Resistance report: Syrian Army kicks off long overdue Idlib offensive and Washington intensifies Iran threats

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Resistance report: Syrian Army kicks off long overdue Idlib offensive and Washington intensifies Iran threats

On May 6, the Syrian Army finally kicked off the long awaited Idlib offensive to expel the US-backed Jihadists from the Idlib demilitarized zone. Having postponed the offensive for months due to Ankara’s reluctance to allow the Syrian Army to reclaim the area, Moscow and Damascus finally lost their patience after the latest Jihadist missile attack on Hmaimeem airport last week and decided to punish these terrorists once and for all. This is the first offensive that the Syrian Army and its allies are launching this year, and despite some claims that the Syrian Army offensive will target the entire Idlib Governorate, the operation will rather be limited to the so called demilitarized zone that stretches from the Al-Ghaab Plain to the Abu Dhuhour Crossing. The offensive is primarily lead by the Syrian Army in coordination with allied militias, with the Russian Air Force covering the skies, however Iranian forces will also be present to offer logistical support. Since launching the offensive, the Syrian Army has quickly managed to steamroll the terrorists in northwestern Hama, moving to capture the imperative town of Kafr Naboudeh, as they are marching towards the Al-Ghaab plain. To the west, Syrian Forces are moving to attack the remaining Jihadist-held towns in northeastern Latakia, especially targeting the imperative town of Kabbani. The Syrian Army will be successful if they can neutralize the Jihadist threat to the government held towns in the Hama and Idlib provinces, thus denying the terrorists to launch raids on these towns.

What remains to be seen now is how Ankara will react as they are deeply entrenched with the Jihadist forces across this area, having previously set up 12 “observation posts” stretching between Latakia and Aleppo provinces. It is also interesting to speculate what this offensive will mean for Ankara and its proxies, if the Syrian Army is successful. As the Jihadists lose more ground, Ankara loses influence over northwestern Syria while the SDF consolidates its hold over the land east of the Euphrates. One theory as to why Ankara has agreed to this territory could be that Moscow and Damascus have temporarily agreed to allow Ankara to launch an offensive on the SDF held territory to the east, as a way to replace the territorial losses sustained on the Idlib front. Indeed Damascus has vowed to retake every inch of Syria, but given the amount of players involved in this war and given the numerous obstacles standing in Damascus’ way, it seems that a pragmatic approach is the best way to go here. It would be preferable if eastern Syria was occupied by Ankara and its proxies rather than by Washington and its proxies due to the fact that Ankara is more likely to cooperate and strike deals with Moscow and Damascus than the insane people over in Washington.

Washington intensifies animosity towards Tehran

Another week, another threat. Washington’s threats against Iran have become a weekly ritual now as idiots Pompeo and Bolton issued new threats towards as part of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran. Tehran had earlier warned that if Iran cannot use the strait of Hormuz, then the IRGC would close it for everyone. This prompted Washington to ramp up its threats as they sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the region, in what was described as a “clear and unmistakable message to Iran” by Bolton. He added that the decision was “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.” Really? In this situation Iran is the aggressive one who is escalating things? The Persian Gulf is Iran’s lifeline, and Washington is looking to cut that lifeline, situated some 10 000 kilometres away from America’s eastern coastlines, yet Iran is the one that must argue for why it is not seeking war with the most aggressive evil regime the world has ever seen. On top of that the White House fool Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday, imposing new sanctions on Iran’s metal and mining sectors, with Trump even taking to Twitter to threaten anyone doing business with Iran to have their assets illegally seized by Washington. At the same time, the White House fool added that he is “looking forward to someday meeting with the leaders of Iran in order to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves,”

What kind of a sick statement is this? Washington truly has no limit as to how low it can sink. Do they actually believe that Tehran will capitulate and agree to humiliation? I have a hard time believing even the idiots in Washington are this stupid. They can’t seriously believe that Tehran is going to be enticed to come back to the table with these threats and sanctions imposed. As a matter of fact things in Iran is looking really bad for the proponents of the JCPOA and further negotiations with Washington and its vassals as the conservative bloc, known as “hardliners” in the West were actually proven right in their arguments that it is completely pointless to negotiate anything with the West. President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have been facing a lot of scrutiny in Iran lately for their naïve belief that this deal would thaw relations with the West, and even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has vocally criticized the deal in several speeches this year. As conservatives gain more ground in Iran, a fact I suspect Washington fully understands, Tehran is eyeing the only option remaining now: confrontation. It is either that or lying down and accepting death and defeat. The only conclusion I can draw from this mess is that Washington is actively looking for war. They want to provoke Tehran into a first strike so that they can start a larger regional war not only against Iran but also Tehran’s allies in Hezbollah and the Iraqi militias in a bid to destroy the entire resistance to the Zionist empire altogether.

This week also saw Iran informing the five remaining signatories to the JCPOA of its decision to suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the multinational agreement, exactly one year after Washington unilaterally abandoned the agreement. I am amazed over the amount of self-restraint and patience exercised by Tehran since Washington’s exit from the deal last year, as Tehran has given the remaining signatories almost 12 months’ time to compensate for Washington’s withdrawal and guarantee the survival of the deal. Nevertheless, no measures to blunt the impact of economic sanctions re-imposed on Tehran have been taken by the remaining signatories. Not only is the Islamic Republic entitled to suspend the implementation of the deal, but it also has the right to withdraw from it altogether, what is the point of remaining in the deal when the main reason for entering it is now all but gone?

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has also given the remaining signatories 60 days to meet their commitments, and if they fail to address Tehran’s concerns, Tehran will suspend the implementation of two more commitments under the JCPOA. Unsurprisingly, the EU immediately rejected the ultimatum and expressed “great concern” about Iran’s decision. In a statement issued on May 9, top EU diplomats said “We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran’s compliance on the basis of Iran’s performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons). In this respect, we recall the key role of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) monitoring and verification of the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments.”

In the statement, the Europeans further expressed regret about the re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran and said they would stay fully committed to “the preservation and full implementation” of the JCPOA, which they described as “a key achievement of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, which is in the security interest of all.”

What a pathetic statement. When Washington withdrew from the deal, no one dared to even say a word, but when Tehran seeks to suspend some of its implementation after having been betrayed, the EU wants to “assess Iran’s compliance?” The EU has had a year to come up with a plan to continue the deal despite Washington’s withdrawal, but do not have the guts to stand up to Washington’s criminal behaviour of unilateral sanctions and threats. Instead all they have done is to talk nonsense and issue poor statements about their so called “commitments”. Washington has threatened to sanction anyone doing business with Iran, this includes its European vassals, why should Iran believe that the EU would dare to stand up to Washington and risk being slapped with sanctions themselves for the sake of Tehran? Ayatollah Khamenei previously warned that he does not trust the Europeans and has no faith in their promises, he is absolutely right as he fully understands that the EU has no will of its own and are a bunch of cowards who let Washington dictate their interests.

Tehran has nothing more to lose than it already has here, why remain in a deal that leaves Tehran without the deterrence of nuclear weapons and still be sanctioned? This situation is even worse than the one before the JCPOA deal. I usually don’t agree with the conservative bloc on foreign policy matters, but I see no other choice here for Tehran to guarantee its own survival in the face of Washington’s relentless aggression and criminal behaviour.

Advertisements

THE NEXT ECONOMIC CRISIS AND THE LOOMING POST-MULTIPOLAR SYSTEM

The Next Economic Crisis and the Looming Post-Multipolar System

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

The Impending Crisis

At one time, specifically during the post-World War 2 Bretton Woods era, it looked like as if the capitalist model could be indefinitely sustainable and avoid plunging the world into major world conflicts. That era began to come to an end during the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, and came to a complete end at the end of the Cold War which ushered in the era of the so-called “globalization” which took form of unbridled competition for markets and resources. At first this competition did not show many signs of trouble. There were many “emerging markets” created as a result of the collapse of the Soviet bloc into which Western corporations could expand. However, the law of diminishing returns being what it is, the initial rapid economic growth rates could not be sustained and attempts to goose it using extremely liberal central bank policies, to the point of zero and even negative interest rates, succeeded in inflating—and bursting—several financial “bubbles”. Even today’s US economy bears many hallmarks of such a bubble, and it is only one of many. Sooner or later the proverbial “black swan” event will unleash a veritable domino effect of popping bubbles and plunge the global economy into a crisis of a magnitude it has not seen since the 1930s. A crisis against which the leading world powers have few weapons to deploy, since they have expended their monetary and fiscal “firepower” on the 2008 crisis, to little avail. The low interest rates and high levels of national debt mean that the next big crisis will not be simply “more of the same.” It will fundamentally rearrange the global economy.

The Once and Future Multipolar System?

While the 1944 Bretton Woods  conference sought to re-establish a global economic order that was destroyed in the Great Depression, the formation of the United Nations served a rather different aim. The UN Security Council, with five veto-wielding permanent members, meant that for as long as these five countries abided by its rules, there would be five spheres of influence and therefore also five relatively exclusive economic zones. British leaders in 1945, for example, hardly desired the dissolution of their empire; records of wartime discussions between FDR and Churchill show the two clashed repeatedly over the tariff barriers separating British colonial possessions from international trade.  That which became known as the “Iron Curtain” was a feature, not a bug, of that system—Churchill himself wanted one for his empire, after all. However, is the apparent multi-polar system of today any more viable than the one which appeared to emerge after 1945?

“We have always been at war with Eurasia”

The post-WW2 multipolar world did not come to pass because the French and British empires collapsed and its newly independent states became aligned with either the United States or the USSR, and the PRC was in no shape to exert much power outside of its own borders since it was recovering from decades of civil war and foreign occupation. Seven decades after WW2’s conclusion, however, one can readily see that the era of US and European economic dominance is giving way to a multipolar world in which Russia and China are once again capable of standing up for their economic interests.

However, a return to genuine multipolarity does not appear very likely. Russia and China need each other too much to risk conflict by pursuing their own separate and mutually exclusive economic spheres of influence. Rather, we can expect a gradual merger of the two, with Russia playing the leading role in certain geographical areas (for example, the Middle East and the Arctic), while China in others. When it comes to the US and the EU, the situation is slightly more complicated.

Welcome to Oceania, Citizen

While George Orwell imagined the future of Russia (Eurasia) and China (Eastasia) as imperial entities unintegrated with one another, a prediction that does not appear to be coming true, the establishment of Oceania, governed from the United States and UK playing the role of “Airstrip One” seems to be looming every closer. Only the status of Europe remains unclear at this point. The European Union is still unfit to shoulder world power responsibilities, it has barely weathered the last economic crisis, and the next one could easily be the final nail in its coffin. It certainly does not help that the United States is attempting to thoroughly economically dominate the European Union in order to deal with its own economic problems. Reducing European exports to the US and expanding US energy exports to the EU is very high on the list of White House priorities, to the point of risking trade war. Europe’s behavior following the US unilateral JCPOA withdrawal shows that the Europeans are incapable to oppose US power, even if it means defending important economic interests.

On the other hand, and in response to the Trump administration increasingly brazen attempts to subjugate Europe in political and economic terms,  France and Germany are pursuing efforts to establish a solid EU “core”. This “core” would boast a European army, a concept whose popularity has grown in recent years, and be capable of collective action in the event of a crisis even if it means shedding the less well integrated eastern and southern EU members or at least relegating them to second-class status. However, it remains to be seen whether anything viable can be created before the next crisis topples the European house of cards and leads to power struggles over the political and economic alignment of the individual European states.

Hybrid War Forever

Once that process of coalescence is complete, proxy wars will continue over certain parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, even Latin America, as the two power blocs will struggle over vital markets and resources, using the full array of military, political, economic, cyber, and information weapons that we have seen used in Libya, Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela. This hybrid warfare will be accompanied by a level of official propaganda that will make the current “Russiagate” reporting pale in comparison, however, at the same time, the rhetoric will be considerably more heated than the actual level of hostilities between the two nuclear weapons-wielding power blocs. Instead, that propaganda will be used to justify internal political censorship and repression, on a scale even greater than we have seen used against the Yellow Vests protests in France.  Deprived of the ability to expand into ever new territories, the West will gradually sink into stagnation , poverty, and domestic disorder. At that point, the world will be in a state of a genuine bi-polar Cold War, a war of political and economic attrition whose outcome is currently impossible to predict.

China’s Belt and Road Continues to Win Over Europe While Technocrats Scream and Howl

China’s Belt and Road Continues to Win Over Europe While Technocrats Scream and Howl

MATTHEW EHRET | 20.04.2019 | WORLD / EUROPEASIA PACIFICBUSINESS

China’s Belt and Road Continues to Win Over Europe While Technocrats Scream and Howl

On April 10th, China’s Premier Li Keqiang celebrated the completion of the 1st phase of the 2.5 kilometer Chinese-built Pelgesac Bridge in Croatia across the Bay of Mali Ston alongside Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. This ceremony marked a striking victory as the following day ushered in an important 16+1 Heads of State summit that saw Greece inducted as the newest member of a new alliance of Central and Eastern European nations who wish to cooperate with China. At this summit held on April 12, Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stated that this was “a very crucial moment for global and regional developments” and “we have to leave behind the crisis and find new models of regional and global cooperation.”

Of course, Greece’s involvement in this alliance (now renamed the 17+1 CEEC) has broadened its geographical boundaries to the west and is especially important as Greece’s Port of Piraeus is a strategic east-west trade gate way for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) into Europe centered on the China-Europe Land-Sea Express Route. Greece is painfully aware that its survival depends upon China’s BRI, as the EU programs for austerity, privatization and bailouts have brought only death and despair with a collapse of youth employment, crime rate spikes and suicide. It is also not lost on anyone that this breakthrough follows hot on the heels of Italy’s joining of the Belt and Road Initiative on March 26 and also serves as a precursor to the second Belt and Road Summit which will take place in Beijing at the end of April, involving over 126 nations who have already signed MOUs with the BRI and thousands of international businesses.

Ten additional BRI-connected agreements were signed between Croatia and China before the 17+1 Summit including the modernizing of rail lines (especially from Zagreb to the Adriatic port of Rijeka), telecommunications cooperation between Huawei and Croatian Telecom and major port, roads, harbors, education and cultural cooperation.

The Belt and Road Initiative, as Tsipras aptly pointed out, is not just another set of infrastructure programs designed to counterbalance western hegemony, but is rather a “new model of regional and global cooperation” founded upon a principle of mutual development and long term thinking not seen in the west since the death of Franklin Roosevelt and the takeover of the Anglo-American Deep State that ensued.

The fact that China formalized an economic and trade cooperation agreement with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union in May 2018 is extremely relevant as it incorporated its five nation membership of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan directly into the BRI. Already China has invested $98 billion into the real economies of the EEU involving 168 BRI-connected projects.

The new model of development which has increasingly won over central, and eastern Eurasian countries as well as Greece and Italy have provided a breath of fresh air for citizens everywhere who are looking with despair upon a Trans-Atlantic system which can do nothing but demand obedience to a defunct set of rules that commands only austerity, hyperinflationary banking practices and no long term investment into the real economy. Thus the technocratic mobilization against the BRI over the past days in response to this new paradigm can only be seen as an absurd attempt to save a system which has already failed.

The Technocrats Defend their New World Disorder

Two recent counter-operations against the BRI and the new win-win operating system it represents are worth mentioning. The first is found in the formation of a trilateral alliance between the American-based Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Canada’s Finance and Development Agency (FinDev Canada) and fifteen members of the European Union announced on April 11. A second counter-operation was created several days earlier with the Canada-Germany-France-Japan “Alliance for Multilateralism” during the G7 meeting in France.

OPIC Acting President and CEO David Bohigian (Center) signed a memorandum of understanding with FinDev Canada Managing Director Paul Lamontagne (right) and EDFI Chairman Nanno Kleiterp (left).

While OPIC was founded in 1971, its use as a subversive force against the BRI was formalized on July 30, 2018 when it created a trilateral alliance with Japan and Australia in order to finance infrastructure in the Pacific basin. Added to this, a second trilateral alliance was created on April 11, 2019 when Canada’s Paul Lamontagne (head of FinDev Canada), the European Development Finance Institution’s Nanno Kleiterp and OPIC President David Bohigian signed a new agreement to create a parallel infrastructure financing mechanism. Taking aim at China, the press release stated that the alliance “will enhance transactional, operational, and policy-related cooperation among participants and underscores their commitment to providing a robust alternative to unsustainable state-led models.”

At this signing Bohigian stated “we’re trying to hold up an example for the world of the way development finance should work” clearly attacking China’s “incompetent” concept of development finance and thus ignoring the fact that over 800 million people have directly been lifted out of poverty by China’s approach to investment. Bohigian was clearly hoping that the world would ignore the vast debt slavery and chaos spread by 50 years of IMF-World Bank dominance that has produced no real growth of nations. Although the American BUILD Act has increased US government funding to OPIC from $29 billion to $60 billion over one year, no serious integrated design for development has been presented and instead provides fodder for laughter at best.

The other anti-BRI operation mentioned is the German-French-Japanese-Canadian “Alliance for Multilateralism” which saw Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland stating at a press conference in France that “Canada has formally joined a German French coalition armed at saving the international world order from destruction by various world dictators and autocrats”. While Freeland didn’t mention Trump by name here, France’s ambassador to Canada Kareen Rispal was more candid stating “Mr. Trump doesn’t like to value multilateralism”. Citing his withdrawal from COP21, and criticism of the WTO, UN and NATO the envoy continued “it sends the wrong message to the world if we think that because Mr. Trump is not in favor of multilateralism, it doesn’t mean we- I mean countries like Canada, France and Germany and many others- are not still firm believers.”

What exactly this “Alliance for Multilateralism” IS remains another question entirely, as no actual policy was put forth. After the smoke had cleared, it appears to be nothing more than a lemming-like club of hecklers yelling at Putin, Xi Jinping, Trump and other “bad people” who don’t wish to commit mass suicide under a Green New Deal and technocratic dictatorship.

Commenting on these developments in an April 10 webcast from Germany, Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-Larouche made the following apt observation: “Geopolitics has to be thrown out of the window, and the New Silk Road is the way to industrialize Africa, to deal with the Middle East situation to get peace there, to establish a decent working situation between the United States, Russia and China: And that is for Europe what we should demand. And the best way to do that is that all of Europe would sign MOUs with the Belt and Road Initiative, then that would be the single most important thing to stabilize world peace and get the world into a different domain.”

With Russia and China leading a new coalition of nations fighting to uphold the principles of sovereignty, self-development and long term credit generation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, a great hope has presented itself as the Titanic that is the City of London and Wall Street continues to sink ever faster into the icy waters of history.

International Criminal Lawyer to ST: ICC is Controlled by The US and EU

ST

DAMASCUS, (ST)- An International Criminal Lawyer has underscored that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has fallen under the influence of those who fund it mainly the EU, and US and private corporations who donate to it and who are very willing to use the court when it suits their interests.

Mr. Christopher Black told the Syria Times e-newspaper that the US will not recognize the court, nevertheless it attempts to use it through certain personnel placed in key positions to do its bidding.

“The Americans and British, for example, are putting pressure on the ICC to investigate and charge the Syrian government with war crimes.

This effort is fronted by certain lawyers pretending to represent Syrian refugees, but the lawyers all work for US and UK intelligence and NATO,” he said.

The veteran lawyer went on to say: “one of the US lawyers involved is Stephen Rapp who was once in charge of prosecutions at the Rwanda tribunal where he engaged in some corrupt practices, then became head of the Hariri tribunal which had the objective of making propaganda against Syria, then became the US roving ambassador for war crimes. Now he is acting on US government’s orders.”

He affirmed that US, EU and other NATO countries do not want the ICC to be used against them but they are very willing to use it to suit their interests.

“The USA did sign up to the Rome Treaty but withdrew its signature under President Bush because the Americans see themselves as the exceptional people, subject to no laws but their own, at the same time that they try to dictate to the world what the law should be,” Mr. Black added.

He made it clear that there are of course many atrocities that have been committed by American forces in all their wars and will be in the future but they do not want to be judged in a world court, have their officer and leaders put on trial, their national reputation disgraced.

“They [American forces] also view war crimes tribunals as only suitable for those who have defeated, as propaganda show trials to justify their wars and portray the defeated enemy as criminals. But they will never tolerate the same treatment for themselves because they see themselves in their arrogance above all others and subject to no one’s judgement,” the lawyer stated.

He underscored that the ICC is not accountable to any higher body. “For this reason, Russia and China and I suspect Syria have not joined it.  All national courts are part of a governmental system. Court decisions can be challenged at appeal levels and even to the government in certain cases. But there is no world government for the ICC to report to or where its decisions can be challenged.  So it has fallen under the influence of those that fund it mainly the EU, and US and private corporations who donate to it.”

The chance of the US or close allies being charged is zero

In response to a question about who will judge American, Israeli atrocities and their allies for their war crimes in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, the lawyer said: “No one will judge them except the peoples of those countries. There are no means possible to bring them to justice before an international body with the present world power structure. However, each country that has suffered under their aggression can lay their own charges, have their own trials, even in absentia, and show the world the crimes that they committed.”

He indicated that the Americans have made it very clear they will not permit their people to be arrested by the ICC or their allies. “As we saw this week with Afghanistan, when they don’t want to be investigated, the ICC will back off and will drop its investigations. They even have a law permitting them (a US law) to physically release any of their people even if they were arrested. So the chance of the US or close allies such as Israel being charged is zero.”

The lawyer asserted that the ICC is dominated by EU and US and other NATO countries such as Canada.

“Many of the staff are people that used to work under NATO -US command at the Yugoslav and Rwanda tribunals which were in name UN tribunals but were in fact controlled by the USA. Key staff they can rely on to do what they want are placed in key positions,” he said.

Mr. Black concluded by saying: “Once again, the only people who can hold them accountable are the people of the nations they have attacked.”

Interviewed by: BasmaQaddour

The Saker interviews Dmitry Orlov

April 16, 2019

The Saker interviews Dmitry Orlov

[This interview was originally made for the Unz Review]

“I think that the American empire is very much over already, but it hasn’t been put to any sort of serious stress test yet, and so nobody realizes that this is the case”

If I had to characterize the current international situation using only one word, the word “chaos” would be a pretty decent choice (albeit not the only one).  Chaos in the Ukraine, chaos in Venezuela, chaos everywhere the Empire is involved in any capacity and, of course, chaos inside the USA.  But you wouldn’t know that listening to the talking heads and other “experts” who serve roughly the same function for the Empire as the orchestra did on the Titanic: to distract from the developing disaster(s) for a long as possible.

I decided to turn to the undisputed expert on social and political collapse, Dmitry Orlov whom I have always admired for his very logical, non-ideological, comparative analyses of the collapse of the USSR and the USA.  The fact that his detractors have to resort to crude and, frankly, stupid ad hominems further convinces me that Dmitry’s views need to be widely shared.  Dmitry very kindly agreed to reply to my questions in some detail, for which I am most grateful.  I hope that you will find this interview as interesting as I did.

The Saker
——-

The Saker: How would you assess the current situation in the Ukraine in terms of social, economic and political collapse?

Dmitry Orlov: The Ukraine has never been viable as an independent, sovereign state and so its ongoing disintegration is to be expected. The applicability of the concept of collapse is predicated on the existence of an intact, stand-alone entity capable of collapse, and with the Ukraine this is definitely not the case. Never in its history has it been able to stand alone as a stable, self-sufficient, sovereign entity. As soon as it gained independence, it just fell over. Just as the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), it had reached its peak of economic and social development just as the USSR was about to collapse, and it has been degenerating and losing population ever since. Thus, the right model for discussing it is not one of sudden collapse but of steady degeneration and decay.

The Ukraine’s territory was stuck together by the Bolsheviks—first by Lenin, then by Stalin, then by Khrushchev. It was Lenin who lumped in its eastern regions (Donetsk and Lugansk specifically) who previously were part of Russia proper. Stalin then added eastern lands, which were at various times Polish, Austro-Hungarian or Romanian. Finally, Khrushchev tossed in Russian Crimea in a move that was unconstitutional at the time, since no public referendum had been held in Crimea to decide this question as was required by the Soviet constitution.

Prior to this Bolshevik effort, “Ukraina” was not used as a proper political or geographic designation. The territory was considered part of Russia, distinguished from the rest by a prefix “Malo-” (small) and called “Malorossiya. The word “ukraina” is simply an archaic form of the Russian word “okraina” (outskirts, border land). This is why the definite article “the” is required: the Ukraine is literally “the outskirts of Russia.” The Soviets endowed this border land with a make-believe identity and forced many of its inhabitants to officially deckare their ethnicity as “Ukrainian” in a successful bid to gain an additional seat a the UN.

This political concoction was supposedly held together by a Ukrainian ethnic identity, which is itself a concoction. The Ukrainian language is some combination of southern Russian village dialects with a bit of Polish thrown in as flavoring. It has a lilt to it that Russians find enchanting, making it well suited for folk songs. But it never had much practical merit, and the working language of the Ukrainians was always Russian. Even today Ukrainian nationalists switch to Russian if the subject matter is demanding enough. Religiously, most of the population has been for many centuries and still is Russian Orthodox.

In my conversations about the Ukraine with many Ukrainians over the years I discovered a shocking truth: unlike the Russians, the Ukrainians seem to have exactly zero ethnic solidarity. What binds them together is their commonality of historical experience as part of the Russian Empire, then the USSR, but this historical legacy is being actively erased. After the Soviet collapse and Ukrainian independence there followed a campaign to de-Sovietize and de-Russianize the Ukraine, deprecating this common historical legacy and replacing it with a synthetic Ukrainian identity based on a falsified history that is alien to most of the population. This fake history lionizes Nazi collaborators and attempts to rub out entirely all memory of the Ukraine’s once very active role in the larger Russian world.

Thus we have a mostly Russian-speaking, historically mostly Russian territory where most of the people speak either Russian (some of them with an accent) or a sort of Ukrainian patois called Surzhik, which is Ukrainian-sounding but with mostly Russian words (the overlap between the two languages is so great that it is difficult to draw the line between them). Supposedly proper Ukrainian is spoken in the west of the country, which had never been part of the Russian Empire, but it’s a dialect that is mostly unintelligible in the rest of the country.

In spite of this confused linguistic situation, Ukrainian was imposed as the language of instruction throughout the country. Lack of textbooks in Ukrainian and lack of teachers qualified to teach in Ukrainian caused the quality of public education to plummet, giving rise to several generations of Ukrainians who don’t really know Ukrainian, have had little formal instruction in Russian, and speak a sort of informal half-language. More recently, laws have been passed that severely restrict the use of Russian. For example, people who have never spoken a word of Ukrainian are now forced to use it in order to shop or to obtain government services.

The artificial, synthetic Ukrainian identity is too thin to give the country a sense of self or a sense of direction. It is a purely negative identity: Ukraine is that which is not Russia. The resulting hole in public consciousness was plugged by making a cargo cult of European integration: it was announced that the Ukraine was leaving the Russian world behind and joining the European Union and NATO. Most recently the intent to join the EU and NATO was written directly into the Ukrainian constitution. In the meantime, it has become abundantly clear that neither EU nor NATO membership is the least bit likely, or necessary: the EU got everything it wanted from the Ukraine by forcing it to sign the Association Agreement while giving nothing of value in return; and Ukrainian territory already serves as a playground for NATO training exercises.

Thus, with regard to social collapse, there really isn’t much to discuss, because the term “Ukrainian society” has very little basis in reality. If we drop the conceit that the Ukraine is a country that can be viable if separated from Russia, what can we say about its chances as part of a Greater Russia?

Here I have to digress to explain the difference between a proper empire and the USSR. A proper empire functions as a wealth pump that sucks wealth out of its imperial possessions, be they overseas, as in the case of the British Empire, or part of the periphery, as in the case of the Russian Empire. The latter inherited the traditions of the Mongol Empire that predated it. The Mongol term “tamga” was often used to indicate the annual tribute to be collected from newly conquered tribes as the Russian Empire expanded east. (Many of these tribes were previously Mongol subjects who understood the meaning of the term.)

Here is the key point: the USSR was not a normal empire at all. Instead of functioning as a wealth pump that pumped wealth from the periphery to the imperial center, it functioned as a revolutionary incubator, exploiting the resources of the core (Russia) and exporting them to the periphery to build socialism, with the further goal of fomenting global communist revolution. The various ethnic groups that were grossly over represented among the Bolsheviks were all from the periphery—the Jewish Pale, Byelorussia, the Ukraine, the Caucasus and the Baltics—and they thought nothing of sacrificing Mother Russia on the altar of world revolution.

Their revolutionary zeal was hindered by its utter lack of practical merit. As this came to be recognized, Leon Trotsky—the great exponent of world revolution—was first exiled, then assassinated. Later, when it became clear that without appealing to Russian patriotic sentiments the task of prevailing against Nazi Germany was unlikely to succeed, Stalin brought back the Russian Orthodox Church and made other efforts toward the restoration of Russian ethnic identity that were previously decried as retrograde and chauvinistic. There were significant setbacks to this process as well: in the 1940s a group of communist leaders from Leningrad attempted to promote Russian interests through regional cooperation. They were purged and suffered political repression in what became known as the “Leningrad affair.”

Luckily, the idea of Russia as a disposable staging ground for world communist revolution was never fully implemented. However, the tendency to exploit Russia for the benefit of its Soviet periphery remained intact. The USSR’s most significant leaders—Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev—were not Russian; Stalin was a Georgian while the latter two were Ukrainian. All the other Soviet republics had their own communist party organizations that developed cadres to send to Moscow, while Russia itself lacked such an organization. The inevitable result was that most of the other Soviet republics were able to suck resources out of Russia, making them far more prosperous than Russia itself.

Thus, the image of the USSR as a typical empire is simply wrong. The right mental image of the USSR is that of a prostrate, emaciated sow (Russia) being suckled by 14 fat, greedy piglets (the other Soviet Socialist Republics). For all his numerous failings, Boris Yeltsin did one thing right: he dismantled the USSR (although the way he went about it was beyond incompetent and verged on treason).

If you are in need of an explanation for why Russia is now resurgent, increasingly prosperous and able to invest vast sums in hypersonic weapons systems and in modernized infrastructure for its people, this is it: the 14 piglets had been sent off to root for themselves. This bit of perspective, by the way, puts paid to the rank idiocy of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “Grand Chessboard”: his theory that Russia wants to be an empire but cannot do so without the Ukraine shatters on contact with the realization that Russia hasn’t been an empire for over a century now and has no need or desire to become one again.

In any case, these days empires are a bit retro, you know, and not at all useful except as a way for silly Americans to finish bankrupting themselves. Russia needs reliable trading partners who can pay their own way, not ungrateful dependents clamoring for handouts. Just bringing Crimea up to Russia’s contemporary standards after 30 years of Ukrainian neglect has turned out to be a monumental task; as far as doing that for the rest of the Ukraine—forget it!

So, armed with this perspective, what can we say about the Ukraine from the contemporary Russian perspective?

First and foremost, it is a freak show, as attested by the content of Russian talk shows on which Ukrainian experts appear as clownish, indestructible cartoon characters: whenever their risible arguments on behalf of the Ukraine blow up in their faces, for a moment they stand there charred and furious, then brush themselves off and appear in the next segment fresh as daisies. This freak show has certain didactic merit: it helps the Russian body politic develop powerful antibodies against Western hypocrisy, because it was Western meddling that has made contemporary Ukraine into the horrible mess it is. But this was, in a sense, inevitable: deprived of the Soviet teat, the Ukraine has been attempting to suckle up to the US and EU for 30 years now and, failing that, has been carving up and roasting its own loins.

Second, the Ukraine is a rich source of immigrants, having lost around a third of its population since independence. Much of its population qualifies as Russian: linguistically, culturally and religiously they are perfectly compatible with the Russian population. Ukrainians are already the third most populous ethnic group within Russia (after Russians and Tatars) and Russia has been able to absorb the Ukrainians that have been fleeing to Russia in recent years. As the Ukraine’s population dwindles, a natural sorting-out is taking place. Those who are most compatible with the Russian world tend to move to Russia while the rest go to Poland and other EU countries.

Lastly, there is a significant amount of fatigue in Russia with the Ukrainian subject. It is currently a major topic of discussion because of the farcical presidential elections currently taking place there, but more and more one hears the question: “Must we continue talking about this?” There just isn’t anything positive to say about the Ukraine, and people tend to just shake their heads and switch to another channel. Thus, the final element of the Russian perspective on the Ukraine is that it’s painful to look at and they would rather go look at something else.

However, this is not to be. For ample historical reasons, Russia remains the Ukraine’s largest trade partner. Russian and Ukrainian economies were conceived of as a unit, based on the same set of plans, standards and regulations. In spite of concerted politically motivated efforts by Ukrainian leaders to sever these links, many of them have stubbornly remained in place, for lack of alternatives. Meanwhile, the Ukraine makes very little that the European Union or the rest of the world would want, and very little of it complies with EU’s voluminous standards and regulations. Specifically, the EU has no use at all for Ukrainian manufactured goods, and primarily sees the Ukraine as a source of cheap raw materials and labor.

It is Russia that supplies the nuclear fuel for the Ukraine’s aging nuclear power plants which provide well over half of all the electricity there, while Russian coal (anthracite, specifically) supplies much of the rest. But, for political reasons, Ukrainian officials are loath to admit the fact that the umbilical cord that connects the Ukraine to Russia cannot be severed. For example, they do not buy Russian natural gas directly but through intermediaries in the EU and at a mark-up (part of which they pocket). On paper, the Ukraine imports gas from the EU; physically, the methane molecules piped in from Russia never leave Ukrainian territory; they are simply diverted for local use.

By the time the USSR collapsed, the Ukraine was its most highly developed and possibly its richest part, and some people expected that, having thrown off the Soviet yoke, its future would be too bright to look at without goggles. It had abundant natural resources (fertile land, coal) and an educated labor force. It manufactured numerous high-tech products such as jet aircraft, marine diesels, helicopter engines, rocket engines and much else that was the best in the world. Instead, what has occurred is several decades of thievery, stagnation and decay. By now the Ukraine has lost most of its industry and the Soviet-era infrastructure has decayed to the point where much of it is worn out and on the verge of collapse. Industry has shut down and the specialists it once employed have either retired or have gone off to work in Russia, in the EU or in the US. (Some Ukrainian rocket scientists have apparently gone off to work in North Korea, and this explains the DPRK’s recent stunning successes in rocketry as well as its unlikely, exotic choice of rocket fuel: unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine.)

The Saker: What about the Donbas republics? How would you compare the situation in Novorussia with what is taking place in the Ukraine?

Dmitry Orlov: The term “Novorossiya” (New Russia) goes back several centuries, to the time Catherine the Great expanded the Russian Empire to include Crimea and other southern possessions. What Lenin reassigned to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic were Russian lands, Donetsk and Lugansk regions among them.

There are several other Ukrainian regions that are almost entirely Russian—Kharkov and Odessa specifically—but Donetsk and Lugansk are not Ukrainian in the least. This is why, after the government overthrow of 2014, when it became clear that the intentions of the Ukrainian nationalists who seized power in Kiev were to oppress the Russian part of the population, these two regions decided to strike out on their own. The Ukrainian nationalists reacted by launching a civil war, which started exactly five years ago, and which they have lost. To save face, they have declared their defeat the result of a “Russian invasion” but have been unable to present any evidence of it. Had the Russians invaded, the result would have been a replay of Russia’s action in Georgia in August of 2008, which lasted about a week.

The Ukrainians are continuing to lob missiles into the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk, causing sporadic civilian casualties. Once in a while they stage minor skirmishes, suffer casualties and pull back. But mostly their “Anti-Terrorist Operation,” which is what they are calling this civil war, has turned into a propaganda initiative, with the mythical “Russian invaders” invoked at every turn to explain their otherwise inexplicable string of defeats.

After some amount of effort by NATO instructors to train the Ukrainians, the instructors gave up. The Ukrainians simply laughed in their faces because it was clear to them that the instructors did not know how to fight at all. It was then decided that the “road map” for Ukraine’s inclusion in NATO should be set aside because the Ukrainians are just too crazy for sedate and sedentary NATO. The trainers were then replaced with CIA types who simply collected intelligence on how to fight a high-intensity ground war without air support—something that no NATO force would ever consider doing. Under such conditions NATO forces would automatically retreat or, failing that, surrender.

Meanwhile, the two eastern regions, which are highly developed economically and have a lot of industry, have been integrating ever more closely into the Russian economy. Their universities and institutes are now fully accredited within the Russian system of higher education, their currency is the ruble, and although in terms of international recognition they remain part of the Ukraine, it is very important to note that the Ukraine does not treat them as such.

The Ukrainian government does not treat the citizens of Donetsk and Lugansk as its citizens: it does not pay their pensions, it does not recognize their right to vote and it does not provide them with passports. It lays claim to the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk but not to the people who reside there. Now, genocide and ethnic cleansing are generally frowned upon by the international community, but an exception is being made in this case because of Russophobia: the Russian people living in Donetsk and Lugansk have been labeled as “pro-Russian” and are therefore legitimate targets.

Russia has been resisting calls to grant official recognition to these two People’s Republics or to provide overt military support (weapons and volunteers do filter through from the Russian side without any hindrance, although the flow of volunteers has been slowing down of late). From a purely cynical perspective, this little war is useful for Russia. If in the future the Ukraine fails completely and fractures into pieces, as appears likely, and if some of these pieces (which might theoretically include not just Donetsk and Lugansk regions but also Kharkov, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk) clamor to join Russia, then Russia would face a serious problem.

You see, over the past 30 years most Ukrainians have been content to sit around drinking beer and watching television as their country got looted. They saw no problem with going out to demonstrate and protest provided they were paid to do it. They voted the way they were paid to vote. They didn’t take an issue with Ukrainian industry shutting down as long as they could work abroad and send money back. They aren’t enraged or even embarrassed by the fact that their country is pretty much run from the US embassy in Kiev. About the only ones with any passion among them are the Nazis who march around with torches and sport Nazi insignia. In short, these aren’t the sort of people that any self-respecting country would want to have anything to do with, never mind absorb them into its population en masse, because the effect would be to demoralize its entire population.

But the people of Donetsk and Lugansk are not like that at all. These coal miners, factory workers and cab drivers have been spending days and nights in the trenches for years now, holding back one of Europe’s larger militaries, and fighting for every square meter of their soil. If the Ukraine is ever to be reborn as something that Russia would find acceptable, it is these people who can provide the starter culture. They have to win, and they have to win without any help from the Russian military, which can squash the Ukrainian military like a bug, but what would be the point of doing that? Thus, Russia provides humanitarian aid, business opportunities, some weapons and some volunteers, and bides its time, because creating a viable new Ukraine out of a defunct one is a process that will take considerable time.

The Saker: What is your take on the first round of Presidential elections in the Ukraine?

Dmitry Orlov: The first round of the elections was an outright fraud. The object of the exercise was to somehow allow president Poroshenko to make it into the second round. This was done by falsifying as many votes as was necessary. In a significant number of precincts the turnout was exactly 100% instead of the usual 60% or so and counted votes from people who had moved, died or emigrated. All of these fake votes went to Poroshenko, allowing him to slither through to the second round.

Now the fight is between Poroshenko and a comedian named Vladimir Zelensky. The only difference between Poroshenko and Zelensky, or any of the other 30+ people who appeared on the ballot, is that Poroshenko has already stolen his billions while his contestants have not had a chance to do so yet, the only reason to run for president, or any elected office, in the Ukraine, being to put oneself in a position to do some major thieving.

Thus, there is an objective reason to prefer Zelensky over Poroshenko, which is that Poroshenko is a major thief while Zelensky isn’t one yet, but it must be understood that this difference will begin to equalize the moment after Zelensky’s inauguration. In fact, the elites in Kiev are currently all aquiver over their ingenious plan to sell off all of Ukraine’s land to foreign investors (no doubt pocketing a hefty “fee”).

The platforms of all the 30+ candidates were identical, but this makes no difference in a country that has surrendered its sovereignty. In terms of foreign relations and strategic considerations, the Ukraine is run from the US embassy in Kiev. In terms of its internal functioning, the main prerogative of everyone in power, the president included, is thievery. Their idea is to get their cut and flee the country before the whole thing blows up.

It remains to be seen whether the second round of elections will also be an outright fraud and what happens as a result. There are many alternatives, but none of them resemble any sort of exercise in democracy. To be sure, what is meant by “democracy” in this case is simply the ability to execute orders issued from Washington; inability to do so would make Ukraine an “authoritarian regime” or a “dictatorship” and subject to “regime change.” But short of that, nothing matters.

The machinations of Ukraine’s “democrats” are about as interesting to me as the sex lives of sewer rats, but for the sake of completeness, let me flowchart it out for you. Poroshenko got into second round by outright fraud, because the loss of this election would, within the Ukrainian political food chain, instantly convert him from predator to prey. However, he was none too subtle about it, there is ample proof of his cheating, and the contender he squeezed out—Yulia Timoshenko—could theoretically contest the result in court and win. This would invalidate the entire election and leave Poroshenko in charge until the next one. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Another option would be for Poroshenko to cheat his way past the second round (in an even more heavy-handed manner, since this time he is behind by over 30%), in which case Zelensky could theoretically contest the result in court in win. This would invalidate the entire election and leave Poroshenko in charge until the next one. Lather, rinse, repeat. Are you excited yet?

None of this matters, because we don’t know which of the two is the US State Department’s pick. Depending on which one it is, and regardless of the results of any elections or lawsuits, a giant foot will come out of the sky and stomp on the head of the other one. Of course, it will all be made to look highly democratic for the sake of appearances. The leadership of the EU will oblige with some golf claps while choking back vomit and the world will move on.

The Saker: Where is, in your opinion, the Ukraine heading?  What is your best “guesstimate” of what will happen in the short-to-medium term future?

Dmitry Orlov: I believe that we will be subjected to more of the same, although some things can’t go on forever, and therefore won’t. Most worryingly, the Soviet-era nuclear power plants that currently provide most of the electricity in the Ukraine are nearing the end of their service life and there is no money to replace them. Therefore, we should expect most of the country to go dark over time. Likewise, the natural gas pipeline that currently supplies Russian gas to both the Ukraine and much of the EU is worn out and ready to be decommissioned, while new pipelines being laid across the Baltic and the Black Sea are about to replace it. After that point the Ukraine will lose access to Russian natural gas as well.

If the Ukrainians continue to surrender unconditionally while placating themselves with pipe dreams of EU/NATO membership, the country will depopulate, the land will be sold off to Western agribusiness, and it will become a sort of agricultural no man’s land guarded by NATO troops. But that sort of smooth transition may be hard for the EU and the Americans to orchestrate. The Ukraine is rather highly militarized, is awash with weapons, full of people who have been circulated through the frontlines in Donbas and know how to fight, and they may decide to put up a fight at some point. It must be remembered that the Ukrainians, in spite of the decay of the last 30 years, still have something of the Russian fighting spirit in them, and will fight like Russians—until victory or until death. NATO’s gender-ambivalent military technicians would not want to get in their way at all.

Also the dream of a depopulated Ukraine to be turned into a playground for Western agribusiness may be hindered somewhat by the fact that the Russians take a very dim view of Western GMOs and wouldn’t like to see GMO-contaminated pollen blowing across their border from the West. They would no doubt find some least-effort way to make the attempt at Western agribusiness in the Ukraine unprofitable. Orchestrating a smallish but highly publicized radiation leak from one of the ancient Ukrainian nuke plants would probably work. Rather weirdly, Westerners think nothing of poisoning themselves with glyphosphate but are deathly afraid of even a little bit of ionizing radiation.

The Saker: What about the EU and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe? Where is the EU heading in your opinion?

Dmitry Orlov: The EU has a number of major problems. It isn’t fiscally or monetarily healthy. As a whole, or as its constituent nations, it is no longer capable of the exercise of its full sovereignty, having surrendered it to the US. But the US is no longer able to maintain control, because it is internally conflicted to the point of becoming incoherent in its pronouncements. Overall, the structure looks like a matryoshka doll. You have the US, as a sort of cracked outer shell. Inside of it is NATO, which is an occupying force across most of Europe right up to the Russian border. It would be useless against Russia, but it can pose a credible threat of violence against the occupied populations. Inside of NATO is the EU—a political talking shop plus a sprawling bureaucracy that spews forth reams upon reams of rules and regulations.

Since none of this military/political superstructure is actually structural without the key ingredient of US hegemony, we shouldn’t expect it to perform particularly well. It will continue as a talking shop while various national governments attempt to reclaim their sovereignty. British referendum voters have certainly tried to prod their government in that direction, and in response their government has been experimenting with various methods of rolling over and playing dead, but a different government might actually try to execute the will of the people. On the other hand, the governments of Hungary and Italy have made some headway in the direction of reasserting their sovereignty, with public support.

But nothing has really happened yet. Once the political elite of any nation has been thoroughly emasculated by the surrender of its national sovereignty, it takes a while for it to grow back its chest hair and to start posing a credible threat to transnational interests. Even in Russia it took close to a decade to thwart the political power and influence of the oligarchy. We can see that the empire is weakening and that some countries are starting to balk at being vassals, but nothing definitive has happened yet.

What may speed things up is that Europe, along with the US, appear to be heading into a recession/depression. One effect of that will be that all the East European guest workers working in the west will be forced to head back home. Another will be that EU’s subsidies to its recent eastern acquisitions—Poland and the Baltics especially—are likely to be reduced substantially or to go away altogether. The influx of returning economic migrants combined with the lack of financial support are likely to spell the demise of certain national elites which have been feasting on Western largesse in return for a bit of Russophobia.

We can imagine that this swirling tide of humanity, ejected from Western Europe, will head east, slosh against the Great Wall of Russia, and flood back into the west, but now armed with Ukrainian weapons and knowhow and entertaining thoughts of plunder rather than employment. There they will fight it out with newcomers from Middle East and Africa while the natives take to their beds, hope for the best and think good thoughts about gender neutrality and other such worthy causes.

These old European nations are all aging out, not just in terms of demographics but in terms of the maximum age allotted by nature to any given ethnos. Ethnoi (plural of “ethnos”) generally only last about a thousand years, and at the end of their lifecycle they tend to exhibit certain telltale trends: they stop breeding well and they become sexually depraved and generally decadent in their tastes. These trends are on full display already. Here’s a particularly absurd example: French birth certificates no longer contain entries for father and mother but for parent1 and parent2. Perhaps the invading barbarians will see this and die laughing; but what if they don’t?

No longer able to put up much of a fight, such depleted ethnoi tend to be easily overrun by barbarians, at which point they beg for mercy. In turn, based on the example of the late Roman Empire as well as similar ones from Chinese and Persian history, granting them mercy is one of the worst mistakes a barbarian can make: the result is a bunch of sexually depraved and generally decadent barbarians… to be easily overrun and slaughtered by the next bunch of barbarians to happen along.

What will spark the next round of Western European ethnogenesis is impossible to predict, but we can be sure that at some point a mutant strain of zealots will arrive on the scene, with a dampened instinct for self-preservation but an unslakable thirst for mayhem, glory and death, and then it will be off to the races again.

The Saker: What will happen once Nord Stream II is finished? Where is Europe heading next, especially in its relationship with the USA and Russia?

Dmitry Orlov: The new pipelines under the Baltic and the Black Sea will be completed, along with the second LNG installation at Sabetta, and Russia will go on supplying natural gas to Europe and Asia. I suspect that the fracking extravaganza in the US is entering its end game and that the dream of large-scale LNG exports to Europe will never materialize.

The nations of Europe will gradually realize that its relationship with Russia is mostly beneficial while its relationship with the US is mostly harmful, and will make certain adjustments. The Ukraine, its natural gas pipeline system decrepit and beyond repair, will continue to import natural gas from Europe, only now the methane molecules will actually flow to it from the west rather from the east.

The Saker: How do you see the political climate in Russia? I hear very often that while Putin personally and the Kremlin’s foreign policy enjoy a great deal of support, the pension reform really hurt Putin and that there is now an internal “patriotic opposition” (as opposed to paid and purchased for by the CIA & Co,. which is becoming more vocal. Is that true?

It is true that there isn’t much debate within Russia about foreign policy. Putin’s popularity has waned somewhat, although he is still far more popular than any national leader in the West. The pension reform did hurt him somewhat, but he recovered by pushing through a raft of measures designed to ease the transition. In particular, all the benefits currently enjoyed by retirees, such as reduced public transit fees and reduced property taxes, will be extended to those nearing retirement age.

It is becoming clear that Putin, although he is still very active in both domestic and international politics, is coasting toward retirement. His major thrust in domestic politics seems to be in maintaining very strict discipline within the government in pushing through his list of priorities. How he intends to effect the transition to the post-Putin era remains a mystery, but what recently took place in Kazakhstan may offer some clues. If so, we should expect a strong emphasis on continuity, with Putin maintaining some measure of control over national politics as a senior statesman.

But by far the most significant change in Russian politics is that a new generation of regional leaders has been put into place. A great many governorships have been granted to ambitious young managers with potential for national office. They are of a new breed of thoroughly professional career politicians with up-to-date managerial skills. Meanwhile, a thorough cleaning out of the ranks has taken place, with some high-ranking officials doing jail time for corruption. What’s particularly notable is that some of these new regional leaders are now as popular or more popular than Putin. The curse of gerontocracy, which doomed the Soviet experiment, and which now afflicts the establishment in the US, no longer threatens Russia.

The Saker: You recently wrote an article titled “Is the USS Ship of Fools Taking on Water?” in which you discuss the high level of stupidity in modern US politics?  I have a simple question for you: do you think the Empire can survive Trump and, if so, for how long?

Dmitry Orlov: I think that the American empire is very much over already, but it hasn’t been put to any sort of serious stress test yet, and so nobody realizes that this is the case. Some event will come along which will leave the power center utterly humiliated and unable to countenance this humiliation and make adjustments. Things will go downhill from there as everyone in government in media does their best to pretend that the problem doesn’t exist. My hope is that the US military personnel currently scattered throughout the planet will not be simply abandoned once the money runs out, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if that is what happens.

The Saker: Lastly, a similar but fundamentally different question: can the USA (as opposed to the Empire) survive Trump and, if so, how? Will there be a civil war? A military coup? Insurrection? Strikes? A US version of the Yellow Vests?

Dmitry Orlov: The USA, as some set of institutions that serves the interests of some dwindling number of people, is likely to continue functioning for quite some time. The question is: who is going to be included and who isn’t? There is little doubt that retirees, as a category, have nothing to look forward to from the USA: their retirements, whether public or private, have already been spent. There is little doubt that young people, who have already been bled dry by poor job prospects and ridiculous student loans, have nothing to look forward to either.

But, as I’ve said before, the USA isn’t so much a country as a country club. Membership has its privileges, and members don’t care at all what life is like for those who are in the country but aren’t members of the club. The recent initiatives to let everyone in and to let non-citizens vote amply demonstrates that US citizenship, by itself, counts for absolutely nothing. The only birthright of a US citizen is to live as a bum on the street, surrounded by other bums, many of them foreigners from what Trump has termed “shithole countries.”

It will be interesting to see how public and government workers, as a group, react to the realization that the retirements they have been promised no longer exist; perhaps that will tip the entire system into a defunct state. And once the fracking bubble is over and another third of the population finds that it can no longer afford to drive, that might force through some sort of reset as well. But then the entire system of militarized police is designed to crush any sort of rebellion, and most people know that. Given the choice between certain death and just sitting on the sidewalk doing drugs, most people will choose the latter.

And so, Trump or no Trump, we are going to have more of the same: shiny young IT specialists skipping and whistling on the way to work past piles of human near-corpses and their excrement; Botoxed housewives shopping for fake organic produce while hungry people in the back of the store are digging around in dumpsters; concerned citizens demanding that migrants be allowed in, then calling the cops as soon as these migrants set up tents on their front lawn or ring their doorbell and ask to use the bathroom; well-to-do older couples dreaming of bugging out to some tropical gringo compound in a mangrove swamp where they would be chopped up with machetes and fed to the fish; and all of them believing that things are great because the stock market is doing so well.

At this rate, when the end of the USA finally arrives, most of the people won’t be in a position to notice while the rest won’t be capable of absorbing that sort of upsetting information and will choose to ignore it. Everybody wants to know how the story ends, but that sort of information probably isn’t good for anyone’s sanity. The mental climate in the US is already sick enough; why should we want to make it even sicker?

The Saker: Dmitry, thank you so much for your time and for a most interesting interview!

Western Wishful Thinking – ‘Excluding Everything That Makes China What It Is’

Western Wishful Thinking – ‘Excluding Everything That Makes China What It Is’

ALASTAIR CROOKE | 02.04.2019 | FEATURED STORY

Western Wishful Thinking – ‘Excluding Everything That Makes China What It Is’

In the past few weeks, we have witnessed a mini ‘Belt & Road’ unfolding across the northern Middle East – linking Iran to Iraq, to Syria, and to Lebanon – a ‘Belt and Road’ that, it is envisaged, ultimately will be assimilated into China’s greater BRI project. And – as telling – Lebanon, the eternal weathervane for the Middle East wind direction, seems to be cutting a 500-year-old umbilical linking it to Rome and Europe, to look rather to Moscow (to protect the regions’ Christians, to get its Syrian refugees home to Syria, and to move under President Putin’s protective ‘wing’ in preventing Bolton and Netanyahu from detonating chaos on their patch) – and to China. More recently, the New Silk Road infrastructure initiative landed squarely in Italy, potentially giving some real substance (i.e. infrastructure) – especially in the case of Sicily – to the notion of a Mediterranean commonality.

Both these events are linked by a single motive: How to return autonomy to these states; how to recover at least a modicum of decision-making – and to break free from the strait-jacket of economic stagnation, and the deadweight of stale political shackles. As Christina Lin has noted: “China for one takes the view that security follows economic development, and has made it clear that reconstruction comes before political settlement. It is adopting a regional approach to the Levant and now views Lebanon as a platform for reconstruction in Syria and Iraq” (emphasis added).

The EU naturally frets about China. The EU always has assumed to itself rather, the mantle of being the ‘coming global economic behemoth’. But now, the EU has been seized by a very real apprehension at the rise of this other ‘civilisation state’, China, which eventually is likely to spell the end of the West’s dominance in every sphere: economic, political and cultural – but more especially, since demographic trends show Europe aging, shrinking and controlling a smaller, and smaller share of the world economy.

And this what has been on display in the northern tier of the Middle East and in Italy. Both Italy and the Levant are ‘civilisation-states’ in their own right. They do not need the EU ‘brand’ to reassure them of their status as ‘civilisation-states’. As Lebanon’s former Minister of Economy noted last year, China doesn’t “look at Lebanon as a small country of 4 million citizens, but as a country with huge potential given its geographical location”.

The point here is precisely that ‘the West’ is no longer the West. There is the belligerent ‘West’ of Trump, Pence, Bolton and Pompeo – and this is the ‘West’ that is incrementally losing traction across the Middle East, and beyond. And then there is ‘the West’ of the EU, but that latter ‘West’ too, is divided, and beset by forces opposed to its millenarian ethos. The West, as the ‘vision for the future’, indeed is receding.

The EU sees this. It is both gripped by China’s potential as an economic partner, in these ‘needy times’ of threatening recession, yet it cannot quite yield up to this changing world, its global ambition to impart to propagate its European ‘liberal’ values.

As a consequence, the EU presents obvious symptoms of schizophrenia. On the one hand, it cannot do without China economically and wants to ‘best friend’ to the Leviathan, yet, in the ‘other persona’ – the EU, can sound somewhat like Trump, in complaining about unfair trade practices, and standing on its high horse of European values: “Competition between China and the European Union is not fair … the EU was wrong to hope that China would respect human rights more when economic progress increases … The EU should be clear, but more firm with China”.

Juncker’s polemic reflects a certain ‘buyers’ remorse’ at the consequences to the western Orientalist consensus about China. Expectations have not been realised, writes Martin Jacques:

“There has been a tacit consensus that, if we treat China nicely, as potentially ‘one of us’, Beijing will return the compliment. The result has been very little real discussion of what a world with a dominant China would be like.

On one hand, [there are] those who believe China will rule the world, but only if it adopts ‘our’ Western way of doing things, and on the other, [there are] those who argue that Beijing’s modernisation will ultimately founder, because China’s ‘Chinese-ness’ will get in the way. The conclusion drawn by both schools, however, is the same. ‘We’ don’t need to worry. Strong or weak, China will not challenge our way of life.

There is still a widespread view in the West that China will eventually conform, by a process of natural and inevitable development, to the Western paradigm. This is wishful thinking. By concentrating on similarities, rather than recognising difference, the Western world ‘excludes everything … that makes China what it is’.

Ouch! And now that the EU acknowledges the latter point … schizophrenia (as politico.eu highlights), takes a hold:

“BILATERALISM DIES HARD: Tuesday delivered an unprecedented sight: [Macron, Merkel and Juncker] on the steps of the Elysée, welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping to their special quadripartite mini-summit on multilateralism. The image certainly sent the message the Elysée wanted: China must deal with a united European front, rather than its preferred bilateral approach, where the balance of power works in Beijing’s favour.

Macron is known for his penchant for symbolism, but is that all there is? The summit ended with a bilateral joint declaration from France and China. Seven pages of references to “the two countries,” and not a single mention of Germany or the European Commission”.

Of course, it is quite true that the EU is under severe pressure from the US. And, as former US Ambassador to China, Chas Freeman has noted:

“From the US point of view, the objection to Italian outreach to China is just part of hysteria about China that has seized Washington. The US is treating the Belt and Road as a military strategic challenge. The Europeans are treating it as an economic issue that they need to be cautious about …

“The Europeans are scrambling to come to grips with the fact that China is now a global great power, economically … the debate for them is less about Belt and Road than it is about the terms of Chinese investment and competition in the technology area. In the US, there is no debate. There is pretty much an anti-China consensus now.”

The American pendulum has swung from one extreme (China will rule the world, but only if it adopts ‘our’ Western way of doing things), to the other narrative: US ‘hysteria’ about the threat, because the West precisely has been guilty hitherto: of ‘excluding everything… that makes China what it is’.

So now we witness the problematic of America – with its own very particular, economic model – insisting that China’s economic model (the very ‘something’ which ‘makes China what it is’), be changed: i.e. that China’s economic model be modified so that American Corporations may do business in China’s economy – just as if they were doing business at home, with another American organisation.

The contradictions in this are obvious. There is no one set of ‘rules’ that fits all sizes (models of economics). The global rules were constructed around a US paradigm – and economic models change as paradigms change.

So, what does all this mean? For, Middle Eastern states, the shift to the Russian – and Chinese – sphere offers the prospect of interacting with a political and diplomatic ‘machine’ that works – and still has its all its wires connected to the realities of the region. It also opens the opportunity to acquire sophisticated weapons for defence; and comes with the added bonus of being able to acquire infrastructural investment, and trade corridors, as part of the joint, Russo-Chinese BRI.

For Italy – with its economy frozen in amber – it returns to the state, some aspect of autonomy over its economy – a touch of sovereignty. Italy has had enough foreign occupations over the centuries not to fear that somehow its ‘Italian-ness’ will be lost through accepting Chinese infrastructure investment. Also, China has a ‘love affair’ with all things ‘made in Italy’.

‘It means’ that whilst Washington fulminates, the reality is that China is quietly eroding global resistance to its rise. We shall just have to adjust to Chinese ‘otherness’ and its ways of doing business. Is that such a problem (unless Messrs Navarro, Lighthizer and Pence make it one)?

‘Pulp Fiction’, the Mueller Report & empty Generation X politics

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

‘Pulp Fiction’, the Mueller Report & empty Generation X politics

Turns out the Mueller Report isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

It is certainly a sad day for America. Get wasted on tabloid, sore-loser, unproven accusations and the hangover will be costly. But the damage to the credibility of the Democratic Party and the Mainstream Media? Incalculable.

Generation X-ers are role models now, but the past two years sure wasn’t “leadership”. Millennials trusted them on this one – you were so very certain, somehow – and… now what do you do?

Achhh….

This is not my problem, thankfully. I wrote against Russia(non)gate as early as February 2017, treating it for what it was worth – fodder for jokes. What’s amazing is how people took it so very seriously, and for so very long.

Wild claims of treason cannot replace a political platform… but I think it all clicks when we remember that taking total sociopolitical nonsense extremely seriously is a hallmark of the West’s Generation X.

I find it so interesting that Western media now talks almost solely of Baby Boomers and Millennials – it is as if Generation X has been written out of history! I guess Boomers, who are now the richest generation (as they inherit the wealth of the dying Greatest Generation), only want to focus on their grandkids and not their own loser children?

There are plenty of gleeful post-mortems being given in the left following the Mueller Report, but not many are asking: how did this come about? Two-plus years of mass delusion, mass paranoia, mass Russophobia, mass lynch-mob mentality – what are the moral issues which drove allegedly progressive people to these totally-unfounded political stances?

These moral issues simply must come from Generation X, because they are the still-vibrant, mature-adulthood foot soldiers of the ruling Baby Boomers, who – if not already retired – are taking Fridays off to visit their worshiped grandkids who they are spoiling with praise.

In newsrooms across the US the generation really in charge of day-to-day operations now is Generation X – they are the editors and top journalists. The Greatest Generation has passed on ownership of the media to Baby Boomers, while Boomer journalist-proletarians are on their last legs: journalism is a stressful job – there are no 65-year old daily reporters in newsrooms, and no one would hire even the most robust one (too expensive, too opinionated, etc.). Millennials aren’t in charge, to their shock and awe, because any craft relies on experience and Millennials don’t have any yet.

So the biggest blow to US media credibility since the failure to question “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq is truly a Gen X affair. It’s Pulp Fiction in political form.

“Ooh, this doesn’t sound like the usual mindless, boring, ‘getting to know you’ chit-chat. This sounds like you actually have something to say.”- Mia Wallace

However, as many may remember from the movie, John Travolta doesn’t really have anything to say: he is about to salaciously ask if a man was crippled over giving Uma Thurman a foot massage.

Elitist publications like Esquire routinely declare Dazed and Confused to be the “definitive film of Generation X”, but that’s false: that movie is childish, because it is about children – high schoolers. Those who say Dazed and Confusedis the definitive Generation X movie are likely Baby Boomers, who subconsciously want to see their adult children as actual children, and thus remain forever young themselves, in that very typically American fashion (and which is because elders are not honoured there). Pulp Fiction is what the Dazed and Confused characters turned out to be in their adult prime, and it is not impressive: they are drug addicts, cheating boxers, wannabe actresses, raging bullies, the visually bizarre, the sexually bizarre and losers without children.

Pulp Fiction was such an enormously positive artistic shock when it came out in 1994 – it seemed that Generation X had found its cinematic auteur. Unlike most actor-driven pap, which is super-quick closeups instead of dialogue and plot, this was clearly the work of a great director. Want proof? Tarantino famously exhumed John Travolta to play a leading part – even your next-door neighbor would have been a huge hit in that role.

Our downfall was that we all foolishly assumed that Tarantino had something to say simply because he told Pulp Fiction so spectacularly well. It’s been written that Pulp Fiction is one cliffhanger after another, and it is… because there is actually no content. Content is slow-building and wonky.

Pulp Fiction is a supercool movie which is about nothing: it is 3 tabloid vignettes woven together in a most riveting fashion, and with no heartfelt moral in any of them. This is in stark contrast to Tarantino’s only other truly great movie, Reservoir Dogs, which is ultimately about the power of male camaraderie.

Ignore whatever fawning cinema critics say: Tarantino has not come close to approaching greatness with any movie since Pulp Fiction – he essentially has made living cartoons (Kill Bill 1 and 2), bad action TV from the 1970s (Jackie Brown, The Hateful 8) and childish revenge fantasies for minority groups (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained, Death Proof – Jews, Blacks and women, respectively). The reason for this artistic collapse is simple: he truly has nothing to say on any topic of any importance, whether social, political, economic or religious. This disinterest in things of social substance is the essence of Generation X.

With the same “all hype, no substance” of a Gen X rapper, the Mueller Report has proven to be nothing but empty calories. America is now disgusted with itself for gorging on something so unhealthy, again.

“The days of me forgetting are over, and the days of me remembering have just begun.” – Pulp Fiction, opening scene

That, of course, is what an immature slacker loser says after their latest failure, which was so very similar to their last failure.

It was all a big empty diversion, of course, both Pulp Fiction and the Mueller Report. The latter was to deflect attention from the total failure of the hollow, out-of-touch, self-glorifying, 99%-hating, fake-leftist Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election. The idea that Trump would somehow require Putin’s assistance to defeat decades of emperor-egoed Democrats, and even amidst the Great Recession and its failed QE solutions, is as believable as were the emperors new clothes. I can go on and on about this, but I just said the crux of the biscuit.

The Mueller Report, despite repeated assurances that it would contain everything short of the meaning of life, turned out to be superficial nonsense. Obstructing justice is what Liberal Democratic politicians do; the fraud convictions for Paul Manafort is what Liberal Democratic politicians do – an investigation of any top US politician would produce the same crimes. What was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Just two lights and a battery, per Samuel Jackson.

While Political Correctness is an often unfairly-maligned lens, Generation X is known for taking this to the absurd extreme: a belief that moral relativity can be a guiding ethical philosophy.

Moral relativity also means never having to say you were wrong – there are no “truths”. This helps explain why so many Gen X journalists, like Rachel Maddow, are now trying to move the goalposts on their Trump-Russia accusations.

For those of us who do not make moral relativity our crowning ethos, such people will always look like lying, amoral, untrustworthy, egotistical people until they admit wrongdoing and apologize for the consequences. It is not “all relative”….

However, it’s not just anti-Trumpers who are typically-Generation X, but pro-Trumpers too. I get it as a protest vote, but the only way a person could possibly justify a sincere vote for The Donald would be through moral relativistic machinations worthy of anyone on MSNBC defending Barry “Bailout” Dronebama. Many Gen Xers made such votes. Generation X is full of people who think anyone on TV is automatically worthy of respect, and who are also unable to parse political meaning intelligently following a lifetime of disinterest and disdain.

I think that pro-Trumpers won’t need any such moral twists and turns in 2020 – who could vote for a Democratic Party which went all in on Trump the Treasoner and was wrong?

It’s really too bad, because a 2nd term of Trump will be very tough on three countries which are very dear to me: Iran, Cuba and Palestine.

But Pulp Fiction is the greatest Generation X movie because of its politics, NOT just its style.

Yes, Pulp Fiction actually had serious political messages, but they are rarely examined – a legacy of Generation X is the preference to focus on style, remember?

Sociopolitcally, Pulp Fiction is best remembered for initiating the current age of comfort in, trivalization of, and expectation of massive explicit violence. However, it is wrong to pin this on Gen Xers and Tarantino – here, they are the victims of larger American imperialist culture and history.

Gen Xers grew up or lived during the violent 1970s and then the crack epidemic – this is when bloody gun violence, road rage, gang warfare and tabloid TV journalism became a part of everyday life. Had Gen Xers not numbed and habituated themselves to this violence… how could they function in US society? However, from the first hatchet to an Indian’s skull American culture has been imbued with violence – duh.

These immediate and unfair criticisms blinded many to what is so impressive about the sociopolitical commentary in Pulp Fiction, which 25 years later has proved to be stunningly politically prescient; it gave seemingly scant attention to politics and economics, yet it completely it captured the essence of Western Gen X thinking on such subjects.

“It’s the little differences. I mean they got the same s*** over there they got here, but just there it’s a little different.” “Example?” – Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield

It’s a repeatedly cosmopolitan movie, mirroring the coming advent of the Euro and the confirmation of pan-Europeanism. Samuel Jackson is so entranced by Travolta’s rendering of Amsterdam that, “Aw man, I’m going, that’s all there is to it, I’m f***ing going!” to move to Europe. European Gen Xers were similarly “jump in the deep end and damn the consequences” pan-Europeanists – look at how that has turned out. (And whatever happened in real-life to that Columbian, taxi-driving fox (excuse me, wolf), Esmerelda Villa Lobos? I always preferred her to Bruce Willis’ self-absorbed French girlfriend… yet I moved to France?)

Pulp Fiction presaged Brexit, denying England’s connection to the Continent. Referring to Harvey Keitel’s tuxedoed, American, smooth, “Mr. Wolf” character, Travolta says, “I don’t know why I just thought he’d be European or something?” Jackson responds, “Yeah man, he was about as European as f***ing English Bob.” The English will no longer be European (Union) as of April 12, one hopes.

Pulp Fiction also anticipated the rise of violent Christian evangelism, where Christianity is deployed to justify atrocious violence. This is not something which can be done on a public level, due to official Western secularity, but the “Christian Warrior” concept is certainly alive and well among the army’s rank and file as well as the Pentagon. The raging bullying of Samuel Jackson, self-righteously screaming Scripture at an apartment full of terrified and baby-faced novices he is slowly murdering in cold blood, certainly reminds one of a confident, well-trained US mercenary in Afghanistan, Iraq or any of the other foreign wars which were massively supported by Gen Xers. I always thought this scene could have never have been played by a White actor – hits too close to home.

Did you just order a $5 shake? That’s a shake – that’s milk and ice cream – that’s $5?” What’s amazing today is the idea that anyone would balk at paying $5 for a milkshake in a fancy place like the fictitious Jack Rabbit Slim’s! Balking wouldn’t start until more like $11. Reduced purchasing power is indeed the primary economic consideration since the mid-1970s, and you have to give Tarantino credit for recognising that and memorably hitting the nail on the head.

The movie was the first rationalization of lifestyles which used to be thought of as deviant in the West; it also illustrates the idea in the West (which is governed by “identity politics” instead of socialist solidarity) that deviants are not minority outcasts but, somehow, the true elite. The most amusing example is Rosanna Arquette, with her 13 piercings all over her body: rejecting any sort of “normal” philosophy, she pontificates about how not using a needle for piercing “goes against the whole idea of piercing” as if piercing was a complex moral philosophy! Obviously, that makes her one of the apostles, and apostles don’t have to admit they were wrong on Trump’s Russia collusion. Such boring, self-absorbed conversations – whether on piercing, tattoos, craft brewing or vinyl records – replaced sociopolitical discussion for Gen X.

Hard drug use used to be thought of as deviant, but much like violence I think that Pulp Fiction is simply reflecting American reality – Gen X was the victim, not the originator of this trend.

The famous anal rape scene was perpetrated by – of course – rural Americans: it’s the Gen X version of Deliverance. Elitists who demean “White Trash” is something I have written about often, but we can’t deny that Tarantino was politically attuned to American fake-leftism when he decided to portray rural people as truly horrific “deplorables”. If the movie was written today all that would be needed is to add a “MAGA” hat to “the Gimp”, the disturbing, bondage leather-clad human kept in a dungeon by the film’s hillbillies.

The famous Christopher Walken scene – a family heirloom watch is hidden inside rectums for 7 years in a POW camp – is essentially a way to mock the sacrifices of armed forces, which is very Generation X. They could not have cared less about fighting Vietnamese socialism (which was real), yet they fell as hard as stones for WMD nonsense when Islam was declared the enemy (which is false) after 9/11.

Most interestingly, in film’s moral and philosophical climax, Pulp Fiction illustrates why Generation X has certainly proven to be the strongest adherents of ice-cold neoliberalism. We must recall Gen X was the first US generation in several generations to not have any socialists at all; they are a resolutely capitalist-imperialist generation which grew up hating socialism, hating Russia and not caring that this hate was misguided and morally wrong. Gen X is hardcore capitalist-imperialist, but they merely do it in a passive-aggressive way, not unlike their Canadian neighbors. Gen X also doesn’t talk about politics or economics – their unity on heartless neoliberal capitalism-imperialism is as assumed as the sun coming up in the morning. This explains why Tarantino doesn’t talk about economics much, but when he does it is 100% neoliberal capitalism.

When Samuel Jackson explains to John Travolta that he has had a religious epiphany and is going to quit gangsterism in order to “walk the earth” and “get in adventures”, he is immediately smacked down by Travolta. We can interpret this as a typical Gen X lack of “pioneer spirit”, yet Travolta’s rationale is totally neoliberal: “No Jules, you decided to be a bum. Just like all those pieces of s*** who beg for change, who sleep in garbage bins, who eat what I throw away. They got a name for that Jules – it’s called a bum. And without a job, a residence or legal tender, that’s what you’re gonna be man, a f***ing bum”. This speech is the essence of the hyper-capitalist and fundamentally neoliberal economic view which Generation X obviously totally embraced: without money, a job and the trappings of middle-class respectability Jackson is just walking human excrement. Shortly thereafter, when Jackson is going to give $1,500 to diplomatically and peacefully resolve restaurant gunfight standoff, Travolta warns, even at the risk of murder and his own death, “Jules, you give that f***ing nimrod $1,500 and I’ll shoot him on general principle.” Travolta’s “principle” is quite in line with neoliberal American capitalism – no economic “giving” or redistribution under any circumstances, no to Jules’ revolution, no to socialism.

Add up all these different and often bizarre sociopolitical proclivities and beliefs, and we can understand why – incredibly – so many Gen Xers genuinely believed that treasonous Russian collusion was a certainty because there existed a scandalous videotape of Trump getting urinated on by Russian prostitutes despite his well-known phobia of germs. It sounds like an axed fourth storyline in Pulp Fiction….

Forget about the Gen X things most people focus on with Pulp Fiction – the nostalgia, the retro style, the super-cool music (RIP this week to Lebanese-American Dick Dale, who introduced Arabic scales to US pop music; the movie also introduced a new generation to Link Wray’s Rumble, which marked the birth of the power chord AND reverb, and what’s cooler than those?) – Pulp Fiction gave an accurate presentations of Generation X’s socioeconomic value system.

“Pride only hurts, it never helps.” – Marsellus Wallace

Yet another motto of Generation X.

Well, it all depends on context: “Non serviam” (I will not serve) was the sin that cast Satan from heaven, sure, but not serving the gangster Wallace is a good form of pride.

A total lack of pride is what led to Russiagate debacle.

Gen Xers are the media and political staffers who were all-too willing to serve gangsters, banksters, political shysters and journalism magnate hucksters. They composed the editors, the talking heads, the chiefs of staff, the rank and file, and the movers and shakers who only shook America into the nothingness that is the Mueller Report.

They had no pride, because pride is not found in the success of your individual self but in shared concepts, shared responsibilities and shared achievements. Gen Xers in these jobs of social responsibility – tens or hundreds of thousands of them – repeatedly failed to stand up to what was obviously a totally pathetic ruse because they cared only about their own success.

Much like Bruce Willis, who served Wallace in order to retire early to a Tahitian beach, Gen Xers pushing Russia(non)gate were only it for themselves. (Willis’ character had obviously served Wallace before, which is why he was insulted with “palooka” by Travolta’s character.) That’s the Gen X way, and America needs to realize this. They say that Millennial Americans are more collective-minded, and I certainly hope so – but maybe it only appears that way because they are standing next to Gen Xers?

What has Russiagate ultimately given us? It has given us “fake news” – the idea that propaganda actually can exist in the United States, and not only outside it. It has also given Americans the idea that they may actually have their own “Deep State”, a concept which every other nation has already identified in their own country. These are indeed momentous and necessary realizations which America needed to examine deeply, but they are so pitifully far behind in political thought that I could only satirise them before moving on to examine actually-important issues.

So what happens when Gen Xers fight other Gen Xers? You get a nothing Mueller Report.

Did the pro-Trump Gen Xers “win”, really?

No. Donald Trump was an unwanted prize to begin with. His victory, and now his exoneration, and soon his re-election, are a typically-Gen X affirmation of their political and moral abyss.

But that’s how Gen X likes it. They don’t like to join and they don’t like to lead. They like to laugh all alone, mockingly, and not with the group. Certainly unelectable, yet America must elect them. As Pulp Fiction relates, they are a strange, unrelatable lot. Interesting to watch, as long as you are far away.

I’d like to end with: regardless, let’s not write Generation X out of Western society – these problems aren’t going away. Similarly, don’t encourage Tarantino by paying to see his next movie – make him get back to making art and not pulp, although apparently his next movie is going to be his last one.

A couple weeks ago Nancy Pelosi, knowing the Mueller Report was about to be a dud, dropped Democrats’ hysterical and undemocratic demands for Trump’s impeachment with a decidedly parental (and fundamentally smug), “Andhe’s just not worth it”. Mommy and Daddy know exactly how to defuse their kids, after all.

It’s a very Generation X-type of idea: The fight is not worth fighting.

Russiagate wasn’t, that’s for sure.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red ChinaHis work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

%d bloggers like this: