Union. He became active in exposing the role of external powers, particularly the U.S. and German governments, in fomenting the civil war in the Balkans. His view that the war in Bosnia was sparked by the aggressive machinations these nations, and not age-old ethnic rivalries, alienated Gervasi from much of the liberal and progressive movement. Journals to which he had once regularly contributed would no longer print his articles. He had great difficulty finding a publisher for his book on the Balkans, but some of his research on this topic can be found in the article "Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?"[iv] published by Global Research in 2001.[v]

Dennis Riches, November 2017

***

VIDEO

Scroll down for the full Transcript

https://www.youtube.com/embed/b9_aYcpxClA

Byline of the video:

Propaganda expert reveals details in 1992 of RAND Think Tank plan under Reagan to bring down USSR, the major socialist challenge to capitalism in crisis, called Operation Full Court Press when announced at a Reagan limited invitee press conference upon its launch. It involved targeting mid-level Soviet bureaucrats with publications and Air America broadcasts pointing to problems they were facing having better outcomes in the US, military provocations when they were considering their budget in order to spend them into bankruptcy, luring them into Afghanistan followed by arming the Mujahadeen with surface to air missiles and such; and fanning flames of ethnic rivalries within the Soviet Union, like by sending publication equipment to Baltic ethnic groups.

In first 20 minutes Sean prophetically lays out the impending crisis of capitalism that drives their urgency to stamp out socialist competition. Sean died under mysterious circumstances in Belgrad where he had set up shop pointing out a PR effort in the US Congress by Ruder Finn hired by Croats and Kosovo Albanians to start a US war against Yugoslavia for their secession.

Event January 26, 1992 arranged by Connie Hogarth of WESPAC, Camera: Beth Lamont

Transcript

(edited by Dennis Riches)

Introduction

I've been speaking in the last year or so about developments in the Soviet Union from the perspective of a person who follows the workings of the Western intelligence agencies, something in which I was tutored while I was working at the United Nations, and was on the receiving end of quite a lot of that activity.

That is an important theme that one needs to look at: the role of the West in developments which have taken place in the Soviet Union, and it's one that I've been focusing on, but of course the wider and more important issue is: how shall we understand the meaning of events in the Soviet Union in the last five, six, ten years? That's really the critical question.

As you know, the developments, particularly the end or collapse of communist rule in the Soviet Union, and finally the breakup of the Soviet Union itself, have been presented in our media insistently and incessantly as evidence that socialism or social democracy, or what-have-you, which we'll discuss, is unworkable. And this, of course, in tandem with the theme which has been disseminated so energetically by these same people in the last decade, that capitalism:

  1. a) is more or less the same thing as democracy, and
  2. b) must be seen as the core and triumphant achievement of Western civilization

Hence the thesis that this is the end of history, that we have achieved everything that there is to achieve, that the present system of institutions in which we live in the West represents the pinnacle of human capacities, intellectually and organizationally, and is the best of all possible worlds.

That's the thesis, or those are the twin theses which surround us and which have been, I think, creating an enormous amount of confusion and consternation because I think people sense there is something wrong with this idea, and the effort to close off all discussion about alternatives to, what I would term, our "regime" in the United States today, and possibly in Western Europe, which is a moving backward from the more enlightened and liberal capitalism, liberal democracy and capitalism, which evolved after the Second World War in Western Europe and the United States.

We are today, I think, living in an irrational and savage capitalism of the 19th-century variety, which for particular reasons, people who have power in this society either have acceded to or have energetically worked to institute.

Part 1 The Crisis in the United States

The question is whether this great wave of propaganda makes any sense, and so I think we should examine whether the idea that socialism and alternatives to raw capitalism are impossible, undesirable, and unworkable. I think we have to look at that in two ways. First of all, we have to examine our own situation in the United States, historically, and we have to also, I think, look at what has happened in the Soviet Union because what has happened in the Soviet Union is really very different from what we are told by the mass media. We have not merely witnessed a collapse of communism in the Soviet Union. We have seen something really very different, but it has been systematically misrepresented in the Western media.

I would start then with examining the basic proposition. I would start by examining our situation in the United States today, and I'd frankly start with Charles Beard's interpretation of the American Constitution .

There's a great deal of misunderstanding about the kind of society that American democracy really represents, and that misunderstanding is both historical and contemporary. There is a tremendous tension which we are all aware of in our society. It is a tension between egalitarianism and inequality. It is a tension born of the evolution in the in the 16th, 17th and 18th century in England, and the transfer of a particular kind of society onto American soil through British political traditions, notwithstanding our rebellion as colonists at the end of the 18th century. And that is the particular set of institutions known as liberal democracy. Liberal democracy is a combination of parliamentary government and capitalism, and liberal democracy inevitably, therefore, contains some very serious tensions because the progressive development of parliamentary democracy has tended to give greater and greater scope to the principle of equality in human life and politics. That's why in the course of British 19th century political development there was a progressive expansion of the franchise. And that's why in the United States there was also an expansion of the franchise. The United States did not have the same encumbering property qualifications in the beginning, although we did have property qualifications in the 18th century in the United States, but eventually we had the full franchise extended to all adults, and we've been redefining adults most recently. We've dropped the level of political maturity or political enfranchisement to 18 years.

Capitalism, on the contrary, is a system of economic and social institutions based on the principle of inequality, and there's a rationale for that inequality which also comes from the 18th century, but the idea, essentially, is that it makes sense from the point of view of efficiency, and indeed equity, given all the considerations that one must take into account, to have a society based on the unequal distribution of property organized around that institution, to have an economy based on private property because, in the final analysis, it is most efficient, and in the long run holds the greatest promise of continuous progress. By the way, that's an argument that Marx made at a certain point -- that at a certain stage of history a capitalist society is extremely progressive, that it gathers the technical capacities of mankind, personkind, and develops them and accumulates and accumulates until it creates something new, which we won't talk about just now.

But historically and currently in the United States we very strongly sense this tension so that we go back and forth between periods when we have enormous pressures to give predominance to the principle of inequality, to pay attention to the rights of property, and periods when egalitarian tendencies have been very strong. For instance, as in the turn of the century during the expansive phase of American populism and during the antitrust of the great popular movements that sought -- not just popular -- but that sought to contain the power of the cartels and the trusts in the United States. And today we sense that too. We passed the law in 1946 that's called the Employment Act. By the way, it's not called the Full Employment Act. You have to remember that legislation. And yet we realize that our adherence to the principle of full employment was tenuous even in the 25 years which followed the Second World War, and completely spurious today. Why is that? It's because of this tremendous tension between the realities of power under capitalism and the rather fragile hold which democratic principles and institutions have on that power.

Let's go back to the Constitution and the Philadelphia Convention. I've been rereading Beard and I'm very impressed by his grasp of who predominates really in this delicate balance in liberal democracy between the principles of egalitarianism, the principles of parliamentary democracy and the enormous concentration of power, which even then was inherent in the dominance of the institutions of private property. Beard's argument essentially is that in the final analysis a small group of men, whom he refers to as one-sixth of the adult male population -- the only people who ratified the Constitution, the participants in the ratifying conventions who voted positively for the Constitution -- represented one-sixth of the adult male population. That is to say 8% of the adult population in today's terms. Against our values that represents 8% of today's population -- the equivalent.

Now, what was obtained in that framing of the Constitution? What was obtained was a system of political science, a system of government which was so structured as to ensure the dominance of private property, the power of private property in any contention between the forces of democracy and the forces of private property, and the forces of inequality, if you like, so that the structure which constitutes, at the founding of this republic, which constitutes the framework within which we operate today, is one which ensures that predominance.

I know that Beard has been attacked by many people, and it's perfectly understandable when you read Beard carefully, but it seems to me that today Beard becomes more illuminating. Why? I say I pay attention to the Constitution, to the Philadelphia Convention, to its ratification, to the numbers who ratified it and to the purposes which they saw themselves as furthering by their framing and ratification of this constitution because that is the framework within which the United States experienced the most successful and untrammeled Industrial Revolution in the history of mankind. Untrammeled. We had a straight run of industrialization which was the first to transform the condition of man in human society, by which I mean something very, very specific. And here I speak to things which were said by people like [ John Maynard] Keynes , by people like [ Joseph Alois] Schumpeter , but really ignored because they're extremely uncomfortable.

The rationalization for inequality in the institution of private property, in the thinking of eighteenth century philosophers, was that property had to be shared unequally and income had to be unequal because this inequality provided incentives which would constitute a constant assurance of the drive to the expansion of production. That was the rationalization, but in the 20th century, according to the economic historians and according to people like Keynes, countries like the United States and Great Britain began to end, began to transform the historical situation within which these institutions were conceived. How? By developing such a capacity to produce that gradually more and more numbers were lifted out of anything which could be historically or comparatively called poverty so that scarcity, which dominates the reasoning of economists, was really beginning to end in many respects. And Joseph Schumpeter was able to say, for instance, in 1928, that if economic growth continued in the United States for another 50 years we would see in 1978 the end of anything that could reasonably be called poverty.

Now that didn't quite happen. That didn't quite happen because of the enormous influence of inequality in the distribution of this productive abundance. But what it did transform was the lives of many, many people, and it transformed everyday life and the historical condition. Look between 1870 and 1970 at how the number of hours that the average American works falls. In the period between 1945 and 1970, per capita production trebled, just in that period, and we already had a huge industrial base at that time, so I would argue [agree], with Galbraith, who -- because he was right was vilified and ignored by the economist profession and studiously made little of by the mass media -- that indeed America began to be transformed with the success of its enormous industrial revolution by the end of the period after 1865, when really heavy industrialization began to take place. And indeed I would argue that the reason for the Great Depression was that the United States had lost the ability to continue to absorb everything that it could produce in an adequate way, given the institutions of the time.

So what happened then was that within this framework, which is the same framework conceived by the James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. To further the purposes of property and to insure against what Madison called "the leveling attacks of democracy," we have industrialization enhance the expansion of an enormous power, which is the power that controls the machinery and the resources of that productive system. That is to say large corporations. The largest 500 corporations in the United States today, plus the largest 500 banks and the largest 50 financial corporations control more resources than the Soviet planners ever dreamed of controlling. The control of those resources, which is made invisible by the clever workings of economists, inheres in the ability to make investment decisions. Investment decisions are the key decisions in any economic system. The power to make those decisions is the power to continuously transform and to determine the terms of everyday life among human beings in any society. That power is not only invisible in our system of thought, carefully hidden by the descendants of the 18th century philosophers, but it is also totally unaccountable.

Now maybe you could say, and we did say this between 1945 and 1975:

"OK this is a contradiction of democracy. This is the inheritance from the Philadelphia Convention, the Constitution in its ratification and the dominance of this one-sixth of the male adult population in 1789, but this system is so productive that we can alleviate the resulting social and political tensions by raising the standard of living of ordinary folks."

And that was the whole philosophy of the sophisticated American leadership in the first generation after the Second World War. That was the philosophy of the Rockefellers when they talked about the new enlightened capitalism of 20th century. Capitalism could deliver the goods and hence people would be content, despite the fact that the realities of power born at the end of the 18th century, and essentially enhanced by the enormous accumulation of power represented by industrialization and the growth of large corporations and their concentrated power in the economy. We could live with that because the United States economy was so productive.

Now, that's our history, and the tremendous tension of our situation today as contrasted with the post-war period because one thing is very clear today: that for 20 years in the United States this system has not been working. There has been a systematic retreat from full employment, high wages, advancing standards of living, security in one's job, and the advance of the welfare state. We have systematically been retreating from those things so that we have higher and higher official and real unemployment, which of course is about double the official unemployment -- and the statisticians work very hard to hide the realities of life.

Sean Gervasi

Between 1977 and 1992, according to the Congressional Budget Office, 70% of American families have seen their after-tax income fall. 70%! In the lower ranges of the income distribution those falls are quite sharp. Purchasing power falls by twenty 20.8% for the poorest fifth, by something like 12% for the next fifth, by something like 11% for the third fifth, and by smaller amounts for those in the middle of the income distribution system. So I would say that that represents, and people are increasingly becoming aware of it, a collapse of the American standard of living. And this collapse of the American standard of living is related to a gradual economic decline which is causing the post-war system, as we have known it in the United States between 1945 and 1970, to begin to disintegrate. And I think this is the reality of what is happening so that today even according to Wall Street forecasters like the Levies, attached to Bard College up here in the county, we are facing what they call a contained depression, which may be worse than the kind of depression we saw in the 1930s because the stabilizing role of the government makes it possible not to avoid some of the awful horrors that occurred in the depression, but to diminish them to a degree which makes them almost invisible.

So we have a very tense situation. I ask you to reflect on that when we confront the enormous economic difficulties from which there follow all kinds of social problems in our society today which we face. These are connected to, and, if you like, made possible by the arrangements conceived by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton . If this crisis which we have been living in for 20 years, and have become more acutely aware of in the last 10, is intractable, it is, above all, intractable because of this invisible concentrated power which exists today after industrial growth -- the rise of the large corporations in the framework conceived by Madison, Hamilton and the other Federalists.

So if you want to argue today that we need to reconsider this framework, you run into very fundamental problems. You run into the problem that the Constitution is treated like an icon, that people are unaware that the preamble to the Declaration of Independence is not the law of the United States, that people are unaware of the fact that the Bill of Rights, which is supposed to compensate for some of the failings of our constitutional system, has been systematically shredded by the two most recent administrations. Witness William Kunstler and his remarkable talks on what has happened to the Bill of Rights in the last ten years.

Part 2 The Crisis in the Soviet Union

Now, let's get to the Soviet Union, keeping in mind always that it is against this background of crisis and the intractability of crisis, and it's rooting in the historical origins of the Constitution that we are asked, that we are invited -- without anybody saying that that's the background -- that we are invited to ponder the proposition that there is no alternative to the kind of capitalism that we have, and that this capitalism is the quintessence of democracy.

Now let us look at that proposition against a second set of data, if you like, which is supposed to prove the case that there was socialism in the Soviet Union, that the Soviet Union then, along with its Eastern European partners, collapsed in chaos owing to the essential unworkability of this kind of a system. Let's look at that.

When the Reagan administration came into office we all became aware rather quickly that something new was happening. We should have known that something new was happening because, in fact, the arrival of the Reagan administration in power had been preceded by a very careful build-up which was, in part, visible in the American polity, and that was the emergence of the development and the elaboration of the power of a group which we now call the new right -- people who 20 years ago, 28 years ago in 1964, after Goldwater lost the Republican National Convention. Rockefeller took command of the party that had been relegated to what every major political commentator at the time called the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party. These were the people who, particularly in California, were coming out of the walls in the late 1970s, creating foundations, buying chairs of economics at universities. Look at it: the Coors , the Mises , with all of their contacts. These were the people who were building a new group, and the purpose of this group was to put a stop to the kind of systematic democratic entrenchment which they thought had been going on in the 1960s and the 1970s.

In the 1960s and the 1970s, there were three movements: (1) the movement for workers' rights, for unionization, the expansion of unionization, particularly among city employees and for raising wages, and the tremendous industrial disruption that attended the 1960s and the early 1970s in the industrial sector, (2) the civil rights movement, which preceded that, beginning in the late 1950s, and (3) the movement against the war in Vietnam, the war in Vietnam being one of the ways in which this society managed to utilize, in a profitable fashion, its enormous productive capacity without giving it to ordinary folks, without giving its fruits to ordinary folks.

The new right was determined to do something quite new. One of the new things that it did, and Reagan really was not its spokesman because that implies a degree of activity which I think he's incapable of. You can always program a spokesman. I don't think he had the wheels to do that.

Reagan launched, as you know, a massive, serious, intense, ugly confrontation with the Soviet Union, ideologically. At the same time we became aware that there was a significant drive on to re-arm the United States, to throw enormous resources -- ultimately it was in excess of 1.7 trillion dollars during the 1980s -- to throw enormous resources into the military sector, to throw enormous resources into shifting the technology of the military sector to war in space, SDI [Space Defense Initiative], etc. All of those things were on the agenda, but many of us at the time puzzled about this. I remember asking myself, "What is it with these folks? Do these fellows really want a world war? Can they not see that this can be the outcome?"

And I remember those discussions, and I remember when many of you and I on June 12, 1982 were at the demonstration of 750,000 to 1 million people in the center of New York City, which was an expression of the alarm that people felt at this enormous aggressive policy which was coming out of the Reagan administration, which threatened to shred US-Soviet relations.

But in fact, retrospectively, we can see that there was something else behind it, that it was not just irrational madness. There was a bit of that, but there was a rationality to what was being done, and in fact, to understand that, it's important to see that it is connected to every single major line of innovative policy that the Reagan administration developed. It was extremely well thought-out, extremely shrewd. And [it involved] the military buildup and the aggressive rhetoric towards the Soviet Union, the deliberate effort to create difficulties in the relationships between the Soviet Union and the European powers. You remember that in 1982 the United States tried to force the European powers not to accept natural gas from the Soviet Union, to deny shipments of technology to the Soviet Union which would make it possible for the Soviet Union to exploit that natural gas, to earn foreign exchange, etc. It was all part of a very complex strategy, but it was a very clear strategy.

Let me say, though, that many of us, at least I at the time, missed that. We didn't quite comprehend what was going on, but we had in the back our mind flickers that something was wrong. There were people who were saying or hinting clearly at what was happening, and shrewd people, intelligent people who did begin to grasp what was happening.

Let me quote from one or two. Writing in 1982, Joe Fromm , who was then the editor of the United States' US News and World Report , said,

"There was something behind," I'm quoting him, "the shift to a harder line in foreign policy." The US, in fact, seemed to be "waging limited economic warfare against Russia to force the Soviets to reform their political system." That suggests that's a nice journalist, a reasonably liberal journalist at US News and World Report , but Joe then quoted a State Department official saying (actually, a National Security Council official), "The Soviet Union is in deep, deep economic and financial trouble. By squeezing wherever we can, our purpose is to induce the Soviets to reform their system. I think we will see results over the next several years." That's in 1982.

Robert Scheer wrote a book in 1982 called With Enough Shovels: Reagan and Bush and Nuclear War . I think I've got the title almost right. This is a very interesting book in which Scheer saw that there was something behind this enormously aggressive foreign policy, foreign and military policy, that the Reagan administration was deploying. And he saw that the United States was not simply playing nuclear chicken with the Soviet Union, as he put it, but that it was embarked on a policy designed to create such pressure for the Soviet Union as to force changes within the Soviet Union.

Now of course it had always been the case that the Cold War consisted of moves designed to affect the behavior of others. The Cold War, from the point of view of the West, had always aimed at modifying, as the State Department cookie pushers liked to put it in their delicate prose, the behavior of our antagonist. But this, I think you will see, went beyond that because, in fact, the Reagan administration embarked on a policy of many dimensions which included pressure around the world on countries with close ties to the Soviet Union. Insurgencies were initiated in Mozambique, Angola, Cambodia against Vietnam, Nicaragua, and, quite a lot, Afghanistan.

I don't want to get into too many complicated discussions of Afghanistan, but I think anybody who reflects upon the United States' response to the Soviet entry into Afghanistan in 1979 must realize that the United States did not want the Soviet Union to leave Afghanistan, and in fact the purpose of these insurgencies around the world, which as you know, had expended billions of dollars, was to pin the Soviet Union down, and to inflict economic costs upon the Soviet Union. The purpose of the remilitarization in the West was to force the Soviet Union, at the risk of exposing itself to the pressure of escalation, to meet our resource commitments, to defend itself, or to place itself in a position to resist our pressure.

The purpose of escalating the technology of nuclear warfare, again, was to impose costs upon the Soviet Union. [This was ] the purpose of every principled measure, such as withholding advanced technology from the Soviet Union, foreign assistance programs aimed not at assisting countries on the basis of their needs, but on assisting countries on the basis of the contribution they would make to putting pressure on the Soviet Union. All of these things were part of a systematic strategy designed to create havoc in the Soviet Union.

Now I'll say a little bit more about what the purpose of that was, but first let me point out that this is a systematic strategy consisting of a number of pieces, and that it did pose enormous economic and other costs upon the Soviet Union.

But who is Gervasi [the speaker] to say that this is so, beyond quoting Joseph Fromm? Well, let me tell you a little bit about an interesting experience I had. I had lunch one day with a friend who was passing through the United States, who had been in jail in South Africa for eight years, and had just got out. He had been engaged in planning one of the principal sabotage operations against the South African nuclear installations, and he was very happy to be out of jail. We sat at lunch and he said to me -- we talked about many things, mostly about Africa which he and I had worked on together -- and he said to me,

"What's going on in the Soviet Union?" I said to him, "Well, you know, I really can't figure this out. I can't figure out what's going on." He said, "It seems to me that the Soviet Union is being destabilized." "My goodness," I say to myself quietly.

The thought had never passed my mind, but when my friend, Christie, said this I thought I should look into this, and I did.

The first thing I found was I spent a little bit of time on a computer and some things came up, and I said that looks very interesting. Within a very short time I had discovered reams of material being generated at the end of the 1970s and in the early 1980s by organizations like the RAND Corporation. You know what the RAND Corporation is. It's an Air Force/CIA contracting agency in Southern California, very large, very powerful, very influential in the so-called intellectual defense community, the military industrial complex, and in Washington. People go back and forth from the CIA, from the DIA to the State Department to the RAND Corporation. And what were the chaps at the RAND Corporation doing? Well, they were producing very interesting studies with titles like Economic Factors Affecting Soviet Foreign and Defense Policy : A Summary Outline , The Costs of the Soviet Empire , Sitting on Bayonets: the Soviet Defense Burden and Moscow's Economic Dilemma: The Burden of Soviet Defense , Exploiting Fault Lines in the Soviet Empire: Economic Relations with the USSR .

Anyway, I started reading the stuff. First of all, I started collecting it and I started reading this stuff, and I found out something very interesting: that these fellows at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s were clearly fashioning a plan in which we began to see the pieces of in the emerging parts of foreign and military policy, foreign and military and economic policy under the Reagan administration. And the basic reasoning of this plan -- I'll give it to you -- is as follows: the Soviet Union was in a dual crisis. They knew what was going on in Soviet Union. Economic growth in the Soviet Union had begun to slow down. It had been very rapid, by the way, in the period from 1950 to the early 1970s. Between 1960 and 1984 per capita income and per capita production in the Soviet Union trebled, so it wasn't slow. That was a 4 or 5% rate of growth, very rapid considering that we're growing at about 1.5 which, is about, by the way, equivalent to the rate of growth on average during the decade of the 1930s in the United States.

Now, what I found out was that they also understood there was a leadership crisis in the Soviet Union. The old line of principal Soviet leaders born in the early stages of Soviet redevelopment after the Revolution, formed in the Second World War -- that leadership was dying out, as we all knew. And in fact Mikhail Gorbachev , selected by Andrei Gromyko , was the first representative of a new generation of Soviet leaders, but in the late 70s and early 80s, people were dying. The major figures Andropov, Chernenko and Brezhnev, were dying, and there was a very great confusion about succession. So the country was in a kind of crisis. The CIA calls it a dual crisis, a leadership crisis, not knowing to which new people of a new generation the leadership of the Soviet Communist Party and the Soviet Union should pass, and at the same time a beginning of faltering of economic growth, which was serious because since the Soviet Union had to always, like any country, choose between investing, competing in the arms race, and raising the standard of living of its population. The fact that economic growth fell off made that more difficult.

Now the next step in the reasoning of the RAND Corporation, gentlemen and ladies from the RAND Corporation, was that the United States and its allies could take various actions which would force the Soviet Union to increase its defense spending and its military assistance to allies and friends. They could take measures to deny the Soviet Union credits, which they did, and to deny it technology. They could also take measures which would reduce the overall volume of resources available to the Soviet Union and hold back the growth of productivity, which would exacerbate the problem, or force them to shift resources from consumers to investment. And [they knew] that all of these effects would (to quote them) "aggravate the difficulties confronting the Soviet leadership in a stagnant economy. So, a combination of these measures to impose costs on the Soviet Union could be expected to lead to falling investment and/or living standards, and such measures consequently might generate pressures within the Soviet Union for withdrawing from the world stage, and for political reform."

So the purpose of this operation, which I will try to define more clearly in a moment, was to impose, in a variety of ways, enormous costs on the Soviet Union, or to reduce the resources available to them in such a way as to exacerbate their economic difficulties. Let me quote from Abraham Becker , one of the shrewder Rand analysts:

Thus the Reagan administration seized Soviet economic troubles as an opportunity to complicate further their resource allocation difficulties dilemma, in the hope that additional pressures would result in a reallocation of resources away from defense, or would push the economy in the directions of economic and political reform.

The purpose of this new aggressive multi-dimensional strategy was to force reform upon the Soviet Union. What that reform was to be is a later chapter. Now, it's one thing to say that these plans exist, and I'll talk about other plans. For instance, I managed to pull together a collection of documents from the National Endowment for Democracy, which as you know, is supposed to be a quasi-government institution. It's not a quasi-government institution. It's funded by Congress. It's a government institution funded by Congress, which sees it to be its business to "promote democracy outside the United States" in the rest of the world, where by "democracy" one means essentially, and when you come down to it it's clear now in the Soviet Union, "capitalism" and "liberal democracy," if you like [the latter term].

Now, it's one thing of course to talk about all this planning, to try on your own to reason that all of these things fit together, but in fact we began to get official indications and documentation, as early as the spring of 1982, that the government had signed on to this strategy, that this was not the wild thinking of a few eager folks in a few think tanks, that it was policy and that it was policy which the American public knew very little of, did not understand the purposes and consequences of, but would nonetheless be required to pay for to the tune of several trillion dollars, which did indeed help to create the situation in which we presently find ourselves at home, locked in the Philadelphia Convention.

In the spring of 1982 I had spoken to two of the participants in this little meeting. A senior National Security Council official charged with responsibility for Soviet affairs called a number of influential Washington correspondents and asked them to come to the National Security Council for a briefing. Two of them told me that they left this briefing extremely shaken. They didn't want to say too much about it, but they gave me to understand that they thought that this was an extremely aggressive, dangerous, and highly risky strategy which the administration was describing and stating that it was about to embark upon.

Helen Thomas of UPI was one of the people who was in that meeting, and she described the results of the briefing -- this briefing on the Soviet Union -- in the following manner:

A senior White House official said Reagan has approved an eight-page National Security document that undertakes a campaign aimed at internal reform in the Soviet Union and the shrinkage of the Soviet empire. He affirmed that it could be called a full-court press against the Soviet Union.[vi]

A little later, just a few days later, in fact, further evidence, this time quoting official documentation, not hearsay from a briefer at the National Security Council, but quoting official documentation: Richard Halloran, the defense correspondent of The New York Times published an article in that paper on May the 30th of 1982, just a few days really after Helen Thomas sent out her UPI dispatch. Halloran quoted from the fiscal years 1984-1988 Defense Guidance, of which The Times stated that it had a copy.[vii] The Secretary's Guidance Document recommended what Halloran called "a major escalation in the nuclear arms race." Apart from that it indicated that a number of other measures were being taken "to impose costs on the Soviet Union." Note the language is the language of the RAND planners. Some of the same people probably wrote the document. I quote from Halloran's direct quote from the National Guidance document of the Secretary of Defense:

"As a peacetime complement to military strategy, the Guidance Document asserts that the United States and its allies should, in effect, declare economic and technical war on the Soviet Union."

This is interesting. "And so I think," it went on. They wrote,

"to put as much pressure as possible on the Soviet economy already burdened with military expenditure, they should develop weapons that are difficult for the Soviets to counter, impose disproportionate costs, open up new areas of major military competition, and obsolesce," (Nice English. I've put sic in my article) "precious Soviet investments."

So I think it's safe to say, and a number of people prove it to us a little later on, that this policy was instituted. Let me just race ahead to one of the more recent proofs. David Ignatius , who is a correspondent at The Washington Post, published a very remarkable article about "spyless coups" not long ago, in October, if I'm not mistaken. Perhaps it was September. Ignatius is a correspondent with very close ties to the intelligence community, to be very polite about it. I quote from his article: "Preparing the ground " This is immediately after the Yeltsin double event of August 1991 in which Mr. Gorbachev was seemingly threatened by a coup and in which Mr. Yeltsin did not seem to take power but did. He described the event in this way:

Preparing the ground for last month's triumph was a network of overt operatives who, during the last ten years, have quietly been changing the rules of international politics. They have been doing in public what the CIA used to do in private, providing money and moral support for pro-democracy groups, training resistance fighters, working to subvert communist rule.[viii]

Could he have written that in The Washington Post in 1982? It's difficult, I would have thought. It might not have passed muster. Some people might have noticed, but in 1991, evidently, it was all right to say that this is what we were doing.[ix]

If you look very carefully you can find many traces by officials stating that the United States had embarked upon a strategy which, retrospectively, it is very clear, was nothing more and nothing less than a strategy to destabilize the Soviet Union. Mr. Casey's magnificent and expansive imagination had carried covert operations beyond the narrow confines of Third World countries and aimed them at the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. If you go back and look at the history of these events in this perspective, reading some of the documents, you'll see things very differently

Judd Clark [name indistinct, spelling uncertain], for instance, speaking at a private seminar at Georgetown University, again around 1982, said,

"We must force our principle adversary, the Soviet Union, to bear the brunt of its economic shortcomings."

Well, that's slightly veiled language that means the same sort of thing that everybody else was saying. It wasn't, though, until 1985, that the redoubtable and incomparable Jeane Kirkpatrick appeared on the stage with the full text of the play in hand, and she gave a speech, not surprisingly in front of the Heritage Foundation, at a conference room on Capitol Hill in which she said, "The Reagan doctrine, as I understand it, is about our relations with the Soviet Union," and she then described every principal element of the strategy which Helen Thomas in 1982 called, repeating the NSC briefer's statement, "a full-court press against the Soviet Union."

If you read her speech to the Heritage Foundation, which everybody should read because it was 1985, she was saying that the United States is bent upon a strategy aimed at overthrowing the Soviet Union through internal and external pressures. She principally described the external pressure.

I want to say a little bit about the debate over the internal pressure. Again, in 1982, there was a nasty little debate between some members of Congress and the then-Secretary of State General Alexander Haig . Mr. Haig was very anxious that the United States should embark upon the program which Ronald Reagan was going to describe before the British Parliament in June 1982, at just about the time most of us were going to be in the streets of New York to protest some of the things that he was doing. And Hague said in the debate over the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy, which the Congress had insisted should not spill over into efforts to meddle in the internal affairs of the Soviet Union, Mr. Haig said,

"Just as the Soviet Union gives active support to Marxist-Leninist forces in the West and the [Global] South " [ironic commentary:] (because it owns Newsweek , for instance and it manipulates the Columbia Broadcasting Company such enormous power the Soviet Union has in the West) " we must give vigorous support to democratic forces wherever they are located, including countries which are now communist. We should not hesitate to promote our own values, knowing that the freedom and dignity of man are the ideals that motivate the quest for social justice. A free press, free trade unions, free political parties, freedom to travel, and freedom to create are the ingredients of the democratic revolution of the future, not the status quo of a failed past."

The founder of the Central Intelligence Agency said that propaganda is the first arrow of battle. A statement by Alexander Haig in 1982 to the Congress signals what the United States would attempt to do with the National Endowment for Democracy, that it would try to create and participate in the creation of [a false narrative of ] a failed past in the Soviet Union. And, in fact, as you know, all that went ahead.

Now, let's look at that for a second. I know that it's very difficult to believe this. I ask you to look at the second of the articles which I read, or to search for what I've written. You can read it and search for some of the documentation easily available. You will find that the mission statement of the National Endowment for Democracy, which functions as a kind of consortium bringing many of the pressures of the US government to bear inside the Soviet Union.

Destabilization requires external pressure and a manipulation of the internal situation to move political developments in the direction you desire. That's what targeting a country for destabilization involves. We deprive Cuba of sugar, of medicines etc. and that creates internal pressure, and utilizing the internal pressure, you insert yourself, create groups, diffuse ideas which are inconsistent with those prevailing and suitable to power, and you begin to work on that discontent. If the discontent deepens and spreads, you get better and better odds, and because the Soviet Union was already in a kind of crisis, which, as Abraham Becker said,

"the United States then systematically sought to intensify and exacerbate."

The National Endowment for Democracy and literally dozens and dozens of pseudo-private foundations, which I'll talk about in a second, went into the Soviet Union under the new umbrella of glasnost, created academic presses, created newspapers, created radio stations, and began to mobilize and to work upon the natural dissent and discontent that existed in the Soviet Union, not only because of the historical past but also because of the difficulties of the present as exacerbated by the United States and its Western partners.

If you look at how much money I'll just give you an idea of some of the projects that were involved, and this is just one agency. You have to recognize that if this was going on in the National Endowment for Democracy that there were many, many other channels of finance and influence into the Soviet Union that were working on this.

For instance, in 1984 the NED gave $50,000 to a book exhibit in the Soviet Union: America through American Eyes. At the book fair in 1985 (I mean I'm just selecting [a few]): $70,000 via the Free Trade Union Institute, which is part of the National Endowment, to Soviet Labor Review for research in publications on Soviet trade union and worker rights.

In 1986, $84,000 to Freedom House to expand the operations of two Russian language journals published in the US and distributed in the higher levels of the Soviet bureaucracy and intelligentsia, already an arresting description. Imagine the Soviet Union publishing two English-language journals in the Soviet Union during the 1980s and having them distributed and eagerly read in the highest levels of the United States bureaucracy and intelligentsia. I don't think that would have stuck very well in the United States.

In 1987, Freedom House, for the Athenaeum Press, rushed $55,000 for a Russian-language publication house in Paris to publish unofficial research conducted in the USSR by established scholars writing under pseudonyms. Now what does that mean? If you get down to 1989, we're talking already in the $200,000 category.

For instance, the Center for Democracy, which is related to the National Endowment for Democracy, began to create a center for assistance to independent and nationalist groups, including the Crimean Tatar movement for human and national rights. In other words, they began to finance ethnic and nationalist separatism, began to finance separate trade unions, began to finance their own academics etc., except this is open, but it's very large-scale, very large-scale.

I've done a little calculation and I can tell you that very large amounts of money were being spent, probably on the order of, by all the Western allies, minimum, inside the Soviet Union in the period from the mid to the late 1980s, one hundred million dollars a year -- a hundred million dollars a year to finance organizations which might begin like WESPAC but would then grow, develop, have outreach, which would become extraordinary with that kind of funding, and did finally change things.

If you look at perestroika in the Soviet Union, [we know it started when] Mr. Gorbachev became the Soviet leader. This is the background to the two stages in which we must understand perestroika. In the first stage it was clear that the Soviet leadership was desperate to find a way to renew socialism, that Mr. Gorbachev was bent upon the reformation of the notion of socialism, and that he had widespread support inside the Soviet Union.

There were genuine economic improvements which took place between 1986 and, sort of, let's say, the end of 1988, in the Soviet Union, as a result of those efforts, but the principal question we have to ask ourselves, since today we confront a fragmented, or, if you like, disassembled Soviet Union, the supremacy of nationalism, ethnic conflict, and Mr. Yeltsin -- who represents an extremely right-wing constituency at the present moment -- and the supremacy of capitalism. And a capitalist society is now being created in the Soviet Union, ending Mr. Gorbachev's experiment the crucial question to ask ourselves is a very simple one: how is it that between 1985 and 1990 a movement which began as an attempt to transform and renew socialism in the Soviet Union was supplanted by a right-wing movement aiming at the creation of a capitalist society in the Soviet Union? That is the key question. That is the key question because that's what's happened, and it's strange.

That's why many of us were puzzled about the contradictory evidence coming out of the Khrushchev [ sic ? Brezhnev?] era. It was very difficult to understand. At first, it seemed very positive, and then from the end of 1988, the fall of 1988, it became increasingly clear that things were going to pieces, that Mr. Gorbachev was either not able to control the forces which he had unleashed or that indeed he was bent upon creating, as I heard on the French radio in 1988 for the first time stated very clearly -- it arrested my attention: the purpose, said Mr. [name indistinct], on the radio in his not-bad French, was to create a regulated market economy. That was the purpose of perestroika, not when it began, but somehow something had happened.

In fact there's a lot of very interesting information out there now on the whole process. There was clearly a large dissatisfied set of strata in the Soviet intelligentsia. What has happened in the Soviet Union is more complex than the collapse through its own internal contradictions of the system of socialism in the Soviet Union. I really don't want to talk very much about whether the Soviet Union was a socialist society. There are people who say it was and people who say it wasn't. It's a long discussion between Trotsky and Stalin etc., but for my part I would say this: that the Soviet Union began as a genuine attempt to establish socialism. There were always in the Soviet Union people genuinely seeking to further socialism, and people who didn't give a damn. On balance, the thing we have to ask ourselves is whether the existence of the Soviet Union, as an apparently perceived socialist society, was a positive thing in the world equation at this particular time of history. I, on balance, having spent years in the United Nations, seeing that under the attacks of the Western countries, which in many cases were very ugly, most of the Third World countries which emerged in the late 1950s and 60s and early 70s were really only barely saved by the few sources of support which they got in the socialist world. And when the Soviet Union went down, they went down too; [for example] Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua.

So in many respects I would have thought that the Soviet Union, for all its defects, stood as a positive development in history, with all of the horrors that took place. The United States has had its horrors. The question is this: did the Soviet Union collapse because socialism is unworkable and central planning doesn't work? No, it didn't. There was a crisis in the Soviet Union. I would argue that in the absence of the kind of pressure [that was applied], it's very difficult to weigh the balance. How important were the internal forces? How important were the difficulties experienced internally, and how important was the external pressure and the externally intervening force? How important that balance was is very difficult to get. We have to read through all a lot of intelligence to understand that, to begin to get a grasp of things, but that's our duty as people who are living history, or who seek to understand history. We have to try to do that, and my basic conclusion still at this moment is this: the Soviet Union today, in the absence of this extraordinarily crafty, well-thought-out, extremely costly strategy deployed by the Reagan administration, would be a society struggling through great difficulties. It would still be a socialist society, at least of the kind that it was. It would be far from perfect, but it would still be there, and I think, therefore, that Western intervention made a crucial difference in this situation. That's a judgment.

Conclusion

All right. Now, there is a question irrespective of that: what does it mean that the Soviet Union now has disappeared as a result of the kind of process that I'm talking about, a combination of internal difficulties and external pressure and intervention? Does it mean that socialism doesn't work? Does it mean that [there is no alternative to] the kind of capitalism that we live in today, which I think increasingly of as a return to irrational and savage 19th century capitalism? If you walk through the Bronx and Brooklyn and Harlem, how can you not conclude that we are living in an irrational and savage capitalism in which the leveling attacks of democracy have been dealt with, in which the possibility of remedying that situation by the constitutional means which exist in the normal political channels of our government are very small, that electoral changes, in other words, are not going to be very significant, until there's a mass mobilization of American people to make something happen.

If this is so, then the fact that what has happened in the Soviet Union has happened as it happened has no bearing whatsoever on our problems, and we should not be confused or pushed into consternation by it. Why? Primarily, for a very simple reason: The Soviet Union was conceived at a time when, in Marxist terms, it was not ready. The Soviet Union did not have the material base of abundance which would make it possible to create a society at once egalitarian and democratic because the struggle to create that base would require a degree of repression and authoritarianism, particularly heightened by external intervention and attack, which inevitably would distort the nature of socialism.

I sympathize with Isaac [name indistinct], but I think it's too simple when he says socialism in a backward country is backwards socialism. But the critical fact for us is this: the Soviet Union was a society conceived as a socialist society prior to the creation of the economic base which would permit the creation of a socialist society with ease. We live in a society whose capacity to produce, whose potential abundance is so great that the inability to make use of it is literally tearing this society apart.

We live in a society which is ready, and when I say that, I want to go back to the terms of the discussion on the constitutional conventions. Well, why can't we have economic democracy? What does economic democracy mean? Economic democracy inevitably would mean a number of these things: the accountability of the enormous concentrated power which exists in our society today to public democratic institutions. The planned rational use of resources at the public level, with democratic participation in the same manner that that planned rational use is conceived within the framework of the corporations, where the exercise of those decisions is not accountable. So it seems to me that in our day, when our society is riven by its contradictions, unable to use its abundance, unable to use its productive capacity in a rational, humane and democratic manner, that what is on the agenda today is the democratization of economic power, the rendering accountable of the enormous economic potential and power that exists in our society to make this a better and decent and democratic world.

Voilà.

End of lecture

Question Period

Well, dear friends, first of all, we have to have this serious debate because the real terms of the debate are rendered invisible by the absurd rhetoric and the absurd way in which we speak about ourselves, and by the mass media whose power and determination is to keep the real terms of the debate invisible. The real terms of the debate are: why is this society collapsing? Why does this economic machine not work? Who is responsible? If the people who are responsible are not going to do something about it, let them get the hell out.

Moderator : I know there have got to be lots of questions. We'll allot a certain amount of time. We'll try to recognize everyone.

Question : You've analyzed this quite well, but what does one do to change [the situation]?

Well, I think part of the problem I don't mean to be repetitious but I think that people are clearly immobilized and confused at the moment. I think one of the reasons that people are immobilized and confused is that the proper debate is not out there. It's not possible for people to express what they know from their experience to be true, to assert its truth. The public debate rejects our experience and understanding because the public debate is designed to contain us, to make us accept and even to believe in the superiority of this situation. I think people know what needs to be done out there. In a sense the quintessential problem confronting our country is the enormous concentrated power to shape people's lives, to define discourse, as [name indistinct] pointed out, which is accountable to no one. The democratization of that power means, I think, certainly radical changes in the structure of our society, but ones for which in many respects people are ready and which indeed are supported by most of the values that this society has lived by historically and attests to.

It seems to me it's really quite simple. We don't have democracy in the sense in which we normally understand ourselves to have democracy in which people often speak of us as having. We don't have that. Why do we not have it? Because of this eternal and now much more intensive, much more intense tension that has existed from the beginning between property and democracy, between popular majorities as the Federalists called them, disdainingly, and the rights of property. This now has become an enormous incubus on American society. We have enormous concentrated power for which nobody is accountable, and this is not acceptable. Roger and Me [the documentary film] is a reflection of a sensitivity that says, "We've got to talk about this, Roger. You're responsible for this." So I really think by not knowing these things, not changing the discourse of our lives, and the discourse in the public arena, coming to agreements amongst one another by hard work, by hard discussion, how can we know it's true?

And by the way, I don't think this can be done in the absence of action. That is to say, in a haltingly naive phase of my recent existence, I tried to convince some people in the Congress that we were headed into a really horrible situation, and they didn't want to know. They didn't. They don't want to believe what is uncomfortable for them to believe, so my decision was that you have to go into the trenches, that you have to work on projects that are going to materialize these ideas, that you have to work against plant closings, that you have to work for measures that alleviate the social burdens that exist in a city like New York, that you have to work for things while articulating these ideas because it seems to me it's only in the combination of action and debate of ideas that people will begin to understand the relevance and the necessity of a new discussion. You can't have in that sense -- I cede your point -- you can't have a drawing-room discussion which will prevail.

Certainly the people in the National Endowment for Democracy believe that. They don't just sit back and spend millions of dollars on printing books and making radio tapes and television shows. No. They created new political institutions. They then created new political parties, financing people like Arkady Murashev, the Inter-Regional Group in the Soviet Parliament, until recently. It doesn't exist anymore. The Inter-Regional Group was the group of pseudo-democrats, pro-capitalists, speaking, in many respects for the interests represented in the agglomeration of black market operations in the Soviet Union. Arkady Murashev was systematically cosseted, financed and trained by an organization in Washington very closely tied to certain agencies whose names we don't want to pronounce in the present circumstances. Murashev was a liaison man between Washington and Yeltsin. The National Endowment for Democracy gave $40,000 just for the faxes, and the printing machines and the telephones in the Initiatives Foundation, which was the organization that the Inter-Regional Group used to put out its messages, get itself organized, make contacts, etc. The United States was financing that operation. Arkady Murashev is now the chief of police of the city of Moscow.

This is heavy stuff. I mean, really, it's incredibly dramatic, but we mustn't go on in this vein because there are questions to be answered.

Question : Does every country have to go through this period of savage capitalism to become socialist?

No. I don't believe that. No.

Question: Bush seemed to like Gorbachev. Was Gorbachev foolish? Was he taken for a ride?

These are the great mysteries. There are, as you know, there are a different views. There are different theories about that. One of them is that Gorbachev was a mole, that Gorbachev was a deep-cover or Western intelligence agent. I believe that's exaggerated. I believe that's off the wall, but I do believe that there's an element here that's important to understand.

There was in the Soviet Union, as a result of the very success of the industrialization of the Soviet Union, an enormous alienated set of strata amongst the educated population because the Soviet elite absorbed people at a very small rate. It didn't reach out to large numbers of people. They were educating enormous numbers of people, professional scientific workers, managers, and these people were mostly urban people. They were the fruit, in many respects, of industrialization. At the same time, being urban people, they found themselves trapped in the most difficult conditions in the Soviet Union because in its industrialization the Soviet Union really ignored a lot of problems. Theyfound themselves, in many respects, in a similar situation as the United States, where the decay of urban areas, the lack of equipment, the lack of infrastructure, the lack of adequate facilities for health or education etc. became a real problem. They didn't have the resources to industrialize, to raise the standard of living in the really poor republics of the Soviet Union, and to deal with the urban problem, as we call it in the United States.

So these people were imagine all educated people earning this education and looking upon themselves as deserving of the advantages and prerogatives of their Western counterparts, living in the equivalent of New York City, but earning the wages of a skilled worker. They didn't like it. They felt shut out. They were angry, and it's those people that the neoliberals were recruiting, not just the American neoliberals but their own neoliberals. There were neoliberals in the Soviet Union. There were reactionary people in the Soviet Union this [name indistinct] operation out in Siberia, the so-called sociological think tank. There are people who, I don't know why Perhaps when you become very isolated from the world and separated from reality you conjure up the most amazing dreams in your mind. I think Marx called it idealism. In any case, these people were very much Western idealists and they came, frankly, into Moscow and Leningrad fervent believers in the need to embrace Western institutions because of their frustration, because of their understanding of their own past. Whether it was distorted or not, it's not for me to say. It's because of the way they viewed and felt about their past, because of their own personal frustration, because of the problems which were very real that they experienced by the Soviet leadership, by the Soviet economy and society. They were alienated, and that's where there was recruitment. When economic growth slowed down it made it much worse, and it spread the basis of recruitment very effectively.

There is a collection of essays which I think is quite remarkable and valuable, which gives you some background about the incredible contradictions in the Soviet Union, and how the Soviet Union, in fact, more than a decade and even two decades ago, was in fact being prepared for what is happening. It was ripening for some big bull shaking the tree, which is eventually what happened. That's the collection that The Monthly Review has published recently, After the Fall, something like that. After the Fall of the Soviet Union is really a very valuable collection of essays on the Soviet Union, or whatever it is after communism. Very useful stuff.

Question : Could you talk about Third World countries?

That's a really hard question. I've worked in Third World countries which were socialist countries and which were under attack. I worked in Mozambique in the beginning of the 1980s when the South African-Western-CIA operations were really beginning to [take a toll], and people were dying by the tens of thousands because the roads had been cut, and the supplies had been cut, and the health stations blown up, and I think that it was very hard for them to survive that. Socialism proved very frail in Mozambique, even though the leaders of the revolution had been born in armed struggle, formed by armed struggle, were dedicated to armed struggle, but the society just couldn't withstand that kind of pressure.

In some ways I think that's true of the Soviet Union. There was a war in the shadows waged against the Soviet Union on a massive scale, and what these events prove is the Soviet Union was insufficiently strong to stand up to those pressures, and I think this is all the more true in the Third World. I don't know, but I don't want to say that I know the answer, whether they should try to make that jump or not. I think that will depend on what happens in the Western world. I don't see any reason why the jump couldn't be made if the West, Western Europe and the United States, in particular North America saw [supported] significant transformation of the present system of power. Then it's not a problem, but with this massive opposition coming from the West, it's very difficult to survive.

Question (apparently edited from video recording): __________________

These same people today, and we're talking about within a few months, within the end of the year there being not 50,000 but between six and eight million unemployed people in Russia, 130 million people, labor force of 65 or 70 million, and I saw this same thing happening in East Germany.

I was very briefly in Humboldt University in 1989 or 1990, I can't remember which now. The whole situation was in upheaval, and I saw many intellectuals genuinely enraged by the arrogance of the Honecker regime, and at the same time, unfortunately, completely unaware of what would happen if that regime went down, taking everything, "really existing socialism," with it. And my question would be, OK, it's a question. You know the old version of this question used to be what about Stalin, but it's a little different now.

My problem is this: let's look at it in human terms, OK? Just forget ideology. What has happened as a result of the materialization of the dreams of the so-called reformers and democrats in the Soviet Union? What has happened is what has happened in Poland, and worse: that the standard of living of ordinary people is going to collapse, that old people will be destitute, that children will be without health care, that the transportation system is collapsing, that there will be no food distribution by spring, that people will starve, that there is continuous ethnic conflict. Now, the Soviet system of prices and of raw material supplies were such that enormous quantities that the supply system worked in a way which led to the waste of vast quantities of raw materials and semi-finished products. I mean vast quantities.

So the idea was to go in to work at the enterprise level to create incentives to create better accounting, a system of prices which would reflect the real value of these raw materials and not the fact that they could be replaced anytime you wanted because all you have to do is put an order in. It didn't matter what you did with them. It [the reform] was focused on the enterprise, on profit incentives, and this loosening of the tight bonds on the enterprise, really did lead to a recrudescence of output. For instance, between 1986 and 88 there was a 17% increase in housing production in the Soviet Union. There was a 30% increase in overall production. The production, the economy, accelerated in the period 1986-88. In those three years the economy accelerated, but as I said, there were two stages of perestroika. There was a stage of perestroika where the effects were quite beneficial, where it was clear that perestroika and glasnost were aiming to energize and develop andfree and move forward the Soviet Union.

As a friend of mine said, the only way to ensure the social development of the Soviet Union is to undertake these reforms, but there was another stage, a second stage beginning in late 1988 to, obviously, the end of 1991, where the forces that were unleashed utilized the reform program to destroy socialism, clearly to destroy socialism, and Mr. Gorbachev was either helpless before that or a willing apprentice of that process. I could not pretend to pronounce which of those was the case. It's very difficult to say.

On the other hand, I really don't know how anybody in his right mind could have conceived of the notion that the way forward for the Soviet Union -- and this was the quintessential statement of perestroika by the principle Soviet leaders in the mid-1980s -- the way for the Soviet Union was to integrate the Soviet Union into the world economy. I mean to an economist with any degree of sophistication and critical approach, that is sheer unadulterated madness. It's like saying that the North American free trade agreement will lead to real economic development in Mexico. It's absurd. I mean we know what those processes are. How can a much weaker, less industrialized Soviet Union hope to stand up against the economic forces arrayed against it and capable of penetrating it, once it declares its intention to integrate itself into the world economy? When I heard that, I said, "It's all over, boys. These people don't know that they're doing," and indeed, listening to Soviet economists as I did when I was still teaching in Paris, and meeting with some of these people, until 1989, I got the impression of two things: they had not the least actual understanding of what was going on in the West, and that their theoretical conceptions were taken out of a handbook by Voltaire making fun of the French aristocracy.

Transcript produced by Youtube "auto-caption" speech recognition software, corrected and edited by blog author, Dennis Riches.

Notes

[i] Davis Guggenheim (Director), Al Gore (Writer), "An Inconvenient Truth," Paramount Classics , 2006.

[ii] Jason W. Moore, Capitalism in the Web of Life (Verso, 2015), 267-268. "What is really needed is proper planning of available resources globally, plus a drive, through public investment, to develop new technologies that could work and, of course, a shift out of fossil fuels into renewables. Also, it is not just a problem of carbon and other gas emissions, but of cleaning up the environment, which is already damaged. All these tasks require public control and ownership of the energy and transport industries and public investment in the environment for the public good."

[iii] Sean Gervasi, " Western Intervention in the USSR ," Covert Action Information Bulletin No. 39, Winter 1991-92, 4-9.

[iv] Sean Gervasi, " Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia? " Global Research , September 9, 2001, https://www.globalresearch.ca/why-is-nato-in-yugoslavia/21008 . This paper was presented by Sean Gervasi at The Conference on the Enlargement of NATO in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean , Prague, January 13-14, 1996.

[v] Gary Wilson, " Economist Exposed U.S.-German Role in Balkans ," Workers World News Service , Aug. 29, 1996, https://www.workers.org/ww/1997/gervasi.html . The short biography written here borrowed some wording and information from this obituary published by Workers World News Service .

[vi] Helen Thomas, " Reagan approves tough strategy with Soviets ," United Press International (UPI) , May 21, 1982, https://www.upi.com/Archives/1982/05/21/Reagan-approves-tough-strategy-with-Soviets/7761390801600/ .

[vii] Richard Halloran, " Pentagon Draws up First Strategy for Fighting a Long Nuclear War ," The New York Times , May 5, 1982, http://www.nytimes.com/1982/05/30/world/pentagon-draws-up-first-strategy-for-fighting-a-long-nuclear-war.html?pagewanted=all .

The reference appears to be to this article. The dates 1984-1988 may appear to be an error because the report referred to was written in 1982. However, the Defense Guidelines were focused on plans for the future, fiscal years of 1984-1988.

[viii] David Ignatius, " Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups ," The Washington Post , September 22, 1991, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1991/09/22/innocence-abroad-the-new-world-of-spyless-coups/92bb989a-de6e-4bb8-99b9-462c76b59a16/?utm_term=.e9976e81e6d1 .

[ix] As we know from the perspective of 2017, the normalization of such interventions continued shamelessly, going from a bad habit to a deranged addiction. The political establishment in America now resorts to economic warfare, violence and military intervention as the solutions for every problem in international relations.

All images, except the featured, in this article are from the author.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © Sean Gervasi and Dennis Riches , Global Research, 2019

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[Nov 30, 2019] Every single mainstream Anglo-American journalist has swallowed Bill Browder's tales hook, line sinker. No skeptical questions asked.

Nov 30, 2019 | twitter.com

Mark Ames @MarkAmesExiled

Every single mainstream Anglo-American journalist has swallowed Bill Browder's tales hook, line & sinker. No skeptical questions asked.

So it's been left to a German journalist to do our "watchdog media" job, translated here. https:// twitter.com/spiegel_englis h/status/1199287073976381440

SPIEGEL ONLINE English @SPIEGEL_English

The Case of Sergei Magnitsky: Questions Cloud Story Behind U.S. Sanctions http:// dlvr.it/RK72xg View image on Twitter 490 9:39 PM

[Nov 30, 2019] Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR

Nov 30, 2019 | debatewise.org

Perestroika put the final nails in the USSR's economy One of the first main policies Gorbachev adopted was Perestroika – reform of the economy. Hoarding and reciprocal favours (blat) had been a means of survival in the Soviet Union, thieving to 'moonlight' was also common and this cost the regime a lot. The 'command-administrative' system had become obsolete in the Post-Industrial era and was curtailing economic development 1. To solve this, Gorbachev wanted to give enterprise managers control over contracts and introduce aspects of the market economy, to make it managers' responsibility to gain contracts and to make sure the enterprise makes a profit. However, in practice the way the enterprises operated remained unchanged except in terms – ministries rephrased their commands as contracts 2. Private enterprise was also permitted, which seemed to contradict Gorbachev's claim to be committed to Marxist-Leninist thought which was vehemently opposed to capitalism which Marxist's argue exploit the proleteriat – so to actually create a class of capitalists who (according to Marxist doctrine) would exploit the workers who were supposed to be living in socialist – i.e. 'classless society' seemed contradictory to the very ideological concept the regime's power was based upon. A small amount of private enterprise emerged, but the profiteering was very much resented by the general population – goods and services were sold for four or five times their subsidized price due to shortages. Another aspect of Perestroika was entry into the market economy – many of the social benefits given by the enterprises had to be done away with, as they could not make a profit and afford to maintain the benefits, resulting in a stagnant economy occuring simultaneously with a collapsing social welfare system. Gorbachev's reforms did not work and only succeeded in hastening the economic collapse that was inevitable.

1 Hosking, G. History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992

2 Hosking, G. History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992 Yes because... Glasnost facilitated Opposition to Concentrate against the Regime Allowing freedom of thought from the 'mono-ideological controls' that existed for decades and allowing pluralist thought and leadership meant a weakening of power for the Communist Party – it had to convert into a proper parliamentary party to survive. Furthermore, in a regime based on oppression and propaganda, when these are removed and freedom of speech and freedom of the media are introduced, nasty elements about the system in the past are going to be revealed, and when there is 70 years of repression being reported all at once, it is inevitable there will be extreme hostility toward those responsible – the Party 1, this especially fuelled the anger of the nationalities who had been oppressed and triggered a nationalist movement.

The population were dissatisfied with the dire state of affairs and could voice their discontent openly with glasnost, which led to Gorbachev becoming very unpopular by 1991, in which year the economy had contracted by 18% 2, people were also very concerned over the incompetence of the command-administrative system and irresponsibility of the leadership with regards to the 1986 Chernobyl power station disaster 3.

In a state committed to one ideology, the removal of mono-ideological controls, and the ability of other ideological persuasions to come to power meant the Party had lost its RIGHT to govern the people unless the people themselves WANTED the Party to rule. Thus, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) had to win the support of the people in order to govern effectively. However, in a society that was becoming increasingly liberal and 'bourgeois' (the USSR was largely middle class, private property was protected and capitalism was legalised), the people had to believe in socialist ideology – which would have been almost impossible to achieve.

Gorbachev's reforms themselves undermined some of the principle features of socialist rule in the USSR, e.g. atheism, mono-ideological control, one-party state, economic monopoly and the suspendability of law. Gorbachev's ideology itself – his focus on 'all-human values' instead of the class struggle, the rule of law, international peace and proper parliamentary representation have more resonance with John Stuart Mill than Karl Marx 4 – Gorbachev was subconsciously moving the USSR in this ideological direction.

With democratization and pluralist thought permitted, Gorbachev found himself operating within an increasingly wide political spectrum – with the reformist 'democrats' on one side and the conservative Communist Party members on the other. There was a constant power struggle between the two and Gorbachev dealt with this by constantly playing one side against the other and compromising. One of Gorbachev's critics at the time said this was like trying to marry a hare to a hedgehog. The two sides were very much irreconcilable and instead of trying to defeat one side, Gorbachev sat on the fence and as a result his policies were constantly inconsistent – you cannot mix radical reforms with conservatism 5. The dangers of this were apparent when Shevardnadze, Foreign Minister at the time, resigned because he warned a dictatorship was approaching, Gorbachev ignored this threat and dismissed this claim with overconfidence 6.

1 Kagarlitsky, B. Russia under Yeltsin and Putin: neo-liberal autocracy, London: Pluto 2002

2 Service, R. History of Modern Russia: from Nicholas II to Putin, London: Penguin 1997

3 Haynes, M., Russia: Class and Power, 1917-2000, London: Bookmarks 2002

4 Service, R. History of Modern Russia: from Nicholas II to Putin, London: Penguin 1997

5 Sheehy, G. The Man who changed the World, New York: HarperCollins 1991

6 Sheehy, G. The Man who changed the World, New York: HarperCollins 1991 No because... Regional Nationalism and Independence Movements These original flaws in the system were largely responsible for its own downfall – in particular the nationalities issue – the decision to maintain the Empire without granting real power to the nationalities whilst simultaneously repressing them left most of the nationalities feeling bitter when glasnost revealed the truth about how they had been treated in the past and democratisation gave them the power to chose representatives who would really represent people's interests (the nationalist movement) whilst at the same time being given by Gorbachev an appetite for power – a fatal combination.

The wealthier regions wanted a separation from the USSR because of the feeling they were being milked from the centre and many other regions wanted to become independent because they did not want to be part of an economic disaster area which became apparent when the Donbass miners who had no commitment to nationalism thought their future would be safer if the Ukraine wasn't part of the USSR 1.

The nationalist movement emerged when freedom of speech, media and association along with democratisation and the loss of fear of repression allowed people to voice pride in their nation and resentment at past repressions as well as the ongoing special treatment of Russians in the Regions, who had access to better housing and other special privileges the locals did not.

Certain Republics felt nationalism more strongly than others, most notably the Baltic States who felt a strong cultural attachment to the West and felt they were being unfairly occupied. Gorbachev's mistake here was to downplay the importance of nationalism and not treat the Baltic States as a special case 2. After all, most of the population of the USSR wished to preserve the Union – 76% voted to preserve the Union in March 1991 (except the Baltic States, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia who did not conduct the referendum) 3. After the failed coup, most states declared their independence, even if they did so with reluctance, as there was a general feeling there was no alternative. Gorbachev tried to persuade the Republics not to become fully independent. However, in early December, the Ukraine held a referendum where the population voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence, even after Gorbachev stated "there can be no Union without Ukraine", on 8th December, Yeltsin met with the Ukrainian and Bielorussian leader and declared a formal end to the USSR and the establishment of the Confederation of Independent States which they invited the other states to join.

There was nothing left Gorbachev could do, democratisation had brought about the means for independence and Gorbachev didn't feel he could argue with people's wishes carried out through democratic means and, on 25th December he resigned with regret.

1 Hosking, G. History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992

2 Brown, A. The Gorbachev Factor, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1996

3 Brown, A. The Gorbachev Factor, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1996 Yeltsin Factor Boris Yeltsin emerged as the true hero and strong leader for the fearlessness to condemn the coup – in a press conference afterwards Yeltsin ordered Gorbachev around undermining his position, then used his institutional powers derived from democratization to appoint Egor Gaidar, an economist dedicated to laissez-faire economics, as his Finance Minister and suspension of the CPSU pending an investigation into the coup. Gorbachev half heartedly argued against this but it was no use – he was seen as a weaker leader along with discontent over his policies, whilst Yeltsin's radicalism was keeping pace with developments and his popularity at an all-time high, Gorbachev's position was also much less weaker without the Communist Party. Also, the Soviet Union really could not exist without the Communist Party arguably as they had political and economic monopoly on society and the Communist Party went from controlling these aspects of society to ceasing to exist, the Soviet Union could not function and the economy spiralled out of control. Yes because...

Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR No because... August 1991 Coup Counter Productive, Bringing About What It Sought To Prevent - The End of the Soviet Union By August 1991 Gorbachev's popularity was at an all-time low both in the Party and outside it. Despite being advised by some of his staff to sign the Treaty agreement granting the republics real autonomy before going on holiday and some suspicious circumstances he should have been more questioning about, he planned on signing the agreement when he returned. This was a big mistake and allowed the conservatives to stage a coup. The Emergency Committee made no reference whatsoever to Marxism-Leninism or the class struggle in their speech, meaning it was a coup in the hope of returning the Soviet Union to 'normal' i.e. an Empire controlled from Moscow and putting the final nails in the coffin of socialism in the USSR 1.

The failed coup triggered the very thing it sought to prevent – the break-up of the Soviet Union 2.

1 Hosking, Geoffrey, History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992

2 Hosking, Geoffrey, History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992

Yes because... Report this ad

Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR No because... The System Needed to Change in Order to Survive in the Longer Term; That Mikhail Gorbachev's Reforms Failed Showed that the USSR Could Not be Saved By the Gorbachev era, all hopes of fulfilling the original Marxist-Leninist dream were gone and most did not feel passionately about communism, even within the Party. There was a general acknowledgement that the USSR could not continue in the same way as before – Andropov, Gorbachev's predecessor also realised this and set about changing society through repressive measures such as harsh labour discipline enforced by cutting payments from workers for work deemed poor quality and restrictions on the sale of alcohol and prohibition of alcohol on official occasions was felt overly repressive and for many – Gorbachev was seen as a positive, energetic leader who would overcome the USSR's problems in a less repressive manner. With economic stagnation and an economy dependent on the exportation of natural resources to survive 1, an unsuccessful war (Afghanistan) and an ageing Party Membership to combat, Gorbachev was the candidate for those who wanted change or at least realised change could no longer be postponed 2.

Autocracies survive due to repressing their people to the extent that they are not given the freedoms required to change their government, rather than because the people want them to stay in power. Mikhail Gorbachev's conscience and sense of responsibility for his population dictated that the system could no longer be propped up like this, and that the people needed and deserved the freedoms and basic human rights they had been denied for decades. That the system could not encorporate such freedoms meant that the system morally should not be allowed to perpetuate itself, and thus the Soviet Union fell apart because it was unrepresentative and did not support the population's human rights means the fall of the USSR should be applauded, not mourned for its' population.

1 Volkogonov, D.A. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire: political leaders from Lenin to Gorbachev, edited and translated by M. Shukman, London: HarperCollins 1998

2 Hosking, G. History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992 Yes because...

Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR No because... War with Afghanistan Drained USSR of Patriotic Morale The war in Afghanistan was a key contributing factor to the breakup of the USSR. Reuveny and Prakash argue that the Soviet-Afghan war contributed to undermining the Soviet Union in many ways. First, it discredited the Red Army, and impacted negatively upon the image of the Red Army as a strong, almost invincible force, which gave nationalist movements in the Republics hope that they might succeed in attaining independence after all. Second, it impacted upon leadership perception on the usefulness of utilising the military to keep the union intact and as a force for foreign intervention. Third, it created new forms of political participation, which had begun to impact upon media reporting even before glasnost, and began the first calls for glasnost, as it created a number of war veterans, who went on to form organisations which weakened the total authority of the CPSU 1.

1 Reuveny, Rafael, and Prakash, Aseem, 'The Afghanistan War and the Breakdown of the Soviet Union', Review of International Studies (1999), 25:693-708 Yes because... Report this ad

Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR No because... It was dead from the time Stalin took control Gorbachev finished it off, but Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev etc. really killed it. Lenin had nothing to do with that, he was a socialist-marxist, not a communist. You obviously don't know the difference. Learn it before you blindly yell your opinion into the dark of the internet.

[Nov 30, 2019] Gorbachev Called Coward, Traitor by Former Comrade - Los Angeles Times

Nov 30, 2019 | www.latimes.com

Advertisement Gorbachev Called Coward, Traitor by Former Comrade By VIKTOR K. GREBENSHIKOV May 28, 1992 12 AM

Share Close extra sharing options SPECIAL TO THE TIMES MOSCOW -- Yegor K. Ligachev, once the second-most-powerful man in the Kremlin, on Wednesday called his former boss and comrade, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, a coward and a traitor.

"I met many Communists who spent decades in labor camps in the permafrost zone but retained their faith in the party," the erstwhile Politburo hard-liner said. "I fail to understand its general secretary who spent three days in the best health resort the country has by the warm sea, then called for its dissolution."

Ligachev, as straight-talking and opinionated as ever, met with journalists to present his book "The Gorbachev Riddle," a personal chronicle of the perestroika years he helped to shape before the Soviet president and party leader gave him the boot in August, 1990.

The book presentation, attended by a standing-room-only audience in the Moscow House of Journalists, served as a forum for Ligachev, 71, to reiterate his views and credo.

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"When life proved me wrong, I did change my perceptions," he said with quiet dignity, "but I never changed my principles. Unlike Gorbachev, I still adhere to socialism, and I still think this is the future for my country." The white-haired native of Siberia said his only desire is to reunite the nation, introduce peace and stability and build a "new, refurbished Soviet Union."

A foe of both Gorbachev and Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin, Ligachev contended that his country is in danger of becoming a "raw materials supplier and semi-colony" for the capitalist world as the Russian leadership presses on with its economic reforms.

"The ban on the Communist Party, an organization uniting about 20 million members, cannot but diminish the chances for a peaceful resolution of the country's current political, economic and social crisis," Ligachev said, referring to a ban that Yeltsin ordered last Nov. 6.

Few questions during the presentation ceremony concerned Ligachev's 303-page book itself; instead, many people sought out his view of recent political developments. Advertisement The most persistent question put to Ligachev was why none of the former leaders of the Communist Party had volunteered to defend it at hearings on its record ordered for July by the Constitutional Court of Russia.

Asserting that it is Gorbachev who is legally obligated to take on this task, Ligachev said that the party "had been betrayed by its general secretary" and that it is now up to "ordinary Communists" to defend the party's 73-year record in leading the Soviet Union.

Ligachev, who became a voting, or full, member of the ruling party Politburo in 1985, the same year Gorbachev came to power, remains the only publicly active figure from the defunct body who voices support for his old principles.

Others, such as former Vice President Gennady I. Yanayev, are now in prison for their roles in last August's unsuccessful attempt at overthrowing Gorbachev when he was on vacation at a Crimean beach resort.

[Nov 29, 2019] Gorbachev Might as Well Have Been Working for the CIA by Olga Zinovieva

Notable quotes:
"... In 1979 at one of my public speeches ("How to kill an elephant with a needle"), I was asked what in my opinion was the most vulnerable point in the Soviet system. I replied: the one that is considered the most reliable, namely, the apparatus of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, within it - the Central Committee, and within the latter - the General Secretary. ..."
"... The reader should not think that I gave that idea to Cold War strategists. They realized that without me. One of the employees of the Intelligence Service told me that soon they (i.e. forces of the West) would put their man on "the soviet throne". ..."
"... What distinguishes this Cold War operation is that the method of "killing an elephant with a needle" was applied against a less powerful, yet mighty opponent, to obviate the possibility of a "hot war" becoming dangerous to the point where the advantages of the West could disappear, as happened in the war of Germany versus the Soviet Union in 1941-1945. ..."
"... The method in question made it possible to avoid risk and losses, save time and win by proxy. The method invented by the weak to fight stronger opponents was adopted by the most powerful forces on the planet in their war for domination over the entire human race. ..."
Nov 17, 2015 | russia-insider.com

More than anyone else, he was responsible for handing the US and UK their greatest strategic victory ever Alexander Zinoviev Tue, | 1300 words 8,718 31 MORE: History


This post first appeared on Russia Insider
RI continues with a series of articles about the life and works of the brilliant postwar Russian philosopher, author, and dissident, Alexander Zinoviev.

This time, his famous essay on how the West destroyed the USSR is introduced by his widow Olga, chairwoman of the Zinoviev Club at Rossiya Sevodnya, a major Russian news agency.

How different US-Russia relations were back then...

Zinoviev often said that judging from Gorbachev's behavior, one cannot exclude the possibility that he was working for the West, but that at the end of the day, it didn't really matter, because what he did served the West's interests exactly.

lllustrations are by Zinoviev himself, provided to RI by his family.

Previous articles in the series are: The End of Communism in Russia Meant the End of Democracy in the West and Zinoviev to Yeltsin in 1990: "The West Applauds You for Destroying Our Country" , This Great Satirist Gloried in the Absurdities of the USSR (Alexander Zinoviev)

Translated from Russian especially for RI by Sergei Malygin


Introduction

Before you, dear readers, you have one of the seven chapters of Zinoviev's famous essay 'How to Kill an Elephant With a Needle', written in 2005, a year before the author's death.

The material for it derived from recollections of the numerous meetings Alexander Zinoviev had with representatives of the West's political elite who were responsible for the formation of policy with respect to the USSR.

1016196444.jpg
Olga Zinovieva - an active voice in contemporary Russia
The idea underlying little episodes, including historical examples, is as elementary and limpid as spring water: how to work out the weak spot of the enemy, adversary, scoundrel or opponent, irrespective of their number and armaments, both literally and metaphorically.

With graphic clarity, as if it were a lesson, he provides a whole series of examples, beginning with his own example involving a compass but then using classical examples from history, such as the episode with Francisco Pizarro, the conquistador conqueror of Mexico, who demonstrated extraordinary quick-wittedness in his detection of the adversary's weak spot (the Indians).

Astonished by the attack of a handful of Pizarro's warriors on their leader, whom they regarded as a god and who in their conception was invulnerable and untouchable, the Indians capitulated without a fight. "Pizarro", wrote Alexander Zinoviev, "had divined the enemy army's weak spot, its Achilles heel".

In this essay he writes about how the Soviet Union's weak spot turned out to be the top echelons of the leadership.

Zinoviev was often called a dissident, but he never thought of himself as such. He was a critic of the Soviet system, but he was not its enemy.

In his later years he often repeated that, if he had known what a dreadful fate awaited the USSR, he would not have written a single critical book or article about it.

Olga Zinovieva


How to kill an elephant with a needle

I was exiled to the West in 1978, when the thirty-year course of the Cold War hit a radical turning point.

Cold War leaders have studied Soviet society since the beginning. The new science of Sovietology has been developed employing thousands of experts and involving hundreds of research centers.

Within it, a separate branch of Kremlinology has appeared. It pedantically studied the structure of the Soviet State, the party apparatus, the central party apparatus, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Politburo and employees of the government apparatus individually.

But for a long time (perhaps until the end of the 1970s) the main focus was on the ideological and psychological manipulation of the general population, the creation of pro-Western masses of Soviet citizens who in actuality would play the role of the West's "fifth column" and (intentionally or unintentionally) working on the ideological and moral disintegration of the Soviet population (not to mention other functions). Thus the dissident movement was created.

In short, the main work was carried out through the destruction of Soviet society "from below". Important achievements had been made that became factors in the future counterrevolution. But they were not significant enough to bring the Soviet society to its collapse.

By the end of the 1970s, the Western Cold War leaders understood that. They realized that the government system formed the basis of Soviet communism and the party apparatus was at its core. Having thoroughly studied the party apparatus, the nature of relations between its members, their psychology and qualifications, selection methods and its other characteristics, Cold War leaders concluded that Soviet society could be destroyed only from the top, by destroying its system of government.

To destroy the latter it was necessary and sufficient to destroy the party apparatus, starting from its top level - the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. So they shifted their main efforts in that direction.

They found the most vulnerable place in the Soviet social structure. It was not difficult for me to guess this shift, because I had an opportunity to observe and study that hidden part of the Cold War.

In 1979 at one of my public speeches ("How to kill an elephant with a needle"), I was asked what in my opinion was the most vulnerable point in the Soviet system. I replied: the one that is considered the most reliable, namely, the apparatus of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, within it - the Central Committee, and within the latter - the General Secretary.

To Homeric laughter in the audience, I said that "if you put your man in that position he will ruin the party apparatus, thus starting a chain reaction resulting in the breakdown of the entire government system and administration. The consequence will be the breakdown of the entire society". I referred to the precedent of Pizarro.

The reader should not think that I gave that idea to Cold War strategists. They realized that without me. One of the employees of the Intelligence Service told me that soon they (i.e. forces of the West) would put their man on "the soviet throne".

At that time I did not believe that was possible. I spoke hypothetically of the General Secretary as the West's "needle". But Western strategists already considered that to be a realistic proposition. They developed a plan for winning the war: take the supreme power in the Soviet Union under their control by promoting "their" man to the position of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, force him to destroy the CPSU apparatus, implement an overhaul ("perestroika") that would start a chain reaction and consequent breakdown of the entire Soviet society.

Such a plan was realistic then because the crisis at the top level of Soviet power was already evident, due to the senescence of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

Soon "their" man in the role of the Western "needle" appeared (if he was not "prepared" in advance). Admittedly, the plan worked well.

What distinguishes this Cold War operation is that the method of "killing an elephant with a needle" was applied against a less powerful, yet mighty opponent, to obviate the possibility of a "hot war" becoming dangerous to the point where the advantages of the West could disappear, as happened in the war of Germany versus the Soviet Union in 1941-1945.

The method in question made it possible to avoid risk and losses, save time and win by proxy. The method invented by the weak to fight stronger opponents was adopted by the most powerful forces on the planet in their war for domination over the entire human race.


Serge Krieger • 4 years ago ,

That would be too smart for them and plainly impossible.

Zinoviev was wrong about it.

There is Russian saying that a fool is more dangerous than an enemy. it is what happened.

Constantine Serge Krieger • 4 years ago ,

You put it pretty well. I also think that Gorby wasn't a conscious traitor, but he was not capable to handle the necessary tasks for the reform of the USSR. He botched it badly.

Yeltsin, on the other hand, was exactly that: a traitor. And he proved it time and again.

A final note: Pizarro conquered Peru, not Mexico.

Serge Krieger Constantine • 4 years ago ,

Did not notice that about Pizarro, Kortez conquered Mexico.
Gorby was not fit and did not have what it takes to be Central Secretary and he had no idea about how power is used. In times of restructuring and reforms power cannot be diffused and undermined which is what he did, but must be concentrated. Making quite a few heads roll would cause the rest to fall in line including Yeltsin, who was a typical opportunist who smelt weakness and rot at the top and used it.
Note that after Lenin death and until, Stalin by brutal measures concentrated power in his hands, there was a lot of talk but little deeds. Just like in US Congress. Same happened under Gorby, everybody started talking, then everybody started smearing face with feces and glorifying the West until they undermined any chance for positive change. What should have been done is to make heads indeed roll at the top especially in Central Asia and Caucasus republics where corruption was running amok and local intelligencia born by USSR own efforts started thinking too much of themselves. Then when everybody would see there is the Boss in Kremlin, things could have been started to move .
In China Deng had to deal with Hua Guo Feng and others before he started reforms after concentrating power in own hands.
Gorby, well, was not cut for the role. Every few months new ideas, busy body and not very straight talker. He was too soft and lacked abilities to be leader of such a country and had none in his surrounding to shore his deficiencies up.

hoss2013 Serge Krieger • 4 years ago ,

Interesting and logical. Did Putin do this (heads roll) to concentrate power?

Serge Krieger hoss2013 • 4 years ago ,

He did , but me think not enough. also, it is not exactly the way it used to be. I think Putin knew what he was doing. Unlike Gorby who had all of the power in his hands and could do things we are talking about, Putin had to maneuver. His position was not unassailable when he came to power and much later. He had to be more of a fox. He is also not a cruel man, like Stalin was.

chavez Serge Krieger • 4 years ago ,

It wouldn't be impossible, even today there are some questionable characters in very high Kremlin positions, and if any of them manage come to power they will undermine Russia's interests as has happened in the not so distant past.

I agree that in the case of Gorby he was more of a fool than a Western agent. The Westerners knew how to charm, flatter and entertain him and he was only too willing to please them and lap up their manipulation and false promises.

Serge Krieger chavez • 4 years ago ,

It would be impossible. They do not and did not understand how things work in Russia and they almost always are wrong. Gorby stupidity was all the required, Yeltsin was a dark horse and Coup leaders should have studied more of Lenin how to make coups.

Jack Bluebird Serge Krieger • 4 years ago • edited ,

1:23 and 6:54 Play Hide

Jack Bluebird Serge Krieger • 4 years ago ,

You underestimate greatly the power of western cunningness and persuading.

Serge Krieger Jack Bluebird • 4 years ago ,

With Gorby no cunning was necessary. The guy was plain sucker and not fit for the office. Looks like he got picked for 2 qualities. Youth and good health and having no enemies.

In those years we had new General secretary every year.

Jack Bluebird Serge Krieger • 4 years ago ,

I am so sad that the great Soviet Union for which so many many millions of brave and honest people gave everything they had and their life in the end got ripped apart due to this corrupted idiot. Furthermore I am surprised beyond any belief that no one from KGB or Soviet Army arranged for this fool to get smoked when they saw what was about to commence. Today it is still the biggest mystery to me. I am aware that USSR had some problems but those were truly nothing compared to what Russia and all the other post Soviet countries faced after USSR got destroyed by that cock sucker. 300 000 000 people more or less got their future crippled and robbed because of 1 ( one ) western puppy. I just still today cannot believe that happened. Looks like of course he had some KGB staff on his payroll but in the end I just cannot believe that no one took him to Siberia and burried him over there on time.

What is even more sad is that today this idiot is prancing freely across Russia even after almost everyone today sees that because of him they got Yeltsin and his mobsters that stole their future.

I do admire Russian people and respect them for everything they wnt through their past but some things are just not logical for a 12 year old child and definitely not for a nation that gave the most chess masters and champions to the world.

I would definitely like your comment on this if you are a citizen of ex USSR.

Vtran • 4 years ago ,

lets look at it a different way ... Who was Gorbachev not Working FOR !
-
Gorbachev Was not Working For the USSR, Gorbachev Was not working for the People of the USSR ...
-
now it is easier to see who Gorbachev the Traitor was Working For / and Where Gorbachev Loyalties Were !

Boris Jaruselski • 4 years ago ,

An emotional summary, ...NOT a intelligent one!

Mihail Sergeyevitch is a Russian patriot, just as good as many more millions of Russians are! But Mihail Sergeyevitch fallen for the pretence of honesty, so skilfully played by the west, as he presupposed the existence of GENTLEMEN being in power in the west! ...and he wasn't the only one of the Russian politicians, ...Dimitry Anatolyevitch fallen for the same, ...when the agreed for a no-fly zone to be established over Libya!

There are NO gentlemen in western politics! ZIPPO, ZILCH, NADA! There are O N L Y BASTARDS, one worse then the next!

teddyfromcd Boris Jaruselski • 4 years ago ,

i think gorbachev can in a sense be called traitorious to the RUSSIAN nation -- whether it was under the USSR or not...

but precisely because he allowed himself to be ''open'' in ways that the west needed for the leadership to be open -- at the exact time when russia at the core of the USSR NEEDED someone to REFUSE to be ''open'' in exactly the way the USA wanted -- in order to get rid of the 'perception' of a 'failing, geriatric ussr" - and thus , be ''welcomed" by the ''world" which to gorbachev WAS the west...

to the nearly complete ignoring of THE MAJORITY of other nations (such as we see PUTIN achieve differently) -

he became the instrument of what was to follow -- yeltsin and the collapse of not just the USSR -- but RUSSIA'S governance itself

which further opened russia to the pillaging through the oligarchic collaborators with their western masters...

i think GORBACHEV LOVES RUSSIA -- i really do -- i think he is as russia in his soul and heart as can be...

but he was simply

WRONG in his putting FAITH and confidence, just as BORIS correctly argues,

in having GENTLEMEN AS COUNTERPARTS from the west. -- reagan the ACTOR?

excuse me -- THAT IS ALL that gorbacheV should HAVE KEPT IN MIND. to know that the USA was and IS NOT A ''partner"

as the russians, including putin -- like to say out of POLITENESS.

he should have realized that the WEST ARE NOT -- nd never have been 'THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN"

but EXTRAORDINARILY DECEITFUL plunderers and pillagers.

AND it has been like that since the beginning of the USA - TODAY -- and WILL continue to be so.

it is in its DNA

just as TRUE compassion -- faith, ethics, morality, a sense of TRUE justice and brotherhood of all humanity

IS IN THE DNA Of the RUSSIAN SOUL.

in other words -- the MISTAKE of gorbachev -- and yeltsin -- who were RIVALS --
was to believe or WISH to believe THAT THE AMERICANS and west --

were and are EQUALS AS PEOPLE GUIDED BY ETHICS ABOVE politics, economics, personal glory, even nationality --

tht the west -- reagan etc -- were actually MEN OF HONOR.

THAT WAS HIS -- and ANY russian leaderships; GREATEST mistake.

perhaps gorbachev did not HAVE to 'work for the CIA" -- AND THE author is probably correct -- he didn'/t HAVE to - DIRECTLY \\\

it was enough that gorbachev suffered from ''infatuation" with the west....

and so -- whatever HIS intentions or beliefs were -- his ACTS -- in themselves BECAME acts of treason to his great country and people.
for what he did was -- to try to present THEM -- IN HIS ''glasnost and perestroika"

some of the 'freedom of the west" -- that the russian people REALLY did NOT need -- but could have a freedom of THEIR very own

INDEPENDENT of ''copying or emulating" the west...

because IN RUSSIA AND AMONG the russian people

was ALL THE STRENGTH of their own freedom and choice and prosperity they WOULD EVER NEED!

WE SEE THAT TODAY.

bartmaeus • 4 years ago ,

Gorby was in cahoots with the Council of 300, so it is alleged by Dr. John Coleman, former MI6.

Jack Bluebird bartmaeus • 4 years ago • edited ,

I do agree with that. He was and still is a mason.

Prole Center • 4 years ago ,

Hearing on U.S. Security Strategy Post-9/11
Testimony before House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
November 6, 2007
( http://www.hks.harvard.edu/...

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage:

Well, indeed. I think we probably didn't get off to the
right foot in the Cold War. But, you know, we did apply smart power.

And let me give you an example -- I was being facetious about the
Chou En-lai French Revolution comment. But one of the advisers to
Gorbachev was a fellow by the name of Yakovlev -- he's the fellow who
came up with the term perestroika.

He actually, back in the bad days of the Cold War, when we were
tightly constraining the number of Soviet citizens who might come here,
he actually studied at Columbia. And he studied under a professor who
taught him about pluralism.

And Yakovlev went back to the then-Soviet Union with an idea that pluralism could work.

And 20 years later, he was the adviser. So it took a while to realize that investment, but we realized that investment.

Prole Center • 4 years ago ,

I called this out as a real possibility 2 years ago! I actually think that Gorbachev was just a naive fool and the real CIA agent was his top adviser, Yakovlev. Here is what I wrote back then:

". . . after extensive research by the Prole Center research team, it has come to light that Alexander Yakovlev, Gorbachev's chief advisor on glasnost
and perestroika, was very likely a CIA penetration agent – an agent of influence. He could have been either a witting or unwitting asset of U.S. intelligence."

This information was included as part of a brief book review I did. Here is the link to the full article:

https://prolecenter.wordpre...

Jack Bluebird • 4 years ago • edited ,

I still cannot believe how many naive people live today in Russia. There are STILL plenty of people who believe that gorbachev was just a "clumsy" person in charge of the "task too big to handle".

I would like to remind you that even after 2 "sudden" deaths of Soviet leaders ( Andropov and Chernenko ) before this traitor USSR was just in a period of economic stagnation and certainly not a deep recession. Several independent prominent western economists have also collaborated that.

What happened is just so obvious to me that it really cannot get any simpler.

Gorbachev was a very weak minded person who even wasnt a true believer in Soviet principles and even less so even less capable manager and organizer. He was a bureaucrat whos wife was terminally ill and who was just a simpleton who allowed himself to be seduced by the western propaganda and few full stores even though he obviously knew nothing of the background principles of how world economy functioned even then.

Apparently he was way out of his league when meeting with Reagan who was a smart brave and a cunning man I do have to admit that.
Gorbachev did what he only knew he could do. He betrayed the 70 years or hard work of Soviet people and building of different world because he thought that world will admire this moron and traitor if he arranges the collapse of USSR and the "end of the Cold War".

Of course there is another side of this coin.

What the actually did was "below the table" arrangement with the US that he would be able to send his wife to a treatment abroad if he made the USSR disappear and that he would be obviously well compensated for this evil deed. Even today he is being funded by the western government through his "charity funds" Green Cross and Gorbachev foundation.

This guy made the dissolution of USSR on purpose make no mistake about it. It was organized to make it seem as it happened "accidentally" and as a part of "democratic process" so less question would be asked. Apparently even that idiotic strategy worked which seems rather incredible for a country that provided so many smart people and was a leading chess nation for decades. Even Albania would be skeptical about it.

Of course there is a silver lining to this. He could not do this all by himself. He had powerful friends in KGB and army who helped him in his deeds. Why? Because they were greedy people who lost faith in CP. With the help of these people Gorbachev introduced extremely vile version of capitalism to the 300 000 000 people while he and his "comrades" extracted currency reserves from the sabotaged USSR and hid them in western banks and off shore companies.

To corroborate my point I will point out few facts:

1. only when gorbachev came to power Chernobyl catastrophe happened
2. he is the person who sent top Soviet military commanders AND THEIR WHOLE FAMILIES to move from East Germany to the PLAINS of Ukraine and live like dogs for months until their poor quality appartements were finished while being given nothing in exchange from Helmut Kohl but a "Danke schon". No sane 6 year old would do that and certainly not a reasonable and intelligent but honest Soviet leader.
3. He was the person who forced the Energia rocket with Polyus payload to be rushed beyond all reason and that is what caused its demised and failure to put first ever weapon system into orbit.
4. He allowed for the Berlin wall to fall like a brick overnight and did nothing to stop that
5. He DIRECTLY NEGLECTED results of referendum of Soviet people in 1991. who with 72% of votes wanted to preserve USSR
6. He arranged for NATO not to move eastward ORALLY WITHOUT ANY KIND OF AGREEMENT!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??! WHO DOES THIS!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!? BUAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA
7. He himself made the USSR formally and willingly the thing of past in the end of 1991.

No one sane can believe that USSR dissolved itself in the time when there was no war had a stable economy and strong army. This guy did it with the help of corrupt highly positioned KGB and military personnel and of course CIA who helped them to transfer 50 000 000 000 US dollars ( 1991. value ) out of USSR for their own benefit.

To conclude: Gorbachev is a person of poor intellect, no love for Soviet or Russian principles or state, but also a very sane traitor of USSR and Russia as well and also a member of masonic clan who sold it for his personal interest. Just because he was playing dumb doesnt mean he is not the biggest criminal in Soviet history. Make no mistake about it. Even the dumbest person in Russia cannot believe that all this factors fell in place "like chips". The probability for that is exactly 0 ( zero ).

FreeDilfin • 4 years ago ,

Oh come on, this is not news. This was pretty evident. Initially he was not cooperating with CIA. But CIA offered him something he couldn't resists. Nobel peace price, enormous wealth, safe passage to US etc. Health care etc.

greensquare • 4 years ago ,

Wasn't Gorbachev from Russia's frontier lands (sometimes called Ukraine)? Not only that, but from a place which joined the Nazis in their atrocities? I've also heard he took big US money to step down. Bad source on that one though.

Veri1138 greensquare • 4 years ago ,

Just look where Gorbachev set up his institute... The Presidio.

Yeltsin was a true puppet of The West.

Antonis Chatzoulis • 2 years ago ,

My gut Feeling: he was a spy with inside support.

In the US a President like this would have been stopped (by a crazy loner?! :-)

So who helped the needle from inside?

Btw: after his career Gorby held well payed talks in the West as Obama, Clinton and the like.

william beeby • 4 years ago ,

Gorby begat Yeltsin which was his ultimate sin .

musosnoop • 4 years ago • edited ,

I disagree with this. Gorbachev had the right intentions. He just didn't bank on the treachery of the wests big biz and various vested interests. Both Gorby and Reagan were both honorable in their intentions and they did achieve much. To me it was Yeltsin who did the utmost damage to Russia making it look like a 3rd world anarchic country as he allowed Oligarchs to strip the countries assets.

MidnightDancer musosnoop • 2 years ago ,

It's difficult for me to believe that Gorbachev was simply a naive fool. Anyone educated in Marxist theory know about the predatory nature of capitalism/imperialism. Anyone, particularly a Soviet politician, who'd been observing the behavior of the US after WW2 should have known that the Yanks are masters of treachery.

Andreas Seneca • 4 years ago • edited ,

This same words could be written by Gorbachov ' if he had known what a dreadful fate awaited the USSR, he would not have written a single critical book or article about it." , I think Alexander Zinoviev also worked and even work for the CIA after his dead publishing his books.

Otto Tomasch • 4 years ago • edited ,

To me, Gorbachev is no traitor. He is a Russian patriot who honestly wanted to improve Soviet Communism and adapt it to his time. Was he na๏ve? Yes, very much so. After all, he started the stones rolling and should have known what could happen if other people got their hands on them. He probably knew that if one takes one single stone from the monolithic structure of communism the whole structure would collapse. So he just tried to embellish some of the corner stones of communism without pulling them entirely out from its structure, and called this 'perestroika' and 'glasnost'. Other people in his government, oblivious of the danger of completely pulling corner stones from its structure, didn't think embellishing stones in-situ was enough, and pulled them completely from the structure, with the intend to put them back once the dust that had settled on them over time had been thoroughly scratched off, with a wire brush. But by doing so the corner stones changed their form and didn't fit anymore into the places they had been taken from, communism. Thus, the Primal Sin was committed, and Soviet Communism collapsed. And so did Roman Catholicism in Europe for similar reasons.

Jack Bluebird Otto Tomasch • 4 years ago ,

Wrong. He had a lot of collaborators much of them are tycoons today.

Sinbad2 • 4 years ago ,

Look at the picture, Gorbachev is smiling, but his arms are crossed. He is rejecting everything the halfwit President is saying.

Jack Bluebird Sinbad2 • 4 years ago ,

Reagan was a nuclear physicist when compared to this corrupt and dumb traitor.

[Nov 29, 2019] Russian MPs say Mikhail Gorbachev should be prosecuted for treason

Notable quotes:
"... Ivan Nikitchuk, a Communist party deputy, said recent events and the Ukraine crisis in particular have led five MPs, including two from the ruling United Russia party, to ask the prosecutor general, Yury Chaika, to examine Gorbachev, 83. ..."
"... "The consequences of that destruction can be felt today in the conflicts that we have seen," said Nikitchuk. ..."
The Guardian

A group of Russian MPs have formally requested prosecutors to investigate former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for treason over the breakup of the Soviet Union, a lawmaker said on Thursday.

Ivan Nikitchuk, a Communist party deputy, said recent events and the Ukraine crisis in particular have led five MPs, including two from the ruling United Russia party, to ask the prosecutor general, Yury Chaika, to examine Gorbachev, 83.

"We asked to prosecute him and those who helped him destroy the Soviet Union for treason of national interests," said Nikitchuk, adding that Soviet citizens in 1991 were against the country's breakup.

Seeking to create a more open and prosperous Soviet Union through glasnost and perestroika, Gorbachev ended up unleashing forces that swept away the country he had sought to preserve and himself from power.

"The consequences of that destruction can be felt today in the conflicts that we have seen," said Nikitchuk.

He added that this included not only Ukraine but other former Soviet countries over the past two decades.

In February, a popular pro-Western uprising in Ukraine ousted pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych, who has since taken refuge in Russia .

The Kremlin responded by sending troops to Ukraine's Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea and annexing it as part of Russia last month.

"What is happening in Ukraine can happen in Russia, too," said Nikitchuk. "This pushed us to write to the prosecutor general, so that professional lawyers rather than historians can investigate the events of 1991."

He added that lawmakers were also concerned about internal enemies stirring unrest.

"The fifth column in our country has been formed and works in the open, funded by foreign money," he said.

In a landmark speech marking Russia's takeover of Crimea, President Vladimir Putin called Russians disagreeing with his policies, such as his decision to occupy Crimea, a fifth column.

There have been previous attempts by the Communist party to have Gorbachev prosecuted but these have led nowhere.

Nikitchuk said he hoped that the current political climate makes for a more favourable moment and that prosecutors would launch the investigation this time.

Unlike the previous cases, the current request is backed by lawmakers from the ruling party, United Russia.

Gorbachev said the lawmakers' initiative was "poorly thought out and groundless from a historical point of view".

"Such calls only show that some lawmakers want publicity," he told the Interfax news agency. A spokeswoman at the prosecutor's office declined to comment.

The Soviet Union officially ceased to exist in December 1991 after Russia, Belarus and Ukraine signed the Belavezha accords dissolving the USSR. Gorbachev resigned two weeks later.

[Nov 29, 2019] Gorbachev the Traitor by Boris Kagarlitsky

Nov 29, 2019 | www.themoscowtimes.com

The Soviet Union did not disappear because of a great flood or a major earthquake. Somebody was at the helm making decisions and setting a political course. Politicians should be responsible for their actions. But do politicians alone bear responsibility?

In fact, Gorbachev's problem is inseparably linked with the unstated problem of the low self-esteem and rationalization of the millions of people who lived through the drama of 1991. Some justify Gorbachev's actions in an attempt to justify their own complicity in events. For the same reasons, others try to shift blame from themselves by holding Gorbachev solely responsible. "He ruined everything," they say. "We are not to blame."

Unfortunately, the Soviet people bear responsibility for what happened to their country. That does not lift responsibility from any one individual, even if that person was part of the leadership -- those whom we naturally call on the carpet first for anything that happens. We the people are to blame for not mounting any resistance to that course of action, or at least for not fighting it hard enough.

In truth, the only people with the moral right to criticize Gorbachev today are the ones who had the courage in the 1980s and 1990s to point out how destructive his policies were, to go against the flow, and to condemn the path followed not only by Gorbachev, but also by his main political rival, former President Boris Yeltsin.

Gorbachev's rule contrasts favorably with the leaders who came both before and after him, and he is not remembered for having committed any particularly egregious wrongdoings. According to that thinking, Gorbachev did not "destroy" the Soviet Union, he "only" betrayed the country he led.

Gorbachev took office with a pledge to serve and defend the state. He cannot be blamed for the fact that a catastrophe that had been brewing for two decades erupted during his reign. But as the captain, he was obligated to "go down with the ship" and share the same political fate as the country he governed. The problem is not that Gorbachev could have prevented the collapse and didn't -- he couldn't have under any circumstances -- but that when the troubles came, he snuck away from the battlefield and went home to have dinner.

The people might sometimes excuse or even justify the deeds of malefactors, but it never forgives a traitor.

Boris Kagarlitsky is the director of the Institute of Globalization Studies.

[Nov 29, 2019] Could Mikhail Gorbachev Have Saved the Soviet Union?

Nov 29, 2019 | foreignpolicy.com

But by his death in 1997, Deng's decision appeared vindicated, as world opinion had turned decisively in his favor. Deng had seen enough of Russia's tumultuous politics to know where he stood: sacrifice political liberalization for stability's sake, because the alternative was chaos and collapse. Chinese analysts of Soviet politics continue to fault Gorbachev for abandoning central planning too rapidly and in a disorganized fashion. Rather than liberalizing politics, they argue, Gorbachev should have focused on the economy.

Today, top Chinese leaders cite the Soviet Union as an example of why China's Communist Party must keep its fist clenched on power, even as it casts off the last remaining vestiges of the Maoist economy. Jiang Zemin, who succeeded Deng as China's leader, argued in 1990 that the Soviet Union's main problem was that Gorbachev was a traitor like Leon Trotsky, the Soviet revolutionary who was found guilty of betraying Marxism-Leninism by then-leader Joseph Stalin.

That was an ironic charge coming from the official who first formally welcomed China's business classes into the supposedly communist ruling party. Yet in December 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping echoed this analysis. "Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate?" he asked a group of Communist Party members. "Their ideals and convictions wavered," he explained. "Finally, all it took was one quiet word from Gorbachev to declare the dissolution of the Soviet Communist Party, and a great party was gone." Yet it is Deng's logic that has come to dominate most interpretations of the Soviet Union's collapse. "My father," reported Deng's youngest son, "thinks Gorbachev is an idiot."

In Russia, many agree. Russians regularly rate Gorbachev as one of their worst leaders of the 20th century. A 2013 poll found that only 22 percent of Russians perceive Gorbachev positively or slightly positively, while 66 percent have a negative impression. By contrast, Leonid Brezhnev, who presided over two decades of stagnation, is viewed positively by 56 percent of Russians. Even Stalin, who managed a murderous reign of terror, gets positive marks from half of Russians. It is not surprising, then, that Deng's reputation in Russia has risen. Many Russians see China as a model of what their country should have done during the 1980s and 1990s. Liberal politics cause chaos and economic distress, many Russians have concluded, and only a strong hand can deliver economic growth.

... ... ...

... Deng managed to compromise with other elites, letting them retain their authority in exchange for their support in pursuing economic reforms that allowed China to grow. But in the Soviet Union, economic reform meant destroying the power base of the special interest groups, leaving a potential military coup lurking in the background and hanging over Gorbachev's head. That was a threat Deng never faced.

The reason why Gorbachev lost out is not because the Soviet economy was unreformable. China's example proved that the transition from a centrally planned to a market economy was possible. Rather, the Soviet Union collapsed because vast political power was entrusted to groups that had every reason to sabotage the efforts to resolve the country's decades-long financial dilemmas.

In the end, the political clout of these interest groups proved far greater than Gorbachev anticipated. In his quest to reform his country and steer it away from calamity, Gorbachev brought about the very process that would eventually lead to the Soviet Union's collapse.

This article is adapted from Chris Miller's new book, The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR .

[Nov 29, 2019] Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR - DebateWise

Nov 29, 2019 | debatewise.org

Perestroika put the final nails in the USSR's economy One of the first main policies Gorbachev adopted was Perestroika – reform of the economy. Hoarding and reciprocal favours (blat) had been a means of survival in the Soviet Union, thieving to 'moonlight' was also common and this cost the regime a lot. The 'command-administrative' system had become obsolete in the Post-Industrial era and was curtailing economic development 1. To solve this, Gorbachev wanted to give enterprise managers control over contracts and introduce aspects of the market economy, to make it managers' responsibility to gain contracts and to make sure the enterprise makes a profit. However, in practice the way the enterprises operated remained unchanged except in terms – ministries rephrased their commands as contracts 2. Private enterprise was also permitted, which seemed to contradict Gorbachev's claim to be committed to Marxist-Leninist thought which was vehemently opposed to capitalism which Marxist's argue exploit the proleteriat – so to actually create a class of capitalists who (according to Marxist doctrine) would exploit the workers who were supposed to be living in socialist – i.e. 'classless society' seemed contradictory to the very ideological concept the regime's power was based upon. A small amount of private enterprise emerged, but the profiteering was very much resented by the general population – goods and services were sold for four or five times their subsidized price due to shortages. Another aspect of Perestroika was entry into the market economy – many of the social benefits given by the enterprises had to be done away with, as they could not make a profit and afford to maintain the benefits, resulting in a stagnant economy occuring simultaneously with a collapsing social welfare system. Gorbachev's reforms did not work and only succeeded in hastening the economic collapse that was inevitable.

1 Hosking, G. History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992

2 Hosking, G. History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992 Yes because... Glasnost facilitated Opposition to Concentrate against the Regime Allowing freedom of thought from the 'mono-ideological controls' that existed for decades and allowing pluralist thought and leadership meant a weakening of power for the Communist Party – it had to convert into a proper parliamentary party to survive. Furthermore, in a regime based on oppression and propaganda, when these are removed and freedom of speech and freedom of the media are introduced, nasty elements about the system in the past are going to be revealed, and when there is 70 years of repression being reported all at once, it is inevitable there will be extreme hostility toward those responsible – the Party 1, this especially fuelled the anger of the nationalities who had been oppressed and triggered a nationalist movement.

The population were dissatisfied with the dire state of affairs and could voice their discontent openly with glasnost, which led to Gorbachev becoming very unpopular by 1991, in which year the economy had contracted by 18% 2, people were also very concerned over the incompetence of the command-administrative system and irresponsibility of the leadership with regards to the 1986 Chernobyl power station disaster 3.

In a state committed to one ideology, the removal of mono-ideological controls, and the ability of other ideological persuasions to come to power meant the Party had lost its RIGHT to govern the people unless the people themselves WANTED the Party to rule. Thus, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) had to win the support of the people in order to govern effectively. However, in a society that was becoming increasingly liberal and 'bourgeois' (the USSR was largely middle class, private property was protected and capitalism was legalised), the people had to believe in socialist ideology – which would have been almost impossible to achieve.

Gorbachev's reforms themselves undermined some of the principle features of socialist rule in the USSR, e.g. atheism, mono-ideological control, one-party state, economic monopoly and the suspendability of law. Gorbachev's ideology itself – his focus on 'all-human values' instead of the class struggle, the rule of law, international peace and proper parliamentary representation have more resonance with John Stuart Mill than Karl Marx 4 – Gorbachev was subconsciously moving the USSR in this ideological direction.

With democratization and pluralist thought permitted, Gorbachev found himself operating within an increasingly wide political spectrum – with the reformist 'democrats' on one side and the conservative Communist Party members on the other. There was a constant power struggle between the two and Gorbachev dealt with this by constantly playing one side against the other and compromising. One of Gorbachev's critics at the time said this was like trying to marry a hare to a hedgehog. The two sides were very much irreconcilable and instead of trying to defeat one side, Gorbachev sat on the fence and as a result his policies were constantly inconsistent – you cannot mix radical reforms with conservatism 5. The dangers of this were apparent when Shevardnadze, Foreign Minister at the time, resigned because he warned a dictatorship was approaching, Gorbachev ignored this threat and dismissed this claim with overconfidence 6.

1 Kagarlitsky, B. Russia under Yeltsin and Putin: neo-liberal autocracy, London: Pluto 2002

2 Service, R. History of Modern Russia: from Nicholas II to Putin, London: Penguin 1997

3 Haynes, M., Russia: Class and Power, 1917-2000, London: Bookmarks 2002

4 Service, R. History of Modern Russia: from Nicholas II to Putin, London: Penguin 1997

5 Sheehy, G. The Man who changed the World, New York: HarperCollins 1991

6 Sheehy, G. The Man who changed the World, New York: HarperCollins 1991 No because... Regional Nationalism and Independence Movements These original flaws in the system were largely responsible for its own downfall – in particular the nationalities issue – the decision to maintain the Empire without granting real power to the nationalities whilst simultaneously repressing them left most of the nationalities feeling bitter when glasnost revealed the truth about how they had been treated in the past and democratisation gave them the power to chose representatives who would really represent people's interests (the nationalist movement) whilst at the same time being given by Gorbachev an appetite for power – a fatal combination.

The wealthier regions wanted a separation from the USSR because of the feeling they were being milked from the centre and many other regions wanted to become independent because they did not want to be part of an economic disaster area which became apparent when the Donbass miners who had no commitment to nationalism thought their future would be safer if the Ukraine wasn't part of the USSR 1.

The nationalist movement emerged when freedom of speech, media and association along with democratisation and the loss of fear of repression allowed people to voice pride in their nation and resentment at past repressions as well as the ongoing special treatment of Russians in the Regions, who had access to better housing and other special privileges the locals did not.

Certain Republics felt nationalism more strongly than others, most notably the Baltic States who felt a strong cultural attachment to the West and felt they were being unfairly occupied. Gorbachev's mistake here was to downplay the importance of nationalism and not treat the Baltic States as a special case 2. After all, most of the population of the USSR wished to preserve the Union – 76% voted to preserve the Union in March 1991 (except the Baltic States, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia who did not conduct the referendum) 3. After the failed coup, most states declared their independence, even if they did so with reluctance, as there was a general feeling there was no alternative. Gorbachev tried to persuade the Republics not to become fully independent. However, in early December, the Ukraine held a referendum where the population voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence, even after Gorbachev stated "there can be no Union without Ukraine", on 8th December, Yeltsin met with the Ukrainian and Bielorussian leader and declared a formal end to the USSR and the establishment of the Confederation of Independent States which they invited the other states to join.

There was nothing left Gorbachev could do, democratisation had brought about the means for independence and Gorbachev didn't feel he could argue with people's wishes carried out through democratic means and, on 25th December he resigned with regret.

1 Hosking, G. History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992

2 Brown, A. The Gorbachev Factor, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1996

3 Brown, A. The Gorbachev Factor, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1996 Yeltsin Factor Boris Yeltsin emerged as the true hero and strong leader for the fearlessness to condemn the coup – in a press conference afterwards Yeltsin ordered Gorbachev around undermining his position, then used his institutional powers derived from democratization to appoint Egor Gaidar, an economist dedicated to laissez-faire economics, as his Finance Minister and suspension of the CPSU pending an investigation into the coup. Gorbachev half heartedly argued against this but it was no use – he was seen as a weaker leader along with discontent over his policies, whilst Yeltsin's radicalism was keeping pace with developments and his popularity at an all-time high, Gorbachev's position was also much less weaker without the Communist Party. Also, the Soviet Union really could not exist without the Communist Party arguably as they had political and economic monopoly on society and the Communist Party went from controlling these aspects of society to ceasing to exist, the Soviet Union could not function and the economy spiralled out of control. Yes because...

Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR No because... August 1991 Coup Counter Productive, Bringing About What It Sought To Prevent - The End of the Soviet Union By August 1991 Gorbachev's popularity was at an all-time low both in the Party and outside it. Despite being advised by some of his staff to sign the Treaty agreement granting the republics real autonomy before going on holiday and some suspicious circumstances he should have been more questioning about, he planned on signing the agreement when he returned. This was a big mistake and allowed the conservatives to stage a coup. The Emergency Committee made no reference whatsoever to Marxism-Leninism or the class struggle in their speech, meaning it was a coup in the hope of returning the Soviet Union to 'normal' i.e. an Empire controlled from Moscow and putting the final nails in the coffin of socialism in the USSR 1.

The failed coup triggered the very thing it sought to prevent – the break-up of the Soviet Union 2.

1 Hosking, Geoffrey, History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992

2 Hosking, Geoffrey, History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992

Yes because... Report this ad

Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR No because... The System Needed to Change in Order to Survive in the Longer Term; That Mikhail Gorbachev's Reforms Failed Showed that the USSR Could Not be Saved By the Gorbachev era, all hopes of fulfilling the original Marxist-Leninist dream were gone and most did not feel passionately about communism, even within the Party. There was a general acknowledgement that the USSR could not continue in the same way as before – Andropov, Gorbachev's predecessor also realised this and set about changing society through repressive measures such as harsh labour discipline enforced by cutting payments from workers for work deemed poor quality and restrictions on the sale of alcohol and prohibition of alcohol on official occasions was felt overly repressive and for many – Gorbachev was seen as a positive, energetic leader who would overcome the USSR's problems in a less repressive manner. With economic stagnation and an economy dependent on the exportation of natural resources to survive 1, an unsuccessful war (Afghanistan) and an ageing Party Membership to combat, Gorbachev was the candidate for those who wanted change or at least realised change could no longer be postponed 2.

Autocracies survive due to repressing their people to the extent that they are not given the freedoms required to change their government, rather than because the people want them to stay in power. Mikhail Gorbachev's conscience and sense of responsibility for his population dictated that the system could no longer be propped up like this, and that the people needed and deserved the freedoms and basic human rights they had been denied for decades. That the system could not encorporate such freedoms meant that the system morally should not be allowed to perpetuate itself, and thus the Soviet Union fell apart because it was unrepresentative and did not support the population's human rights means the fall of the USSR should be applauded, not mourned for its' population.

1 Volkogonov, D.A. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire: political leaders from Lenin to Gorbachev, edited and translated by M. Shukman, London: HarperCollins 1998

2 Hosking, G. History of the USSR, 1917-1991, London: Fontana 1992 Yes because...

Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR No because... War with Afghanistan Drained USSR of Patriotic Morale The war in Afghanistan was a key contributing factor to the breakup of the USSR. Reuveny and Prakash argue that the Soviet-Afghan war contributed to undermining the Soviet Union in many ways. First, it discredited the Red Army, and impacted negatively upon the image of the Red Army as a strong, almost invincible force, which gave nationalist movements in the Republics hope that they might succeed in attaining independence after all. Second, it impacted upon leadership perception on the usefulness of utilising the military to keep the union intact and as a force for foreign intervention. Third, it created new forms of political participation, which had begun to impact upon media reporting even before glasnost, and began the first calls for glasnost, as it created a number of war veterans, who went on to form organisations which weakened the total authority of the CPSU 1.

1 Reuveny, Rafael, and Prakash, Aseem, 'The Afghanistan War and the Breakdown of the Soviet Union', Review of International Studies (1999), 25:693-708 Yes because... Report this ad

Gorbachev Was Responsible for The Collapse Of The USSR No because... It was dead from the time Stalin took control Gorbachev finished it off, but Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev etc. really killed it. Lenin had nothing to do with that, he was a socialist-marxist, not a communist. You obviously don't know the difference. Learn it before you blindly yell your opinion into the dark of the internet.

[Nov 29, 2019] Was Mikhail Gorbachev an incompetent leader or a stooge of the West - Quora

Nov 29, 2019 | www.quora.com

Joe Venetos , history, European Union and politics, int'l relations Answered Aug 22 2017 · Author has 485 answers and 325k answer views

Neither.

The USSR as it was was not sustainable, and the writing was all over the wall.

The reason it wasn't sustainable, however, is widely misunderstood.

The Soviet Union could have switched to a market or hybrid economy and still remained a unified state. However, it was made up of 15 very different essentially nation-states from Estonia to Uzbekistan, and separatist movements were tearing the Union apart.

Unlike other multi-national European empires that met their day earlier in the 20th century, such as the British, French, Portuguese, Austro-Hungarian, or Ottoman Empires, the Russian Empi...

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Neither.

The USSR as it was was not sustainable, and the writing was all over the wall.

The reason it wasn't sustainable, however, is widely misunderstood.

The Soviet Union could have switched to a market or hybrid economy and still remained a unified state. However, it was made up of 15 very different essentially nation-states from Estonia to Uzbekistan, and separatist movements were tearing the Union apart.

Unlike other multi-national European empires that met their day earlier in the 20th century, such as the British, French, Portuguese, Austro-Hungarian, or Ottoman Empires, the Russian Empire never had the chance to disband; the can was simply kicked down the road by the Bolshevik revolution and the Soviet era. Restrictions on free speech and press, followed by a gradual economic downturn that began in the 1970s, brewed anti-Union and separatist sentiments among sizeable sections of society. It's important to note, however, that not everyone wanted the disband the USSR, and not everyone in the Russian republic wanted to keep it together (the Central Asian states were the most reluctant to secede). There was, actually, a referendum on whether or not to keep the Union together, and a slight majority voted in favor (something Gorbachev points out to this day), but the vote was also boycotted by quite a few people, especially in the Baltic republics. So, we know that the citizens had mixed feelings and the reasons for the USSR's end were far more complex than just "communism failed".

By the summer of 1991, there was nothing Gorbachev could do. The hardliners saw him as incompetent to save the Union, but too many citizens and military personnel had defected to the politicians of the constituent republics (rather than the Union's leadership), including Russia itself, that were increasingly pursuing their independence since the first multiparty elections across the Union in 1989. By December 1991, Union-level political bodies agreed to disband. So, Gorbachev had no choice but to admit that the USSR no longer existed.

Gorbachev could have ruled with an iron fist, and he could have done so from the 1985 without ever implementing glasnost and perestroika, but that could have been a disaster. We don't really know, actually, but in my opinion, an oligarchy -which is what the USSR was in its later years, not an authoritarian state like it was under Stalin- still needs some level of public consent to continue governing, like China (which is also a diverse society, but far more homogenous than the USSR was). If you have all this economic and separatist malaise brewing, it's not going to work out.

In the long run, Russia is much better off. They now have a state where ethnic Russians make up 80% of the population (a good balance), from what was, I think 50% in the USSR.

While some Russians regret that the USSR ended, others don't care or were ready to call themselves "Russian" rather than "Soviet". It's no different to French public opinion turning against the Algerian war in the 1960s and supporting Algerian independence, or British public opinion starting to support the independence of India yet some people from those countries, may look back fondly. Also, Russia went through a tough economic period in the 1990s, which strengthened Soviet nostalgia, understandably, thinking back to a time when the state guaranteed everyone with housing and a job. While some sentiments still exist today in the Russian Federation that may appear pro-Soviet, it's important to point out that that doesn't necessarily mean these folks would like to recreate the Soviet Union as it was . Many just simply miss the heaftier influence the USSR had, versus what they perceive to be weakness or disrespect for Russia today. The communist party today gets few votes in Russian elections; and many Russians now were not adults prior to 1991, and thus don't quite remember the era too well; many others may be old enough to remember the economic downturn of the 80s, and not the economic good times of the 60s.

One final point, regarding Gorbachev being a "stooge of the West": that gives far too much credit to America under Reagan for taking down the USSR. The "West" had nothing to do with it. In the longer run, as we may be seeing slowly unravel since the Bush Jr administration, America pretty much screwed itself with the massive military spending that started in the 80s and continues upward, with supporting the mujahedeen to lure the USSR into Afghanistan in 1979 (a war that lasted until 1989), with opposing any secular regime in the Middle East friendly to Moscow in the 70s and 80s, and so on we all know how these events started playing out for the US much later, from 9/11 to the current Trump mess.

[Nov 28, 2019] Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

If, for example, Russia decides to cur Kiev from Southern regions and split the country into two, the USA can do nothing to help Ukraine. If the USA are engaged in the conflict in Ukraine they will need to fight the Russian army with conventional weapons in their own backyard and on conditions that Russian impose including the risk of escalation into a nuclear war. They are not prepared for such a development.
Notable quotes:
"... The United States engaged in unnecessary wars, and when these wars were easily won on the immediate battlefield, the unplanned for occupations lead to guerilla insurgencies that were not so easy for a conventional military to confront. The U.S. Army was not prepared for guerilla warfare in urban areas, nor for the brutal and immoral tactics that their new enemies were willing to engage in. ..."
"... After a decade of fighting an insurgency in Afghanistan and almost as long in Iraq, the U.S. leadership decided to destroy the sovereign nation of Libya, and foment a war in Syria immediately afterward. There is no doubt with the knowledge of historic events today, that the CIA and State Department facilitated a foreign invasion of Syria of Islamist radicals. ..."
Oct 12, 2018 | southfront.org

In the Department of Defense authored summary of the National Defense Strategy of the United States for 2018, Secretary James Mattis quite succinctly sets out the challenges and goals of the U.S. military in the immediate future. Importantly, he acknowledges that the U.S. had become far too focused on counter-insurgency over the past two decades, but he seems to miss the causation of this mission in the first place. U.S. foreign policy, and its reliance on military intervention to solve all perceived problems, regime change and imperialist adventurism, resulted in the need to occupy nations, or destroy them. This leads to the growth of insurgencies, and the strengthening of long simmering religious radicalism and anti-western sentiment in the Middle East and Central Asia. The U.S. military willfully threw itself headlong into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The United States engaged in unnecessary wars, and when these wars were easily won on the immediate battlefield, the unplanned for occupations lead to guerilla insurgencies that were not so easy for a conventional military to confront. The U.S. Army was not prepared for guerilla warfare in urban areas, nor for the brutal and immoral tactics that their new enemies were willing to engage in.

They obviously had not reflected upon the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, nor the nature of their new enemies. As casualties mounted due to roadside IEDs, snipers, and suicide bombers hidden amongst civilians, the U.S. military and the defense industry were forced to find ways to protect soldiers and make vehicle less vulnerable to these types of attacks. This resulted in vehicles of every description being armored and new IED resistant vehicles being designed and fielded in large numbers. This in turn, equated to a vast amount of time, effort and money. It also focused both the U.S. military services and the defense industry away from fighting conventional wars against peer adversaries.

After a decade of fighting an insurgency in Afghanistan and almost as long in Iraq, the U.S. leadership decided to destroy the sovereign nation of Libya, and foment a war in Syria immediately afterward. There is no doubt with the knowledge of historic events today, that the CIA and State Department facilitated a foreign invasion of Syria of Islamist radicals.

They funded and armed these groups, provided clandestine training, and facilitated the logistical movement of fighters and weapons into a sovereign nation to cause its disintegration. In these two examples they decided not to occupy these countries, but to destroy all semblance of ordered society and replace it with brutally violent chaos. The U.S. political and military leadership seems to have learned that their past adventurism resulted in costly occupations, yet instead of refraining from using the military option as a tool to alter geopolitical realities they did not like, they merely opted to abandon the responsibility of occupation and reconstruction all together.

... ... ...

Atrophy and Exhaustion

The U.S. military has been engaged in counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan for over seventeen years. The disastrous invasion of Iraq, the destruction of Libya, and counterinsurgency operations in a host of nations including, but not limited to Yemen, Somalia, Niger and Nigeria, have all taken a toll on the U.S. military. Not only has a great deal of military hardware been destroyed, but a great deal of equipment has been worn out and essentially must be retired from service. More importantly, the constant deployments have undermined the personnel needs of all services, with thousands of men having been killed or physically and psychologically maimed for life. Tens of thousands of the most skilled commissioned and non-commissioned officers have left the services, many of them having served multiple combat deployments.

The fact that 62% of U.S. Navy's F-18s are not mission capable is not an anomaly. In 2017, approximately 72% of all U.S. Air Force aircraft were not flight worthy. Many of the airframes are quite old, yet well within their engineered service life, but most are in need of maintenance. Both the Navy and Air Force claim that there is not enough money in their respective budgets to procure the needed spare parts to keep these aircraft flying. One would wonder that if this is the case, why tens of billions of dollars are being poured into new aircraft when existing fleets are being left in disrepair. The decisions being made in the upper echelon of the DOD are quite perplexing for the thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen struggling to keep weapons and vehicles ready for action.

The U.S. Army finds itself looking for buyers of surplus MRAPs, vehicles of little utility in a major conventional war with a peer adversary, while at the same time lacking spare parts and munitions for armored vehicles and artillery systems. While the Army has made some progress in procuring the first of the 49,099 JLTVs it wants, it is far behind in all other armored vehicle procurement and development programs. BAE has delivered the first batch of 29 AMPVs to the U.S. Army for extensive testing before the decision can be made to start low rate initial production (LRIP). Once the LRIP begins, it is estimated that BAE will be able to produce approximately 262 units annually, unless the company's main manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania is expanded. The initial contract is worth $1.6 billion USD. The Army wants at least 3,000 AMPVs of six different main variants to replace the thousands of M113 armored vehicles still in service. The M113 first saw service in 1962 and a replacement for the venerable vehicle has been required for decades.

Defense Secretary James Mattis made it crystal clear in his National Defense Strategy that the U.S. must rebuild its conventional warfare capabilities. The U.S. Army's proposed 2019 budget lays bare the new priorities of a service facing a major transition in priorities. Procurement of tracked combat vehicles, as well as artillery rounds, rockets and missiles account for much of this latest budget request. Procurement is up by 18.4% over the previous year, with procurement of weapons and tracked vehicles up 84% over the previous year. Although upgrading of the M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzer to the M109A7 level is down by 56% compared to 2018, procurement of 155mm artillery rounds is up a whopping 800%.

The percentage of total procurement directed toward weapons and tracked combat vehicles in the 2019 proposed budget denotes that the U.S. Army recognizes its weakness in conventional warfighting capability.

This chart clearly shows the desire on the part of the U.S. Army to upgrade and rearm conventional capabilities. 155mm artillery rounds and Army Tactical Missile System upgrades to the M207 MLRS are at the top of the list, followed by MBT upgrades and acquisition of new AMPV vehicles.

As the U.S. Army attempts to rebuild its aged and depleted armored brigade combat teams and conventional and rocket artillery, the U.S. Navy and Air Force are facing their own challenges. The Navy finds itself in a position that is far from enviable, but was very easy to predict. Having dumped $38 billion USD into two failed new classes of warships and a further $13 billion into a new aircraft carrier that will likely not become operational until 2022, the service is currently in the process of realigning its priorities. The service is struggling to procure the new Virginia Class SSN and Columbia Class SSBNs that are required to ensure the viability of the nation's nuclear deterrent triad well into the foreseeable future. These defensive weapons programs, which are integral to U.S. national security, could have benefitted greatly from the $50 billion wasted on the LCS, DDG-1000 and Gerald R. Ford programs. Russia and China have spent the same time wasted by the U.S. Navy on updating and modernizing their own submarine forces, chiefly their ballistic missile submarines.

Institutional Corruption

If one had to identify the main reason behind the utter failure of the U.S. political establishment and military leadership, both civilian and in uniform, to identify and prioritize weapons programs and procurement that was truly in line with the national defense needs of the country, it would be the institutional corruption of the U.S. military industrial complex. This is not a fault of one party, but is the inevitable outcome of a thoroughly corrupted system that both generates and wastes great wealth at the expense of the many for the benefit of the few.

Massive defense budgets do not lead to powerful military forces nor sound national defense strategy. The United States is the most glaring example of how a nation's treasure can be wasted, its citizens robbed for generations, and its political processes undermined by an industry bent on maximizing profitability by encouraging and exacerbating conflict. At this point it is questionable that the United States' could remain economically viable without war, so much of its GDP is connected in some way to the pursuit of conflict.

There is no doubt that the War Department was renamed the Department of Defense in an Orwellian sleight of hand in 1947, just a few years after end of World War II. The military industrial complex grew into a monolith during the war, and the only way to justify the expansion of the complex, was by finding a new enemy to justify the new reality of a massive standing military, something that the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids. This unlawful state of affairs has persisted and expanded into a rotten, bloated edifice of waste. Wasted effort, wasted wealth and the wasted lives of millions of people spanning every corner of the planet. Tens of thousands of brave men and women in uniform, and millions of civilians of so many nations, have been tossed into the blades of this immoral meat grinder for generations.

President Donald Trump was very proud to announce the largest U.S. military budget in the nation's history last year. The United States spent (or more accurately, borrowed from generations yet to come) no less than $874.4 billion USD. The declared base budget for 2017 was $523.2 billion USD, yet there are also the Overseas Contingency Operations and Support budgets that have to be considered in determining the total cost. The total DOD annual costs have doubled from 2003 to the present. Yet, what has the DOD really accomplished with so much money and effort? Very little of benefit to the U.S. tax payer for sure, and paradoxically the exorbitant waste of the past fifteen years have left every branch of the U.S. military weaker.

The U.S. Congress has the duty and responsibility of reigning in the military adventurism of the executive branch. They have the sole authority to declare war, but more importantly, the sole authority to approve the budget requests of the military. It is laughable to think that the U.S. Congress will do anything to reign in military spending. The Congress and the Senate are as equally guilty as the Executive in promoting and benefitting from the military industrial complex. Envisioned as a bulwark against executive power, the U.S. Congress has become an integral component of that complex. No Senator or Representative would dare to go against the industry that employs so many constituents within their state, or pass up on the benefits afforded them through the legalized insider-trading exclusive to them, or the lucrative jobs that await them in the defense industry and the many think tanks that promote continued prosecution of war.

Possible Reforms

It would be quite simple for the U.S. Department of Defense to rectify the current endemic problems that have rendered it weaker and less prepared for a major conventional conflict with a peer adversary. The greater challenge is transforming the relationship between the federal and state governments back to the constitutionally intended one, and to dissolve the powers of the now allied executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. This would undermine the ability of the military industrial complex to coerce the nation into working against the interests of the states and the citizenry. The military industrial complex and the Deep State that serves it can only exist when power is greatly concentrated in a federal system.

... ... ...

Conclusion

The United States stands at a crossroads in many respects, and the nation's military equally so. All empires experience a period of over-expansion, military, economic and political over-reach and imbalance. The United States has followed in the wake of the many imperialist endeavors before it, with apparently little lessons having been learned. Imperialism is the inevitable result of power devoid of wisdom and humility. A nation borne out of a revolution against empire and absolutism has itself devolved into a much more dangerous and immoral avatar of its former oppressor. This must change.

While Defense Secretary Mattis clearly acknowledged the need to transform the U.S. military and realign it in a direction more focused on fighting and winning a conventional conflict with the near peer adversaries he identified as Russia and China, one can only hope that he realizes how the U.S. military that he served in for decades, got to the deplorable state that it now finds itself in. The greatest enemy that the U.S. military has fought for the past seventy years is undoubtedly the military industrial complex that it is an integral component of. The Soviet Union, North Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and Syria were never as much of a threat to the U.S. Armed Services as the corrupt military industrial complex and the Deep State that serves as its guardian.

The United States military is in the weakest state of material strength and readiness since the conclusion of the Cold War. The conventional ground forces of the Army have been transformed into a force bent on occupation and counterinsurgency. Its heavy armored formations are in a state of disrepair and material inferiority vis-a-vis its most capable theoretical adversaries. The cornerstone of American power projection and intimidation, the aircraft carrier strike groups, are a sad shadow of their former self. The carrier air wing, the entire reason that an aircraft carrier exists in the first place, has devolved into a tool of increasingly limited utility, with an ever diminishing reach.

The corrupt military industrial system that permeates every facet of American economic, political and even cultural life has sucked the very lifeblood from the nation, eroded its morality, bankrupt its economic future, and stolen a generation of its most patriotic and selfless sons and daughters. While James Mattis acknowledges the challenges facing the national security of the United States, he clearly misattributes the blame and misidentifies the very real adversary. Russia and China are not existential threats to the continued welfare of the American state. James Mattis need only look in the mirror to see the real threat, for he has come to represent the cabal of special interests that enslaves the nation and constitution he has pledged to serve, and holds the remainder of the world equally hostage.

There is very little chance that the reforms mentioned in this analysis will be adopted, or that the United States will move in a direction that brings it back to its inception as a constitutional republic. The interests of the military industrial complex in promoting conflict, and maximizing financial profit will continue to steer the United States military, and the nation as a whole, on an unsustainable and self-destructive path. There is little doubt that if the Deep State pushes the nation to war against Russia or China, and likely an alliance of the two, that the United States military has ever been in a weaker position. Such a conflict would be of no benefit to any of the nations concerned, yet many potential flash points exist that could lead to a conflict, including the South China Sea, Syria or Ukraine. As the United States plays catch-up after decades of military adventurism, China and Russia have spent that same time patiently and judiciously gathering their strength. The scenario of a one-sided victory in favor of the United States is pure fantasy, existing only in the daydreams of the emperor who wears no clothes.

[Nov 28, 2019] Russia Gives Up on Trump and the West

Can we view MIC as analog of cancer cells what want to multiply no matter what?
Notable quotes:
"... So what exactly is the U.S. grand strategy with regard to Russia? ..."
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
"... Bolshevism may be dead, but Russian nationalism, awakened by NATO's quick march to Russia's ancient frontiers, is alive and well. ..."
"... "Are the American people aware of the costs and risks inherent in such a policy?" ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

Kiev has several patrol boats in the Sea of Azov, with a few more to be transferred there in coming months. Russia's navy could sink those boats and wipe out that base in minutes.

Are we going to send our Navy across the Black Sea to protect Ukraine's naval rights inside a sea that has been as historically Russian as the Chesapeake Bay is historically American?

Poland this week invited the U.S. to establish a major base on its soil, for which the Poles will pay $2 billion, to be called "Fort Trump."

Trump seemed to like the idea, and the name.

Yet the Bush II decision to install a missile defense system in Poland brought a Kremlin counter-move: the installation of nuclear-capable Iskander cruise missiles in Kaliningrad, the former German territory on Poland's northern border annexed by Stalin at the end of World War II.

In the Balkans, over Russian protests, the U.S. is moving to bring Macedonia into NATO. But before Macedonia can join, half of its voters have to come out on September 30 to approve a change in the nation's name to North Macedonia. This is to mollify Greece, which claims the birthplace of Alexander the Great as it own. Where are we going with all this?

With U.S. warships making regular visits into the Eastern Baltic and Black Sea, the possibility of a new base in Poland, and growing lethal aid to Ukraine to fight pro-Russian rebels in the Donbass and the Russian navy on the Sea of Azov, are we not crowding the Russians a bit?

And are we confident the Russians will always back down?

When Georgia, believing it could kick Russian peacekeepers out and re-annex its seceded province of South Ossetia, attacked in August 2008, the Russian army came crashing in and ran the Georgians out in 48 hours.

George W. Bush wisely decided not to issue an ultimatum or send troops. He ignored the hawks in his own party who had helped goad him into the great debacle of his presidency: Iraq.

So what exactly is the U.S. grand strategy with regard to Russia?

What might be called the McCain wing of the Republican Party has sought to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which would make the containment of Russia America's policy in perpetuity.

Are the American people aware of the costs and risks inherent in such a policy? What are the prospects of Russia yielding always to U.S. demands? And are we not today stretched awfully thin?

Our share of the global economy is much shrunk from Reagan's time. Our deficit is approaching $1 trillion. Our debt is surging toward 100 percent of GDP. Entitlements are consuming our national wealth.

We are committed to containing the two other greatest powers, Russia and China. We are tied down militarily in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, with the War Party beating the drums for another larger war with Iran. And we are sanctioning adversaries and allies for not following our leadership of the West and the world.

In looking at America's global commitments, greatly expanded since our Cold War victory, one word comes to mind: unsustainable.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.


b. September 20, 2018 at 10:53 pm

"Entitlements are consuming our national wealth."

I never heard the bloated military budget referred to as "entitlement" before, but it is certainly a corporate welfare program.

S , , September 21, 2018 at 1:55 am
Largely right. However "entitlements" are not consuming wealth. Crony capitalism and unbridled militarism are. 800 billion per year of military spending , which is unaccountable, unaudited and is in addition to black budgets is a major problem. In addition, it seems crimes by the financial sector -- even when local governments are defrauded, are never punished in a way that acts as a deters future crimes. Nobody ever goes to jail.

Tackling these internal enemies instead of trying to cook up new enemies and crises would definitely help.

Tiktaalik , says: September 21, 2018 at 3:30 am
>> as Russia is being warned to cease its inspections of ships passing from the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov.

As usual, it's conveniently forgotten that all the fuss had begun after Ukrainian illegal seizure of 'Nord' fishing boat in the end of March

https://thesaker.is/ukraine-state-piracy-and-the-sea-of-azov-development/

JR , says: September 21, 2018 at 4:06 am
Have to remind Pat that South Ossetia was a very rebellious part of an independent Georgia only from 1918-1921.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Ossetia#South_Ossetia_as_a_part_of_the_Soviet_Union
After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 a CIS peacekeeping force had conrrol over South Ossetia till August 2008.
April 2008 US promised Georgia NATO membership. Georgia was part of the willing coalition in Iraq and US armed and trained Georgia attacked South Ossetia in August 2008 shortly after Rice's visit in July 2008.
So the whole claim of Georgia to South Ossetia is bogus anyway.
Oleg Gark , says: September 21, 2018 at 6:01 am
One problem with America's fealty to Israel is that it prioritizes countering Russia over China. Left to her own devices, America would probably try to play one country off the other to prevent them from joining forces. However, Russia is far more active than China in the Middle East and is therefore of much greater concern to the Israelis. Once again, the "No Daylight" policy with Israel costs the US dearly.
Fran Macadam , says: September 21, 2018 at 6:08 am
Empire's gonna do, what Empire always does.
Kent , says: September 21, 2018 at 6:54 am
"Entitlements are consuming our national wealth."

Odd statement. Entitlements can't consume anything. Though they do change what is consumed. By transferring wealth from one person to another, different choices about consumption will be made. Like more healthcare and less video games.

Military spending on the other hand is a pure consumption of wealth. Tanks and bombs add zero value to our wealth and put vital raw materials to use to no good effect.

"Are the American people aware of the costs and risks inherent in such a policy?"

Yes. Which is why Trump was voted in as President.

Myles , says: September 21, 2018 at 7:06 am
Perhaps the hesitancy of Putin's response to provocations is that it is almost impossible to gauge what a counter response might be. If Trump is in control, he is known to be unpredictable. It seems that Trump is not, however, in control. If true, then a counter response is even more unpredictable and it is not even clear exactly who to deal with, let alone what their motives might be.
Christian Chuba , says: September 21, 2018 at 7:22 am
We won the first Cold War but failed to completely disarm Russia and turn them into West Germany. We became infuriated that they did not become remain completely submissive to us and started a second Cold War using the full arsenal of the first Cold War tactics. This includes information war demonization, isolation, to be followed by an arms race. We will either succeed this time or die trying, either figuratively or literally. God's not on our side this time.
GOP is rotten , says: September 21, 2018 at 9:01 am
Pat,
"Entitlements are consuming our national wealth."
It's the military and our police state that are consuming our national wealth Patrick.
Lyttenburgh , says: September 21, 2018 at 9:35 am
Bolshevism may be dead, but Russian nationalism, awakened by NATO's quick march to Russia's ancient frontiers, is alive and well.

Because the Cold War was never about "Bolshevism" in the first place, d'uh! As for the "Russian nationalism" – what's wrong with that? Why only the US can be nationalist ("unique", "indispensible", "shining beacon of Freedom", etc.), while other countries are shamed for that? If you don't have the nationalism, then you have it's opposite – "internationalism". What kind of internationalism can the US offer to other countries besides becoming American patriots within their respective countries?

"Are the American people aware of the costs and risks inherent in such a policy?"

That presumes that the American people are in charge of anything when it comes to the governance. Rather naive notion all things considered.

[Nov 28, 2019] America Doesn t Need Another Weakling NATO Ally by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... In contrast, the transatlantic alliance should advance American and European security. Absorbing former members of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union, thereby pushing the alliance up to the Russian Federation's border, proved to be a foolish move because it violated assurances made to Russian leaders. Despite being former KGB, Vladimir Putin never appeared to be ideologically antagonistic toward America. However, when he perceived Washington's behavior as threatening -- including dismembering Serbia, backing revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, and promising to include both nations in NATO -- it encouraged him to respond violently. ..."
"... Admitting new members is never costless. Aid will be necessary to improve their militaries. Moreover, newer members sometimes become the most demanding, like the Baltics and Poland, which insist that they are entitled to American bases and garrisons. ..."
"... Continuing expansion also reinforces the message that NATO is hostile toward Russia. That's the only country allies are joining to oppose, after all. Obviously, there are plenty of other reasons Moscow should distrust the United States, but reinforcing negative perceptions for no benefit at all is bad policy. ..."
Jul 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

America Doesn't Need Another Weakling NATO Ally Macedonia is the latest nation invited into the alliance, but how does that enhance America's (or Europe's) security?• July 19, 2018

Utenriksdept / cc At last week's NATO summit, President Donald Trump denounced the allies for taking advantage of American taxpayers. Then he approved their latest subsidies. He even agreed to invite a military weakling, Macedonia, to join NATO, which will add yet another nation to our military dole.

When George Washington warned Americans against forming a "passionate attachment" to other countries, he might have been thinking of the Balkans. Indeed, a couple decades later, John Quincy Adams criticized proposals to aid Greece against the Ottoman Empire, which then ruled that region. America "goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy," he intoned.

On into the 20th century, the Balkans were in turmoil. Germany's "Iron Chancellor," Otto von Bismarck, warned that "the great European War would come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans." That's exactly what happened in 1914.

It took decades and two world wars for the Balkans to stabilize. But after the Cold War ended, Yugoslavia, which had emerged from Europe's previous convulsions, broke apart. One of the smaller pieces was Macedonia.

The battles among the Serbians, Croatians, and Bosnians were bloody and brutal. In contrast, Macedonia provided comic relief. The small, mountainous, landlocked nation of two million people won its independence without a fight in 1991, though Athens launched a verbal and economic war against Skopje over the latter's use of the name "Macedonia."

Perhaps modern Greeks feared that a resurrected Alexander the Great would lead the newly freed Macedonian hordes south and conquer Greece. Skopje entered the United Nations under the provisional name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM. In June, after only 27 years, the two governments agreed that Macedonia/FYROM would be called the Republic of North Macedonia -- though the decision must still be ratified by the Macedonian people in a referendum.

More serious was the insurgency launched by ethnic Albanians who made up about a quarter of the nation's population. The battle two decades ago over Kosovo inflamed ethnic relations in Macedonia, eventually resulting in a short-lived insurgency. Although the fighters disarmed, Skopje's politics remained nationalist and difficult. Last year, a more liberal administration took over, but the country's democratic institutions remain fragile.

Indeed, Freedom House only rates the nation "partly free." The group cites voter intimidation, political patronage networks, violent protests, and problems with judicial impartiality and due process. Particularly serious were the threats against press freedom, which led to a rating of "not free" in that area. While NATO's newer members tend to score lower than "Old Europe," as Donald Rumsfeld once referred to the original allies, Macedonia is a step further down. Only Turkey, an incipient dictatorship, is worse: it almost certainly would not be considered for membership today.

None of this mattered last week, however. After suffering Trump's many slings and arrows, alliance members approved an invitation for Skopje to join NATO. Macedonian lawmaker Artan Grubi called it "our dream coming true. We have been in the waiting hall for too long."

That's because Macedonia had hoped for an invite back in 2008 at the Bucharest summit, but was blocked by Athens over the name dispute, and has wanted to join ever since. Macedonia's Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska said, "With NATO membership, Macedonia becomes part of the most powerful alliance. That enhances both our security and economic prosperity." Money and status are expected to follow.

But how would this benefit the United States and other NATO members? James Ker-Lindsay at the London School of Economics made the astonishing claim that "opening the way for the country to join NATO would be a big win for the organization at a crucial time when concerns over Russian influence in the Western Balkans are growing in many capitals." As Skopje goes, so goes Europe? Not likely. If Washington and Moscow are engaged in a new "great game," it is not a battle for Macedonia.

In fact, Macedonia is a security irrelevancy, destined to require American aid to create the pretense that its military is fit for the transatlantic alliance. Skopje spent just $112 million on its armed forces last year, ahead of only one NATO member, Montenegro. That was barely 1 percent of its GDP, putting Macedonia near the back of the NATO pack.

With an 8,000-man military, one is tempted to ask, why bother? But then one could similarly pose that query to several other NATO members. Skopje's military is roughly the same size as Albania's, slightly bigger than Slovenia's, and about four times the size of Montenegro's. None will be of much use in a conflict with the only conceivable threat, Russia.

So why bring Macedonia into NATO?

Some American policymakers see alliance membership as a means to socialize nations like Macedonia, helping them move towards democracy. However, the European Union, which sets standards governing a range of domestic policies, has always been better suited to this task, and EU membership imposes no security obligations on Washington. With the name controversy tentatively resolved, Skopje could begin the EU accession process -- if the Europeans are willing. That is properly their -- not Washington's -- responsibility.

In contrast, the transatlantic alliance should advance American and European security. Absorbing former members of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union, thereby pushing the alliance up to the Russian Federation's border, proved to be a foolish move because it violated assurances made to Russian leaders. Despite being former KGB, Vladimir Putin never appeared to be ideologically antagonistic toward America. However, when he perceived Washington's behavior as threatening -- including dismembering Serbia, backing revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, and promising to include both nations in NATO -- it encouraged him to respond violently.

The Balkans are peripheral even to Europe and matter little to America's defense. The states and peoples there tend to be more disruptive and less democratic than their neighbors, reflecting the region's unstable history. (North) Macedonia's 8,000 troops aren't likely to be reborn as the Spartan 300 and hold off invading Russians. So why should America threaten war on Skopje's behalf?

Admitting new members is never costless. Aid will be necessary to improve their militaries. Moreover, newer members sometimes become the most demanding, like the Baltics and Poland, which insist that they are entitled to American bases and garrisons.

Expansion also complicates alliance decision-making. No doubt, Washington wishes its European allies would do what they're told: spend more, shut up, and deploy where America wants them. That doesn't work out very well in practice, alas, as Trump has discovered in Europe (though nations with smaller militaries are more likely to acquiesce than nations with bigger ones). An organization of 30 members, which NATO will become if Macedonia is added, is a more complex and less agile creature than one of 16, the number that existed before NATO raced east.

Continuing expansion also reinforces the message that NATO is hostile toward Russia. That's the only country allies are joining to oppose, after all. Obviously, there are plenty of other reasons Moscow should distrust the United States, but reinforcing negative perceptions for no benefit at all is bad policy.

Finally, expanding the alliance is nonsensical in light of the president's criticisms of the Europeans. Hiking U.S. military spending, increasing manpower and materiel deployments in Europe, and adding new members all contradict his demand that the allies do more and signal that the president is not serious in his demands. That leaves the Europeans with little incentive to act, especially since most of their peoples perceive few if any security threats.

Yet again President Trump has been exposed as a thoughtless blowhard. His rabid supporters have likely enjoyed his confrontational rhetoric, but he has done nothing to turn it into policy. The Europeans need only wait for his attacks to ebb and then they can proceed much the same as before. The status quo will continue to reign, impervious to change.

Montenegro always resembled the Duchy of Grand Fenwick from the delightful novel The Mouse that Roared . Macedonia is the Duchy of North Grand Fenwick, a slightly larger neighboring state with similar features but additional problems. Neither is remotely relevant to American security. America doesn't need yet another security black hole as an alliance partner.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .

[Nov 28, 2019] Why doesn't the other NATO members rise their contributions, since, as capitalist nations, it could provide them a consumerist black hole (infinite demand) a la Keynes?

Nov 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Nov 28 2019 17:59 utc | 30

Looks like NATO has a new deal:

NATO Military Spending Approved: US to Pay Less, Germany to Pay More - Stoltenberg

But, according to the CNN (the original source), Germany will still not disbuse anywhere near the 2-3% minimum required for each member.

At this point, many people here must've been asking: why doesn't the other NATO members rise their contributions, since, as capitalist nations, it could provide them a consumerist black hole (infinite demand) a la Keynes? After all, what works for the USA should work for them, right?

The answer is simple: Keynes was wrong:

Military expenditure (Milex) and the rate of profit

[Nov 28, 2019] NATO is intellectually and financially bankrupt, said Scott Ritter.

Nov 28, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman November 26, 2019 at 11:13 pm

NATO is intellectually and financially bankrupt, said Scott Ritter.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-intellectual-and-financial-bankruptcy-of-nato/

"The Franco-German political-economic duopoly that has held Europe together during the postwar period is fracturing, with Europe being pulled in different directions by the gravitational forces of these two incompatible economic models that are likely incapable of sustaining a singular economic union, let alone underwriting a geriatric military alliance that has lost its purpose and meaning. NATO is on life-support, and Europe is being asked to foot the bill to keep breathing life into an increasingly moribund alliance whose brain death is readily recognized, but rarely acknowledged."

Interesting heads-up in there; NATO Exercise Defender 2020 will be the third-largest military exercise in Europe since the Cold War; 37,000 troops from 15 nations, including 20,000 of the American troops some American politicians maintain are welcomed throughout the world. However, the article points out the military muscle which will be on show

" pales in comparison with the scope of the U.S. commitment then when compared to now. In 1983, more than 250,000 U.S. troops were stationed in Germany, compared to approximately 35,000 now. The 20,000 troops the U.S. is flying in next year represents the maximum number the U.S. can deploy on short notice; the 19,000 flown in in 1983 were part of a larger force of over 350,000 earmarked for deployment should the need have arisen."

Moscow Exile November 27, 2019 at 12:02 am
The US government is most definitely certifiable!

Afraid Moscow might fix it? US dares complain about 'destabilizing RUSSIAN presence' in Libya wrecked by NATO regime change
27 Nov, 2019 02:40

WARNING! ABOVE-LINKED ARTICLE BY KREMLIN-CONTROLLED RT!

Having sponsored the 2011 'humanitarian' regime-change in Libya and reducing the North African country to chaos and civil war, the US is now protesting the alleged presence of Russian troops there as "incredibly destabilizing."

That was the claim on Tuesday by David Schenker, the assistant secretary for near eastern affairs at the State Department. He told reporters that Russian regulars were being sent to Libya "in significant numbers" to support the Libya National Army (LNA) and said that "raises the specter of large-scale casualties among the civilian population."

Schenker's concern for the lives and well-being of Libyan civilians is especially touching, given that the US was one of the driving forces behind the regime-change operation in 2011 targeting the government of Col. Moammar Gaddafi. Few can forget then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cackling ghoulishly when she was informed of Gaddafi's brutal murder at the hands of US-backed 'moderate' rebels.

It has been estimated that some 25,000 Libyans were killed just between March and October 2011, and who knows how many more since, as the country went from one of the most prosperous in Africa to a chaotic wasteland dominated by warlords. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) was drawn to the chaos, and reporters even found open-air slave markets at one point.

Even when the "humanitarian" fallout reached out to claim the lives of four Americans at the consulate in Benghazi in 2012, Washington shrugged. Their murders were blamed on a YouTube video and Clinton famously sneered at Congress, "what difference, at this point, does it make?"

Now, however, as General Khalifa Haftar – who lived in the US for 20-plus years, mind you – and his LNA seem poised to reunite the country and brush aside the US-backed "national unity government" that clings on to the capital and not much more, Washington is suddenly concerned for Libyan lives? Please!

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davidt November 27, 2019 at 1:11 am
The following article by Ben Aris at BNE contains more information on Rosatom's "new" small, modular nuclear reactors than I have seen elsewhere. Seemingly, a triumph of Russian technology.
https://www.intellinews.com/rosatom-rolls-out-the-small-modular-reactor-a-mini-nuclear-power-station-to-solve-some-big-problems-172117/?source=russia&inf_contact_key=80eb4fdaa4693ecbdf2731a82d311e0bf651f238aa2edbb9c8b7cff03e0b16a0

"From all the SMR projects, Rosatom is arguably out in front. Unlike the other projects, the Russian flagship RITM-200 small modular reactor design of 50 MW capacity is already tried and tested is it is the reactor used to power Russia's Arctic icebreakers that go into operation next year. So far six RITM-200 reactors are being installed on the icebreakers Arktika, Sibir and Ural. Two more nuclear powered icebreakers have already been commissioned.

The two smaller KLT-40 reactors (35 MW) also went into the Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power station that was towed to its permanent Chukotka location in August to start commercial operations next year. The logic of a floating version of an SMR is the same as the land-based version: to serve remote locations and allow for their industrialisation. Most of Russia's northern coast is home to a cornucopia of natural resources but are at the same time thousands of kilometres away from any sort of infrastructure."

Russia earns more from the export of nuclear technology than from the export of arms. Carthago delenda est The US hopes to attain this technology 2026

[Nov 28, 2019] Bill Browder turned the Americans against Putin with his statements about the death of a whistleblower. However, his story is full of contradictions.

Nov 28, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile November 24, 2019 at 11:34 pm

Bollocks!

Bum link above!

https://www.rt.com/news/474230-spiegel-magnitsky-browder-fraudster-west/

24 Nov, 2019 19:52 / Updated 11 hours ago

Moscow Exile November 24, 2019 at 11:50 pm
The Spiegel article -- behind a wall:

Der Fall Magnitski
Wie wahr ist die Geschichte, auf der die US-Sanktionen gegen Russland beruhen?
Exklusiv für Abonnenten

Mit seinen Aussagen zum Tod eines Whistleblowers brachte Bill Browder die Amerikaner gegen Putin auf. Doch seine Darstellung ist voller Widersprüche. Von Benjamin Bidder

22. November 2019

The Magnitsky Case
How true is the story on which US sanctions against Russia are based?
Exclusive for subscribers
Bill Browder turned the Americans against Putin with his statements about the death of a whistleblower. However, his story is full of contradictions.

I'm almost tempted to open the month's trial Spiegel subscription on offer at the walled-off article, but why read a "revelation" about something that all true Kremlin Stooges the world over have known for years? -- and, I daresay, there are also more than a few who are really in-the-know about the Magnitsky Case in the USA and in that state where piece-of-shit Browder is now a citizen.

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Patient Observer November 25, 2019 at 8:50 am
A little payback over US pressure on Nord Stream?

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Patient Observer November 25, 2019 at 8:50 am
A little payback over US pressure on Nord Stream?

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Mark Chapman November 25, 2019 at 12:02 pm
America eagerly embraced Browder's fabrications and rubbish because his tale fit the image the United States is fond of cultivating of Russia, land of savagery and state repression – but also for a more practical reason; it wanted legislation on the books which would allow it to continue discriminating against Russia after the Jackson-Vanik Amendment was relaxed, as it legally had to be with Russia's accession to the WTO. All members must be granted Permanent Normal Trading Relations (PNTR) status by all other members, and America wanted an instrument which would allow it to let Russia know things had not changed. So the Magnitsky Act was safely in place before Jackson-Vanik restrictions were lifted.

Poking holes in Browder's story, gratifying as it is, will not make any practical difference. As we are all aware, America will steamroller ahead as if nothing had happened, and continue broadcasting its untruths as if it had never been contradicted, and its allies will follow suit. The real glimmer of light is Germany's increasingly restless relationship with the United States, and its implications for the completion of Nord Stream II. Once that's done and dusted, either Russia or Germany can tell the USA to go fuck itself. It will take years for the fact that Uncle Sam routinely lies in order to support manipulative actions in its own interests to percolate through to the general public, because it mostly listens to whoever yells the loudest. But once that pipeline is through and Russia's energy connection to Europe exclusive of Ukraine is secure, it's just a matter of time before Uncle Sam loses his grip on the whole region.

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Moscow Exile November 25, 2019 at 12:43 am
Here's an article that I have found in another German publication that covers and criticizes the Spiegel "revelation" linked above:

Browder und das Magnitski-Narrativ: Ende einer Desinformationskampagne
24. November 2019 Florian Rötzer

Browder and the Magnitsky Narrative: the end of a disinformation campaign?
24. November 2019

Der Spiegel has broken the anti-Russian story of the whistleblower's murder. The lie construct has been known for some time: the scandal is that the media and politicians have spread it unquestioned

Just over 10 years after the death of Sergei Magnitsky in a Russian prison, a large news media organization has dared to write a critical article about this anti-Russian myth. Browder, a shrewd businessman who made his money with tricks and tax evasion in the 1990s, is another kind of Relotius [Claas-Hendrik Relotius: a former German journalist. He resigned from Der Spiegel in 2018 after having admitted to numerous instances of journalistic fraud -- ME.] , who has also demonstrated his stance by moving from the USA to Britain for tax avoidance. Persistent and eloquent, former hedge fund manager Bill Browder, who has allegedly turned himself into a selfless human rights activist, has portrayed his employee Magnitsky as a death-defying whistleblower and a fighter against the corrupt system of Vladimir Putin .

The media and politicians believe in everything that fits in with their ideologies and interests. But that's not Bidder's theme: if it were, he would have had to critically question the role of Der Spiegel in this case as well

I any case, Bidder has not really been brave anyway. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had already made a decision about the Magnitsky Case: in September 2019, the court granted damages to Magnitsky's family because of the conditions of his detention and his sentencing after his death, but it did not call his death murder, nor did the court speak of torture and it rejected key points in Browder's story .

Even then the media could have listened, but it didn't: it preferred to follow Browder's misrepresentation, which stated, "The ECHR decision also completely destroys the lies and propaganda about Sergei Magnitsky that the Russian government and its paid smear campaigners in the West have been trying to spread for many years?

The article goes on to say that Bidder presents his article as a revelation of the truth, and backs up this claim by publishing congratulatory Tweets from admiring subscribers to Der Spiegel But the article criticising the great revelation in Der Spiegel says nothing new has been published: what has been "revealed" by Bidder of Der Spiegel was already well known. The article discusses Nekrasov's revelations and the blocking of the film he made exposing Browder, stressing that Nekrasov is in no way a Putin fan.

The article critical of the Der Spiegel article says that Bidder's "revelations" also reveal the ways of fake news story tellers, of how gullible audiences are manipulated, of how anti-Russian prejudices are vigorously stoked by politicians, governments, Nato and NGOs. The critical article also points out that the Council of Europe had looked at the case and blindly accepted the Browder team interpretation of events in the Magnitsky Case, without doing any independent research itself.

The above-linked article by Florian Rötzer ends thus:

Bill Browder, who otherwise reacts quickly, has not yet commented on the Der Spiegel article. The strange thing is that Deutsche Welle [ German World Service -- not Bundestag controlled, aber natürlich! ] has a report in Russian on the Spiegel article by Bidder, but not in German or English. Bidder does not question this fact either.

Have the German powers-that-be given the green-light, then, that Browder be exposed so as to totally undermine the USA reason for imposing sanctions against the Evil Regime, including its attempts to stop NS-2, whereby the Evil Orcs wish to control the EU energy market, thereby enslaving the free and democratic satellite Western European satrap states of Uncle Sam?

[Nov 28, 2019] Browder insinuates that Fusion GPS was agent for Russia

That's the same bottomfeeder and tax fraud Browder, who most probably killed Magnitsky. and who abruptly changed his citizenship from the USA to British after his adventures in Russia. What a Chutzpah on the part of a person involved in fleecing Russia after dissolution of the USSR, the activity supported by MI6 and CIA.
Nov 28, 2019 | www.washingtonexaminer.com

Businessman Bill Browder alleged Fusion GPS acted as an agent for Russian interests in 2016, when the country was trying to combat the Magnitsky Act and its sanctions on Russian officials.

[Nov 28, 2019] After dissolution of the USSR NATO became the way for the USA to control EU vassals

Nov 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

When did Kyiv's control of Crimea and the Donbass become critical to the national security of the United States, when Russia has controlled Ukraine almost without interruption from Catherine the Great in the 18th century to Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 20th century?

Among the reasons Trump is president is that he raised provocative questions about NATO and Russia left unaddressed for three decades, as U.S. policy has been on cruise control since the Cold War.

And these unanswered questions are deadly serious ones.

Do we truly believe that if Russia marched into Estonia, the U.S. would start attacking the ships, planes and troops of a nation armed with thousands of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons?

Would NATO allies Spain, Portugal and Italy declare war on Russia?

In 1914 and 1939, in solidarity with the mother country, Britain, Canada declared war on Germany. Would Justin Trudeau's Canada invoke NATO and declare war on Putin's Russia -- for Estonia or Latvia?

Under NATO, we are now committed to go to war for 28 nations. And the interventionists who took us into Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen want U.S. war guarantees extended to other nations even closer to Russia.

One day, one of these war guarantees is going to be called upon, and we may find that the American people were unaware of that commitment, and are unwilling to honor it, especially if the consequence is a major war with a nuclear power.


kellys_eye , 2 minutes ago link

NATO was formed to protect Europe from the 'enemy' - Russia. But Russia hasn't shown or proven its threat to Europe for decades - despite the manufactured scaremongering used to keep the MIC funded. But now, the Chinese can (have) take(n) over that particular role so the MIC funding is 'safe' and Russia should be taken in as a potential partner and valuable marketplace for European countries to access.

A ground-based conflict with Russia is a ludicrous prospect - it would turn nuclear in days - so any form of 'army' to protect those borders is nonsensical. It's not like the sand-bandit countries where there is no real opposition (to spending) and conflicts can be manufactured and engineered as a retail source of income.

jmNZ , 2 minutes ago link

American policy has forced Russia into a de facto alliance with China.

This is stupid.

Russia asked to join NATO and the EU after the Berlin wall came down.

EU and Russia should bury the hatchet and tell the USA to get lost.

Russia (and France!) would defend Eurasia against any who would threaten it, such as the jihadis.

jmNZ , 2 minutes ago link

American policy has forced Russia into a de facto alliance with China.

This is stupid.

Russia asked to join NATO and the EU after the Berlin wall came down.

EU and Russia should bury the hatchet and tell the USA to get lost.

Russia (and France!) would defend Eurasia against any who would threaten it, such as the jihadis.

Helg Saracen , 46 minutes ago link

Funny drawing, Vlad kisses Angela. In real life, Vlad is a big villain, but not a pervert. How much schnapps needs to be drunk for Merkel to like? 1 liter or 2? This is a joke.

The USSR ceased to exist in 1991, the Russians withdrew their troops from Europe in 1995. NATO was supposed to protect Europe from the invasion of the USSR - the invasion did not happen, the USSR traded with Europe. Russia, this country with a normal capitalist economy and 4 world religions on its territory that coexist peacefully. Russia trades with Europe and does not attack. NATO is not intended to protect Europe from the Muslim tsunami, and there is no united European army (not because Europe cannot, but because Europe does not want because of love for the American "freebie", which is actually cheese in a mousetrap). So why do need NATO - to suck money and resources from European countries? A good question.

Iron-Os , 19 minutes ago link

In real life, Vlad is a big villain

but Pope Francis presented Putin with the Guardian Angel of Peace medal

Brazen Heist II , 47 minutes ago link

The US is just a mercenary whore that sells to the highest bidders.

Pay to play. I think the Clintons made that clear.

Joe A , 53 minutes ago link

Well, that is fresh! At this moment, NATO only serves to provide a battleground in Europe for the US for a war against Russia.

zzzzXXXX , 1 hour ago link

Anyone with even an elementary understanding of geopolitics knows NATO is yet another arm of US power, and a market for the US MIC.

We Europeans, with the notable exception of the always-on-the-wrong-side-of-history Poles, do NOT want or need NATO. We are not threatened other than by the consequences of Zionist US foreign policy.

Russia is our natural ally and reliable trading partner, as is Iran, as is China.

Eurasia our future.

[Nov 27, 2019] NATO is the way for the USa to control EU vassals

Nov 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

When did Kyiv's control of Crimea and the Donbass become critical to the national security of the United States, when Russia has controlled Ukraine almost without interruption from Catherine the Great in the 18th century to Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 20th century?

Among the reasons Trump is president is that he raised provocative questions about NATO and Russia left unaddressed for three decades, as U.S. policy has been on cruise control since the Cold War.

And these unanswered questions are deadly serious ones.

Do we truly believe that if Russia marched into Estonia, the U.S. would start attacking the ships, planes and troops of a nation armed with thousands of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons?

Would NATO allies Spain, Portugal and Italy declare war on Russia?

In 1914 and 1939, in solidarity with the mother country, Britain, Canada declared war on Germany. Would Justin Trudeau's Canada invoke NATO and declare war on Putin's Russia -- for Estonia or Latvia?

Under NATO, we are now committed to go to war for 28 nations. And the interventionists who took us into Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen want U.S. war guarantees extended to other nations even closer to Russia.

One day, one of these war guarantees is going to be called upon, and we may find that the American people were unaware of that commitment, and are unwilling to honor it, especially if the consequence is a major war with a nuclear power.


kellys_eye , 2 minutes ago link

NATO was formed to protect Europe from the 'enemy' - Russia. But Russia hasn't shown or proven its threat to Europe for decades - despite the manufactured scaremongering used to keep the MIC funded. But now, the Chinese can (have) take(n) over that particular role so the MIC funding is 'safe' and Russia should be taken in as a potential partner and valuable marketplace for European countries to access.

A ground-based conflict with Russia is a ludicrous prospect - it would turn nuclear in days - so any form of 'army' to protect those borders is nonsensical. It's not like the sand-bandit countries where there is no real opposition (to spending) and conflicts can be manufactured and engineered as a retail source of income.

jmNZ , 2 minutes ago link

American policy has forced Russia into a de facto alliance with China.

This is stupid.

Russia asked to join NATO and the EU after the Berlin wall came down.

EU and Russia should bury the hatchet and tell the USA to get lost.

Russia (and France!) would defend Eurasia against any who would threaten it, such as the jihadis.

jmNZ , 2 minutes ago link

American policy has forced Russia into a de facto alliance with China.

This is stupid.

Russia asked to join NATO and the EU after the Berlin wall came down.

EU and Russia should bury the hatchet and tell the USA to get lost.

Russia (and France!) would defend Eurasia against any who would threaten it, such as the jihadis.

Helg Saracen , 46 minutes ago link

Funny drawing, Vlad kisses Angela. In real life, Vlad is a big villain, but not a pervert. How much schnapps needs to be drunk for Merkel to like? 1 liter or 2? This is a joke.

The USSR ceased to exist in 1991, the Russians withdrew their troops from Europe in 1995. NATO was supposed to protect Europe from the invasion of the USSR - the invasion did not happen, the USSR traded with Europe. Russia, this country with a normal capitalist economy and 4 world religions on its territory that coexist peacefully. Russia trades with Europe and does not attack. NATO is not intended to protect Europe from the Muslim tsunami, and there is no united European army (not because Europe cannot, but because Europe does not want because of love for the American "freebie", which is actually cheese in a mousetrap). So why do need NATO - to suck money and resources from European countries? A good question.

Iron-Os , 19 minutes ago link

In real life, Vlad is a big villain

but Pope Francis presented Putin with the Guardian Angel of Peace medal

Brazen Heist II , 47 minutes ago link

The US is just a mercenary whore that sells to the highest bidders.

Pay to play. I think the Clintons made that clear.

Joe A , 53 minutes ago link

Well, that is fresh! At this moment, NATO only serves to provide a battleground in Europe for the US for a war against Russia.

zzzzXXXX , 1 hour ago link

Anyone with even an elementary understanding of geopolitics knows NATO is yet another arm of US power, and a market for the US MIC.

We Europeans, with the notable exception of the always-on-the-wrong-side-of-history Poles, do NOT want or need NATO. We are not threatened other than by the consequences of Zionist US foreign policy.

Russia is our natural ally and reliable trading partner, as is Iran, as is China.

Eurasia our future.

[Nov 27, 2019] Putin foe says Fusion GPS was agent for Russia while helping Clinton in 2016

Nov 27, 2019 | www.washingtonexaminer.com

me name=

Putin foe says Fusion GPS was agent for Russia while helping Clinton in 2016 by Jerry Dunleavy | November 26, 2019 07:14 PM Print this article T he company that conducted anti-Trump research for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign also worked for the Russian government, producing material that was used by Moscow to pressure the United States, according to a longtime foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Businessman Bill Browder alleged Fusion GPS acted as an agent for Russian interests in 2016, when the country was trying to combat the Magnitsky Act and its sanctions on Russian officials.

Browder, 55, championed the Magnitsky Act, which was named for his tax lawyer, corruption whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky died in a Russian prison in 2009 after his investigation for Browder's business uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars of Russian tax fraud implicating Russian officials.

Putin, who despises the law, retaliated by banning American adoptions of Russian children.

"The work that [Fusion GPS co-founder] Glenn Simpson did involved trying to change the narrative of how Sergei Magnitsky was killed," said Browder. "He and the Russians paying him wanted people in Washington to believe that Sergei Magnitsky died of natural causes instead of being killed. Glenn Simpson claimed that Sergei Magnitsky wasn't a whistleblower and that he was criminal. He also claimed that all of my testimonies to have Magnitsky sanctions imposed were untrue."

Browder said he believes Fusion GPS's work violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act . He sent a complaint to the Department of Justice in 2016, and then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley urged the department to look into it in 2017.

"We did receive a response from the Justice Department, essentially stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a specific FARA investigation," Grassley's office told the Washington Examiner .

The DOJ declined the Washington Examiner 's request for comment, and a lawyer for Fusion GPS didn't respond, though the company has previously said "it was not required to register under FARA and it did not spread false information about William Browder or Sergei Magnitsky."

Browder pointed out that Fusion GPS and Simpson began working for Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who would later make headlines for her meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower , in 2014 and provided her with anti-Magnitsky research for years. Veselnitskaya, a former Russian prosecutor, maintained Russian government ties, according to special counsel Robert Mueller, including lobbying against 2016's expanded Magnitsky Act.

The DOJ alleged that Russia-owned real estate company Prevezon Holdings laundered fraudulent money, and the company later settled with the DOJ for $5.9 million in what the department called "a $230 million Russian tax refund fraud scheme involving corrupt Russian officials."

Veselnitskaya hired law firm BakerHostetler to help Prevezon in court, and the firm hired Fusion GPS, which Simpson confirmed in an interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017.

"Browder was always eager to testify before Congress or appear on TV, but he did not want to answer questions from BakerHostetler lawyers about his role as a whistleblower in the Prevezon case. So the lawyers asked Fusion to figure out how they could get Browder's testimony. What ensued was a legal game of cat and mouse in which Fusion developed information that would help BakerHostetler subpoena Browder multiple times, forcing him to testify about his business activities in Russia and earning Fusion his everlasting enmity. The U.S. government had staked its case against Prevezon on the credibility of Browder. Yet he was reluctant to explain under oath where he had obtained his evidence. It was an odd position for a human rights crusader to take," Simpson and Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch wrote in their new book, Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump .

"I participated in two all-day depositions, but the case was settled before it went to court," said Browder. "Otherwise, I would've been on the witness stand."

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act documents released in 2018 show the DOJ and the FBI made extensive use of Steele's dossier in 2016. Fusion GPS was hired by Clinton's campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm. Fusion GPS then hired Steele, who allegedly reached out to Russian sources to put together his dossier. Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook said they received briefings from Perkins Coie about Fusion GPS's findings during the campaign.

Browder contended Fusion GPS created a dossier against him, too, by using "false information."

"Since the Russians were working so closely with Simpson on the anti-Magnitsky, anti-Bill Browder dossier, it would seem unlikely to me that the Russians wouldn't know that there was another dossier being created," Browder said.

Mueller's report on Russian election interference detailed the June 2016 meeting involving Donald Trump Jr., campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and various Russians, including Veselnitskaya. The meeting was pitched to Trump's campaign as an opportunity to get damaging information on Clinton, but Veselnitskaya pulled a bait-and-switch and turned it into a presentation on Russia's desire to repeal the Magnitsky Act.

Veselnitskaya presented a short dossier echoing nearly identical Kremlin talking points that were passed to a Republican congressman by the Russia prosecutor general's office in April 2016, criticizing the Magnitsky Act and criticizing Browder as a "fugitive criminal" who was engaged in a massive fraudulent financial scheme in support of Democrats. In his Senate testimony, Simpson admitted to researching many of the allegations that appeared in Veselnitskaya's talking points. When Donald Trump Jr. asked Veselnitskaya for proof, she did not provide any, according to Mueller's report. Russian American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer Rinat Akhmetshin and the Russians then complained about U.S. sanctions and mentioned Russian adoption, and the Trump associates considered it a waste of time.

Browder believes that presentation was from Fusion GPS research, though Simpson denies any foreknowledge of the Trump Tower meeting despite seeing Veselnitskaya the day before, the day of, and the day after.

Simpson "was a person who was coordinating an advocacy campaign for Natalia Veselnitskaya, and the Trump Tower meeting seemed to be part of that advocacy campaign," said Browder. "It seems a little odd that he would know about everything else but not that one meeting."

Veselnitskaya attended the meeting with fellow Russian anti-Magnitsky Act advocates, including Akhmetshin. Simpson told the Senate that BakerHostetler instructed Fusion GPS to pass anti-Browder research to Akhmetshin, who lobbied Congress against the Magnitsky Act. Akhmetshin, who is in Browder's FARA complaint, criticized Browder in congressional testimony in 2017 and filed a lawsuit against him in 2018.

In January, the DOJ unsealed an indictment against Veselnitskaya, now out of reach in Russia, alleging she'd obstructed justice during the Prevezon case through secret collaboration with Russia.

Fusion GPS's co-founders said in their book that Prevezon's court case was separate from its anti-Magnitsky Act activities.

"In early 2016, Prevezon -- apart from the court case -- had launched a lobbying campaign against the Global Magnitsky Act, working with Akhmetshin, in a backhanded effort to discredit Browder in the halls of Congress," they wrote.

The firm never registered under FARA, they said, because it was not lobbying.

"Fusion had no say in the matter if Prevezon decided to take evidence from a court case and repurpose it. But all this would come back to haunt Fusion," they wrote.

[Nov 15, 2019] Now the US and the CIA had long ago figured that if the integrity of party could be disintegrated the USSR would collapse. And so it did.

Nov 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Nov 15 2019 16:54 utc | 168

@ Posted by: c1ue | Nov 15 2019 16:39 utc | 166

From Luciana Bohne , apud Pepe Escobar's Facebook page:

At the 19th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, President Xi (31 October 2019) reiterated the imperative of "Upholding the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC."

Why does Xi insist on this point as #1 item on the party's agenda of items?

Let's make a comparison. In 1956, Khrushchev denounced Stalin as a "dictator" and of using the party as a sort of church for the worship of his own "personality cult." This was nonsense of course and Mao said so formally in 1963, but it was music to the ears of the capitalist powers, in the lead the US .

Kruscev then decided to liberalize the "Stalinist party"--which was more music to the ears of the capitalist "Free West." He said, since the class struggle in in the USSR was over, there were no class enemies, and everyone could join the party. Opportunist did; corrupt greedy people did, until at last in 1989 it was top heavy with members of the shadow economy--managers of factories, mines, industries of all sorts who had over 3 decades accumulated undeclared private wealth from leeching from the the public wealth. The party had become a club of "entrepreneurs" (thieves) whose best bet for investments of their ill-gotten accumulation of wealth was the restoration of capitalism.

There was much more damage to the party than I can synthesize in a post, but this small bit will do. The party was infiltrated by opportunists of the worst greed. And its integrity, authority, ability to plan the economy according to scientific Marxist Lenininst wisdom and principles died.

Now the US and the Cia had long ago figured that if the integrity of party could be disintegrated the USSR would collapse. And so it did.

The CPC has no intention of China collapsing and falling once again into the avid hands of Western imperialism, which wages capitalist.imperialist class war on China. So, China would never dream of declaring the class struggle over for China.

Its constitution states that China will remain a class society for a long time. Not only because it depends for the creation of wealth on a loyal national, anti-imperialist bourgeoisie but also because China is threatened by imperialism, which is also a class war Khrushchev ignored, calling for "peaceful coexistence" with imperialism, since both USSR and the imperialists supposedly shared the goal of peace under the nuclear cloud.

The man was a scoundrel and destroyed the power of the Communist Party, paving the way to the restoration of capitalism.

This is the difference between the Soviet Union post-1956 and China. Mao was not cleansed out of the party and consigned to the lower depths of Hell like Stalin. Whatever his mistakes, he was treated as a comrade not an enemy, his contribution acknowledged, his deficits also--unlike Stalin. Furthermore, his revolutionary contribution to the founding and survival of the People's Republic of China was enshrined in the party's memory. His picture is on the currency. He is loved and respected. The party was not stressed, purged, or divided by making Mao an issue of allegiance.

Finally, by recognizing the contribution of the loyal bourgeoisie to a self-sufficient, independent China, the CPC acknowledges that China is still a class society. No second economy, operating in the shadow for China. The private sector exists and is regulated (and lately bought up gradually by the state). No chance for a clutch of opportunists to accumulate more combined wealth than the state's and so able to take over the state and exact regime change.

This is why Xi specifically demands and requires a strong, centralized, integral, and uncorrupt Communist party. The party is the insurance for the persistence of the path to socialism and eventually communism for China. No party, no sovereign, imperialism-free China

And in this determination of making the CPC the pillar of China's social and economic progress for all the people, Xi is acting as a Leninist. The party is for the people and the people for the party. They are one. Without a revolutionary party and a revolutionary theory (in China "scientific and Marxist) the revolution would die. A it did in the Soviet Union, starting with the Kruscev gambit.

This for the West is "authoritarianism," though the West is ruled by a clutch of authoritarian economic elites who make all the decisions in their own interests. But they call tit "democracy." At least in China, if anything, it's an "authoritarianism" for and by the people--a bit closer to democracy, I should argue.

[Nov 13, 2019] Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev Reveals Who Was Responsible for Country's Collapse

Nov 13, 2019 | sputniknews.com

I understand some worries he had over the existing system, but goddamn Gorbachev is an intellectual midget!

But maybe he's a sign of Soviet imbecilization. Maybe the USSR's degeneration was indeed inevitable.

I just weep for the world's socialists, who had to pay for the end of bipolarity.

Posted by: vk | Nov 10 2019 19:38 utc | 20

[Nov 09, 2019] Post-Cold War Triumphalism and Kennan's Warning by Daniel Larison

Nov 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Andrew Bacevich describes how the U.S. learned all the wrong lessons from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War:

You won't hear it from any of the candidates vying to succeed Trump, but we are still haunted by our false conception of the Cold War. On the stump, politicians get away with reciting comforting clichés about the imperative of American global leadership. Yet the time for believing such malarkey is long gone.

An essential first step toward recoupling national security policy and reason is to see the Cold War for what it was: not a "long, twilight struggle" ending in victory, but a vast and costly tragedy that inflicted needless suffering, brought humankind absurdly close to extinction, and from which U.S. policymakers have drawn all the wrong lessons.

The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall offers an occasion not for celebration but for somber and long overdue reflection.

One of the wrong lessons that U.S. policymakers drew from the events of 1989-1991 was that the U.S. was chiefly responsible for ending and "winning" the Cold War, which inevitably overestimated our government's capabilities and effectiveness in affecting the political fortunes of other parts of the world. The far more critical and important role of the peoples of central and eastern Europe and the Soviet Union itself in overthrowing the system that had oppressed them was pushed into the background as much as possible. The U.S. took credit for their success and policymakers frequently attributed the outcome to the policies of the late Cold War rather than to the deficiencies and failings of the other system. After waging stalemated and failed wars in the name of anticommunism, U.S. policymakers wanted to be able to claim that they had "won" something, and so they declared victory for something that they hadn't caused.

The period that followed the dissolution of the USSR was one of triumphalism, expansion, and overreach. The U.S. not only congratulated itself for achieving something that was accomplished by others, but it also assumed that it could achieve similar results in other parts of the world. If NATO had been a great success as a defensive alliance, the "thinking" went, why shouldn't it continue and expand to include many more countries? If the U.S. was supposedly able to bring down the Soviet Union, why shouldn't it do the same to authoritarian regimes elsewhere? Absent the check on ambition and hubris that a superpower rival provided, the U.S. was free to run amok and do whatever it liked without regard for the consequences. That triumphalism sowed the seeds for many of the more significant post-Cold War failures that we have witnessed since then. Even today, that same overconfidence encourages U.S. policymakers to flirt with the idea of engaging in another Cold War-style rivalry with a more formidable state in China.

George Kennan presciently warned against the triumphalism that he saw around him as early as 1992. At that time, he was responding directly to the claims from Republicans that Reagan and his policies had "won" the Cold War:

The suggestion that any American 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 intrinsically silly and childish. No great country has that sort of influence on the internal developments of any other one.

Kennan went on to say that the militarization of U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War was a boon to Soviet hard-liners and in that way helped prolong it:

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.

Whenever hawks talk about "winning" the Cold War, they invariably mean that it was the militarized policies they favored that carried the day, but Kennan reminded us that this was not so. In fact, a militarized foreign policy perpetuated the struggle by providing Soviet hard-liners with a plausible foreign threat that they could use to justify their own policies and to clamp down on internal dissent. We have seen the same thing repeated several times in the last thirty years on a smaller scale with other governments. The most aggressive and confrontational policies unwittingly aid authoritarian regimes by giving them an external enemy that they can use to deflect attention from their own failings and as a pretext for the consolidation of power at home.

Kennan was already telling us shortly after the Cold War ended that no one had "won" it:

Nobody -- no country, no party, no person -- "won" the cold war. It was a long and costly political rivalry, fueled on both sides by unreal and exaggerated estimates of the intentions and strength of the other party [bold mine-DL]. It greatly overstrained the economic resources of both countries, leaving both, by the end of the 1980's, confronted with heavy financial, social and, in the case of the Russians, political problems that neither had anticipated and for which neither was fully prepared.

We can all be grateful that the Cold War ended, but we shouldn't delude ourselves with talk of victory. Not only is it inaccurate, but it encourages the worst kinds of overreach and arrogance that has led to several serious foreign policy failures in the decades that have followed. Kennan warned us almost thirty years ago not to go down this path of triumphalism, and as so often happened Americans ignored Kennan's wisdom.

Kennan concluded with the same idea that Bacevich stated at the end of his op-ed:

That the conflict should now be formally ended is a fit occasion for satisfaction but also for sober re-examination of the part we took in its origin and long continuation. It is not a fit occasion for pretending that the end of it was a great triumph for anyone, and particularly not one for which any American political party could properly claim principal credit.

American policymakers are not known for sober re-examination and acknowledgment of error, but these are exactly the things that are needed if we are to stop making the same blunders and learning the wrong lessons from the past. Kennan and Bacevich's advice is just as timely and important today as it was twenty-seven years ago. Perhaps this time we should pay attention and listen to it.

[Nov 09, 2019] Whether NATO is alive or dead, and which of its parts are comatose that's not for us to decide. We're not pathologists.

Nov 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Nov 8 2019 19:01 utc | 19

Lavrov "I wouldn't want to drag myself into a discussion about the medical side of this issue.. If Macron had felt that the diagnosis he made [of NATO] was so evident – he had all the right to state it. He knows NATO better than me, since he represents a nation which is a member of the alliance."

Peskov "Whether NATO is alive or dead, and which of its parts are comatose – that's not for us to decide. We're not pathologists."
https://www.rt.com/news/472929-lavrov-macron-nato-comment/

[Nov 08, 2019] Assange lawyers links to US govt and Bill Browder raises questions by Lucy Komisar

Notable quotes:
"... Browder is key in the U.S. demonization of Russia. Assange has exposed U.S. war crimes. For lawyers associated in the British legal system to take both sides on that conflict would appear to be an egregious conflict of interest. But it fits with the U.S.-UK support of the Browder-Magnitsky hoax and their cooperation in the attack on Assange. ..."
"... Bailin is a member of Matrix Chambers, which was founded by the wife of Tony Blair, the former neocon Labor British Prime Minister. He is solidly in the Browder camp. He represented Leonid Nevzlin, a major partner of Browder collaborator Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who according to filings with FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act), paid $385,000 for Congress to adopt the Magnitsky Act which has been used by the U.S. as a weapon against the Russian government. ..."
"... In 2017 British legal actions surrounding an inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, he represented Browder, who claimed that the Russian, who died of a heart attack, was somehow a victim of Russian President Putin. Perepilichnyy had lost money in investments he was handling for clients and had to get out of town. ..."
"... Needing support, he decamped to London and gave Browder documents relating to his client's questionable bank transfers. He died after a jog, Browder claimed he was poisoned by a rare botanical substance, obviously ordered by Putin, but forensic tests found that untrue. Robertson accused local police of a cover-up. ..."
"... Why did Assange or his advisors choose lawyers associated with the interests of the U.S. government and Browder? Or how could those lawyers be so ignorant about the facts of Browder's massive tax evasion and his Magnitsky story fabrications? ..."
"... What we are seeing now is no different from the Lula case in Brazil or any one of a thousand similar cases in authoritarian regimes. Upset the Deep State and you face selected targeted application of the law and the destruction of your life and future. ..."
"... because of the peculiar quirks of the legal system in Britain that may include a great deal of secrecy about how aspects of it operate, is how Julian Assange came to have such a dubious legal representation with its various connections to Bill Browder and Mikhail Khodorkovsky ..."
"... who is going to foot these barristers' bills? ..."
Nov 08, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Assange lawyers' links to US govt & Bill Browder raises questions The network of lawyers in conflicting roles in Browder, Assange and US government cases raises questions about Julian Assange's defense. Editor

A US government lawyer in the Assange extradition case just wrote a London Times oped promoting the Browder Magnitsky hoax. Ben Brandon is one of five lawyers in a London network whose spokes link to convicted tax fraudster William Browder, the U.S. government, and to both sides of the extradition case against whistleblower publisher Julian Assange.

Here is how the British legal system works. Lawyers are either solicitors who work with clients or barristers who go to court in cases assigned by the solicitors. To share costs, barristers operate in chambers , which provide office space, including conference rooms and dining halls, clerks who receive and assign cases from solicitors, and other support staff. London has 210 chambers. There are not "partners" sharing profits, but members operate fraternally with each other.

Browder is key in the U.S. demonization of Russia. Assange has exposed U.S. war crimes. For lawyers associated in the British legal system to take both sides on that conflict would appear to be an egregious conflict of interest. But it fits with the U.S.-UK support of the Browder-Magnitsky hoax and their cooperation in the attack on Assange.

The law firm and chambers involved in the Browder-Assange stories are Mishcon de Reya, Matrix Chambers and Doughty Street Chambers.

Ben Brandon of Mishcon de Reya and Alex Bailin of Matrix Chambers co-authored an opinion article in The Times of London October 24, 2019 in which they repeated William Browder's fabrications about the death of his accountant Sergei Magnitsky.

The article aimed to promote the Magnitsky Act which builds a political wall against Russia. It is based on the fake claim that Magnitsky, the accountant who handled Browder's tax evasion in Russia, was really a lawyer who exposed a government scam.

Except that is not true, there is no evidence for it, and the lies are documented here . But the Act has prevented the Russians from collecting about $100 million Browder owes in back taxes and illicit stock buys.

Brandon's and Bailin's connections are notable. Law firms, at least in the U.S., tend to stake out their commitments. Lawyers who represent unions do not represent companies fighting unions. It appears to be different in Britain, where legal chambers have members on either side of some cases.

Bailin is a member of Matrix Chambers, which was founded by the wife of Tony Blair, the former neocon Labor British Prime Minister. He is solidly in the Browder camp. He represented Leonid Nevzlin, a major partner of Browder collaborator Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who according to filings with FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act), paid $385,000 for Congress to adopt the Magnitsky Act which has been used by the U.S. as a weapon against the Russian government.

Nevzlin's suit was for $50 billion against Russia for money allegedly lost by the nationalization of Yukos Oil. Yukos was obtained by Khodorkovsky in the mid-90s in one of then Russian President Boris Yeltsin's rigged auctions. Khodorkovsky's bank Menatep ran the auction.

He paid $309 million for a controlling 78 percent of the state company. Months later, Yukos traded on the Russian stock exchange at a market capitalization of $6 billion. Not surprising, after Yeltsin departed, the state wanted the stolen assets back.

To add insult to injury, Khodorkovsky laundered profits from Yukos through transfer-pricing and other scams.

Transfer pricing is when you sell products to a shell company at a fake low price, and the shell sells them on the world market at the real price, giving you the rake-off. It cheats tax authorities and minority shareholders. See how Khodorkovsky and Browder did this with Russian company Avisma, which Khodorkovsky also got through a rigged auction.

The Times oped co-author, Brandon of Mishcon de Reya, has a startling connection. The day after an extradition request targeting Julian Assange was signed by the UK home secretary , Brandon representing the U.S. government, formally opened the extradition case.

Now look at another Assange link. Mark Summers , who is representing Julian Assange is, along with Bailin, a member of Matrix Chambers.

But while he is Assange's lawyer, Summers is acting for Assange's persecutor, the U.S. government, in a major extradition case involving executives of Credit Suisse in 2013 making fake loans and getting kickbacks from Mozambique government officials.

Does Assange, or those who care about his interests, know he is part of chambers working for the U.S. government?

And where do you put this factoid? Alex Bailin is representing Andrew Pearse, one of the Credit Suisse bankers that the U.S. government, represented by Summers, is seeking to extradite!

But there's chambers where two members are each supporting both Browder and Assange.

Geoffrey Robertson is founder of Doughty Street Chambers. He is also a longtime Browder / Magnitsky story promoter. He has pitched implementation of a Magnitsky Act in Australia and has served Browder in UK court.

In 2017 British legal actions surrounding an inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, he represented Browder, who claimed that the Russian, who died of a heart attack, was somehow a victim of Russian President Putin. Perepilichnyy had lost money in investments he was handling for clients and had to get out of town.

Needing support, he decamped to London and gave Browder documents relating to his client's questionable bank transfers. He died after a jog, Browder claimed he was poisoned by a rare botanical substance, obviously ordered by Putin, but forensic tests found that untrue. Robertson accused local police of a cover-up.

He is a legal advisor to Assange and is regularly interviewed by international media about the case.

Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers also has a Browder connection. She is acting for Paul Radu a journalist and official of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which is being sued by an Azerbaijan MP. OCCRP is a Browder collaborator.

Browder admits in a deposition that OCCRP prepared documents he would give to the U.S. Justice Department to accuse the son of a Russian railway official of getting $1.9 million of $230 million defrauded from the Russian Treasury. The case was settled when the U.S. couldn't prove the charge, and the target declined to spend more millions of dollars in his defense. OCCRP got the first Magnitsky Human Rights award , set up for Browder's partners and acolytes.

Robinson is also the longest-serving member of Assange's legal team. She acted for Assange in the Swedish extradition proceedings and in relation to Ecuador's request to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion proceedings on the right to asylum.

Why did Assange or his advisors choose lawyers associated with the interests of the U.S. government and Browder? Or how could those lawyers be so ignorant about the facts of Browder's massive tax evasion and his Magnitsky story fabrications?

It raises questions about how they are handling the Assange defense.

The individuals cited were asked to respond to points made about them, but none did.

Here is my audio interview on this issue on Fault Lines, "The Avisma Scandal + The Link Between Browder & Assange." The Browder-Assange part starts 13:20 minutes in. Filed under: Assange Arrest , latest , Russia , United States Tagged with: Bill Browder , julian assange , Lucy Komisar , russia , Sergei Magnitsky , Wikileaks

can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media


Adrian @ J'Accuse

The Telegraph reports on a 2015 private dinner in the home of Doughty Street 's Geoffrey Robertson at which the Magnitsky myth and sanctions against Russia are pitched to then-Labour-Party-leader Ed Miliband, and Doughty Street lawyer Amal Clooney and co.:

Revealed: Ed Miliband's dinner with George and Amal Clooney

Today we find aforementioned Browder/Magnitsky touts Alex Bailin, QC (Matrix lawyer and "legal writer for The Guardian, The Times and The Lawyer – co-writer of the bogus FT Magnitsky column with Ben Brandon), and Geoffrey Robertson, QC (Doughty Street's eminence grise), both on the Advisory Board of Amal Clooney's " TrialWatch " (part of the Clooney " Foundation for Justice "): TrialWatchฎ Advisory Board

universal
The tentacles of the deep state (no longer secret now) are clamping on our life so tightly that one would honestly wish that one of those extraterrestrial rocks would smash into this planet causing total annhilation –just in order to get rid of these psychopathic mongrels ruling over us.

I am not sure, though, fantasy could solve problems!

mark
We have a corrupt and politicised "justice" system used for the purposes of intimidation and political persecution. Some people still believe in fairy stories like the Rule of Law and an independent judiciary.

What we are seeing now is no different from the Lula case in Brazil or any one of a thousand similar cases in authoritarian regimes. Upset the Deep State and you face selected targeted application of the law and the destruction of your life and future.

Jen
Unfortunately what we don't get in Lucy Komisar's article, perhaps because of the peculiar quirks of the legal system in Britain that may include a great deal of secrecy about how aspects of it operate, is how Julian Assange came to have such a dubious legal representation with its various connections to Bill Browder and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Who recommended Mishcon de Reya and other barristers to Assange and Wikileaks, and who is going to foot these barristers' bills? Are there no other barristers specialising in human rights cases in Britain who can take on Assange's case or was the case awarded to certain chambers in some kind of bidding arrangement or some other competitive arrangement?

BTW it's not unusual for law firms in Britain and Australia to have clients whose interests may be opposed, ie a law firm can represent both a company and a trade union whose members may be employed by that company. What usually happens is that different teams of lawyers work for the two sides and the work of one team is separated from the other team by internal firewalls. The firewalls include physical separations: the teams may even work on different floors so as not to share copiers or other office equipment and lawyers in opposing teams may be discouraged from socialising with each other during lunch and coffee breaks. Sounds bizarre but this does happen.

R Heybroek
With respect, you can't judge British law by US standards. Barristers are briefed by solicitors, not individual clients, and associate primarily in areas of competence, e.g. criminal, corporate or tax law. In their specialization, they generally follow the 'cab rank' principle and accept briefs from prosecution or defence as they arise. It's a strength of the system, not a problem.

Whatever I may think of some of the barristers in Matrix or Doughty, it would be foolish to assume that everyone in a chambers shares the same political views or attitudes. They do not. They argue like cats and dogs, usually with considerable professional respect.

I see nothing dubious about the range of experience of Assange's legal team. If his solicitor thinks a barrister has a conflict of interest, he will withdraw the brief. I'd suggest you direct your enquiries to the instructing solicitor.

RobG
Julian Assange was a dead man walking from the time he was taken (totally illegally) from the Ecuadorian embassy. Just about all the Wikileaks team are now totally corrupted; and as this article points out, most of Assange's legal team are also corrupted. The alleged mental deterioration of Assange, combined with harsh (and totally unnecessary) prison conditions, might account for some of this.
Jen
But surely it's odd that at the same time he is representing Julian Assange against the US government, Mark Summers is also acting for the United States government in another case in which three British-based Credit Suisse bankers are fighting extradition to the US on charges of security fraud and money laundering?
MLS
An important subsidiary question becomes, why aren't any of his high profile champions asking these questions? John Pilger? Craig Murray? They all bang on about stuff like 'torture' but never point out that his lawyers totally fail to address this pretty darn crucial issue. Craig Murray says 'Julian has great lawyers'. Really? If we step back and think for a minute, does it honestly look that way?

They can't even get him out of solitary or into a lower security prison. Shit, they can't even get his mail delivered adequately or uphold his right to get regular legal visitation! And yet no one, not even his parents, are complaining about these failures! And who is running Wikileaks these days? Do we have any way of being sure they aren't just a co-opted shell?

Betrayed planet
To be fair Pilger is one of the few real supporters of Julian along with a handful of musicians. His lone voice is not enough. I saw a clip of Pilger crying after the recent spectacle of a so called hearing. The presiding judge, The Honorary Upyourbottom should have been in the dock for perjury, fraud, lying before a court and crimes against humanity.
LawStudent
I'm a 2nd year law student and I can confirm that questions about the conduct of Assange's defence are legion in my school. MNynpeople talking about the inexplicable lapses. Just s fee usdyes often discussed: Why didn't the defense take up the judge's offer of bail application? To say 'well they would lose' is counter to the basics of jurisprudence.

Why is there no complaint being lodged about his detention in a maximum security facility when he's on remand – not serving a sentence – pending an extradition hearing? Why don't his lawyers lodge an appeal to the ECHR based on the testimony of the UN observers? Why are his lawyers keeping such low media profiles?

It's generally agreed something is very 'off' about this.

L Took
I think his lawyers stated that they were never offered a bail application, even though the judge claimed they had refused one. But I'm not sure; I had heard previous to this event that the lawyers would not ask because if they lost (the appeal?) Assange could be further punished for the loss. Is this accurate?
MaryD
It may be relevant that one of Assange's barristers also represents the corporate psyop Extinction Rebellion!
nottheonly1

Assange lawyers' links to US govt & Bill Browder raises questions. The network of lawyers in conflicting roles in Browder, Assange and US government cases raises questions about Julian Assange's defense.

Assange lawyers' links to US govt & Bill Browder raises only one question: What the?

I know it's not comedy, because people get seriously hurt and killed as a result of the transformation of a more or less democratic government into a well organized criminal organization. Who better to run the courts, than the mob? Mob 'Law' enforcement included. So, organized crime owns everything. The big club. The biggest profits are made with stuff that was bought to blow up something. Or somebody. One could ask: 'With links like these, who needs enemies?' Anybody interfering into, or compromising the Mob execution of the owners' plan, will be taken care of. Laws are written to owners' demands and are quickly as needed in show trials.

The eloquence in describing what is happening right now – and in all other show trials – is comforting.

As it is more like 'a gang of lawyers in revolving door roles in organized crime by Browder and US regime et al versus Julian Assange, providing Defense for Julian Assange in his case against the same people and the same regime.

I forgot where, but I have heard of such things before.

The World will have to understand that, without the immediate release of Julian Assange, no more rule of law exists on Earth. And to whomever has not connected the Assange affair with 'pre-emptive incarceration', might for a little longer enjoy playing outdoor chess on the deck of a sinking cruise ship.

Oh, and yes, the qualifier "six ways to/from Sunday" should also be mentioned as an exemplary business practice by the Mob regime. Actually, the Mob merged with the regime, with the regime belonging to the owners' club.

Northern
Good to see another article on this, seen several people raising concerns about these associations in independent media over the last few months, though it's no doubt one of those things that will never be 'officially' addressed. Many people with more knowledge than I have questioned the wisdom of certain decisions his legal team have made (or not, as the case may be) in recent proceedings. Craig Murray's account of Julian's recent court appearance reads like something you'd expect from a country with 'the people's democratic republic' in the name.

On a tangentially related note, anybody reading this who has the impetus to write to Julian in support;

The 'writetoJulian' website which appears at to the top of Google's search results for those who google how to go about such a thing, is either accidentally or deliberately (one can probably guess which) mis-advising its readers of the requirements. The website advises several times NOT to include Julian's prisoner number on any correspondence sent to him, but I know from direct knowledge of communicating with the incarcerated that without the prisoner number your correspondence will be destroyed and neither you nor the receiver will be notified. I hate to think how many well meaning messages of support for Julian have been 'legally' destroyed without him seeing them as a result of this.

Northern
Ah, in a limited sliver of good news; The aforementioned website seem to have cottoned on to their mistake after several people bringing it to their attention. They now advise you should include his number on all correspondence.

Mr Julian Assange
Prisoner #: A9379AY
HMP Belmarsh
Western Way
London SE28 0EB
UK

Betrayed planet
I have long suspected that Julian is not getting proper legal council. That his lawyers have not yet been able to get a proper hearing whilst he is left to rot in a maximum security prison is suspect in the extreme. The obvious Nazi style behaviour of the unlawful and fascist U.K. government and its lick spittle judiciary are apparent to all with absolutely no fight back from the excuse of a media nor indeed 99.9 percent of its compliant increasingly dumbed down and wilfully ignorant population.

What is obvious now to anyone with half an eye open is that the U.K. is now a rogue state where law and justice are meaningless, where bribery and corruption are common place. That Julian Assange is slowly dying in front of the whole world, will die without some kind of major intervention is a stain on every single aware English resident. Mind you with a population seemingly set to vote back in the same filthy vermin that have turned the country into the complete shithole it has become, it's hardly surprising.
Does anybody know if Gareth Pierce is still involved in his case?

nottheonly1
For quite some time now, an odd possibility offers itself – theoretically. Julian Assange is not the messenger. He is the message.

As a messenger, he is somewhat ineffective. He has not been able to convince people that the need for an uprising against lawlessness exists. That any form of government cannot work when the judiciary is corrupt and that there is no justice in a society ruled over by a regime.

As a message however, he is in the eyes of masses of people. Probably a majority of humans on Earth know who Julian Assange is. How many know who he is, where he came from and what it was exactly he did, before he published videos showing how well the 'Support our Troops' deserve was used up in the way it was intended, can only be a guess. Or a dedicated team of statisticians to hold polls in every country.

So, the published material, that was also leaked by a whistle blower, was proof of how deserving those soldiers were of our support – showing them killing innocent human beings and 'our Troops' having the greatest times of their lives doing it.

The message is simply: Look, if we can do this to Assange, what do you think we will do to you from Monday to Sunday – if you get any ideas?

No matter where you are. No matter who you are.

The only antidote to this insanity is the Truth and it be given its day(s) in court. 'Justice Mondays'.

Petra Liverani
I wonder if Alexander Perepilichnyy's death happened any which way – if indeed he was even a real person – there's only two photos of him as far as I can tell and the feeling of reality about his is not strong – as the Japan Times says, "What we know of Perepilichnyy is slight." Could he have just conveniently been invented and disappeared somehow? The story of him spending his last night with his 22 year-old mistress (the good old 22) in Paris, complaining about his dinner, vomiting and then having his wife the next day in London prepare his favourite food, sorrel soup, for lunch then going out jogging somehow doesn't ring true and we see a typical anomaly of faked stories, different versions:

The Guardian: "was found outside his Surrey home"
The Atlantic: "He collapsed on Granville Road, within 100 meters of the house he was renting"
Japan Times: "Then, 50 meters from his home, he staggered into the road and died."
Wikipedia: "[he] was found dead on the road by a neighbour" with a reference to a BBC story makes no mention of neighbour
BBC story: "[he] has been found dead near his home in Weybridge. had collapsed on a road early on the evening"

Collapsed on a road? Wouldn't you give the name of the road in a suburban area?

Rhys Jaggar
Same story in UK sports reporting corrupt industries raking in cash for unprincipled wordsmithery
DiggerUK
The defence team around Julian seems to be unfathomable at many levels. My main concern has been over the unproved allegations of chemical torture made during his incarceration in Bellmarsh Prison. Why has his defence team not asked for an independent medical assessment? Why have concerns not been raised with prison visitors who are allowed to investigate independently? https://www.imb.org.uk/independent-monitoring-boards/

Craig Murray who saw Julian on his last court appearance wrote of his condition . https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/10/assange-in-court/ is it as a result of drugs used during interrogations, or is it down to mental trauma after what he has been through. Either way, his defense team and close friends need to up their game.

This article is not the first time that concerns have been raised in a worrying manner about the defence team around Julian _

Rhys Jaggar
It is a standard Uk tactic to have someone try to beat you up then publicly say what a friend of yours they are. Happened to me four times: I called the lot of them out on it, something which gets them on their faux high horses very quickly
Harry Stotle
Amazing isn't it, the way the legal system goes into hyperdrive pursuing those who expose war crimes while nonchantly turning a blind eye to those who commit them (no matter how high the body count). Harder to find a more glaring example of the way hypocrisy defines the elite's relationship with things like morality, fairness or decency, not least because no western politician has ever been held to account for the havoc they have unleashed (in any court prosecuting war crimes).

Ellen DeGeneres hi-fiving with George Bush. British MPs pretending a courageous whistle blower is not being tortured to death just a few miles from parliament.

The one MP who did stand up for Assange has just been kicked out of Labour by the NEC. They should at least have the courage to make public the names of those who voted for Chris Williamson's expulsion. https://labour.org.uk/about/how-we-work/national-executive-committee/whos-on-the-nec/

Needless to say the MSM has fully sided with the criminals: first denigrating Julian Assange, then mocking his plight – this gave way to lies, and now silence.

The importance of Craig Murray's analysis of the way the law has been used to destroy a journalist cannot be overtstated.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/10/assange-in-court/

Put simply can anyone expect justice in Britain if their actions conflict with the ethos of the gangsters who control Britain's economic, media and military interests?

Rhys Jaggar
We are actually approaching apartheid South Africa in that regard, namely contempt for legal due process. Not quite had the Met coppers beating Assange over the head like SA cops did to Steve Biko, but we are slowly getting there

[Oct 23, 2019] Neoconservatism Is An Omnicidal Death Cult, And It Must Be Stopped by Caitlin Johnstone

Highly recommended!
Neocons are lobbyists for MIC, the it is MIC that is the center of this this cult. People like Kriston, Kagan and Max Boot are just well paid prostituttes on MIC, which includes intelligence agencies as a very important part -- the bridge to Wall Street so to speak.
Being a neoconservative should receive at least as much vitriolic societal rejection as being a Ku Klux Klan member or a child molester, but neocon pundits are routinely invited on mainstream television outlets to share their depraved perspectives.
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Neoconservatism is a psychopathic death cult whose relentless hyper-hawkishness is a greater threat to the survival of our species than anything else in the world right now. These people are traitors to humanity, and their ideology needs to be purged from the face of the earth forever. I'm not advocating violence of any kind here, but let's stop pretending that this is okay. Let's start calling these people the murderous psychopaths that they are whenever they rear their evil heads and stop respecting and legitimizing them. There should be a massive, massive social stigma around what these people do, so we need to create one. They should be marginalized, not leading us. ..."
Jul 18, 2017 | medium.com

Glenn Greenwald has just published a very important article in The Intercept that I would have everyone in America read if I could. Titled "With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons", Greenwald's excellent piece details the frustratingly under-reported way that the leaders of the neoconservative death cult have been realigning with the Democratic party.

This pivot back to the party of neoconservatism's origin is one of the most significant political events of the new millennium, but aside from a handful of sharp political analysts like Greenwald it's been going largely undiscussed. This is weird, and we need to start talking about it. A lot. Their willful alignment with neoconservatism should be the very first thing anyone ever talks about when discussing the Democratic party.

When you hear someone complaining that the Democratic party has no platform besides being anti-Trump, your response should be, "Yeah it does. Their platform is the omnicidal death cult of neoconservatism."

It's absolutely insane that neoconservatism is still a thing, let alone still a thing that mainstream America tends to regard as a perfectly legitimate set of opinions for a human being to have. As what Dr. Paul Craig Roberts rightly calls "the most dangerous ideology that has ever existed," neoconservatism has used its nonpartisan bloodlust to work with the Democratic party for the purpose of escalating tensions with Russia on multiple fronts, bringing our species to the brink of what could very well end up being a world war with a nuclear superpower and its allies.

This is not okay. Being a neoconservative should receive at least as much vitriolic societal rejection as being a Ku Klux Klan member or a child molester, but neocon pundits are routinely invited on mainstream television outlets to share their depraved perspectives. Check out leading neoconservative Bill Kristol's response to the aforementioned Intercept article:

... ... ...

Okay, leaving aside the fact that this bloodthirsty psychopath is saying neocons "won" a Cold War that neocons have deliberately reignited by fanning the flames of the Russia hysteria and pushing for more escalations , how insane is it that we live in a society where a public figure can just be like, "Yeah, I'm a neocon, I advocate for using military aggression to maintain US hegemony and I think it's great," and have that be okay? These people kill children. Neoconservatism means piles upon piles of child corpses. It means devoting the resources of a nation that won't even provide its citizens with a real healthcare system to widespread warfare and all the death, destruction, chaos, terrorism, rape and suffering that necessarily comes with war. The only way that you can possibly regard neoconservatism as just one more set of political opinions is if you completely compartmentalize away from the reality of everything that it is.

This should not happen. The tensions with Russia that these monsters have worked so hard to escalate could blow up at any moment; there are too many moving parts, too many things that could go wrong. The last Cold War brought our species within a hair's breadth of total annihilation due to our inability to foresee all possible complications which can arise from such a contest, and these depraved death cultists are trying to drag us back into another one. Nothing is worth that. Nothing is worth risking the life of every organism on earth, but they're risking it all for geopolitical influence.

... ... ...

I've had a very interesting last 24 hours. My article about Senator John McCain (which I titled "Please Just Fucking Die Already" because the title I really wanted to use seemed a bit crass) has received an amount of attention that I'm not accustomed to, from CNN to USA Today to the Washington Post . I watched Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar talking about me on The View . They called me a "Bernie Sanders person." It was a trip. Apparently some very low-level Republican with a few hundred Twitter followers went and retweeted my article with an approving caption, and that sort of thing is worthy of coast-to-coast mainstream coverage in today's America.

This has of course brought in a deluge of angry comments, mostly from people whose social media pages are full of Russiagate nonsense , showing where McCain's current support base comes from. Some call him a war hero, some talk about him like he's a perfectly fine politician, some defend him as just a normal person whose politics I happen to disagree with.

This is insane. This man has actively and enthusiastically pushed for every single act of military aggression that America has engaged in, and some that it hasn't , throughout his entire career. He makes Hillary "We came, we saw, he died" Clinton look like a dove. When you look at John McCain, the very first thing you see should not be a former presidential candidate, a former POW or an Arizona Senator; the first thing you see should be the piles of human corpses that he has helped to create. This is not a normal kind of person, and I still do sincerely hope that he dies of natural causes before he can do any more harm.

Can we change this about ourselves, please? None of us should have to live in a world where pushing for more bombing campaigns at every opportunity is an acceptable agenda for a public figure to have. Neoconservatism is a psychopathic death cult whose relentless hyper-hawkishness is a greater threat to the survival of our species than anything else in the world right now. These people are traitors to humanity, and their ideology needs to be purged from the face of the earth forever. I'm not advocating violence of any kind here, but let's stop pretending that this is okay. Let's start calling these people the murderous psychopaths that they are whenever they rear their evil heads and stop respecting and legitimizing them. There should be a massive, massive social stigma around what these people do, so we need to create one. They should be marginalized, not leading us.

-- -- --

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[Sep 22, 2019] It was neoliberalism that won the cold war

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As for the USSR, the Soviet elite changed sides. I think Putin once said that Soviet system was "unviable" to begin with. And that's pretty precise diagnosis: as soon as the theocratic elite degenerates, it defects; and the state and the majority of the population eventually fall on their own sword. ..."
"... And the USSR clearly was a variation of a theocratic state. That explain also a very high, damaging the economy, level of centralization (the country as a single corporation) and the high level of ideology/religion-based repression (compare with Iran and Islamic state jihadists.) ..."
"... So after the WWII the ideology of Bolshevism was dead as it became clear that Soviet style theocratic state is unable to produce standard of living which Western social democracies were able to produce for their citizens. Rapid degeneration of the theocratic Bolshevik elite (aka Nomenklatura) also played an important role. ..."
"... It is important to understand that the Soviet elite changed sides completely voluntarily. Paradoxically it was high level of KGB functionaries who were instrumental in conversion to neoliberalism, starting with Andropov. It was Andropov, who created the plan of transition of the USSR to neoliberalism, the plan that Gorbachov tried to implement and miserably failed. ..."
"... So the system exploded from within because the Party elite became infected with neoliberalism (which was stupid, but reflects the level of degeneration of the Soviet elite). ..."
"... The major USA contribution other then supplying the new ideology for the Soviet elite was via CIA injecting God know how much money to bribe top officials. ..."
"... As Gorbachov was a second rate (if not the third rate) politician, he allowed the situation to run out of control. And the efforts to "rock" the system were fueled internally by emerging (as the result of Perestroika; which was a reincarnation of Lenin's idea of NEP) class of neoliberal Nouveau riche (which run the USSR "shadow economy" which emerged under Brezhnev) and by nationalist sentiments (those element were clearly supported by the USA and other Western countries money as well as via subversive efforts of national diaspora residing in the USA and Canada) and certain national minorities within the USSR. ..."
"... The brutal economic rape of the xUSSR space and generally of the whole former Soviet block by the "collective neoliberal West" naturally followed. Which had shown everybody that the vanguard of Perestroika were simply filthy compradors, who can't care less about regular citizens and their sufferings. ..."
"... BTW this huge amount of loot postponed the internal crisis of neoliberalism which happened in the USA in 2008 probably by ten years. And it (along with a couple of other factors such as telecommunication revolution) explain relative prosperity of Clinton presidency. Criminal Clinton presidency I should say. ..."
"... BTW few republics in former USSR space managed to achieve the standard of living equal to the best years of the USSR (early 80th I think) See https://web.williams.edu/Economics/brainerd/papers/ussr_july08.pdf ..."
"... Generally when the particular ideology collapses, far right nationalism fills the void. We see this now with the slow collapse of neoliberalism in the USA and Western Europe. ..."
"... Chinese learned a lot from Gorbachov's fatal mistakes and have better economic results as the result of the conversion to the neoliberalism ("from the above"), although at the end Chinese elite is not that different from Soviet elite and also is corruptible and can eventually change sides. ..."
"... But they managed to survive the "triumphal march of neoliberalism" (1980-2000) and now the danger is less as neoliberalism is clearly the good with expired "use by" date: after 2008 the neoliberal ideology was completely discredited and entered "zombie" state. ..."
Sep 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> ilsm... , September 08, 2019 at 08:20 PM

This is a very complex issue. And I do not pretend that I am right, but I think Brad is way too superficial to be taken seriously.

IMHO it was neoliberalism that won the cold war. That means that the key neoliberal "scholars" like Friedman and Hayek and other intellectual prostitutes of financial oligarchy who helped to restore their power. Certain democratic politicians like Carter also were the major figures. Carter actually started neoliberalization of the USA, continued by Reagan,

Former Trotskyites starting from Burnham which later became known as neoconservatives also deserve to be mentioned.

It is also questionable that the USA explicitly won the cold war. Paradoxically the other victim of the global neoliberal revolution was the USA, the lower 90% of the USA population to be exact.
So there was no winners other the financial oligarchy (the transnational class.)

As for the USSR, the Soviet elite changed sides. I think Putin once said that Soviet system was "unviable" to begin with. And that's pretty precise diagnosis: as soon as the theocratic elite degenerates, it defects; and the state and the majority of the population eventually fall on their own sword.

And the USSR clearly was a variation of a theocratic state. That explain also a very high, damaging the economy, level of centralization (the country as a single corporation) and the high level of ideology/religion-based repression (compare with Iran and Islamic state jihadists.)

The degeneration started with the death of the last charismatic leader (Stalin) and the passing of the generation which remembers that actual warts of capitalism and could relate them to the "Soviet socialism" solutions.

So after the WWII the ideology of Bolshevism was dead as it became clear that Soviet style theocratic state is unable to produce standard of living which Western social democracies were able to produce for their citizens. Rapid degeneration of the theocratic Bolshevik elite (aka Nomenklatura) also played an important role.

With bolshevism as the official religion, which can't be questioned, the society was way too rigid and suppressed "entrepreneurial initiative" (which leads to enrichment of particular individuals, but also to the benefits to the society as whole), to the extent that was counterproductive. The level of dogmatism in this area was probably as close to the medieval position of Roman Catholic Church as we can get; in this sense it was only national that Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became a pope John Paul II -- he was very well prepared indeed ;-).

It is important to understand that the Soviet elite changed sides completely voluntarily. Paradoxically it was high level of KGB functionaries who were instrumental in conversion to neoliberalism, starting with Andropov. It was Andropov, who created the plan of transition of the USSR to neoliberalism, the plan that Gorbachov tried to implement and miserably failed.

So the system exploded from within because the Party elite became infected with neoliberalism (which was stupid, but reflects the level of degeneration of the Soviet elite).

The major USA contribution other then supplying the new ideology for the Soviet elite was via CIA injecting God know how much money to bribe top officials.

As Gorbachov was a second rate (if not the third rate) politician, he allowed the situation to run out of control. And the efforts to "rock" the system were fueled internally by emerging (as the result of Perestroika; which was a reincarnation of Lenin's idea of NEP) class of neoliberal Nouveau riche (which run the USSR "shadow economy" which emerged under Brezhnev) and by nationalist sentiments (those element were clearly supported by the USA and other Western countries money as well as via subversive efforts of national diaspora residing in the USA and Canada) and certain national minorities within the USSR.

Explosion of far right nationalist sentiments without "Countervailing ideology" as Bolshevism was not taken seriously anymore was the key factor that led to the dissolution of the USSR.

Essentially national movements allied with Germany that were defeated during WWII became the winners.

The brutal economic rape of the xUSSR space and generally of the whole former Soviet block by the "collective neoliberal West" naturally followed. Which had shown everybody that the vanguard of Perestroika were simply filthy compradors, who can't care less about regular citizens and their sufferings.

And the backlash created conditions for Putin coming to power.

BTW this huge amount of loot postponed the internal crisis of neoliberalism which happened in the USA in 2008 probably by ten years. And it (along with a couple of other factors such as telecommunication revolution) explain relative prosperity of Clinton presidency. Criminal Clinton presidency I should say.

BTW few republics in former USSR space managed to achieve the standard of living equal to the best years of the USSR (early 80th I think) See https://web.williams.edu/Economics/brainerd/papers/ussr_july08.pdf

The majority of the xUSSR space countries have now dismal standard of living and slided into Latin American level of inequality and corruption (not without help of the USA).

Several have civil wars in the period since getting independence, which further depressed the standard living. Most deindustrialize.

Generally when the particular ideology collapses, far right nationalism fills the void. We see this now with the slow collapse of neoliberalism in the USA and Western Europe.

Chinese learned a lot from Gorbachov's fatal mistakes and have better economic results as the result of the conversion to the neoliberalism ("from the above"), although at the end Chinese elite is not that different from Soviet elite and also is corruptible and can eventually change sides.

But they managed to survive the "triumphal march of neoliberalism" (1980-2000) and now the danger is less as neoliberalism is clearly the good with expired "use by" date: after 2008 the neoliberal ideology was completely discredited and entered "zombie" state.

So in the worst case it is the USA which might follow the path of the USSR and eventually disintegrate under the pressure of internal nationalist sentiments. Such a victor...

Even now there are some visible difference between former Confederacy states and other states on the issues such as immigration and federal redistributive programs.

[Sep 18, 2019] The European Court of Human Rights have found that there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed engaged in tax fraud, in conspiracy with Browder, and he was rightfully charged.

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Off Topic , Sep 18 2019 11:07 utc | 116

The conscientious judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy. Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.

The myth is that Magnitskiy was an honest rights campaigner and accountant who discovered corruption by Russian officials and threatened to expose it, and was consequently imprisoned on false charges and then tortured and killed. A campaign over his death was led by his former business partner, hedge fund manager Bill Browder, who wanted massive compensation for Russian assets allegedly swindled from their venture. The campaign led to the passing of the Magnitskiy Act in the United States, providing powers for sanctioning individuals responsible for human rights abuses, and also led to matching sanctions being developed by the EU.

However the European Court of Human Rights has found, in judging a case brought against Russia by the Magnitskiy family, that the very essence of this story is untrue. They find that there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed engaged in tax fraud, in conspiracy with Browder, and he was rightfully charged. The ECHR also found there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed a flight risk so he was rightfully detained. And most crucially of all, they find that there was credible evidence of tax fraud by Magnitskiy and action by the authorities "years" before he started to make counter-accusations of corruption against officials investigating his case.

This judgement utterly explodes the accepted narrative, and does it very succinctly:

<...>

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/09/the-magnitskiy-myth-exploded/

[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 17, 2019] The Dissolution of the USSR and the Unipolar Moment of US Imperialism by Bill Van Auken

Notable quotes:
"... The last three decades have seen the United States engaged in continuous and ever-expanding warfare under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The drive to conquer and subjugate the lands of the Middle East and Central Asia is a consensus policy of the American ruling class. The results have included over a million dead in Iraq and hundreds of thousands more across Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen. ..."
"... Meanwhile the Pentagon released a seemingly lunatic "joint doctrine" that goes well beyond Dr. Strangelove. It states: "nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability. Specifically, the use of nuclear weapons will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and develop situations that call for commanders to win." ..."
"... There is a worried sense within ruling circles that three decades of war have only created a series of debacles, and that US imperialism is confronting what is termed, in military and foreign policy circles, as "strategic competition" from Russia and China. At the same time, ever-sharper conflicts are emerging between Washington and its erstwhile NATO partners, in particular Germany, against which the US fought in two world wars. ..."
"... Zakaria pays special tribute to the individual who popularized the concept of the "unipolar moment," the extreme right-wing columnist Charles Krauthammer, who wrote an article with that title, also in Foreign Affairs , in 1991. He promoted an unvarnished perspective of the unilateral use of US military aggression to assert the dominance of American capitalism around the globe. ..."
"... He further insisted that if US imperialism proved unable to maintain its unipolar moment it would be "not for foreign but for domestic reasons. ... stagnant productivity, declining work habits, rising demand for welfare state entitlements and new taste for ecological luxuries." He charged that while "defense spending declined, domestic entitlements nearly doubled." And, above all, he blamed "America's insatiable desire for yet higher standards of living without paying any of the cost." [3] ..."
"... For America's ruling elite, long at each other's throats, the path should be clearer now to reforming a working consensus about the US's world role. Some of the policy-making world's most divisive issues now look settled. Force is a legitimate tool of policy; it works. For the elites themselves, the message is America can lead, stop whining, think more boldly. Starting now. [5] ..."
"... We understood this editorial, by the mouthpiece of US finance capital, as an accurate reflection of the pathological triumphalism prevailing within the American bourgeoisie. ..."
"... A third of the population is functionally illiterate. Not even the mass media can avoid reporting on a daily basis some of the more spectacular 'horror stories' of lives destroyed by the impact of the social crisis: homeless people freezing in cardboard boxes, cancer victims being denied treatment because they have no medical insurance and unemployed workers and their families committing suicide ..."
"... This position dovetailed neatly with that of German imperialism, which was backing Croatian and Slovenian independence as part of a post-reunification reassertion of its power in Europe. German imperialism was returning to the scenes of its crimes in 1914 and 1941, unilaterally defying the United States, the United Nations and the European Commission. ..."
"... This was patently the case in Yugoslavia, where the first impulse to break up the existing federation came from Slovenia and Croatia, the wealthiest regions of the country, where local ruling elites calculated that they could fare better by breaking with the poorer republics and establishing their own independent ties to European governments, banks and corporations. ..."
"... In conclusion: the so-called "Unipolar Moment" of 1990 and 1991, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the launching of the Gulf War, marked the collapse of the post-World War II equilibrium, established on the basis of the hegemony of American capitalism and the collaboration of the Moscow Stalinist bureaucracy. It signaled the beginning of a new period of uninterrupted war, the growth of inter-imperialist rivalries ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.wsws.org

This lecture was delivered by Bill Van Auken, senior writer for the World Socialist Web Site , at the Socialist Equality Party (US) Summer School on July 25, 2019.

It is now nearly three decades since the deliberate liquidation of the Soviet Union by the Moscow Stalinist bureaucracy and the launching of the First Persian Gulf War, which began in January 1991. This war, which involved the deployment of over half a million US troops -- more than twice the number sent into the 2003 invasion of Iraq -- clearly marked a turning point in the development of US and world imperialism.

It likewise marked a turning point for the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). Objective developments, in particular the disintegration of Stalinism, intersected with the protracted struggle of the ICFI against Pabloite revisionism, culminating in the 1985 split and the consolidation of control by the orthodox Trotskyists, for the first time since the founding of the International Committee in 1953. This signaled a fundamental change in the relationship between the Fourth International and the working class.

Grasping that change, the ICFI sought to shoulder the immense political responsibility of leading the international working class, which found concrete expression in the convening of the extraordinarily important "World Conference of Workers against War and Colonialism" held in Berlin in November 1991, to which we will return.

The sharp turn by US imperialism toward unilateralism and militarism, consummated in the Gulf War of 1991, was bound up with the protracted crisis of American capitalism and the relative decline of its domination of the global economy. With the demise of the USSR, US imperialism concluded that it could now offset the challenge that American corporations faced from rivals in Europe and Japan, which had been growing since the 1970s, through the relatively untrammeled use of the US armed forces.

Demolished vehicles line Highway 80, also known as the "Highway of Death", the route fleeing Iraqi forces took as they retreated fom Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. [Credit: U.S. Air Force]

In the case of the Persian Gulf, the US military could be used to secure unchallenged American supremacy in the world's most important oil-producing region, which would put Washington in a position to blackmail its oil-import-dependent European and Asian imperialist rivals with the threat of cutting off their energy supplies. As President George H.W. Bush would declare, in the run-up to the Gulf war, an attack on Iraq would give the US "persuasiveness that will lead to more harmonious trading relationships."

This was not a development that took us by surprise. In its 1988 Perspectives Resolution, the ICFI warned:

Despite the loss of its economic hegemony, the United States remains, militarily, the most powerful imperialist country, and reserves to itself the role of global policeman. But the conditions which prevailed in 1945 at the beginning of the so-called American Century have been drastically transformed. The loss of the economic preponderance which once made its word "law" among the major capitalist nations compels the United States to place ever-greater reliance on the brute force of its military strength. [1]

The resolution went on to declare that a prophecy made by Trotsky was about to be vindicated, quoting his War and the Fourth International from 1934. "The world is divided? It must be re-divided. For Germany it was a question of 'organizing Europe.' The United States must organize the world. History is bringing humanity face to face with the volcanic eruption of American imperialism." This was confirmed in barely two years.

There is an obvious continuity between these events of nearly 30 years ago and the present global political situation. The struggle to assert US hegemony over the Persian Gulf threatens to ignite a new and even more terrible war against Iran, a country with three times the population and four times the landmass of Iraq. The outbreak of a military confrontation is only a matter of time.

The last three decades have seen the United States engaged in continuous and ever-expanding warfare under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The drive to conquer and subjugate the lands of the Middle East and Central Asia is a consensus policy of the American ruling class. The results have included over a million dead in Iraq and hundreds of thousands more across Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

More and more these various conflicts threaten to metastasize into a Third World War. Preparations for a nuclear confrontation with Russia and China were chillingly described recently by the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the military's No. 1 priority. Meanwhile the Pentagon released a seemingly lunatic "joint doctrine" that goes well beyond Dr. Strangelove. It states: "nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability. Specifically, the use of nuclear weapons will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and develop situations that call for commanders to win."

There is a worried sense within ruling circles that three decades of war have only created a series of debacles, and that US imperialism is confronting what is termed, in military and foreign policy circles, as "strategic competition" from Russia and China. At the same time, ever-sharper conflicts are emerging between Washington and its erstwhile NATO partners, in particular Germany, against which the US fought in two world wars.

The contradiction between the interdependent character of the global economy and the capitalist nation-state system is leading inexorably to a new world war.

Under these conditions, there have been several recent commentaries by US foreign policy analysts bemoaning the end of the "unipolar moment" proclaimed nearly 30 years ago, and looking back upon it with a certain nostalgia.

Among them is a piece published in Foreign Affairs by CNN's multi-millionaire pseudo-intellectual charlatan Fareed Zakaria, titled "The Self-Destruction of American Power." He writes:

Ever since the end of World War I, the United States has wanted to transform the world. In the 1990s, that seemed more possible than ever before. Countries across the planet were moving toward the American way. The Gulf War seemed to mark a new milestone for world order, in that it was prosecuted to uphold a norm legitimized by international law. [2]

The American way, world order, norms and international law: this is how these layers fondly recall a mass slaughter.

Zakaria pays special tribute to the individual who popularized the concept of the "unipolar moment," the extreme right-wing columnist Charles Krauthammer, who wrote an article with that title, also in Foreign Affairs , in 1991. He promoted an unvarnished perspective of the unilateral use of US military aggression to assert the dominance of American capitalism around the globe.

Our best hope for safety in such times is in American strength and will to lead a unipolar world, unashamedly laying down the rules of world order and being prepared to enforce them," he wrote.

He went on to present the pretext for the next major US war: "There is no alternative to confronting, deterring and, if necessary, disarming states that brandish and use weapons of mass destruction. And there is no one to do that but the United States."

He further insisted that if US imperialism proved unable to maintain its unipolar moment it would be "not for foreign but for domestic reasons. ... stagnant productivity, declining work habits, rising demand for welfare state entitlements and new taste for ecological luxuries." He charged that while "defense spending declined, domestic entitlements nearly doubled." And, above all, he blamed "America's insatiable desire for yet higher standards of living without paying any of the cost." [3]

This, after a decade of unrelenting attacks on working class living standards in the wake of the breaking of the 1981 PATCO strike. The message was clear: imperialist war abroad had to be accompanied by an intensification of social counterrevolution and class war in the US itself.

Bush himself, in the run-up to the Gulf War, proclaimed that the unleashing of US military power, against a relatively defenseless oppressed country, would inaugurate a "New World Order."

The content of this "new world order" was never explained. The only thing that was clear was that the old world order had broken down and what was to replace it, in the first instance, was an eruption of US military violence.

The catastrophic breakdown of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union -- celebrated by facile bourgeois intellectuals as the "end of history" and the "triumph of capitalism" -- had removed a key prop of the old post-World War II order. Moreover, the very same forces of globalization of capitalist production and technological development that had fatally undermined the autarchic Stalinist economies were driving the entire world capitalist order into profound crisis.

... ... ...

It justified this threat on the basis of the "overwhelming dependence of Western nations on vital oil supplies from the Middle East." Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, introduced the "Reagan corollary," vowing that the US would defend these vital oil interests against internal threats to stability as well.

The US government deliberately manufactured the pretext for its military intervention in the Persian Gulf. Tensions between Iraq and Kuwait had been growing since the end of the Iran-Iraq war, in which Washington had provided significant aid to the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Kuwait's lowering of oil prices and its demand for debt payments had further undermined an Iraqi economy that had been battered by the war, while Baghdad claimed that Kuwait was carrying out slant drilling into Iraq's Rumaila oil field, on the border between the two countries.

The US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, used a meeting on July 25, 1990 -- just weeks before Bush was to announce his "line in the sand" and launch the drive to war -- to assure Saddam Hussein of US friendship and sympathy, while telling him that Washington had "no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait."

The trap having been laid, Saddam Hussein, driven by desperation over the mounting economic and social crisis in Iraq, quickly walked into it.

Like every US imperialist war waged in the name of liberation and democracy, the Gulf War was based on deception and lies.

The attempt was made to equate Saddam Hussein, whom Washington had only recently courted as an ally, with Adolf Hitler. This demonization would become a standard feature of every succeeding US war. It had, in fact, been used in what amounted to a dress rehearsal for the Gulf War, less than two years earlier. In preparing the invasion of Panama, the US State Department compared the involvement in the drug trade of Manuel Noriega -- a longtime CIA asset -- with Hitler's invasion of Poland.

A massive propaganda campaign was waged to sway US public opinion toward support for the Gulf war. This infamously included the testimony given by a 15-year-old girl to Congress, in which she tearfully recounted seeing armed Iraqi troops invading a hospital to steal incubators, throwing babies onto the floor to die. Only later was it revealed that the story was a complete fabrication. The girl had not been in Kuwait before, during or after the Iraqi invasion. She was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington and a member of the royal family, sent to read a script written by a major US PR firm.

Finally, Bush justified military intervention by claiming an imminent threat posed by Iraq's massing of 120,000 troops on Saudi Arabia's border. Satellite images subsequently revealed that there was nothing on the Kuwait-Saudi border but desert sand.

A critically important part of the report to the Special Congress of the Workers League in 1990 was the clarification of our attitude toward Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Initial responses within the International Committee had included its condemnation as an "act of aggression" by the British section, in an initial article published in its newspaper. On the other hand, there was a suggestion from within the Australian section, that we support the annexation of Kuwait as a "small step" in advancing "the unfulfilled national and democratic tasks of the Arab revolution."

The report made clear that we had no reason to condemn Iraqi aggression. Given the economic warfare waged by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia against Iraq in the run-up to the invasion, our concern was not who fired the first shot. Moreover, to take such a position would be to support the territorial integrity of Kuwait, a Sheikdom created by British imperialism, carved out of the southern Iraqi province of Basra, as a means of better dominating the Arabian Peninsula. The same is the case with virtually all the borders drawn by imperialist powers in the Middle East.

At the same time, in response to the suggestion from a member of the Australian section that we support Kuwait's annexation, it affirmed:

To attribute any progressive role to Hussein's invasion would lead the ICFI in a false direction and undermine the theoretical and political gains that have been made since 1985, in our collective struggle against the WRP's betrayal of the program of world socialist revolution.

Of course, this refers to the struggle waged against the Workers Revolutionary Party's abandonment of the Theory of Permanent Revolution, particularly in relation to its opportunist relations with various Arab regimes, systematically subordinating the independent struggle of the working class to the supposedly anti-imperialist stance of one or another bourgeois nationalist leader.

... ... ...

The US launched the Gulf War on January 16, 1991. Operation Desert Storm, as it was dubbed, consisted mainly of one of the most intensive air bombardments in military history. Eighty-eight thousand tons of munitions were dropped on Iraq in the course of just 42 days. This is roughly equivalent to one-fourth of the total bomb tonnage dropped on Germany during the entire Second World War. The Iraqi casualty totals were estimated at 135,000. Much of Iraq's conscript army was wiped out, with soldiers incinerated from the air or buried alive in their trenches. Hundreds of thousands more Iraqis, of course, died as a result of the systematic destruction of the country's infrastructure.

On the so-called Highway of Death, the US launched wave after wave of bombings against a defenseless, miles-long column of vehicles, carrying Iraqi troops as well as civilians withdrawing from Kuwait on the orders of the Hussein government, which announced that it was complying with a UN Resolution demanding the withdrawal.

As we stated in response to this war crime:

The US war against Iraq is among the most terrible crimes of the twentieth century, a slaughter that future generations will look back on with shame. It has demonstrated that the ruling class of so-called democratic America is just as capable of mass murder as the Nazis. [4]

The Wall Street Journal responded to the Gulf War with an editorial that stated:

For America's ruling elite, long at each other's throats, the path should be clearer now to reforming a working consensus about the US's world role. Some of the policy-making world's most divisive issues now look settled. Force is a legitimate tool of policy; it works. For the elites themselves, the message is America can lead, stop whining, think more boldly. Starting now. [5]

We understood this editorial, by the mouthpiece of US finance capital, as an accurate reflection of the pathological triumphalism prevailing within the American bourgeoisie.

The 11th Plenum of the International Committee was held on March 5, 1991, less than a week after the end of the Gulf War. Its opening report stated:

The American bourgeoisie is serving notice that American imperialism will seek through force to overcome problems arising from the protracted economic decline of the US. For all the problems of American capitalism -- the decay of its industrial base, the loss of its overseas markets, the massive trade deficits and budget deficits, the collapse of its banking system, the gangrenous growth of social ills -- the bourgeoisie believes it has found an answer: Force!

The report quotes the extremely relevant passage from Anti-Dühring , written 113 years earlier, in which Engels delivered a Marxist response to Dühring's claim that force was the decisive element in history:

...its own productive forces have grown beyond its control and, as if necessitated by a law of nature, are driving the whole of bourgeois society towards ruin, or revolution. And if the bourgeoisie now make their appeal to force in order to save the collapsing "economic situation" from the final crash, this only shows that they are laboring under the same delusion as Herr Dühring: the delusion that "political conditions are the decisive cause of the economic situation"; this only shows that they imagine, just as Herr Dühring does, that by making use of "the primary," "the direct political force," they can remodel those "facts of the second order," the economic situation and its inevitable development; and that therefore the economic consequences of the steam-engine and the modern machinery driven by it, of world trade and the banking and credit developments of the present day, can be blown out of existence by them with Krupp guns and Mauser rifles. [6]

Substitute computerization for the steam engine and smart bombs and cruise missiles for Krupp guns and Mausers and this statement stands as a fitting refutation of the triumphalist rantings of the US ruling class in the wake of the Gulf War.

... ... ...

Moreover, in the context of the Gulf War, the call for revolutionary defeatism from the standpoint of fighting the US military to the last Iraqi was senseless and reactionary. The military balance of forces was such that -- outside of the revolutionary mobilization of the masses of the Middle East and the working class in the US and beyond -- the military victory of the US was virtually assured. More fundamentally, it betrayed a complete disdain for and hostility to the fight against war based upon the struggle of the working class. It was entirely bound up with the Pabloite perspective that one or another form of "armed struggle," waged by non-proletarian forces, was the substitute for the revolutionary mobilization of the working class internationally, and particularly in the advanced capitalist countries.

The most decisive response of the ICFI to the Gulf War, US imperialism's "unipolar moment" and the march toward the restoration of capitalism and dissolution of the USSR, was the calling of the Berlin Conference against imperialist war and colonialism.

... ... ...

The war ushered in a period of capitalist disequilibrium that would last for three decades, dominated by capitalist crisis and overshadowed by the successful October 1917 Revolution in Russia, calling into question the very survival of the capitalist order.

The absence, however, of revolutionary parties -- particularly in Europe -- on a par with the Bolsheviks in Russia, allowed the bourgeoisie to defeat a series of revolutionary struggles. But they were unable to create a new equilibrium to replace what was shattered by 1914.

The rise of the bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, led by Stalin, and the terrible degeneration of the Communist International as it was subordinated to the Stalinist theory of "socialism in one country" and Moscow's maneuvers with imperialism, led to a series of catastrophic defeats, above all in Germany. The coming to power of the Nazis in 1933, without a shot being fired, exposed the counterrevolutionary character of Stalinism, leading Trotsky to found the Fourth International.

The document establishes that the ability of the bourgeoisie to achieve a new equilibrium in the aftermath of World War II, which they could not do following World War I, was based not merely on the rise of US imperialism as a hegemonic power, but also the indispensable role of Stalinism. It opposed and sabotaged the revolutionary struggles of the working class in the aftermath of the war, particularly in Italy, France and Greece. In Eastern Europe, its establishment of so-called buffer states served not only to suppress the working class and any genuine struggle for socialism, but also to pacify a fractious region that had been a source of European instability since the dawn of the 20th century.

The equilibrium established at the end of World War II, however, as the document makes clear, was mined with its own contradictions. Its revival of world trade and rebuilding of capitalism in Europe and Japan led to the gradual decline of US hegemony, leading to mounting US deficits which, by 1985, had transformed America into a debtor nation.

Turning to the crisis in the United States, the manifesto sketches out a portrait that seems altogether contemporary:

Not a single significant piece of social legislation has passed through Congress in more than two decades [now we can say five decades ]. Massive budget cuts have destroyed what remains of the old social programs. The crime statistics are merely the most obvious symptoms of the malignant state of social relations. Amidst rapidly growing unemployment and, for those who still have jobs, declining wages, the state of education, housing and medical care is nothing less than catastrophic.

A third of the population is functionally illiterate. Not even the mass media can avoid reporting on a daily basis some of the more spectacular 'horror stories' of lives destroyed by the impact of the social crisis: homeless people freezing in cardboard boxes, cancer victims being denied treatment because they have no medical insurance and unemployed workers and their families committing suicide. [10]

... ... ...

The manifesto warned that these conflicts were being manipulated and exploited by the imperialist powers, while capitalism sought to divert popular indignation over social inequality into the blind alley of national and ethnic conflict.

The ability of reactionary petty-bourgeois demagogues to agitate for communal violence it said, "is to be attributed not to the intellectual and moral power of nationalism, but to the political vacuum left by the prostration of the traditional organizations of the working class, which offer no way out of the crisis of the capitalist system."

Between the calling of the conference on May 1, 1991 and its convening on November 16, events moved very rapidly, with Croatia and Slovenia both declaring their independence on June 25 of that year. Macedonia followed suit soon after, and the republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina began its fragmentation into warring ethnic cantons. Armed clashes had broken out, particularly around the coastal city of Dubrovnik.

US Army combat engineer vehicle demolishes a Bosnian Serb bunker near Dubrave, January 1996

The promotion of virulent ethno-chauvinism and national separatism was led by former bureaucrats of Yugoslavia's ruling League of Communists. They sought, on the one hand, to divide and suppress the Yugoslav working class, which had carried out a wave of mass strikes against the austerity measures imposed by the IMF as part of capitalist restoration. On the other, they were driven to carve out ethnic states in order to forge their own independent relations with imperialism as a new ruling class of comprador capitalists.

In his report to the conference, comrade North pointed to the attitude adopted by the Pabloite leader Ernest Mandel, who advocated unconditional support for the self-determination of Croatia, regardless of the character of the regime. Mandel moreover issued a call for direct imperialist intervention, denouncing Serbian chauvinism, while turning a blind eye to Croatian chauvinism.

This position dovetailed neatly with that of German imperialism, which was backing Croatian and Slovenian independence as part of a post-reunification reassertion of its power in Europe. German imperialism was returning to the scenes of its crimes in 1914 and 1941, unilaterally defying the United States, the United Nations and the European Commission.

The Berlin conference adopted a resolution titled "On the Defense of the Working Class in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union" which stated the following:

Everywhere rival capitalist cliques are stirring up nationalism and chauvinism, in order to incite the workers against each other and to preempt an uprising against the old and new oppressors. The bloodbath in Yugoslavia is a result of these policies. This war has nothing to do with the right of nations to self-determination. Serbian and Croatian nationalists are merely fighting to secure for themselves a larger portion of the exploitation of the working class. [19]

The history of Yugoslavia, its rise and fall, could be the subject for an entire school, as could the national question and the slogan of "self-determination." Clearly that cannot be accomplished in this lecture.

... ... ...

Not only the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the breakup of Yugoslavia, but more fundamentally, the development of capitalist globalization, gave rise to a new type of nationalist movement, seeking the dismemberment of existing states -- including those that emerged out of the previous national struggles against colonialism -- to further the interests of rival bourgeois factions in establishing the most advantageous relations to imperialism and transnational capital.

This was patently the case in Yugoslavia, where the first impulse to break up the existing federation came from Slovenia and Croatia, the wealthiest regions of the country, where local ruling elites calculated that they could fare better by breaking with the poorer republics and establishing their own independent ties to European governments, banks and corporations.

Similar considerations have motivated a whole series of national separatist movements, including in Europe, in the cases of the right-wing Northern League in Italy and Catalan nationalism in Spain.

... ... ...

In conclusion: the so-called "Unipolar Moment" of 1990 and 1991, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the launching of the Gulf War, marked the collapse of the post-World War II equilibrium, established on the basis of the hegemony of American capitalism and the collaboration of the Moscow Stalinist bureaucracy. It signaled the beginning of a new period of uninterrupted war, the growth of inter-imperialist rivalries, and inevitably, a global rise in the class struggle and socialist revolution.

... .. ...

Footnotes:

[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 10, 2019] It s all about Gene Sharp and seeping neoliberal regime change using Western logistical support, money, NGO and intelligence agencies and MSM as the leverage

Highly recommended!
What democracy they are talking about? Democracy for whom? This Harvard political prostitutes are talking about democracy for oligarchs which was the nest result of EuroMaydan and the ability of Western companies to buy assets for pennies on the dollar without the control of national government like happen in xUSSR space after dissolution of the USSR, which in retrospect can be classified as a color revolution too, supported by financial injection, logistical support and propaganda campaign in major Western MSM.
What Harvard honchos probably does not understand or does not wish to understand is that neoliberalism as a social system lost its attraction and is in irreversible decline. The ideology of neoliberalism collapsed much like Bolsheviks' ideology. As Politician like Joe Boden which still preach neoliberalism are widely viewed as corrupt or senile (or both) hypocrites.
The "Collective West" still demonstrates formidable intelligence agencies skills (especially the USA and GB), but the key question is: "What they are fighting for?"
They are fighting for neoliberalism which is a lost case. Which looks like KGB successes after WWIII. They won many battles and lost the Cold war.
Not that Bolsheviks in the USSR was healthy or vibrant. Economics was a deep stagnation, alcoholism among working class was rampant, the standard of living of the majority of population slides each year, much like is the case with neoliberalism after, say, 1991. Hidden unemployment in the USSR was high -- at least in high teens if not higher. Like in the USA now good jobs were almost impossible to obtain without "extra help". Medical services while free were dismal, especially dental -- which were horrible. Hospitals were poor as church rats as most money went to MIC. Actually, like in the USA now, MIC helped to strangulate the economy and contributed to the collapse. It was co a corrupt and decaying , led by completely degenerated leadership. To put the person of the level of Gorbachov level of political talent lead such a huge and complex country was an obvious suicide.
But the facts speak for themselves: what people usually get as the result of any color revolution is the typical for any county which lost the war: dramatic drop of the standard of living due to economic rape of the country.
While far form being perfect the Chinese regime at least managed to lift the standard of living of the majority of the population and provide employment. After regime change China will experience the same economic rape as the USSR under Yeltsin regime. So in no way Hong Cong revolution can be viewed a progressive phenomenon despite all the warts of neoliberalism with Chenese characteristics in mainland China (actually this is a variant of NEP that Gorbachov tried to implement in the USSR, but was to politically incompetent to succeed)
Aug 31, 2019 | Chris Fraser @ChrisFraser_HKU • Aug 27 \z

Replying to @edennnnnn_ @AMFChina @lihkg_forum

A related resource that deserves wide circulation:

Why nonviolent resistance beats violent force in effecting social, political change – Harvard Gazette

CHENOWETH: I think it really boils down to four different things. The first is a large and diverse participation that's sustained.

The second thing is that [the movement] needs to elicit loyalty shifts among security forces in particular, but also other elites. Security forces are important because they ultimately are the agents of repression, and their actions largely decide how violent the confrontation with -- and reaction to -- the nonviolent campaign is going to be in the end. But there are other security elites, economic and business elites, state media. There are lots of different pillars that support the status quo, and if they can be disrupted or coerced into noncooperation, then that's a decisive factor.

The third thing is that the campaigns need to be able to have more than just protests; there needs to be a lot of variation in the methods they use.

The fourth thing is that when campaigns are repressed -- which is basically inevitable for those calling for major changes -- they don't either descend into chaos or opt for using violence themselves. If campaigns allow their repression to throw the movement into total disarray or they use it as a pretext to militarize their campaign, then they're essentially co-signing what the regime wants -- for the resisters to play on its own playing field. And they're probably going to get totally crushed.

Wai Sing-Rin @waisingrin • Aug 27

Replying to @ChrisFraser_HKU @edennnnnn_ and 2 others

Anyone who watched the lone frontliner (w translator) sees the frontliners are headed for disaster. They're fighting just to fight with no plans nor objectives.
They see themselves as heroes protecting the HK they love. No doubt their sincerity, but there are 300 of them left.

[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.