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Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the Economic Rape of Russia

Chronicles of Harvard University Russian Economic Team Scam and Deep Corruption of Academic Economics

News Recommended books Recommended Links Casino capitalism Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists Cargo Cult Science
Disaster capitalism Predator state Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Greece debt enslavement Ukraine debt enslavement Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite
Rubin Larry Summers Shleifer Jeffrey Sachs William Browder and Magnitsky Act Jonathan Hay Anders Åslund
 Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"  Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime The Grand Chessboard Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
The Rape of Russia, Testimony of Anne Williamson Critique of neoclassical economics Is neoclassical economics a mafia Lysenkoism Deception Humor Etc
I liked it when he said, "These cases are complicated and difficult to prosecute, but if you're serious about doing them, you can." Doesn't that describe the situation perfectly? It can be done if we set our minds to it. We need to get started and make that happen.

Comment to 'inside job' (Yahoo! Finance)

Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.

-- Napoleon Bonaparte

The modern power elites thrive by forgetting any regrettable past. This amnesia is easy at Harvard, where the legal fiduciaries operate in secret and need not answer for their acts. They are the antipodes of the selfless institutional servants who built Harvard and other great American enterprises, and they bear close watching.

(Harry R. Lewis Larry Summers, Robert Rubin Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country)

"It's a mafia," he says quietly...

Hip Heterodoxy by Christopher Hayes


Introduction

Under supervision of Harvard mafia  Russian economy has all but collapsed, the class of oligarchs emerged, population standard of living slided to Central African levels and its infrastructure and key assets were looted at bargain basement prices.

A interesting rogues’ gallery of international financial criminals with high academic degrees who got their education in Harvard (Harvard mafia in a broad sense) owes its existence to the dissolution of the USSR and subsequent financial crisis. The level of corruption and rent seeking behaviors of those individuals is really breathtaking. The term "mafia" is not rhetorical overshoot: they are mafia in a very precise meaning of this word: the mafia at its core is about one thing -- money (see also Russian board game Mafia). Like in a typical Mafioso family there is an ethnic core and a hierarchy, with higher-ranking members making decisions that trickle down to the other members of the family. And its policies are always about oppression, arrogance, greed, self-enrichment, power and hegemony above and against all others.

The story of Andrei Shleifer in Russia is a classic story of "academic extortion": betrayal of trust and academic principles by Harvard professor of economics (probably not without the influence of his wife, hedge fund manager Nancy Zimmerman, longtime friend of Larry Summers). While the guy was just a pawn in a big game, the issues of criminality of economists (and some universities economics departments ;-) and relevance of RICO statute against such offences is a much bigger issue.

Under RICO, a person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity." RICO also permits a private individual harmed by the actions of such an enterprise to file a civil suit; if successful, the individual can collect treble damages.

... ... ...

On March 29, 1989, financier Michael Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud relating to an investigation into insider trading and other offenses. Milken was accused of using a wide-ranging network of contacts to manipulate stock and bond prices. It was one of the first occasions that a RICO indictment was brought against an individual with no ties to organized crime. Milken pled guilty to six lesser offenses rather than face spending the rest of his life in prison.

There is a disturbingly deep analogy between Harvard University (which had been benevolently charged with just breach of contract by the US government) and Michel Milken activities. Separately Shleifer and  another Harvard mafia associate, Jonathan Hay, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. As a slap on the wrist  Shleifer was stripped of honorary title "Whipple V.N. Jones Professor of Economics" due to "ethics violation", but he managed to preserve his position at the university due to Summers protection (Larry Summers A Suicidal Choice - Mark Ames).

How close were Larry Summers and Andrei Schleifer? According to former Boston Globe economics correspondent David Warsh, Summers and Schleifer “were among each other’s best friends,” and Summers taught Schleifer “as an undergraduate, sent him on to MIT for his PhD, took him along on an advisory mission to Lithuania in 1990, and in 1991, shepherded his return to Harvard as full professor, where he was regarded, after Martin Feldstein and Summers, as the leader of the next generation.”

The furor about Andrei Shleifer shadow dealings in Russia contributed to the ouster of Summers from the Harvard presidency. It also exposed sad fact that neoclassic economics represents a dangerous sect which if not exactly mafia is pretty much borderline phenomenon. Somewhat similar with Lysenkoism

Academic Mafiosi as a Social Class

The cynical view is that "Rape of Russia" was a Mafiosi style operation, which was conducted using s Trojan horses special class of Mafiosi, academic economics. This might well have been the intent (in best "disaster capitalism" style of thinking). Instead of helping post-Soviet nations develop self-reliant economies, writes Marshall Auerback,

“the West has viewed them as economic oysters to be broken up to indebt them in order to extract interest charges and capital gains, leaving them empty shells.”

Corruption and local oligarchy were natural allies of this process which was, in essence, the process of Latin-Americanization of post Soviet space. And off-shore safe heavens were the tool. They partially failed in Russia as some of the most notorious deals of this periods (especially in mineral recourses and oil areas) were reversed in 2000-2008, but were quite successful in Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia and several other post Soviet republics. The external debt of those is just staggering. As Professor Michael Hudson noted:

It may be time to look once again at what Larry Summers and his Rubinomics gang did in Russia in the mid-1990s and to Third World countries during his tenure as World Bank economist to see what kind of future is being planned for the U.S. economy over the next few years.

Throughout the Soviet Union the neoliberal model established “equilibrium” in a way that involved demographic collapse: shortening life spans, lower birth rates, alcoholism and drug abuse, psychological depression, suicides, bad health, unemployment and homelessness for the elderly (the neoliberal mode of Social Security reform).

Here is one apt comment about the real nature of economic professors from Harvard and other nice places from the comments to post Economists Fall Back Into Neoclassical Stupor …( naked capitalism. January 18, 2011):

Hugh:

I echo lambert’s and scraping by’s sentiments. The economics profession is not about an analysis of our economy that can make reasonable predictions about it. Economics and economists are enablers of the con and validators of kleptocracy. They say the many must make do with less and do not say that the result of this policy will be the few will have more.

These are not innocent, unworldly types tied to outdated and obsolete ideas. They are abettors and apologists for the greatest economic crimes in human history. We should call and treat them for what they are: criminals. Kleptocracy is not a some time thing. It is not a label you apply occasionally. Kleptocracy is a system. The looters can’t function without corrupt politicians, a complacent propagandizing media, or complicit enabling academics. With kleptocracy, there is no middle ground. You either stand with the looters or their victims. I think this is the critical choice we all must make.

Another pretty telling quote ( from brilliant satire Blacklisted Economics Professor Found Dead NC Publishes His Last Letter « naked capitalism):

Q: Is it really plausible that economists threaten top banks that in the absence of some kind of payoff, they will change the theories they teach in a direction that is less favorable to the banks?

A: There are certainly cases in history of the following sequence:

a. Economist E espouses views that are less favorable to certain special interest groups S. Doing so threatens the ability of S to extract rent from the public.
b. Later, E changes his view, thereby withdrawing the prior threat.
c. Still later, E is paid large amounts of money by representatives of S in exchange for services that do not appear particularly onerous.

For example, let E = Larry Summers and let S = the financial services industry. In 1989 E was (a) a supporter of the Tobin tax, which threatened to reduce the rent extracted by S. This threat was apparently later withdrawn (b), and in 2008 E was paid $5.2 million (c) in exchange for working at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw (an element of S) for one day a week.

However, it is naturally more difficult to witness the negotiations in which specific threats were appeased with specific future payouts. This is a problem that also bedevils Public Choice theory, in which it is likewise difficult to show exactly how a particular politician is remunerated in exchange for threatening businesses with anti-business legislation. The theory assures us that such negotiations occur, although they are difficult to observe directly. Perhaps further theoretical advances will help us to close this gap.

Q: Isn’t it offensive to assume that economists, for motives of personal gain, shade their theoretical allegiances in the directions preferred by powerful interest groups?

A: How could it ever be offensive to assume that a person acts rationally in pursuit of maximizing his or her own utility? I’m afraid I don’t understand this question.

Academic Mafiosi as Byproduct and Simultaneously Enablers of Neoliberalism

Disappearance of a formidable opponent of unrestricted looting of developing countries that USSR formally represented on the the world scene essentially released all moral stops and considerations both inside the USA and outside. The triumph of neoliberalism

And former USSR republics were the first victims of new super-aggressive neoliberal "new normal". Despite crocodile tears about corruption, our world is being reshaped, in sinister fashion, by wide open capital markets and an international banking network that exists to launder hundreds of billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains stolen by government officials and oligarchs in "weaker" countries. In other words, corruption is an immanent feature and principal tool of neoliberalism in developing countries and xUSSR area.

Under pretext of showing the Russians how to convert command type economy to neoliberal model, and how to controls corruption, the gang-style rape of the country was inflicted on its unsuspecting citizens with poverty raising from 2% to 40% of the population. World have witnessed Russia losing half of its total output, plunging it into a depression deeper than the U.S. Great Depression. Please read Anne Williamson’s testimony. Here is one quote:

From the perspective of the many millions of her children, Mother Russia in late 1991 was like an old woman, skirts yanked above her waist, who had been abandoned flat on her back at a muddy crossroads, the object of others’ scorn, greed and unseemly curiosity. It is the Russian people who kept their wits about them, helped her to her feet, dusted her off, straightened her clothing, righted her head scarf and it is they who can restore her dignity – not Boris Yeltsin, not Anatole Chubais, not Boris Berezovsky nor any of the other aspirants to power. And it is the Russian people – their abilities, efforts and dreams – which comprise the Russian economy, not those of Vladimir Potanin or Viktor Chernomyrdin or Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Vladimir Gusinsky. And that is where we should have placed our bet – on the Russian people – and our stake should have been the decency, the common sense and abilities of our own citizens realized not through multilateral lending but through the use of tax credits for direct investment in the Russian economy and the training of Russian workers on 6-month to one year stints at the U.S. offices of American firms in conjunction with the elimination of U.S. tariffs on Russian goods.

The collapse of the USSR was by-and-large caused by internal problems and betrayal of nomenklatura which quickly understood that new neoliberal regime is more profitable for them that command-style economy (although role of financed by West wave of nationalism and West imposed technological isolation should not be underestimated). BTW this myth that Reagan administration won the Cold War is still current.

Economic rape of post USSR economic space was by design not by accident

After the dissolution of the USA, there was a vacuum of ideology in Russia and it was successfully filled with Harvard promoted neoliberalism and associated neo-classical economics. This was a powerful fifths column, oriented on helping the West to extract as much wealth from Russia as possible was created. The USA essentially forced Russians into so called shock therapy using Harvard academic mafia (plan was authored by Jeffrey Sachs who was lecturer at Harvard and implemented by Larry Summers protégé, Russian émigré Shleifer and several other Harvard academic brats with a couple of British poodles to make the gang international) and internal compradors in Yelstin government as fifth column. As a result poverty level jumped from 2% to 40%. Everything that can be stolen, was stolen by implementation of rapid privatization policy. During the heydays of corrupt Yeltsin regime implementation of shock therapy GDP dropped 50%. Suicide rate doubled, life expectancy for males dropped below 60 years (12,8% death rate increase), homeless children which were unknown in the USSR became mass feature of new social order.

The key seller of shock therapy was about Harvard Mafiosi, Professor Jeffrey Sachs who was a prominent neoliberal who because his role in destruction of Russian economics, contributed to immense sufferings in Bolivia, Chili, Poland and several other countries.

Instead of something like Marshall plan, a merciless ands unlawful grab of capital and national resources was successfully implemented in less then five year period after the dissolution. This was an amazingly greedy and short-sited policy by Clinton administration. To rephrase Talleyrand, it was worse then a crime, it was a blunder. As Otto von Bismarck advised long ago:

Do not expect that once taken advantage of Russia's weakness, you will receive dividends forever. Russian always come for their money. And when they come - do not rely on the Jesuit agreement you signed, you are supposed to justify. They are not worth the paper it is written. Therefore, with the Russian stands or play fair, or no play.

Let's hope that the USA will be protected by Providence from the consequences of this blunder because as Otto von Bismarck suggested "There is a providence to that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America". Otherwise, the level of anger felt by wide strata of Russian people (almost everybody outside of fifth column) can materialize into something really tragic. In Russian history, a generation that has taken a beating is often followed by a generation that deals one. In a way Putin is already a certain punishment, but the possibility of coming to power a real Russian nationalist instead of "resource nationalist" is not out the realm of possibilities ;-)

There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/o/otto_von_bismarck.html#qr2ARypLke5VpwQb.99

Now Professor Jeffrey Sachs repainted himself from a sharky promoted of "shock therapy" into the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Here is an apt comment about this member of Harvard mafia ( NYT, 2009)

Arsen Azizyan

I grew up cold and hungry in the former Soviet republic of Armenia during the shock therapy years of the 90′s; my grandfather was one of the 3 million who died prematurely during those days (incorrect medication and power outages did him in).

I would very much like to tie Mr. Jeffrey Sachs to a chair and slowly force-feed him every worthless page of every idiotic policy paper he’s ever written. I believe that would justly mirror the diet that I had to subsist on for a number of years during my childhood and adolescence.

He still insists that Yeltsin, rather than his American advisors, was responsible for the fact that the privatization policy amounted in practice to the theft by a handful of favored apparatchiks of the industries previously ran – in its own inimitably corrupt fashion – by the state. As former World Bank economist David Ellerman noted it was the speed of the privatization which made such an outcome inevitable stating that

“Only the mixture of American triumphalism and academic arrogance could have produced such a lethal dose of gall.”

Janine R. Wedel in The Harvard Boys Do Russia (The Nation, May 14, 1998) wrote the following about extremely damaging for the USA (in a long run) and Russia (forever) policies Harvard mafia pursued:

"After seven years of economic "reform" financed by billions of dollars in U.S. and other Western aid, subsidized loans and rescheduled debt, the majority of Russian people find themselves worse off economically. The privatization drive that was supposed to reap the fruits of the free market instead helped to create a system of tycoon capitalism run for the benefit of a corrupt political oligarchy that has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of Western aid and plundered Russia's wealth. The architect of privatization was former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, a darling of the U.S. and Western financial establishments. Chubais's drastic and corrupt stewardship made him extremely unpopular. According to The New York Times, he "may be the most despised man in Russia." Essential to the implementation of Chubais's policies was the enthusiastic support of the Clinton Administration and its key representative for economic assistance in Moscow, the Harvard Institute for International Development. Using the prestige of Harvard's name and connections in the Administration, H.I.I.D. officials acquired virtual carte blanche over the U.S. economic aid program to Russia, with minimal oversight by the government agencies involved. With this access and their close alliance with Chubais and his circle, they allegedly profited on the side. Yet few Americans are aware of H.I.I.D.'s role in Russian privatization, and its suspected misuse of taxpayers' funds.

At the recent U.S.-Russian Investment Symposium at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow, made what might have seemed to many an impolite reference to his hosts. After castigating Chubais and his monetarist policies, Luzhkov, according to a report of the event, "singled out Harvard for the harm inflicted on the Russian economy by its advisers, who encouraged Chubais's misguided approach to privatization and monetarism." Luzhkov was referring to H.I.I.D. Chubais, who was delegated vast powers over the economy by Boris Yeltsin, was ousted in Yeltsin's March purge, but in May he was given an immensely lucrative post as head of Unified Energy System, the country's electricity monopoly.

Some of the main actors with Harvard's Russia project have yet to face a reckoning, but this may change if a current investigation by the U.S. government results in prosecutions. The activities of H.I.I.D. in Russia provide some cautionary lessons on abuse of trust by supposedly disinterested foreign advisers, on U.S. arrogance and on the entire policy of support for a single Russian group of so-called reformers. The H.I.I.D. story is a familiar one in the ongoing saga of U.S. foreign policy disasters created by those said to be our "best and brightest." Through the late summer and fall of 1991, as the Soviet state fell apart, Harvard Professor Jeffrey Sachs and other Western economists participated in meetings at a dacha outside Moscow where young, pro-Yeltsin reformers planned Russia's economic and political future. Sachs teamed up with Yegor Gaidar, Yeltsin's first architect of economic reform, to promote a plan of "shock therapy" to swiftly eliminate most of the price controls and subsidies that had underpinned life for Soviet citizens for decades. Shock therapy produced more shock--not least, hyperinflation that hit 2,500 percent--than therapy.

One result was the evaporation of much potential investment capital: the substantial savings of Russians. By November 1992, Gaidar was under attack for his failed policies and was soon pushed aside ...

I.I.D. had supporters high in the Administration. One was Lawrence Summers, himself a former Harvard economics professor, whom Clinton named Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in 1993. Summers, now Deputy Treasury Secretary, had longstanding ties to the principals of Harvard's project in Russia and its later project in Ukraine. Summers hired a Harvard Ph.D., David Lipton (who had been vice president of Jeffrey D. Sachs and Associates, a consulting firm), to be Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. After Summers was promoted to Deputy Secretary, Lipton moved into Summers's old job, assuming "broad responsibility" for all aspects of international economic policy development. Lipton co-wrote numerous papers with Sachs and served with him on consulting missions in Poland and Russia. "Jeff and David always came [to Russia] together," said a Russian representative at the International Monetary Fund. "They were like an inseparable couple." Sachs, who was named director of H.I.I.D. in 1995, lobbied for and received U.S.A.I.D. grants for the institute to work in Ukraine in 1996 and 1997 ...

Andrei Shleifer, a Russian-born emigre and already a tenured professor of economics at Harvard in his early 30s, became director of H.I.I.D.'s Russia project. Shleifer was also a protege of Summers, with whom he received at least one foundation grant ...

Another Harvard player was a former World Bank consultant named Jonathan Hay, a Rhodes scholar who had attended Moscow's Pushkin Institute for Russian Language. In 1991, while still at Harvard Law School, he had become a senior legal adviser to the G.K.I., the Russian state's new privatization committee; the following year he was made H.I.I.D.'s general director in Moscow. The youthful Hay assumed vast powers over contractors, policies and program specifics; he not only controlled access to the Chubais circle but served as its mouthpiece ...

With help from his H.I.I.D. advisers and other Westerners, Chubais and his cronies set up a network of aid-funded "private" organizations that enabled them to bypass legitimate government agencies and circumvent the new parliament of the Russian Federation, the Duma.

Through this network, two of Chubais's associates, Maxim Boycko (who co-wrote Privatizing Russia with Shleifer) and Dmitry Vasiliev, oversaw almost a third of a billion dollars in aid money and millions more in loans from international financial institutions ...

The device of setting up private organizations backed by the power of the Yeltsin government and maintaining close ties to H.I.I.D. was a way of insuring deniability. Shleifer, Hay and other Harvard principals, all U.S. citizens, were "Russian" when convenient. Hay, for example, served alternately and sometimes simultaneously as aid contractor, manager of other contractors and representative of the Russian government ... Against the backdrop of Russia's Klondike capitalism, which they were helping create and Chubais and his team were supposedly regulating, the H.I.I.D. advisers exploited their intimate ties with Chubais and the government and were allegedly able to conduct business activities for their own enrichment. According to sources close to the U.S. government's investigation, Hay used his influence, as well as U.S.A.I.D.-financed resources, to help his girlfriend, Elizabeth Hebert, set up a mutual fund, Pallada Asset Management, in Russia ... After Pallada was set up, Hebert, Hay, Shleifer and Vasiliev looked for ways to continue their activities as aid funds dwindled. Using I.L.B.E. resources and funding, they established a private consulting firm with taxpayer money. One of the firm's first clients was Shleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a Boston-based hedge fund that traded heavily in Russian bonds.

According to Russian registration documents, Zimmerman's company set up a Russian firm with Sergei Shishkin, the I.L.B.E. chief, as general director. Corporate documents on file in Moscow showed that the address and phone number of the company and the I.L.B.E. were the same. Then there is the First Russian Specialized Depository, which holds the records and assets of mutual fund investors. This institution, funded by a World Bank loan, also worked to the benefit of Hay, Vasiliev, Hebert and another associate, Julia Zagachin. According to sources close to the U.S. government's investigation, Zagachin, an American married to a Russian, was selected to run the depository even though she lacked the required capital ...

Anne Williamson, a journalist who specializes in Soviet and Russian affairs, details these and other conflicts of interest between H.I.I.D.'s advisers and their supposed clients--the Russian people--in her forthcoming book, How America Built the New Russian Oligarchy. For example, in 1995, in Chubais-organized insider auctions of prime national properties, known as loans-for-shares, the Harvard Management Company (H.M.C.), which invests the university's endowment, and billionaire speculator George Soros were the only foreign entities allowed to participate. H.M.C. and Soros became significant shareholders in Novolipetsk, Russia's second-largest steel mill, and Sidanko Oil, whose reserves exceed those of Mobil. H.M.C. and Soros also invested in Russia's high-yielding, I.M.F.-subsidized domestic bond market.

Even more dubious, according to Williamson, was Soros's July 1997 purchase of 24 percent of Sviazinvest, the telecommunications giant, in partnership with Uneximbank's Vladimir Potanin. It was later learned that shortly before this purchase Soros had tided over Yeltsin's government with a backdoor loan of hundreds of millions of dollars while the government was awaiting proceeds of a Eurobond issue; the loan now appears to have been used by Uneximbank to purchase Norilsk Nickel in August 1997. According to Williamson, the U.S. assistance program in Russia was rife with such conflicts of interest involving H.I.I.D. advisers and their U.S.A.I.D.-funded Chubais allies, H.M.C. managers, favored Russian bankers, Soros and insider expatriates working in Russia's nascent markets ...

Despite exposure of this corruption in the Russian media (and, far more hesitantly, in the U.S. media), the H.I.I.D.-Chubais clique remained until recently the major instrument of U.S. economic aid policy to Russia. It even used the high-level Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, which helped orchestrate the cooperation of U.S.-Russian oil deals and the Mir space station. The commission's now-defunct Capital Markets Forum was chaired on the Russian side by Chubais and Vasiliev, and on the U.S. side by S.E.C. chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

Andrei Shleifer was named special coordinator to all four of the Capital Markets Forum's working subgroups. Hebert, Hay's girlfriend, served on two of the subgroups, as did the C.E.O.s of Salomon Brothers, Merrill Lynch and other powerful Wall Street investment houses. When The Nation contacted the S.E.C. for information about Capital Markets, we were told to call Shleifer for comment. Shleifer, who is under investigation by U.S.A.I.D.'s inspector general for misuse of funds, declined to be interviewed for this article. A U.S. Treasury spokesman said Shleifer and Hebert were appointed to Capital Markets by the Chubais group--specifically, according to other sources, by Dmitry Vasiliev."

Several problems with Harvard academic advisors behavior during Russian privatization program were outlined by Adil Rustomjee (Yale University) in the letter to Johnson’s Russia List :

From: Arustomjee@aol.com (Adil Rustomjee)
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 13:18:14 EDT
Subject: Role of foreign advisers in the Russian Privatization Program.

From: Adil Rustomjee, Yale University, 135 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Email: adil.rustomjee@yale.edu

Dear David,

Many thanks for your superb news service. Johnson's Russia List is fast becoming an excellent resource for those who work, who have worked on, or who just share a fascination with that disturbing country. I am writing this letter to humbly suggest a research topic that should be of great interest to JRLs readers. It is a subject that deserves better treatment than that received to date. The topic itself is the exact role of foreign advisers in the Russian Privatization Program.

It is a marvelous tale waiting to be plainly told. The Russian Privatization Program, despite its subsequent vilification, ranks as one of the great experiments at social engineering in the twentieth century. It attempted an authoritative allocation of property rights - and consequently of power - within society on a scale never attempted before. It is therefore a very significant historical process, more significant in the long reach of events than even Stalin's collectivization campaigns of the 1930s. It deserves its own Robert Conquest.

The process itself went through two distinct phases - the voucher phase, and what for want of a better word, we call the "loans for shares" phase. It is the "loans for shares" phase of the program that has attracted the most attention, primarily because of its spectacular abuse by Russia's oligarchs. The real story is in the first voucher stage of the process and the dubious principles it was based on.

The entire voucher program was a product of foreign economic advice. Consider the basic timeline. The Soviet Union itself was dissolved in December 1991. In June 1992, the crucial document governing the voucher privatization effort came out - the State Privatization Program. This seminal document outlined the basic concepts behind the voucher phase of the program. It also rationalized what became a state sponsored giveaway of Russia's national patrimony to the country's managers. The implementation of the State Privatization Program document took a little over two years. By June 1994, Anatoly Chubias , Russia's privatization chief, was announcing the end of the voucher program. In a scant two years, Russia had gone from a communist country with no private sector, to a country with a private sector - that on paper at least - was larger than Italy's !!! Such progress could never have been possible without substantial foreign economic advice. It is a commonplace that privatization is essentially a "learning by doing" process.

Russia could never have gone through a learning curve in such a short time span. Its reformers basically rubberstamped a scheme conceived by Western economists in the crucial 6 month period between December 1991 and June 1992.

Yet despite this, the precise story of the economists behind the entire effort has not been told. Good attempts have been made by Janine Wedel and Anne Williamson - and I will discuss them later - but from a technical standpoint, the story has yet to be told well.

Who were these advisors and what did they achieve? Three groups of actors may be identified - academic economists, bureaucrats from the World Bank, and Western consulting firms. A close examination of the interaction between these three groups itself will offer interesting insights into the birth and dissemination of ideas. For the major ideas behind the Russian program came from a group of academics - many associated with Harvard. These ideas were picked up in the early years and became established "transition economics" orthodoxy at the World Bank. The substantial implementation of the basic ideas was carried out by consulting firms like the Big Six working (often) on USAID contracts.

This is as it should be. Academia is usually the source of the most original thinking on economics. International bureaucrats - particularly those associated with the World Bank - are surprisingly timid and cautious people. They are institutionally incapable of boldness - and great audacity was called for in the Russia of 1992.

Was this boldness misplaced? I believe it was. A rational examination of the process will, I suspect, lead to a damning indictment of Russia's foreign advisors. They created desolation and called it reform. The defining feature of the program was based on remarkably dubious ideas. Foremost among these was the belief that privatization was a series of payoffs - or bribes, as one of its leading advocates, Harvard's Andrei Shleifer, called it - to various " stakeholders" in the program. Given an uncertain legal environment and some
appropriation of state assets by these stakeholders, - euphemistically referred to as "spontaneous privatization" - , better to legalize what was believed to be a trough feeding frenzy. This was the program's dominant idea.

There is little empirical evidence from the early years about the exact extent of " spontaneous privatization". Anecdotal evidence abounds, especially from many near - hysterical accounts of the early 90s but the actual empirical evidence is slender. The decisions to sell a great nation's patrimony - a one shot historical phenomenon with irreversible long range implications - were basically conceived within a six month time frame by a bunch of frightened foreigners, using dubious assumptions, with little basis in empirical understanding. Astonishing.

The actual privatization was accomplished through basically giving away large segments of Russian assets - and consequently cash flows - to these stakeholders. The most notable insider stakeholders - the managers - ended up the biggest winners. They ended up owning most of Russian industry. This august group, more often than not, makes the Marx Brothers seem like models of German efficiency. For a variety of reasons, insider-owned firms are very inefficient, and indeed a long list of papers from the Bank - Fund complex testifies to this. Consequently, Russia is today reaping the whirlwind of its privatization policy. The long delayed supply-side response of the economy, that is supposed to be led by these insider-owned firms, simply refuses to happen.

To round out this stupidity ( and to make it theoretically neater), the advisors had to deal with the problem of insider ownership. They dealt with it in time honored economist fashion - they assumed it away. This was done by trotting out that most venerable of economic propositions - something called the Coase Theorem. In a series of seminal papers written at Chicago in the thirties, Ronald Coase reached a blindingly obvious conclusion on property rights. He proved that the initial allocation - or misallocation - of property rights would not matter as long as those rights could be traded till they found their highest valued end use. In other words, the advisors told the Russians, "Sure, we're making second-best or third-best policy choices on privatization , but hey guys, it doesn't matter. Through the magic of Coase, even if we misallocated the rights, they'll trade up to their highest valued end user, and we'll all live happily ever after ". Consequently, nothing mattered except getting the assets away from the government (depoliticization) and into the "private sector", thereby allowing
the Coase Theorem to work its magic.

The Russians believed this nonsense. The problems with using Coase as a rationale were commonsensical : too much monopoly power in the Russian economy and the fact that Coase himself never had anything remotely resembling Russia in mind, when he formulated the theorem. More crucially, capital markets which would be needed to trade property rights to their highest valued end use, were nonexistent or nascent, and continue to be so. One marvels at the Russians' own capacity for advice of this nature. My comfort is philosophical : It has often been said of the Russians, that they exhibit in extreme form, certain universal characteristics of the human condition.

Perhaps this tendency to extremes applies to their propensity for social engineering too.

In response to critiques of their advice, the foreign advisors resort to a "burden of proof " defense. In other words, they say, " What a pity it's a mess and had to be this way, but you'll have to prove it could have been otherwise". It is this "proving otherwise" that is a key issue. " Proving otherwise" would require a person with substantial economic expertise. Unfortunately most of the critiques of the advisors in Russia have come from people outside the economics community, which on Russia is quite tight knit.

Janine Wedel and Anne Williamson have made good first attempts . But given the enormity of the catastrophe in Russia that the advice has wrought, the definitive account will have to be from a person with some economic stature.

Who were these people anyway ? They include, Wedel and Williamson point out, Andrei Shleifer a Harvard economics professor, Jonathan Hay a freshly minted Harvard Law graduate, and Makim Boycko who was their man in Moscow. Shleifer, a Russian emigrant who remains a tenured professor at Harvard, must have possessed the great advantage of speaking native Russian. In December 1991, Shleifer on a World Bank consultancy authored a paper titled Privatization in Russia - First Steps. It is, I believe, the first systematic attempt at outlining the program's defining feature - privatization as a series of payoffs (or bribes as he called it) to key stakeholders in the process.

Later explications of the basic idea may be found in articles he co-authored with Robert Vishny on the process. Both the unpublished document and later articles remarkably parallel the basic philosophy of the State Privatization Program of June 1992.

A sense of moral outrage over the effects of their policies - while a great temptation - has to be avoided at all costs. This is especially difficult when one considers that the principal protagonists - Andrei Shleifer and Jonathan Hay - are under investigation for alleged insider trading and conflicts of interest in Russia. [ GAO and USAID having found that they "abused the trust of the US government " etc ]. The temptation might therefore be to focus on that entire shabby episode as Wedel and Williamson have done ( in part, but only in part). There is no need for this. The charges are unproven. Besides the amounts Shleifer and Hay are accused of improperly dealing in, are a pittance, compared to the wholesale thievery their ideas sanctioned. The real story is in the voucher scheme they designed and implemented. Told coldly, rationally, and solely concerned with the truth, it will still be a great story. Behind the story after all, loom the long shadows of the millions of Russians whose lives were effected by these disastrous policies. They deserve the truth.

Will the story be told with integrity. I am afraid not. There are too many reputations and too much credibility at stake. The usual candidate would be someone of stature in academia. This is not really an option. The old Kremlinologists have been largely rendered irrelevant by the pace of events and are struggling to retool themselves. The younger economists who work on Russia, who have access to the data and hands-on experience, are the least likely candidates given the devastating outcomes of the policies they advocated. Self serving rationalizations with little intellectual integrity are all that can be expected from this group. Witness for example, Anders Aslunds' comic absurdity "How Russia became a Market Economy". If Russia is a market economy, then I, sir, am a monkey's uncle -- Finally it would be too much to expect the protagonists themselves - Shleifer and his collaborators - to say " We were wrong, terribly wrong". An old man named Robert McNamara looking back on his life, said that about a war that ended twenty five years back, and look at the condemnation that brought him. It would be too much to expect Shleifer and the others - all reportedly in their late thirties and early forties - to make such an admission.

The World Bank is another candidate, but they will distort the tale. The Bank's division that does such studies - the Operations Evaluation Department - will use the standard bureaucratic boiler plate it excels at. Besides the Bank itself picked up the substantial ideas and policies from the Harvard group, and has its own credibility at stake. While some hand wringing can be expected, so can a less than zealous concern for the truth. Besides, even if it is honest, the drama of the story will be lost in the telling.

... ... ...

The reasons of such a behavior by Andrei Shleifer and other players "on the ground" probably run deeper. As Stefan Lemieszewski noted in his letter to Johnson's Russia List:

The failure of these IMF/World Bank/State/Treasury programs should not come as a surprise. Economists such as Michel Chossudovsky (University of Ottawa) go further and suggest that they are by design. In his book, "The Globalization of Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms" Chossudovsky writes:

"The IMF-Yeltsin reforms constitute an instrument of "Thirdworldisation"; they are a carbon copy of the structural adjustment programme imposed on debtor countries in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs, advisor to the Russian government, had applied in Russia the same 'macro-economic surgery' as in Bolivia where he was economic advisor to the MNR government in 1985.

The IMF-World Bank programme adopted in the name of democracy constitutes a coherent programme of impoverishment of large sectors of the population.

It was designed (in theory) to 'stabilize' the economy, yet consumer prices in 1992 increased by more than one hundred times (9,900 per cent) as a direct result of the "anti-inflationary programme". As in Third World 'stabilization programme', the inflationary process was largely engineered through the 'dollarization' of domestic prices and the collapse of the national currency. The 'price liberalization programme' did not, however, resolve (as proposed by the IMF) the distorted structure of relative prices which existed under the Soviet system."

In Ukraine and some other republics the magnitude of collapse was even greater and all middle class was essentially wiped out. Many emigrated. Also a lot of assets were simply stolen by western companies for cents on the dollar (disaster capitalism in action; some of most blatant cases were reversed under Putin, but not much). Bush II administration was busy with reelections and Clinton administration never viewed Russia as a partner only as a body on the ground to kick with a boot with impunity. As President Richard Nixon pointed out a major aid package could stop the economic free fall and help anchor Russia in the West for years to come.

In this respect the Clinton administration’s greatest failure was its decision to take advantage of Russia’s weakness. And the fact that they used puppets like Jeffrey Sachs to take advantage of the Russia situation produced a long term damage to the US strategic interests in the region. Here is a relevant quote from Foreign Affairs article “Losing Russia”:

BEHIND THE facade of friendship, Clinton administration officials expected the Kremlin to accept the United States’ definition of Russia’s national interests. They believed that Moscow’s preferences could be safely ignored if they did not align with Washington’s goals. Russia had a ruined economy and a collapsing military, and it acted like a defeated country in many ways. Unlike other European colonial empires that had withdrawn from former possessions, Moscow made no effort to negotiate for the protection of its economic and security interests in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet states on its way out. Inside Russia, meanwhile, Yeltsin’s radical reformers often welcomed IMF and U.S. pressure as justification for the harsh and hugely unpopular monetary policies they had advocated on their own.

Soon, however, even Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev–known in Russia as Mr. Yes for accommodating the West–became frustrated with the Clinton administration’s tough love. As he told Talbott, who served as ambassador at large to the newly independent states from 1993 to 1994, “It’s bad enough having you people tell us what you’re going to do whether we like it or not. Don’t add insult to injury by also telling us that it’s in our interests to obey your orders.”

But such pleas fell on deaf ears in Washington, where this arrogant approach was becoming increasingly popular. Talbott and his aides referred to it as the spinach treatment: a paternalistic Uncle Sam fed Russian leaders policies that Washington deemed healthy, no matter how unappetizing these policies seemed in Moscow.

As Talbott adviser Victoria Nuland put it, “The more you tell them it’s good for them, the more they gag.” By sending the message that Russia should not have an independent foreign policy — or even an independent domestic one — the Clinton administration generated much resentment. This neocolonial approach went hand in hand with IMF recommendations that most economists now agree were ill suited to Russia and so painful for the population that they could never have been implemented democratically. However, Yeltsin’s radical reformers were only too happy to impose them without popular consent.

Here is the Shleifer part of the story although it is important to realize that he was just a puppet, low level criminal (No. 6 card or "shesterka" : lowest member of a gang in Russian slang) in the biggest looting of the century, looting that exceeds performed by Hitler armies in 40th. (Harry R. Lewis Larry Summers, Robert Rubin Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country):

In 1992, Andrei Shleifer, a Harvard professor and a close friend of Summers since Shleifer's college days at Harvard, became head of a Harvard project that directed U.S. government money for the development of the Russian economy. Tens of millions of dollars in noncompetitive U.S. contracts flowed to Harvard for Shleifer's Russian work, and his team directed the distribution of hundreds of millions more. Through the mid-1990s, complaints accumulated in Washington about self-dealing and improper investing by the Harvard team, and by mid-1997, the Harvard contracts had been canceled and the FBI had taken up the case. For two years it was before a federal grand jury.

In September, 2000, the government sued Harvard, Shleifer, and others, claiming that Shleifer was lining his own pockets and those of his wife, hedge fund manager Nancy Zimmerman -- formerly a vice president at Goldman Sachs under Rubin.

Soon after, when Summers became a candidate for the Harvard presidency, Shleifer lobbied hard for him in Cambridge. Rubin assured the Fellows that the abrasiveness Summers had exhibited at Treasury was a thing of the past. They named him president--in spite of what was already known about his enabling role in the malodorous Russian affair, and the implausibility of a personality metamorphosis.

Summers did not recluse himself from the lawsuit until more than three months after his selection as president, and even then used his influence to protect Shleifer. The Fellows--including Rubin, whom Summers added to the Corporation--fought the case for years, spending upwards of $10M on lawyers. But in 2005 a federal judge found Shleifer to have conspired to defraud the government and held Harvard liable as well. To settle the civil claims, Shleifer paid the government $2M and Harvard paid $26.5M; Zimmerman's company had already paid $1.5M. Shleifer denied all wrongdoing, and Harvard disclosed nothing about any response of its own--a departure from its handling of misconduct by faculty farther from the center of power.

Summers remained close to Shleifer, yet claimed in a February 2006 faculty meeting to know too little about the scandal to have formed an opinion about it. This prevarication brought a gasp from the assembled faculty and solidified faculty opposition to the Summers presidency.

Rubin is now gone from his leadership role and his board membership at Citigroup, hauling away $126M from a firm that was $65B poorer than when he joined it, with 75,000 fewer jobs. But he remains on the Harvard board, in spite of the financial meltdowns at both Citigroup and Harvard and his poor oversight of the problematic president he persuaded Harvard to hire.

The Rubin network remains alive and well in the White House, including not just Summers but several other Rubin protégés. Among the strangest of these power loops is that the well-connected Nancy Zimmerman has turned up as a member of Summers's economic policy brain trust.

It's pretty funny that in 1993 Andrei Shleifer co-authored a paper about corruption":

Abstract

This paper presents two propositions about corruption. First, the structure of government institutions and of the political process are very important determinants of the level of corruption. In particular, weak governments that do not control their agencies experience very high corruption levels. Second, the illegality of corruption and the need for secrecy make it much more distortionary and costly than its sister activity, taxation. These results may explain why, in some less developed countries, corruption is so high and so costly to development.

Copyright 1993, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Compare this paper with the assessment of his own behavior in the article "On Post-Modern Corruption"(Economic Principals):

It is against this background that a seemingly unrelated matter, the Andrei Shleifer case, should be considered. Readers are all too familiar with the details of how a 31-year-old Russian expatriate, swiftly risen to eminence as a Harvard University economics professor, was put in charge in 1992 of a huge US government-financed, Harvard-administered mission to advise the Russian government of Boris Yeltsin on how to establish a market economy of their own -- until he was discovered in 1996 to be lining his own pockets, and those of his wife, his deputy and the deputy's girlfriend. At that point the mission collapsed.

Four years later, the US Attorney in Boston sued. Four years after that, Shleifer was found to have committed fraud and Harvard University to have breached its contract. Each was ordered to repay the government.

Perhaps the Shleifer story is no big deal, and not the symbol of post-modern corruption having spread to universities that I think it is. Yet there are similarities to the Congressional situation, I believe. The case against Shleifer case was a civil complaint, not a criminal charge. Cunningham was elected, Shleifer was hired. Each helped himself to some good old-fashioned graft, and each was found by a court to have done (in the words of the San Diego prosecutor) "the worst thing an Éofficial can do -- he enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there."

And just as the tactics of the House leadership are more alarming than the conduct of the lowly Cunningham, so the determination of Harvard's administrators to defend Shleifer for nine long years is more astounding than what Shleifer actually did. He was young and inexperienced. They had all the advice and time in the world. His culpability has been established. Theirs has barely been addressed.

Here is some information about the events form Wikipedia article Andrei Shleifer:

Controversy

Under the False Claims Act, the US government sued Harvard, Shleifer, Shleifer's wife, Shleifer's assistant Jonathan Hay, and Hay's girlfriend (now his wife) Elizabeth Hebert, because these individuals bought Russian stocks and GKOs while they were working on the country's privatization, which potentially contravened Harvard's contract with USAID. In 2001, a federal judge dismissed all charges against Zimmerman and Hebert.[4] In June 2004, a federal judge ruled that Harvard had violated the contract but was not liable for treble damages, but that Shleifer and Hay might be held liable for treble damages (up to $105 million) if found guilty by a jury [2].

In June 2005, Harvard and Shleifer announced that they had reached a tentative settlement with the US government. On August 3 of the same year, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Justice department reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million dollars worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrong doing. A firm owned by his wife previously had paid $1.5 million in an out of court settlement.

Because Harvard University paid most of the damages and allowed Shleifer to retain his faculty position, the settlement provoked allegations of favoritism on the part of Harvard's outgoing president Lawrence Summers, who is Shleifer's close friend and mentor. Shleifer's conduct was reviewed by Harvard's internal ethics committee. In October 2006, at the close of that review, Shleifer released a statement making it clear that he remains on Harvard's faculty. However, according to the Boston Globe, he has been stripped of his honorary title of Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics[3].

Shleifer's involvement in Russia was investigated by David McClintick, a Harvard alumnus and journalist for Institutional Investor Magazine. His 30-page January 2006 article claims to show that "economics professor Andrei Shleifer, in the mid-1990s, led a Harvard advisory program in Russia that collapsed in disgrace." The article drew considerable criticism among Shleifer's colleagues, collaborators, close friends, and students. According to the Harvard Crimson[4], the university's daily newspaper, Shleifer's colleague and economics professor Edward Glaeser said that the Institutional Investor article "is a potent piece of hate creation—not quite 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' but it's in that camp." But Glaeser later apologized for his statement[5].

Larry Summers was not only defender but also the handler of Andrei Shleifer

Prominent role of Larry Summers in Andrei Shleifer affair shed very negative light on this very controversial figure. Positioning him as a key figured in Clinton administration intended to destroy the xUSSR republic economies, especially economics of Russia. And that role perfectly alight with his general political role in Clinton administration and after that. The role of enforcer of neoliberal social order. Role of Larry Summers in adopting "shock therapy" and Yeltsin privatization of state assets still needs to be investigated. But it is perfectly consistent with his track record. Among key "mis-achievements" of Bubble Boy Larry:

Opium for the masses: Neoclassical economics role under neoliberalism as equivalent of the role of Catholic Church under feudalism

Some use the term “neo-feudalism” to characterize operation of the USA and "friends" in xUSSR space but they are essentially neocolonialism. When open brutal used of military force for conquering nations was substitutes by financial instruments. But neoliberalism definitely use neo-feudal methods, and that includes usage of neoclassic economics in the USA. Here I mean use of neoclassic economic as a new religion that justify and "bless" neoliberal social order. Essentially the same role that Catholic church played for classic feudalism. It serves as "An opium for the masses", if we use slightly overdone Marx quote ;-)

While related to economic rape of Russia, Shleifer's story has a wider meaning as an apt symbol of "post-modern" corruption at universities and especially in Harvard where students were actively indoctrinated in pseudoscientific theories which constitute a theoretical framework of casino capitalism serving simultaneously as the role of ideology which is not that far from the role of Marxism in the USSR. Here is Anna Willamson view (The Rape of Russia, Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the House Banking Committee)

From the perspective of the many millions of her children, Mother Russia in late 1991 was like an old woman, skirts yanked above her waist, who had been abandoned flat on her back at a muddy crossroads, the object of others' scorn, greed and unseemly curiosity. It is the Russian people who kept their wits about them, helped her to her feet, dusted her off, straightened her clothing, righted her head scarf and it is they who can restore her dignity - not Boris Yeltsin, not Anatole Chubais, not Boris Berezovsky nor any of the other aspirants to power. And it is the Russian people - their abilities, efforts and dreams - which comprise the Russian economy, not those of Vladimir Potanin or Viktor Chernomyrdin or Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Vladimir Gusinsky. And that is where we should have placed our bet - on the Russian people - and our stake should have been the decency, the common sense and abilities of our own citizens realized not through multilateral lending but through the use of tax credits for direct investment in the Russian economy and the training of Russian workers on 6-month to one year stints at the U.S. offices of American firms in conjunction with the elimination of U.S. tariffs on Russian goods.

Russia is a fabled land, home to a unique and provocative thousand year-old culture, and a country rich in the resources the world needs whose people had the courage and resilience to defeat this century’s greatest war machine, Hitler’s invading Wehrmacht. Yet, thanks to Boris Yeltsin’s thirst for power and megalomaniacal inadequacy, Russia has become the latest victim of American expediency and of a culturally hollow and economically predatory globalism. Consequently, Americans, who thought their money was helping a stricken land, have been dishonored; and the Russian people who trusted us are now in debt twice what they were in 1991 and rightly feel themselves betrayed.

The worst of it was that some pretty good ideas - private property, sound money, minimal government, the inviolability of contract and public accountability - that have delivered to the West’s citizenry the most prosperity and the most liberty in world history, and might have done the same for the Russians, were twisted into perverse constructions and only then exported via a Harvard-connected cabal of Clinton administration appointees who funded - without competition - their allies at Harvard University courtesy the public purse. Joining the US-directed effort were the usual legions of overpaid IMF/World Bank advisers whose lending terror continues to encircle the globe.

As reader with nickname DownSouth commented on Naked Capitalism blog (Obama Administration “Nothing to See Here” on Foreclosure Crisis « naked capitalism), historically one of the most powerful forces that supported feudalism in Europe were Catholic and Orthodox churches: the feudal order was upheld by the Church’s priestly class allied with European royalty.

In the modern USA something similar can be said about the relations of the neoclassical economists and bankers. It wasn’t meant to be this way, either with the priests of old or the priests of new. As Robert H. Nelson points out in Economics as Religion,

…Samuelson followed the Roman Catholic model. The members of the economics profession, and other scientific and professional elites, would be motivated by the higher considerations of a priesthood, as compared with businesspeople and other ordinary citizens in the commercial realm. There would be no popular votes held for the scientific leaders of society. Samuelson acknowledged the practical necessity to allow wide rein for the pursuit of self-interest in the marketplace. However, the professional economists and other scientific managers of the progressive state would function according to the ethical standard of the Roman Catholic priesthood. They would reject the commercial motive of self-interest and instead act in their professional and public capacity to serve the common good—-“the public interest”—-of all of society.

In Darwin’s Cathedral David Sloan Wilson made the observation that all major churches seem to have a “life cycle.”

Religious denominations range from huge established churches that encompass most of the population to tiny sects that reject the larger churches as corrupt and regard themselves as keepers of the original faith. The huge established churches begin as sects, grow into churches, give rise to offspring sects, and then mysteriously fall into senility, to be replaced by their own offspring sects. I would just add that it seems like theology follows function in this life cycle.

For instance, as Wilson points out, the early Christian church, while it was still a small sect, had “a policy of extreme altruism and forgiveness toward the downtrodden” and “a policy of unyielding opposition” toward the main Jewish religious institutions, which it perceived to be in league with the Roman Empire. As the Christian church matured and became the established church, however, it became part and parcel of the power structure, championing it and defending it against the downtrodden. What began as a small sect with a theology based upon knowledge and moral authority morphed into a church whose theology was all about defending wealth and power.

Eventually a new sect rose to challenge this priestly class. As Nelson explains:

Indeed, it was this strong distinction between ordinary people and the church priesthood that, among a number of other tenets of Catholic doctrine, incurred the wrath of Martin Luther. Luther saw the Roman Catholic Church as selling ordinary people short and thus declared a new Protestant “priesthood of all believers.” The ministry of the Protestant churches would stand on an equal plane with the faithful—-both, for example, would marry. The leadership of Protestant parishes would be elected by the ordinary members of the church, while the Roman Catholic Church would continue to select its own leaders in a hierarchal fashion, as when the pope designates the cardinals of the church.

What Luther had to say about the priestly class of the Medieval Catholic Church rings true about modern-day high priests of "casino capitalism", the neoclassical economists of "Harvard Mafia". As Luther wrote the Pope in letter in 1520:

But they See, which is called the Roman Curia, and of which neither thou nor any man can deny that is more corrupt than any Babylon or Sodom ever was, and which is, as far as I can see, characterized by a totally depraved, hopeless, and notorious wickedness—-that See I have truly despised… The Roman Church has become the most licentious den of thieves, the most shameless of all brothels, the kingdom of sin, death, and hell… They err who ascribe to thee the right of interpreting the Scripture, for under cover of thy name they seek to set up their own wickedness in the Church, and, alas, through them Satan has already made much headway under thy predecessors. In short, believe none who exalt thee, believe those who humble thee.

MI6 role in economic rape of Russia, Ukraine and other post Soviet republics

Now there is an indirect evidence of participation of of British intelligence agencies such as MI6 in Russia privatization scam. And the point man for such investigation is William Brower, who recently got nine years of jail (in absentia) from Russian court. 

William Browder controversy which emerged after Putin mentioned him during  Trump-Putin summit in Helsinky in July 2017 shed some light on MI6 role in economic rape of Russia and other post Soviet republics.  Especially interesting is the following video EXCLUSIVE Russian TV Bill Browder is CIA agent, recruited Navalny. Browder furious! Navalny sues! - YouTube

Browder was one of financial sharks (or as one Amazon reviewer of his book called him "financial crack cocaine seller" -- the term applicable to the whole Harvard mafia) who somehow was extracted for Solonon brothers and went to Russia. He voluntarily put himself in substantial danger getting into environment which he completely did not understand and with very little many from a dubious source. Which might be explainable if he  was assigned a specific task by MI6. After all according to some  sources Bill Browder’ grandma, Raissa Berkman, was an agent for the KGB ( http://spartacus-educational.com/USAbrowder.htm ).

The Vortex, July 27, 2018 at 8:32 am GMT • 100 Words

Dear Mister/Miss Robin G.,

...The following is a PASTE from an electronic mail message REPLY to me from a friend in the know whom I can’t reveal all of his name but just John, which I believe you shall find interesting:

Browder could be CIA or Mossad or NSA or Naval Intel or something we don’t even know or a combination of all of the above. Or, just a no-good slimy person.

Plus, Fletcher Prouty said that many times people are working for intelligence and don’t even know it. Entire military units are under CIA command and don’t know it.

Another Amazon reviewer of his book described one of the criminal scheme Brower used (he used several)

A Self-Congratulatory Book with a Mission

By Patricia5115 on March 22, 2015

Format: Hardcover 

The book was fun to read, like a Marvel comic book. Truly Bill Browder is, according to Bill Browder, a brilliant man willing to take daring risks where he sees an opportunity for personal gain. And I have to agree with him. With his inherited genetic intelligence, and some of the best education money can buy, he made himself enormously rich profiting from financial transactions that produced nothing of real value. I found this book to be quite self-congratulatory, written with no embarrassment for taking advantage of a whole population.

As Browder writes, “I found that to transition from communism to capitalism, the Russian government had decided to give away most of the state’s property to the people. The government was going about this in a number of ways, but the most interesting was something called voucher privatization. The government granted one privatization certificate to every Russian citizen---roughly 150 million people in total—and taken together these were exchangeable for 30 % of nearly all Russian companies.“ “The market price of the vouchers equaled 3 billion…this meant that the valuation of the entire Russian economy was only 10 billion! That was one-sixth the value of Wal-Mart!” “Russia had 24% of the word’s natural gas, 9% of the world’s oil, and produced 6.6 % of the world’s steel, among many other things. Yet this incredible trove of resources [owned by ordinary Russian citizens] was trading for a mere 10 billion! Even more astonishing was that there were no restrictions on who could purchase these vouchers. I could buy them, anyone could buy them.” He recounts, “The Russian people had no idea what to do with the vouchers when they received them for free from the state and, in most cases, were happy to trade them for a $7 bottle of vodka or a few slabs of pork.” Mr. Browder took advantage of their ignorance and brought millions of vouchers from the Russian people for a pittance of their true value. This is something to brag about? It is not laudable to buy something for a pittance of its real worth, from owners who have no idea of its true value. It is reprehensible. It was disturbing to me to see no introspection on the rightness or wrongness of beating someone out of his or her money.

Mr. Browder describes in his Sidanco deal the feeling he has when an opportunity for ungodly gains presents itself, “I had that tingling, greedy tension in my gut, similar to when I saw my $2,000 Polish investment multiply by nearly ten times, or when I unearthed the Russian voucher scheme.”

Greed is not a virtue, Mr. Browder. It is a vice.

Reviewer Ian Kaplan wrote:

The second half of the book is about how Putin's gang tried to crush Hermitage Capital and everyone associated with it.”

And, I would add, how Browder’s gang is trying to crush Putin. It makes me think that a large part of Mr. Browder’s dogged determination in pushing the Maginsky Act through Congress, and signed into law, was not so much a humanitarian turn of the leaf for him, but a strategy to enlist the whole backing of the United States into his personal war with Putin, who put him out of a lucrative business in Russia.

And there there is Necrasov's documentary which Brower successfully blocked from distribution in EU and the USA. Could he done so without the support of intelligence services?

Skeptikal says:

July 23, 2018 at 11:21 am GMT • 200 Words

@Peasant

'No freedom of speech for his enemies!'

Quelle suprise

'His hacks re-wrote his Wikipedia entry'

That's dedication

'More to a point, Browder is the man who contributed most to the new cold war between the West and Russia'

Yes you really do read it correct we are going to war so some tax dodging Jew s*yst*r can recover his ill gotten gains

'Browder, a grandson of the US Communist leader'

You just couldn't make it up could you? If it was in a Tom Wolfe novel it would be deemed over the top

'came to Russia at its weakest point after the Soviet collapse, and grabbed an enormous fortune by opaque financial transactions'

Him and countless others of his kind

'As you’d expect, huge tax evasion was discovered. Browder thought that as long as he sucked up to Putin, he’d get away with bloody murder, let alone tax evasion'

Along came a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph...

'Foreigners had to pay much more. Browder bought many such shares via Russian frontmen, and he was close to getting control over Russian oil and gas. Putin suspected that he had acted in the interests of big foreign oil companies, trying to repeat the feat of Mr Khodorkovsky'

Who's shares in Yukos reverted to Jacob Rothschild FYI

'His second mistake was being too greedy. Russian taxation is very low; but Browder did not want to pay even this low tax'

No comment

'Mr Browder does not deny these accusations; he says there is nothing criminal in trying to avoid taxes'

Well that's alright then

'For this reason alone, Browder can be counted as a part of the power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good'

And for other ethnic reasons of course.

'Nobody listened to them, until they demanded that Browder testify under oath. He refused.'

Mala fides anyone?

'The New Republic wondered: if Browder was indeed the victim of persecution in Russia and had enlisted the U.S. justice system to right the balance, why was he so reluctant to offer his sworn testimony in an American courtroom?'

You know when you are a Jewish financial criminal and even The New Republic is against you you may have gone too far...

'It turned out Browder tried to bribe the journalist who made the interview to have these words expunged'

Well I never. But Jews never conspire to tell everyone what to think...that's just crazy tawk


'This is probably a uniquely Jewish quality: Jews outspend everybody in contributions to political figures'

Yup


'Much bigger sums were transferred via good services of Brothers Ziff, mega-rich Jewish American businessmen'


Didn't I see this on an episode of the Simpsons?


'Almost all involved figures appear to be Jewish, not only Browder'


Stereotype threat


'Even his enemy, the beneficiary of the scam that (according to Browder) took over his Russian assets is another Jewish businessman Dennis Katsiv'


You just couldn't make it up could you? 'Maxwell stole a few million dollars from his company pension fund before dying in mysterious circumstances on board of his yacht in the Atlantic'

He stole hundreds of millions after breaking the back of the print unions and then stealing the pensions of the workers who remained. Amongst other things he used the money to float Mossad and bankroll the victory parade after the first gulf war. His children and wife were never required to make restitution even though they received considerable inheritances.

'He was given a code name Solomon, as he worked for Salomon Brothers' Jesus wept where's Evelyn Waugh when you need him

These people are walking caricatures aren't they? We are basically beyond parody now aren't we?

  1. Absolutely.
    I re-watched that section where he threatens Nekrasov.
    Because, after Browder stood up, he was partly blocking the camera view and it was a bit unclear.

    So, who are Browder’s enforcers? Who can ensure that Krainer’s book and Nekrasov’s film are “disappeared”? That screenings of the film are suddenly canceled?
    Is there any way to approach this legally? For instance, who canceled the showing of the film in NYC? Can that be established? Was someone threatened in the same vein the Browder threatens Nekrasov?
    After showing, in the docudrama segments of the film, the unpleasant deaths of the three guys who (I think) were the recipients of Browder’s company’s assets, I do hope that Nekrasov is watching hiw own back.

    Browder has reinvented himself as an advocate for “human rights” in Russia. So, in our upside-down world, Putin in a thug, Russia is a kleptocracy, and Browder is a “human rights advocate.” What a sick joke. the soon this guy and his story can be blown, the better.

    Maybe we can “exchange” Browder for Assange. Browder gets to stay here in the West, and Assange is transferred to Russia.

 

Which also raised the question why Browder duped the US congress so easily. Was the US congress ready to be duped because Browder served as a pawn in a large operation "Containing Russia"?

  1. istt says:

    July 27, 2018 at 4:00 am GMT • 100 Words

    Mr. Nekrasov’s documentary makes it crystal clear Browder has duped the fawning US Congress. Browder is both a liar and, more importantly, a murderer. It seems everyone who was involved with hiding his assets for him have died. How convenient for Mr. Browder in that they cannot testify against him.

    Magnitsky, as it turns out, was never a “brilliant lawyer” hired to look into lost taxes paid, but instead was a long-time accountant for Browder’s Hermitage Fund. Browder has used his death as a way to exonerate him from paying taxes owed to the Russian government.

    Browder should spend the rest of his life in a Russian prison, not be hailed as a human rights hero.

 

See also

  1. RobinG says:

    July 24, 2018 at 2:56 am GMT • 100 Words

    @Jeff Davis

    At 1 hour and 18 minutes into the film Nekrasov confronts Browder with the evidence against him. He doesn't do it overtly, that is, straight on, as in j'accuse, but rather acts kind of coy, asking his questions about the "problems" of fact that he has discovered. Asking his questions as if he were confused, and hoped Mr. Browder could provide some clarification.

    Mr. Browder figures out straightaway that he's been busted. A realization that is easy for him, since he has had perfect consciousness of his guilt from the moment he began planning the crime. Now we see him awakening abruptly to the realization that the man he hired to make the cover-up film has discovered the truth that the film was meant to conceal.

    Look at his face, see the tension there. Listen to his voice crack -- at 1:22:30 -- as his throat locks up and his mouth gets dry. Then for the next 26 seconds Browder offers a straight-up lie, that the original registration documents are necessary to re-register the companies. He then watches, to see if Nekrasov buys it, and then... seeing that Nekrasov doesn't buy it -- he gulps visibly under the tension -- understanding in that moment that he's been busted. It's an amazing moment caught on video. It's not a stretch to conclude that you are watching a man see his life pass in front of his eyes. And then finally we watch as Browder stands and threatens Nekrasov with reputational destruction.
    At 1:23:45, Browder says -- threatens actually -- "I'd be really careful about going out and trying to do a whole thing about Sergie not being a whistleblower, it's not gonna do well for your credibility in the show."

    I love that he calls it "a show".

    Powerful stuff

    MOST IMPORTANT VIDEOS OF SOCIOPATH BILL BROWDER
    Deposition in case of U.S. vs. Prevezon Holdings

    Bill Browder April 15, 2015 Deposition – Part 1

    Bill Browder April 15, 2015 Deposition – Part 2

    Bill Browder April 15, 2015 Deposition – Part 3

    Bill Browder April 15, 2015 Deposition – Part 4

    Bill Browder April 15, 2015 Deposition – Part 5

    Bill Browder April 15, 2015 Deposition – Part 6

    FULL TRANSCRIPT is available here. [But then you don't get the shifty eyes, sweaty upper lip, and significant pauses. "I know nothing ... nooothing!!!]

    https://c1.100r.org/media/2017/10/Browder-Deposition-April-15-2015.pdf

 


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Old News ;-)

[Aug 03, 2020] Nationalism and the collapse of the USSR

Nearly all these erstwhile Marxists turned neo-liberal after the fall of the wall of Berlin
Aug 03, 2020 | www.unz.com

Curmudgeon , says: August 1, 2020 at 7:15 pm GMT

@onebornfree w.britannica.com/topic/commonwealth-political-science">https://www.britannica.com/topic/commonwealth-political-science
What is labelled socialism today is nowhere near what the original socialists would consider socialism, which is closer to the co-operative movement and anarchy than communism.

On the other hand, Marxism (communism) is about complete state control and was international in scope. One (of many) reason for the breakdown of the USSR, was that it was, in fact, becoming socialistic in many countries, starting with Hungary in 1956 then Czechoslovakia in 1968 becoming nationalist. Even Russia was becoming more nationalistic.

Miro23 , says: August 2, 2020 at 2:30 am GMT
@Druid unknown in Russia 1917. It wasn't really understood. In contrast Neo-Bolshevism USA 2020 has the prior example of Bolshevism Russia 1917 to learn from and check the mechanism.

– The Russian population 1917 held some arms (which were immediately made illegal – retention carrying the death penalty). But nothing at all like the vast armoury presently held by the US public.

– The Bolsheviks successful subverted the demoralized and badly organized Russian Imperial Army (at least in Petrograd where it mattered). The US military is in a much better state, and is maybe not so attracted by SJW/BLM/Antifa (middle and lower ranks).

[Aug 02, 2020] Nationalism and the collpase of the USSR

Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

Curmudgeon , says: August 1, 2020 at 7:15 pm GMT

@onebornfree w.britannica.com/topic/commonwealth-political-science">https://www.britannica.com/topic/commonwealth-political-science
What is labelled socialism today is nowhere near what the original socialists would consider socialism, which is closer to the co-operative movement and anarchy than communism.

On the other hand, Marxism (communism) is about complete state control and was international in scope. One (of many) reason for the breakdown of the USSR, was that it was, in fact, becoming socialistic in many countries, starting with Hungary in 1956 then Czechoslovakia in 1968 becoming nationalist. Even Russia was becoming more nationalistic.

Miro23 , says: August 2, 2020 at 2:30 am GMT
@Druid unknown in Russia 1917. It wasn't really understood. In contrast Neo-Bolshevism USA 2020 has the prior example of Bolshevism Russia 1917 to learn from and check the mechanism.

– The Russian population 1917 held some arms (which were immediately made illegal – retention carrying the death penalty). But nothing at all like the vast armoury presently held by the US public.

– The Bolsheviks successful subverted the demoralized and badly organized Russian Imperial Army (at least in Petrograd where it mattered). The US military is in a much better state, and is maybe not so attracted by SJW/BLM/Antifa (middle and lower ranks).

[Aug 02, 2020] Russiagate, Nazis, and the CIA by ROB URIE

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. has spent a century or more trying to install a U.S.-friendly government in Moscow. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. sent neoliberal economists to loot the country as the Clinton administration, and later the Obama administration, placed NATO troops and armaments on the Russian border after a negotiated agreement not to do so . Subsequent claims of realpolitik are cover for a reckless disregard for geopolitical consequences. ..."
"... The paradox of American liberalism, articulated when feminist icon and CIA asset Gloria Steinem described the CIA as ' liberal, nonviolent and honorable ,' is that educated, well-dressed, bourgeois functionaries have used the (largely manufactured) threat of foreign subversion to install right-wing nationalists subservient to American business interests at every opportunity. ..."
"... To the point made by Christopher Simpson , the CIA could have achieved better results had it not employed former Nazi officers, begging the question of why it chose to do so? ..."
"... Russiagate is the nationalist party line in the American fight against communism, without the communism. Charges of treason have been lodged every time that military budgets have come under attack since 1945. In 1958 the senior leadership of the Air Force was charging the other branches of the military with treason for doubting its utterly fantastical (and later disproven) estimate of Soviet ICBMs. Treason is good for business. ..."
"... Shortly after WWII ended, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi military officers, including former Gestapo and SS officers responsible for murdering tens and hundreds of thousands of human beings , to run a spy operation known as the Gehlen Organization from Berlin, Germany. Given its central role in assessing the military intentions and capabilities of the Soviet Union, the Gehlen Organization was more likely than not responsible for the CIA's overstatement of Soviet nuclear capabilities in the 1950s used to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Former Nazis were also integrated into CIA efforts to install right wing governments around the world. ..."
"... Under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act passed by Congress in 1998, the CIA was made to partially disclose its affiliation with, and employment of, former Nazis. In contrast to the ' Operation Paperclip ' thesis that it was Nazi scientists who were brought to the U.S. to labor as scientists, the Gehlen Organization and CIC employed known war criminals in political roles. Klaus Barbie, the 'Butcher of Lyon,' was employed by the CIC, and claims to have played a role in the murder of Che Guevara . Wernher von Braun, one of the Operation Paperclip 'scientists,' worked in a Nazi concentration camp as tens of thousands of human beings were murdered. ..."
"... To understand the political space that military production came to occupy, from 1948 onward the U.S. military became a well-funded bureaucracy where charges of treason were regularly traded between the branches. Internecine battles for funding and strategic dominance were (and are) regularly fought. The tactic that this bureaucracy -- the 'military industrial complex,' adopted was to exaggerate foreign threats in a contest for bureaucratic dominance. The nuclear arms race was made a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the U.S. produced world-ending weapons non-stop for decades on end, the Soviets responded in kind. ..."
"... Long story short, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi officers who had the ideological predisposition and economic incentive to mis-perceive Soviet intentions and misstate Soviet capabilities to fuel the Cold War. ..."
"... the U.S. had indicated its intention to use nuclear weapons in a first strike -- and had demonstrated the intention by placing Jupiter missiles in Italy, nothing that the U.S. offered during the Missile Crisis could be taken in good faith. ..."
"... Following the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the Cold War entered a new phase. Cold War logic was repurposed to support the oxymoronic 'humanitarian wars' -- liberating people by bombing them. In 1995 'Russian meddling' meant the Clinton administration rigging the election of Boris Yeltsin in the Russian presidential election. Mr. Clinton then unilaterally reneged on the American agreement to keep NATO from Russia's border when former Baltic states were brought under NATO's control . ..."
"... The Obama administration's 2014 incitement in Ukraine , by way of fostering and supporting the Maidan uprising and the ousting of Ukraine's democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, ties to the U.S. strategy of containing and overthrowing the Soviet (Russian) government that was first codified by the National Security Council (NSC) in 1945. The NSC's directives can be found here and here . The economic and military annexation of Ukraine by the U.S. (NATO didn't exist in 1945) comes under NSC10/2 . The alliance between the CIA and Ukrainian fascists ties to directive NSC20 , the plan to sponsor Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis in order to install them in the Kremlin to replace the Soviet government. This was part of the CIA's rationale for putting Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis on its payroll in 1948. ..."
"... That Russiagate is the continuation of a scheme launched in 1945 by the National Security Council, to be engineered by the CIA with help from former Nazi officers in its employ, speaks volumes about the Cold War frame from which it emerges ..."
"... Its near instantaneous adoption by bourgeois liberals demonstrates the class basis of the right-wing nationalism it supports. That liberals appear to perceive themselves as defenders 'democracy' within a trajectory laid out by unelected military leaders more than seven decades earlier is testament to the power of historical ignorance tied to nationalist fervor. Were the former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA 'our Nazis?' ..."
"... Furthermore, are liberals really comfortable bringing fascists with direct historical ties to the Third Reich to power in Ukraine? And while there are no good choices in the upcoming U.S. election, the guy who liberals want to bring to power is lead architect of this move. ..."
Jul 31, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
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The political success of Russiagate lies in the vanishing of American history in favor of a façade of liberal virtue. Posed as a response to the election of Donald Trump, a straight line can be drawn from efforts to undermine the decommissioning of the American war economy in 1946 to the CIA's alliance with Ukrainian fascists in 2014. In 1945 the NSC (National Security Council) issued a series of directives that gave logic and direction to the CIA's actions during the Cold War. That these persist despite the 'fall of communism' suggests that it was always just a placeholder in the pursuit of other objectives.

The first Cold War was an imperial business enterprise to keep the Generals, bureaucrats, and war materiel suppliers in power and their bank accounts flush after WWII. Likewise, the American side of the nuclear arms race left former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA to put their paranoid fantasies forward as assessments of Russian military capabilities. Why, of all people, would former Nazi officers be put in charge military intelligence if accurate assessments were the goal? The Nazis hated the Soviets more than the Americans did.

The ideological binaries of Russiagate -- for or against Donald Trump, for or against neoliberal, petrostate Russia, define the boundaries of acceptable discourse to the benefit of deeply nefarious interests. The U.S. has spent a century or more trying to install a U.S.-friendly government in Moscow. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. sent neoliberal economists to loot the country as the Clinton administration, and later the Obama administration, placed NATO troops and armaments on the Russian border after a negotiated agreement not to do so . Subsequent claims of realpolitik are cover for a reckless disregard for geopolitical consequences.

The paradox of American liberalism, articulated when feminist icon and CIA asset Gloria Steinem described the CIA as ' liberal, nonviolent and honorable ,' is that educated, well-dressed, bourgeois functionaries have used the (largely manufactured) threat of foreign subversion to install right-wing nationalists subservient to American business interests at every opportunity. Furthermore, Steinem's aggressive ignorance of the actual history of the CIA illustrates the liberal propensity to conflate bourgeois dress and attitude with an imagined gentility . To the point made by Christopher Simpson , the CIA could have achieved better results had it not employed former Nazi officers, begging the question of why it chose to do so?

On the American left, Russiagate is treated as a case of bad reporting, of official outlets for government propaganda serially reporting facts and events that were subsequently disproved. However, some fair portion of the American bourgeois, the PMC that acts in supporting roles for capital, believes every word of it. Russiagate is the nationalist party line in the American fight against communism, without the communism. Charges of treason have been lodged every time that military budgets have come under attack since 1945. In 1958 the senior leadership of the Air Force was charging the other branches of the military with treason for doubting its utterly fantastical (and later disproven) estimate of Soviet ICBMs. Treason is good for business.

Shortly after WWII ended, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi military officers, including former Gestapo and SS officers responsible for murdering tens and hundreds of thousands of human beings , to run a spy operation known as the Gehlen Organization from Berlin, Germany. Given its central role in assessing the military intentions and capabilities of the Soviet Union, the Gehlen Organization was more likely than not responsible for the CIA's overstatement of Soviet nuclear capabilities in the 1950s used to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Former Nazis were also integrated into CIA efforts to install right wing governments around the world.

By the time that (Senator) John F. Kennedy claimed a U.S. 'missile gap' with the Soviets in 1958, the CIA was providing estimates of Soviet ICBMs (Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles), that were wildly inflated -- most likely provided to it by the Gehlen Organization. Once satellite and U2 reconnaissance estimates became available, the CIA lowered its own to 120 Soviet ICBMs when the actual number was four . On the one hand, the Soviets really did have a nuclear weapons program. On the other, it was a tiny fraction of what was being claimed. Bad reporting, unerringly on the side of larger military budgets, appears to be the constant.

Under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act passed by Congress in 1998, the CIA was made to partially disclose its affiliation with, and employment of, former Nazis. In contrast to the ' Operation Paperclip ' thesis that it was Nazi scientists who were brought to the U.S. to labor as scientists, the Gehlen Organization and CIC employed known war criminals in political roles. Klaus Barbie, the 'Butcher of Lyon,' was employed by the CIC, and claims to have played a role in the murder of Che Guevara . Wernher von Braun, one of the Operation Paperclip 'scientists,' worked in a Nazi concentration camp as tens of thousands of human beings were murdered.

The historical sequence in the U.S. was WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, to an economy that was heavily dependent on war production. The threatened decommissioning of the war economy in 1946 was first met with an honest assessment of Soviet intentions -- the Soviets were moving infrastructure back into Soviet territory as quickly as was practicable, then to the military budget-friendly claim that they were putting resources in place to invade Europe. The result of the shift was that the American Generals kept their power and the war industry kept producing materiel and weapons. By 1948 these weapons had come to include atomic bombs.

To understand the political space that military production came to occupy, from 1948 onward the U.S. military became a well-funded bureaucracy where charges of treason were regularly traded between the branches. Internecine battles for funding and strategic dominance were (and are) regularly fought. The tactic that this bureaucracy -- the 'military industrial complex,' adopted was to exaggerate foreign threats in a contest for bureaucratic dominance. The nuclear arms race was made a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the U.S. produced world-ending weapons non-stop for decades on end, the Soviets responded in kind.

What ties the Gehlen Organization to CIA estimates of Soviet nuclear weapons from 1948 – 1958 is 1) the Gehlen Organization was central to the CIA's intelligence operations vis-à-vis the Soviets, 2) the CIA had limited alternatives to gather information on the Soviets outside of the Gehlen Organization and 3) the senior leadership of the U.S. military had long demonstrated that it approved of exaggerating foreign threats when doing so enhanced their power and added to their budgets. Long story short, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi officers who had the ideological predisposition and economic incentive to mis-perceive Soviet intentions and misstate Soviet capabilities to fuel the Cold War.

Where this gets interesting is that American whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was working for the Rand Corporation in the late 1950s and early 1960s when estimates of Soviet ICBMs were being put forward. JFK had run (in 1960) on a platform that included closing the Soviet – U.S. ' missile gap .' The USAF (U.S. Air Force), charged with delivering nuclear missiles to their targets, was estimating that the Soviets had 1,000 ICBMs. Mr. Ellsberg, who had limited security clearance through his employment at Rand, was leaked the known number of Soviet ICBMs. The Air Force was saying 1,000 Soviet ICBMs when the number confirmed by reconnaissance satellites was four.

By 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the CIA had shifted nominal control of the Gehlen Organization to the BND, for whom Gehlen continued to work. Based on ongoing satellite reconnaissance data, the CIA was busy lowering its estimates of Soviet nuclear capabilities. Benjamin Schwarz, writing for The Atlantic in 2013, provided an account, apparently informed by the CIA's lowered estimates, where he placed the whole of the Soviet nuclear weapons program (in 1962) at roughly one-ninth the size of the U.S. effort. However, given Ellsberg's known count of four Soviet ICBMs at the time of the missile crisis, even Schwarz's ratio of 1:9 seems to overstate Soviet capabilities.

Further per Schwarz's reporting, the Jupiter nuclear missiles that the U.S. had placed in Italy prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis only made sense as first-strike weapons. This interpretation is corroborated by Daniel Ellsberg , who argues that the American plan was always to initiate the use of nuclear weapons (first strike). This made JFK's posture of equally matched contestants in a geopolitical game of nuclear chicken utterly unhinged. Should this be less than clear, because the U.S. had indicated its intention to use nuclear weapons in a first strike -- and had demonstrated the intention by placing Jupiter missiles in Italy, nothing that the U.S. offered during the Missile Crisis could be taken in good faith.

The dissolution of the USSR in 1991 was met with a promised reduction in U.S. military spending and an end to the Cold War, neither of which ultimately materialized. Following the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the Cold War entered a new phase. Cold War logic was repurposed to support the oxymoronic 'humanitarian wars' -- liberating people by bombing them. In 1995 'Russian meddling' meant the Clinton administration rigging the election of Boris Yeltsin in the Russian presidential election. Mr. Clinton then unilaterally reneged on the American agreement to keep NATO from Russia's border when former Baltic states were brought under NATO's control .

The Obama administration's 2014 incitement in Ukraine , by way of fostering and supporting the Maidan uprising and the ousting of Ukraine's democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, ties to the U.S. strategy of containing and overthrowing the Soviet (Russian) government that was first codified by the National Security Council (NSC) in 1945. The NSC's directives can be found here and here . The economic and military annexation of Ukraine by the U.S. (NATO didn't exist in 1945) comes under NSC10/2 . The alliance between the CIA and Ukrainian fascists ties to directive NSC20 , the plan to sponsor Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis in order to install them in the Kremlin to replace the Soviet government. This was part of the CIA's rationale for putting Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis on its payroll in 1948.

That Russiagate is the continuation of a scheme launched in 1945 by the National Security Council, to be engineered by the CIA with help from former Nazi officers in its employ, speaks volumes about the Cold War frame from which it emerges.

Its near instantaneous adoption by bourgeois liberals demonstrates the class basis of the right-wing nationalism it supports. That liberals appear to perceive themselves as defenders 'democracy' within a trajectory laid out by unelected military leaders more than seven decades earlier is testament to the power of historical ignorance tied to nationalist fervor. Were the former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA 'our Nazis?'

The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act came about in part because Nazi hunters kept coming across Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. who told them they had been brought here and given employment by the CIA, CIC, or some other division of the Federal government. If the people in these agencies thought that doing so was justified, why the secrecy? And if it wasn't justified, why was it done? Furthermore, are liberals really comfortable bringing fascists with direct historical ties to the Third Reich to power in Ukraine? And while there are no good choices in the upcoming U.S. election, the guy who liberals want to bring to power is lead architect of this move. Cue the Sex Pistols .

[Aug 02, 2020] The wild decade- how the 1990s laid the foundations for Vladimir Putin's Russia

Which was not a wild decade: this is was the decade of the brutal economic rape of the West under the disguise of "shock therapy" and will help and active participation of "Harvard mafia." A special breed of ruthless economic hitmen decended on Russia with the full support of Western intelligence services. A classic example here is Mr. Browder.
Aug 02, 2020 | theconversation.com

By securing victory in a national vote on constitutional changes , Vladimir Putin could now remain president of Russia until 2036 if he chooses to stand again. After 20 years in power, the narrative of Russia's chaotic 1990s remains core to Putin's legitimacy as the leader who restored stability .

Although the decade still divides public opinion , what's not in doubt is that it was a dangerous and exciting period. The ambiguity of the 90s is summed up by the then-popular Russian word, bespredel , the title of a 1989 prison drama meaning anarchic freedom and unaccountable authority.

... ... ...

The social impact was immense. Life expectancy fell, with up to five million excess adult deaths in Russia in 1991-2001, birth rates collapsed and both of these trends were compounded by widespread crime and trafficking . These negative effects were concentrated in periods of economic crisis in 1991-94 and 1998-99.

Sharply rising inequality and the emergence of a new wealthy class, including some leading reformers, meant that the term "democrat" had become a term of abuse as early as 1992 .

[Jul 01, 2020] Operation Cyclone - Wikipedia

Jul 01, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program to arm and finance the mujahideen (jihadists) in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, prior to and during the military intervention by the USSR in support of its client, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The mujahideen were also supported by Britain's MI6, who conducted separate covert actions. The program leaned heavily towards supporting militant Islamic groups that were favored by the regime of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in neighboring Pakistan, rather than other, less ideological Afghan resistance groups that had also been fighting the Marxist-oriented Democratic Republic of Afghanistan regime since before the Soviet intervention.[1]

Operation Cyclone was one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever undertaken.[2] Funding officially began with $695,000 in 1979,[3][4] was increased dramatically to $20–$30 million per year in 1980, and rose to $630 million per year in 1987,[1][5][6] described as the "biggest bequest to any Third World insurgency."[7] Funding continued (albeit reduced) after the 1989 Soviet withdrawal as the mujahideen continued to battle the forces of President Mohammad Najibullah's army during the Afghan Civil War (1989–1992).[8]

[Jul 01, 2020] Not only British, but American, intelligence/foreign policy/law enforcement agencies got into bed with the members of the semibankirshchina of the Nineties who refused to accept the terms Putin offered.

Notable quotes:
"... What Catan established is that, at the time his helicopter was blown out of the sky, Curtis, lawyer both to the Menatep oligarchs and Berezovsky, had started 'singing sweetly' to what was the the National Criminal Intelligence Service. ..."
"... And what he was telling them about the activities of Khodorkovsky and his associates would have been 'music to the ears' of Putin and his associates. ..."
"... Ironically, she inadvertently demonstrates a crucial element in this story – the extent to which not only British, but American, intelligence/foreign policy/law enforcement agencies 'got into bed' with the members of the 'semibankirshchina' of the 'Nineties who refused to accept the terms Putin offered. ..."
"... A prescient early analysis of Putin, which brings out that the notion that his KGB background meant that he wanted conflict with the West is BS, is the 2002 paper 'Vladimir Putin & Russia's Special Services.' ..."
"... It was published by the 'Conflict Studies Research Centre', which was what the old 'Soviet Studies Research Centre', which did 'open source' analysis for the British military at Sandhurst became, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. ..."
Jul 01, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

xxx:

TTG:

From the description of the evolution the thinking of Christopher Steele by his co-conspirators Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch:

'When the Soviet Union finally collapsed, the suffocating surveillance of Western diplomats and suspected intelligence officers suddenly ceased – which for a brief moment seemed like a possible harbinger of a new, less authoritarian future for Russia. But the surveillance started again within days. The intrusive tails and petty harassment were indistinguishable from Soviet practices and have continued to this day. To Steele, that told him all he needed to know about the new Russia: The new boss was the same as the old boss.'

This was, apparently, the figure who MI6 judged fit to head their Russia Desk, and whose analyses were regarded as serious among people in the State Department, CIA, FBI, DOJ etc. LOL.

As to Simpson and Fritsch, they were supposed to be serious journalists. LOL again.

A curious thing is that Tom Catan once was.

He wrote a good long investigative piece in the 'Financial Times', back in 2004, about the death of Stephen Curtis, one of the fourteen mysterious incidents in the U.K., which according to Heidi Blake of 'BuzzFeed', American intelligence agencies have evidence establishing that they were the work of the Russian 'special services.'

(As, according to the 'Sky' report you and Colonel Lang discussed, the supposed attempt to assassinate Sergei and Yulia Skripal is supposed to be.)

What Catan established is that, at the time his helicopter was blown out of the sky, Curtis, lawyer both to the Menatep oligarchs and Berezovsky, had started 'singing sweetly' to what was the the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

And what he was telling them about the activities of Khodorkovsky and his associates would have been 'music to the ears' of Putin and his associates.

As with the deaths of Berezovsky and Patarkatsishvili, which also feature in Ms. Blake's farragos, at the precise time they died, it was precisely Putin and his associates who had the strongest possible interest in keeping them alive.

Ironically, she inadvertently demonstrates a crucial element in this story – the extent to which not only British, but American, intelligence/foreign policy/law enforcement agencies 'got into bed' with the members of the 'semibankirshchina' of the 'Nineties who refused to accept the terms Putin offered.

(See https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/heidiblake/putin-global-assassination-campaign-berezovsky-london . Note, in the link, 'putin-global-assassination-campaign-berezovsky-london.')

Unfortunately, I cannot provide a link to the Catan article, as it is no longer available on the web, and when I put my old link into the 'Wayback Machine' version, I was told it was infected with a Trojan.

But I can send you a copy, if you are interested.

Leith,

Of course, no ancestry – be it Lithuanian, or Polish, or Ukrainian, or whatever – 'automatically' produces bias.

A prescient early analysis of Putin, which brings out that the notion that his KGB background meant that he wanted conflict with the West is BS, is the 2002 paper 'Vladimir Putin & Russia's Special Services.'

It was published by the 'Conflict Studies Research Centre', which was what the old 'Soviet Studies Research Centre', which did 'open source' analysis for the British military at Sandhurst became, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The actual name of 'Gordon Bennett', who wrote it, is Henry Plater-Zyberk. They were a great, and very distinguished, Polish-Lithuanian noble family.

(See https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/96481/02_Aug_4.pdf .)

In quite a long experience of refugees to these islands from the disasters of twentieth-century European history, and their descendants, I have found that sometimes the history is taken as a subject of reflection and becomes a source of insight and understanding not granted to those with more fortunate backgrounds.

At other times, however, people become locked in a trauma, out of which they cannot escape.

[May 25, 2020] The extent of the incompetence involved in the USA accessment of the USSR just befor the collapse

May 25, 2020 | irrussianality.wordpress.com
  1. davidhabakkuk says: May 25, 2020 at 12:22 pm The kind of view of the end of the Cold War which underpins Billingslea's notion that the United States can spend Russia and China into 'oblivion' is that championed by people who totally failed to anticipate what happened in the Soviet Union in the 'Eighties, and have not seen this fact as reason for rethinking the assumptions that caused them to get things so radically wrong.

    The extent of the incompetence involved is vividly apparent in the collection of documents from the American and Soviet sides published by the 'National Security Archive' in January 2017, under the title 'The Last Superpower Summits.'

    (See https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-01-23/last-superpower-summits

    Particularly revealing, to my mind, is Document 12, the transcript of the closed-door testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee by the top three CIA analysts of the Soviet Union, Doug MacEachin, Robert Blackwell, and Paul Ericson, at the precise moment, in December 1988, when Gorbachev announced his 500,000 troop cut at the U.N.

    The editors comment:

    'And MacEachin offers a true confession in an extraordinary passage that demonstrates how prior assumptions about Soviet behavior, rather than actual intelligence data points, actually drove intelligence findings: "Now, we spend megadollars studying political instability in various places around the world, but we never really looked at the Soviet Union as a political entity in which there were factors building which could lead to the kind of – at least the initiation of political transformation that we seem to see. It does not exist to my knowledge. Moreover, had it existed inside the government, we never would have been able to publish it anyway, quite frankly. And had we done so, people would have been calling for my head. And I wouldn't have published it. In all honesty, had we said a week ago that Gorbachev might come to the UN and offer a unilateral cut of 500,000 in the military, we would have been told we were crazy. We had a difficult enough time getting air space for the prospect of some unilateral cuts of 50 to 60,000."

    Actually, it was quite possible to do much better, without spending 'megadollars', if one simply went to the Chatham House Library and/or the London Library and looked at what competent analysts, like those working for the Foreign Policy Studies Program then run by the late, great John Steinbruner at Brookings – a very different place then from now.

    Among those he employed were two of the best former intelligence analysts of Soviet military strategy: Ambassador Raymond Garthoff and Commander Michael MccGwire, R.N., to give them their titles when in government service.

    These has devoted a great deal of effort to explaining that Professor Richard Pipes of Harvard, a key influence in creating the 'groupthink' MacEachin described, had missed a crucial transition away from nuclear war planning to conventional 'deep operations' in the late 'Sixties and 'Seventies.

    Inturn, this led Garthoff and MccGwire to grasp that the Gorbachev-era 'new thinkers' had decided that the conventional 'deep operations' posture in turn needed to be abandoned. For a summary of the latter's arguments, see article entitled 'Rethinking War: The Soviets and European Security', published in the Spring 1988 edition of the 'Brookings Review', available on the 'Unz Review' site.

    (See https://www.unz.com/print/BrookingsRev-1988q2-00003/ .)

    Also associated with Brookings at the time was the Duke University Sovietologist Jerry Hough, who had read his way through the writings of academics in the institutes associated with the Academy of Sciences on development economics, and talked extensively to many of their authors.

    In the 'Conclusion' to his 1986 study, 'The Struggle for the Third World: Soviet Debates and American Options', Hough wrote:

    'Or what is one to say about the argument – now very widely accepted – among Soviet economists – that countries with "capitalist-oriented" economies in the third world have a natural tendency to grow more rapidly than countries with a "socialist orientation" because well-rounded development seems to be dependent on foreign investment and integration into the world market? A quarter of a century ago, let alone in the Stalin period, it was just as widely accepted that integration into the capitalist world economy doomed a third world country to slow, deformed growth and that foreign investment exploited a local economy.'

    One thing one could say is that this recognition that fundamental premises of the Marxist-Leninist view of the world had turned out wrong was simple an acknowledgement of the ways that the world had changed. And that view of the world had defined the political framework in which Soviet contingency planning for war had developed.

    Central to this had been the premise of a 'natural' teleology of history towards socialism, with the risk of war in the international system arising from the attempts of the 'imperialist' powers to resist this.

    So there were profound pressures, which really were not simply created by the Reagan military build-up and SDI, for radical changes in the Soviet security posture. Questions were obviously raised, however, as to whether these – together with radical domestic reform – would defuse Western hostility.

    Fascinating here is Document 11, a memo to Gorbachev from a key advisor, Georgy Arbatov, the director of the 'Institute for U.S.A. and Canada' from the previous June. This sets the plan for the 500,000 troop reduction in the context both of the wider conception of liquidating the capability for large-scale offensive operations described MccGwire, and also of the perceived importance of breaking the 'image of the enemy' in the West.

    While both Gorbachev, and Arbatov, were widely perceived in the West as engaged in a particularly dangerous 'active measures' campaign, it is striking how closely the thinking set out in the memo echoes that the latter had articulated the previous December in a letter to the 'New York Times', in response to a column by William Safire.

    (See https://www.nytimes.com/1987/12/08/opinion/l-it-takes-two-to-make-a-cold-war-963287.html .)

    Headlined 'It Takes Two to Make a Cold War', it expresses key assumptions underlying the 'new thinking.' Two crucial paragraphs:

    'If the Soviet Union should accept the proposed rules of the game and devotedly continue the cold war, then, of course, sooner or later, the whole thing would end in a calamity. But at least Mr. Safire's plan would work. The only problem I see here is that the Soviet Union will not pick up the challenge and accept the proposed rules of the game. And then Americans would find themselves in exactly the same position Mr. Safire and his ilk, as he himself writes, are finding themselves in now: history would pass them by, and years from now they would be "regarded as foot-draggers and sourpusses," because almost no one in the world is willing to play the games of the American right. Least of all, the Soviet Union.

    'And here we have a "secret weapon" that will work almost regardless of the American response e would deprive America of The Enemy. And how would you justify without it the military expenditures that bleed the American economy white, a policy that draws America into dangerous adventures overseas and drives wedges between the United States and its allies, not to mention the loss of American influence on neutral countries? Wouldn't such a policy in the absence of The Enemy put America in the position of an outcast in the international community?'

    There was however another question which was raised by the patent bankrupcy of Marxism-Leninism, which bore very directly upon what Arbatov, in his memorandum to Gorbachev.

    If one accepted that Soviet-style economics had led to a dead end, and that integration into the U.S. dominated global economic order was the road to successful development, questions obviously arose about not simply about how far, and how rapidly, one should attempt to dismantle not simply the command economy.

    But they also arose about whether it was prudent to dismantle the authoritarian political system with which it was associated, at the same time.

    In a lecture given in 2010, entitled 'The Cold War: A View from Russia', the historian Vladimir O. Pechatnov, himself a product of Arbatov's institute, would provide a vivid picture of the disillusion felt by 'liberalising' intellectuals within the Soviet apparatus, like himself.

    (See http://jhss-khazar.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/01.pdf .)

    However, he also made the – rather interesting – suggestion that, had logic of central arguments by George F. Kennan, the figure generally, if in my own view somewhat misleadingly, regarded as the principal architect of post-war American strategy, actually pointed rather decisively away from the assumption that a rapid dismantling of the authoritarian system was wise.

    And Pechatnov pointed to the very ambivalent implications of the view of the latent instability of Soviet society expressed in Kennan's famous July 1947 'X-article':

    'So, if Communist Party is incapacitated, the Soviet Russia, I quote, "would almost overnight turn from one of the mightiest into one of the weakest and miserable nations of the world "). Had Gorbachev read Kennan and realized this causal connection (as Deng and his colleagues most definitely had), he might have thought twice before abruptly terminating the Communist monopoly on power.'

    What is involved here is a rather fundamental fact – that in their more optimistic assumptions, people like Arbatov and Gorbachev turned out to be simply wrong.

    Crucially, rather than marginalising people like Pipes, and Safire, and Billingslea, an effect of the retreat and collapse of Soviet power was to convince a very substantial part of what had been the 'Peace Movement' coalition that their erstwhile opponents had been vindicated.

    However, the enthusiasm of people like Billingslea for a retry of the supposed successful 'Reagan recipe' brings another irony.

    As to SDI, it was well-known at the time that it could easily be countered, at relatively low cost, with 'asymetric' measures.

    This is well brought out in Garthoff's discussion in his 2001 Memoir 'A Journey through the Cold War: A Memoir of Containment and Coexistence' (see p. 356.) For a more recent discussion, in the light of declassified materials, which reaches the same conclusion, see a piece in the 'Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' by Pavel Podvig from April 2013, entitled 'Shooting down the Star Wars myth' at

    https://thebulletin.org/2013/04/shooting-down-the-star-wars-myth-2/

    And if one bothers to follow the way that arguments have been developing outside the 'bubble' in which most inhabitants of Washington D.C., and London exist, it is evident that people in Moscow, and Beijing, have thought about the lessons of this history. Those who think that they are going to be suckered into an arms race that the United States can win are quite patently delusional.

[Apr 08, 2020] About neoliberalization of China and Russia

Apr 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

King Lear , Apr 8 2020 19:14 utc | 56

VK #2
Yet you are fooled by the phony Socialism of "Red" China, which is really Neoliberalism in disguise (I highly doubt Marx, Lenin, Stalin, or even the confused, Pro-U$ Mao would believe Sweatshops, Stock Exchanges, and Billionaires represents the Socialist model of production). I agree with you that Bernie Sanders is a gutless fraud and faux Socialist (he's merely a Centre-Left Social Democrat yet he portrayed his movement as some sort of "Revolution", LOL), who sadly represents the best you would ever get in the White House, in the sense that at least he wouldn't have started any new wars, wouldn't have given any tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, and wouldn't have outsourced any more jobs in new free trade agreements (these are the reasons I would have held my nose and voted for him if he had been nominated, despite my much more Leftist beliefs).

However, I believe it smells of intense hypocrisy to call out Bernie Sanders as faux Socialism (he is), while simultaneously bowing at the alter of Xi Jinping thought, which along with being yet another form of faux Socialism like Bernies Social Democracy, isn't just due to the naivety of believing that the phony Liberal Democratic process (in Marxist terms the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie), can actually achieve meaningful reforms for the Working class and not just pacify them. In reality, it represents something much more devious, a country that had a Communist Revolution and established a Planned Socialist economic system, yet decided to sell out its citizens for an alliance with the U$ and massive wealth for the Communist Party leadership, who proceeded to turn their formerly Socialist country into a Neoliberal, Neocolonial, Sweatshop, that by giving 15 Trillion dollars in surplus value to Wall Street is one of the biggest sponsors of U$ Imperialism (remember, according to Lenin Imperialism is not just launching Wars against small countries, but includes when Western Corporation exploit third world populations for massive super profits through resource extraction and cheap labor sweatshops). In reality their are only two countries today (Cuba and North Korea) that are in the Socialist mode of production according to the Marxist-Leninist definition, sadly their used to be many more (the USSR, the other Eastern Bloc countries, Maoist China, etc.) which all succumb to Capitalist counterrevolution (the USSR and the other Eastern Bloc countries etc.), or the ruling Communist Party embracing such extreme revisionism that over time they basically restored the Capitalist mode of production and Dictatorship of the Proletariat, in all but name only. The reason for both of these tragic events was the fact that due to a long-term revisionist trend after the death of Stalin and Maos ridiculous Sino-Soviet split, the leadership of these countries became corrupted by the desire for the U$-style "Good life" of mass consumerism and hedonistic materialism (not Dialectical Materialism), thus proving that the real threat to Socialism is the Neoliberal culture of decedent consumerism which corrupt the leadership and enchants the masses of nations around the world.

[Feb 24, 2020] Bush Family s Project Hammer

Notable quotes:
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Dec 15, 2019 | www.spingola.com

The Bush Family's Project Hammer
By Deanna Spingola
Edited by Ken Freeland
February 7, 2010

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Hammering the USSR's Economy

In 1989 President George H. W. Bush began the multi-billion dollar Project Hammer program using an investment strategy to bring about the economic destruction of the Soviet Union including the theft of the Soviet treasury, the destabilization of the ruble, funding a KGB coup against Gorbachev in August 1991 and the seizure of major energy and munitions industries in the Soviet Union. Those resources would subsequently be turned over to international bankers and corporations. On November 1, 2001, the second operative in the Bush regime, President George W. Bush, issued Executive Order 13233 on the basis of "national security" and concealed the records of past presidents, especially his father's spurious activities during 1990 and 1991. Consequently, those records are no longer accessible to the public. [1] The Russian coup plot was discussed in June 1991 when Yeltsin visited with Bush in conjunction with his visit to the United States. On that same visit, Yeltsin met discreetly with Gerald Corrigan, the chairman of the New York Federal Reserve. [2]

Because of numerous Presidential Executive Orders, the ethically questionable Project Hammer was deemed legal. Many of Reagan's executive orders were actually authored by Vice President Bush or his legal associates, and it is possible that Project Hammer was created by Reagan's CIA Director, William Casey, who had directed OSS operations through Alan Dulles in Europe during World War II. Prior to his OSS affiliation, Casey worked for the Board of Economic Warfare which allegedly targeted "Hitler's economic jugular." [3] Allen Dulles, brother of John Foster Dulles, was the Director of the CIA (1953-1961). He was a senior partner at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Rockefeller Empire and other mammoth trusts, corporations and cartels.

Project Hammer was staffed with CIA operatives and others associated with the National Security apparatus. Covert channels were already in place as a result of other illegal Bush activities. Thus, it was a given (1) that the project would use secret, illegal funds for unapproved covert operations, and (2) that the American public and Congress would not be informed about the illegal actions perpetrated in foreign countries. The first objective was allegedly to crush Communism, a growing political philosophy and social movement that was initially funded by the usual group of international bankers who now supported their demise. To this end, the "Vulcans," under George H. W. Bush, waged war against the Soviet Union. [4]

The Return of the Vulcans

In their reincarnation in the administration of George W. Bush, the Vulcans functioned as a supposedly benign group, led by Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) member Condoleezza Rice, who attempted to augment and compensate for the Bush's lack of experience and education concerning foreign policy during his presidential campaign. Rice had been President George H. W. Bush's Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor in the National Security Council during the Soviet Union's dissolution and during the German reunification (July 1, 1990). The resurrected Vulcan group included Richard Armitage, Robert Blackwill, Stephen Hadley, Richard Perle, Rabbi Dov S. Zakheim, Robert Zoellick and Paul Wolfowitz. Other key campaign figures included Dick Cheney, George P. Shultz and Colin Powell, all influential but not actually a part of the Vulcan Group. All of these people, associated with the George H. W. Bush administration, returned to powerful, strategic positions in George W. Bush's administration.

Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz have been accused of being agents for the Israeli government. Investigations by Congress and the FBI have substantiated those allegations. Zakheim and his family were heavily involved in Yeshivat Sha'alvim, an educational organization in which students are taught to render absolute commitment to the State of Israel. [5]

Many of these individuals were also members of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) which was established in the spring of 1997 with the intention of promoting American Global leadership at any cost. The chairman and co-founder was William Kristol, son of Irving Kristol (CFR), considered the godfather of neo-conservatism which promotes the ideas of Max Shachtman and Leo Strauss, a noted Zionist and professor of political science at the University of Chicago. Kristol's co-founder was Robert W. Kagan (CFR). Kristol is also the editor and co-founder, along with John Podhoretz, of the Weekly Standard Magazine , established September 17, 1995 and owned by Rupert Murdoch until August 2009. This "conservative" magazine is edited by William Kristol and Fred Barnes and promotes Middle East warfare and a huge military budget, a mentality that infects the most popular "conservative" talk show radio hosts. Kristol is a trustee for the Manhattan Institute which was founded by CIA Director William Casey and was staffed with former CIA officers.

The Vulcans had almost limitless financing from a cache known by several names – the Black Eagle Trust, the Marcos gold, Yamashita's Gold, the Golden Lily Treasure, or the Durham Trust. Japan, under Emperor Hirohito, appointed a brother, Prince Chichibu, to head Golden Lily, established in November 1937 before Japan's infamous Rape of Nanking , to accompany and follow the military. The Golden Lily operation carried out massive plunder throughout Asia and included an army of jewelers, financial experts and smelters. [6] The Japanese were allegedly very organized and methodical. After the Allied blockade, Golden Lily headquarters were moved from Singapore to Manila where 175 storage sites were built by slave laborers and POWs. Billions of dollars worth of gold and other plundered treasures were stockpiled in these underground caverns, some of which were dis covered by the notorious Cold Warrior, Edward G. Lansdale who directed the recovery of some of the vaults. Truman and subsequent presidents, without congressional knowledge, have used those resources to finance the CIA's chaotic clandestine activities throughout the world. Much of the Middle East chaos is financed by those pillaged funds. A tiny portion of that treasure was the source of Ferdinand Marcos' vast wealth. Marcos worked with the CIA for decades using Golden Lily funds to bribe nations to support the Vietnam War. In return, Marcos was allowed to sell over $1 trillion in gold through Australian brokers. [7]

In July 1944, the leaders of forty-four nations met at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to plan the post-war economy and to discuss organizing a global political action fund which would use the Black Eagle Trust ostensibly to fight communism, bribe political leaders, enhance the treasuries of U.S. allies, and manipulate elections in foreign countries and other unconstitutional covert operations. Certainly, those politicos who managed the funds also received financial benefits. This trust was headed by Secretary of War Henry Stimson, assisted by John J. McCloy (later head of the World Bank) and Robert Lovett (later Secretary of Defense) and consultant Robert B. Anderson (later Secretary of the Treasury). [8] Anderson later operated the Commercial Exchange Bank of Anguilla in the British West Indies and was convicted of running illegal offshore banking operations and tax evasion. Investors lost about $4.4 million. Consequently, he was sent to prison for a token amount of time, one month. He was also under house arrest for five years. He could have received a ten-year sentence but Judge Palmieri considered Anderson's "distinguished service" to the country in the "top levels of Government." [9]

Between 1945 and 1947 huge quantities of gold and platinum were deposited in prominent banks throughout the world. These deposits came to be known as the Black Eagle Trust. Swiss banks, because of their neutrality, were pivotal in maintaining these funds. These funds were allocated to fighting communism and paying bribes and fixing elections in places like Italy, Greece, and Japan. [10] Stimson and McCloy, both retired from government service, continued their involvement in the management of the Black Eagle Trust. Robert B. Anderson, who toured the treasure sites with Douglas MacArthur, set up the Black Eagle Trust and later became a member of Eisenhower's cabinet. [11] In order to maintain secrecy about the Trust, Washington officials insisted that the Japanese did not plunder the countries they invaded. Japanese officials who wanted to divulge the facts were imprisoned or murdered in a way that made it look like suicide, a common CIA tactic. [12] The Germans paid reparations to thousands of victims while the Japanese paid next to nothing. Military leaders who opposed foreign policies that embraced exploitation of third world countries were suicided or died from mysterious causes, which includes individuals such as George S. Patton, Smedley D. Butler and James V. Forrestal.

The Vulcan's effort to crush Communism and end the Cold War was largely funded by that Japanese plunder. The Vulcans were resurrected when George W. Bush was installed as president in 2000, facilitated by election maneuvers, probably lots of payoffs, and Jeb Bush's purge of Florida voters. They conducted other illegal operations, like securities fraud and money laundering. This entailed murder and false imprisonment to prevent penitent participants from divulging the activities of the group. During the process of accomplishing the main objective of destroying the Soviet Union, the operatives made massive profits. In September 1991, George H. W. Bush and Alan Greenspan, both Pilgrims Society members, financed $240 billion in illegal bonds to economically decimate the Soviet Union and bring Soviet oil and gas resources under the control of Western investors, backed by the Black Eagle Trust and supported later by Putin who for the right price purged certain oligarchs. The $240 billion in illegal bonds were apparently replaced with Treasury notes backed by U.S. taxpayers. [13] To conceal the clearance of $240 billion in securities, the Federal Reserve, within two months, increased the money supply to pre-9/11 numbers which resulted in the American taxpayer refinancing the $240 billion. [14]

The Takeover of Russia's Oil Industry

BP Amoco became the largest foreign direct investor in Russia in 1997 when it paid a half-billion dollars to buy a 10 percent stake in the Russian oil conglomerate Sidanko. Then in 1999, Tyumen Oil bought Sidanko's prize unit, Chernogorneft which allegedly made BP Amoco's investment worthless. Tyumen offered to cooperate with BP Amoco on the development of Chernogorneft but BP Amoco was not interested. [15] In October 1998, Halliburton Energy Services had entered into an agreement with Moscow-based Tyumen Oil Company (TNK). Their efforts were focused on the four western Siberia fields, the first one being the Samotlorskoye field. [16] TNK has proven oil reserves of 4.3 billion barrels and possibly as many as 6.1 billion barrels, with crude oil production and refining capabilities of 420,000 barrels/day and 230,000 barrels/day, respectively. TNK markets gasoline through 400 retail outlets. [17] In 2002 Halliburton and Sibneft, Russia's fifth largest crude oil producer, signed an agreement. Sibneft will use Halliburton's new technologies to improve well construction and processing while Halliburton directs all project management. [18]

Tyumenskaya Neftyanaya Kompaniya (Tyumen Oil Company) was established in 1995 by government decree. It is now TNK-BP, the leading Russian oil company and ranks among the top ten privately owned oil companies worldwide in terms of crude oil production. The company, formed in 2003, resulted from the merger of BP's Russian oil and gas assets and the oil and gas assets of Alfa, Access/Renova group (AAR). BP and AAR each own fifty percent of TNK-BP. The shareholders of TNK-BP own almost fifty percent of Slavneft, a vertically integrated Russian oil company. [19] This transaction was the biggest in Russian corporate history and was managed by Vladimir Lechtman, the Moscow partner for Jones Day, a global law firm with thirty offices and 2,200 lawyers worldwide. TNK-BP, Russia's second-largest oil company employs almost 100,000 people and operates in Samotlor. [20]

Reportedly, Putin was financially rewarded by the collaborators and was happy to purge some annoying industrialists who stood in the way. Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the manager of Yukos, the company that he built into Russia's second-largest oil company after acquiring it for $168 million when his Bank MENATEP, the first privately owned but notoriously corrupt bank since 1917 and wiped out in August 1998, purchased it through a controversial government privatization auction in 1995. MENATEP was named as a defendant in the Avisma lawsuit which was filed on August 19, 1999. [21] The bank may have facilitated the large-scale theft of Soviet Treasury funds before and following the USSR's collapse in 1991. [22] His company had borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from western banks. [23] He was arrested on October 25, 2003 and sentenced in June 2005 to eight years on fraud and tax evasion charges. He was allegedly targeted as a political enemy by President Vladimir Putin who went after other big business owners who apparently made money by acquiring states assets. Yukos was sold piecemeal to pay off $28 billion in back tax charges. Yukos was seized and given to Rosneft. [24]

When Khodorkovsky was arrested, his secretive business arrangement with the Rothschild family was exposed as Jacob Rothschild assumed Khodorkovsky's 26% control of Yukos while Khodorkovsky's directorial seat on the Yukos board went to Edgar Ortiz, a former Halliburton vice president during Dick Cheney's reign as CEO at Halliburton. Cheney, as President and CEO of Halliburton, automatically had an association with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) . [25] In November 1997, Dick Cheney, in anticipation of imminent events, had appointed Edgar Ortiz as president of Halliburton Energy Services, their global division. [26]

The Yukos Oil Company merged with the smaller Sibneft Oil Company on October 3, 2003 which created Russia's largest oil and gas business and the world's fourth-largest private oil company. [27] On May 11, 2007 Halliburton announced they had made an agreement with the Tyumen State Oil and Gas University to open a new employee-training center in Russia to grow their business in that country and in the surrounding region. They are currently training students from five countries, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia and the United Kingdom. [28] Halliburton was awarded a $33 million contract by TNK-BP to provide oil field services to develop the Ust-Vakh field in Western Siberia. [29]

September 11 – Black Op Cover-up

Three top securities brokers had offices in the World Trade Center, Cantor Fitzgerald, Euro Brokers and Garbon Inter Capital. Flight 11 struck just under the floors where Cantor Fitzgerald was located. Cantor Fitzgerald, with possible connections to the U.S. Intelligence apparatus, was America's biggest securities broker and apparently the main target. Within minutes, an explosion in the North Tower's vacant 23 rd floor, right under the offices of the FBI and Garbon Inter Capital on the 25 th floor caused a huge fire from the 22 nd through the 25 th floors. At the same time, there was an explosion in the basement of the North Tower. [30] A vault in the North Tower basement held less than $1 billion in gold, much of which was reportedly moved before 9/11. However, the government had hundreds of billions of dollars of securities which were summarily destroyed. The Federal Reserve, untouched by the crisis at its downtown offices (as they had everything backed up to a remote location), assumed emergency powers that afternoon. The $240 billion in securities were electronically cleared. [31] Then, at 9:03, Flight 175 slammed into the 78 th floor of the South Tower just below the 84 th floor where Euro Brokers were located. [32] Brian Clark, the manager at Euro Brokers, heard numerous explosions, apparently unrelated to what he referred to as the oxygen-starved fire caused by the plane crash.

The September 11 attacks related to the financial improprieties during the preceding ten years which spurred at least nine federal investigations which were initiated in 1997-1998, about the same time that Osama bin Laden, after twenty years as a CIA asset, announced a fatwa against the U.S. The records of many of those investigations were held in the Buildings Six and Seven and on the 23 rd floor of the North Tower. Those investigations were sure to reveal the black Eagle Trust shenanigans. [33] Building Seven, not hit by a plane, collapsed at 5:20:33 p.m. but was vacated as early as 9:00 when evacuees claimed to see dead bodies and sporadic fires within the building.

By 2008 and even earlier the covert securities were worth trillions. The securities used to decimate the Soviets and end the Cold War were stored in certain broker's vaults in the World Trade Center where they were destroyed on September 11, 2001. They would have come due for settlement and clearing on September 12, 2001. [34] The federal agency investigating these bonds, the Office of Naval Intelligence was in the section of the Pentagon that was destroyed on September 11. Renovations at the Pentagon were due to be completed on September 16, 2001. However, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the entity that often monitors war games, was hurriedly moved. If they were monitoring the simultaneous war games that morning, they would have realized that the games were used as a distraction from the actual assault. Whatever hit the pentagon struck the Navy Command Center and the offices of the Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot (CNO-IP). [35] There were 125 fatalities in the Pentagon, thirty-one percent of them were people who worked in the Naval Command Center, the location of the Office of Naval Intelligence. Thirty-nine of the forty people who worked in the Office of Naval Intelligence died . [36]

On September 10, 2001 Rumsfeld announced that the Pentagon couldn't account for $2.3 trillion, "We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it's stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible." [37] It was forgotten the following morning. Accountants, bookkeepers and budget analysts who were in the section of the Pentagon being renovated met their unexpected deaths. The destruction of accounting facts and figures will prevent discovery of where that money went. I am quite certain someone knows where it is. Certainly this is not merely gross incompetence but private seizure of public funds. [38] At the time Rabbi Dov Zakheim was chief-financial officer for the Department of Defense. [39] In 1993, Zakheim worked for SPS International, part of System Planning Corporation, a defense contractor. His firm's subsidiary, Tridata Corporation directed the investigation of the first "terrorist" attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. [40]

Certain National Security officials who had participated in the Cold War victory in 1991 thus comprised the collateral damage of the Cold War. They, along with hundreds of innocent people were in the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Their deaths were presumably required to conceal the existence of the Black Eagle Trust, along with the numerous illegal activities it had funded for over 50 years. This massive destruction, and the lost lives, constitutes a massive cover-up and continued lawlessness by the brotherhood of death, Skull and Bones, and their accomplices, the Enterprise. [41] The Enterprise was established in the 1980s as a covert fascist Cold Warriors faction working with other groups like Halliburton's private security forces and the Moonies. Citibank is connected to the Enterprise, along with all the CIA front banks, Nugen Hand and BCCI.

Double Dipping

Alvin B. "Buzzy" Krongard was elected Chief Executive Officer of Alexander Brown and Sons in 1991 and Chairman of the Board in 1994. Bankers Trust purchased Alexander Brown and Sons in 1997 to form BT Alex Brown. Krongard relinquished his investments in Alex Brown to Banker's Trust as part of the merger. He became Vice Chairman of Banker's Trust where he personally interacted with wealthy clients who were intimately linked to drug money laundering. After a year of possible networking, Krongard joined (or as Michael Ruppert suggests, rejoined ) the CIA in 1998 where his friend, Director George Tenet, concentrated his skills on private banking ventures within the elite moneyed community. Senate investigations verify that private banking firms frequently engage in money laundering from illicit drugs and corporate crime operations. [42] On January 28, 2000 the Reginald Howe and GATA Lawsuit was filed which accused certain U.S. bullion banks of illegally dumping U.S. Treasury gold on the market. The lawsuit named Deutsche bank Alex Brown, the U.S. Treasury, Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve, and Citibank, Chase, as defendants. Gerald Corrigan was accused of having private knowledge of the scheme. [43] Krongard became the Executive Director of the CIA, essentially the Chief Operating Officer, and the number three man on March 16, 2001. Krongard, while at the CIA, arranged for Blackwater's Erik Prince to get his first contract with the U.S. government, and later joined its board.

Richard Wagner, a data retrieval expert, estimated that more than $100 million in illegal transactions appeared to have rushed through the WTC computers before and during the disaster on September 11, 2001. A Deutsche Bank employee verified that approximately five minutes before the first plane hit the tower that the Deutsche Bank computer system in their WTC office was seized by an outside, unknown entity. Every single file was swiftly uploaded to an unidentified locality. This employee escaped from the building, but lost many of his friends. He knew, from his position in the company, that Alex Brown, the Deutsche Bank subsidiary participated in insider trading. Senator Carl Levin claimed that Alex Brown was just one of twenty prominent U.S. banks associated with money laundering. [44]

Andreas von Bülow, a Social Democratic Party member of the German parliament (1969-1994), was on the parliamentary committee on intelligence services, a group that has access to classified information. Von Bülow was also a member of the Schalck-Golodkowski investigation committee which investigates white-collar crime. He has estimated that inside trader profits surrounding 9/11 totaled approximately $15 billion. Von Bülow told The Daily Telegraph "If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars." Further, he said, "They have hidden behind a veil of secrecy and destroyed the evidence they invented the story of 19 Muslims working within Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda in order to hide the truth of their own covert operation." He also said, "I'm convinced that the US apparatus must have played a role and my theory is backed up by the [Washington] government's refusal to present any proof whatsoever of what happened." [45]

On September 26, CBS reported that the amount was more than $100 million and that seven countries were investigating the irregular trades. Two newspapers, Reuters and the New York Times, and other mainstream media reported that the CIA regularly monitors extraordinary trades and economic irregularities to ascertain possible criminal activities or financial assaults. In fact, the CIA uses specialized software, PROMIS, to scrutinize trades. [46]

Numerous researchers believe, with justification, that the transactions in the financial markets are indicative of foreknowledge of the events of 9/11, the attacks on the twin towers and the pentagon. One of the trades, for $2.5 million, a pittance compared to the total, went unclaimed. Alex Brown, once managed by Krongard, was the firm that placed the put options on United Airlines stock. President Bush awarded Krongard by appointing him as CIA Executive Director in 2004. [47]

Between September 6 and 7, 2001, the Chicago Board Options Exchange received purchases of 4,744 put options on United Airlines and only 396 call options. If 4,000 of those options were purchased by people with foreknowledge, they would have accrued about $5 million. On September 10, the Chicago exchange received 4,516 put options on American Airlines compared to 748 calls. The implications are that some insiders might profit by about $4 million. These two incidents were wholly irregular and at least six times higher than normal. [48]

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Company, who occupied floors 43-46, 56, 59-74 of the World Trade Center, Tower 2, saw 2,157 of its October $45 put options bought in the three trading days before Black Tuesday. This compares to an average of 27 contracts per day before September 6. Morgan Stanley's share price fell from $48.90 to $42.50 in the aftermath of the attacks. Assuming that 2,000 of these options contracts were bought based upon knowledge of the approaching attacks, their purchasers could have profited by at least $1.2 million. The U.S. government never again mentioned the trade irregularities after October 12, 2001. [49] Catastrophic events serve two purposes for the top criminal element in society – the perpetrators seize resources while their legislative accomplices impose burdensome restrictions on the citizens to make them more submissive and silent.


[1] Collateral Damage: U.S. Covert Operations and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 by E.P. Heidner, pp. 4-5
[2] Ibid, p. 20
[3] Ibid, pp. 4-5
[4] Ibid
[5] September 11 Commission Report by E. P. Heidner, 2008, p. 108
[6] Gold Warriors, America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave, Verso Publishing, 2003, pp. 32-43
[7] Ibid, pp. 318
[8] Ibid, pp. 14-15
[9] Ex-Treasury Chief Gets 1-Month Term in Bank Fraud Case by Frank J. Prial, New York Times, June 28, 1987
[10] Gold Warriors, America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave, Verso Publishing, 2003, p. 5
[11] Ibid, p. 98
[12] Ibid, p. 102
[13] Collateral Damage: U.S. Covert Operations and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 by E. P. Heidner, pp. 4-6
[14] Ibid, p. 29
[15] Tyumen Oil of Russia Seeks Links to Old Foes After Winning Fight By Neela Banerjee, New York Times, December 2, 1999
[16] Halliburton Energy Services Enters Into Alliance Agreement With Tyumen Oil Company, Press Release, October 15, 1998, http://www.halliburton.com/news/archive/1998/hesnws_101598.jsp
[17] Ibid
[18] Halliburton Press Release, Halliburton And Russian Oil Company Sibneft Sign Framework Agreement, February 7, 2002, http://www.halliburton.com/news/archive/2002/corpnws_020702.jsp
[19] TNK-BP, Our company, http://www.tnk-bp.com/company/
[20] Russia's largest field is far from depleted By Jerome R. Corsi, Word Net Daily, November 04, 2005, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=47219
[21] Collateral Damage: U.S. Covert Operations and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 by E.P. Heidner, p. 28
[22] Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, Source Watch, http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Mikhail_B._Khodorkovsky
[23] Russia's Ruling Robbers by Mark Ames, Consortium News, March 11, 1999, http://www.consortiumnews.com/1999/c031199a.html
[24] "Sovest" Group Campaign for Granting Political Prisoner Status to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, February 7, 2008
[25] Halliburton Man to Sub for Khodorkovsky, Simon Ostrovsky, Moscow Times, April 30, 2004 as noted in the September 11 Commission Report, p. 233; See also Arrested Oil Tycoon Passed Shares to Banker, Washington Times, November 2, 2003
[26] Halliburton Press Release, Ortiz Named President Of Halliburton Energy Services, November 19, 1997, http://www.halliburton.com/news/archive/1997/hesnws_111997.jsp
[27] Russia: Yukos-Sibneft union forms world's No. 4 oil producer, Global Finance, Jun 2003, http://mikhail_khodorkovsky_society.blogspot.com/
[28] Halliburton Opens Russia Training Center, International Business Times, May 11, 2007, http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20070511/halliburton-training.htm
[29] Halliburton gets Russia work, Oil Daily, January 26, 2006, http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0199-5579583_ITM
[30] Collateral Damage: U.S. Covert Operations and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 by E. P. Heidner, p. 2
[31] Ibid, p. 29
[32] Ibid, pp. 2
[33] Ibid, p. 28-29
[34] "Sioux City, Iowa, July 25, 2005 TomFlocco.com , According to leaked documents from an intelligence file obtained through a military source in the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), on or about September 12, 1991 non-performing and unauthorized gold-backed debt instruments were used to purchase ten-year "Brady" bonds. The bonds in turn were illegally employed as collateral to borrow $240 billion--120 in Japanese Yen and 120 in
Deutsch Marks--exchanged for U.S. currency under false pretenses; or counterfeit and unlawful conversion of collateral against which an unlimited amount of money could be created in derivatives and debt instruments " from Cash payoffs, bonds and murder linked to White House 9/11 finance, Tom Flocco, tomflocco.com
[35] Collateral Damage: U.S. Covert Operations and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 by E.P. Heidner, p. 45
[36] Ibid, p. 2
[37] Rumsfeld's comments were on the Department of defense web site but have been understandably removed, http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/2001/s20010910-secdef.ht
[38] The War On Waste Defense Department Cannot Account For 25% Of Funds -- $2.3 Trillion, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/29/eveningnews/main325985.shtml
[39] September 11 Commission Report by E. P. Heidner, 2008, p. 108
[40] Following Zakheim and Pentagon Trillions to Israel and 9-11By Jerry Mazza, July 31, 2006, http://www.rense.com/general75/latest.htm
[41] Collateral Damage: U.S. Covert Operations and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 by E. P. Heidner, p. 6
[42] Crossing the Rubicon, the Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil by Michael C. Ruppert, New Society Publishers, Canada, 2004, p. 56
[43] Collateral Damage: U.S. Covert Operations and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 by E. P. Heidner, p. 28
[44] Crossing the Rubicon, the Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil by Michael C. Ruppert, New Society Publishers, Canada, 2004, pp. 243-247
[45] USA staged 9/11 Attacks, German best-seller by Kate Connolly, National Post & London Telegraph, November 20, 2003
[46] Crossing the Rubicon, the Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil by Michael C. Ruppert, New Society Publishers, Canada, 2004, pp. 243-247
[47] Ibid, pp. 243-247
[48] Ibid, pp. 243-247
[49] Ibid, pp. 243-247

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[Jan 27, 2020] Criminal enforcement of excessively rapid financial and capital market liberalization in Russia by Harvard mafia was probably the single most important cause of the crisis

I thinks Summers played especially sinister role in this crime syndicate.
Jan 27, 2020 | newrepublic.com

This shouldn't have been too much of a surprise, as neoliberal policies had already wreaked havoc around the world. Looking back at the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the economist Joseph Stiglitz comments that "excessively rapid financial and capital market liberalization was probably the single most important cause of the crisis"; he also notes that after the crisis, the International Monetary Fund's policies "exacerbated the downturns."

Neoliberals pushed swift privatization in Russia after the Cold War, alongside a restrictive monetary policy. The result was a growing barter economy, low exports, and asset-stripping, as burgeoning oligarchs bought up state enterprises and then moved their money out of the country.

... ... ...

Rising economic inequality and the creation of monopolistic megacorporations also threaten democracy. In study after study, political scientists have shown that the U.S. government is highly responsive to the policy preferences of the wealthiest people, corporations, and trade associations -- and that it is largely unresponsive to the views of ordinary people. The wealthiest people, corporations, and their interest groups participate more in politics, spend more on politics, and lobby governments more. Leading political scientists have declared that the U.S. is no longer best characterized as a democracy or a republic but as an oligarchy -- a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.

The neoliberal embrace of individualism and opposition to "the collective society," as Margaret Thatcher put it, also had perverse consequences for social and political life. Humans are social animals. But neoliberalism rejects both the medieval approach of having fixed social classes based on wealth and power and the modern approach of having a single, shared civic identity based on participation in a democratic community. The problem is that amid neoliberalism's individualistic rat race, people still need to find meaning somewhere in their lives. And so there has been a retreat to tribalism and identity groups, with civic associations replaced by religious, ethnic, or other cultural affiliations.

To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future. When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future. Demagogues rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.

The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity. Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support.

The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead. Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.

[Jan 27, 2020] Basically the NWO mafia saw that there was an opportunity to loot the place and they did it gaining ownership and stripping everything of value out of the place.

Jan 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

Miro23 , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 8:38 am GMT

So what happened following the dissolution of the Soviet Union?

The United States dispatched a cabal of cutthroat economists to Moscow to assist in the "shock therapy" campaign that collapsed the social safety net, savaged pensions, increased unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and alcoholism by many orders of magnitude, accelerated the slide to privatization that fueled a generation of voracious oligarchs, and sent the real economy plunging into an excruciating long-term depression.

Basically the NWO mafia saw that there was an opportunity to loot the place and they did it – gaining ownership – and stripping everything of value out of the place.

If the US public had the sense to realize it, it's the same as is currently happening to them.

MLK , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 4:53 pm GMT

At the same time Washington's agents were busy looting Moscow, NATO was moving its troops, armored divisions and missile sites closer to Russia's border in clear violation of promises that were made to Mikhail Gorbachev not to move its military "one inch east".

Yeah, yeah . . . This reminds me of that line from Animal House: "Face it Kent, you fucked up. You trusted us."

This was small beer in term's of betrayals the Russians have endured. What I've always liked about them is that they aren't bellyachers, like the Iranians are at the moment.

Ignore Western Media on Putin. He remains The Indispensable Man for Russia so he isn't going anywhere for the moment. I'm sure he'd love to become the Russian version of Deng but that's going to take a lot of preparatory work for him to get there.

panzerfaust , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 5:04 pm GMT
@Huxley Very true and this idea that man sets himself at the top of the creation is exactly the philosophy of "Human Rights", the Masonic model imposed through the UN to the whole world.
This ideology was launched by Freemasonry during the "Enlightenment", in the 18th century. It produced the Masonic French Revolution, the Masonic US republic and later the concept of "democracy".
Published in 1899 by Don Felix Sarda Y Salvany: Liberalism is a sin. This is from a Catholic priest, but we all share the same enemy.
http://www.liberalismisasin.com/
NPleeze , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 6:08 pm GMT
@9/11 Inside job What cult of personality? There isn't one. People mostly like the decisions he makes, not because he makes them, but because they agree with them.

As to Chabad Lubavitch, Putin is a politician – he mingles with Christians, Jews and Muslims. As evil as Chabad Lubavitch is, Putin also mingles with the Saudi Barbarians. It's hardly proof they control him.

Go find something real, you are making a fool of yourself spreading baseless propaganda. Next you will tell us about the $583 trillion he has stashed away, so he can use it, secretly, after he retires from his life-long dictatorship.

Anonymous [242] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 8:17 pm GMT
@Tucker Well said. The US and Israel are by far the most blatantly thuggish players on the international political stage... Must be a coincidence .

[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."

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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] The US strategy is to control your economy in order to force you to sell your most profitable industrial sectors to US investors, to force you to invest in your industry only by borrowing from the United States.

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Daniel , Jan 16 2020 21:18 utc | 36

There is a lot of talk here and in comment sections at forums about how the American Empire is going to collapse soon due to its blunders and Russia and China gaining military superiority over it. This kind of talk is a type of magical thinking and has no basis in reality. The United States' most potent weapon isn't military, it's economic, and through it the US government controls the world. That weapon is the US Dollar and ever since Nixon took it off the gold standard it has been used to further the Empire's imperial hold on the global economy. The economist Michael Hudson in an article called A Note To China (link at bottom) explains how this works:
The U.S. strategy is to control your economy in order to force you to sell your most profitable industrial sectors to US investors, to force you to invest in your industry only by borrowing from the United States.

So the question is, how do China, Russia, Iran and other countries break free of this U.S. dollarization strategy?

There are a lot of articles on alt.media sites about how China and Russia are de-dollarizing their economies in order to resist, and eventually end, the US domination of the global economy that is preventing them from maintaining independent economic policies that benefit their citizens rather than global elites and US central bankers.

Russia managed to put a stop to overt US economic imperialism after the looting spree in the post-Soviet 1990s decimated Russia's ability to provide for its citizens and degraded the country's ability to maintain economic independence. But it still ultimately got caught in the neoliberal trap. Hudson again:

Yet Russia did not have enough foreign exchange to pay domestic ruble-wages or to pay for domestic goods and services. But neoliberal advisors convinced Russia to back all Ruble money or domestic currency credit it created by backing it with U.S. dollars. Obtaining these dollars involved paying enormous interest to the United States for this needless backing. There was no need for such backing. At the end of this road the United States convinced Russia to sell off its raw materials, its nickel mines, its electric utilities, its oil reserves, and ultimately tried to pry Crimea away from Russia.

China, Hudson argues, by accepting the advice of American and IMF/World Bank economic "experts" and through Chinese students schooled in American universities in American neoliberal theory is in great danger of falling into the same trap.

The U.S. has discovered that it does not have to militarily invade China. It does not have to conquer China. It does not have to use military weapons, because it has the intellectual weapon of financialization, convincing you that you need to do this in order to have a balanced economy. So, when China sends its students to the United States, especially when it sends central bankers and planners to the United States to study (and be recruited), they are told by the U.S. "Do as we say, not as we have done."

He concludes that:

The neoliberal plan is not to make you independent, and not to help you grow except to the extent that your growth will be paid to US investors or used to finance U.S. military spending around the world to encircle you and trying to destabilize you in Sichuan to try to pry China apart.

Look at what the United States has done in Russia, and at what the International Monetary Fund in Europe has done to Greece, Latvia and the Baltic states. It is a dress rehearsal for what U.S. diplomacy would like to do to you, if it can convince you to follow the neoliberal US economic policy of financialization and privatization.

De-dollarization is the alternative to privatization and financialization.

Loosening the Empire's hold on economic and geopolitical affairs and moving to a multipolar world order is a tough slog and the Empire will use everything it can to stop this from happening. But at the moment even countries under American sanctions and surrounded by its armies, with the possible exception of Iran, aren't really fighting back. That's a bitter pill for many to swallow but wishful thinking isn't going to change the world. After all, the new world has to be imagined before it can appear and right now it's still global capitalism all the way down.

Link to article: https://michael-hudson.com/2020/01/note-to-china/

The article in full, and Hudson's work generally, is well worth reading. He is one of only a few genuinely anti-imperialist economists and he is able to explain in layman's terms exactly how the US-centric global economy is a massive scam designed to benefit US empire at the rest of the world's expense.



Ian2 , Jan 16 2020 22:03 utc | 39

I was thinking about winston2's comment in the previous thread. A good way for China and Russia to respond is to go after those in the MIC; the CEO, lobbyists, financiers, etc... If they follow the money and take them out, I suspect we all would see a dramatic turn of events. No need to publicize their early retirement. Make it messy and public but not to the point of taking out innocents.
Patroklos , Jan 16 2020 22:20 utc | 40
@ Daniel | Jan 16 2020 21:18 utc | 36

Yes, Michael Hudson is excellent, mostly because he's rare economist, that is, one who begins from the premise that the 'economy' is a set of historically-situated and specific modes of exchange and forms of human relations. Aristotle located what we call the economy in ethics and politics; we follow the fairytales of neo-classical economics and global capital by imagining that it has some scientific autonomy from human social relations. Marx was right in following Aristotle's insight by critiquing the very idea of an autonomous economy, which the chief ideological fiction of late capitalism. Sam Chambers and Ellen Meiksens-Wood are also excellent critics of this obstacle to reimagining a viable alternative to the economy as it is propagated by the US neoliberal global apparatus.

Inkan1969 , Jan 16 2020 22:34 utc | 42 S , Jan 16 2020 22:37 utc | 43
@Daniel #36:
The United States' most potent weapon isn't military, it's economic, and through it the US government controls the world. That weapon is the US Dollar and ever since Nixon took it off the gold standard it has been used to further the Empire's imperial hold on the global economy.

But at the moment even countries under American sanctions and surrounded by its armies, with the possible exception of Iran, aren't really fighting back.

The dynamics of Russian reserves composition tell us that Russia is fighting back:

                    % Reserves
Date       Dollar  Euro  Yuan Other  Gold
30.06.2017   46.3  25.1   0.1  12.4  16.1
30.09.2017   46.2  23.9   1.0  12.2  16.7
31.12.2017   45.8  21.7   2.8  12.5  17.2
31.03.2018   43.7  22.2   5.0  11.9  17.2
30.06.2018   21.8  32.0  14.7  14.7  16.8
30.09.2018   22.6  32.1  14.4  14.3  16.6
31.12.2018   22.7  31.7  14.2  13.3  18.1
31.03.2019   23.6  30.3  14.2  13.7  18.2
30.06.2019   24.2  30.6  13.2  12.9  19.1
vk , Jan 16 2020 22:50 utc | 44
@ Posted by: Daniel | Jan 16 2020 21:18 utc | 36

Exclude me from this squad. I's always from the opinion that the USA would collapse slowly, i.e. degenerate/decay. I won't repeat my arguments again here so as to spare people who already know me the repetition.

However, consider this: when 2008 broke out, some people thought the USA would finally collapse. It didn't - in great part, because the USG also thought it could collapse, so it acted quickly and decisively. But it cost a lot: the USA fell from its "sole superpower" status, and, for the first time since 1929, the American people had to fell in the flesh the side effects of capitalism. It marked the end of the End of History, and the realization - mainly by Russia and China - that the Americans were not invincible and immortals. It may have marked the beginning of the multipolar era.

--//--

The world (bar China) never recovered from 2008. Indeed, world debt has grown to another record high:

Global debt hits a record high in 2019 at 322% of GDP, or $267trn

The world governments - specially the governments from the USA, Japan and Europe - absorbed private debt (through purchase of rotten papers and through QE) so the system could be saved. But this debt didn't disappear, instead, it became public debt. What's worse: private debt has already spiked up, and already is higher than pre-2008 levels. The Too Big To Fail philosophy of the central banks only bought them time.

--//--

Extending my previous link (from the previous Open Thread) about money laundering:

No tax and chill: Netflix's offshore network

The global TV subscription streaming company, Netflix made $1.2bn in profits in 2018, of which $430m was shifted into tax havens, reports Tax Watch UK.

The estimated revenue from UK subscribers was about $860m, but most of this was booked offshore in a tax haven Dutch subsidiary. Netflix claims its UK parent company got only $48m in revenue. When the costs of Netflix UK productions were put against this, Netflix was able to avoid paying any tax at all to the UK government. Indeed, it received tax reliefs for productions in the UK from the government.

Ghost Ship , Jan 16 2020 23:10 utc | 45
Why nobody should go to Moscow fuck with Russia.

A simple question requires a simple answer. Russia's defence expenditure in PPP terms is probably in excess of $180 billion per year which buys a shedload of "capable military equipment".

Bob , Jan 16 2020 23:26 utc | 46
8 On can only hope that the "Gharles De Gaulle" get destroyed and that the french military at least take some initiative to get rid of Macron.
karlof1 , Jan 16 2020 23:40 utc | 47
It should be noted that the point Hudson's trying to make in his "Note to China" is to warn China of what if faces by using historical examples. As S points out @43, Russia's Ruble is very sound and its dollar and T-Bill holdings are extremely low. The message to China and the entire SCO community is to cease supporting the Outlaw US Empire's military by supporting its balance of payments by buying T-Bills. The sooner the SCO community, or just the core nations, can produce a new currency for use in trade, the sooner a crisis can be created within the Outlaw US Empire--essentially by turning the "intellectual weapon of financialization" against the global rogue nation foe.

[Jan 01, 2020] This Jewish Vulture Capitalism is the way our Jewish Oligarchs act all over the world. Russia was pillaged by them in the 1990s.

Jan 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

Robjil , says: December 21, 2019 at 6:06 pm GMT

This Jewish Vulture Capitalism is the way our Jewish Oligarchs act all over the world. Russia was pillaged by them in the 1990s. Putin ended their reign of terror. This is the main reason Putin is so demonized in the Zion Vulture ruled West.

https://russia-insider.com/en/todays-jewish-billionaires-are-much-worse-19th-c-robber-barons-dont-give-your-guns-just-yet/ri28078

A few enlightened industrialists, such as Henry Ford, even went so far as to make the improvement of the lives of workers a priority, and to warn the people against the growing financial power of the international Jew.

Ford's warnings were prophetic. We are living in the second great Gilded Age in America, but the new Jewish oligarchs of the 21st century differ from their predecessors in several important ways. For one, they mostly built their fortunes through parasitic–rather than productive–sources of wealth, such as usury or real estate speculation.

[Jan 01, 2020] The consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union! (For its yearly anniversary - 26th of December 1991)

Jan 01, 2020 | www.reddit.com

Analysis/take

The consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union!

26th of December is the anniversary of the collapse of the USSR.

Russia/Russian Soviet Socialist Republic

Kazakhstan(Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic)

Ukraine/Ukrainian SSR.

Ukraine seemed like it would become the next European power. It had 3 military districts left over from the USSR with the best weaponry in the world including 700,000 troops as well as a nuclear arsenal of 3000 that made it the 3rd strongest country in the whole world after the US and Russia. By the time of the war in the Donbass the number of military personnel dropped down to 168,000 while selling huge quantities of Soviet weaponry.

The destruction of democracy

Consequences for the Soviet people

According to the UN Human Development Index -- which measures levels of life expectancy. Commenting on the situation in the former Soviet Union after capitalist restoration, Fabre stated, "We have catastrophic falls in several countries, which often are republics of the former Soviet Union, where poverty is actually increasing. In fact poverty has tripled in the whole region".

To sum it up for the Soviet people - "98 Russian billionaires hold more wealth than Russians combined savings" or 200 Russian oligarchs have 485 billion USD most of which come from post Soviet factories that used to be owned by the workers but were sold off at extremely low prices.

Effects on the rest of the world

Civil wars within the USSR

Many love to say that "the USSR's collapse was bloodless".

This is a list of all the civil wars between Soviet countries and peoples:

Overall - roughly 270,000 Soviet citizens have died from direct causes of the war.

Millions and millions have been displaced and have been thrown into poverty.

Conclusion

The Soviet Union was once the leader in all aspects of life, guaranteeing a tomorrow for all of its citizens where they would not fear losing a job, being homeless, being hungry, unabling to afford medical care. The Soviet Union produced its own planes, cars, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power stations, rockets while the workers used to own the means of production. In 1991, they took away our freedom while selling off all that my people have worked for, the consequences of which will be felt around the world until Capitalism finally falls.

Comrade Odarin Vladimirov.

Sources:

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG

https://forbes.kz//process/expertise/pochemu_kazahstan_vse_silnee_zavisit_ot_importa_myasa/

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/03/06/98-russian-billionaires-hold-more-wealth-than-russians-combined-savings-a64720

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WX1867UCsc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn8JluzDmRw

https://4esnok.by/mneniya/promyshlennost-ukrainy-iz-topov-v-topku/

https://ria.ru/20160817/1474536897.html

https://rian.com.ua/columnist/20160818/1014892653.html

https://inosmi.ru/sngbaltia/20121205/202996017.html


zavtraprivet 12 points · 6 days ago

· edited 5 days ago

Small note from me, even after 28 years, Ukraine's GDP is at 59% of its 1991 level. level 1

PringlesEatingNPCs 9 points · 5 days ago
· edited 5 days ago

It's funny that the westerners/pro-westerns were always scared of a "Big Brother" scenario but they never realised there was 2 opposites in their time, one keeping another from becoming the "Big Brother" Now they're cheerful at the "Big Brother" - the USA level 1

zedsdead20 8 points · 6 days ago

Any comparisons of USSR to 2019? level 2

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 6 points · 6 days ago

Most countries overtook the SSR's, but only after 30 years! level 3

tdzida26 2 points · 5 days ago

Which countries? Former Soviet ones or other European ones? level 4

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 2 points · 5 days ago

SSR stands for Soviet Socialist Republic, thus its Former Soviet. level 1

Jaydoss12 5 points · 5 days ago

Thank you comrade level 2

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 6 points · 5 days ago

No problem comrade! level 1

colossalwreckemail 4 points · 5 days ago

You absolute beast. This is amazing. Thank you. Please write more, start a blog if you want.

o7 level 2

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 3 points · 5 days ago

Comrade, I already have 4 other posts. Just check my posts on my profile. Thank you for the kind words o7! level 1

Deutsche-Kaiserreich 3 points · 5 days ago

And people say that capitalism is better, love from a former Soviet ally India. level 1

Anti_socialSocialist 3 points · 5 days ago

The Soviet Union may've been a bit top-down for my liking, but its fall was undoubtedly a tragedy and one of the worst losses of life outside of war in the 20th century. level 1

DaddyStalinHimself 3 points · 5 days ago

The illegal dissolution of the USSR was the greatest tragedy of the past 50 years, perhaps of the last century. The movement for our liberation will recover, but it has cost us decades of progress and hundreds of thousands of lives. Rest in peace to our champion. level 1

nsag_1 3 points · 4 days ago

It is a well researched article, thank you for posting it. Looking forward to other analysis around international states' affairs and their link to current CIS countries level 2

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 1 point · 4 days ago

Indeed! level 1

torukmato France 3 points · 2 days ago

Le Monde Diplomatique in several languages will make a statement of the consequences of the fall of the Berlin Wall. level 1

VanguardVolunteer 5 points · 5 days ago

Thank you, Comrade Odarin!! level 1

bolshevikshqiptar Albanian Marx 4 points · 6 days ago

o7 level 2

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 4 points · 6 days ago

o7 level 1

May_One 2 points · 6 days ago

Saved. Thank you! level 2

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 3 points · 6 days ago

np comrade !!! level 1 Comment deleted by user 5 days ago level 2

Nonbinary_Knight Spanish Engels 8 points · 5 days ago

Bourgeois scum has stolen the meaning of democracy, you seriously think that voting once every 4 year for one particular rich fuck and his coterie of rich fucks to be exalted is the sole measure and implementation of democracy? level 3

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 6 points · 5 days ago

Its not just that, can you remove a manager from his position for example? Of course you can't, you will have to deal with him for years while you can lose your job with a snap of his finger. In the USSR, managers and everyone in the hierarchy was elected, thus you could remove your manager or whoever by popular vote. level 3 Comment deleted by user 5 days ago level 4

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 5 points · 5 days ago

Rule number 3, u/bolshevikshqiptar already warned you. Proof or don't say anything. Im from the USSR and people voted in my country, my uncle was the ex mayor of his town elected by the people. level 4

Nonbinary_Knight Spanish Engels 5 points · 5 days ago

traitor level 2

Cecilia_Raven 6 points · 5 days ago

come on mate, guaranteeing employment is way different from forced labour lol level 2

Soviet_Odarin Soviet Historian ☭ 5 points · 5 days ago

Democracy ? Where is democracy in Russia? Kazakhstan? Belarus? Shooting the Parliament building is democracy isn't it? Go educate yourself and read my post about Soviet democracy, maybe it will change your mind. Forced labor? Now you complain that having a job is guaranteed? level 2

bolshevikshqiptar Albanian Marx 2 points · 5 days ago

Rule number 3 level 2

PringlesEatingNPCs 1 point · 5 days ago

true but the oligarchs still standing and the capitalist took advantage of it -> making it worser for the people imo. level 3 Comment deleted by user 5 days ago level 4

PringlesEatingNPCs 2 points · 5 days ago

And get a free award boosting your fame while the capitalists milking money from your fame ? Look at Greta Thunberg.

[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 23, 2019] If Putin was smart and freedom loving he'd get some western economic experts, from Harvard Business School say, to help get the Russian economy booming but he's paranoid and doesn't trust the west for some reason.

Dec 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Danny , Dec 23 2019 17:09 utc | 16

In Canada the cost of living outpaces wages by a considerable margin, consumer debt is the highest in the G7, permanent homeless camps are a fixture in major cities and popping up in smaller ones, people, including families, living in their vehicles is becoming normalized, an ongoing opioid epidemic is still killing hundreds of people a month, etc. etc.

But the media keeps telling me unemployment is at record lows and the economy is "red hot" and "booming" so it's all good, nothing to worry about thank God because the free and democratic media here in the west never lies or traffics in distorted facts and disinformation. It only prints and broadcasts The Truth and I'm really happy about that, very relieved that everything is just fine and wonderful and all the bad things and the bad people and the bad economies are in China, Russia and scary places like that. It's great living in a place that's so free and awesome and knows only joy and prosperity!

If Putin was smart and freedom loving he'd get some western economic experts, from Harvard Business School say, to help get the Russian economy booming but he's paranoid and doesn't trust the west for some reason.

The uneasiness I feel as I stumble over the sleeping homeless people on my way to the bus stop in the morning is irrational and foolish and was planted in my mind by Russian troll bots on Facebook. I understand this now. Everything is wonderful here, now and always. With Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland at the helm and a first class media dedicated to Truth why would anyone worry or be mistrustful of our great Leaders and our Democratic Institutions? We are the envy of the world and that makes Putin's Russia jealous and meddlesome. I understand this now and channel all my news through an Atlantic Council Fake News Filter plugin so all the Putinist mind warping stuff on Facebook can't affect me anymore.

Sorry that was a long post, lol. Anyways my friend I hope you are well even though I am sad that you still have a false paranoia about Our Western Media spreading Fake News. It's Putin bro, not "us"! I understand this now broke lurker cover to share my insight with you so that you too can learn to speak only Teh Truth. The Russian economy is spluttering badly and here in Canada everything is wonderful! In Germany too! They hate our freedom and therefore it's always bad there. The Democratic West will save the Putinist economy when Putin learns to love and trust the West like I do (and hopefully you)! Peace out bro and much love, eh, haha.

[Dec 15, 2019] DEEP BLACK LIES - Project Hammer - Big Government Cover-Up The Whole Truth

Dec 15, 2019 | the-wholetruth.us

(Note from the Editor – Over 20 years ago, I was working for a company while endeavoring to build a church in California [preachers need to work many times] and in the process we worked on a transaction of enormous size – $26.5 Trillion Dollars and it was deeply involved with the CIA and our Government. It was under code name "Project Hammer" and the actual code word for the project was "EFG Jacobi." After the deal closed the US Government froze the money. Many people don't realize that they have two sets of books, one for the public and one for their clandestine operations around the world. We never got paid. I met Ambassador Lee Wanta ( http://eagleonetowanta.com ) about this time and since we had similar experiences with the Government theft of funds meant for the American People, I have stayed in touch with him for many years. This article is from http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/projecthammerreload/titlepage1.htm written by David Guyatt who has intimate knowledge of these matters as the article will show. I kept a daily log on this for 8 years until we felt it would never pay out. Ambassador Wanta has a Court Order to release his money but powers are still refusing to do so. We are attempting to arrange a meetingh with him and President Trump so the new Treasury Secretary can seize the funds he has [$32.5 Trillion] which will pay off the national debt and finance the infrastructure for this country. There is a desperate attempt in the ESTABLISHMENT, the Democrat Party, some Republicans, and the Main Streem Media to divert our attention from the true story that you can read here and on the website of the Ambassador.)

[Please view the list of links exposing the GLOBAL BANKING SYSTEM which is fighting to keep control – http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_globalbanking.htm#menu ]

[More links to depositions, documents and more regarding this global deception – http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_fed05a.htm#inicio ]

Project Hammer Reloaded – Part 1

BACKGROUND ON "COLLATERAL TRADING"


Beginning in 1988 and lasting until approximately 1992, " Project Hammer " was the latest in a series of highly secretive banking practices – known as "collateral trading" programs – that are used to create, as if by magic, huge amounts of unaccountable funds for use in specific projects.

These vast pools of unvouchered slush funds are applied to finance a wide variety of clandestine activities that include:

  • secret military projects

  • geo-political requirements

  • development of infrastructure projects

It is also whispered that, in the case of the Project Hammer program at least, a percentage of the proceeds generated from this secretive activity found its way into the pockets of VIPs and well-known politicians.

Names associated with such corrupt behavior are carried on the wind; but if one listens attentively, the names George Bush, Sr , and Jim Baker III are just discernible to the trained ear.

An example of the type of project on which these funds are expended is the trading programme known as "EFG Jacobi" – a predecessor of Hammer – that I understand was used largely to finance military facilities and related operations at the top-secret US base located at Pine Gap near Alice Springs in central Australia.

In order to maintain the secrecy that surrounds genuine activity, these trading programmes are routinely said not to exist. Enquiries about them are deflected and attention is instead focused on the warnings issued by government agencies about fake programmes. This, when combined with the numerous prosecutions that occur every year over fraudulent High Yield Investment Programme transactions, serves to create the impression that authorized programmes do not occur.

The reasons for this deflection are many, but not least is the fact that the asset bases on which these programmes usually operate are also said not to exist – at least in the quantities that they actually do. The assets in question are large volumes of gold and lesser amounts of platinum plundered by the Nazis and Japanese during World War II.

The fact that gold has been the one stable commodity used to back and support the issuance of currency over the decades means that it has been subject to considerable government and central bank secrecy. It was only in 1997 that the Bank of England decided to lift this veil of secrecy and allow the London bullion market a degree of openness. But that openness did not include coming clean about the true amount of gold in existence, which is far larger than official figures allow.

Because of this and the extremely covert nature of related trading programmes, comprehensive details of the programmes' operations and the financing techniques employed have remained hidden from public view. At least this was the case prior to the publication of part one of this series, The Project Hammer File . 1 This essay is the result of further examination of the techniques and activity of Project Hammer, and now places additional important material into the public domain.

Project Hammer 2 (Reloaded ) remains a high-level state secret in a number of countries including the USA. This was confirmed de facto by the CIA in its refusal to release any relevant information following my Freedom of Information Act request in February 2001. The exemption used by the CIA to reject my request was that relevant material is "properly classified pursuant to an Executive Order in the interest of national defense or foreign policy". 2

Project Hammer also stands out because proceeds from the trading activity were illegally diverted by major banks. Confirmation of this is provided by Brigadier-General Erle Cocke in his April 2000 affidavit . In this, General Cocke was asked about the involvement of former US Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, who was retained to investigate what had happened to (and also to recover) the missing funds.

Asked if Bentsen "had the government's interest in closing this whole problem" and if he had "ever had a discussion" with Bentsen, Cocke replied:

Many hours just trying to find out whether any agency, any group, Federal Reserve, Treasury, CIA, FBI, security agencies, and so forth, all of them put together, whether any of which would really like to finish. And, quite frankly, nobody stepped up to the plate.

Cocke was then asked if "they would like to finish it", and he responded:

I think they would like to finish it, but they all back away. It is not my cup of tea, or they have spent enough time with it and are not going to realize anything, and therefore they just quit. They don't confirm, they don't deny, they just stop.

One can conclude that the banks that diverted this money were too powerful for any agency of the US government to tackle. It also helped that suitable and substantial "incentives" were provided to former high-level Bush (Sr) Administration figures to bring their influence to bear quietly to ensure that action against the banks was not taken.

Although not part of the sanctioned plan for Project Hammer – which was to generate funds to pay off debts on bullion certificates issued by certain metal trusts – the funds were siphoned off surreptitiously in order to rescue numerous major US and other banks that by the latter half of the 1980s were tottering on the brink of bankruptcy. 3

The banks only had themselves to blame for their imminent collapse. Reckless lending to Third World nations for over a decade or more, combined with the raw greed of senior bank executives, had caused unparalleled damage to the world's banking system. The inability of indebted Third World nations to repay their massive debts could have been – in fact, was – foreseen, but was ignored.

The spiral of gluttony had taken prisoner the faculty of prudence and reason as bank executives, seeking their next bonus and promotion, pleaded with sovereign nations to take loans they did not need and ultimately could not repay. Nor was it unusual for some of the funds on loan to find their way into the private bank accounts of corrupt state officials – "diversions" that were known about in the boardrooms of the top banks, but ignored as "business as usual".

By the end of the 1980s, big banks including Citibank, Chase Manhattan, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), England's Midland Bank and many, many others were in dire straits. In all but name, they were bankrupt. The possibility of a prolonged series of collapses of the world's top banks – a sort of "domino theory" of finance – was regarded in some quarters with palpable fear. The entire Western banking system was rocking when it should have been rolling along nicely.

Somewhere, someone – nobody knows who (or at least no one is saying) – took the decision to bail out the banks and save the banking system by diverting Project Hammer funds for this purpose. Those banking executives who caused the problem in the first place weren't confronted by their mistakes or held to account by their shareholders but, instead, continued to collect their million-dollar pay cheques, boost their bonus payments and profit shares, flick ash off their Cuban cigars, quaff bottles of expensive Cheval Blanc and slap each other on the back in delighted relief.

One of those sighing relief was almost certainly Citibank's John Reed. Another one quite likely to have been cultivating a quiet exhalation was Hongkong and Shanghai Bank boss Sir William Purvis.

Meanwhile, many investors who had placed their money into Project Hammer in return for an agreed profit, as well as all those middle-men who had worked hard for their promised commission, were relieved of their money in a twisted version of the well-known axiom, "One man's loss is another banker's gain".

STEALING FROM THIEVES


The sanctioned purpose of Project Hammer was of a macro-economic nature, which is a nice way of saying that it was all to do with "repatriating" the assets stolen earlier by someone else – except that when nations steal valuable assets during wartime, it's called "plunder"; but when the victors in that war grab those same assets, they call it "recovery".

The assets in question were a vast horde of gold and lesser quantities of platinum plus not inconsiderable amounts of loose gemstones which had been grabbed by the Nazis and the Japanese during World War II.

A large volume of this loot found its way to the Philippines where it was hidden in numerous treasure sites by the Japanese occupiers, who planned to recover it after the war.

But it didn't quite work out the way the Japanese had planned. They lost the war, along with the Philippines – which, it seems, they had been fairly confident of being allowed to keep in a negotiated truce with the Allies.

In their place, the OSS – the wartime forerunner of America's spy agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – began recovering the bullion plundered from a dozen or so nations. This bullion formed what became known as the "Black Eagle" fund, which was part of a secret agreement eclipsed behind the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement.

Consequently, the metal was placed under the care of OSS (and later CIA) operative Severino Garcia Santa Romana, who put it under the control of numerous corporate entities he formed for the purpose. These entities, in turn, proceeded to establish 176 bank accounts in 42 different countries in which to deposit these assets under private treaty agreement.

Confirmation of this came from General Cocke, after this was put to him:

"I have been advised that a chunk of the Hammer Project funds that were used to trade, to invest and reinvest, came from a large block of assets that CIA put into the bank [Citibank]." Cocke replied: "And they pulled that several times from several sources. Nobody is going to confirm it." 4

Santa Romana died in 1974, and following his death his former attorney and trustee was able to "acquire" considerable portions of Santa Romana's estate by illicit means.

The lawyer was Ferdinand Marcos, who went on to become President of the Philippines and a favorite friend of the United States until his overthrow in 1986. The acquisition of these assets helped give rise to stories of "Marcos gold" – a legend that was supplemented by additional later recoveries of WWII gold and other loot using a Filipino Army battalion under the overall command of Marcos henchman General Fabian Ver.

But Marcos was not the sole illegitimate beneficiary of war loot once controlled by Santa Romana.

Another was the late Baron Krupp who, I have been told, also gained access to some of these assets. Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that Santa Romana, prior to his death, was apparently associated with former US President and head of the CIA, George H. W. Bush , and "had some contact" with Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida.

In any event, this bullion has collectively given rise to a whole class of gold and platinum certificates issued over the decades, mainly by top-drawer European banks.

(See the history of the Global Collateral Accounts HERE )

The certificates bear the names of prominent, and in some cases infamous, individuals – usually heads of state – as beneficiaries. However, these named owners were and are not the legal beneficiaries but, rather, were cat's-paws used to muddy the waters concerning the true origin of the bullion. Nor did the banks that held the assets own them, but they could and did use them in support of their off-balance sheet activity – to the point of irresponsibility.

It should not be forgotten that this gold and platinum hoard was stolen and that, under international law, every effort should have been made to return it to its rightful owners – rather than secretly stash it in bank vaults for use in Cold War covert operations. And although it can reasonably be argued that the true owners could never be traced – since the greater quantity of the bullion was privately owned (rather than being central bank bullion) – it is clear that the ends dictated the means.

And even though numerous nations around the world were to benefit from post-war reconstruction based on the use and application of this war booty, the price of this apparent largesse was for these nations to be moulded into Uncle Sam's image. As they say in America's boardrooms, "There's no such thing as a free lunch".

In examining the techniques employed in setting up Project Hammer, one is struck not just by the complexity of it but also by the way the banks and intelligence agencies involved structured things to shield themselves from responsibility (and lawsuits, no doubt) by utilizing subterranean networks, each working at "arm's length".

Piecing these techniques and networks together has been an arduous, painstaking task, but the process has further unveiled a shadow world of parallel finance usually only known to those initiated into it.

THE EMPIRE STATE CONNECTION

During his April 2000 deposition, just days before his death from cancer, Brigadier-General Erle Cocke, when asked about the overall objective of Project Hammer, replied:

Well, it was mainly to bring back monies to the United States from all types of activities, both legitimately and illegitimately. Not that they were in the smuggling business per se, but they were all in the arms business, they were all retracing dollars of one description or another that had accumulated all through the '40s and '50s, really. And that probably is as broad a definition as I can give you

General Cocke then added that involvement in Project Hammer extended to:

the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agencies of all types, Pentagon in the broad sense of it and as such, the Treasury, Federal Reserve. Nobody got out of the act, everybody wanted to get in on the act." 5

Cocke's involvement with clandestine CIA activities dates back many years. At the very least, he is known to have been involved with the CIA's Nugan Hand Bank. For example, US Treasury records obtained by veteran journalist and author Jonathan Kwitny show Cocke as the registered "person in charge" of Nugan Hand's Washington office. 6

Cocke also indicated in his affidavit that he was regularly contacted by the CIA for expert assistance over the years and was usually debriefed by them following overseas travel. Despite this, a Freedom of Information Act request to the CIA made on behalf of this writer was dismissed with the statement that "no records responsive to your request were located" – which is not entirely the same thing as saying that no records exist. 7

It also appears that the CIA is not the only one that cares to deny knowledge of General Cocke. Another is former Citibank CEO and Chairman John Reed, who, in a sworn affidavit dated 5 December 2000, stated he had "no knowledge of any persons named Erle Cocke, Jr, or Barrie D. Wamboldt". Both the CIA and Citibank's John Reed hold at least one major advantage over General Cocke: they are alive and he is dead; and while it is true that the dead can't lie, it is also true that they can't rebut anyone's testimony–sworn or otherwise. 8

In his deposition, Cocke states that although he had never "met" John Reed, he had attempted on numerous occasions to speak with him, but was continually rejected:

We did our best to make the normal approaches, but I can see the President of the United States with no trouble. I cannot see Reed. 9

The "we" Cocke was referring to, besides himself, was Paul Green, a "long-time real estate lawyer in New York" with "50 years practice", who "had done most of his real estate dealings through Citibank". 10

Green also did some of his banking business with Citibank at its Fifth Avenue, New York, branch under account FOCUS #946 963 94.

According to Cocke, Paul Green was an outside counsel for Citibank and went back,

"30-odd years with large transactions through that bank, buying and selling big buildings. He was very much involved buying and selling the Empire State Building one time." 11

Asked if Green was involved in the purchase and sale of collateral instruments, Cocke replied:

Probably not as an individual. But he represented the clients that certainly wanted to do the same thing. 12

News in late March 2003 revealed that the Empire State Building had just been sold by casino king Donald Trump and the heirs of shady Japanese billionaire Hideki Yokoi for US$57.5 million.

Yokoi (who, at the time, was serving a prison sentence and had secretly negotiated the transaction through a middleman) and his partner Trump had gained ownership of the building in 1991 for US$42 million. Little is known about Yokoi's World War II activities.

The building last changed hands four decades earlier in 1961, when it was acquired by real estate tycoon Harry Helmsley from the Prudential Insurance Company in a sale-leaseback deal. The world-renowned skyscraper was built on land owned by the Astor family and sold to the DuPonts in 1929.

Construction of the Empire State Building began in 1930. John Jacob Astor was one of the first Americans to become involved in the opium trade, from which his later fortune derived. This he invested in Manhattan real estate. The architects of the Empire State Building were Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates – designers of One Bankers Trust Plaza, the HQ of Bankers Trust, together with the Credit Lyonnais building in New York City.

It is of more than passing interest that one law firm represents many of the "actors" who appear in this story. That firm is White & Case. Amongst numerous notable achievements listed on its website background/history is its representation of the DuPont Group in its sale of the Empire State Building in 1954 for the princely sum of US$51.5 million.

As we noted earlier, almost 40 years later, in 1991, the building sold for the less than princely sum of US$42 million. I am not certain how the real estate investors define investment performance over the years, but an aggregate loss of US$9.5 million over the course of 37 years doesn't usually constitute an investment accomplishment by any standard I know. 13

Meanwhile, a brief review of White & Case's client list tell us that they also represented,

  • the First National Bank (the forerunner of Citibank)

  • Astor Trust Company 14

  • Prudential

  • J. P. Morgan & Co.

  • Saudi Aramco

  • Swiss Bank Corporation

  • Seagram Company Ltd of Canada, controlled by the Bronfman family – regarded by some as the kings of the Canadian mafia 15

But White & Case's most "enduring" client is Bankers Trust Company, a J. P. Morgan-controlled bank which the law firm was "centrally involved" in forming back in 1903.

The ancestor of all trust companies is England's Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust, which dates back to 1868 and was conceived by one of the foremost legal minds of the day, Lord Westbury. The current Lord Westbury, Richard Bethell, will appear later in this story.

But first, let's step through the looking glass and examine one of the early Hammer deals, which General Cocke believed:

It was one of the very early transactions, as far as I am concerned, with Hammer. I think he [Dan Hughes] is the one who expanded Hammer in the sense that we moved from one hundred million [dollars] to a billion-type movement, and now we are doubling, about a trillion. He is the one who enhanced it, is the best way of saying.

THE HUGHES PORTAL


Dan Hughes , Jr , the nephew of US Representative William J. Hughes from New Jersey, made a considerable fortune in the construction business in Florida during his early working life.

By the mid-1980s, with paper assets nearing US$100 million, he became involved in collateral trading and by late 1989 entered the realm of Project Hammer.

During the autumn of 1989, Hughes was approached by Peter Seaman, the President and Chairman of a small investment bank called Nantucket Holding Company. Seaman had developed an arrangement with Ecoban Limited, a small merchant bank with offices in London and New York City that specialized in emerging market-debt and the A'forfait market. 16

Seaman, using Nantucket Holding Company , concluded an agreement by which Ecoban would purchase US$100 million worth of documentary letters of credit issued by the head offices of Citibank NA and the Chase Manhattan Bank NA. Hughes had access to these bank credits via a US$50 billion "commitment" extended to him by the Bankers Trust Company.

To fund the purchase, Ecoban needed the support of a bank and turned to Midland Bank Aval Limited (MidAval), the forfaiting subsidiary of Midland Bank Group International Trade Services (MiBGITS).

MidAval, once wholly owned by Midland Bank, had, shortly before commencing with the Hammer transaction, concluded a private agreement with Sir William Purvis, Chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation , wherein HSBC purchased a controlling equity stake in MidAval. This meant that MidAval was 60% owned by HSBC and 40% owned by Midland Bank. 17

Accordingly, on 12 October 1989, MidAval issued a letter agreeing to purchase "$100 million with rolls until funds are exhausted of documentary letters of credit" 18

An earlier MidAval letter (dated 25 September 1989) stated that they,

"irrevocably commit to purchase the above letters of credit and pay the amount agreed between you and Ecoban Limited ('the purchase price') to Citibank NA, Lugano".

The reference to "Lugano" was deleted in later letters at the specific request of Nantucket's Peter Seaman, as detailed in his 11 October 1989, letter to Brian Fitzpatrick, the Managing Director of Ecoban Limited. Lugano was of some considerable importance – as we shall see later – but not least because it was at Union Bank of Switzerland in Lugano where, according to Dan Hughes, the actual trading of the Hammer programme took place.

Meanwhile, MidAval's letter was addressed to Jardine, Emett & Chandler, New England, Inc., in Boston, USA, which acted as an agent for MidAval. On the strength of MidAval's signed and authorized letter, Jardine, Emett & Chandler issued its own "Request for collateral instruments" under its letterhead. This letter, dated 12 October 1989, bore the reference "Midland Bank Aval Limited for Ecoban Limited".

To close the circle, Dan Hughes had earlier instructed his attorney, Oswald (Ozzie) Howe, Jr, of the Miami law firm Mershon, Sawyer, Johnston, Dunwoody & Cole , to cause to be issued a sight draft, dated 6 October 1989, drawn on the Southeast Bank NA, Miami, and payable to Bankers Trust Company, for the sum of US$50,000. A further sight draft was issued in the amount of US$25,000, at the request of Bankers Trust.

Following this sequence of events, nothing happened and no draws were made against the sight drafts issued by Southeast Bank in favour of Bankers Trust.

But on 18 October 1989, Hughes received a time and sequence confirmation from Joan Johnson, Vice President and Operations Manager of the Security Pacific bank in Los Angeles, which Hughes believes activated his transaction through a "back door" arrangement which would cut him out of his commission. 19 Thereafter, Peter Seaman point-blank and inexplicably refused to speak with Hughes again.

General Cocke was an experienced banker from a long line of bankers and was a former full-time US representative at the World Bank.

Intimately familiar with the operational techniques of trading programmes, he was asked:

"Can you explain in a general way how it [Hammer] functioned, that it was a trade programme, for those of us that are not familiar?"

The stock way all big banks, all central banks, change within themselves and curtail their balances, build up their peaks and then sell it.

He went on to explain that "most of it is done in a four-week program to be technically correct" and involved the trading of banking instruments – usually known as "collateral" – that are heavily discounted and then sold off.

MAPPING THE COVERT CONNECTIONS


To appreciate the subtleties of how the diversion of this particular "portal" into Project Hammer may have occurred, it is instructive to look at the connections and associations of the principal players. 20

Ecoban:

In addition to Ecob an Limited in London, there was the affiliated Ecoban Finance Limited that conducted business out of an address on Third Avenue in New York City.

A one-time President and CEO of Ecoban Finance Limited in New York was Jim Demitrieus, who more recently was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Ixnet/IPC, which was acquired by Global Crossing in June 2000.

Global Crossing was one of the US firms that recently suffered a spectacular collapse together with Worldcom, Enron and the accountancy firm Arthur Andersen. All were subjected to a welter of media attention for what was believed to have been unparalleled insider trading activities by senior executives.

Earlier in his career, Demitrieus,

"served as senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Commodity Division of Drexel Burnham Lambert, Inc., responsible for the precious metals, energy products, foreign exchange trading subsidiary and institutional brokerage division".

Of interest here is the little known fact that Drexel, Burnham, Lambert, New York , was a recipient of gold bullion from Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in January 1984.

It is not clear from Mr Demitrieus's available vitae if this was the same time period he was the Senior Vice President of Drexel's bullion business, but I am informed this is probably the case. Before that, Demitrieus "held senior-level financial positions with Freeport-McMoRan, ITT and Arthur Andersen". 21

Significantly, Freeport-McMoRan, back when it was Freeport Sulphur , positively heaved with CIA and elite heavy-hitters – not to mention persistent whispers of its involvement in the recovery of plundered gold stashed in Indonesia, where Freeport had the world's largest copper mining operation.

Over the years, the Freeport senior management has included such luminaries as Augustus "Gus" Long, Chairman of Texaco, who did "prodigious volunteer work for Columbia Presbyterian Hospital" – which has been described as a "hotbed of CIA activity". 22

Another director was Robert Lovett, who has been described as a "Cold War architect" and was once an executive at the old Wall Street bank of Brown Brothers Harriman. He also served as an Under Secretary of State, Assistant Secretary of War and Secretary of Defense. He was a best friend of Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman (and Warren Commission member) John J. McCloy.

The Chase Manhattan and Citibank connection to Freeport was further enhanced by the board appointment of Godfrey Rockefeller, brother of James Stillman Rockefeller who was appointed Chairman of Citibank (then known as First National City Bank, or FNCB for short) in 1959. (Note, too, that Chase Manhattan and Citibank are the exact same two banks that were to issue the Project Hammer documentary letters of credit.)

Godfrey Rockefeller was a one-time trustee of the Fairfield Foundation that financed a variety of CIA "fronts". Meanwhile, Stillman's cousin, David Rockefeller , was Chairman of Chase Manhattan and regarded as the "goliath of American banking". 23

By a strange coincidence of fate, it was Robert Lovett and John J. McCloy who, together with Robert B. Anderson, formed Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson's team of financial experts concerned with tracking WWII gold looted by the Axis powers.

Indeed, Lovett and McCloy were responsible for negotiating the secret agreement hidden behind the Bretton Woods Agreement concerning the establishment of the Black Eagle trust that was to make use of plundered WWII bullion in the postwar years. 24

Midland Bank:

When looking at MidAval's parent, Midland Bank Group International Trade Services (MiBGITS), one could do worse than read the very informative book by former arms company chairman Gerald James, entitled In the Public Interest. James recounts numerous chilling accounts of Her Majesty's intelligence service MI6's deep involvement with the MiBGITS special defense unit.

Included are details of Stephan Kock, who James claims to have been a former head of the Foreign Office's so-called assassination squad, Group 13.

Another intelligence-connected individual named in James's book is Sir John Cuckney, who was a non-executive director of Midland Bank from 1978 until 1988 and was responsible for having formed the defense unit in the first place.

Gerald James and his munitions company Astra also had dealings with, and a private account at, MidAval. 25

Kock's boss at Midland was Comte Herve de Carmoy, a Frenchman and a leading light on the Trilateral Commission . He left Midland in 1988 to take up the position as the most senior executive of Belgium's massive transnational company, Société Générale.

portrait serre

He was replaced as head of Midland International by John Louden, a multilinguist who had an unfortunate speech impediment – leading wags in the bank to say of him that he could stutter in seven languages. De Carmoy's departure was followed by that of both Cuckney and Kock, after what Gerald James describes as "funny practices" relating to a loss of £100 million involving all three men. 26

Although a similar amount to the MidAval's Project Hammer transaction, this sum of £100 million cannot have been the same money for two reasons. Firstly, the Hammer amount was in dollars and not pounds, and was discounted at approximately 4% over the prevailing one-year interest rate (LIBOR–the London Interbank Borrowing Rate).

For US banks of the standing of Chase and Citibank, at that time a market rate of perhaps one quarter of 1% – or, at most, one half of 1% – was applicable. Four per cent was unheard of by a very long shot indeed. Secondly, at least a year separated the two movements of money.

Even so, there are notable connections between the MidAval CEO Ian Guild and Herve de Carmoy (who was known in the bank as "Herve the Swerve").

  • Firstly, de Carmoy was Guild's overall boss.

  • Secondly, shortly after de Carmoy moved to Société Générale, a valued employee of MidAval (also a Frenchman, referred to in-house by the affectionate nickname of "Froggy") left MidAval employment to take up the post of Chef du Cabinet at the specific invitation of de Carmoy.

  • Thirdly, Guild and the other two senior executives, plus some other staff, left Midland in 1990 to form IndoSuez Aval Limited. IndoSuez Bank was directly owned by Société Générale and negotiations between de Carmoy, his Chef du Cabinet – the former MidAval employee – and the three senior MidAval executives had been ongoing for almost a year before satisfactory terms were settled.

Following the takeover of Midland Bank by HSBC, MidAval had its name changed to HSBC Forfaiting Limited. It was dissolved in February 2000. Former staff had long since scattered with the four winds. IndoSuez Aval Limited is likewise now defunct.


Note

Documents and other exhibits in support of this story are available HERE .

Endnotes

1. Available HERE .

2. See Project Hammer part one, "The Project Hammer File", HERE

3. Information about Project Hammer has been garnered from numerous sources. Those sources that I am able to name are named in the text. The remainder remain confidential.

4. Page 51 of General Cocke's affidavit. One of the CIA "sources" was the slush fund controlled by Japanese Liberal Democrat Party bosses and known as the "M-fund", after General MacArthur's economic supremo in Tokyo, General Marquat.

5. General Cocke's 67-page affidavit can be seen in Project Hammer

6. See Jonathan Kwitny's excellent book, The Crimes of Patriots (Touchstone Books, New York, 1987), for a detailed background on the Nugan Hand Bank affair.

7. See http://www.deepblacklies.co.uk/cocke-news.html for a copy of the CIA's letter.

8. See http://www.deepblacklies.co.uk/cocke-news.html for a copy of the cover sheet of John Reed's affidavit.

9. See page 43 of Cocke's deposition at lines 11, 12 and 13.

10. From Cocke's affidavit.

11. See pages 40 and 41 of Cocke's deposition at lines 19 through 21 and 1 through 6.

12. ibid., page 41 at lines 9 and 10.

13. If one includes the inflationary effect over this time period, it would reveal that the sale price is, in fact, a great deal less now than it was almost 50 years ago, which is more than curious. Nor does the leasing agreement over this same period seem especially lucrative.

14. It is not clear from the banking records I have viewed online, but it looks as though the Astor Trust Company was absorbed into an entity that formed part of the Bankers Trust Company.

15. See Dope, Inc . (EIR, 1992).

16. Forfaiting is the discounting of bank-guaranteed receivables (Aval) on a non-recourse basis.

17. I use the term "private agreement" under advice–following a recent telephone conversation with a representative of Companies House, who told me that no change of ownership notification had been made for MidAval at that time. MidAval had first been registered as a limited company under the shelf registration name of "Diplema Twenty Nine Limited" in June 1983. A change of name to Midland Bank Aval Limited was formally notified to Companies House in April 1996–although the firm had been trading in the name of Midland Bank Aval Limited from day one. Following the full buy-out of Midland Bank PLC by the HSBC Group, MidAval had its name changed to HSBC Forfaiting Limited. The company was dissolved in February 2000.

18. Italics are mine.

19. Sworn and notarized affidavit of Dan Hughes, dated December 31, 1990.

20. There are believed to have been numerous different "portals" providing access into Project Hammer over the period of its life. The Dan Hughes transaction was one of these–albeit a significant and "early" one, according to the testimony of General Erle Cocke.

21. Demitrieus's vitae is drawn from that published on the Global Crossing website.

22. For details concerning the Freeport Board of Directors, see Internet report entitled "Freeport Sulphur's Powerful Board of Directors".

23. See Phillip Zweig's massive book, Wriston (Crown Publishers, New York, 1995) for comprehensive background on Citibank and Chase.

24. For details of these three gentlemen's involvement in the Black Eagle Trust, see Seagrave's self-published book, Gold Warriors; details are available on my website, under the heading of " The Seagrave Affair "

25. I know much of the inner workings of MidAval for the simple reason that I was the Treasurer and an Associate Director of that firm until 1991. However, I knew nothing of the Project Hammer deal that was strictly handled by the three principal executive directors.

26. See details on page 164 of Gerald James's book, In the Public Interest (Warner Books/Little, Brown, London, 1996).

Project Hammer Reloaded – Part 2

Part 2

MAPPING THE COVERT CONNECTIONS

Peter Seaman:

In addition to being the President and Chairman of Nantucket Holding Company, Peter Seaman was a successful businessman and involved in a number of other enterprises. These included an entity called Harbor Fuel Holdings Co., Inc. of Westchester County, in which Seaman was a partner with attorney Stuart Root.

Both Root and Seaman were clients of attorney Kenneth C. Ellis. Root was a director of another firm called Bowery Advisors Subsidiary Corporation, which was registered in Florida with a principal mailing address of Kenneth C. Ellis "care of" the Southeast First National Bank building, located at Biscayne Boulevard, Miami. Seaman had a residence in Greenwich, Connecticut, where, by another odd coincidence, his next-door neighbor was Citibank's John Reed.

Following his close association with Dan Hughes in setting up the MidAval Hammer deal in October 1989, Seaman thereafter refused to speak with Hughes ever again. Whether it was guilt for diverting Hughes's commission or some other factor that caused this extraordinary vow of silence, we shall never know. Peter Seaman died, taking all his secrets with him.

Oswald Howe, Jr:

Dan Hughes's attorney throughout the Hammer deal and the subsequent years of investigation was Oswald (Ozzie) Howe, Jr, of the Miami law firm of Mershon, Sawyer, Johnston, Dunwoody & Cole, whose offices were located in the Southeast Bank building at the Southeast Financial Center.

According to Dan Hughes, it was Howe who introduced him to Southeast Bank, and Howe did a lot of real estate work for the bank. Hughes also feels that his ongoing law case would be a great deal more effective if several vital documents had not mysteriously disappeared from Howe's office. In any event, Mershon, Sawyer, Johnston, Dunwoody & Cole is now defunct, and Howe practices law and is the senior partner for Howe, Robinson & Watkins LLP in Miami.

Southeast Bank:

Southeast Bank NA was declared insolvent on 19 September 1991; it exists no more. Over the years it could boast some famous, if not infamous, clients – but one suspects that such boasting was the last thing the bank's board of directors had in mind. One such account "holder" was Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who used his henchman and former law school classmate Roberto Benedicto to front for him.

In addition to being appointed by Marcos as the Philippines Ambassador to Japan, Benedicto was a signatory to Marcos's Credit Suisse accounts and was clearly content to be used by Marcos as a cat's-paw to hide his money and gold bullion. 27 Benedicto died in May 2000, following a heart attack.

Other illustrious clients of Southeast Bank over the years have included such criminal luminaries as Licio Gelli and Michele Sindona, named by author Luigi DiFonzo in his book, St Peter's Banker . DiFonzo reveals that US$34 million of the "lost" money of Robert Calvi's collapsed bank, the Banco Ambrosiano, was traced to that bank's subsidiary in Nassau, where it was withdrawn and smuggled to two Miami banks, one of these being the Southeast First National Bank (of Miami)–where it was deposited in account number 18221465. 28

Bankers Trust:

Bankers Trust International, a subsidiary of Bankers Trust, was the other Miami bank named in St Peter's Banker as having funds stolen from Banco Ambrosiano deposited with it. According to DiFonzo, these funds were deposited into account number 001050018, which was also controlled by Licio Gelli and Michel Sindons (i.e., Michele Sindona).

In 1982, Ferdinand Marcos arranged via his right-hand man, General Fabian Ver, to transfer 50 tonnes of gold bullion to Switzerland via two chartered 747 aircraft. These were arranged by an individual using the name Ron Lusk, who had been retained by Ver to deliver the gold to Bankers Trust, Zurich. 29

Bankers Trust is of considerable interest for other reasons, too. Firstly, readers will recall that Dan Hughes caused two sight drafts to be issued in favour of Bankers Trust for the collateral commitment relative to the Chase and Citibank debenture instruments – an activity which, as we have already seen, caused General Erle Cocke to believe kicked off the Project Hammer programme in a big way.

Secondly, the lawyers and investigators who were building a lawsuit for Dan Hughes and other clients cheated out of their money were quietly negotiating with the Central Intelligence Agency in an attempt to settle privately and quietly out of court. According to Dan Hughes, these negotiations were taking place with the office of Buzzy Krongard, the then No. 3 man in the CIA hierarchy.

By profession, Krongard is a banker and formerly was the Chairman and CEO of investment bank Alex. Brown, Inc. In September 1997, Krongard engineered the merger of Alex. Brown with Bankers Trust and became the Vice Chairman of the board of directors of Bankers Trust. A few months later, in January 1998, he was recruited as a "counsellor" to CIA boss George Tenet. In March 2001, he was promoted to Executive Director, making him the No. 2 man of the spy agency.

But the strange coincidences don't end there. South African intelligence operatives Rolf van Rooyen and Riaan Stander, 30 who are both deeply enmeshed in the Project Hammer ( 1 and 2 ) story, were working closely with Gregory Serras, the President/CEO of the San Diego brokerage firm, Vanguard Capital.

This involved discussions for Vanguard to act on their behalf in the private placement of Argentinian government-approved debenture instruments that formed part of a trading programme that van Rooyen and Stander had been working on. In a signed letter, Serras – acting on behalf of his bank, Morgan Stanley & Co. – requested confirmation that the debentures in question were "legal securities authorized and approved by the government of Argentina"

Vanguard appears to change its banking relationships from time to time. In the period that Serras was in contact with van Rooyen, its relationship was with Morgan Stanley & Co. Today it is with the Bank of New York, Inc. – itself no stranger to front-page scandals, such as those involving money-laundering activities for Russian crime syndicates and political figures. 31 Of interest is the fact that Vanguard was earlier affiliated with Buzzy Krongard's old firm, Alex. Brown, which, following the takeover of Bankers Trust by Germany's Deutsche Bank, changed its name to Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, Inc.

The fact is that when it comes to the fraternity of banking, one can often disregard the supposed rivalry that is said to exist, because incestuous relationships are commonplace. In the past, at least, the big banks owned significant chunks of each other's stock, whereas nowadays they just tend to merge. Take, for example, the Bank of America, whose second-largest stockholder was J. P. Morgan. In third place was Citibank.

Meanwhile, Citibank's largest stockholder was J. P. Morgan, which in December 2000 merged with Chase Manhattan to form the all-powerful J. P. Morgan Chase. 32 Bankers Trust was a J. P. Morgan creation from day one.

White & Case:

No doubt by sheer coincidence alone, the Marcos account held by Roberto Benedicto at Southeast Bank was a White & Case Trust account (number 018-410191).

It may also have been mere coincidence that Peter Seaman's and Stuart Root's attorney, Kenneth C. Ellis – who was the registered addressee at Southeast Bank building for the Bowery Advisors Subsidiary Corporation – is also listed on the White & Case website as a partner of that firm, who specializes in financial matters and who now works out of its Singapore office.

UBS, Lugano:

One of the more flamboyant financiers of recent decades undoubtedly is the Italian, Florio Fiorini, the former finance director of the Italian state-owned oil company, ENI. Fiorini is best known for his failed attempt to rescue Roberto Calvi's bankrupt private bank, Banco Ambrosiano – an affair that also involved Mafia financier Michele Sindona and, of course, Licio Gelli, the Grandmaster of the secret masonic lodge, P2, that was a parallel de facto government of Italy.

Unlike others, Fiorini spilled the beans, and he did so in two books that he wrote while in Champ-Dollon prison, Switzerland, for "fraudulent bankruptcy". Of the many secrets he revealed, one of the most explosive was the now infamous conto protezione (protection account), used to launder profits derived from myriad insider-dealing activities by some of the largest and most prestigious banks and transnational corporations in Europe.

A significant slice of the profits was paid to what Fiorini amusingly described as "the starving of the parties". In plain words, these allocations were kickbacks paid to the various political parties.

The administrator of the secret kickback account (number 633369) was a member of P2 and also a former Minister of Justice of disgraced Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, who went by the name of Claudius Hammerings – and if one deletes the last four letters of his name, coincidence throws up the word "Hammer". 33 Readers will by now have guessed that the account was held at UBS, Lugano.

Fiorini's name also appears prominently in the story of the looting of MGM, the famous Hollywood film studio, by Italian Mafia "thug" Giancarlo Paretti. The MGM affair was an event that almost brought France's state-owned bank, Credit Lyonnais, crashing to its knees. Without intervention and an infusion of considerable sums of money from the French taxpayer, France's once proud bank would have folded.

This is not the place to recount the MGM/Credit Lyonnais story, but it is of passing interest only to note that Credit Lyonnais recruited attorney Charles Meeker to join MGM as president, to handle negotiations with Paretti. Prior to joining MGM, Meeker was with the law firm of White & Case. 34 Following a warrant issued by France, Paretti was eventually arrested and cuffed by US federal agents in a conference room in the downtown Los Angeles office of White & Case.

Credit Lyonnais has also been deeply involved in Black Eagle gold transactions. In one transaction I am familiar with, a large block of bullion was to be purchased by a representative operating on behalf of Credit Lyonnais Rouse Limited, London, the precious metals trading arm of the bank. 35

It is also interesting to note that UBS, Lugano, was not only the bank of choice for those running the secret insider trading protection account; it was also the bank of choice for former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The numerous confidential accounts he had at that bank have been dubbed the "Mother" money-laundering account for the Marcos family by Marcos gold investigator Reiner Jacobi. 36

But the UBS connections don't end there. The Honorary Chairman of UBS (now part of the Swiss Bank Corporation Group) is Nicholaus Senn, who was also the Chairman of the enormous transnational corporation, Compagnie Financière Richemont AG , until his retirement in September 2002. Senn was also the senior partner of the Swiss-based international law and consultancy firm of Senn, Christians and Letemeyer , which, coincidentally, acted for the late Baron Arndt Krupp.

In particular, Carl Letemeyer and Nicholaus Senn worked hard on behalf of the Krupp Estate in regard to the Krupp Heritage & World Peace Foundation (Singapore), which received a legacy of US$97 billion from Baron Krupp . This was a cash gift. According to documents I have in my possession, Krupp's "secret" properties and businesses did not form part of this legacy. However, the most interesting fact is that, prior to his death, Baron Arndt Krupp controlled some of the Santa Romana "Black Eagle" fund assets. Of the $97 billion gifted, $47 billion was on deposit in account number 4 77 22 P with the Trust Department of the Standard & Chartered Bank, London.

Indosuez:

This is one of those banks which are barely visible but consistently circle the waters of black gold and Project Hammer – like a prowling shark with just the tip of its dorsel fin showing. For example, in one bullion transaction being negotiated by Dr A. Konig, the Swiss representative of Rolf van Rooyen's Eastcorp Syndicate, the nominated closing bank for the transaction was Indosuez, Lugano – where Eastcorp Holdings maintained an account.

This is in addition to the migration of some MidAval staff to Indosuez following their involvement in the Project Hammer trading programme, as outlined earlier. With the closure of Indosuez Aval, a rump of former MidAval employees (now unfortunately ex-Indosuez Aval as well), including MidAval's former CEO, found a new berth for their abilities. This was at Standard & Chartered Bank in London. Standard Bank Nominees, meanwhile, is the second largest shareholder of Oppenheimer's Anglo American, with a stake of 11.74 per cent. 37

While knowledge of the hidden connections of the Hughes "portal" into Project Hammer is vital for an understanding of how the world of parallel finance operates, there are still deeper "rhythms" at work. An examination of these "rhythms" leads to the companies, people and intelligence assets that sit at the heart of the so-called Anglo-American relationship.

THE KESWICK-JARDINE CONNECTION


A few days after I published part one of Project Hammer in late October 2001, I was alerted to an anonymous posting at the Cryptome.org website of a document produced by the South African National Intelligence Agency in 1998.

The document describes plans, then alleged to be in preparation, for a coup to occur during the 1999 South African general election. Whilst the coup did not happen, the document is of significance because it describes members of – and entities aligned with – the group who wished to disrupt the ruling African National Congress (ANC) political party. 38

A large part of this document outlines the alleged involvement of Executive Outcomes (EO), the British-based private security company that is part of the Palace Group of companies. A few days prior to this document being made available, I had published charts showing the "network" of the Palace Group that formed the London end of the associated South African intelligence group known as the Eastcorp Syndicate.

This group was headed by Rolf van Rooyen and Riaan Stander – both South African intelligence operatives who were deeply involved in Project Hammer. Not only were the London and South African networks closely aligned, but in some cases they also shared the same executives. 39

One of the entities appearing on the Cryptome.org document as a member of the London network/Palace Group is Jardine Fleming of Hong Kong, listed under "Banking and Investments". Two lines beneath appears the name Defense Systems Ltd – a division of the arms manufacturer, Vickers.

Jardine Fleming is also listed in the same document as a "role player", a few lines beneath the name of Tony Buckingham – the high-profile head of Executive Outcomes. In an accompanying financial report it is revealed that EO used account number 600774426 at Jardine Fleming Bank Limited, located at Port Moresby, Hong Kong. The account, rendered as at 15 May 1998, held a balance of US$36 million, and included Tony Buckingham among those authorized to sign cheques on the account.

Jardine Fleming Bank Limited was established in 1970 as a joint venture between the huge transnational company, Jardine Matheson Limited, and British merchant bank, Robert Fleming. Jardine's 50% stake in this Hong Kong bank was exchanged in 1999 for a direct 18% stake in Robert Fleming, which in April 2000 was sold to the Chase Manhattan Corporation – the holding company of what is now the huge US bank of J. P. Morgan Chase.

But a year later, in May 2001, the magicians' musical chairs were in use again when it was announced that Jardine Fleming Bank was to be sold by J. P. Morgan Chase to Standard Bank. The transfer of ownership occurred on 3 July 2001, with the renaming of Jardine Fleming Bank to Standard Bank Asia Limited, but trading was under the new name of Standard Jardine Fleming Bank Limited.

Of considerable significance is the fact that, at the time that Jardine, Emett & Chandler – the firm of Boston insurance brokers mentioned earlier – issued its letter on behalf of MidAval, seeking collateral instruments, it was owned by Jardine Matheson Limited. Meanwhile, Jardine Resources Limited, with an address in the Isle of Man, was a business entity used by Rolf van Rooyen for collateral trading programme and other activities. The Isle of Man also boasted a branch of Jardine Fleming Bank Limited.

Jardine Matheson Limited, originally formed over 170 years ago, created a fortune from the China opium business. Since that time it has diversified enormously and remains the family fiefdom of the Keswick family, descendants of the firm's co-founder, William Jardine.

The Keswick clan, in addition to having had family members awarded the chairmanship or directorship of such notable international companies as Hongkong & Shanghai Bank , Rio Tinto Zinc and Samuel Montagu (the London merchant bank that was part of the Midland Bank Group, itself now owned by HSBC), is also able to boast having had family members as the head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and decades-long membership of the Court of the Bank of England.

Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) was founded in 1873 by Hugh Matheson, the co-founder of Jardine Matheson. In 1995, RTZ acquired a minority ownership in Freeport McMoRan. Anglo American (which has long had very close ties with RTZ), together with De Beers, is the fiefdom of the Oppenheimer family, which owns a significant piece of Lonrho. These three intertwined conglomerates dominate the precious metals and mining world – amongst achieving other notable accomplishments. For example, the Oppenheimers' Minorco holding company is believed to be the single largest investor in the United States.

Minorco, founded in 1981, was quick to obtain an interest in America's then biggest bank, Citibank, whose CEO, Walter Wriston, together with Citibank's principal attorney, Robert Clare, a partner of the powerful law firm of Shearson & Sterling, both accepted invitations to sit on the Minorco board. 40

According to the authors of the book Dope, Inc ., the Keswick family controls a substantial part of the world's narcotics trade and uses HSBC, the bank it is said to control, to "provide centralized rediscounting facilities for the financing of the drugs trade". 41

How true this is remains unknown to this writer, but it is known that Li Ka-shing – the Chinese billionaire who owns a 3% stake in Jardine Matheson Limited and has sat on the board of HSBC – has been accused of being a member of Chinese intelligence as well as being associated with the narcotics trade. 42

Indeed, the latter allegation arose repeatedly during my investigation of Project Hammer, while the use of HSBC as an "authorized six-point laundry" was also mentioned. Meanwhile, the description of "centralized rediscounting facilities" referenced by the authors of Dope, Inc . is suggestive, to this writer at least, of collateral trading techniques.

Such connections are almost endless, it seems. Take, for example, the rise to fortune of Peter Munk, Chairman of Barrick Gold which was formed in Toronto, Canada, in 1983, with the majority stake being held by the Saudi royal family middleman and arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi. Khashoggi had long been associated with Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and the so-called Marcos gold.

Indeed, so trusted was he that Marcos had him fronting for two "eclipsed" Marcos accounts – one in the name of Etablissement Mabari with the private Swiss bank of Lombard Odier & Cie, and the other in the name of Etablissement Gladiator at COGES Corraterie Gestion SA , Geneva.

Of interest, too, is the fact that Sir Henry Keswick is reported to have been responsible for "lifting" Munk to a new career, although he also received patronage from Australia's now-deceased multi-billionaire businessman Sir Peter Abeles. 43

Sir Peter received considerable attention in Jonathan Kwitny's excellent book, The Crimes of Patriots , because of his alleged Mafia connections and close association with Bernie Houghton and Michael Hand in the CIA drug smuggling laundry, the Nugan Hand Bank – which also arranged to ship gold bullion surreptitiously for Marcos.

At this point, it is worth reminding readers that Brigadier-General Erle Cocke – whom I referenced earlier concerning his affidavit detailing his knowledge and involvement in Project Hammer – was reported by Kwitny to be a key player in the Nugan Hand Bank.

And Project Hammer is said to be a general continuation of Nugan Hand Bank activity.


MARITIME FINANCING


The ties that bind are kept hidden from public view.

Activities such as the one we have been discussing are made to operate on an "arms length" basis to confuse and also to ensure deniability.

Following these subterranean and diverse threads can easily perplex the investigator, and patience and persistence are required to arrive at the reality that is hidden behind all the smoke and mirrors. The story of Puffin Investments is a case in point.

During a number of extensive telephone interviews with the Canadian, Barrie Wamboldt, it was hinted that it would be worthwhile to look into the activities of an Alan Shepherd and a firm of his called Puffin Investments. Readers will remember that Barrie Wamboldt was involved with Project Hammer and had worked with General Cocke and Paul Green to recover Project Hammer funds.

Puffin Investment Company Limited, a Bahamas company, was owned by Old Harrovian Alan Shepherd, who had connections to the British royal family resulting from generous donations he made to the Royal Windsor Horse Show, of which he was vice president.

In March 2001, Shepherd and Puffin Investments were involved in a High Court action initiated by the Financial Services Authority – the government watchdog – for enticing investors to put up money for a "sham" investment trading programme. According to the Sunday Express newspaper, reporting on the court case, up-front fees paid by investors on the promise of massive returns were not repaid. 44

A week later, on 1 April 2001, the Sunday Express carried a further report detailing a lawsuit against Alan Shepherd, his American wife Sherry and previous Conservative Party "grandee" Sir Edward du Cann, who was the former Chairman of City merchant bank Keyser Ullman.

Sir Edward was earlier involved in Tradeswind, an arms trading company in which he was a director with Tiny Rowland of Lonrho fame and the Egyptian, Ashraf Marwan – known as "Dr Death". Earlier in his career, du Cann served as Chairman of Lonrho, thus working alongside board directors such as British MI6 luminary Nicholas Elliot. 45

Shepherd, his wife Sherry and du Cann were being sued for £1.25 million in a dispute involving the search for "one of the world's most fabulous buried treasures". The treasure in question was "30 tons of gold statues, bullion, doubloons and precious stones", stolen by Scottish pirate Captain William Thompson. The treasure was currently valued at £500 million.

The lawsuit was brought by Richard Bethell of the Bermuda-based Hart Group , who alleged that Shepherd and du Cann were guilty of "misrepresentations" over an agreement for the provision of various "services" to Shepherd's planned treasure hunt.

One cannot help but be reminded of stories that have circulated in the past concerning gold plundered by the Japanese during WWII and hidden in the Philippines – later to be recovered and "laundered" as treasure retrieved from Spanish galleons that had sunk while traveling from Peru to Spain. A variation of this story is the recovery of lost "pirate treasure" – otherwise known as gold – on the Cocos Islands.

Richard Bethell – elevated to Lord Westbury following the recent death of his father – is a former SAS and Scots Guards officer and, like Alan Shepherd, an Old Harrovian. The Hart Group, of which he is the Chief Executive Officer, is one of a number of companies that form the Global Marine Security Systems Company (GMSSCO).

A distinct cynic – as this writer has become – would easily conclude that a marked similarity in structure exists between GMSSCO and Rolf van Rooyen's South African Eastcorp Syndicate that was closely allied with the London network of Executive Outcomes.

For example, companies belonging to the Eastcorp Syndicate also had a maritime and security theme.


APARTHEID'S MISSING BILLIONS


But the similarity doesn't end there.

Lord Westbury is currently serving as Chief Executive Officer of Defense Systems Limited (DSL), which, as we have already seen, is an integral member of the London network of the Palace Group (named so because of its close proximity to the royal family's official London residence, Buckingham Palace). 46

Moreover, Executive Outcomes has been described as "the advance guard for major business interests engaged in a latter-day scramble for the mineral wealth of Africa". 47

This is a particularly incisive description, and readers of the first part of this series will recall that one aspect of Project Hammer apparently involved the disappearance of substantial quantities of gold reserves, as well as stocks of De Beers diamonds, just prior to the takeover of the Republic of South Africa in 1994 by Nelson Mandela and the ANC. This theft has become known as "apartheid's missing billions".

Defense Systems Limited has a client list that comes straight from the top drawer and includes oil and gas companies like British Petroleum, Shell and British Gas of the UK and Amoco, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil and Texaco of the United States. Major mining and mineral extraction companies such as Canada's Cambior and De Beers and Anglo American of South Africa also feature, as does the giant US construction firm, Bechtel.

Another client is Canadian-based Ranger Oil, which by happy coincidence is the same name as an entity that forms part of the Palace Group and which is run by arms trader Mick Ranger.

By miraculous good fortune, Mick Ranger was also a board member of Bridge SA – one of the entities formed and run by Rolf van Rooyen and Riaan Stander. Meanwhile, Sandline, which many knowledgeable insiders believe is Executive Outcomes by another name, has a client base that includes Rio Tinto Zinc.

DSL is now owned by Armor Holdings, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida, but is still headquartered in London. This affiliation seems, on the face of it, to be a particularly binding one, for Armor Holdings is said to have its very own US spook-type "network". 48

The senior executives of Armor Holdings are predominantly bankers of one strain or another. Take, for example, Thomas W. Strauss, formerly a Vice Chairman of Salomon Brothers, the Wall Street investment bank that was once minority owned by the Oppenheimers' Anglo American and De Beers strategic holding company, Minorco. 49

Until 1993, Salomons owned the controlling interest in the Bank of New York, which, as you will recall, is the current affiliated clearing bank of Gregory Serras's Vanguard Capital. Today, Salomons is owned by Citigroup. 50

We might also mention Armor Holdings director Burtt R. Ehrlich, whose family securities firm, Ehrlich and Boger , is owned by Cater Allen Bank of the Channel Islands, which specializes in "offshore finance"; likewise, Nicholas Sokolow, formerly a partner in the Wall Street firm of Coudert Brothers , and Warren B. Canders, a former Senior Vice President of Orion Bank Ltd , a merchant bank owned by the Royal Bank of Canada.

A subsidiary of Armor Holdings is the very shadowy United States Defense Systems, Inc. (USDS), which on paper is based in Chantilly, Virginia, although its real operating headquarters are in Manassas, Virginia.

Staff recruited by USDS are usually former military types or specialists with criminal intelligence backgrounds and possessing surveillance skills. They are usually told they will be working in support of Department of Defense programmes and will require a DoD security clearance.

Operations in the past have included surveillance of US citizens during Fourth of July events at Capitol Mall in DC. 51

BIN LADEN AND SAUDI ARABIAN LINKS


A Google Internet search using the search term "Armor Holdings, Inc." revealed a curious message dated September 2001 from an aggrieved investor:

"I'm horrified to find one of my investments is in a company with links to bin Laden. Apparently it is common knowledge in London that a senior figure in Armor, Ambrose Cary, has familial ties to bin Laden and uses those in his work.

How can it be allowed that a US company providing security to US companies, embassies and airports round the world can deal simultaneously with this type of person? Does anyone else have further information on this?"

Unsurprisingly, no answer to the question has been posted. 52

Had this been the first bin Laden connection, it is likely I would have ignored it. However, the name had already arisen during a deposition given by Rolf van Rooyen to German police in 1995, following his detention and questioning. At that time, he admitted to being "involved" with a Jean Ruiz, of Saudi Finance. 53

Saudi Finance (Saudifin), headquartered in Geneva, owned a controlling interest in Banque Al Saoudi via the Paris-based holding company, Saudi Arab Finance Corporation . Banque Al Saoudi was, according to a 1999 PBS Online Frontline story, one of the principal international financing vehicles for the bin Laden family.

Interestingly, in 1989 – in the early stages of Project Hammer's timeline – Banque Al Saoudi would have collapsed in bankruptcy had it not been for the timely intervention of the French central bank, the Banque de France, which shored it up prior to a partial takeover by none other than Banque Indosuez, which decided to change its name to Banque Française pour l'Orient.

A year later, the bank merged with the Mediterranée Group. Of note is the fact that a subsidiary, Saudifin SA, was active in Panama until 1997, when it was dissolved. 54

Moreover, the Frontline story revealed that both Banque Al Saoudi and Banque Indosuez were "instrumental" in financing a portion of Middle East weapons contracts during the 1970s and 1980s.

Meanwhile, those who are familiar with the story of black gold will recall that Dr Ole Bay was the controller on behalf of the CIA and US Treasury in the YAB/42 bullion transaction that involved then President Marcos of the Philippines. This transaction was structured to use cut-outs including Navegocian Global SA and DuPont , along with other CIA conduits, to make it ostensibly a private, non-government transaction.

The transaction code YAB/42 is also instructive. Not only does "YAB" spelled backwards yield the name "BAY" but, altogether, 42 "major trusts were tapped to help fund" the deal. Coincidentally, 42 is also the number of countries in which Santa Romana gold was deposited in the immediate post-WWII years to form the Black Eagle fund, discussed earlier. 55

One of the more salient facts about the Puffin Investments fiasco is that Alan Shepherd's American wife, Sherry, is the daughter of Dr Ole Bay. Dr Bay is known to have been the "Master Wizard" who arranged and ran the Project Hammer trading programme.

According to one former intelligence source familiar with the inner workings of Project Hammer, Dr Bay had told him that the ultimate responsibility for Hammer lay with the CIA and the US Treasury, and that Robert Rubin – who later became US Treasury Secretary – acted as Dr Bay's "gofer" on the project. Robert Rubin is now a director and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Citigroup.

If one had to choose a word to describe these apparently diverse connections, that word would surely have to be "incestuous".

Currently, Li Ka-shing (whom we mentioned earlier) is bidding to purchase control of the global communication network giant, Global Crossing (which was also mentioned earlier), via a joint venture of Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa and Singapore Technologies Telemedia . Representing Ka-Shing's bid to take control of Global Crossing was the powerful neo-conservative attorney, Richard Perle, who sought a nod of approval from the Pentagon for the deal.

Perle, who is one of the present Bush Administration "think-masters", is close to Bush Senior, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and to others on the Defense Policy Board , which he chaired. A recent story by legendary investigative reporter Sy Hersh revealed that Perle had furtively met with a leading Saudi investor in Marseille, France, on 3 January 2003, in what was seen as an attempt to gain private financial advantage from the planned war on Iraq.

A furious Perle responded to the report by calling Hersh a "terrorist". The meeting was arranged on Perle's behalf by none other than Adnan Khashoggi (whom we mentioned earlier). Khashoggi also attended the meeting.

Khashoggi, a trusted adviser to the Saudi royal family, is one of the "high net worth individuals" whose past investments have been handled by Mayo Shattuck, formerly head of Alex. Brown (also mentioned earlier). It is of passing interest that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz took a 10% stake in Citigroup (also mentioned earlier) back in 1991, following a cash "infusion" of US$400 million, which was eclipsed from view by The Carlyle Group which acted as the facilitator for the investment.

In 1997, Mayo Shattuck was made Trustee of the Bronfman (also mentioned earlier) family fortune. He resigned as CEO of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown on 12 September 2001, the day following the tragic events in New York City and Washington, DC – the day that has come to be known as "9-11". 56

On 13 September 2001, news reports began circulating of suspicious stock market transactions that suggested prior knowledge of the events that were to take place on 9-11 .

Short sales of airline and insurance stocks that sharply fell in price in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy were later traced back to Alex. Brown.


Author's Note

Documents and other exhibits in support of this story are available HERE .

Endnotes

27. See http//www.marcosbillions.com for some additional background on Roberto Benedicto and his willingness to front for Marcos. Additionally, I have a two-page Marcos document listing details of the numerous bank accounts he controlled either directly or through others.

28. See Luigi DiFonzo's St Peter's Banker (Franklin Watts, New York, 1983).

29. See William Scott Malone's Golden Fleece (Regardies, October 1988).

30. See " The Project Hammer File " part one for background on van Rooyen and Stander's involvement in Project Hammer.

31. See news reports circa 2000 of BoNY involvement in illegal money laundering activities with IMF funds on behalf of Russian criminal and political figures.

32. See Everybody's Business: An Almanac – The Irreverent Guide to Corporate America, edited by Milton Moskowitz, Michael Katz and Robert Levering (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1980).

33. Although this may, of course, just be pure coincidence, it is worth noting.

34. For a comprehensive account of the MGM/Credit Lyonnais affair, see David McClintick and Anne Faircloth's informative "Predator", which is freely available on the Internet.

35. See Peter Johnston's story in, " The Secret Gold Treaty File "

36. See http://www.marcosbillions.com for further details, and also "The Valentine's Day Caper", published at http://www.FinanceAsia.com .

37. This is according to the Anglo American website as at November 1998.

38. See http://www.cryptome.org/za-disrupt.htm .

39. See " The Project Hammer File " part one for further details.

40. See Dope, Inc . (EIR, 1992), page 101.

41. For a detailed background on the Keswick family and related associations, see Dope, Inc., page 115, for the cited reference.

42. See Alejandro Reyes's article, "The Superman of Hong Kong", in AsiaWeek magazine, published in 2001.

43. See Anton Chaitkin's "Inside Story: the Bush Gang and Barrick Gold Corporation", at http://www.afrocentricnews.com .

44. See Sunday Express, March 25, 2001, for details of this story.

45. For du Cann's connection to Lonrho, see Linda Minor's "Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Part 4 – From Harvard to Enron", at http://www.newsmakingnews.com/lm4,30,02,harvardtoenronpt4.htm .

46. Their offices are, in fact, right next door to Buckingham Palace.

47. See Christopher Wrigley's "The Privatisation of Violence – New Mercenaries and the State", March 1999, at http://www.caat.org.uk/information/issues/mercenaries-1999.php .

48. For further details, see "Rent-a-Spy, Inc.", at http://www.tijuanaimc.org/news/2002/11/79.php .

49. Minorco held a 14% stake in Salomon Brothers. Anglo American held a 39% stake in Minorco, while De Beers held another 21%.

50. For background on Minorco, see "Anglo American Corporation: A Pillar of Apartheid", published by Multinational Monitor, September 1988, at http://multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1988/09/mm0988_08.html .

51. See "Rent-a-Spy, Inc." for referenced details.

52. See http://forums.investorbbs.com/myforums.pl?u=&B=113 .

53. See the van Rooyen deposition to German police that forms part of the exhibits of The Project Hammer File (part 1).

54. Board directors of Banque Al Saoudi included Sheik Salem bin Laden.

55. For a more detailed background on YAB/42, see " The Secret Gold Treaty File " appendix headed "Aquino WWII Gold ".

56. My thanks go to Lois Battuello for providing research material on this aspect of the story and for her generous assistance over the years.

[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] 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 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] 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] 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.

Advertisement

"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 naïve? 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 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 15, 2019] Both parties worked to destroy the Russian economy during the 80s/90s with the Chicago/Harvard boys gutting it completely while enriching themselves

Nov 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Curtis , Nov 14 2019 0:52 utc | 53

Nemesiscalling 15
Right you are. The Anti-Russia hype has been going on for a while but had a bit of a hiatus during King (W) Shrub II. Both parties worked to destroy the Russian economy during the 80s/90s with the Chicago/Harvard boys gutting it completely while enriching themselves. It accelerated under Obama while they presented us with the "Reset" switch. Apparently the Russians didn't play along so they became the bogeyman that gets inflated as time goes on. Trump tried but got dragged down in the process.

As to a US split, I live in the south. So I've wondered if California (for example) tried to leave if a US President would pull a Lincoln and destroy the state ... in order to save it.

[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.

[Oct 29, 2019] Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace

Notable quotes:
"... The brother of the current Chilean president, scions of one of the richest families in Chile, became famous for introducing, as Minister of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet, a funded system of pensions where employees make compulsory contributions from their wages into one of several pension funds, and after retirement receive pensions based on investment performance of such funds. Old-age pensions thus became a part of roulette capitalism. But In the process, the pension funds, charging often exorbitant fees, and their managers became rich. ..."
"... José Piñera had tried to "sell" this model to Yeltsin's Russia and to George Bush's United States, but, despite the strong (and quite understandable) support of the financial communities in both countries, he failed. Nowadays, most Chilean pensioners receive $200-$300 per month in a country whose price level (according to International Comparison Project, a worldwide UN- and World Bank-led project to compare price levels around the world) is about 80% of that of the United States. ..."
"... the combined wealth of Chilean billionaires' (there were twelve of them) was equal to 25% of Chilean GDP. The next Latin American countries with highest wealth concentrations are Mexico and Peru where the wealth share of billionaires is about half (13 percent of GDP) of Chile's. But even better: Chile is the country where billionaires' share, in terms of GDP, is the highest in the world (if we exclude countries like Lebanon and Cyprus) where many foreign billionaires simply "park" their wealth for tax reasons. The wealth of Chile's billionaires, compared to their country's GDP, exceeds even that of Russians. [Graph] ..."
"... Such extraordinary inequality of wealth and income, combined with full marketization of many social services (water, electricity etc.), and pensions that depend on the vagaries of the stock market has long been "hidden" from foreign observers by Chile's success in raising its GDP per capita. ..."
"... if there Is no social justice and minimum of social cohesion, the effects of growth will dissolve in grief, demonstrations, and yes, in the shooting of people. ..."
Oct 29, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne

, October 26, 2019 at 01:42 PM
https://glineq.blogspot.com/2019/10/chile-poster-boy-of-neoliberalism-who.html

October 26, 2019

Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace

It is not common for an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development county to shoot and kill 16 people in two days of socially motivated riots. (Perhaps only Turkey, in its unending wars against the Kurdish guerrilla, comes close to that level of violence.) This is however what Chilean government, the poster child of neoliberalism and transition to democracy, did last week in the beginning of protests that do not show the signs of subsiding despite cosmetic reforms proposed by President Sebastian Piñera.

The fall from grace of Chile is symptomatic of worldwide trends that reveal the damages causes by neoliberal policies over the past thirty years, from privatizations in Eastern Europe and Russia to the global financial crisis to the Euro-related austerity. Chile was held, not the least thanks to favorable press that it enjoyed, as a exemplar of success. Harsh policies introduced after the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973, and the murderous spree that ensued afterwards, have been softened by the transition to democracy but their essential features were preserved. Chile indeed had a remarkably good record of growth, and while in the 1960-70s it was in the middle of the Latin American league by GDP per capita, it is now the richest Latin American country. It was of course helped too by high prices for its main export commodity, copper, but the success in growth is incontestable. Chile was "rewarded" by the membership in the OECD, a club of the rich nations, the first South American country to accede to it.

Where the country failed is in its social policies which somewhat bizarrely were considered by many to have been successful too. In the 1980s-90s, the World Bank hailed Chilean "flexible" labor policies which consisted of breaking up the unions and imposing a model of branch-level negotiations between employers and workers rather than allowing an overall umbrella union organization to negotiate for all workers. It was even more bizarrely used by the World Bank as a model of transparency and good governance, something that the transition countries in Eastern Europe should have presumably copied from Chile. The brother of the current Chilean president, scions of one of the richest families in Chile, became famous for introducing, as Minister of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet, a funded system of pensions where employees make compulsory contributions from their wages into one of several pension funds, and after retirement receive pensions based on investment performance of such funds. Old-age pensions thus became a part of roulette capitalism. But In the process, the pension funds, charging often exorbitant fees, and their managers became rich.

José Piñera had tried to "sell" this model to Yeltsin's Russia and to George Bush's United States, but, despite the strong (and quite understandable) support of the financial communities in both countries, he failed. Nowadays, most Chilean pensioners receive $200-$300 per month in a country whose price level (according to International Comparison Project, a worldwide UN- and World Bank-led project to compare price levels around the world) is about 80% of that of the United States.

While Chile leads Latin America in GDP per capita, it also leads it terms of inequality. In 2015, its level of income inequality was higher than in any other Latin American country except for Colombia and Honduras. It exceeded even Brazil's proverbially high inequality. The bottom 5% of the Chilean population have an income level that is about the same as that of the bottom 5% in Mongolia. The top 2% enjoy the income level equivalent to that of the top 2% in Germany. Dortmund and poor suburbs of Ulan Bataar were thus brought together.

Chilean income distribution is extremely unequal. But even more so is its wealth distribution. There, Chile is an outlier even compared to the rest of Latin America. According to the Forbes' 2014 data on world billionaires, the combined wealth of Chilean billionaires' (there were twelve of them) was equal to 25% of Chilean GDP. The next Latin American countries with highest wealth concentrations are Mexico and Peru where the wealth share of billionaires is about half (13 percent of GDP) of Chile's. But even better: Chile is the country where billionaires' share, in terms of GDP, is the highest in the world (if we exclude countries like Lebanon and Cyprus) where many foreign billionaires simply "park" their wealth for tax reasons. The wealth of Chile's billionaires, compared to their country's GDP, exceeds even that of Russians.
[Graph]

Such extraordinary inequality of wealth and income, combined with full marketization of many social services (water, electricity etc.), and pensions that depend on the vagaries of the stock market has long been "hidden" from foreign observers by Chile's success in raising its GDP per capita.

But the recent protests show that the latter is not enough. Growth is indispensable for economic success and reduction in poverty. But it is not enough: if there Is no social justice and minimum of social cohesion, the effects of growth will dissolve in grief, demonstrations, and yes, in the shooting of people.

-- Branko Milanovic

[Oct 05, 2019] Everything is fake in the current neoliberal discourse, be it political or economic, and it is not that easy to understand how they are deceiving us. Lies that are so sophisticated that often it is impossible to tell they are actually lies, not facts

Highly recommended!
Oct 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> anne... , October 05, 2019 at 04:40 PM

Anne,

Let me serve as a devil advocate here.

Japan has a shrinking population. Can you explain to me why on the Earth they need economic growth?

This preoccupation with "growth" (with narrow and false one dimensional and very questionable measurements via GDP, which includes the FIRE sector) is a fallacy promoted by neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism proved to be quite sophisticated religions with its own set of True Believers in Eric Hoffer's terminology.

A lot of current economic statistics suffer from "mathiness".

For example, the narrow definition of unemployment used in U3 is just a classic example of pseudoscience in full bloom. It can be mentioned only if U6 mentioned first. Otherwise, this is another "opium for the people" ;-) An attempt to hide the real situation in the neoliberal "job market" in which has sustained real unemployment rate is always over 10% and which has a disappearing pool of well-paying middle-class jobs. Which produced current narco-epidemics (in 2018, 1400 people were shot in half a year in Chicago ( http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-met-weekend-shooting-violence-20180709-story.html ); imagine that). While I doubt that people will hang Pelosi on the street post, her successor might not be so lucky ;-)

Everything is fake in the current neoliberal discourse, be it political or economic, and it is not that easy to understand how they are deceiving us. Lies that are so sophisticated that often it is impossible to tell they are actually lies, not facts. The whole neoliberal society is just big an Empire of Illusions, the kingdom of lies and distortions.

I would call it a new type of theocratic state if you wish.

And probably only one in ten, if not one in a hundred economists deserve to be called scientists. Most are charlatans pushing fake papers on useless conferences.

It is simply amazing that the neoliberal society, which is based on "universal deception," can exist for so long.

[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 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 15, 2019] Demythologizing the Roots of the New Cold War by Ted Snider

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression." ..."
"... That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro. ..."
"... When Clinton decided to break Bush's promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .." ..."
"... As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia's richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery." ..."
"... The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging." ..."
"... The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia's reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen's words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia's wealth, and more." ..."
"... By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community. ..."
"... But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy. ..."
"... Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people's choice of leaders. ..."
"... "Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin's reelection headquarters in 1996." ..."
"... Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia's neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | original.antiwar.com

When Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received his peace prize in 1990, the Nobel Prize committee declared that "the two mighty power blocs, have managed to abandon their life-threatening confrontation" and confidently expressed that "It is our hope that we are now celebrating the end of the Cold War." Recently, U.N. General Secretary António Guterres funereally closed the celebrations with the realization that "The Cold War is back."

In a very short span of history, the window that had finally opened for Russia and the United States to build a new international system in which they work cooperatively to address areas of common interest had slammed back closed. How was that historic opportunity wasted? Why was the road from the Nobel committee's hope to the UN's eulogy such a short one?

The doctrinal narrative that is told in the U.S. is the narrative of a very short road whose every turn was signposted by Russian lies, betrayal, deception and aggression. The American telling of history is a tale in which every blow to the new peace was a Russian blow. The fact checked version offers a demythologized history that is unrecognizably different. The demythologized version is also a history of lies, betrayal, deception and aggression, but the liar, the aggressor, is not primarily Russia, but America. It is the history of a promise so historically broken that it laid the foundation of a new cold war.

But it was not the first promise the United States broke: it was not even the first promise they broke in the new cold war.

The Hot War

Most histories of the cold war begin at the dawn of the post World War II period. But the history of U.S-U.S.S.R. animosity starts long before that: it starts as soon as possible, and it was hot long before it turned cold.

The label "Red Scare" first appeared, not in the 1940s or 50s, but in 1919. Though it is a chapter seldom included in the history of American-Russian relations, America actively and aggressively intervened in the Russian civil war in an attempt to push the Communists back down. The United States cooperated with anti-Bolshevik forces: by mid 1918, President Woodrow Wilson had sent 13,000 American troops to Soviet soil. They would remain there for two years, killing and injuring thousands. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev would later remind America of "the time you sent your troops to quell the revolution." Churchill would record for history the admission that the West "shot Soviet Russians on sight," that they were "invaders on Russian soil," that "[t]hey armed the enemies of the Soviet government," that "[t]hey blockaded its ports, and sunk its battleships. They earnestly desired and schemed for its downfall."

When the cause was lost, and the Bolsheviks secured power, most western countries refused to recognize the communist government. However, realism prevailed, and within a few short years, by the mid 1920s, most countries had recognized the communist government and restored diplomatic relations. All but the US It was not until several years later that Franklin D. Roosevelt finally recognized the Soviet government in 1933.

The Cold War

It would be a very short time before the diplomatic relations that followed the hot war would be followed by a cold war. It might even be possible to pin the beginning of the cold war down to a specific date. On April 22 and 23, President Truman told Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov to "Carry out his agreement" and establish a new, free, independent government in Poland as promised at Yalta. Molotov was stunned. He was stunned because it was not he that was breaking the agreement because that was not what Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had agreed to at Yalta. The final wording of the Yalta agreement never mentioned replacing Soviet control of Poland.

The agreement that Roosevelt revealed to congress and shared with the world – the one that still dominates the textbook accounts and the media stories – is not the one he secretly shook on with Stalin. Roosevelt lied to congress and the American people. Then he lied to Stalin.

In exchange for Soviet support for the creation of the United Nations, Roosevelt secretly agreed to Soviet predominance in Poland and Eastern Europe. The cold war story that the Soviet Union marched into Eastern Europe and stole it for itself is a lie: Roosevelt handed it to them.

So did Churchill. If Roosevelt's motivation was getting the UN, Churchill's was getting Greece. Fearing that the Soviet Union would invade India and the oil fields of Iran, Churchill saw Greece as the geographical roadblock and determined to hold on to it at all cost. The cost, it turned out, was Romania. Churchill would give Stalin Romania to protect his borders; Stalin would give Churchill Greece to protect his empire's borders. The deal was sealed on October 9, 1944.

Churchill says that in their secret meeting, he asked Stalin, "how would it do for you to have ninety percent predominance in Romania, for us to have ninety percent predominance in Greece? . . ." He then went on to offer a fifty-fifty power split in in Yugoslavia and Hungary and to offer the Soviets seventy-five percent control of Bulgaria. The exact conversation may never have happened, according to the political record, but Churchill's account captures the spirit and certainly captures the secret agreement.

Contrary to the official narrative, Stalin never betrayed the west and stole Eastern Europe: Poland, Romania and the rest were given to him in secret. Then Roosevelt lied to congress and to the world.

That American lie raised the curtain on the cold war.

The New Cold War

Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression."

At the close of the cold war, at a meeting held on February 9, 1990, George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State, James Baker, promised Gorbachev that if NATO got Germany and Russia pulled its troops out of East Germany, NATO would not expand east of Germany and engulf the former Soviet states. Gorbachev records in his memoirs that he agreed to Baker's terms "with the guarantee that NATO jurisdiction or troops would not extend east of the current line." In Super-power Illusions , Jack F. Matlock Jr., who was the American ambassador to Russia at the time and was present at the meeting, confirms Gorbachev's account, saying that it "coincides with my notes of the conversation except that mine indicate that Baker added "not one inch." Matlock adds that Gorbachev was assured that NATO would not move into Eastern Europe as the Warsaw Pact moved out, that "the understanding at Malta [was] that the United States would not 'take advantage' of a Soviet military withdrawal from Eastern Europe." At the February 9 meeting, Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President or I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place."

But the promise was not made just once, and it was not made just by the United States. The promise was made on two consecutive days: first by the Americans and then by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. According to West German foreign ministry documents, on February 10, 1990, the day after James Baker's promise, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told his Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze "'For us . . . one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.' And because the conversation revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: 'As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general.'"

A few days earlier, on January 31, 1990, Genscher had said in a major speech that there would not be "an expansion of NATO territory to the east, in other words, closer to the borders of the Soviet Union."

Gorbachev says the promise was made not to expand NATO "as much as a thumb's width further to the east." Putin also says mourns the broken promise, asking at a conference in Munich in February 2007, "What happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them."

Putin went on to remind his audience of the assurances by pointing out that the existence of the NATO promise is not just the perception of him and Gorbachev. It was also the view of the NATO General Secretary at the time: "But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. [Manfred] Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: 'The fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.' Where are those guarantees?"

Recent scholarship supports the Russian version of the story. Russian expert and Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, Richard Sakwa says that "[r]ecent studies demonstrate that the commitment not to enlarge NATO covered the whole former Soviet bloc and not just East Germany." And Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University and of Russian Studies and History at New York University, adds that the National Security Archive has now published the actual documents detailing what Gorbachev was promised. Published on December 12, 2017, the documents finally, and authoritatively, reveal that "The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: all of the Western powers involved – the US, the UK, France, Germany itself – made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways."

That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro.

It was this shattered promise, this primal betrayal, this NATO expansion to Russia's borders that created the conditions and causes of future conflicts and aggressions. When, in 2008, NATO promised Georgia and Ukraine eventual membership, Russia saw the threat of NATO encroaching right to its borders. It is in Georgia and Ukraine that Russia felt it had to draw the line with NATO encroachment into its core sphere of influence. Sakwa says that the war in Georgia was "the first war to stop NATO enlargement; Ukraine was the second." What are often cited as acts of Russian aggression that helped maintain the new cold war are properly understood as acts of Russian defense against US aggression that made a lie out of the promise that ended the Cold War.

When Clinton decided to break Bush's promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .."

The broken promise restored the cold war. Though it is the most significant root of the new cold war, it was not the first. There was a prior broken promise, and this time the man who betrayed Russia was President H.W. Bush.

The end of the Cold War resulted from negotiations and not from any sort of military victory. Stephen Cohen says that "Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush negotiated with the last Soviet Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, what they said was the end of the Cold War on the shared, expressed premise that it was ending 'with no losers, only winners.'"

The end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union occurred so closely chronologically that it permitted the American mythologizers to conflate them in the public imagination and create the doctrinal history in which the US defeat of the Soviet Union ended the cold war. But the US did not defeat the Soviet Union. Gorbachev brought about what Sakwa calls a "self-willed disintegration of the Soviet bloc." The Soviet Union came to an end, not by external force or pressure, but out of Gorbachev's recognition of the Soviet Union's own self interest. Matlock flatly states that "pressure from governments outside the Soviet Union, whether from America or Europe or anywhere else, had nothing to do with [the Soviet collapse]." "Cohen demythologizes the history by reinstating the chronological order: Gorbachev negotiated the end of the cold war "well before the disintegration of the Soviet Union." The Cold War officially ended well before the end of the Soviet Union with Gorbachev's December 7, 1988 address to the UN

Matlock says that "Gorbachev is right when he says that we all won the Cold War." He says that President Reagan would write in his notes, "Let there be no talk of winners and losers." When Gorbachev compelled the countries of the Warsaw Pact to adopt reforms like his perestroika in the Soviet Union and warmed them that the Soviet army would no longer be there to keep their communist regimes in power, Matlock points out in Superpower Illusions that "Bush assured Gorbachev that the United States would not claim victory if the Eastern Europeans were allowed to replace the Communist regimes that had been imposed on them." Both the reality and the promise were that there was no winner of the Cold War: it was a negotiated peace that was in the interest of both countries.

When in 1992, during his losing re-election campaign, President Bush arrogantly boasted that "We won the Cold War!" he broke his own promise to Gorbachev and helped plant the roots of the new cold war. "In psychological and political terms," Matlock says, "President Bush planted a landmine under the future U.S.-Russian relationship" when he broke his promise and made that claim.

Bush's broken promise had two significant effects. Psychologically, it created the appearance in the Russian psyche that Gorbachev had been tricked by America: it eroded trust in America and in the new peace. Politically, it created in the American psyche the false idea that Russia was a defeated country whose sphere of interest did not need to be considered. Both these perceptions contributed to the new cold war.

Not only was the broken promise of NATO expansion not the first broken American promise, it was also not the last. In 1997, when President Clinton made the decision to expand NATO much more than an inch to the east, he at least signed the Russia-NATO Founding Act , which explicitly promised that as NATO expanded east, there would be no "permanent stationing of substantial combat forces." This obliterated American promise planted the third root of the new cold war.

Since that third promise, NATO has, in the words of Stephen Cohen, built up its "permanent land, sea and air power near Russian territory, along with missile-defense installations." US and NATO weapons and troops have butted right up against Russia's borders, while anti-missile installations have surrounded it, leading to the feeling of betrayal in Russia and the fear of aggression. Among the earliest moves of the Trump administration were the moving of NATO troops into Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and nearby Norway.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who offered the West Russia and cooperation in place of the Soviet Union and Cold War, was rewarded with lies, broken promises and betrayal. That was the sowing of the first seeds of the new cold war. The second planting happened during the Yeltsin years that followed. During this stage, the Russian people were betrayed because their hopes for democracy and for an economic system compatible with the West were both destroyed by American intervention.

The goal, Matlock too gently explains, "had to be a shift of the bulk of the economy to private ownership." What transpired was what Naomi Klein called in The Shock Doctrine "one of the greatest crimes committed against a democracy in modern history." The States allowed no gradual transition. Matlock says the "Western experts advised a clean break with the past and a transition to private ownership without delay." But there was no legitimate private capital coming out of the communist system, so there was no private money with which to privatize. So, there was only one place for the money to come. As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia's richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery."

The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging."

Sometimes damaging? In the first year, millions lost their entire life savings. Subsidy cuts meant that many Russians didn't get paid at all. Klein says that by 1992, Russians were consuming 40% less than they were the year before, and one third of them had suddenly sunk below the poverty line. The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia's reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen's words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia's wealth, and more."

By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community.

But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy.

In late 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of special powers from the Russian Parliament: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dictator of Russia to facilitate the midwifery of the birth of a democratic Russia. In March of 1992, under pressure from the, by now, impoverished, devastated and discontented population, parliament repealed the dictatorial powers it had granted him. Yeltsin responded by declaring a state of emergency, re-bestowing upon himself the repealed dictatorial powers. Russia's Constitutional Court ruled that Yeltsin was acting outside the constitution. But the US sided – against the Russian people and against the Russian Constitutional Court – with Yeltsin.

Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people's choice of leaders.

Yeltsin took the money and sent police officers and elite paratroopers to surround the parliament building. Clinton "praised the Russian President has (sic) having done 'quite well' in managing the standoff with the Russian Parliament," as The New York Times reported at the time. Clinton added that he thought "the United States and the free world ought to hang in there" with their support of Yeltsin against his people, their constitution and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be "on the right side of history."

On the right side of history and armed with machine guns and tanks, in October 1993, Yeltsin's troops opened fire on the crowd of protesters, killing about 100 people before setting the Russian parliament building on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin's troops had killed approximately 500 people and wounded nearly 1,000. Still, Clinton stood with Yeltsin. He provided ludicrous cover for Yeltsin's massacre , claiming that "I don't see that he had any choice . If such a thing happened in the United States, you would have expected me to take tough action against it." Clinton's Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, said that the US supported Yeltsin's suspension of parliament in these "extraordinary times."

In 1996, elections were looming, and America's hegemonic dreams still needed Yeltsin in power. But it wasn't going to happen without help. Yeltsin's popularity was nonexistent, and his approval rating was at about 6%. According to Cohen, Clinton's interference in Russian politics, his "crusade" to "reform Russia," had by now become official policy . And so, America boldly interfered directly in Russian elections . Three American political consultants, receiving "direct assistance from Bill Clinton's White House," secretly ran Yeltsin's reelection campaign. As Time magazine broke the story , "For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin's campaign."

"Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin's reelection headquarters in 1996."

More incriminating still is that Richard Dresner, one of the three American consultants, maintained a direct line to Clinton's Chief Strategist, Dick Morris. According to reporting by Sean Guillory , in his book, Behind the Oval Office , Morris says that, with Clinton's approval, he received weekly briefings from Dresner that he would give to Clinton. Based on those briefings, Clinton would then provide recommendations to Dresner through Morris.

Then ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, even pressured an opposing candidate to drop out of the election to improve Yeltsin's odds of winning.

The US not only helped run Yeltsin's campaign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Russia, the second-biggest loan the IMF had ever given. The New York Times reported that the loan was "expected to be helpful to President Boris N. Yeltsin in the presidential election in June." The Times explained that the loan was "a vote of confidence" for Yeltsin who "has been lagging well behind in opinion polls" and added that the US Treasury Secretary "welcomed the fund's decision."

Yeltsin won the election by 13%, and Time magazine's cover declared: "Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win". Cohen reports that the US ambassador to Russia boasted that "without our leadership we would see a considerably different Russia today." That's a confession of election interference.

Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia's neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals.

Ted Snider writes on analyzing patterns in US foreign policy and history.

[Sep 15, 2019] USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy

The USA might eventually pay the price for the economic rape and alienation of Russia by criminal Clinton and his coterie
Notable quotes:
"... Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history. ..."
"... The truth is that after the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR. ..."
"... Still as an imperial state and the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> anne... , September 14, 2019 at 08:30 PM

"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"

USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy.

Bolton attitude to UN is very symptomatic for the neocons as a whole.

Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history.

The truth is that after the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR.

The USA stated to behave like a typical Imperial state (New Rome, or, more correctly, London) accepting no rules/laws that are not written by themselves (and when it is convenient to obey them) with the only difference from the classic imperial states that the hegemony it not based on the military presence/occupation ( like was the case with British empire)

Although this is not completely true as there are 761 US Military Bases across the planet and only 46 Countries with no US military presence. Of them, seven countries with 13 New Military Bases were added since 09/11/2001.In 2001 the US had a quarter million troops posted abroad.

Still as an imperial state and the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country.

I recently learned from https://akarlin.com/2010/04/on-liberasts-and-liberasty/ that the derogatory term for the neoliberal part of the Russian elite is "liberasts" and this term gradually slipping into English language ( http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/liberast ;-)

With the collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 the USA centered neoliberal empire experiences first cracks. Brexit and election of Trump widened the cracks in a sense of further legitimizing the ruling neoliberal elite (big middle finger for Hillary was addressed to the elite as whole)

If oil price exceed $100 per barrel there will yet another crack or even repetition of the 2008 Great Recession on a new level (although we may argue that the Great Recession never ended and just entered in Summers terms "permanent stagnation: phase)

Although currently with a bully at the helm the USA empire still going strong in forcing vassals and competitors to reconsider their desire to challenge the USA that situation will not last. Trump currently is trying to neutralize the treat from China by rejecting classic neoliberal globalization mechanism as well as signed treaties like WTO. He might be successful in the short run but in the "long run" that undermines the USA centered neoliberal empire and speed up its demise. .

In the long run the future does not look too bright as crimes committed by the USA during triumphal period of neoliberalism hangs like albatross around the USA neck.

EU now definitely wants to play its own game as Macron recently stated and which Merkel tacitly supports. If EU allies with Russia it will became No.1 force in the world with the USA No. 2. With severe consequences for the USA.

If Russia allied with China the USA Np.1 position will hinge of keeping EU vassals in check and NATO in place. Without them it will became No.2 with fatal consequences for the dollar as world reserve currency and sudden change of the USA financial position due to the level of external debt and requires devaluation of the dollar.

Looks like 75 year after WWII the world started to self-organize a countervailing force trying to tame the USA with some interest expressed by such players as EU, Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia. As well as ( in the past; and possibly in the future as neoliberal counterrevolutions in both countries probably will end badly) by Brazil and Argentina.

Only Canada, Australia and probably UK can be counted as the reliable parts of the USA empire. That's not much.

[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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Pretari said...

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

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

jorgensen said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Tunga , 12 minutes ago link

Oh those securities!

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

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

Tunga , 12 minutes ago link

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

pparalegal , 3 minutes ago link

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

[Sep 02, 2019] Where is Margaret Thatcher now?

Highly recommended!
Sep 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])

Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

[Sep 02, 2019] Falling From Grace The Decline Of The US Empire

The USA centered global neoliberal empire falls from grace at alarming speed.
Just the discussion of this possibility would be unthinkable in 90th -- the period of triumphal advance of neoliberalism all over the globe. So thinks did change although it is unclear what is that direction of the social change -- neo-fascism or some kind of return to the New Del Capitalism (if so who will replace previous, forged by Great Depression political alignment between trade unions and management against the financial oligarchy, which financial oligarchy managed to broke using neoliberalism as the Trojan horse and bribing CEOs)
Om a was original fascist movements were also a protest against the rule of financial oligarchy. Even anti-Semitism in Germany was a kind of perverted protest against financial oligarchy as well. They were quickly subverted and in Germany anti-Semitism degenerated into irrational hatred and genocide, , but the fact remains. Just looks at NSDAP program of 1920 . Now we have somewhat similar sentiments with Wexner and Meta group in the USA. To say that they do not invoke any sympathy is an understatement.
The problem with empires that they do not only rob the "other people". They rob their own people as well, and rob them hard. The USSR people were really robbed by Soviet military industrial complex and Soviet globalist -- to the far greater extent then the USA people now. People were really as poor as church rats. Epidemic of alcoholism in the USA resembles the epidemic of narcoaddtion in the USA --- both are signs of desire then there is no jobs and now chances.
Like the collapse of the USSR was the result of the collapse of bolshevism, the collapse of the USA can be the result of the collapse of neoliberalism. Whether it will take 10 or 50 years is unclear, but the general tendency is down.
The competitors has grown much strong now and they want their place under then sub. That means squeezing the USA. Trump did agrat job in alientaing the US and that was probably the most important step is dismantling the USA empire that was taken. Add to that trade war with China and we have the situation that is not favorable to the USA politically in two important parts of the globe.
Add to this Brexit and we have clear tendency of states to reassert their sovereignty, which start hurting the USA based multinationals.
The only things that work in favor of the USA is that currently there is no clear alternative to neoliberalism other then some kind of restoration of the New Deal capitalism or neo-fasist dictatorship.
Notable quotes:
"... Self-discipline, self sacrifice and self restraint are the prices which must be paid for a civilization to survive, much less flourish, and Americans are increasingly unwilling to pay up. The America of a generation or two down the road will have the social cohesion of El Salvador. ..."
"... Being that history is always written by the tyrant of the time (which in our case was definitely behind the two last empires and a big player in Rome as and Spain as well) people are also led to believe that empire is a desireable state of cicumstance. It never was. Its the ambitions and conquistador actions of the collective psychopath. They feed on the strength of civilizations and utilize it for megalomaniac ambitions over power of others and power over everything. ..."
"... Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it. ..."
"... You are completely delusional. The world is not better off under American stewardship. We don't need and shouldn't want anything to replace it. We don't need and shouldn't want any empire ruling the world. We would be better off without any state at all, so we could finally be free people. ..."
"... And no it probably wouldn't be better off under the Chinese. Although if the world stopped respecting American IP law, that would be a huge positive step forward. ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Years ago, Doug Casey mentioned in a correspondence to me, "Empires fall from grace with alarming speed."

Every now and then, you receive a comment that, although it may have been stated casually, has a lasting effect, as it offers uncommon insight. For me, this was one of those and it's one that I've kept handy at my desk since that time, as a reminder.

I'm from a British family, one that left the UK just as the British Empire was about to begin its decline. They expatriated to the "New World" to seek promise for the future.

As I've spent most of my life centred in a British colony – the Cayman Islands – I've had the opportunity to observe many British contract professionals who left the UK seeking advancement, which they almost invari