September 5, 2016


on Stephen J. Sniegoski’s “Russia and Israel: the unmentioned relationship”
with a reply by Dr. Sniegoski


Russia, China, and the Empire  



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Kudos to Steve Sniegoski for illuminating a fascinating issue: Israel's good relations with Russia in the face of U.S. confrontation with that same country.

I find the reluctance of the neo-Trots to criticize Israel on this issue especially amusing. As someone who, many years ago, hung out with some of the founding members of the neo-Trot movement, I remember their self-righteous disdain of Communist Party USA members for a similar peccadillo: support of Stalin's friendly relations with Hitler before the War. Well, now the shoe is on the other foot, with the neo-Trots' own beloved analog to the Soviet Union snuggling up to their current designated Hitler, Putin.

However, the reasons for the implacable neo-Trot hostility to Russia go a lot further than those that Dr. Sniegoski put down:

The neocons are hostile to Russia for a number of reasons, which include Putin's authoritarian rule; his support for traditional values such as state-supported Russian Orthodoxy, heterosexuality over homosexuality, and raising the Russian-ethnic birth rate; his opposition to American globalism and regime change; and his aid to Israel's enemies.
That is all very true, and to the list I would add a bigoted Ashkenazi hostility to Christian Russians. But the main reason that Russia must be brought to heel is that it is a strategic counterweight to Imperial dominion, and refuses to knuckle under and do what it's told. It is attempting to behave as if it is a sovereign country. And by doing so it is threatening the entire U.S. imperialist project.

Why is explained by Michael Hudson, who is supposed to be an economics "superstar," one of whom I have never heard, but that's by the way. His economics are basically Keynesian mixed with old-fashioned Social Democratism and a dash of mercantilism: he believes in the "mixed economy" behind high tariff walls depending on State stimulus, subsidies, and direction ("industrial policy") to grow and prosper.

Having said that, he's got a devastating analysis of how U.S. economic imperialism works (posted at his personal site), which I recommend to your attention: "The Commanding Heights" (February 17, 2016).

It ties in well with John Perkins's Confessions of an Economic Hit Man of some years ago. Perkins claimed that his job at a big U.S. firm was to persuade countries to take out loans for projects that would inevitably fail, thus making them fall into the death grip of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in turn making them perpetually in hock and subject to U.S. control. That seemed to fit with the facts, but I always thought it lacked something. (See commentary by Nicholas Lezard at the Guardian.)

Hudson fleshes out the Hit Man's allegations: after the unfortunate country has become subject to the IMF bloodsuckers, it is called upon to sell off, or "privatize," its assets. Those assets, including infrastructure, are purchased at knockdown prices by Imperially favored firms, and then liquidated or milked for rent, leaving the victim perpetually impoverished, since all of its surplus is sucked out of the country.

Certainly that is similar to what happened to Russia after the fall: the American economists came in and pushed immediate "privatization," which resulted in the wholesale looting of the country — both by foreigners and by members of the former nomenklatura. Of course, now Russia is refusing to play that game. Furthermore, according to Hudson, Russia and China are trying to set up a rival to the IMF (!). That obviously cannot be allowed, as it would make it possible for countries to liberate themselves from the IMF's evil embrace.

Russia and China together are also building the new Iron Silk Road, a high-speed rail system to tie Europe and Asia together in a huge shared market. The new trading routes would be (on land) in the interior, not vulnerable to U.S. naval interference, and less subject to Imperial diplomatic meddling. That could open up all kinds of markets and make possible unprecedented growth and prosperity across the continent. It is thus is a huge challenge to Imperial dominance that cannot go unpunished.

Russia's continuing insistence on its own sovereignty — opening new trade routes; acting independently to protect its own interests in Syria, Georgia, and Ukraine; attempts to build new oil and gas pipelines not owned by U.S. corporations; rebuilding its military into a comparatively small but potentially very effective defensive force — all these raise the possibility to other countries that total U.S. domination may not be inevitable. They are unforgivable provocations in the eyes of the imperialists and must be crushed.

Thus, I think, the U.S.'s increasingly blatant attempts to encircle and isolate Russia and China. According to Hudson, the Empire is now working to destroy them economically:

First, by changing the rules of the IMF to allow it to help countries such as Ukraine default on their debts to Russia.

And second, by threatening China and Russia with freezing their banking systems if they don't play nice. It can do that because it controls the international system used to clear bank transactions. Russia and China are reportedly working to develop a rival clearing system (another provocation in itself), but that will take time. In the meantime, there's an economic gun pointed at their heads.

This is all beginning to feel a little bit like the run-up to the First World War. Ω


Dr. Sniegoski replies

My aim in the article was not to focus on the neocons' position toward Russia but to show the developing friendly relationship between Israel and Russia, which contradicts the mainstream media's narrative of "good Israel" and "evil Russia." The existence of that relationship, under which Israel has provided Russia with high-tech UAVs that can be used for military purposes, indicates either that Israel is not so good or Russia is not so evil. The mainstream media avoid that predicament by not mentioning the relationship.

Now. one could hold that the neocons' belligerent position toward Russia is simply divorced from their support for Israel. However, I tried to explain how the neocons' opposition to Russia could actually mesh with their support for Israel since it enables Israel to have leverage over Russia's Middle East policy.

Murray Rothbard's view of privatization was completely different from Mr. Wright's, advocating an even faster privatization than the one that took place. See his 1992 essay "How and How Not to Desocialize," posted at the Mises Institute in 2013. Ω

September 5, 2016

Published in 2016 by WTM Enterprises.


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