Miles Report No. 39
Evan Solomon and the “Power Panel”
I obviously find myself on the off side of arguments against Russia. In an idealized world, the Ukrainian population should have a free and fair vote to determine their future, without either U.S. (and by that I include the whole gang of EU/NATO countries) or Russian influence.
If that were possible the results would probably be mixed, just as the population is mixed. Crimea once before voted for independence (1994), the Ukraine denied it and Russia was too weak from Yeltsin’s bad management that they could do no nothing even if they wanted. Crimea would either go independent or join Russia. Western Ukraine would have voted for independence. Eastern Ukraine would be the big question as to whether it would decide to join Russia, join western Ukraine, or be independent. But all that is conjecture based on an ideal that will not occur.
It will not occur because in the real world of Henry Kissinger’s and Zbigniew Brzezinski’s realpolitik, the main thrust of US actions during and since the end of the Cold War - and especially since the beginning of the petrodollar deal with the Saudi’s - has been to contain Russia and China. While their actions are couched in terms of democracy and freedom, US actions around the world, from Vietnam through all of Latin America, and on into Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Iraq, Palestine, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Iran, and now on into the Ukraine, have all been predicated on containment of Russia and China and control of the petrodollar. All else is propaganda that for the most part is spread by - especially in the U.S. - a compliant mainstream corporate owned media.
The members of the ‘Power Panel’ (Elise Mills, Rob Silver, Brad Lavigne, Chris Hall) on Evan Solomon’s “Power and Politics” (CBC) generally tend to be well within the U.S. mindset, although today (Monday, March 24, 2014) there at least seemed to be the recognition that Canada could not do much more than “tough talk” and “taking action” to quote James Watt - the latter meaning sanctions, which again were recognized as being a tit for tat response rather than truly effective.
Elise Mills went the furthest with her call for military action in defence of Ukraine. At this point she left reality, allowing her dogmas to overspeak recognition of the power position that Russia is in. The U.S. could not defeat several ragtime armies of insurrectionists in the Middle East, nor did their “humanitarian” bombing (an oxymoron for sure) of Libya do anything but create more jihadis set to infiltrate into the Sahel and Syria.
Ms Mills used the pleasant anachronistic homily loved by warriors of “stand for nothing, fall for all.” She should then look at NATO and US actions since the supposed end of the Cold War. Russia did not react militarily to any of the U.S. interventions, and indeed supported some of them, probably falsely thinking that if they supported the U.S. in certain areas, then the U.S. might support them in return for some of their own interests.
But it never worked out that way. The U.S. moved the NATO membership ever eastwards after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, going against the word of Bill Clinton that the U.S. would not promote the idea of NATO moving east towards the Russian border. Under the pretext of fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has moved several more bases closer to the southern Russian and Chinese frontiers. Under the pretext of protecting Kosovo, the U.S. bombed Serbia for 78 days before Serbia relented and gave up on Kosovo, where one of the largest military bases in the world, Camp Bondsteel, is located to guard the hopeful future oil routes and add another base to the ring around Russia.
So now Russia is at a point where it has to “stand for nothing, fall for all.” U.S. influence is placed squarely on its borders within a mixed population that has very strong relations with Russia culturally and economically. If the Russians had not acted the way they did, they would have been a destroyed country as the U.S. would then be in a more complete dominant military position, would be able to create even more economic and cultural damage within the Russian republic, and finally create the dismemberment of the Russian state.
Unfortunate for the Ukrainians, but they are simply pawns in a greater game, one played covertly and overtly by the U.S. in its search for global dominance (remember “full spectrum dominance” as espoused by the PNAC neocons? The same ones that want ‘first strike’ nuclear war? The ones waiting for a ‘New Pearl Harbour’ - and got it?).
A military attack is completely nonsensical in this case. Russia would be defending its homeland, and the U.S. has never defeated an enemy by invading and occupying its territory (well, except for the Indian and Spanish/Mexican wars). It could only ‘win’ by actually occupying Russia, and any overt military action would be met by a full on defence. Both responses would inevitably lead to the use of nuclear weapons, from which there are no winners, and as nuclear winter and many uncontrolled Chernobyl’s and Fukushima’s spread their poison around the world, everyone could kiss human civilization good-bye.
There was a bit more reality in the discussion of economic sanctions against Russia, but I had to wonder even more how much the Power Panel understood the current nature of the global financialized world. All countries are on the edge financially, supporting banks and corporations through government bailouts and citizen bail-ins, essentially having the corporate and government debts placed on the taxpayer, along with their own ill-conceived debts.
The U.S. in particular, as comptroller of the world’s reserve currency, has been doing a spectacularly poor job of managing the world’s financial situation. They have two fall back positions. The first is the military, happy to depose any government by covert or overt means that goes against the gospel of U.S. fiat dollar supremacy. The second, by having the currency as a petrodollar, with all oil purchases having to be made with the U.S. dollar (as agreed upon by that fine democratic country of Saudi Arabia), the rest of the world has to follow suit.
Well and good if the U.S. had truly good intentions, but with the desire for global hegemony goes the desire for world currency control. So far they have maintained that position, with extreme prejudice to many other currencies and many other people. After the near collapse of the economy in 2008-09, the U.S. has printed trillions of dollars to support the U.S. banks and corporations ( in olden days it was called central planning) and keep them solvent. It has supported them, at the cost of the value of the dollar, and with huge increases in the wealth gap between the average worker and the corporate/political elite. This has also occurred in other countries of the world, notably the UK and the EU.
The economy itself, as far as employment and productivity are concerned, remains virtually stagnant. The CPI is higher than government figures provide. GDP is lower. Unemployment is higher, and what is found is usually within low wage service jobs that cannot be shifted overseas or replaced with robotics. House ownership is down, after a ‘dead cat’ bounce in sales from equity and hedge funds buying up thousands of receivership titles (at least in the U.S., Canada is still riding the bubble). Wages are flat or lower over the past several decades. (see John Williams shadowstats.com for this info).
Yes, the stock market has soared from the cheap money available from the government from which corporations are using it to buy up their own stocks in order to increase their value for their own stock option benefits.
So there are two huge problems with the global economy. First it is run with the US$ as the fiat reserve currency, backed up by the military-corporate complex(es) of the world. This includes Russia and China, all intertwined, especially the relationship between the U.S. and China. Secondly, the world operates on debt, and not on productivity. Enormous sums are leveraged out in the many diverse and opaque money markets within the true banks, the shadow banking system, and the corporate financialized world of Wall Street.
The U.S. dollar has been off any gold standard since 1971 when U.S. debt and inflation, caused in a great deal by the Vietnam war, threatened the U.S. economy as the dollar was sinking against other gold backed currencies (e.g. the Deutschmark). Since that time, the U.S. debt has increased exponentially, inflation has followed along with it, and generally gold has followed the same pattern of increase, until last year’s kickdown by the gold paper markets and the central banks - in order once again to support the dollar.
China, India and other Asian countries have taken advantage of this kick-down and bought thousands of tons of gold, seeing it as the true supporter of wealth, in spite of banking and investment officials calling it antiquated, outdated, anachronistic et al.
Sanctions, especially leading to economic sanctions against Russia, will have a great deal of blowback as Russia is not a minor financial player like Iran, Iraq, or Libya. It has lots of oil and gas, which Europe uses and needs and which China needs and wants (a deal is in the works, ready for May 2014). It has lots of US$ in its foreign currency reserves. It has gold. It has China’s support and India’s. Russia owns billions of U.S. treasury bonds (debt), while China owns trillions.
If economic sanctions are applied to Russia, there are many avenues of economic blowback. The simplest would be to sell oil and gas in any currency other than the US$. That would make oil and gas cheaper for purchaser without having to go through the foreign exchange market. Russia would lose a bit of profit, and other countries, as they already have, would start trading in their own currencies. All that would significantly weaken the US$, in turn significantly weakening the US economy.
If needed, they could start selling off their US$ - all at once so that it hits the markets hard to the downside. Or it could sell off its treasury bonds, again in a fire sale that would again hit them hard to the downside. All that could be done without limiting their own exports to the EU, an important economic partner, as Germany recognizes all too well. Would China follow suit? Has China stated at any time recently that it is time to end the US$ dominance of global finance (hint - yes)? Does China have enough gold to start a reserve currency, or the BRICS enough gold to start a ‘basket’ of currencies backed by gold? No one knows for sure.
Foisted on our own stupidity and arrogance
The U.S. (and again a reminder I include the EU/NATO as minions of the U.S.) has exposed its own double standards and lies when it pronounces against Russia and their actions in the Ukraine. Sure, I too would wish a peaceful resolution there, through fair and free democratic (“people” + “power”) elections. Unfortunately, the U.S. has created a situation - via its advancement of NATO to the east, its use of covert and economic warfare, its use of direct military interventions, and its coercive threats of military and economic interventions in many countries of the world - where its bluster, rhetoric, and ‘exceptionalism’, are exposed as ineffective lies when it comes to Russia’s defense of its near abroad.
The country that should be stepping down is the U.S. Unfortunately in their arrogance, blinded by their own indoctrinations, unaware of their own stupidity, chances are they will fumble through all this creating even more problems as they have everywhere else in the world. Worst case scenario would be the use of the military, inevitably leading to nuclear war. The economic situation would not be pretty either if and when Russia and/or China decide it is time to end US$ dominance.
As for Canada, we can do little but be the yappy little terrier at the side of the neutered bull-dog and chained rottweiler. Most Canadians extract their news from CNN or Fox or maybe the CBC, all of whom buy into the U.S. propaganda perspective on how the world is ‘spozed to be’. The Ukrainians are caught in the middle of this U.S. created, Russian opposed ‘realpolotik’.