The power troika trumps Biden in West Asia

The presidents of Russia, Iran, and Turkey convened to discuss critical issues pertaining to West Asia, with the illegal US occupation of Syria a key talking point

July 20 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Oil and gas, wheat and grains, missiles and drones – the hottest topics in global geopolitics today – were all on the agenda in Tehran this week.

By Pepe Escobar

The Tehran summit uniting Iran-Russia-Turkey was a fascinating affair in more ways than one. Ostensibly about the Astana peace process in Syria, launched in 2017, the summit joint statement duly noted that Iran, Russia and (recently rebranded) Turkiye will continue, “cooperating to eliminate terrorists” in Syria and “won’t accept new facts in Syria in the name of defeating terrorism.”

That’s a wholesale rejection of the “war on terror” exceptionalist unipolarity that once ruled West Asia.

Standing up to the global sheriff

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his own speech, was even more explicit. He stressed “specific steps to promote the intra-Syrian inclusive political dialogue” and most of called a spade a spade: “The western states led by the US are strongly encouraging separatist sentiment in some areas of the country and plundering its natural resources with a view to ultimately pulling the Syrian state apart.”

So there will be “extra steps in our trilateral format” aimed at “stabilizing the situation in those areas” and crucially, “returning control to the legitimate government of Syria.” For better or for worse, the days of imperial plunder will be over.

The bilateral meetings on the summit’s sidelines – Putin/Raisi and Putin/Erdogan – were even more intriguing. Context is key here: the Tehran gathering took place after Putin’s visit to Turkmenistan in late June for the 6th Caspian summit, where all the littoral nations, Iran included, were present, and after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s travels in Algeria, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, where he met all his Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) counterparts.

Moscow’s moment

So we see Russian diplomacy carefully weaving its geopolitical tapestry from West Asia to Central Asia – with everybody and his neighbor eager to talk and to listen to Moscow. As it stands, the Russia-Turkey entente cordiale tends to lean towards conflict management, and is strong on trade relations. Iran-Russia is a completely different ball game: much more of a strategic partnership.

So it’s hardly a coincidence that the National Oil Company of Iran (NIOC), timed to the Tehran summit, announced the signing of a $40 billion strategic cooperation agreement with Russia’s Gazprom. That’s the largest foreign investment in the history of Iran’s energy industry – badly needed since the early 2000s. Seven deals worth $4 billion apply to the development of oil fields; others focus on the construction of new export gas pipelines and LNG projects.

Kremlin advisor Yury Ushakov deliciously leaked that Putin and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in their private meeting, “discussed conceptual issues.” Translation: he means grand strategy, as in the evolving, complex process of Eurasia integration, in which the three key nodes are Russia, Iran and China, now intensifying their interconnection. The Russia-Iran strategic partnership largely mirrors the key points of the China-Iran strategic partnership.

Iran says ‘no’ to NATO

Khamenei, on NATO, did tell it like it is: “If the road is open for NATO, then the organization sees no borders. If it had not been stopped in Ukraine, then after a while the alliance would have started a war under the pretext of Crimea.”

There were no leaks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) impasse between the US and Iran – but it’s clear, based on the recent negotiations in Vienna, that Moscow will not interfere with Tehran’s nuclear decisions. Not only are Tehran-Moscow-Beijing fully aware of who’s preventing the JCPOA from getting back on track, they also see how this counter-productive stalling process prevents the collective west from badly needed access to Iranian oil.

Then there’s the weapons front. Iran is one of the world’s leaders in drone production: Pelican, Arash, Homa, Chamrosh, Jubin, Ababil, Bavar, recon drones, attack drones, even kamikaze drones, cheap and effective, mostly deployed from naval platforms in West Asia.

Tehran’s official position is not to supply weapons to nations at war – which would in principle invalidate dodgy US “intel” on their supply to Russia in Ukraine. Yet that could always happen under the radar, considering that Tehran is very much interested in buying Russian aerial defense systems and state of the art fighter jets. After the end of the UN Security Council-enforced embargo, Russia can sell whatever conventional weapons to Iran it sees fit.

Russian military analysts are fascinated by the conclusions Iranians reached when it was established they would stand no chance against a NATO armada; essentially they bet on pro-level guerrilla war (a lesson learned from Afghanistan). In Syria, Iraq and Yemen they deployed trainers to guide villagers in their fight against Salafi-jihadis; produced tens of thousands of large-caliber sniper rifles, ATGMs, and thermals; and of course perfected their drone assembly lines (with excellent cameras to surveil US positions).

Not to mention that simultaneously the Iranians were building quite capable long-range missiles. No wonder Russian military analysts estimate there’s much to learn tactically from the Iranians – and not only on the drone front.

The Putin-Sultan ballet

Now to the Putin-Erdogan get together – always an attention-grabbing geopolitical ballet, especially considering the Sultan has not yet decided to hop on the Eurasia integration high-speed train.

Putin diplomatically “expressed gratitude” for the discussions on food and grain issues, while reiterating that “not all issues on the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports are resolved, but progress is made.”

Putin was referring to Turkiye’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who earlier this week assured that setting up an operations center in Istanbul, establishing joint controls at the port exit and arrival points, and carefully monitoring the navigational safety on the transfer routes are issues that may be solved in the next few days.

Apparently Putin-Erdogan also discussed Nagorno-Karabakh (no details).

What a few leaks certainly did not reveal is that on Syria, for all practical purposes, the situation is blocked. That favors Russia – whose main priority as it stands is Donbass. Wily Erdogan knows it – and that’s why he may have tried to extract some “concessions” on “the Kurdish question” and Nagorno-Karabakh. Whatever Putin, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev may really think about Erdogan, they certainly evaluate how priceless is to cultivate such an erratic partner capable of driving the collective west totally bonkers.

Istanbul this summer has been turned into a sort of Third Rome, at least for expelled-from-Europe Russian tourists: they are everywhere. Yet the most crucial geoeconomic development these past few months is that the western-provoked collapse of trade/supply lines along the borders between Russia and the EU – from the Baltic to the Black Sea – finally highlighted the wisdom and economic sense of the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INTSC): a major Russia-Iran-India geopolitical and geoeconomic integration success.

When Moscow talks to Kiev, it talks via Istanbul. NATO, as the Global South well knows, does not do diplomacy. So any possibility of dialogue between Russians and a few educated westerners takes place in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the UAE. West Asia as well as the Caucasus, incidentally, did not subscribe to the western sanctions hysteria against Russia.

Say farewell to the ‘teleprompter guy’

Now compare all of the above with the recent visit to the region by the so-called “leader of the free world,” who merrily alternates between shaking hands with invisible people to reading – literally – whatever is scrolling on a teleprompter. We’re talking of US President Joe Biden, of course.

Fact: Biden threatened Iran with military strikes and as a mere supplicant, begged the Saudis to pump more oil to offset the “turbulence” in the global energy markets caused by the collective west’s sanction hysteria. Context: the glaring absence of any vision or anything even resembling a draft of foreign policy plan for West Asia.

So oil prices duly jumped upward after Biden’s trip: Brent crude rose more than four percent to $105 a barrel, bringing prices back to above $100 after a lull of several months.

The heart of the matter is that if OPEC or OPEC+ (which includes Russia) ever decide to increase their oil supplies, they will do it based on their internal deliberations, and not under exceptionalist pressure.

As for the imperial threat of military strikes on Iran, it qualifies as pure dementia. The whole Persian Gulf – not to mention the whole of West Asia – knows that were US/Israel to attack Iran, fierce retaliation would simply evaporate with the region’s energy production, with apocalyptic consequences including the collapse of trillions of dollars in derivatives.

Biden then had the gall to say, “We have made progress in strengthening our relations with the Gulf states. We will not leave a vacuum for Russia and China to fill in the Middle East”.

Well, in real life it is the “indispensable nation” that has self-morphed into a vacuum. Only bought-and-paid for Arab vassals – most of them monarchs – believe in the building of an “Arab NATO” (copyright Jordan’s King Abdullah) to take on Iran. Russia and China are already all over the place in West Asia and beyond.

De-Dollarization, not just Eurasian integration

It’s not only the new logistical corridor from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Astrakhan and then, via the Caspian, to Enzeli in Iran and on to Mumbai that is shaking things up. It’s about increasing bilateral trade that bypasses the US dollar. It’s about BRICS+, which Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are dying to be part of. It’s about the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which formally accepts Iran as a full member this coming September (and soon Belarus as well). It’s about BRICS+, the SCO, China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) interconnected in their path towards a Greater Eurasia Partnership.

West Asia may still harbor a small collection of imperial vassals with zero sovereignty who depend on the west’s financial and military ‘assistance,’ but that’s the past. The future is now – with Top Three BRICS (Russia, India, China) slowly but surely coordinating their overlapping strategies across West Asia, with Iran involved in all of them.

And then there’s the Big Global Picture: whatever the circumvolutions and silly schemes of the US-concocted “oil price cap” variety, the fact is that Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – the top powerful energy-producing nations – are absolutely in sync: on Russia, on the collective west, and on the needs of a real multipolar world.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

The Judgement of the Nations

July 12, 2022

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By Batiushka

A frequent topic among both contributors and commentators on this site is the discussion as to whether the Special Military Operation in the Ukraine will take a few months or a few years. It is a common question and there are different opinions. Let me say now that I am not qualified even to speculate on this, let alone have an opinion. I do not know the answer and I suspect that many highly-placed people in the military and among politicians do not know the answer either.

In any case why is an answer to this question so important? Originally, this was not a war, but a limited Operation, still involving a small proportion of the Russian Armed Forces. Had Russia wanted to occupy the Ukraine with massive military violence, in German, with a ‘Blitzkrieg’, in American, with ‘shock and awe’, with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of victims, all could have been done in a couple of weeks. However, this is not Hollywood. That was not the aim.

The clear aim was to free the Russian part of the Ukraine and to demilitarise and denazify the rest, so it would no longer present a threat to the Russian World. Obviously, doing this meant not just winning the genodical war which the backers of the Kiev regime had begun in 2014, but also doing it, causing the smallest number of victims among the Russian and Allied military and Ukrainian civilians as possible, and at the same time doing the least amount of damage to civilian infrastructure as possible.

Pictures showing huge damage to civilian infrastructure, especially in Mariupol and Donetsk, show above all the enormous amount of damage done by NATO-backed Kiev regime bombardments over the last eight years. It was clear to Russian military and political planners that the Operation would take at least months, perhaps years, as the whole of the Kiev Armed Forces had been digging in here for eight years. Russia knew that in order to win a war, you have to win the peace afterwards.

It was no good doing like the Americans did in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, destroying infrastructure, making the people hate you and then, once you realise that you have lost, running away, leaving chaos and misery. The Russian authorities also knew that since NATO had already de facto declared war on Russia in 2014, the Operation to liberate the Ukraine through denazification and demilitarisation would further activate their war effort and provoke many more ‘sanctions’. Now that the Operation has become a NATO war against Russia, much as expected, it is all the more difficult to forecast the future.

Many missed the point. The Special Military Operation is not where it is at. The Ukraine is only the location, the battlefield, and the Kiev junta are only the actors on the stage, puppets. This is not primarily a battle of the military and their technologies, although they are very important, this is above all a battle of world views and ensuing realities. This battle is political and economic, spiritual and moral. Why else did the Johnson regime ban the Russian Orthodox Patriarch from visiting the UK?

Here we understand President Putin’s words of 7 July 2022 before Russian parliamentarians that Russia ‘has not even started anything in earnest in the Ukraine yet’, that the military operation in the Ukraine signifies ‘a cardinal break with the US world order, the beginning of the transition from the liberal globalism of US egocentricity to the reality of a multipolar world….the march of history is unstoppable and the attempts of the West to foist its New World Order on the world are doomed to failure’.

Whatever happens militarily in the Ukraine over the coming months, and much will happen, there are other stories, which are ultimately far more important. There was tiny Lithuania’s attempt to blockade the Russian Kaliningrad enclave, which has already failed. There was the toppling of the bankrupt UK’s Prime Minister, who wanted to wage a war without money, there was the assassination of the former Japanese Prime Minister by forces unknown, there was the occupation of the Presidential Palace in Colombo in Sri Lanka by a hungry crowd facing huge inflation and national bankruptcy.

Then there is the incipient collapse of the euro, already reaching parity with the dollar, as Europe grinds to a halt without Russian energy. There is the possible coming collapse of the dollar as the world dedollarises, under Russian impetus. There is mighty Germany’s attempt to survive without Russian oil and gas, which is already failing. There is much more that is being hidden from the populations of the Western world by worried elites – strikes, protests and the breakdown of social cohesion.

It is now July. In eight weeks’ time the weather cools. In sixteen weeks’ time winter begins. Wait until the panic begins and the palaces of leaders of the Western world also fall to hungry crowds facing huge inflation and national bankruptcy in European and North American Capitals. There may not be just a few deaths, as when the Washington Presidential Palace fell on 6 January 2021, but mass violence and fire. Wait until Chinese troops liberate Taiwan, as they will do at the right moment when the US is off guard, too busy with its own immense problems. Then shall begin the Judgement of the Nations.

Western Europe appears to go through a cycle of Judgement every 500 years or so. Round about the Year 500 (pedants mention the Year 476), Western Rome fell to the Barbarians, followed by great disruption and bloodshed. Round about the Year 1000 (pedants mention the Year 1054), there began Roman Catholicism, followed by its imperialist invasions, crusades and inquisitions. Round about 1500 (pedants mention 1517) there began Protestantism, followed by persecution of women (‘witches’) and ‘wars of religion’, both in Continental Europe and in Britain and Ireland under Cromwell. And now, round about the Year 2000 (will pedants mention the Year 2022?), there begins another Judgement.

For us, where we are, closely linked to the Ukraine, the war began already in early 2021. But that will be a story to tell another time.

Sweden and Finland joining NATO precedes an inevitable financial collapse of the current international system

June 29, 2022

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Sweden and Finland joining NATO besides being a provocative act towards Russia, precedes an inevitable financial collapse of the current international system

By Guilherme Wilbert

The Nordic entry into NATO, in the middle of a war, is clearly an act that does not help the peace negotiations that could be underway, but acts as the opposite, putting more wood on the fire for “military-technical” measures (to paraphrase Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister who uses the term when talking about responding to Western provocations).

With the entry of Finland and Sweden barred initially by Turkey, it shows that even a NATO member cares about enemies of its national interests. In Turkey’s case with the PKK, which is a Kurdish political organization seen as terrorist by Ankara and some countries, yet they were (until then) operating freely throughout the Nordic countries with active members of the official Kurdistan party holding protests in public squares in Helsinki and Stockholm.
Just for level of knowledge, Kurdistan is a region that would be home to the Kurdish ethnic group, taking part of Turkish territory up to the North of Iran, which explains Erdogan’s concern with a possible disintegration of Turkish territory if the Kurds were to gain prominence on the battlefields (which in real data would be very difficult since the Turkish army is the strongest in NATO for example).

But this provocation, which will surely be responded to by Moscow, proves the warmongers’ concern with continuing disputes and wars around the world, using Ukraine, which is the most recent case at the moment, as a kind of proxy to weaken Russia, serving only as a spearhead of the American objective, since Zelensky himself and his cabinet acknowledge that they will never join NATO and possibly not even the European Union, if you consider and draw a parallel with the case of Turkey itself, which has been waiting since 1999 for a resolution whether to join the bloc or not.

So, the entrance of the Nordics into NATO does not help Ukraine at all and can even make the situation worse with military-technical measures applied by the Russian Armed Forces perhaps in the decision centers in Brussels or in the Baltics, which would lead us to a nuclear catastrophe since the mentioned countries (Belgium and the Baltics for example) are NATO members and could invoke article 5 of mutual aid in case of “aggression” (See that aggression here is interpreted by Westerners (in an exercise of deduction) as only after the military-technical measure, ignoring what provoked the decision to do so).

Coupled with the desperation to provoke more wars, Western leaders get lost in the real global objective: economic integration and the fight against hunger

While great concern is seen with NATO, with diplomats having used the term “Global NATO” a few times, some primary and more basic goals of the organization’s member nations are put aside to add more gasoline to the fire.

The recent cases of inflation in Western Europe or even in the US precede a global financial collapse that has several causes, with some analysts citing the sanctions on Russia but personally I would go further and cite all of the last 10 years of at least NOTHING-backed dollar printouts that were used to give a supposed liquidity to the economy after the 2008 crash that was a scare felt around the world.

Economics, unlike some sciences, is not as if it can receive arguments and opinions, the theories are very clear and explanatory: by printing too much of your currency, you devalue it. But surely American economists know this and they also know that the coming collapse would affect the entire Globe because unfortunately after World War II, American hegemony was also monetary, with countries to this day using the dollar as an international reserve. In other words, in addition to the overprinting and national devaluation of the currency on American territory, it also devalues in the coffers of the countries that use it as a reserve and this will cause a cascading effect that will further force realpolitik into play and cause more haste in the emerging countries to get rid of the coming bomb.

Unfortunately war-hungry Western leaders are blind to what is coming and is already happening in some parts of the world, either because of irresponsible sanctions or the natural course of the very sequence of American economic mistakes. Because it is very different to sanction Russia compared to sanctioning Iran for example. And this does not mean that Iran deserves to be sanctioned in any way, because I believe that every country should have the right to its nuclear program, at least for peaceful purposes, and this cannot be used as a pretext for sanctions that crush already small economies, such as the example of Iran.

In the case of Russia the conversation is different for numerous reasons, be they military at the nuclear level or at the economic level, because Russia is part of a global production chain which acts as an active player on the macroeconomic stage. For example, the raw material called antimony, which is used in the global defense industry for military equipment of various kinds, is rightly found in excess in Russia and parts of Asia. This is to cite a simple example of an element that is not on the average citizen’s table, for example. In addition to the many important productions that Russia is responsible for.

So, given recent events and the inference for the disastrous future, the international scenario for the Global South forces them towards long term solutions of American de-dollarization and decolonization in the various ways, either by American NGOs that operate in several countries or by the very US culture exporting technologies that function as small fiefdoms of thought, the case of Facebook for example. But the latter is a little more difficult to achieve because it involves a collective societal thought that would require a national unity for the development of regional cultures.

Having said that, a peace agreement between Ukraine and Russia with the Ukrainian loss of the territories that comprise New Russia needs to happen and sanctions against any country need to be lifted for the sake of multipolarity.

The world cannot be guided by one diplomatic corps and one government only because the international scenario is not a movie of one actor, but of several, with several potentials to be developed in different parts of the Globe.


Guilherme Wilbert is a Brazilian Bachelor of Law interested in geopolitics and international law.

Europe’s Third Attempt at Suicide and Generation Z+

June 27, 2022

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By Batiushka

‘The next war in Europe will be between Russia and Fascism, except that Fascism will be called Democracy.’

Fidel Castro, c. 1992

Introduction

Europe is a serial suicide. The first attempt began in Sarajevo in 1914 and finished in Versailles in 1919. The second began a generation later in Warsaw in 1939 and ended in Berlin in 1945. Having very nearly succeeded at the second attempt (it missed atomic bombs by mere months), Europe sobered up and slowed down, waiting till the centenary of 1914 before it tried for the third time. This attempt began in Kiev, again in Eastern Europe, in 2014 and is continuing in the Special Military Operation (SMO). At every attempt Europe has lost. The first time it lost three empires (the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian and the German), the second time two Empires, the fatally weakened British and French, so ensuring the supremacy of the American Empire in Europe, as in the rest of the world.

What will Europe lose this time? It will lose the only Empire remaining – the EU. When? Only some time after the conclusion of the SMO. Now, it would be foolish to predict with exactitude when that, which is the culmination of Europe’s third attempted suicide, will be. It could all be over in early July. Alternatively it could drag on for years. However, both those outcomes are extreme possibilities and there are other possibilities inbetween. Nevertheless, some tendencies are clear. It is only the extent and speed at which they will progress that is uncertain. In any case, whatever happens in the Ukraine, Europe will be reformatted. It will never be the same again. The seed sown by the Western elite in Kiev in 2014 is being reaped today in the harvest of division, discontent and poverty in Europe.

If we look at the three aims of the Special Military Operation, we can see that the first and second aims, the liberation of the Donbass and demilitarisation, are both 75% done, despite new arrivals of Western arms to prolong the agony. However, the reality is also that the operation has had to be much extended from the Donbass to the east and south of the Ukraine and there we are not even 50% done. However, the third aim, the denazification of the Ukraine, has not even begun and cannot begin until the murderous Zelensky regime has been replaced with a government which actually cherishes the independence and cultural traditions of the Ukraine. Then it will no longer be a servile chimpanzee of the LGBT West and its Nulands who, very politely speaking, have no time for Europe.

Military

Some have criticised the Allied Special Operation in the Ukraine. After four months, they say, not even the whole of the Donbass has yet been liberated. Such critics should get out of their armchairs and go and fight against NATO. We would soon see how fast they would go. Why has progress been ‘slow’? Firstly, because though the Allied Forces are small in size, they are fighting against the vast bulk of the Kiev Army, which has been trained, retrained, supplied and resupplied and dug into its fortified positions by NATO over eight years. Secondly, because the Allies are trying to avoid civilian casualties and of course casualties to themselves. That is not easy when Kiev is using civilians as human shields and shelling from residential areas. The Allies will not carpet-bomb like the West. There is no hurry.

However, with the very recent events in Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, the gateway to the whole of Central and Western Ukraine is being opened. Thus, we read the report on 25 June: ‘The Office of the President ordered the transfer of all reserves from the Mykolaiv/Odessa/Kharkiv direction for a counterattack in the Severodonetsk direction’. In other words, Kiev has only reserves left and it wants to transfer all of them. This sounds like desperation – the end is near. Judging by the quality of Kiev’s reserves so far, this will be a walkover. And that firstly presumes that the reserves will be willing to be massacred. And that secondly presumes that they can be transferred when all around the roads are occupied by Allied troops, or are controlled by Russian radar, artillery, drones and aircraft.

Most significantly of all, this means that Mykolaiv/Odessa/Kharkiv will be left more or less defenceless, without even reserves. According to serious Western data, Ukrainian military losses are about 200,000 killed with nearly three quarters of military equipment and ammunition destroyed. In just four months. This is catastrophic. If even Western spies from MI6, the BRD and Poland say this, then there is little future or hope for the US puppets in Kiev. We can only expect military collapse and the formation of a new government, authentically pro-Ukrainian (that is anti-American) and therefore pro-Russian. What happens after the liberation of the Ukraine? The liberation of Moldova? Of the Baltics? We do not know. But if aggressive NATO/EU sabre-rattling continues, all is possible.

Economic, Political and Ideological

As we know, the Western anti-Russian sanctions, have been a self-imposed economic disaster, an own goal. Blowback has been nasty. Dedollarisation is happening. Pay in roubles, please. Now. Food, fertiliser, oil, gas, all are rocketing in price, and it is not winter. Popular discontent and street demonstrations in Western Europe are mounting. In France the Rothschild candidate Macron has lost control of the French Parliament to the left and to the right. In the UK the ‘delusional’ (the word of members of his own Party) Johnson (a man condemned by his own as ‘an opportunistic journalist who has at his heart a moral vacuum’) is seen as a liability, who will lead the Tory Party to annihilation in any election. We will not speak here of other nonentities like Scholz, Draghi, Trudeau and Biden.

Then there is the formation of alternatives to the Western bloc. A new G8/BRICS+? Russia has seen plenty of discreet and not so discreet support from China, India, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, Africa (from Egypt to South Africa), Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Argentina, Hungary…. That is, from the aptly-named ‘emerging’ world on all five Continents, from those who have raw materials and manufacturing infrastructure. They want to emerge from the ruins of colonialism and neo-colonialism. The isolated West, the US, Canada, UK, EU, Australia, has few friends outside its inward-looking little world. There are just a few occupied vassals in Asia, like Israel, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, who are forced to buy Western arms in order to stop themselves being liberated from themselves, and that is it.

Even the mercenaries of the State-controlled Western media are beginning to go back on their State-paid lies. They are used to turning everything on its head, to inverting it all. Thus, the Russian Army was composed of ‘demoralised and untrained raw conscripts’, who had suffered ‘massive losses’ and ‘lacked fuel and ammunition’, ‘raped children and murdered’, were ‘in full retreat’ and bombed and shelled ‘residential areas and civilians’. Just change the word ‘Russian’ to ‘Kiev’ and we are a lot nearer the truth. Does anybody believe these media lies any more? Surely only the living dead? It must be embarrassing for these hacks who have been telling, or rather were ordered to tell, the opposite of the truth. They used to report their dreams as reality. Now they have to report reality – their worst nightmares.

Conclusion: The Age of Empires Is Over

After the Western defeats, or rather routs, in Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO has no military or political future. In fact, it should have been abolished after the fall of the USSR. The Ukraine (or whatever it will be called in whatever borders it will have when its liberation is complete) is Russian. Just forget it, NATO. You have already lost. The expansion of NATO into Asia? What a joke. Taiwan is Chinese, as will be all the Western Pacific. Just forget it, NATO. You have already lost. The American Century which began in February/March 1917 with the palace revolt by corrupt aristocrats and generals in the Russian Empire, carefully orchestrated from London and New York, is over. Europe no longer needs to attempt suicide, let alone succeed. You are free to restore the sovereignty of your nation states.

The fact is that the Age of Empires is over. 1917 signalled the beginning of this. In 1991 the Red Star (USSR) Empire collapsed. Today the White Star (USSA) Empire, with its Twelve-Star EU (USSE) vassal Empire in tow, is collapsing, and for exactly the same reason: because nobody believes in their ideologies any more. Both Communism and Capitalism have failed. Now is the Age of Free Alliances of Sovereign Nations. What is the future of Europe after its third failed attempt at suicide? It is in reintegrating the Sovereignty of Eurasia, protected by the Russian resource umbrella. The Atlantic never united Europe, it divided Europe. If those who live across the Atlantic want to rediscover from us how to start living normal lives again, they can. But it will be on our terms, those of our Sovereignty, not on theirs.

We have spoken of the Special Military Operation as the culmination of Europe’s third attempted suicide. We have said that Europe will never be the same again after it. This is because, unless Europe is really serious this time about suicide (and it has managed to avoid it twice before), this Operation Z is going to split up the tyrannical Western world, EU and UK Europe, from the USA. It is Operation Z+. And who are we, those who will survive? We are Generation Z+. We are those who will come ‘out of great tribulation’ and survive. We are those who are going to live in the real Global world, not in the Western bubble Globalist world. We are the real Europeans of ancient and new European history, who refused to commit suicide, the Sovereign Europeans. Reality is dawning at last.

The BRICS+ show themselves as an alternative to the current international financial system, but still with caution

June 25, 2022

By Guilherme Wilbert

Since the beginning of Operation Z in Ukraine, unfortunately interpreted as an invasion or an occupation of Ukrainian territory by the Russians, realpolitik has accelerated integration among economic blocs of emerging countries, with several speeches by BRICS regional leaders speaking openly about the weight of emerging economies in global economic development.

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The last BRICS meeting on 06/23, with open criticism of western sanctions by China and Russia, showed well what the emerging economies are discussing at the moment: how to escape dollarized debt? Or better yet: how to implement an alternative system to the one established at Bretton Woods?

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president who overnight became “persona non grata” in Europe, is already talking openly about a possible basket of BRICS own currencies as an alternative to strengthen the national economies, with the most advanced countries, for example Russia itself or China, working openly with an economy of real production based on resource ballast for their national currencies, in the Russian case the Gaso-Ruble becomes a character, in the Chinese case, the PetroYuan emerges as an alternative to strengthen the Chinese currency.

Caution is walking hand in hand with haste for the emerging countries

While emerging countries are trying to gain international prominence through economic blocs that can prove to be alternative to the current international financial system, the members of these blocs, especially China, despite acting as a kind of leadership in this global turn towards de-dollarization, do not show imperialistic intentions as seen in the U.S. within their geopolitical blocks. For example, NATO, where it is clearly an aggressive military alliance led by the US to impose its policies and state interests. On the other side, this is not seen within the BRICS or Mercosur for example with a military alliance led by China or with groupings supported by the Chinese establishment for color revolutions in non-aligned countries.

Therefore the caution: BRICS cannot emerge as an alternative to do the same things in the same ways committing the same Western mistakes, in fact the opposite, if negotiating with Westerners you would be willing one day to have to deal with Uncle Sam carrying out a lawfare in its territory to overthrow a legitimate government, with China the concern is much more diplomatic regarding Taiwan for example, with criticism much more focused on humanitarian aspects by some analysts.

Brazilian diplomacy has shown concern with the political intentions of the BRICS, wanting the strategic partnership to continue in a win-win system and not to mix geopolitical meanings in order to face the old system, but this is due to the fact that Brazil is still strongly influenced by Washington, despite its recent independent foreign policy.
We are witnessing a paradigm shift in all senses with this Russian police operation in Ukraine, which revealed the face of the irresponsible weak western leaders that have hurt the global economy by causing 1. sanctions to have the reverse effect to the desired one (of breaking the Russian economy) and 2. sanctions to have the opposite effect to the desired one (of breaking the Russian economy). Many countries that carry out military offensives on their neighbors (like Saudi Arabia in Yemen) even though supported by international law and ratifying humanitarian conventions on the battlefield saw that Westerners, unfortunately, can still simply loot the wealth of some countries they consider non-aligned like Russia, Iran, Venezuela… And given this the emerging countries logically seek an alternative, with the difference being that for Westerners to do what was accomplished in Libya when Gaddafi attempted the same, they will now have to deal with a bear sitting on just over 5,000 nuclear warheads. The conversation is now essentially different.


Guilherme Wilbert is a Bachelor’s Law with interests in geopolitics and international law.

References: https://investogist.com/president-putin-says-that-brics-are-developing-global-reserve-currency/
https://noticias.uol.com.br/colunas/jamil-chade/2022/06/23/brasil-ve-com-preocupacao-ambicao-da-china-para-expandir-brics.html

Exile on Main Street: The Sound of the Unipolar World Fading Away

June 22, 2022

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states. The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Let’s cut to the chase and roll in the Putin Top Ten of the New Era, announced by the Russian President live at the St. Petersburg forum  for both the Global North and South.

The era of the unipolar world is over.

The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it.

Russia has renewed with its sovereignty. Reinforcement of political and economic sovereignty is an absolute priority.

The EU has completely lost its political sovereignty. The current crisis shows the EU is not ready to play the role of an independent, sovereign actor. It’s just en ensemble of American vassals deprived of any politico-military sovereignty.

Sovereignty cannot be partial. Either you’re a sovereign or a colony.

Hunger in the poorest nations will be on the conscience of the West and euro-democracy.

Russia will supply grains to the poorer nations in Africa and the Middle East.

Russia will invest in internal economic development and reorientation of trade towards nations independent of the U.S.

The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states.

The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back.

How does it feel, for the collective West, to be caught in such a crossfire hurricane? Well, it gets more devastating when we add to the new roadmap the latest on the energy front.

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, in St. Petersburg, stressed that the global economic crisis is gaining momentum not because of sanctions, but exacerbated by them; Europe “commits energy suicide” by sanctioning Russia; sanctions against Russia have done away with the much lauded “green transition”, as that is no longer needed to manipulate markets; and Russia, with its vast energy potential, “is the Noah’s Ark of the world economy.”

For his part Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller could not be more scathing on the sharp decline in the gas flow to the EU due to Siemens’ refusal and/or incapacity to repair the Nord Stream 1 pumping engine: “Well, of course, Gazprom was forced to reduce the volume of gas supplies to Europe by 20%+. But you know, prices have increased not by 20%+, but by several times! Therefore, I’m sorry if I say that we don’t feel offended by anyone, we are not particularly concerned by this situation.”

If this pain dial overdrive was not enough to hurl the collective West – or NATOstan – into Terminal Hysteria, then Putin’s sharp comment on possibly allowing Mr. Sarmat to present his business card to “decision-making centers in Kiev”, those that are ordering the current shelling and killing of civilians in Donetsk, definitely did the trick:

“As for the red lines, let me keep them to myself, because this will mean quite tough actions on the decision-making centers. But this is an area that shouldn’t be disclosed to people outside the military-political leadership of the country. Those who deserve appropriate actions on our part should draw a conclusion for themselves – what they may face if they cross the line.”

Baby please, stop breaking down

Alastair Crooke has masterfully outlined  how the collective West’s zugzwang leaves it lumbering around, dazed and confused. Now let’s examine the state of play on the opposite side of the chessboard, focusing on the BRICS summit this Thursday in Beijing.

As much as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and ASEAN, now it’s time for a reinvigorated BRICS to step up its game. In conjunction, these are the key organizations/instruments that will be carving the pathways towards the post-unipolar era.

Both China and India (which between them were the largest economies in the world for centuries before the brief Western colonial interregnum) are already close and getting closer to “the Noah’s Ark of the world economy”.

The G20 – hostages of the Michael Hudson-defined FIRE scam that is the core of the financialized neoliberal casino – is slowly fading away, while a potential new G8 ramps up: and that is directly connected to BRICS expansion, one of the key themes of this week’s summit. An expanded BRICS with a parallel G8 configuration is bound to easily overtake the Western-centric one in importance as well as GDP by purchasing power parity (PPP).

BRICS in 2021 already added Bangladesh, Egypt, the UAE and Uruguay to its New Development Bank (NDB). In May, at Foreign Ministry-level debates, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Thailand were added to the 5 BRICS members. Leaders of some of these nations will be connected to the Beijing summit.

BRICS plays a completely different game from the G20. They aim for the grassroots, and it’s all about slowly “building trust” – a very Chinese concept. They are creating an independent Credit Rating Agency – away from the Anglo-American racket – and deepening a Currency Reserves Arrangement. The NDB – including its regional offices in India and South Africa – has been involved in hundreds of projects. Time will tell: one day the NDB will make the World Bank superfluous.

Comparisons between BRICS and the Quad, a U.S. concoction, are silly. Quad is just another crude mechanism to contain China. Yet there’s no question India treads on tightrope walker territory, as it’s a member of both BRICS and Quad, and made a vastly misguided decision to walk out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the largest free trade deal on the planet – opting instead to adhere to the American pie-in-the-sky Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Yet India, long term, skillfully guided by Russia, is being steered to find essential common ground with China in several key issues.

BRICS, especially in its expanded BRICS+ version, is bound to increase cooperation on building truly stable supply chains, and a settlement mechanism for resources and raw material trade, which inevitably has to be based in local currencies. Then the path will be open for the Holy Grail: a BRICS payment system as a credible alternative to the weaponized U.S. dollar and SWIFT.

Meanwhile, a torrent of bilateral investments from both China and India in the manufacturing and services sector around their neighbors is bound to lift up smaller players in both Southeast Asia and South Asia: think Cambodia and Bangladesh as important cogs in a vast supply wheel.

Yaroslav Lissovolik had already proposed a BEAMS concept as the core of this BRICS integration drive, uniting “the key regional integration initiatives of BRICS economies such as BIMSTEC, EAEU, the ASEAN-China free trade agreement, Mercosur and SADC/SACU.”

It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll

Now Beijing seems eager to promote “an inclusive format for dialogue spanning all the main regions of the Global South via aggregating the regional integration platforms in Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. Going forward this format may be further expanded to include other regional integration blocks from Eurasia, such as the GCC, EAEU and others.”

Lissovolik notes how the ideal path from now on should be “the greater inclusivity of BRICS via the BRICS+ framework that allows smaller economies that are the regional partners of BRICS to have a say in the new global governance framework.”

Before he addressed the St. Petersburg forum on video, President Xi called Putin personally to say, among other things, that he’s got China’s back on all “sovereignty and security” themes. They also, inevitably, discussed the relevance of BRICS as a key platform towards the multipolar world.

Meanwhile, the collective West plunges deeper into the maelstrom. A massive national demonstration of trade unions this past Monday paralyzed Brussels – the capital of the EU and NATO – as 80,000 people expressed their anger at the rising and rising cost of living; called for elites to “spend money on salaries, not on weapons”; and yelled in unison “Stop NATO.”

It’s zugzwang all over again. The EU’s “direct losses”, as Putin stressed, provoked by the sanctions hysteria, “could exceed $400 billion a year”. Russia’s energy earnings have hit record levels. The ruble is at a 7-year high against the euro.

It’s a blast that arguably the most powerful cultural artifact of the entire Cold War – and Western supremacy – era, the perennial Rolling Stones, is currently on tour across a “caught in a crossfire hurricane” EU. On every show they play, for the first time live, one of their early classics: ‘Out of Time’.

Sounds much like a requiem. So let’s all sing, “Baby baby baby / you’re out of time”, as one Vladimir “it’s a gas, gas, gas” Putin and his sidekick Dmitry “Under My Thumb” Medvedev seem to be the guys really getting their rocks off. It’s only (BRICS) rock’n roll, but we like it.

The Sanctioned Ones: How Iran-Russia are setting new rules

While China, keen to ward off US sanctions as long as possible, is lagging, its RIC partners Iran and Russia are doing the legwork to break the west’s global financial grip.

May 31 2022

Iran and Russia are taking the lead in establishing alternative financial networks to bypass western sanctionsPhoto Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

The first Eurasia Economic Forum, held last week in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, should be regarded as a milestone in setting the parameters for the geoeconomic integration of the Eurasian heartland.

Sergei Glazyev, Russia’s Minister in Charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), is coordinating the drive to design an alternative monetary-financial system – a de facto post-Bretton Woods III – in cooperation with China.

According to Glazyev, the forum “discussed the model of a new global settlement currency pegged to baskets of national currencies and commodities. The introduction of this currency instrument in Eurasia will entail the collapse of the dollar system and the final undermining of the US military and political power. It is necessary to start negotiations on signing an appropriate international treaty within the framework of the SCO.”

Glazyev described the initiative to upend the western global financial system in more detail during an exclusive interview with The Cradle in April.

It’s particularly relevant to understand how Glazyev interconnects the EAEU’s drive with the increasing geopolitical and geoeconomic role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which unites at the same table key Eurasian powers: China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Iran.

That connects directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, supporting the extension of a temporary free trade agreement between the EAEU and Iran, which is the newest (and only West Asian) full member of the SCO. Putin said this should go ahead despite the “confrontation by the collective West.”

The EAEU, inaugurated in 2015 with five full members – Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Armenia – represents a market of 184 million people and a collective GDP of over $5 trillion. The next step with Iran will be to implement a full free trade agreement, possibly before the end of the year, according to Iranian deputy trade minister Alireza Peymanpak. Egypt, Indonesia and the UAE are also candidates to strike deals with the EAEU.

Iran, which has for over four decades now been forced to find creative solutions to bypass serial, imperial sanction packages, may have a conceptual lesson or two to teach Russia. Barter arrangements are gaining ground: Tehran is offering spare parts and gas turbines to Moscow’s power plants in exchange for much needed zinc, aluminum, lead and steel for its metal and mining industries, according to Iranian trade and industries minister Reza Fatemi Amin.

And more barter on a wide range of commodities is ahead, as discussed during a recent visit to Tehran by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

The other ‘RIC’

Slowly but surely, the new RIC (Russia-Iran-China) – as opposed to the old RIC in BRICS (Russia-India-China) – is attempting to integrate their financial systems. Iran is a matter of national security strategy for China, as an energy provider and essential partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in West Asia.

Russia-China, though, is a much more complex matter. Extremely fearful of provoking US sanctions, Chinese banks are refraining – at least for the moment – to increase their deals with Russian banks, which brings us to the case of UnionPay:

The Chinese bank card provider – increasingly popular, especially across Asia – declined from partnering with Sberbank even before Russia’s largest bank was excluded by the EU and the US from the global bank messaging platform SWIFT. UnionPay also canceled plans with other Russian banks to issue UnionPay cards linked with the Russian Mir payment system, profiting from the exit of Visa and Mastercard from the Russian market.

This is still a careful balancing act for China. Earlier this year at the Boao Forum in Asia, President Xi Jinping was adamant in opposing the “wanton use of unilateral sanctions.” And over 80 percent of Chinese companies already established in Russia appeared to continue their business as usual.

Yet in practical terms, there are serious problems. The Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) have restricted financing for Russian commodities. Even the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), absolutely essential for sustainable development projects, linked or not with BRI, decided to freeze all lending to Russia and Belarus in early March to “safeguard” its “financial integrity.”

On the financial front, cautious Chinese banks, with enormous western exposure, are always balancing the fact that nearly 80 percent of global cross-border transactions are still in dollars and euros, and only two percent in yuan. So the Russian market is not exactly a priority.

In parallel, the Russia-Iran front is quite lively. They are turbo-charging mutual settlements in their national currencies to “the highest possible level,” as highlighted by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak: “We discussed together with central banks the spread and operation of the financial messaging system, as well as the connection of Mir and [Iranian] Shetab payment cards.”

As it stands, the Mir card is still not accepted in Iran, but that’s about to change – just as in Turkey, which this summer will start accepting Mir card payments from legions of Russian tourists. What this means in practice is that Russia and Iran will be connecting their banks to the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS), the Russian equivalent to SWIFT. The Chinese will obviously be examining how seamlessly the transition works.

Now compare all of the above with the prospect that soon there won’t be any SWIFT at all, as Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach let slip in Davos.

Miebach was participating in a panel on Central Bank Digital Currencies, discussing cross-border payments, when he suggested that SWIFT might soon be a thing of the past. No question about it: Moscow is eyeing crypto and digital currencies already, and Beijing is dead set on setting up the digital yuan to work around SWIFT and its linked CHIPS (Clearing House Interbank Payment System).

The Sanctioned Ones, now moving fast

The Russia-Iran front has been fast evolving since January this year, when Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, on a visit to Moscow, handed a draft agreement to Putin on strategic cooperation for the next 20 years, building on “the very good experience of cooperation between Iran and Russia in Syria in combating terrorism,” and expanding to “economy, politics, culture, science, technology, defense, and military spheres, as well as security and space issues.”

Raisi also explicitly thanked Putin “for facilitating Tehran’s entry into the SCO.”

Iranian Oil Minister Javad Ouji went straight to the point in his meeting with Novak in Tehran last week: “Our countries are under strict sanctions, and we have the potential to neutralize them through the development of bilateral relations…We have created joint committees on banking, energy, transport, agriculture issues, as well as the issue of creation of nuclear power plants.”

And that brings us once again to the seemingly eternal soap opera of the Vienna-based Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) talks, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov now signaling the final draft “is at a high degree of readiness for adoption. There are some political problems, which are not related to the finalization of the text.”

Cutting through the proverbial fog of US swamp spin, Ryabkov stressed how “in terms of our interests, including in the context of peaceful nuclear cooperation with Iran, the text is quite satisfactory…there is nothing to ‘fine-tune’.” So when the Americans say that the deal is “out of reach,” Raybkov added, it means that they “broadcast the results of their internal discussions.”

The bottom line is that on the JCPOA, Tehran and Moscow are in sync: “We are what they call on edge, and it could happen very quickly if the political decision is made.”

Expanding on their synchronicity, Tehran even proposed to host negotiations between Moscow and Kiev over the Ukraine conflict – following the Turkish example. By now though, after Ankara’s failure, it is clear that Washington decision makers want no negotiation, but an endless war to the last Ukrainian.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian remains in sync with his counterpart Sergei Lavrov. At Davos, he said the Ukraine drama was caused by “the US and NATO’s provocative actions…they “provoked the Kremlin into this.” That’s essentially what Beijing has been discreetly implying.

All of the above shows some of the trials and tribulations of Eurasia integration, and the long and winding road to an EAEU-SCO new monetary system. But first things first: there’s got to be some action on the Mir-UnionPay front. When that news breaks, the die will be cast.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Russia Rewrites the Art of Hybrid War

May 20, 2022

Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground – and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up.

By Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross posted. 

The ironclad fictional “narrative” imposed all across NATOstan is that Ukraine is “winning”.

So why would weapons peddler retrofitted as Pentagon head Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin literally beg since late February to have his phone calls answered by Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, only to have his wish finally granted?

It’s now confirmed by one of my top intel sources. The call was a direct consequence of panic. The United States Government (USG) by all means wants to scotch the detailed Russian investigation – and accumulation of evidence – on the US bioweapon labs in Ukraine, as I outlined in a previous column.

This phone call happened exactly after an official Russian statement to the UN Security Council on May 13: we will use articles 5 and 6 of the Convention on the Prohibition of Bioweapons to investigate the Pentagon’s biological “experiments” in Ukraine.

That was reiterated by Under Secretary-General of the UN in charge of disarmament, Thomas Markram, even as all ambassadors of NATO member countries predictably denied the collected evidence as “Russian disinformation”.

Shoigu cold see the call coming eons away. Reuters, merely quoting the proverbial “Pentagon official”, spun that the allegedly one-hour-long call led to nothing. Nonsense. Austin, according to the Americans, demanded a “ceasefire” – which must have originated a Siberian cat smirk on Shoigu’s face.

Shoigu knows exactly which way the wind is blowing on the ground – for Ukrainian Armed Forces and UkroNazis alike. It’s not only the Azovstal debacle – and Kiev’s all-around army breakdown.

After the fall of Popasnaya – the crucial, most fortified Ukrainian stronghold in Donbass – the Russians and Donetsk/Luhansk forces have breached defenses along four different vectors to north, northwest, west and south. What’s left of the Ukrainian front is crumbling – fast, with a massive cauldron subdivided in a maze of mini-cauldrons: a military disaster the USG cannot possibly spin.

Now, in parallel, we can also expect full exposure – on overdrive – of the Pentagon bioweapons racket. The only “offer you can’t refuse” left to the USG would be to present something tangible to the Russians to avoid a full investigation.

That’s not gonna happen. Moscow is fully aware that going public with illegal work on banned biological weapons is an existential threat to the US Deep State. Especially when documents seized by the Russians show that Big Pharma – via Pfizer, Moderna, Merck and Gilead – was involved in several “experiments”. Fully exposing the whole maze, from the start, was one of Putin’s stated objectives.

More “military-technical measures”?

Three days after the UN presentation, the board of the Russian Foreign Ministry held a special session to discuss “the radically changed geopolitical realities that have developed as a result of the hybrid war against our country unleashed by the West – under the pretext of the situation in Ukraine – unprecedented in scale and ferocity, including the revival in Europe of a racist worldview in the form of cave Russophobia, an open course for the ‘abolition’ of Russia and everything Russian.”

So it’s no wonder “the aggressive revisionist course of the West requires a radical revision of Russia’s relations with unfriendly states.”

We should expect “a new edition of the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation” coming out soon.

This new Foreign Policy Concept will elaborate on what Foreign Minister Lavrov once again stressed at a meeting honoring the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy: the US has declared an all-round Hybrid War on Russia. The only thing lacking, as it stands, is a formal declaration of war.

Beyond the disinformation fog veiling the application of Finland and Sweden – call them the Dumb and Dumber Nordics – to join NATO, what really matters is another instance of declaration of war: the prospect of missiles with nuclear warheads stationed really close to Russian borders. Moscow already warned the Finns and Swedes, politely, that this would be dealt with it via “military-technical measures”. That’s exactly what Washington – and NATO minions – were told would happen before the start of Operation Z.

And of course this goes much deeper, involving Romania and Poland as well. Bucharest already has Aegis Ashore missile launchers capable of sending Tomahawks with nuclear warheads at Russia, while Warsaw is receiving the same systems. To cut to the chase, if there’s no de-escalation, they will all eventually end up receiving Mr. Khinzal’s hypersonic business card.

NATO member Turkey, meanwhile, plays a deft game, issuing its own list of demands before even considering the Nordics’ gamble. Ankara wants no more sanctions on its purchase of S-400s and on top if be re-included in the F-35 program. It will be fascinating to watch what His Master’s Voice will come up with to seduce the Sultan. The Nordics engaged in a self-correcting “clear unequivocal stance” against the PKK and the PYD is clearly not enough for the Sultan, who relished muddying the waters even more as he stressed that buying Russian energy is a “strategic” issue for Turkey.

Counteracting financial Shock’n Awe

By now it’s evidently clear that open-ended Operation Z targets unipolar Hegemon power, the infinite expansion of vassalized NATO, and the world’s financial architecture – an intertwined combo that largely transcends the Ukraine battleground.

Serial Western sanctions package hysteria ended up triggering Russia’s so far quite successful counter-financial moves. Hybrid War is being fought predominantly in the economic/financial battleground – and the pain dial for the collective West will only go up: inflation, higher commodity prices, breakdown of supply chains, exploding cost of living, impoverishment of the middle classes, and unfortunately for great swathes of the Global South, outright poverty and starvation.

In the near future, as insider evidence surfaces, a convincing case will be made that the Russian leadership even gamed the Western financial gamble/ blatant robbery of over $300 billion in Russian reserves.

This implies that already years ago – let’s say, at least from 2016, based on analyses by Sergey Glazyev – the Kremlin knew this would inevitably happen. As trust remains a rigid foundation of a monetary system, the Russian leadership may have calculated that the Americans and their vassals, driven by blind Russophobia, would play all their cards at once when push came to shove – utterly demolishing global trust on “their” system.

Because of Russia’s infinite natural resources, the Kremlin may have factored that the nation would eventually survive the financial Shock’n Awe – and even profit from it (ruble appreciation included). The reward is just too sweet: opening the way to The Doomed Dollar – without having to ask Mr. Sarmat to present his nuclear business card.

Russia could even entertain the hypothesis of getting a mighty return on those stolen funds. A great deal of Western assets – totaling as much as $500 billion – may be nationalized if the Kremlin so chooses.

So Russia is winning not only militarily but also to a large extent geopolitically – 88% of the planet does not align with NATOstan hysteria – and of course in the economic/financial sphere.

This in fact is the key Hybrid War battleground where the collective West is being checkmated. One of the next key steps will be an expanded BRICS coordinating their dollar-bypassing strategy.

None of the above should overshadow the still to be measured interconnected repercussions of the mass surrender of Azov neo-Nazis at UkroNazistan Central in Azovstal.

The mythical Western “narrative” about freedom-fighting heroes imposed since February by NATOstan media collapsed with a single blow. Cue to the thunderous silence all over the Western infowar front, where no mutts even attempted to sing that crappy, “winning” Eurovision song.

What happened, in essence, is that the creme de la creme of NATO-trained neo-Nazis, “advised” by top Western experts, weaponized to death, entrenched in deep concrete anti-nuclear bunkers in the bowels of Azovstal, was either pulverized or forced to surrender like cornered rats.

Novorossiya as a game-changer

The Russian General Staff will be adjusting their tactics for the major follow-up in Donbass – as the best Russian analysts and war correspondents incessantly debate. They will have to face an inescapable problem: as much as the Russian methodically grind down the – disaggregated – Ukrainian Army in Donbass, a new NATO army is being trained and weaponized in western Ukraine.

So there is a real danger that depending on the ultimate long-term aims of Operation Z – which are only shared by the Russian military leadership – Moscow runs the risk of encountering, in a few months, a mobile and better weaponized incarnation of the demoralized army it is now destroying. And this is exactly what the Americans mean by “weakening” Russia.

As it stands, there are several reasons why a new Novorossiya reality may turn out to be a positive game-changer for Russia. Among them:

  1. The economic/logistics complex from Kharkov to Odessa – along Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolaev – is intimately linked with Russian industry.
  2. By controlling the Sea of Azov – already a de facto “Russian lake” – and subsequently the Black Sea, Russia will have total control of export routes for the region’s world-class grain production. Extra bonus: total exclusion of NATO.
  3. All of the above suggests a concerted drive for the development of an integrated agro-heavy industry complex – with the extra bonus of serious tourism potential.

Under this scenario, a remaining Kiev-Lviv rump Ukraine, not incorporated to Russia, and of course not rebuilt, would be at best subjected to a no-fly zone plus selected artillery/missile/drone strikes in case NATO continues to entertain funny ideas.

This would be a logical conclusion for a Special Military Operation focused on precision strikes and a deliberate emphasis on sparing civilian lives and infrastructure while methodically disabling the Ukrainian military/logistics spectrum. All of that takes time. Yet Russia may have all the time in the world, as we all keep listening to the sound of the collective West spiraling down.

FM Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy

May 16, 2022

Moscow, May 14, 2022

Mr Lukyanov,

Mr Karaganov,

Colleagues,

I am glad to be here again, at this anniversary assembly. Last time, we met in this room on October 2, 2021. But I have an impression that this was in a totally different historical epoch.

I would like to congratulate you on the 30th anniversary of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy. Its activities are a fine example of Russian expert involvement in the foreign policy process. From the very start, the Council has brought together professionals, including politicians, state officials, journalists, academics, and entrepreneurs.  Throughout these years, this has ensured an effective and rewarding combination of practical experience and impeccable knowledge of the subject matter. Therein lies the key to comprehending the most complex international processes, particularly at stages like the present one. Advice, analytical materials, and debates (occasionally heated debates involving a clash of opinions) are of much help to us. We invariably take them into consideration in our foreign policy activities.

It is a cliche to say that this meeting is taking place at a historical turning point. I agree with the experts (Mr Karaganov and Mr Lukyanov have written a lot about this), who say that we again have to choose a historical path, like we did in 1917 and 1991.

The external circumstances have not just changed radically; they are changing ever more profoundly and extensively (though not becoming more elevated, unfortunately) with each passing day. And our country is changing along with them. It is drawing its conclusions. The choice we have taken is made easier by the fact that the “collective West” has declared a total hybrid war against us. It is hard to forecast how long this will last. But it is clear that its consequences will be felt by everyone without exception.

We did everything in our power to avoid a direct conflict. But they issued a challenge and we have accepted it. We are used to sanctions. We have been living under one or another form of sanctions for a long time now. The surprising thing is a surge of rabid Russophobia in almost all “civilised” countries. They have thrown to the wind their political correctness, propriety, rules, and legal norms. They are using the cancel culture against all things Russian. All hostile actions against our country are allowed, including robbery. Russian cultural figures, artists, athletes, academics, businesspeople and just ordinary citizens are exposed to harassment.

This campaign has not bypassed Russian diplomats. They often have to work under extreme conditions, occasionally with a risk to their health or life. We do not remember anything like the current massive and synchronised expulsion of diplomats happening even in the grimmest Cold War years. This is destroying the general atmosphere of relations with the West. On the other hand, this is freeing up energy and human resources for work in the areas with which our country’s future development should be associated.

In accordance with the demands of the times, we are carrying out our professional duties conscientiously and to the fullest extent. There are no traitors among our diplomats, although such attempts have been made from abroad and within the country. We do our best to defend the rights and interests of Russian citizens abroad. When the West hysterically reacted to the beginning of our special military operation and all flights were cancelled, we immediately helped Russians who were abroad at the time to return home. The routine consular services to Russians (of which there have always been many) are provided as always. It is clear that the situation demands that the diplomatic service works in a special regime. This is required by the new tasks set by the country’s leadership to protect national interests.

This is not only and not so much about Ukraine, which is being used as an instrument to contain the peaceful development of the Russian Federation in the context of their course to perpetuate a unipolar world order.

The Americans started preparing the current crisis long ago, right after the end of the Cold War, having decided that the way to global hegemony was then open. NATO’s eastward expansion has been one of the key components of such a course. We tried hard to convince them not to do this. We showed where and why our red lines are drawn. We were flexible, ready to make concessions and look for compromises. All this proved futile. President Vladimir Putin reminded us of this once again in his speech on May 9 on Red Square.

Today Western countries are ready to oppose Russia, as they now say, “to the last Ukrainian”. At first glance, this is a very convenient position, especially for the United States, which is managing these processes from across the ocean. At the same time, they are weakening Europe by clearing its markets for its goods, technologies and military-technical products.

In fact, the situation has many layers. Russia, the United States, China and all others realise that it is being decided today whether the world order will become fair, democratic and polycentric, or whether this small group of countries will be able to impose on the international community a neo-colonial division of the world into those who consider themselves “exceptional” and the rest – those who are destined to do the bidding of the chosen few.

This is the aim of the “rules-based order” concept that they have sought to introduce into general circulation for years. No one has seen, or discussed, or approved these “rules”, but they are being imposed on the international community. As an example, let me quote a recent statement by US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, who called for a new Bretton Woods framework and said that the United States would practice “the friend-shoring of supply chains to a large number of trusted countries” that shared “a set of [liberal] norms and values about how to operate in the global economy.” The hint is absolutely clear: the US dollars and the “benefits” of the international financial system are only for those who follow these American “rules.” Dissenters will be punished. Clearly, Russia is not the sole target, all the more so as we will fight back. The attack is aimed at all those capable of conducting an independent policy.  Take, for example, Washington’s pet Indo-Pacific strategy, which is directed against China. In parallel, it seeks to firmly and reliably harness India to the US and NATO. In the spirit of the Monroe doctrine, the United States wants to dictate standards to Latin America. The inevitable question is whether the Americans are really able to follow the key principle of the UN Charter, which states: “The Organisation is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.”

The “rules-based order” envisions neither democracy, nor pluralism even within the “collective West.” The case in point is the revival of tough bloc discipline and an unconditional submission of the “allies” to Washington’s diktat. The Americans will not stand on ceremony with their “junior partners.” The EU will finally lose all attributes of independence and obediently join the Anglo-Saxon plans to assert the unipolar world order, while sacrificing the Europeans’ quality of life and key interests in order to please the United States. Just recall how Victoria Nuland defined the EU’s place in Washington’s plans to reformat Ukraine in her conversation with the US Ambassador in Kiev in December 2013, at the height of the Maidan riots. Her prediction came true in its entirety. In security matters, the EU is also blending in with NATO, which, in turn, is making increasingly louder claims about its global ambitions. What defensive alliance? We are being told and assured to this day that NATO’s expansion is a defensive process and threatens no one. The Cold War defence line ran along the Berlin Wall – concrete and imagined – between the two military blocs. Since then, it has been moved east five times. Today, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and others are telling us that NATO has a global responsibility to solve security problems, primarily in the Indo-Pacific region. As I understand it, the next defence line will be moved to the South China Sea.

It is being insinuated that NATO as the vanguard of the community of democracies should replace the UN in matters of international politics, or at least bring global affairs under its sway. The G7 should step in to run the global economy and from time to time invite benevolently the extras the West needs at this or that moment.

Western politicians should accept the fact that their efforts to isolate our country are doomed. Many experts have already recognised this, even if quietly and off the record, because saying this openly is “politically incorrect.” But this is happening right now. The non-Western world is coming to see that the world is becoming increasingly more diverse. There is no escaping this fact. More and more countries want to have a real freedom to choose their development ways and integration projects to join. An increasing number of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are refusing to abandon their national interests and to pull chestnuts out of the fire for the former parent countries. An overwhelming majority of our partners, who have felt the effects of Western colonialism and racism, have not joined the anti-Russia sanctions. The West, which President Putin described as the “empire of lies,” has not been considered an ideal of democracy, freedom and well-being for a long time. By plundering other countries’ material assets, the Western countries have destroyed their reputation of predictable partners who honour their commitments. Nobody is safe from expropriation and “state piracy” now. Therefore, not just Russia but also many other countries are reducing their reliance on the US dollar and on Western technologies and markets. I am sure that a gradual de-monopolisation of the global economy is not a distant future.

We have taken note of Fyodor Lukyanov’s article published in the newspaper Kommersant (on April 29, 2022), in which he writes, with good reason, that the West will not listen to us or hear what we have to say. This was a fact of life long ago, before the special military operation, and a “a radical reorientation of assets from the west to other flanks is a natural necessity.” I would like to remind you that Sergey Karaganov has been systematically promoting this philosophy by for many years. It is perfectly clear to everyone that the process has begun and not on our whim – we have always been open to an equal dialogue – but because of an unacceptable and arrogant behaviour of our Western neighbours, who have followed Washington’s prompting to “cancel Russia” in international affairs.

Forging closer ties with the like-minded forces outside of what used to be referred to as the Golden Billion is an absolutely inevitable and mutually driven process. The Russia-China relations are at their all-time high. We are also strengthening our privileged strategic partnerships with India, Algeria, and Egypt. We have taken our relations with the Persian Gulf countries to a whole new level. The same applies to our relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as other countries in Asia-Pacific, in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

We are fully aware of the fact it is at this juncture, which perfectly lends itself to be called a turning point, that the place for Russia and all other countries and forces in the future international architecture will be determined.

We believe the aim of Russia’s diplomacy is, on the one hand, to act with great resolve to fend off all adversarial attacks against us, while, on the other hand, to consistently, calmly and patiently reinforce our positions in order to facilitate Russia’s sustained development from within and improve the quality of life for its people. There is much to be done, as usual. We always have a packed agenda, but in the current environment we are witnessing a serious shift in the mindsets of many of our comrades in all spheres of Russia’s life. This makes meetings held by the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy especially useful because they help nurture ideas which make their way into Russia’s foreign policy.

The US wants to keep its status as a superpower at any cost

May 14, 2022

Source

By Zamir Awan

The US is desperate to sustain its hegemony and supremacy. It is taking extreme measures and can go to any extent to keep its hegemony and supremacy. Its Petrodollars policy has been playing a significant role, but, facing challenges recently and the US is getting nervous and crazy.

The petrodollar is any U.S. dollar paid to oil-exporting countries in exchange for oil. The dollar is the preeminent global currency. As a result, most international transactions, including oil, are priced in dollars. Oil-exporting nations receive dollars for their exports, not their own currency.

In addition, most oil-exporting nations own their oil industries. That makes their national income depends on the dollar’s value. If it falls, so does their government’s revenue. As a result, most of these oil exporters also peg their currencies to the dollar. That way, if the dollar’s value falls, so does the price of all their domestic goods and services. That helps these countries avoid wide swings in inflation or deflation.

The petrodollar system is tied to the history of the gold standard. After World War II, the United States held most of the world’s supply of gold. It agreed to redeem any U.S. dollar for its value in gold if the other countries pegged their currencies to the dollar. Other countries signed this deal at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference. It established the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

On February 14, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the alliance with Saudi Arabia.1 He met with Saudi King Abd al-Aziz. The United States built an airfield at Dhahran in return for military and business training. This alliance was so critical that it survived subsequent years of differences of opinion over the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The 1945 agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia cemented the relationship between the dollar and oil. The petrodollar was born. In 1971, U.S. stagflation prompted runs on the dollar. Many countries asked to redeem their U.S. dollars for gold. To protect the remaining U.S. gold reserves, President Richard Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard. As a result, the value of the dollar plummeted. That helped the U.S. economy as its export values also decreased, making them more competitive. A falling dollar hurt oil-exporting countries because contracts were priced in U.S. dollars. Their oil revenue dropped along with the dollar. The cost of imports, denominated in other currencies, increased.

In 1973, Nixon asked Congress for military aid to Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The newly-formed Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries halted oil exports to the United States and other Israeli allies. The OPEC oil embargo quadrupled the price of oil in six months. Prices remained high even after the embargo ended. In 1979, the United States and Saudi Arabia negotiated the United States-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation. They agreed to use U.S. dollars for oil contracts. The U.S. dollars would be recycled back to America through contracts with U.S. companies. These companies improve Saudi infrastructure through technology transfer.

The United States uses the power of petrodollars to enforce its foreign policy. But many countries don’t fight back. They are afraid it would mean the collapse of the petrodollar system.

However, there was strong thinking against the Petrodollar concept and few Arab leaders declared to trade oil; in local currencies or any other currency, de-linking from dollars. The leading role was played by President Sadden Hussain, Col. Qaddafi of Libya, and the Syrian President. The US has punished them and changed the regimes in such countries.

China called for a replacement of the U.S. dollar as a global currency. Although, it is one of the largest foreign holders of the dollar. China influences the U.S. dollar by pegging its currency, the yuan, to it. China has signed a currency swap agreement with more than twenty countries and already trading with them in Yuan or local currencies. China is importing oil and gas from a few Arab nations in Yuan.

Russia has demanded to settle Gas bills in Rubles and a few European countries are already agreed to pay in Rubles. EU has also no objections if any member state pays in Rubles instead of Dollars. Russia is trading with few other nations in Rubles or local currencies instead of Dollars.

Russia has slashed the value of the dollar and the euro by 30% in a jiffy by linking the Russian Ruble to the value of gold and declaring to supply oil only against the Russian Ruble. Russia’s move means that now the entire world, especially Western Europe and Japan will buy the Russian Ruble by selling dollars in huge quantities, as the Russian Ruble has become the world’s most stable currency overnight after being linked to gold.

America, which does not mass-produce anything other than weapons and ammunition, is caught in a terrible economic crisis. In the event of a shrinking dollar, the US cannot cover its 306 billion budget deficit. This will cause severe unemployment and adversely affect the social safety net. This is the economic atom bomb that Joe Biden was aware of when he was talking about the removal of Putin in Poland.

Putin orders European countries to make payments of Gas and Oil in terms of Rubble and open the account in Russian banks. It will weaken the American sanctions on Russia. Although Russia has not retaliated against the American sanctions so aggressively, introduced its policies to counter the sanctions successfully.

The rapid decline of the US has made its leadership nervous and crazy. They are taking all possible measures to sustain their hegemony and supremacy. Even, though the Ukraine war is only a phenomenon, the objective is to maintain status-co. unfortunately, the US is not interested in global peace, stability, or saving human lives. The only priority is to maintain its hegemony and supremacy. To achieve this goal, the US can sacrifice Ukraine, Europe, or any heavy price. The US policy in the Ukraine war is to add fuel to fire, there is no will to stop the war, ceasefire, or save human lives. They are providing weapons, and arming civilians to lead toward a prolonged civil war, to bleed Russian and keep many countries over-engaged and let the US maintain its monopoly and the upper hand.

Russia was reluctant to attack Ukraine and has been observing restrains for quite along. Showing its genuine security concerns and alarming the US with serious consequences, but, the US kept its policy to encircle Russia.

The haphazard joining of NATO by Finland and the defense agreement with the UK is also equally a genuine threat to Russia. Russia and Finland share a long common border. Joining NATO, means, the deployment of NATO forces along the Russian border, which is a direct threat. Joining NATO by other Scandinavian nations is also a serious and matter of deep concern for Russia.

It seems the US has only one priority which is to sustain its position in the geopolitics, it ignores the genuine concerns of other nations. We are scared of the future of geopolitics and afraid the days to come may be harsh for humankind.

In history, many nations rose to the status of superpowers and ruled the world for a certain period of time, then, meltdown and passed the status of superpower to other rising nations. Like Roman Empire, Ottoman Empire, Greek Empire, British, and French empires, etc. But, The US is not willing to accept the natural cycle of superpowers and can go to any extent to keep its status of superpower forever, which is not rational nor natural, it might cause irrecoverable loss to humankind. Unfortunate!


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

(Updated with transcript) Ben Norton aka Multipolarista interviews Michael Hudson: Destiny of Civilization

May 12, 2022

Source

The decline of the US dollar, the three ‘systems’, the sanctions war on Russia, on the eve of the publication of Prof. Hudson’s new book:  The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism.”

UPDATE:  This wonderful transcript is now available just underneath the video

Transcript

BENJAMIN NORTON: Hey, everyone. I’m Ben Norton, and this is the Multipolarista podcast. And I have the great pleasure of being joined today by one of my favorite guests, one of I think the most important economists in the world today. I’m speaking with Professor Michael Hudson.

If you’ve seen any of the interviews I’ve done with Professor Hudson over the past few years, you probably know that he’s a brilliant analyst. He always has, I think, the best analysis to understand what’s going on economically and also politically, geopolitically, in the world today.

And right now is, I think, a very important moment to have Professor Hudson on today. We’re going to talk about the economic war on Russia and the process of economic decoupling between Russia and China and the West, which is something that Professor Hudson has talked about for many years. And that really has accelerated with the Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

We’re also going to talk about the decline in U.S. dollar hegemony. A recent report from the International Monetary Fund, which is dominated by the U.S., acknowledged that the use of the dollar in foreign bank reserves is gradually declining.

Now, it’s not going to disappear overnight. But even the IMF is acknowledging that dollar hegemony is eroding. And, of course, the IMF acknowledged that the Western sanctions on Russia are going to further erode the hegemony of the U.S. dollar.

We now see Russia doing business with China in the Chinese yuan. Russia is also doing business with India with the Indian rupee. And of course Russia has been telling Europe that if it wants to buy Russian energy, it has to do so with Russian rubles.

So there’s so much to talk about today, Professor Hudson, but I want to begin in the first half of this interview today talking about a new book that you’re just about to publish.

Today is Monday, May 9th. You said on Wednesday, May 11th, the book comes out. And it’s called “The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism.”

And everything that I just prefaced this interview with, discussing the economic war in Russia and sanctions and decoupling, this is all deeply related to what you talk about in this book. And I had the pleasure of getting an early copy and reading through it. It’s a really important book, I think.

And you talk about this fundamental divide internationally – and this is a divide that actually goes back historically as well – between these three models for different economic systems you discuss: finance capitalism, industrial capitalism, and socialism.

And your argument is that the U.S. empire has been a force for imposing neoliberalism, which is a particular form of finance capitalism, which is nonproductive, in which finance capital destroys productive industries in pursuit of rent-seeking, and what you call the rentier class.

So instead of producing, as the classical bourgeois economists had said capitalism would be a productive system instead, finance capitalism is fundamentally a system of destruction and debt.

And your argument is that this is deeply rooted in U.S. foreign policy. This is the U.S. foreign policy strategy for expanding its economic power, is imposing this finance capitalist model on the world.

So can you expand further on your argument about the fight between finance capitalism, industrial capitalism, and socialism, and why you decided to publish this book now?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well the book came out of a series of 10 lectures that I did for my Chinese audience. I’ve been a professor at Peking University for a number of years in economics, and have professorships at other universities, Wuhan and Hong Kong.

And I have a fairly large audience of about 65,000 people per lecture there. And I was asked to give my general overview, sort of a history of economic development in the West, for the Chinese.

And in order to understand today’s finance capitalism, you have to understand what industrial capitalism was, as it was described in the 19th century.

And it’s often forgotten, or played down, that industrial capitalism was revolutionary. What it was trying to do – from the physiocrats in France in the late 18th century to Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Marx, and the whole late-19th century flowering of socialism – the ideal of classical value theory and rent theory, was to say what is the actual value, the cost value of producing goods and services?

And what is earned by the capitalist, when he employs labor to make a profit, and what is unearned? And what is unearned was the landlord class. That was the hereditary warrior class that conquered all of the European kingdoms in the Middle Ages.

And the attempt by England’s industrialists was saying, look, we cannot become the workshop of the world; we cannot undersell foreign countries if we have a landlord class ripping off all of the money in land rent.

And if we have predatory banking, or the wealthy people just lend really for buying property, or making distressed loans or predatory loans that have nothing to do with financing actual capital formation.

Well, what made this capitalism revolutionary was the British industrialists and advocates of industry, even the bankers in Ricardo’s time, said, well, in order to overthrow the landlord class, which controls the House of Lords and all of the upper chambers of government in Europe, we have to have democratic reform.

If we have democratic reform and give voting to the people, they’re going to vote against the landlord class, and then we can have an efficient economy where our prices of our exports and our goods and services reflect the actual cost of production, not the rake off for the rentiers class, not the rake off of what landlords take, not the rake off of what predatory bankers take.

And the whole long 19th century leading up to World War One was this revolutionary value theory that depicted land rent and monopoly rent and financial returns as being unearned income and wanting to strip it away.

And all of this seemed to be moving toward socialism. The industrialists were all in favor of government public utilities, of government enterprise, because they said, if the government doesn’t provide health care, then individuals are going to have to pay it, and it’ll cost a lot of money, like it does in the United States.

And so you had the conservative prime minister of England, Benjamin Disraeli, saying, health, all is health, we’ve got to provide public health for the people.

And it was the conservative Bismarck in Germany that said, we’ve got to provide pensions. If labor has to save up for the pensions, then it’s not going to have enough money to buy the goods and services that we Germans are producing. We have got to make pensions public.

So all of this move towards socialism was not only in favor of increasing living standards, which soared in the 19th century, but also in freeing the economy from the rentier class, from the landlords, from the bankers.

And for the classical economists, a free market was a market free from landlords, free from bankers, free from monopolists.

Well, needless to say, the rentiers fought back. And by after World War Two, we’ve seen a continual anti-classical theory replacing the classical idea of free markets with a value of free theory, saying, well, everybody earns whatever they they have. All wealth is earned, not unearned. And if Goldman Sachs partners are paid more than anyone else, that’s because they’re so productive.

So you had a move rejecting classical economics, a junk economics, and a kind of artificial economics that doesn’t really talk about how finance capitalism has worked.

And as it turns out, the business plan of finance capitalism was so predatory that it was anti-industrial.

That’s why President Clinton in the United States moved to invite China into the International Labor Organization, saying, well, we can fight wage rises in America by a race to the bottom. We can we can hire Asians to do work, and that will cause unemployment here. And that’s wonderful for the industrialists. It will basically cut wages and keep American wages down.

Well, that basically is the strategy of finance capitalism, and the aim of finance capitalism is not to invest in factories, and plant equipment, and research and development, but to live in the short term, but to make money by financial engineering, not industrial engineering.

And it becomes predatory, and so you have the whole ideological attack on public enterprise. You have Frederick Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom,” where you say, if government provides public healthcare, that’s “the road to serfdom,” where actually it’s finance capitalism that is the road to debt peonage and serfdom.

And you have now a whole disparagement of government. And all of this is a counter-revolution to the revolutionary impetus of industrial capitalism in its early stages.

And it’s true that corporations now are just as right-wing as the the banks and the hedge funds. But that’s because corporate industry has been taken over by the financial sector, and the heads of almost every industrial corporation are rewarded the how high they can push the stock price, to exercise the stock options they’re paid in.

And you increase the stock price not by investing more, not by hiring more labor or increasing productivity or increasing sales, but simply by using whatever income you have to buy back your stocks. And by buying back your stocks, this forces up their price.

And, most of all, by giving political contributions in this country to the Democrats and Republicans alike, who appoint Federal Reserve heads that have spent $7-9 trillion buying up stocks and bonds to increase the price of buying a retirement income, to increase Wall Street prices, to increase housing prices, and make America even less competitive industrially.

So finance capitalism is what has essentially de-industrialized the United States and turned the Midwest into a Rust Belt.

Well, the alternative, obviously, are the societies that have not followed this neoliberal finance capitalist plan. And the most successful economy, obviously, has been China, which is why it has been spending so much time there.

And China has done exactly what 19th-century United States, Germany, England, and France did. It has kept basic utilities, basic needs, housing, and above all, finance and banking, in the public domain, as public utilities.

Instead of having an independent financial sector operating on its own self-interest, the Bank of China creates the money. And the Bank of China lends money by deciding, where do we need to have investment in real estate to provide housing for the population at as low a price as we can make it? How do we build up the industry? How do we provide an educational system with training? How do we provide health?

And the fact is that the central planning in an efficient socialist style, not the Stalinist planning that everybody refers to of Russia, but a mixed economy as you have in China, which is truly a mixed economy, with guidance, like the French planification.

Well, that is obviously the way in which you survive and you avoid the kind of overloading the economy with debt service, with high rents, with high payments to the health-care monopoly in the United States, by avoiding all of this payment to a rentier class that has what the classical economists call unearned income, predatory income.

And instead of unseating them, we’ve put them in charge, and made the banks and Wall Street, and the city of London, and the Paris Bourse, the central planners.

So we do have central planning much more centralized than anything that was dreamed by the socialists. But the planning, the centralized planning is done by the financial sector.

And financial planning is short-termism; it’s short-term planning; it’s take your money and run. And that’s what is stripping and impoverishing the global economy today.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Absolutely. And, in your book, you write about the important distinction between the classical economic idea of a so-called free market, and how, you argue that, neoliberals turn that idea on its head.

So this is what you write in your book. And this is, again, Michael Hudson’s new book, “The Destiny of Civilization,” which is out this week. You write:

“The neoliberal ideology inverts the classical idea of a free market from one that is free from economic rent to one that is free for the rentier classes” – that is the rent-extracting classes – “to extract rent and gain dominance.”

So they they completely flip the idea of what it means to have a free market.

And then you note that, “in contrast to classical political economy, this neoliberal ideology promotes tax favoritism for rentiers, privatization, financialization, and deregulation.” And you discuss all of that.

That is, of course, what we could call the Washington consensus.

And then you argue that “U.S. foreign policy seeks to extend this neoliberal rentier program throughout the world.”

And you have a very interesting section of your book where you discuss this concept as “free-trade imperialism.”

So can you talk about what your idea of “free-trade imperialism” is and how it relates to U.S. foreign policy?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, the Nobel Prize is given basically for junk economics. And probably the worst junk economist of the century was Paul Samuelson.

He made the absurd claim that he proved mathematically that, if you have free trade then, and don’t have tariffs, and don’t have any government protection, then everyone will become more equal. At least the proportions between labor and capital will be more equal. Well, the reality is just the opposite.

And the term “free-trade imperialism” was actually created by a British historian of trade theory who pointed out that, wait a minute, when England went for free trade, the idea was, if we have free trade, we can stifle other countries from being able to industrialize, because if we have free trade, then we can tell America, we will open our doors to your markets – meaning the markets of the slave South, that Britain supported – and in exchange, you will open your markets to our industrial goods.

And America followed that until the Civil War, which was fought not only over slavery, but by the Republican Party after 1853 that said very explicitly, if we’re going to win the election – the Whigs never could win – if we, the new party, are going to win the election and industrialize America, we’ve got to integrate ourselves with the anti-slavery issue, with emancipation, but for us, the economic war of America is a war of, either we’re going to have protective tariffs in the North, or we’re going to end up as a non-industrial, raw materials-producing society, as the South wants.

And that was the debate from 1815, when the Napoleonic wars ended and world trade began again, until really the Civil War.

And America became strong in the way that Germany became strong too, by having protective tariffs, in order to have prices large enough to nurture what was called infant industry, to nurture American manufacturing.

And I wrote a long book about this, published some years ago based on my PhD dissertation, “America’s Protectionist Takeoff.”

Well, the English tried to fight against other countries protecting their economy, saying that if you just have free trade, you’ll get rich. Whereas the reality is, if we have free trade, you’ll get poor, if you’re not already able to have industrial and labor productivity and agricultural productivity on par with the most advanced countries.

Free trade was an attempt to prevent other countries from investing government money and building up their agriculture, and building up their industry, and building up their productivity, and creating a school system, to raise wages, to make wages more productive.

And the American protectionists said, well, we’re going to have a high-wage economy because high-wage labor undersells pauper labor. And skilled, well-fed, well-rested American labor can produce much more than the pauper labor of other countries that have free trade.

Well, what the leading American protectionist economist, Erasmus Peshine Smith, went to Japan and helped industrial help Japan break away from British free trade, helped Japan industrialize.

And other American economists, other foreign economists, all picked up the ideas of the American protectionist, like Friedrich List went to Germany promoting protectionism.

And Peshine Smith’s book, “The Manual of Political Economy,” was translated into all the foreign languages – Japanese, Italian, French, German.

And you had Europe realizing that free trade polarizes economies. Well, it was this that after World War One, and especially World War Two, when you had orthodox economics turning into basically propaganda.

That’s where you and Samuelson and others try to convince other countries, governments are bad, leave everything to the wealthy people, to the finance people, trickle-down economies, it’s all going to trickle down, don’t worry, just give more money to the rich, and don’t have any government interference with markets.

Whereas America had got rich by interfering with markets, to shape them in the years leading up to World War One.

But after World War One, America had already achieved its industrial dominance. And it was after World War One that America said, ok, now our protective tariffs have enabled us to outproduce all the other countries, and our protectionist agriculture especially – the most protected sector in America, has always been agriculture, since the 1930s.

Basically it said, well, now we can outproduce other countries, we can undersell them, now we can tell them to go for free trade.

And after World War Two, the Americans created the World Bank for economic impoverishment, and the International Monetary Austerity Fund.

And the World Bank’s leading objective was to prevent other countries from investing in their own food production.

The guiding line of the World Bank was, we’ve got to provide infrastructure for building up plantation agriculture in Latin America, and Africa, and other countries, so that they will grow tropical export crops, but they cannot be permitted to grow grain or wheat to feed themselves; they must be dependent on the United States.

And so the function of free trade, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund has been to finance dependency, backed up by the American support of dictatorships throughout Latin America who agree to have client oligarchies supporting pro-American trade patterns and avoiding any kind of self-reliance, so that the United States can do what it has recently done to Russia and other countries, impose sanctions – say, well, now that you depended on us for your grain, we can now impose sanctions, and you can’t feed yourself if you don’t follow the policies we want.

That was the policy that America tried to use against China after Mao’s revolution. And fortunately for China, Canada broke that monopoly, and said, well, we’re going to sell grain to China. And China was always very friendly to Canada in those earlier decades.

So basically, free trade means no government, no socialism. It means central planning essentially by Wall Street – countries should let American firms come in, buy control of their raw materials, resources, control of their oil and gas, and mineral rights, and forests and plantations, and basically let other countries send their whole economic surplus to the United States, where it will be duly financialized to buy out other countries’ raw materials and rent yielding resources.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Yeah, and in your book, you have a very funny passage that I think really encapsulates this ideology that you’re talking about here.

You referred to Charles Wilson, who was the secretary of defense under Eisenhower in the U.S., and he was also the former CEO of General Motors.

And he famously said, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” And that idea has morphed into the idea that, “What’s good for Wall Street is good for America.”

And then you note that “this merged with evangelistic U.S. foreign policy that says ‘What’s good for America is good for the world.’ And therefore the logical syllogism is clear: ‘What’s good for Wall Street is good for the world.’”

And you describe this, you link it to the new cold war, this idea that what’s good for the U.S. is good for the world and what’s good for Wall Street is good for the U.S., therefore, what’s good for Wall Street is good for the world.

You argue, “We must recognize how finance capitalism has gained power over industrial economies, above all in the United States, from which it seeks to project itself globally, led by the financialized U.S. economy. Today’s new Cold War is a fight to impose rentier-based finance capitalism on the entire world.”

And this is such an important analysis. Because among those very few people of us who talk about this idea of the new cold war and how dangerous it is, there are very few people who frame it in economic terms.

Usually we frame it in political terms, right, the geopolitical interests between the US and the EU on one side, and China and Russia on the other.

And going back to Brzezinski and The Grand Chessboard, his 1997 book, where he talks about the importance of preventing near strategic competitors from emerging in Eurasia. That’s of course a geopolitical discussion and economics is part of it, but it’s often not at the forefront.

But your analysis I think is even more important, and more accurate, because your argument is not only is it geopolitical, but the geopolitical struggle is rooted in economics. And this is an economic struggle between systems.

So talk talk more about the new cold war and how you see it.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, as we’re seeing now, the world is dividing into two parts. We can see that in the fight against Russia, which is also a fight against China, and against India, as you noted. And it seems Indonesia and other countries as well.

The United States is pushing a world that can be controlled by American investors. The ideal of the American neoliberal plan is to do to other countries what it did to Russia after 1991: take all of your public domain, your oil companies, your nickel mines, your electric utilities, give them all to the wealthy oligarchy, that can only make money once it’s taken control of these companies, by selling the stocks to the West.

The West will buy out oil, just like Mikhail Khodorkovsky tried to sell Yukos oil to Standard Oil in the West. And we’ve got to put an oligarchy that will sell all of the national domain, all of the patrimony and natural resources, and all the companies, to American investors on the cheap.

The Russian stock market led all the stock markets in the world from 1994 up to about 1998. This was a huge rip off. The United States wants to be able to do that to the rest of the world.

And it was furious when Russia said, we’ve lost more population as a result of neoliberalism than we did in all of World War Two fighting against Nazism. We’ve got to stop.

And Russia began to say, we’ve got to use Russia’s population, and industry, and natural resources for Russia’s benefit, not for the United States’ benefit.

Well, the United States was absolutely furious with this. And the fury has erupted in the NATO war against Russia in the last few months, and what’s ongoing now.

And the United States says, U.S. State Department officials have said, what we want to do is carve up Russia into maybe four different countries: Siberia, western Russia, southern Russia or Central Asia, maybe northern Russia.

And once we’ve done that, we cut Russia off from China, then we go into China. We finance, we send ISIS and al-Qaeda into the Uyghur areas, the Muslim areas, and we start a color revolution there. And then we break up China, into a northern part, a southern part, a central part.

And once we break them up, we can more or less control them. And we can then come in, buy up their resources, and take over their industry, their labor, and their government, and get richer to obtain from China, Russia, India, Indonesia, and Iran the wealth that we’re no longer producing in the United States, now that we de-industrialized.

So the world is dividing into two parts. And it’s not simply the United States and its European satellites on the one hand versus the non-white population on the other hand; it’s finance capitalism versus the rest of the world, which is protecting itself by socialism, which in many ways fulfills what was the ideal of industrial capitalism during the 19th century, when industrial capitalism was actually progressive.

And it was progressive. That’s part of the whole theme of my book. It was revolutionary. It tried to free economies from the legacy of feudalism, from the legacy of hereditary landlords.

And now the financial class is no longer the landlord class, but the landlord class pays most of its rent to the financial class in the form of mortgage interest, as it borrows money to buy property and housing and commercial sites on credit.

And you have the kind of financialization that has increased housing prices in the United States to over 40% of income, that is officially guaranteed for mortgages. That has priced American labor out of the market.

Privatized health care, 18% of GDP, that is pricing America out of the world market. Debt, auto debt, student debt, which in other countries education is free; that’s pricing America out of the market.

So you have a basically un-competitive economy that’s committing financial suicide, following the same dynamic that destroyed the Roman empire, where a predatory oligarchy took over and maintained power by an assassination policy of its critics, just very similar to what America has been doing in Latin America and other countries.

So you’re having history repeat itself with this same kind of world split. And this split couldn’t have occurred back in the 1970s, with the Bandung Conference in Indonesia. There were other attempts by the Non-Aligned nations to break free of American imperialism, but they didn’t have a critical mass.

So right now, for the first time, you have a critical mass. And you have the ability of China, Iran, Russia, India, other countries together to be self-sufficient. They don’t need relations with the United States.

They can handle their own; they can create their own monetary system outside of the International Monetary Fund, which is basically an arm of the Defense Department. They can give loans to build up the infrastructure of countries outside of the World Bank, which is basically an arm of the Defense Department, the deep state.

So you have the American economy – essentially a merger between the military-industrial complex and the Wall Street FIRE sector, finance, insurance, and real estate – really cannot develop any more than the Roman Empire could develop, by trying to obtain militarily what it could not produce at home anymore.

Well, China and other countries, now that they have their industrial base, the raw materials, the food, the ability to feed themselves, the agriculture, and the technology, they can go their own way.

And so we’re seeing in the last few months the beginning of a war that is going to go on for, I think, 20 years, maybe 30 or 40 years. The world is splitting away.

And it won’t be a pretty sight, because the United States and its European satellites are trying to fight to prevent an inevitable break away they cannot prevent, any more than Europe’s landlord class could prevent industrial capitalism from developing in the 19th century.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Yeah, and this is a good segue to what I wanted to ask you about, Professor Hudson, which is the economic war on Russia.

And I should say, of course, that today is May 9th. Today is Victory Day in Russia, celebrating the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two. Not the US and British victory over Nazi Germany, the Soviet victory, in which 27 million Soviets died.

And actually I should say that, here on YouTube, in the comment section, there are some Russians who are your fans, Professor Hudson, saying they’re thanking you for your cogent analysis of Russia.

But on the subject of Russia, Professor Hudson, we now have seen that since Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine on February 24th, we saw really what could be referred to as financial shock-and-awe. That’s a term that’s been used.

Just as when the U.S. invaded Iraq, it waged a military shock-and-awe campaign on Iraq. Well, now it is waging economic or financial shock-and-awe on Russia.

And Russia has been referred to as the most heavily sanctioned country in history. Which I think is probably accurate, although maybe the DPRK, maybe North Korea, is more sanctioned. But I mean we’re talking about levels of sanctions not seen against a country of this size ever.

And you can also refer to it as the contemporary equivalent of medieval siege warfare against Russia.

Joe Biden, in a speech in Poland, made it clear what Washington’s goal is: it’s regime change. The U.S. wants to overthrow the Russian government, as it did in the Soviet Union in 1991, and clearly install a a pliant alcoholic neoliberal puppet like Boris Yeltsin.

So can you talk about, from an economic perspective, what do you see as the effects of this economic war on Russia?

And specifically in terms of the concept of decoupling, which you have talked about for years, and you have said that the Western sanctions on Russia and China were accelerating that process of decoupling. And this was before the financial shock-and-awe we’ve seen.

So you talked about a move away from this neoliberal globalization where everything is interconnected, or at least capital is interconnected globally, to the creation of a kind of, what you could say is kind of an economic iron curtain.

But how do you see that also in terms of integrating the Eurasian economies more deeply?

And also what is the effect on the European economies, which my impression is that Europe is going to become what you call an economic dead zone, more and more reliant on the U.S., whereas Russia, China, and Iran, and even potentially India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia – we’re seeing much more economic integration of Asia, which is, of course, where the majority of humanity lives.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well you have used the words shock-and-awe, picking it up from the U.S. statements of shock-and-awe. There hasn’t been any shock-and-awe; there’s been a self-defeating piffle, and laughter.

That’s not all. There was an attempt to grab $300 billion of Russia’s foreign reserves, saying, well, any country that leaves their reserves in American banks or in the American Monetary Fund to stabilize their currency, we can grab if we don’t like their policy.

So the idea was, now Russia is going to go broke. It can’t afford to buy anything without U.S. dollars. And the people are going to get so angry, they’re going to vote against Putin. And then we can pour in our money to twerps like Navalny and other right-wingers who have promised to be the new Yeltsins.

Well, it didn’t work that way. They did grab the $300 billion of Russia’s reserves. Russia immediately said, ok, we have our own money. We now, fortunately, have enough oil and gas that we don’t have to sell to Europe and Germany. If they want to freeze in the dark and let their pipes burst when the weather gets cold, that’s their problem. We’ll sell to India, and China, and other countries.

And there was, for a few days, the ruble plunged, by saying, uh oh, what is Russia going to do? So all the foreign exchange traders thought, you can trust Biden to have a really brilliant policies.

I think Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winner, said Biden is the greatest American president since Roosevelt, or since Truman, that he was so smart. Well, that’s why Krugman got the Nobel Prize, for making statements like that.

So immediately Russia said, well, obviously we can’t get paid in dollars anymore, or in euros, because, you’ll just grab them, so you’ll have to buy oil and gas in rubles. We’re going to price it in our own currency. Just like China had talked about pricing its exports in yuan.

And so what has happened is that immediately the ruble not only recovered, but is now selling at a higher rate than it was before the American sanctions. So there was no shock at all. The Americans felt shock.

The Americans are shocked. The Americans are awed. The Russians are laughing and everything is going their way.

So it’s almost as if – I would not accuse Biden of being on the pay of Russia, and I would not say that the leaders of Congress are the Russian agents, but if they were Russian agents, if they were paid by Russia, they could not have done a better job of helping Russia catalyzing its protectionism that it wouldn’t do itself.

The fact is that President Putin and many of the people around him still were neoliberals. I mean, they began as neoliberals, in the ’90s.

They began by hoping that they could make an arrangement with Germany and Europe, that Europe would develop their industry and make Russia as efficient an economy as Germany or the United States. Well, obviously that hasn’t happened.

All the same, they didn’t think of imposing protective tariffs as the United States did. They didn’t protect their agriculture. They bought grain, and cheese, and other agricultural products from the Baltics, and from other countries.

Well, now that, once the Americans put on the sanctions, beginning already under the Trump administration, all of a sudden Russia had to produce its own food.

And it did. It made the investment. It is now the largest agricultural exporter in the world, not a food-deficit country. It’s not importing any more cheese from Lithuania and the Baltics. It has its own cheese segment.

And the sanctions are forcing Russia to do exactly what the United States, Germany, and other protectionist countries did in the 19th century, developing their own industry by isolating it from low-priced foreign imports that would be priced so low that the Russians otherwise could not afford to make the investment in factories, plants, equipment, research, and development.

So what the United States has done is actually catalyze Russia moving together.

And also, for three or four years, I have been talking with Russians, and with the Chinese, and other countries about the need to de-dollarize. If you want to develop your own economy, you have to develop your economy in your own interest with public spending and planning, independent from the United States.

Well, now everybody thought that, well, in a few years it may take a decade for China, Russia, Iran, all these countries to break away from the U.S. But America said, we’re going to help you, we’re going to speed up the breakaway process. We’re going to isolate you. So you’ve got to band together against us.

So that’s exactly what it has done. You can just imagine how the Russians are crying all the way to the bank about this.

And how China is watching what the Americans are doing to Russia, and listening to President Biden saying, you know, Russia is not our real enemy, our real enemy of China. And when we’re finished with Russia, then we’re going to go against China and do the same thing to it.

Well you can imagine what this is leading the Chinese government to try to plan to be sufficiently independent from the United States, so that similar type sanctions will not hurt it.

And President Xi in the last few weeks has said we’ve got to make China as independent as possible. We’ve got to make our own computer chips. We’ve got to not depend on the United States for anything, except maybe Walt Disney movies. That’s basically about it.

So it’s as if – you know, I had mentioned earlier that finance lives in the short term. American policy, being financial policy, lives in the short term. And it’s looking at if it can make a quick, a quick victory, and forget about what’s going to happen next.

I’m told that, years ago, already from the war with Iran, and then Iraq and Syria, in the State Department, if there were Arab specialists who spoke Arabic, they were all fired. Because they said, well, if you can speak Arabic, you must’ve learned Arabic because you’re sympathetic with them. You’re fired. We won’t have anyone who can read Arabic here.

Well, now in the last decade or so, they fired all the Russia specialists from the the State Department and CIA, saying, well, if you can read Russian, why would you want to learn Russian? You must like something in Russia. You wanted to learn it. You’re fired.

So they have people who have no idea of what’s happening in Russia, no idea what’s happening in these other countries. And they’re blinded by their ideology.

And if anyone would say, wait a minute now, public planning and making education a public utility is actually making them more competitive, well, that’s against the ideology. That’s not the corporate type.

And they’re taught, well, we really can’t trust people, maybe they’re tending toward socialism, and they’re out the door.

So you’re having American policy pretty much run by the blind, and the Europeans are simply taking orders, and money in little white envelopes from the United States, to just show their loyalty, and basically are willing to spend three to seven times as much for their energy, for their liquefied natural gas and oil, by buying from the United States, than they are by a long-term contract with Russia.

Europe is willing to spend now $5 trillion on putting together ports that can handle shipping tankers for liquefied natural gas instead of relying on the Russian pipeline, the Nord Stream Two, that’s already there.

So Europe is making an enormous sacrifice. If it doesn’t have Russian gas, and it refuses to pay rubles, it says, if you don’t give us our gas and oil for free, you’re attacking us, because we’ve been getting all of your oil and gas for free, because all the dollars, all the money we pay, you’ve recycled to the United States in your foreign reserves. Thank heavens, the U.S. can grab it all. If you don’t continue to give it to us for free, then you’re attacking us.

To the United States, other countries protecting their economy, other countries trying to raise their living standards, and especially other countries undertaking land reform, are viewed as enemies of the United States, because they’re an enemy of the neoliberal American financial system.

And the idea of the unipolar world where the United States gets all of the profits, and rents, and interests of the world economy, just as ancient Rome stripped its provinces by getting all of their wealth and income for themselves, not producing it at home, while impoverishing their own domestic population. It’s just an exact parallel.

So Europe is willing to say, well, ok, if we don’t have a Russian gas, well, that means that our chemical companies cannot buy the gas to make the fertilizer to make our crops grow, and our agricultural productivity is going to fall by about 50%.

We’re also going to spend a lot more money on America’s military, NATO arms to support NATO. So higher food, higher military spending, higher energy costs.

This ends Europe as an industrial rival to Asia, and Eurasia, I should say, because now the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and other spending investment, capital investment, throughout Western Asia is creating a new productive plant that is not only self-sufficient, but is leaving the United States and Europe without any industrial competitive power. They’ve priced themselves out of the world market. They’re no longer competitive.

So the world is developing. And I’m sure the only way that the NATO countries can fight against it is militarily, by threatening to bomb. But they can’t fight economically. They can’t fight financially. They tried by disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system. It put it in its own system very quickly.

It really is left without a strategy, except that it’s done a wonderful job of controlling the public relations dimension of this war, making it appear as if somehow other countries are the aggressors, in not letting America exploit them, and making it appear as if Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine, instead of NATO prodding and prodding Russia to say, we’re going to capture your port at Crimea, and we’re going to attack the Russian-speakers if you don’t fight back, and we’re going to keep bombing them year after year, from 2014 on, we’re going to keep bombing them until you protect them.

So all of this is treated as if America is purely defending itself. Well, this is what the Nazis said in World War Two. Hitler and Goebbels said, we can always mobilize a population to support our war by saying it’s a war to defend ourselves.

And that’s how the United States in Europe are doing it. Not only are they pulling a strategy out of Goebbels’ Nazi book, but a few weeks ago, Germany went to the museums, the military museums, where they had the old Panzer tanks from World War Two, and they sent the Panzer tanks, the Nazi tanks from World War II, to Ukraine, saying this is symbolic, now we can fight Russia with the same German Nazi tanks run by the neo-Nazi groups, that Zelensky is supporting, the same Nazi fight against Russia. We can reenact World War Two with the same tanks, even symbolically, to show that this is a fight of Naziism, and neoliberalism, against Eurasia.

BENJAMIN NORTON: We’ve also seen Germany not only re-militarizing, but also boosting its relations with Japan. There are some terrifying echoes of of World War Two.

But you mentioned something that I want to analyze a little bit more, which is the strength of the Russian ruble. I talked about the concept of financial shock-and-awe that was waged on Russia. And President Biden said, “the Russian ruble has become rubble,” he joked. He said the Russian ruble has become rubble.

Well, that’s actually not at all what happened. This is the value of the dollar to Russian rubles, right now [showing a graph]. Russian rubles are at 69 to the dollar. A few days ago, it was at 64, or 65 to the dollar, which is actually better than it was even before the Russian war in Ukraine, which began in February 24th.

And it did spike, and there was a peak here, at which it was devalued to 139 to the dollar, about half the value it has now. But in the months leading up to the Russian military intervention, in November and December, it was around 75 to the dollar.

So the ruble has actually strengthened despite these sanctions. And here’s a report from Reuters from five days ago, that was May 4th: the “Rouble leaps to over 2-year high vs dollar, euro as EU ups sanctions.” So the ruble is doing quite well.

And you talked about the Russian mechanism to force Europe to buy energy exports from Russia in the Russian ruble. And this graphic here, for people watching, it’s in Russian, but really it just shows this mechanism in which a European firm that wants to buy gas from Russia’s state owned gas giant Gazprom, it has to send the money in euros to the Gazprombank, which is the obviously the bank that works with Gazprom, and then it puts it in a special account in euros, and then that is sold in the Moscow exchange for Russian rubles.

And then those rubles are put in another special account, called a K account, that belongs to that European firm. It has two accounts, two special accounts with Gazprombank, one in euros, one in rubles. And then this special ruble account sends that money to Gazprom. And then once the money reaches Gazprom, that’s when Russia considers that the payment officially went through.

So this is the mechanism by which Russia is getting paid in rubles. And much of Europe claimed at first that they would not do so, but eventually they gave in. So that’s an incredible development.

And related to that, what I wanted to ask you about, is I think another reason that the Russian ruble has strengthened and stabilized is not only because Russia continues to maintain constant exports of energy to Europe and other parts of the world.

You can talk about the central bank policies. But one of the policies is that the Russian central bank has basically put the ruble on gold, which I think is a very interesting and historic development.

And we saw that from the beginning of April until the end of June, the Bank of Russia says that it’s going to buy gold at a fixed price of 5000 rubles per gram of gold. And then the question is whether or not in July, when this policy ends, if it’s going to continue, and if the ruble will basically become fixed, it become pegged to gold like the U.S. dollar was up until 1971.

So you don’t think it will be? So talk about this policy. Do you think that that the gold standard is going to come back? Or apparently you don’t think so.

MICHAEL HUDSON: No, Russia is not going on on the gold standard. What it is doing is investing, its foreign exchange in the only way that is not grabbable. It’s investing it in gold; it’s putting gold in its reserves.

It is not setting its exchange rate according to the price of gold, but it is buying gold with what it has been getting.

I want to go back to your talk about rubble. You talked about, “from ruble to rubble,” what President Biden said.

There have been a lot of pictures of rubble in the news for the last few days. For instance, there are talks of, here’s a Ukrainian picture, and look at this picture of a Russian tank, we shot it down, it’s rubble. Turns out it’s a Ukrainian tank, that they just say it was the Russian tank we shot down.

So basically, they’re taking their own destruction, and they’re saying that, while they’re being destroyed, they’re saying, no, this is a picture of Russia being destroyed, Russian assets, not Ukrainian assets being destroyed.

Well, the similar thing is with the Russian ruble. America says, look, we’ve isolated the the ruble. Well, what has happened? If you isolate the ruble and you say we’re not going to export anything more to Russia, so it’s not going to be able to spend any of its rubles on buying American or European products.

Well, meanwhile, Russia can continue to earn rubles from Germany and Europe, and it can continue to earn foreign exchange from other countries that it’s selling its agriculture to at rising prices, its oil and gas at rising prices, too. So obviously, the balance of payments is going way up.

And they believe that what is in store is a new monetary system that is an alternative to the dollar IMF system.

And in this system other countries will hold their reserves in each other’s currencies. In other words, Russia will hold Indian rupees and Chinese yuan. China will hold rupees and Russian rubles.

There will be the equivalent of what Keynes thought of as something like artificial special drawing rights that the banks will be able to create to help fund governments to undertake capital investment.

But for settlements settling balance of payments deficits among countries, once they don’t have enough foreign exchange to make a swap, they will use gold as the means of settlement, because gold is a pure asset. It’s not a liability.

Any foreign currency basically is held in a foreign country that has the power to do what America did to Russia and just grab it all, and say, we’re just wiping it all out.

It’s as if you have a bank account, and the bank says, we’ve just emptied out your account to give it to one of our friends, and you don’t have it anymore. You can’t do that if gold is held in your own country.

Venezuela made the problem of keeping its gold in England, trusting England, saying that, even if there is war, they’ll never interrupt gold and finance. And England just grabbed Venezuela’s gold.

So, obviously, countries are not going to leave their gold in other countries. Even little Germany has asked America to begin sending back the gold that it has in the Federal Reserve Bank of America because it’s worried that what if it ever buys Russian gas again? America will grab all of Germany’s gold, grab all the German money, and it’ll be like World War One all over again.

So this act that America did of grabbing Russian money, Afghanistan’s foreign reserves it grabbed, this is telling all the other countries, pull all your money out of dollars. What are they going to put it in? There’s not that much they can put it in that it is absolutely safe.

So gold is a flight to safety today, because it’s one of the things that all of the world realizes as having an international value for settling balance of payments deficits, that is independent of world politics.

So that’s the explanation. Russia is not going on gold. It’s going on an independent standard from the United States with gold as an element of its foreign reserve, just as it’s holding Chinese yuan and Indian rupees.

It’s not going on the rupee standard. It’s not going on the yuan standard. And it’s not going on the gold standard. But these are elements of its foreign reserves.

BENJAMIN NORTON: I have a question for you. It’s kind of a more technical question that I’ve always wondered. And I’ve tried to do research on this, because there’s not much information.

So we know that that the U.S. and European Union have frozen over $300 billion from Russia’s central bank foreign exchange reserves. And of course they did this after doing the same to Iran, to Venezuela, to Afghanistan, which is now threatening a famine in Afghanistan that could kill more people than died in the 20-year NATO-U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan, which is another topic that really needs to get more coverage.

And I should add, by the way, that the US and the EU, they’ve frozen nearly half of Russia’s central bank’s foreign exchange reserves, and are now saying they’re not going to give it back. So they stole it. I mean, they stole half of its reserves.

My question is, what is the mechanism by which they effectively freeze and steal those reserves?

Because my understanding is that there is of course a physical element of those reserves, which you’re talking about, which is gold. But not all of the $640 billion in Russia’s central bank reserves is physical currency, right? A lot of it is just computerized? It’s number in computers and bank accounts.

So when when the U.S. and the EU steal this money from central banks like in Russia or Afghanistan – obviously in the case of Venezuela, as you mentioned, they physically stole the gold. But if it’s not gold, is it physical cash stored in Moscow, like physical dollars and euros? Or it’s mostly just numbers in a computer, which is why they can steal it?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Every country needs to manage its exchange rates, and there’s always like an up-and-down and a zigzag in the flow of payments for imports and exports, investment, capital movements, debt service, all of that.

So countries want to stabilize their exchange rate. How do they do that? Well, most of the big exchange markets are in New York and in London.

So countries would leave their money in correspondent banks. Like when Iran, at the time under the shah, kept that foreign reserve in the Chase Manhattan Bank. So when Iran, after the revolution and Khomeini came in, and Iran wanted to pay interest on the foreign debt that the shah had run up, they told Chase, please, here’s our bondholders, please pay them.

Well Chase was told by the Treasury, don’t pay them, just take the money and hold it. So Chase said, we put a freeze on your account. And so Iran defaulted, and then Chase and the State Department said, oh, Iran defaulted, it missed the payment. Now, all the money that it’s due for foreign debt has to be paid all at once. And Chase paid all of the bondholders off. No more money in the account. It was all emptied out.

Suppose you had an account in Chase Manhattan. And they said, ok, now you’ve done something really bad, you put Michael Hudson on the show. We’re going to grab your account. We’re going to give it to Mr. Guaidó, because he needs the money in Venezuela because the people still are not voting for him. So all of a sudden, you won’t have money in your account. It’ll go to Mr. Guaidó’s account.

Well, that’s what happened with Russia. They took the money. They grabbed the money from Russia’s account. And they said, half the money we’re going to give to, I think, to the 9/11 people, because we all know that it was Russia that bombed the World Trade Center on 9/11.

And we’re going to give it to all sorts of other people who suffered all over the world. It’s all Russia’s fault.

BENJAMIN NORTON: But Professor Hudson, when you say that they seized Russia’s assets, you mean the assets held by the Russian central bank in foreign bank accounts?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Yes, yes.

BENJAMIN NORTON: And these are not physical assets, these are numbers in a computer, right?

MICHAEL HUDSON: In Venezuela’s case, Venezuela had used some of its oil company earnings to buy oil stations and refining companies and the United States actually grabbed the ownership of the gas stations and the refineries and distribution system that Venezuela had in America.

BENJAMIN NORTON: It’s called Citgo.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Citgo, yeah. Russia doesn’t really have any capital investments in the United States. It did have bank accounts, and that was all that the United States could grab.

BENJAMIN NORTON: So when you say that, when Russia, at least for now, the central bank is allowing convertibility of rubles at a set rate into gold, that’s a temporary policy to make sure that they have a physical asset that their central bank can hold on to, because if they have dollars or euros in their reserves, my understanding is that’s not physical cash, it’s actually just numbers in a computer, so they don’t have it physically in their bank reserves, so it’s easy to steal that money.

Obviously, if they had billions of dollars worth of cash, of paper cash, it would be much harder to steal it, but if it’s just on a bank account, if it’s numbers in a computer, then they can just freeze it.

So I think this is also a reflection of a point that you’ve also made about the financialization of the economy, is it’s also just a lot of this capital is not even physical capital.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Yes. Savings take the form – one person’s savings is another person’s debt. So these are Russia’s deposits in American banks that it used to buy or sell rubles, or to buy goods from America, or to receive payments in, if Russia exports something such as oil. Americans buyers of Russian oil would put the money into the Russian bank account.

They never dreamed that this would be grabbed. But now Russia says, ok, you’ve grabbed our money, now that means that we get to grab all of your assets in Russia. This is great! All of your stock holdings in nickel, and Yukos, and all these other companies, ok, you’ve got the money, we have the assets, look at us as just buying the assets on the cheap.

And the Western investors in Russia have all been selling their Russian assets to show that they’re good American citizens in NATO, and the Russians are buying up these European and American assets on the cheap, largely by borrowing money from the banks, that get the money from the central bank, now that they’re so wealthy, and all of the foreign exchange reserves is a result of the American shock-and-awe statement, that’s sort of shock-and-awe in reverse.

So Russia is coming through just fine. And you can imagine how the American strategists are gnashing the teeth. They don’t understand how Russia was able to avoid being bankrupted by this.

They really are not economists. They’re not really financiers. They’re foreign-policy strategists. They’re ideologues that are not very well educated in how to think about the future and how to recognize the fact that the world can actually change from what it is today into something else. And sometimes that change is not in America’s interests. That is sort of not a permitted thought over here.

So essentially, Americans and Europe are operating in the blind, and Russia and China, and Iran, and India, are all looking at how are we going to restructure the world so that we come out of it more prosperous than we were before, not more impoverished. That’s really what the world is dividing into.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Professor Hudson, I don’t know if this is directly related, but it’s it’s something that’s always been a very curious question in my mind.

Germany, back in 2016 and 2017, it moved, physically moved, its central bank’s gold reserves, which had been stored in New York, London, and Paris, and it physically moved those reserves, those gold reserves, to Frankfurt.

Now this was before the U.S. and Britain stole Venezuela’s gold reserves and other reserves. But do you know anything about what motivated Germany’s central bank to move the physical location of its gold reserves into Germany itself?

MICHAEL HUDSON: I don’t think it’s all moved yet. It’s still going on. Gold is very heavy, as heavy has lead, basically. And America said, well, we can only do a little bit, trickle by trickle. So America has been returning the gold very slowly.

So I think Germany, with all of its history of hyper inflation, I think just realizes that, now that gold is not used to settle balance of payments deficits anymore – the gold that Germany had in America was all of the exports that it made to the United States during the Vietnam War. This is Vietnam War gold.

You remember that President de Gaulle would every month cash in, the dollars that America spent in Vietnam would all be spent from Vietnam to Paris, the dollars would end up there, the central bank of Paris would essentially buy gold on the London exchange and keep the gold either in New York or in London.

Well, Germany, because America defeated Germany, and it wasn’t going to keep its gold in Russia, that defeated it even more, it said, well, ok, we’re cashing in our surplus dollars for gold, but we’re going to hold the gold in America.

But now it says, well, America is never going to settle its balance of payments deficits and its foreign debt in gold again, because it doesn’t have any balance of payments surplus, any ability to do that.

It’s going to spend its export surplus and its investment surplus on war. So it’s never going to be able to pay. That’s obvious. Let’s get the gold back.

That was the calculation that every country was making already a decade ago. They realized that America can never repay its foreign debt, unlike other countries.

When other countries can’t pay their foreign debt, they have to go to the International Monetary Fund, that tells them, well, we’ll make you a loan, but you have to sell off your natural resource reserves to the Americans, or we won’t lend you the money.

Well, basically, that’s not going to happen anymore. They realized that America is just going to say, haha, we’re just not going to pay.

Well, now other countries are saying, wait a minute, if America’s never going to repay its foreign debt, why do the Global South countries have to pay their debt to the IMF and the World Bank, all this dollar debt to dollar bondholders?

If America won’t pay, we don’t have to pay. Let’s have a clean slate. Let’s start from the beginning. And we’re only going to have debt and credit relations with friendly countries, not countries that want to go to war with us like America did in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and now Russia.

So that’s basically what’s happening.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Great. And just to wrap up here, I have another question. And I know your time is limited, so I really appreciate you being here.

I have a quick question about the decline in U.S. dollar hegemony. We were talking about the strength of the ruble, the economic war on Russia; we talked about the bilateral trade that’s growing between Russia and China using the Chinese yuan, between Russia and India using the Indian rupee. And Iran also is talking about doing business with a basket of currencies.

I want to point to a report that was recently published by economists who work with the IMF. And I published an article about this over at Multipolarista.com, “IMF admits US dollar hegemony declining due to rise of Chinese yuan and sanctions on Russia.”

And there is this report that was published by the IMF, by these economists, and I cite you, Professor Hudson, in this report. It’s a working paper from the IMF, published in March, titled “The Stealth Erosion of Dollar Dominance.”

And here’s a graph, for people watching, here’s a graph from the report. And it shows not a large, but a noticeable and consistent decline in the use of the holding of the U.S. dollar in the foreign exchange reserves of central banks around the world. So this is around the world.

And it has declined in the past years from about 70% of central bank exchange reserves to about 60%. So a 10% decline. That’s not massive, but it’s steady and I think it’s going to accelerate.

And at the same time they’ve also found an increase in the use of what they call “non-traditional currencies” in the foreign exchange reserves of central banks around the world.

And here you can see this graph. I mean it looks like a significant influence because if you look at the y-axis it’s only from 90 to 100. But there is a significant increase in the use of other currencies in foreign exchange reserves, aside from the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen, and the British pound. And the currency that is increasingly popular is the Chinese yuan.

So that’s one half of my question. The other half is about this interesting report that was published in the Financial Times, and it’s titled “Russia Sanctions Threaten to Erode Dominance of Dollar, says IMF.”

And the FT interviewed the IMF’s first deputy managing director, Gita Gopinath, who acknowledged that the sanctions imposed on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine could lead to what she says “fragmentation at a smaller level.”

And she did say that the dollar is eroding influence, but “would remain the major global currency.”

So, that’s a two part question. I’m wondering if you could talk about the decline in U.S. dollar hegemony and how the sanctions will potentially erode that. And then the other half of the question is, can you comment on the declining use of dollars in foreign exchange reserves?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, this is what my book “Super Imperialism” was all about. When I first published it in 1972, I could see how the whole thing was unfolding for the next 50 years. And we just published last year a third edition of it, bringing it up to date.

Dollar hegemony means America’s entire balance of payments deficit in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s was military. So the dollars that were being pumped into the world economy were the result of military spending.

But the dollars would end up in foreign central banks, especially from Asia to France, Germany, others. What were they going to do with it? Well after 1971 they could not buy gold anymore, so all they could do was buy U.S. Treasury securities. IOUs.

And so they re-lent to the Treasury all the money that America was spending militarily. And the more money America spent in waging its cold war militarily against the world, the more money central banks would lend to the U.S. government to finance the U.S. deficit that was spent largely on the military-industrial complex and foreign military operations.

So dollar hegemony was a free lunch financing America’s almost 800 military bases across the world, to fight against communism, defined as any country that doesn’t let American industry and finance buy control of its raw materials, agriculture, resources.

And this has now come to an end. Right now America has grabbed Afghanistan’s, and Russia’s gold. All of a sudden it’s obvious that, this summer, there’s going to be an enormous squeeze on Third World countries, on the Global South.

Their energy prices are going to go way up, and that’s going to hurt them just like the oil shock of 1974 and 1975 did.

They’re going to have to pay higher food costs, because of food prices are going to go way up now that the Ukraine war is erupting.

And a lot of their foreign debt, dollarized debt service, is coming due. And they’re facing a choice: if they pay the foreign debt, they can’t afford to buy the oil and energy that they need to run their factories and heat their homes. They can’t afford to buy the food to feed their people. Whose interests are they going to put first?

Well of course their leaders are going to put America’s interests first, and their own interests second, because their leaders, if they’re a client oligarchy, are put in power by the U.S. military, as sort of miniature Pinochets, throughout Latin America and other countries.

So suppose other countries decide, well, we’re going to feed ourselves and we’re not going to wreck our economy just to pay foreign bondholders. We’re a sovereign country. We’re going to put our national interests first.

Well, then the United States can say, aha, we’re going to grab all of your foreign assets in the United States.

Well, other countries can say, oh, they’re going to do to us just what they did to Afghanistan and Russia. Let’s move our money out of the United States quickly. If we don’t have dollars, well, it’s true, we can’t pay our dollar bondholders, but at least we can, in international markets, we can buy the food and the energy we need.

And so the tensions, the disruption of world prices, and inflation, and trade that is a result of the NATO attack on Russia, now threatens to drive all of the southern hemisphere countries into an alliance with Russia, China, India, and all the rest.

So America basically is creating a new Berlin Wall, but the wall is isolating itself from other countries, and driving other countries all together into what I hope will be a happy, self-sufficient, non-U.S. globalized economy.

BENJAMIN NORTON: Well, I want to thank you, Professor Michael Hudson. It’s always a real pleasure having you. I know you’re very busy, so thank you for giving us so much of your time.

I’ll say that the comment section here on YouTube has been very vibrant, with some interesting conversation. And what’s nice is there are people from all over the world, from the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and from Russia. So it’s good to see a mix of people.

And for anyone who wants to listen to this, you can check out the podcast version if you look up Multipolarista on Spotify, and iTunes, and all the other podcast platforms.

And I’ll just say, while I wrap up here, that today we were talking about, at the beginning of this discussion, a new book that Michael Hudson is publishing this week. It is called “The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism, or Socialism.”

It’s a very good book. I had the privilege of getting a review copy early. So definitely check out that book.

You can also find all of Professor Hudson’s writings at michael-hudson.com.

Thanks, Professor Hudson.

MICHAEL HUDSON: It’s really good to be here. It was a good discussion.

Dollar Plunges against Russian Ruble to Lowest Level in 2 Years!

May 4, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The exchange rate of the dollar and the euro fell against the Russian ruble on Wednesday, and the US currency was trading below the level of 69 rubles for the first time since June 2020, while the euro was trading below the level of 73 rubles.

At the beginning of trading, the dollar exchange rate fell to the level of 68.63 rubles, for the first time since June 2020, while the euro exchange rate fell to the level of 72 rubles.

In terms of stock trading, the Moscow Stock Exchange index denominated in rubles [Mexis] decreased by 0.02 percent to 2444.67 points, while the index of the stock exchange denominated in rubles [RTS] rose by 0.87 percent to 1091 points.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the Xinhua News Agency (China), April 30, 2022

May 01, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1811525/

Question: What do you think is at the root of the Ukrainian crisis? What can the international community do to solve this problem?

Sergey Lavrov:  When we talk about the Ukrainian crisis, first of all we need to look at the destructive policy of the Western states conducted over many years and led by the United States, which set a course to knock together a unipolar world order after the end of the Cold War. NATO’s reckless expansion to the East was a key component of those actions, despite the political obligations to the Soviet leadership on the non-expansion of the Alliance. As you know, those promises were just empty words. All these years, NATO infrastructure has been moving closer and closer to the Russian borders.

The West was never concerned about the fact that their actions grossly violated their international obligations not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others. In particular, Washington and Brussels arrogantly rejected the initiatives put forward by Russia in December 2021 to ensure our country’s security guarantees in the west: to stop the expansion of NATO, not to deploy armaments that pose a threat to Russia in Ukraine and to return the Alliance’s military infrastructure to the 1997 configuration, when the NATO-Russia Founding Act was signed.

It is well-known that the United States and NATO member states have always viewed Ukraine as a tool to contain Russia. Over the years, they have actively fuelled anti-Russia sentiments there, forcing Kiev to make an artificial and false choice: to be either with the West or with Moscow.

It was the collective West that first provoked and then supported the anti-constitutional coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014. Nationalists came to power in Ukraine and immediately unleashed a bloody massacre in Donbass, and set the course on the destruction of everything Russian in the rest of the country. Let me remind you that it was precisely because of this threat that the people of Crimea voted in a referendum for the reunification with Russia in 2014.

Over these past years, the United States and its allies have done nothing to stop the intra-Ukrainian conflict. Instead of encouraging Kiev to settle it politically based on the Minsk Complex of Measures, they sent weapons, trained and armed the Ukrainian army and nationalist battalions, and generally carried out the military-political development of Ukraine’s territory. They encouraged the aggressive anti-Russia course pursued by the Kiev authorities. In fact, they pushed the Ukrainian nationalists to undermine the negotiating process and resolve the Donbass issue by force.

We were deeply concerned about the undeclared biological programmes implemented in Ukraine with Pentagon’s support in close proximity to the Russian borders. And, of course, we could not disregard the Kiev leadership’s undisguised intentions to acquire a military nuclear potential, which would create an unacceptable threat to Russia’s national security.

In these conditions, we had no other choice but to recognise the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and launch the special military operation. Its aim is to protect people from genocide by the neo-Nazis, as well as to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine. I would like to stress that Russia is acting to fulfil its obligations under bilateral agreements on cooperation and mutual assistance with the DPR and LPR, at the official request of Donetsk and Lugansk under Article 51 of the UN Charter on the right to self-defence.

The special military operation launched on February 24 is progressing strictly in accordance with the plan. All its goals will be achieved in spite of our opponents’ counteractions. At the moment we are witnessing a classic case of double standards and hypocrisy of the Western establishment. By publicly supporting the Kiev regime, NATO member states are doing everything in their power to prevent the completion of the operation by reaching political agreements. Various weapons are flowing endlessly into Ukraine through Poland and other NATO countries. All of this is being done under the pretext of “fighting the invasion”, but in fact the United States and the European Union intend to fight Russia “to the last Ukrainian.” They do not care at all about the fate of Ukraine as an independent subject of international relations.

The West is ready to jeopardise the energy and food security of entire regions of the globe to satisfy its own geopolitical ambitions.

What ither explanation is there for the unrestrained flywheel of anti-Russian sanctions launched by the West with the start of the operation and which they aren’t thinking of stopping?

If the United States and NATO are truly interested in settling the Ukrainian crisis, then, first, they must come to their senses and stop supplying weapons and ammunition to Kiev. The Ukrainian people do not need Stingers and Javelins; what they need is a solution to urgent humanitarian issues.

Russia has been doing this since 2014. During this time, tens of thousands of tonnes of humanitarian cargo have been delivered to Donbass, and about 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid have already arrived in the part of Ukraine liberated from the Kiev regime, the DPR and the LPR, since the launch of the special military operation.

Second, it is essential that the Kiev regime stops cynical provocations, including in the information space. Ukrainian armed formations are barbarically shelling cities using civilians as living shields. We saw examples of this in Donetsk and Kramatorsk. Captured Russian servicemen are being abused with animal cruelty, and these atrocities are being posted online. At the same time, they use their Western patrons and global media controlled by the West to accuse the Russian army of war crimes. As they say, laying the blame at somebody else’s door.

It is high time for the West to stop unconditionally whitewashing and covering up for Kiev. Otherwise,

Washington, Brussels and other Western capitals should consider their responsibility for complicity in the bloody crimes perpetrated by the Ukrainian nationalists.

Question: What measures has Russia taken to protect the lives and property of civilians? What efforts has it made to establish humanitarian corridors?

Sergey Lavrov: As I mentioned earlier, the special military operation is proceeding according to plan. Under this plan, the Russian military personnel are doing everything in their power to avoid victims among civilians. Blows are carried out with high-precision weapons, first of all at military infrastructure facilities and places where armoured vehicles are concentrated. Unlike the Ukrainian army and nationalist armed groups that use people as living shields, the Russian army provides the locals with all kinds of assistance and support.

Humanitarian corridors open daily from Kharkov and Mariupol to evacuate people from dangerous districts, but the Kiev regime demands that the “national battalions” in control of those areas do not release the civilians. Nevertheless, many are able to leave with the assistance of Russian, DPR and LPR servicemen. During the special military operation, the hotline of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine has received requests for assistance in evacuating 2.8 million people to Russia, including 16,000 foreign citizens and employees of UN and OSCE international missions. In total, 1.02 million people have been evacuated from Ukraine, the DPR and LPR, of which over 120,000 are citizens of third countries, including over 300 Chinese nationals. There are over 9,500 temporary accommodation facilities operating in Russian regions. They have space for rest and hot meals, and everything that may be necessary. Newly arrived refugees are provided with qualified medical and psychological assistance.

Russia is taking measures to ensure civilian navigation in the Black and Azov seas. A humanitarian corridor opens daily, a safe lane for ships. However, Ukraine continues to block foreign ships, creating a threat of shelling in its internal waters and territorial sea. Moreover, Ukrainian naval units have mined the shore, the ports and territorial waters. These explosive devices disconnect from their anchor lines and drift into the open sea, so they pose a serious danger to both the fleets and the port infrastructure of the Black Sea countries.

Question: Since the special military operation was launched in Ukraine, Western counties have adopted a large number of unprecedented sanctions against Moscow. How do you think these sanctions will affect Russia? What are the main countermeasures taken by Russia? Some say that a new Cold War has begun. How would you comment on that?

Sergey Lavrov: It is true that the special military operation was used by the collective West as a pretext to unleash numerous restrictions against Russia, as well as its legal entities and individuals. The United States, Great Britain, Canada and EU countries do not conceal that their goal is to strangle our economy by undermining its competitiveness and blocking Russia’s progressive development. At the same time, the Western ruling circles are not embarrassed by the fact that anti-Russian sanctions are already beginning to harm ordinary people in their own countries. I mean the declining economic trends in the United States and many European countries, including growing inflation and unemployment.

It is clear that there can be no excuse for this anti-Russian line and it has no future. As President Vladimir Putin said, Russia has withstood this unprecedented pressure. Now the situation is stabilising, though, of course, not all risks are behind us.

In any case, they will not succeed in weakening us. I am confident that we will restructure the economy and protect ourselves from our opponents’ possible illegitimate and hostile actions in the future. We will continue to give a fitting and adequate response to the imposed restrictions, guided by the goal of maintaining the stability of the Russian economy and its financial system, as well as the interests of domestic businesses and the entire nation. 

We will focus our efforts on de-dollarisation, de-offshorisation, import substitution, and promotion of technological independence.

We will continue to adapt to external challenges and step up development programmes for promising and competitive industries.

During the period of turbulence, our retaliatory special economic measures needed to ensure the normal functioning of the Russian economy will be continued and expanded. As a responsible player on the international market, Russia intends to continue scrupulously fulfilling its obligations under international contracts on export deliveries of agricultural products, fertilisers, energy carriers and other critical products. We are deeply concerned about a possible food crisis provoked by the anti-Russian sanctions, and we are well aware how important the deliveries of essential goods, such as food, are for the socioeconomic development of Asian, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern countries.

I will be brief as regards the second part of your question. Today we are not talking about a new “cold war,” but, as I said earlier, about the persistent desire to impose a US-centric model of the world order coming from Washington and its satellites, who imagine themselves to be “arbiters of humankind’s fate.” It has reached the point where the

Western minority is trying to replace the UN-centric architecture and international law formed after World War II with their own “rule-based order.” These rules are written by Washington and its allies and then imposed on the international community as binding.

We must realise that the United States has been carrying out this destructive policy for several decades now. It is enough to recall NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia, attacks on Iraq and Libya, attempts to destroy Syria, as well as the colour revolutions that Western capitals staged in a number of countries, including Ukraine. All of this came at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and resulted in chaos in various regions of the planet.

The West tries to crudely suppress those who carry out an independent course in their domestic and foreign policy. Not just Russia. We can see how bloc thinking is being imposed in the Asian-Pacific Region. We can recall the Indo-Pacific strategy promoted by the United States, which has a pronounced anti-China tendency. The US seeks to dictate the standards according to which Latin America should live, in the spirit of the outdated Monroe Doctrine. This explains many years of the illegal trade embargo on Cuba, sanctions against Venezuela, as well as attempts to undermine stability in Nicaragua and other countries. The pressure on Belarus continues in the same context. This list can go on.

It is clear that the collective West’s efforts to oppose the natural course of history and solve its problems at the expense of others are doomed. Today the world has several decision-making centres; it is multipolar.

We can see how quickly Asian, African, and Latin American countries are developing. Everyone is getting a real freedom of choice, including where it comes to choosing their development models and participation in integration projects. Our special military operation in Ukraine also contributes to the process of freeing the world from the West’s neocolonial oppression heavily mixed with racism and a complex of exceptionalism.

The faster the West accepts the new geopolitical situation, the better it will be for the West itself and for the entire international community.

As President Xi Jinping said at the Boao Forum for Asia, “We need to uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security.”

Question: Russian-Ukrainian talks have attracted close attention of the international community. What are the main obstacles to the talks today? How do you regard the prospects of a peace treaty between the two parties? What kind of bilateral relations does Russia intend to have with Ukraine in the future?

Sergey Lavrov: At present the Russian and Ukrainian delegations are holding discussions on the possible draft almost daily, via videoconference. This document should contain such elements of the post-conflict situation as permanent neutrality, the non-nuclear, non-bloc and demilitarised status of Ukraine, as well as guarantees of its security. The agenda of the talks also includes denazification, recognition of the new geopolitical reality, the lifting of sanctions and the status of the Russian language, among other things. Settling the situation in Ukraine will make a significant contribution to the de-escalation of the military and political tensions in Europe and the world in general. The establishment of an institution of guarantor states is envisaged as a possible option. First of all, they will be the permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Russia and China. We share information on the progress in the talks with Chinese diplomats. We are grateful to Beijing and other BRICS partners for their balanced position on the Ukrainian issue.

We are in favour of continuing the talks, although the process is difficult.

You are right to ask about the obstacles. For example, they include the militant rhetoric and incendiary actions of Kiev’s Western patrons. They are actually encouraging Kiev to “fight to the last Ukrainian,” pumping the country with weapons and sending mercenaries there. Let me note that the Ukrainian security services staged a crude bloody provocation in Bucha with the help of the West, to complicate the negotiation process among other things.

I am confident that agreements can only be reached when Kiev starts to be guided by the interests of the Ukrainian people, and not the advisors from far away.

Speaking about Russian-Ukrainian relations, Russia is interested in a peaceful, free, neutral, prosperous and friendly Ukraine. Despite the current administration’s anti-Russian course, we remember the many centuries of all-embracing cultural, spiritual, economic and family ties between Russians and Ukrainians. We will definitely restore these ties.

Pepe Escobar and Danny Haiphong; Russia, China, and the Post-Dollar World

April 28, 2022

المشهد الدولي والإقليمي في ظلّ المواجهة الروسية الأطلسية في أوكرانيا

الخميس 21 نيسان 2022

ـ مسار العملية العسكرية يدلّ بوضوح إلى أنّ النتيجة ستكون في منتهى السلبية للنظام القائم في أوكرانيا ومن خلال ذلك للحلف الأطلسي التي قد تكون ضُربت مصداقيته ضربة قاضية ـ كشفت جائحة كورونا التبعية للمواد الأساسية الموجودة في كلّ من روسيا والصين… والاتحاد الأوروبي منكشف تجاه روسيا في موضوع الطاقة ولا يستطيع الاستغناء عنها رغم التصريحات المعاكسة

زياد حافظ

لا يمكن أن نتصوّر تداعيات المواجهة المفتوحة بين روسيا والحلف الأطلسي في أوكرانيا دون التوقف على الأسباب. فهذه الأسباب التي دفعت إلى المواجهة هي التي ستلقي بظلالها على المشهد العالمي والإقليمي. فجوهر الصراع هو صراع بين مذهبين في منظومة واحدة. المنظومة هي الرأس المالية والمذهبان هما أولا الرأس المالية الريعية المالية التي تقوده الولايات المتحدة والحلف الأطلسي وثانياً الرأس المالية الإنتاجية التي تتماهى مع الاقتصاد الموجه التي تقوده الكتلة الأوراسية بقيادة روسيا والصين.

بهذا التعريف للمواجهة نضمّ الأبعاد الجيوسياسية والدوافع التوسعية لدى المحور الأطلسي قابلتها الهواجس الأمنية لروسيا والصين. وفي الإطار الأوسع للمواجهة هناك نموذجان من داخل العائلة الواحدة يتنافسان على قيادة العالم والنموذج الذي تتبناه الولايات المتحدة يخسر لصالح النموذج الآخر.

 يبقى علينا أن نستشرف ماذا بعد؟ والإجابة تتوقف على مسار العملية العسكرية القائمة في أوكرانيا ونهايتها. فالحلف الأطلسي وخاصة الولايات المتحدة غير متحمّسة على إنهاء الصراع بل على تمديده بهدف استنزاف روسيا عسكرياً واقتصادياً وفرض العزلة الدولية عليها. الهدف الأميركي بات واضحاً وهو تغيير النظام القائم في روسيا.

لكن الرياح الروسية لم تجر كما اشتهت السفن الأطلسية والأميركية. فمسار العملية العسكرية يدلّ بوضوح على أنّ النتيجة ستكون في منتهى السلبية للنظام القائم في أوكرانيا ومن خلال ذلك للحلف الأطلسي التي قد تكون ضُربت مصداقيته ضربة قاضية. فكيف ستكون تداعيات ذلك المسار على العالم بشكل عام والإقليم والمشهد العربي بشكل خاص؟

في هذه النقطة بالذات نريد أن نؤكّد أن قدرة روسيا على مواجهة الغرب لم تكن لتحصل لولا الصمود العربي خاصة في محور المقاومة. فالمقاومة في العراق أفشلت المشروع الأميركي واستنزفت قدراته بينما كانت روسيا تعيد بناء قواها العسكرية والاقتصادية. كما أنّ صمود المقاومة في لبنان منع تحقيق مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد بينما روسيا كانت أيضاً في إطار استعادة القدرات. كما أنّ صمود سورية في مواجهة العدوان الكوني ساهم في تعزيز الثقة بأنّ الغرب ليس قدراً على العالم. كما أنّ صمود المقاومة في فلسطين أفشل مشروع صفقة القرن والاتفاقات الابراهيمية وأنّ صمود اليمن ساهم في إعادة رسم الخارطة السياسية للأمن الإقليمي خارج النفوذ الأميركي. فهذا الدور العربي مكّن كلّ من روسيا والصين وحتى الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران من تعزيز قدراتها وترسيخ تضمانها بل تحالفها والآن نرى روسيا تقف بوجه الهجمة الأطلسية في أوروبا الشرقية وتهزمها نيابة عن العالم. فلا بد للنظام العربي ان يتأثر بكلّ ذلك خاصة أنّ الجزء الخارج عن سيطرة ذلك النظام استطاع أن يقلب المعادلات التقليدية في الإقليم وبالتالي في العالم. هناك معادلة جيوسياسية بسيطة. من يريد السيطرة على العالم عليه أن يسيطر على الجزيرة الأوراسية لما لها من موارد وإمكانيات. ومن يريد أن يسيطر على تلك الجزيرة فالبوّابة لها هي المشرق بشكل عام والمشرق العربي بشكل خاص. هنا يبرز البعد الاستراتيجي لمحور المقاومة وما يمثله من دور في إعادة رسم التوازنات الدولية.

صحيح أنّ العملية العسكرية لم تضع أوزارها بعد عند إعداد هذا التقرير لكن هناك نتائج واضحة على الصعيد الدولي وبطبيعة الحال على الصعيد الإقليمي والعربي. أولى النتائج هو شبه إجماع على أنّ القوّامة الأميركية والأطلسية لم تعد كما كانت عليه. صحيح أنّ الولايات المتحدة لن تستسلم بسهولة إلى الواقع الجديد لكن ليس باستطاعتها تغيير موازين القوة والعوامل التي أدّت إلى ذلك التراجع. فهذه العوامل داخلية بالدرجة الأولى كما أنها خارجية تعود إلى التخطيط البعيد المدى الذي قامت بتنفيذه دول المحور الرافض للهيمنة الأطلسية والأميركية. فتقييم المشهد الداخلي لا يوحي بأن هناك إمكانية في تعديل الميزان. فليس هناك جهوزية عسكرية أميركية لمواجهة شاملة وحاسمة لكل من روسيا والصين كما أن قدرة اللجوء إلى الحرب بالوكالة عنها أصبحت شبه معدومة. فالتصدّعات داخل الحلف الأطلسي والاتحاد الأوروبي لا توحي بإمكانية حشد قوّات عسكرية تستطيع مواجهة روسيا وذلك رغم الكلام العالي النبرة لمكوّنات الحلف الاطلسي. ليس هناك من استعداد للتضحية في سبيل أوكرانيا. فالخطة هي فقط الاستنزاف عبر تحفيز الأوكرانيين والمرتزقة من الأوروبيين على مواجهة الالة العسكرية الروسية.

كذلك الأمر على الصعيد الاقتصادي حيث كشفت جائحة كورونا التبعية للمواد الأساسية الموجودة في كلّ من روسيا والصين. والاتحاد الأوروبي منكشف تجاه روسيا في موضوع الطاقة ولا يستطيع الاستغناء عنها رغم التصريحات المعاكسة لذلك. فالبديل للغاز الروسي هو الغاز الأميركي بأسعار مرتفعة تصل إلى أكثر من عشر أضعاف سعر الغاز الروسي ناهيك عن عدم وجود تجهيزات لاستيراد الغاز الأميركي قبل ثلاث سنوات على أحسن تقدير. فماذا تستطيع ان تفعل الدول الأوروبية طيلة الفترة غير الدخول في انكماش كبير أن لم يكن في كساد أكبر مما كان في الثلاثينات من القرن الماضي؟

أما على الصعيد المالي لن تستطيع الولايات المتحدة وحلفاؤها من منع قيام أنظمة مدفوعات دولية لا ترتكز إلى الدولار. كما أن التعامل بالدولار بدأ بالتراجع في دول واقتصادات وازنة كالصين والهند وروسيا على سبيل المثال. حتى بعض الدول العربية التابعة للقرار الأميركي بدأت تفكّر جدّيا بالتعامل مع الروبل الروسي واليوان الصين والروبية الهندية.

بناء على ذلك نستطيع أن نقول إن نتائج العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا ستكرّس تراجع دور الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا في الهيمنة على مقدرات العالم.

اما النتيجة الثانية لذلك التراجع هو واقعياً بروز نظام دولي جديد متعدد القطبية يرتكز إلى القانون الدولي وقرارات مجلس الأمن واحكام المحكمة الدولية إضافة إلى الاتفاقات والمعاهدات بينما الطرح الأميركي ومعه الأوروبي هو نظام «أحكام قيم» لا قاعدة قانونية لها وملتبسة في أحسن الأحوال ولا تعترف بسيادة الدول. وهذا النظام سيشهد تجاذبا بين الدول التي تريد الخروج من الهيمنة الأميركية وبين الدول التي لا تستطيع الخروج عنها وعددها يتقلّص يوما بعد يوم ولن يضم في آخر المطاف إلاّ الحلف الانكلوساكسوني، أي الولايات المتحدة والمملكة المتحدة وأستراليا وكندا وربما نيوزيلاندا. أما أوروبا الغربية فهي عدة أقسام: المحور الألماني الفرنسي الذي يقود الاتحاد الأوروبي، دول أطراف أوروبا، ودول أوروبا الشرقية. ليس هناك من انسجام في المواقف داخل هذه الكتل الثلاث لأسباب عديدة تعود منها للتاريخ ومنها لبنيتها السياسية والاقتصادية لا وقت لنا شرحها. ما يهمنا هو أن عدم الانسجام سيحدّ من فعّالية موقف موحد. ولذلك سنرى أوروبا في تجاذب بين النظام المبني على القانون الدولي والمعاهدات وقرارات المحكمة الدولية وطبعا قرارات مجلس الأمن.

في ذلك السياق لا نستبعد إعادة النظر في تركيبة مجلس الأمن حيث الدول صاحبة حق النقض هي خمس فقط بينما قد تدخل إليه دول كالهند والبرازيل وجنوب إفريقيا ودولة عربية بالتداول مع الدول العربية وحتى الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران. كما نتوقع تقليص دور ونفوذ الولايات المتحدة في المؤسسات العاملة والتابعة للمنظمة الدولية التي أصبحت ذراعا للسياسة الخارجية الأميركية. فهناك دول وازنة تستطيع أن تملأ الفراغ المالي الذي سينتج عن تخفيض مساهمة الولايات المتحدة في تمويل المؤسسة وربما خروجها من المنظمة ككل. لن يحصل ذلك في المنظور القريب بل ربما في فترة لا تتجاوز نهاية هذا العقد من الألفية الثالثة. كما أن منظمة الأمم المتحدة المعدّلة ستعمل بتنسيق واسع مع المنظمات الإقليمية وخاصة الآسيوية كمنظومة شانغهاي على سبيل المثال وليس الحصر. هذا يعني أن القضايا الدولية ستعالج من باب النظر بمصالح الجميع وعلى قاعدة رابح رابح وليس على قاعدة اللعبة الصفرية التي تفرضها والولايات المتحدة.

النتيجة الثالثة هو التحوّل إلى نظام اقتصادي عالمي جديد مبني على تكامل المصالح وليس على تصارعها أو تنافسها. فدول الجنوب الإجمالي أي كل الدول الإفريقية وأميركا اللاتينية والدول الاسيوية غير الصين والهند ستجد في العلاقات الدولية ما يساعدها على نهوضها والحفاظ على سيادتها بينما النظام الاقتصادي القائم مبني على تبعية الاطراف للمركز الذي هو الغرب بشكل عام والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص وعلى حساب مصالح تلك الدول.

النتيجة الرابعة هي تراجع دور الدولار في المنظومة المالية الدولية. فعملات أخرى كالروبل الروسي واليوان الصيني والروبية الهندية وفيما بعد الراند الإفريقي الجنوبي ستكون ركيزة الاحتياطات النقدية الدولية كما أن تعاظم التعاطي بالعملات الوطنية سيخفّض الطلب على الدولار ليصبح عملة من بين العملات وليست أداة لتمويل الحروب والهيمنة على العالم.

النتيجة الخامسة تعود إلى تراجع المكانة الصناعية الأوروبية. فرغبة قياداتها في التخلّي عن الغاز الروسي سيقضي على القدرة التنافسية الأوروبية ما يجعل الدول الأوروبية تدخل مرحلة تفكيك التصنيع (de industrialization) للدخول في مرحلة ما بعد التصنيع (post industrialization) فتصبح تابعة لمراكز التصنيع الفعلية في دول الجنوب الإجمالي.

هذه النتائج لن تأتي بسرعة ولكن مسارها واضح وحتمي إذا ما كانت الإرادة الجماعية تهدف إلى تحقيق الاستقرار والأمن. فلا بد من التعديلات في المؤسسات الدولية ولا بد من تعديلات في التعاطي والعلاقات ولا بد من ترسيخ قاعدة الرابح رابح ونبذ قاعدة اللعبة الصفرية. وما يساعد على تحقيق ذلك موازين القوّة الجديدة التي تظهرها العملية العسكرية في أوكرانيا والتحالف الروسي الصيني ونهوض الكتلة الاوراسية وتعزيز منظومة البريكس.

لكن إلى أن تحصل تلك التحوّلات فالعالم دخل فعليا في مرحلة ترقّب ومراجعات في العلاقات حيث العديد من الدول تقوم بتقييم النتائج المرتقبة من العملية العسكرية في أوكرانيا. لذلك سنشهد توترات عديدة في الأسواق العالمية في الطاقة والمواد الغذائية وسلسلة المورّدين إلى أن تستقر الأمور وتستسلم الولايات المتحدة للوقائع الجديدة. هنا تكمن المشكلة لان حالة الانكار بين النخب الحاكمة وأو الطامحة للحكم في الولايات المتحدة ما زالت تعتبر أن القدر المتجلّي للولايات المتحدة واستثنائيتها يجعلها موكلة بقيادة العالم. النظرة التوراتية للأمور تتحكم في اللاوعي الأميركي وهنا الخطورة من الانزلاق نحو حماقات كارثية خاصة أن الهروب إلى الأمام هو السبيل الوحيد عند تلك النخب. الرهان لعدم حدوث ذلك هو على تيقّن العقول الباردة، وهي موجودة ولكن معزولة، في التغلّب على موجة الجنون الجماعي التي تتحكّم بتلك النخب. وبالتالي قد لا نستبعد حصول تغييرات داخل البيت الأبيض وفي منظومة الحكم بعد الإخفاقات الكارثية التي حققتها الإدارة الحالية.

أما على الصعيد الإقليمي فنتوقع تحوّلات كبيرة في الملفات الساخنة كفلسطين المحتلة وسورية واليمن. كما نتوقع ترسيخ قواعد لنظام عربي جديد قد يأخذ ما تبقّى من العقد الحالي حتى منتصف العقد القادم، أي منتصف الثلاثينات من القرن الحالي.

فعلى صعيد فلسطين فإن الكيان الصهيوني الاستيطاني المحتل يواجه أزمة وجود بحدّة لم يألفها منذ إقامته. فالخطر الوجودي الذي يشعر به بسبب فقدان الأمن وعبثية الرهان على تطبيع مع أنظمة لا تستطيع أن توفر الأمن للكيان يتلازم مع ارتفاع وتيرة المواجهة المسلحة من أبناء فلسطين. فتداعيات العملية العسكرية في أوكرانيا عرّت المواقف الغربية في توفير الحماية لأوكرانيا في مواجهة روسيا. والدرس بات واضحا للقيادات الصهيونية أن وعود الغرب لا تتجاوز الحبر على الورق وأن الغرب لن يقاتل في سبيل ما هو أهم من الكيان. فمستقبل أوروبا أهم من الكيان وتبيّن أن القادة الأوروبيين لن يقاتلوا في سبيل تصوّراتهم لأوروبا. فهل يعقل أن أوروبا ستقاتل في سبيل كيان تتشوّه سمعته يوما بعد يوم وتظهر على حقيقته البغيضة؟ وكذلك الأمر بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة التي أعلنت أنها لن تقاتل مع الكيان في مواجهة الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران وأنها لن ترسل إلا السلاح للكيان وكأن مشكلة الكيان هي الضعف في التسليح. كما أن الولايات المتحدة لن تقاتل من أجل أوكرانيا وفقا لتصريحات قادتها. تداعيات الازمة الأوكرانية ستكون وخيمة على الكيان خاصة وان قادته كانوا مربكين في اتخاذ موقف من الأزمة. وعندما حسم الكيان تردّده ووقف مع الحكومة الأوكرانية ضد روسيا فإن لذلك تداعيات مباشرة على العلاقة بين الدولتين وخاصة في مقاربة المشهد العسكري في سورية.

من جهة أخرى نرى تحولين أساسيين في المشهد الفلسطيني. فنهاك تصاعد ملموس في المواجهة الشعبية الفلسطينية مع قوى الاحتلال تجلّى بتطوّر ملحوظ في طبيعة المواجهات. فبعد موجة المواجهات بالحجارة والدهس والطعن بالسكاكين برزت المواجهة بالسلاح الناري. لن نسترسل في مقاربة هذه التطوّرات لضيق المساحة بل نكتفي بملاحظة ظهورها مع العملية العسكرية في أوكرانيا ما يدل أن الشعب الفلسطيني يشعر بضعف الحلف المعادي له فيتجرّأ على الاقدام على عمليات لم تكن مألوفة.

أما التحوّل الثاني فهو تثبيت القوى الردعية لفصائل المقاومة في غزة ما يتيح الفرصة لانتفاضة شعبية ضد قوى الاحتلال في مختلف أنحاء فلسطين المحتلة. كما أن المقاومة وضعت الخطوط الحمراء فيما يتعلق بمستقبل القدس والاحياء العربية التي ما زالت تقاوم عمليات التهجير وأيضا فيما يتعلق بمحاولات المستعمرين لاقتحام الأقصى. أيضا القوّة الردعية للمقاومة تعزّزت مع الشعور بأن الحلف المعادي يعاني من الضعف ما يجعل آفاق النصر أكثر وضوحا وقربة.

ومن تداعيات العملية العسكرية في أوكرانيا الارباك في النظام التركي الذي تردّد بين مصالحه مع روسيا والشرق بشكل عام والتزاماته الأطلسية. لكن الضعف الأطلسي ستجعل تركيا أكثر استجابة للضغوط الروسية والإيرانية في الملفّ السوري خاصة أن أوراق الضغط الروسي ليست ضعيفة كصواريخ أس 400 والتدفق السياحي الذي يشكل خشبة الخلاص في الأزمة الاقتصادية التي تشهدها تركيا. فالخروج من سورية أصبح ضرورة لتجنّب التداعيات السلبية من رفض احترام السيادة السورية على أراضيها.

والتداعيات للعملية العسكرية في أوكرانيا تأتي في سياق أخفاقات كبيرة للسياسة الأميركية انعكست على سلوك العديد من الدول العربية المحسوبة على الولايات المتحدة والتي تدور في فلكها. ويمكن وصف الحال في تلك الدول بداية جادة لمراجعة العديد من مواقفها وتحالفاتها ومقارباتها للعديد من الملفات التي ساهمت في انقسام البيت العربي. نذكر في هذا الإطار الامتناع عن التصويت في الجمعية العمومية للأمم المتحدة لصالح قرارات تدين روسيا. كما نذكر عدم الموافقة على فرض عقوبات اقتصادية ومالية على روسيا. بل العكس نجد حكومات هذه الدول تفكّر جدّيا بالانفصال عن الدولار في تسعير براميل النفط التي تصدّرها وبدأت تدرس إمكانيات التعامل بالروبل الروسي واليوان الصيني. هذه الإشارات الصريحة لم تكن واردة منذ بضعة أشهر ونضعها في خانة تداعيات العملية العسكرية في أوكرانيا التي عرّت الأطلسي وأظهرت ضعفه وعجزه. فالدول العربية التي كانت تتبنّى نظرية ملكية ال 99 بالمائة من أوراق اللعبة الدولية بيد الولايات المتحدة بدأت بمراجعة لتلك النظرية.

وهذه المراجعة التي تأتي في سياق مشاهدة التراجعات الأميركية في أفغانستان وفي مفاوضاتها غير المباشرة مع الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران في الملف النووي تدفع الدول المتخاصمة مع إيران إلى مفاوضات ما زالت في بدايتها والتي كانت غير ممكنة منذ سنة أو أكثر. كما أن المراجعات في الملفات المتعلقة بسورية واليمن والعراق ولبنان قد تصل إلى انفراجات ضرورية للنهوض من الحالة الكارثية التي تعيشها الدول. كل ذلك لم يكن ممكنا لولا وضوح الإخفاقات الأميركية في أوكرانيا التي لم تكن لتحصل لولا القدرات الروسية وحلفها مع الصين. فهذه القدرات كما أشرنا في البداية لم تكن لتقوم لولا صمود القوى المقاومة العربية في كل من العراق ولبنان وفلسطين وسورية واليمن.

الإخفاقات الأطلسية في أوكرانيا تتلازم مع التصعيد في المواجهة الشعبية في فلسطين ما يلغي جدوى التطبيع مع الكيان المحتل. فإذا كانت الأوراق بيد الولايات المتحدة غير فاعلة فإن البوّابة للحصول على الرضى الأميركي أي الكيان الصهيوني المحتل لم تعد ضرورة. هذا لا يعني التراجع الفوري أو القريب عن التطبيع بل سنرى اشتداد المقاومة الشعبية للتطبيع دون ان عوائق كبيرة ما يفرغ التطبيع من مضمونه.

أما في الساحة السورية فسنرى تصعيدا في المواجهة مع قوى التعصّب والغلو والتوحّش المحتشدة في إدلب وجوارها كما سنرى تصعيدا في مواجهة القوى المتحالفة مع الولايات المتحدة في شرق سورية ومواجهات متصاعدة مع القوات الأميركي التي ستخرج في نهاية المطاف في كل من سورية والعراق. الإخفاقات في أوكرانيا لن تمكن الولايات المتحدة في الاستمرار في العراق وسورية ومواجهات محتملة مع الحلف السورية الروسي.

وأخيرا فيما يتعلّق باليمن فقوى التحالف العدواني على اليمن مضطرة إلى إنهاء العدوان والتفاهم مع القوى اليمنية الصامدة. اما الحل السياسي للمشكلة اليمنية فهو في الحوار بين مكوّنات الشعب اليمني وليس عبر إملاءات خارجية سواء كانت دولية أو غربية أو إقليمية.

المراجعات والتحوّلات الميدانية في المشرق العربي وتراجع موجة التطبيع ستفرض حتما مراجعة للنظام الإقليمي العربي. من المبكر التكلّم عن شكل النظام الجديد بل نكتفي بالقول ان قاعدته ستكون المربع السوري العراقي الجزائري اليمني، وفيما بعد دول الجزيرة العربية بقيادة اليمن وبلاد الحرمين، ثم بلاد وادي النيل والتشبيك المتزايد بي مصر والسودان، وأخيرا دول المغرب الكبير محوره الجزائر والمغرب. وركيزة ذلك النظام هو التشبيك الاقتصادي والسياسي بين دول المجاورة في الأقاليم العربية ولكن لذلك حديث آخر في مناسبة منفصلة.

*باحث وكاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي وعضو الهيئة التأسيسية للمنتدى الاقتصادي والاجتماعي

حرب عالميّة للفوز بالنقاط.. والضربة القاضية صينيّة

الثلاثاء 19 نيسان 2022

 ناصر قنديل

مع اقتراب الحرب في أوكرانيا من نهاية شهرها الثاني، وتقاطع التقارير والمواقف والتقديرات عند كونها ستسمرّ طويلاً، وكونها لن تضع أوزارها خلال أسابيع، وظهور حركة الجيوش والأسلحة في مساحات الاشتباك بما لا يمكن تفسيره بمقتضيات الحرب الأوكرانيّة وحدها، بل بصفتها مناورات استراتيجيّة في سياق حرب الشرق والغرب، حيث تختبر الإرادات والأسلحة والأسلحة المضادة والحروب الإلكترونية والمالية، وشيئاً فشيئاً بدأ يتضح ان الجيش والحكم والسلاح وخطط القتال في أوكرانيا لا تتحرك بحسابات أوكرانية، بل بصفتها خط المواجهة الأول لنخبة الجيوش الغربية وأسلحتها وخططها، وتحت سقوفها السياسية، وان الحركة الروسية العسكرية ونوعية السلاح الروسي المستخدم والسقوف السياسية المتحركة، لا تنطلق من متطلبات المعركة في النطاق الجغرافي لأوكرانيا بقدر ما تمثل استجابة لمتطلبات مواجهة أشمل وأوسع، يقف فيها الغرب الأميركي والأوروبي فيها قبالة الحسابات الروسية حيث يتم التخاطب باستعراض أنواع الصواريخ والقدرات العسكرية لبلورة موازين قوى على أرض الواقع وليس على الورق، تنتج وحدها قواعد الاشتباك وحدود قدرات الردع، وفّرت لها شروط الاشتباك حول أوكرانيا الفرصة المثالية للطرفين المتقابلين لخوض الشكل الوحيد الممكن للحرب غير النووية.

أوكرانيا التي تقلّ عن مساحة دول المشرق العربي، سورية والعراق ولبنان والأردن وفلسطين، ويقلّ عدد سكانها عن مجموع سكان المشرق قليلاً، وتقع على الحدود الروسية بتاريخ وجغرافيا على درجة عالية من التشابك والتداخل، وتشكل الامتداد الأهم للغرب في قلب روسيا، ونافذة روسيا وأوروبا على البحر الأسود، وتمثل الجمع المشترك لتاريخ حروب البلقان والقرم معاً، التي كانت أساس حروب عالمية سابقة، هي اليوم مساحة الحرب العالميّة التي نعيش يومياتها، والتي يسعى الغرب من خلالها لإعادة تشكيل روسيا، وتسعى روسيا من خلالها لإعادة تشكيل أوروبا. والحرب تبدو مستمرة حتى يتحقق أحد الهدفين، او يتحقق الإنهاك والتسليم المتبادل بالحاجة لتنظيم قواعد الاشتباك وربط النزاع على قاعدة التوازن السلبي، ما يعني نصف انتصار لروسيا ونصف هزيمة للغرب. بينما نجاح الغرب بنقل الأزمة الى الداخل الروسي، من البوابة الاقتصادية أو العسكرية، وصولاً لبدء مسار التغيير في التوازنات السياسية الداخلية سيعني انتصاراً للغرب، فيما نجاح روسيا بالصمود ونقل التداعيات الناجمة عن العقوبات على الداخل الأوروبي إلى مرحلة الغليان، وبدء التحول الى عنصر فاعل في تشكيل مشهد أوروبي سياسي وشعبي جديد، سيعني انتصاراً روسياً في رسم معادلة دوليّة تكون لها فيها يد طولى.

  حتى الآن في المسرح العسكري نجحت روسيا بتفادي استدراجها لحرب استنزاف ونجح الغرب بتظهير قدرته على تمويل وتجهيز مسرح صالح لمثل هذه الحرب، وعنوانها كييف، ونجحت روسيا بدرجة كبيرة بجعل الحرب تدور تحت عنوان السيطرة على خطوط الإمداد براً وبحراً وجواً، ولذلك يسعى الغرب لتوسيع هوامش حركته نحو الداخل الأوكراني ملوحاً بتوسيع المدى الجغرافي نحو بولندا والسويد وفنلندا، أملاً بتراجع روسي أمام حركة الإمداد العسكري نحو الداخل الأوكراني. وبرز اختبار التدخل المباشر عن بُعد باستهداف الطراد موسكوفا بصواريخ أميركية، فجاء إغراق غامض للمدمرة الأميركية يو اس اس سوليفانز داخل بحيرة في ولاية أوهايو، ليظهر حرباً سريّة للأسلحة النوعية التي لم يتم اختبارها من قبل، ويرسم قواعد الردع والاشتباك في آن واحد.

يبدو المسرح الاقتصادي والمالي عنواناً للميدان الأشد حيوية وأهمية في الحرب العالمية، فهي حرب تدور بين سعي أميركي لتهميش روسيا كمورد عالمي لا غنى عنه في موارد الطاقة، خصوصاً بالنسبة لأوروبا، مقابل سعي روسي للتلويح بتهميش الدولار كعملة عالمية أولى حاكمة في الأسواق العالمية، وفيما يبدو أن السقفين صعبا المنال ودونهما متطلبات تفوق قدرة الفريقين الراهنة، نجحت موسكو حتى الآن باحتواء الصدمة القاتلة لحزمة العقوبات الغربية القاسية، وانتقلت الى تحويل التحدّي الى فرصة بجعل معركة توريد الطاقة الى أوروبا قضية سيادية أوروبية تتصل بمصير النمو والتضخم والرفاه، ووضع عنوان الدفع بالروبل كرأس جسر لسقف المعركة المتصل بموقع الدولار كعملة محورية حصرية عالمياً.

توقعات الربح بالضربة القاضية بمعنى النصر الحاسم لأي من الفريقين، يبدو بالنسبة للغرب مستحيلاً، وبالنسبة لروسيا متوقفاً على حدود الجاهزية الصينية للانتقال من الاصطفاف الدفاعي مع روسيا إلى المبادرة الهجومية، وفي حال بقاء الصين في التموضع الدفاعي في الحلف مع روسيا، ستكون فرص الربح بالنقاط لمحور روسيا الصين، أعلى من حظوظ الفوز بها من المحور الأوروبي الأميركي.

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The ‘All or Nothing’ Wars

April 11 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Alastair Crooke 

The radical stance the West is taking against Russia is risking bringing down the whole economic system with which it has imposed its dominion over the planet.

The ‘All or Nothing’ Wars

These ‘wars’ are becoming viewed in the West as existential — ie. ‘all or nothing’ events — and their scope is widening.  Why wars in plural?  Well, the Ukraine military clash is coming to its climax; the war over Russia’s radical shifts in the global monetary order is sending western states into a speechless whirl; Europe stands at the brink of economic abyss; and the Russia-China ‘war’ to re-engineer the global ‘rules’ is coming to a head too (albeit travelling on a slightly slower train).

The West’s PSYOPS war however, truly stands in a class of its own. The wall of toxicity swelling, rising and crashing down onto the shores of Russia represents a sea-storm, such as we never before have seen.  Its’ intent plainly is to blacken President Putin beyond ‘evil’, to make of him such a twisted satanic demon, that any sane Russian oligarch will rush to replace him with a more compliant, Yeltsin-like figure.

Only it isn’t working.  The western officials behind the PSYOPS ‘curtain’ do not know when to stop. They pull levers harder and twiddle the dials ever higher until the outpouring of visceral hatred directed at everything Russian has created the opposite effect: not only is Putin more popular, it has launched a fierce backlash in Russia against the West in toto. 

The net effect then has been precisely to drive the Ukraine issue into an existential Manichaean nightmare. Headlines are written in the Anglo-world that ‘the war is all or nothing’:  If Putin is not defeated (in the sense of utterly vanquished in battle), the West simply cannot survive.

The problem of the West driving things to such a light or darkness ‘all or nothing’ climax, is that it also risks being ‘nothing’.  For clearly, there can be allowed no talking with ‘evil’ demonic forces: No political dialogue therefore.  All or nothing.

Then, derived from the casting of this confrontation in such binary good/evil terms is the obvious corollary that the rest of the world must be subjected to a Grand Inquisitorial mechanism to uncover, and then force, heretics to recant any lapse in their support for Ukraine versus Russia, or face the stake.  Inquisitors are spreading around the globe: Euro-recalcitrants are first (the Orbàns); Pakistan, India, Turkey, Gulf States, etc., etc. follow. 

Only again, it isn’t working.  The non-West scents in the air a weakening empire that is faltering; flailing-about, like Hercules descending armed with his sword into Hades (the underworld) to fetch out the three-headed dog Cerberus, one of whose heads spreads human fear about what lays waiting for us, around the next corner.  (Fear indeed is rising.)

And this is what is driving that fear behind ‘all or nothing’: The radical shift presaged by Russia’s insistence on receiving payment in roubles (for now, only in respect of gas supplies), and by an already resurgent rouble, now linked to gold and commodities.

By playing both sides of the equation: i.e. linking the rouble to gold, and then linking energy payments to the rouble, the Bank of Russia and the Kremlin are fundamentally altering the entire working assumptions of the global trade system (i.e. by replacing evanescent dollar trading, by solid commodity-backed, currency trading), whilst at the same time triggering a shift to the role of gold back as a bulwark underpinning the monetary system. 

If a majority in the international trading system begins accepting roubles for commodity supply, this could propel what Wall Street guru, Zoltan Pozsar, foresees being the death of the petro-dollar and the rise of Bretton Woods III (i.e. a new world monetary order).

The World is watching intently.  They can see the landscape shifting.  When the collective West seized all the foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank of Russia, the latter decreed that Russian sovereign reserve holdings in Euros, dollars, and US Treasuries were no longer ‘money good’.  They were valueless as ‘money’ with which to pay debts to foreign creditors.  

The message was plain enough: If even a prominent G20 state can have its reserves cancelled at a flick of the switch, then for those who still hold ‘reserves’ in New York, take them elsewhere (whilst the going is good)! For tomorrow’s trading currencies will be commodity-backed, and not in constant dollars.

Of course, of those watching another aspect (market oil prices) most closely will be China (with its huge gold reserves), and the large crude producers who will perceive that Russia’s actions – if they stick – could lead to Russia not only wresting gold price determination away from LBMA and COMEX (bullion exchanges) but who knows, in combination with other producers, a wresting of oil price determination away from US commodity exchanges too?

In a very real sense, the West senses existential danger. We are not talking just de-dollarisation, but something more fundamental. The western financial system consists of an inverted pyramid of highly-leveraged paper money ‘instruments’ (many known as derivatives), resting on the tiniest bottom, apex-base of the inverted pyramid.  This is termed ‘inside money’.  

It is of magnitudes greater than its collateral undergirdings at its base — sometimes called ‘outside money’. Outside money represents something real: oil, gas, energy, food, metals, etcetera. Collateral that is real.

Take the outside money away from the base of the upturned pyramid … and (potentially), crash.

Well, this is what is happening. Putin is whisking Russian gas away from under the pyramid by insisting that the entire payment process, and collateral value, stays within the rouble sphere. And, if many other states follow suit, and extend it to more commodities … Crash.

The irony is that the West brought this on themselves. Putin didn’t do it. They did it. They did it when the Russo-phobic Washington ‘hawks’ stupidly picked a fight with the one country – Russiam – that has the commodities needed to run the world, and to trigger the shift to a different monetary system — an alternative system, anchored in something other than fiat money, backed by nothing but the Federal Reserve’s ability to print dollars ad infinitum. 

And then they destroyed the ‘full faith and promise’ of the US Treasury to commit to contractual payment – by stealing the Russian reserves. 

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Gonzalo Lira: “YouTube bans any open discussion about the Bucha false flag”

April 05, 2022

Events Like These Only Happen Once Every Century (Sergey Glazyev)

April 03, 2022

Translated by Leo.

Bolds and italics used for emphasise.

“Events like these only happen once every century”: Sergei Glazyev on the breaking of an epoch and the change of ways.

Is it possible to stabilize the ruble in three days? And why are the Ukrainian ‘zombies’ not giving up?

“After failing to weaken the People’s Republic of China head-on through a trade war, the Americans shifted the main blow to Russia, which they see as a weak link in world geopolitics and economics. The Anglo-Saxons are striving to realize their age-old Russophobic ideas of destroying our country, and at the same time weakening China, because the strategic alliance of the Russian Federation and China is too tough for the United States. They have neither the economic nor military power to destroy us together, and not separately,” says Sergey Glazyev, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, former adviser to the President of the Russian Federation. About what opportunities are now opening up for the Russian economy, whether the Central Bank panders to the enemy and whether a new world currency will replace the dollar, Glazyev spoke in an interview with BUSINESS Online.

The new world economic order is socialist in ideology”

– Sergey Yuryevich, commenting on today’s tragic events, you wrote in your Telegram channel that we should have read your book about the “last world war”, written about 6 years ago. How did you manage to predict everything so accurately?

– The fact is that there are long-term patterns of economic development, the analysis and understanding of which makes it possible to predict the events that are taking place at the present time. We are now experiencing a simultaneous change in the technological and world economic structures, while the technological basis of the economy is changing, there is a transition to fundamentally new technologies, and the management system is also changing. Events like this happen about once a century. However, technological structures change about once every 50 years, and their change is usually accompanied by a technological revolution, depression and an arms race. And world economic structures change once every 100 years, and their change is accompanied by world wars and social revolutions. This is due to the fact that the ruling elite of the countries of the core of the old world economic order impedes changes, does not take into account the emergence of more effective management systems, tries to block the development of new world leaders using them, and tries to maintain its hegemony and its monopoly position by any means, including military and revolutionary ones.

Say, 100 years ago, the British Empire was trying to maintain its hegemony in the world. When it was already losing economically to the combined resources of the Russian Empire and Germany, the First World War, provoked by British intelligence, was unleashed, during which all three European empires self-liquidated. I am talking about the collapse of tsarist Russia, the German and Austro-Hungarian empires, but here we can even put a fourth – the Ottoman Port. As for Britain, for some time it retained global dominance and even became the largest empire on the planet. But due to the inexorable laws of socio-economic development, the colonial world economic structure, based in fact on slave labor, could no longer ensure economic growth. The two fundamentally new political models that emerged – the Soviet and the American ones – demonstrated a much greater efficiency of production, since they were already organized on other principles: not on private family capitalism, but on the strength of large transnational corporations with centralized structures for regulating the economy and with limitless monetary emission of credit through fiat money (paper or electronic means – ed. note). They enabled the mass production of products much more efficiently than the administrative systems of the colonial empires of the XIX century.

The emergence of social states in the USSR and the USA with centralized control systems made it possible for a sharp jump in their economic development. In Europe, the corporate governance system was formed, unfortunately, according to the Nazi model in Germany, and also not without the help of British intelligence. Hitler, relying on the support of the British intelligence services and American capital, quite quickly deployed a centralized corporate management system in Germany, which allowed the Third Reich to very quickly capture the whole of Europe. With God’s help, we defeated this German (more precisely, European – taking into account today’s realities) fascism. After that, two models remained in the world, which I attribute to the imperial world economic structure: Soviet and Western (with the center in the USA). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, which could not withstand global competition due to the fact that the directive system of government was not flexible enough to meet the needs of technological progress, the United States seized global dominance for a while.

– But now this period of “American unipolar loneliness” is already ending, and, probably, not only thanks to Russia, but primarily to China and the Asian regions as such. Is it not?

– Indeed, the hierarchical vertical structures characteristic of the imperial world economy turned out to be too rigid to ensure continuous innovation processes and lost their comparative effectiveness in ensuring the growth of the world economy. On its periphery, a new world economic order has been formed, which is based on flexible management models, a network organization of production, where the state works as an integrator, uniting the interests of various social groups around achieving one goal – raising the public welfare. The most impressive example of such an integral world economic structure today is China, which for more than 30 years has outpaced the growth rate of the American economy by three times. At the moment, China is already surpassing the United States in terms of output, exports of high-tech goods, and growth rates.

Another example of a model of a new world economic order, which we called integral (due to the fact that the state in it unites all social groups of different interests), is India. It has a different political system, but it also has the primacy of public interests over private ones, and the state seeks to maximize growth rates in order to fight poverty. In this sense, the new world economic order is socialist in ideology. At the same time, it uses market mechanisms of competition, which makes it possible to provide the highest concentration of resources for making a technological revolution with goals to ensure economic leaps based on a new advanced technological order. If we look at growth rates after 1995, we see that the Chinese economy has grown 10 times, while the US economy has grown by only 15 percent. Thus, it is already obvious to everyone that at present the pace of world economic development is shifting to Asia: China, India and the countries of Southeast Asia already produce more products than the US and the EU. If we add to them Japan or Korea, in which the management system is similar in its principles to the integration of society around the goal of increasing public welfare, then we can say that today this new world economic structure already dominates the world, and the center of reproduction of the world economy has moved to Southeast Asia. Of course, the American ruling elite cannot agree with this.

– To come to terms with it, I would say…

– Yes. They, like the British Empire once, seek to maintain their hegemony in the world. The events taking place today are a manifestation of how the US financial and powerful oligarchic elite are trying to maintain world domination. It can be said that for the past 15 years it has been waging a world hybrid war, seeking to chaoticize countries beyond its control and restrain the development of the People’s Republic of China. But due to the already archaic system of governance, they cannot do this. The financial crisis of 2008 was such a transitional moment when the life cycle of the outgoing technological order actually ended and the process of massive redistribution of capital into a new technological order began, the core of which is a complex of nanobioengineering and information communication technologies. All countries began to pump up the economy with money. The simplest thing a modern government can do is to give all businesses access to cheap long-term money so they can adopt new technologies. But, if in America and Europe such funds went mainly into financial bubbles and covered the budget deficit, then in China this colossal money emission was completely directed to the growth of production and the development of new technologies. There were no financial bubbles, while the ultra-high monetization of the Chinese economy did not result in inflation, the growth of the money supply was accompanied by an increase in the production of goods, the introduction of new advanced technologies and an increase in public welfare.

Today, economic competition has already led to the fact that the United States has lost its leadership. If you remember, Donald Trump tried to contain the development of China through a trade war, but nothing came out of it.

“The Americans have opened a biological front of war by launching the coronavirus in China

– Why? Did Trump, accustomed to taking risks and going all-in, lack the determination?

– And even Trump couldn’t get it out, because China has a more efficient management system that allows you to concentrate the available production resources to the fullest. At the same time, effective money management keeps money emission in the contour of expanded reproduction of the real sector of the economy, focusing on financing investments in development. China has the highest savings rate of any country, with about 45 percent of GDP invested, compared with 20 percent in the United States or Russia. This, in fact, ensures the ultra-high growth rates of the Chinese economy.

In short, the US was doomed to lose this trade war because China could produce more efficiently and finance development cheaper. The entire banking system in China is state-owned, it works as a single development institution, directing cash flows to expand production and master new technologies. In the United States, the emission of money goes to finance the budget deficit and is redistributed into financial bubbles. As a result, the efficiency of the US financial and economic system is 20 percent – there only every fifth dollar reaches the real sector, and in China almost 90 percent (that is, almost all the yuan that is created by the Central Bank of the PRC) feeds the contours of the expansion of production and ensures ultra-high economic growth.

Trump’s attempts to limit China’s development through trade war methods have failed. At the same time, they boomeranged at the United States itself. Then the Americans opened a biological war front by launching the coronavirus in China, hoping that the Chinese leadership would not cope with this epidemic and chaos would arise in China. However, the epidemic has demonstrated the low efficiency of healthcare and has created chaos in the United States itself. The Chinese system of government has shown much greater efficiency here as well. In the Celestial Empire, the mortality rate is significantly lower, and the pandemic was dealt with much faster there. Already in 2020, they even reached economic growth of 2 percent, while in the United States there was a decline of 10 percent of GDP (analysts noted the largest drop since the Second World War – ed. note). Now the Chinese have restored the growth rate of about 7 percent per year, and there is no doubt that the PRC will continue to develop confidently, expanding the production of a new technological order.

In parallel with the trade war against China, American intelligence services were preparing a war against Russia, since the Anglo-Saxon geopolitical tradition considers our country the main obstacle to establishing world domination of the US and British power and financial elite. It must be said that the war against the Russian Federation unfolded immediately after the annexation of Crimea and after the American special services organized a coup d’état in Ukraine. It can be said that they tricked Russia into agreeing to the American occupation of Ukraine, considering it as a temporary phenomenon. However, the Americans took root on ‘Ukrainian Independence’, created not only strongholds, growing Nazis under their wing, but also trained the Nazi armed forces, gave the Nazis the opportunity to receive a military education, trained them in their academies, ‘sewed together’ all the Armed Forces of Ukraine with them. And for 8 years they have been preparing the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the fight against the only enemy – Russia. While the mass media, which in Ukraine are also completely controlled by the Americans, formed the image of the enemy in the public mind.

In addition, the United States used the monetary and financial front of the hybrid war against the Russian Federation. Already in 2014, they introduced the first financial sanctions and knocked out a significant part of Western loans from the Russian economy. Now we are witnessing the next phase, when they have actually disconnected Russia from the world monetary and financial system, which they dominate. However, I predicted all this 10 years ago, based on the theory of changing world economic structures and the specific logic of the US ruling elite, focused on world domination. Anglo-Saxon geopolitics is traditionally oriented against the Russian Empire and its successors, the USSR and the Russian Federation, because, since the days of the British Empire, Russia has been seen as the main opponent of the Anglo-Saxons. All the so-called geopolitical science that was being written in London came down, in fact, to a set of recommendations on how to destroy Russia as the dominant force in Eurasia. I mean all sorts of speculative constructions like “countries of the sea against countries of the land” and so on.

– How did Russia get in the way of the ‘sea countries’ that much? After all, geographically with the UK, we have never bordered.

– In this regard, a formula was invented: whoever controls Eurasia controls the whole world. Actually, applied developments have already gone further. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s theorem is known that in order to defeat Russia as a superpower, Ukraine must be torn off from it. All this political dogma, which, it would seem, has long gone down in history, is nevertheless reproduced today in the thinking of the American political elite. I must say that there are still courses in geopolitics of the XIX century at Harvard and Yale University, sharpening the brains of future American politicians against Russia. So they, in fact, jumped on this old and time-tested Russophobic stream, which has always been characteristic of Anglo-Saxon geopolitics. And, considering Russia as the main opponent of their dominance in the world, in accordance with the proposal of Brzezinski, they used Ukraine as an outpost, more precisely, as a tool to undermine Russia, weaken it and, in the long run, destroy it as a sovereign state.

So, what is happening today was easily predicted based on a combination of long-term patterns of economic development, which actually doomed the world to a hybrid war, and the traditional Russophobia of the Anglo-Saxon political elite. After the weakening of the PRC did not work out through a trade war, the Americans transferred the main blow of their military and political power to Russia, which they consider to be a weak link in world geopolitics and economics. In addition, the Anglo-Saxons seek to establish dominance over Russia in order to realize their age-old Russophobic ideas of destroying our country, and at the same time weakening China, because the strategic alliance of the Russian Federation and China is too tough for the United States. They have neither the economic nor the military power to destroy us together, neither separately, which is why the United States initially sought to quarrel us with China. That didn’t work for them. But they, using our, I would say, placidity, seized control over Ukraine, and today they are using our fraternal republic as a weapon of war to destroy Russia, and then to seize control of our resources in order, I repeat, to strengthen their position and weaken China’s position. In general, this is all obvious, like two plus two equals four.

“The Americans will not be able to win, just as the British did not succeed in their time

– Probably, this is obvious, but not for everyone. Among the Russian elite there are many opponents of an alliance with China. At least, before the special operation in Ukraine, it seemed to these people that American and Western culture is more understandable and closer to us than hieroglyphic Chinese wisdom, and that we will always find a common language with our “Western partners”.

– You know, back in 2015 I wrote the book “The Last World War. The USA is Starting and Losing”, which you mentioned at the beginning of the conversation – everything was thought out and justified there. The United States embarked on a worldwide hybrid war – started with the Orange Revolutions to disrupt regions of the world it did not control – in order to strengthen its position and weaken the position of geopolitical rivals. After the famous Munich speech of President Putin (February 2007 – ed. Note), they realized that they had lost control over Yeltsin’s Russia, and this seriously worried them. In 2008, the financial crisis broke out and it became clear that the transition to a new technological order was beginning, and the old world economic order and the previous management system no longer ensured sustainable economic development. China was now leading the way. Well, then afterwards the logic of deploying of a world war happens, only not in the forms that existed 100 years ago, but on three conditional fronts – monetary-financial (where the United States still dominates the world), trade-economic (where they have already lost superiority to China) and information-cognitive (where the Americans also have technologies that are superior to ours). They use all three of these fronts in an attempt to keep the initiative and maintain the hegemony of their corporations.

Well and finally, the fourth front is the biological one, which opened with the advent of the coronavirus from the US-Chinese laboratory in Wuhan. Today we see that a whole network of biological laboratories existed in Ukraine. So the United States has long been preparing to open the biological front of the world war.

The fifth, and most obvious, front is, in fact, the front of combat fighting – as the last tool for forcing the states that they control into unquestioning obedience. Today, the situation on this front is also escalating. That is, active operations are underway on all five fronts of the world hybrid war, and the result can be predicted. The Americans will not be able to win, just as the British did not succeed in their time. Although Britain formally won World War II, they lost politically and economically. The British lost their entire empire, losing more than 90 percent of the territory and 95 percent of the population. Two years after World War II, where they were the winners, their empire collapsed like a house of cards, because the other two winners – the USSR and the USA – did not need this empire and viewed it as an anachronism. Also, the world will not need American transnational corporations, the American dollar, American monetary and financial technologies and financial pyramids. All this will be a thing of the past in the near future. Southeast Asia will become the obvious leader in world economic development, and a new world economic order will be formed before our very eyes.

– To paraphrase [Erich] Remarque, we can say that changes have finally come on the western front. But what signs do you see of this powerful global system soon becoming a thing of the past?

– After the Americans seized first the Venezuelan foreign exchange reserves and handed them over to the opposition, then the Afghan foreign exchange reserves, before that the Iranian ones, and now the Russian ones, it became completely clear that the dollar ceased to be the world currency. Following the Americans, the Europeans also committed this stupidity – the euro and the pound ceased to be world currencies. Therefore, the old monetary and financial system is living its last days. After American dollars that no one needs are sent back to America from Asian countries, the collapse of the world monetary and financial system based on dollars and euros is inevitable. Leading countries are switching to national currencies, and the euro and the dollar are ceasing to be foreign exchange reserves.

– How do you see the world after the disappearance of the dollar monopoly?

– We are currently working on a project for an international treaty on the introduction of a new world settlement currency pegged to the national currencies of the participating countries and to exchange commodities that determine real values. We won’t need American and European banks. A new payment system based on modern digital technologies with blockchain is developing in the world, where banks lose their importance. Classical capitalism based on private banks is fading away. International law is being restored. All key international relations, including the issuance of world currency circulation, begin to form on the basis of agreements. At the same time, the significance of national sovereignty is being restored, because sovereign countries are coming to an agreement. The basis of global economic cooperation is joint investment in order to improve the well-being of peoples. Trade liberalization ceases to be some kind of priority, national priorities are respected, each state builds such a system for protecting the internal market and its economic space that it considers necessary. That is, the era of liberal globalization is over. Before our eyes, a new world economic structure is being formed – an integral one, in which some states and private banks lose their private monopoly on the issue of money, on the use of military force, and so on.

“The third scenario is catastrophic. Destruction of mankind

– Why did you call your book “The Last World War”? What feeds your hope that this global war is really the last one?

– I called this world war the last one, because we see that there are several scenarios of movement out of today’s crisis. The first scenario, which I have already talked about, is calm and prosperous. It consists in overcoming the US monopoly. In order to do this in the financial sector, you need to abandon the dollar. In order to overcome the monopoly in the information and cognitive sphere, it is necessary to isolate our information space from the American one and switch to our own information technologies. Creating their own contours of the reproduction of the economy, but without the US dollar and the euro and relying on their information technologies for managing money, the countries of the new world economic order ensure high rates of economic development, while the Western world is collapsing. There they have a situation of collapse of financial pyramids, disorganization and a growing economic crisis, aggravated by growing inflation due to the uncontrolled issue of money over the past 12 years.

The second scenario of a possible development of events is similar to the one that Hitler wanted to realize during the period of the change of previous world economic structures. This is an attempt to create a world government with a superhuman ideology. If Hitler conceived the German nation as superhumans, then the current ideologists of world domination impose on humanity the transition to a post-humanoid state. In contrast to the post-humanism of the West, the core countries of the new world economic order are characterized by a socialist ideology, albeit with respect for private interests, protection of private property and the use of market mechanisms. In China, India, Japan, and Korea, socialist ideology dominates – or rather, a mixture of socialist ideology, national interests, and market competition. It is this mixture that forms a fundamentally new power-political elite, focused on economic development and the growth of the well-being of nations.

It is different for Western politicians, intellectuals and businessmen. What we see today is an attempt to form a certain image of a new world order with a world government at the head, where people are driven into an electronic concentration camp. You can see by the example of restrictions during the pandemic how it happened: all people are given tags, access to public goods is regulated through QR codes, everyone is forced to walk in formation. By the way, in the scenario of the Rockefeller Foundation back in 2009, the pandemic and, in fact, everything that happened in connection with it, was amazingly sorted into pieces – they actually predicted the future. This scenario was called Lock Step, that is, “Walk in formation”, and the Western world followed it. Sacrificing their own democratic values, they try to force people to obey commands. International organizations, including the World Health Organization, are used as a kind of stronghold for assembling a world government that would be subordinate to private capital.

But, I must say, Donald Trump greatly interfered with these plans, because he stopped the signing of agreements on Transatlantic and Trans-Pacific partnerships, where all countries participating in the agreements sacrificed national sovereignty in all disputes with big business. And you need to understand that today any transnational corporation can act as a foreign investor, including in the United States. According to these agreements, if there is foreign capital in the business, then in a dispute with the national government, some kind of international arbitration court is formed, it is not clear how and by whom it was drawn up. And these unelected judges, appointed, in fact, by big international business, these disputes are resolved. In fact, it was about the fact that the state was losing all sovereignty in regulating relations with big business. However, Trump stopped the agreement – the United States never signed it. Thus, the process of forming a world government was stopped. This is the second alternative, and it is now in crisis due to the collapse of the idea of globalization and the gradual abandonment of ‘pandemic’ restrictions.

It must be understood that the option of a world government is incompatible with sovereign Russia, with our independence and role in the world. Within the framework of the globalist scenario, the Russian Federation is viewed as a territory that is intended for exploitation by Western transnational corporations. The “indigenous population” must serve their interests. Under such a scenario, Russia disappears as an independent entity, just like China, by the way. The Western world government may incorporate some of our oligarchs into its version of the future, but only in second and third-rate roles.

The third scenario is catastrophic. The destruction of humanity…

– That same apocalypse which everybody talks about?

– Well, not everyone… But everyone, of course, is afraid. By the way, about the American biological laboratories that are engaged in the synthesis of dangerous viruses, it was mentioned in my other book, which was published a little later: “Plague of the XXI century: how to avoid disaster and overcome the crisis?”

I remember back in 1996, when I had to work in the UN Security Council, I proposed to develop the concept of national biological security. Because even then, almost 30 years ago, genetics was a sufficiently developed science to synthesize viruses directed against people of a certain race or a certain gender, a certain age. This has been possible for a long time. It is possible to make a virus that will only work against whites, or vice versa, only against blacks, only against men, or only against women. Now the Americans are going further – you see that, data which agrees with our Ministry of Defense, they announced the day before, that American biological laboratories were developing viruses targeted against the Slavs. Apparently, it is possible today – to make a virus against some ethnic group that has its own genetic code.

What is happening in Ukraine today is an echo of the agony of the US power elite, which cannot come to terms with the fact that they will no longer be a world leader. This becomes clear to everyone – at least to those who are not connected with the Americans by their own interests and are not subject to their cognitive influence.

I’ll give you an example. When the US imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014, I asked my Chinese colleagues: “Do you think the Americans can impose sanctions with regards to China?” They were certain that they can’t. They said that it was impossible, because the US depends on China just as strongly as China depends on the US. That is, America will be more expensive for itself. Two years had passed, and Trump launched a trade war against China. And Beijing now understood that America is an enemy that will drown the Chinese economic miracle by all means. Prior to this, my reasonings with my Chinese colleagues were not very convincing, just as, however, my book you mentioned did not greatly influence our political and economic elite. My arguments were dismissed. Although we have been saying for many, many years that the dollar should be refused. Foreign exchange reserves should have been removed from dollar instruments, from the euros-to-gold, it should have been necessary to switch to our own monetary and financial system, develop our own settlements in national currencies with partners. We have been offering all this since the 2000s, when it was already clear what the world economic development was leading to. And now, finally, everyone has seen the light.

The Americans zombified Ukrainians and turned 150-200 thousand people into a fighting machine that works without thinking”

– Judging by the heart-rending howl that comes from the camp of the liberals, as well as the events in Ukraine, not everyone has seen the light yet.

– Yes, we are faced with the fact that in 8 years the Americans have managed to fool the Ukrainian people so much that the people who resist the Russian army, the so-called Armed Forces of Ukraine, look simply zombified. They are manipulated like puppets. It is not Zelensky who commands the Ukrainian Army, not even the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the General Staff – but the Pentagon. It commands very effectively from the point of view in the fight of “to the last Ukrainian soldier”, because these zombie guys do not give up. But they are in an absolutely hopeless situation. All experts have already acknowledged that Russia won the military special operation, that the Ukraine has no chance of resistance, that the entire military infrastructure has been destroyed… The Armed Forces of Ukraine is only left with surrendering in order to minimize human losses. However, Ukrainian officers (and especially, of course, nationalists) act like zombies controlled from the outside – they follow instructions from the Pentagon that come to their personal computers and special tablets.

Moreover, the Americans command their marionettes from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, breaking them into the appropriate units. Each unit is assigned a number, and every number is given artificial ‘military intelligence’ with tasks every day. They really turned 150-200 thousand people into a fighting machine that works without thinking, only stupidly follows all their orders. For 8 years, they have achieved that they forced a significant part of the youth of Ukraine not only to stand up against Russia, but through brainwashing made them their weak-willed tools. Not just cannon fodder, but controlled cannon fodder.

Being in an absolutely hopeless situation, surrounded, deprived of any supply at all, they still continue the senseless war, dooming themselves to death, and dragging the surrounding civilians with them to the grave. This is a clear example of how modern American technology works. We must understand that in front of us, we have a very powerful force. You know, before [the war], we have heard from Russian experts and politicians that the Ukrainians themselves will suffocate economically and then crawl to us, and in general where will Ukraine go without us? After all, it will not be able to ensure the reproduction of the economy without our resources and cooperation with us. Indeed, Ukraine has entered a state of economic catastrophe, as we expected, as we explained to our Ukrainian colleagues. The Ukrainian republic has become the poorest state in Europe along with Moldova. Due to the fact that Ukraine has terminated ties with Russia, its losses amount to more than 100 billion dollars. Nevertheless, this did not prevent American and British political strategists and instructors from forming a 200,000-strong army of thugs and murderers who completely inadequately imagine reality and are an obedient instrument of American interests.

– Aren’t there equally obedient American marionettes in Russia? Is it only Ukrainians who were zombified?

– Yes, and here it should be noted that practically the same thing is happening with the Central Bank, but only on other issues.

– Before we move on to the Central Bank, let me clarify. You said that you are working on introducing a new currency. And in what format and with what team?

– We have been doing this for a long time as a group of scholars. 10 years ago, at the Astana Economic Forum, we presented the report “Toward sustainable growth through a fair world economic order” with a project for the transition to a new world financial and monetary system, where we proposed to reform the IMF system based on the so-called special drawing rights, and on the basis of a modified IMF system – to create a worldwide accounting currency. By the way, this idea aroused great interest then: our project was recognized as the best international economic project. But in a practical sense, none of the states, represented by the official monetary authorities, was interested in this project. Although it was followed by Nursultan Nazarbayev’s publications, which proposed a new currency. If I remember correctly, he offered Altyn.

– Altyn? That is interesting.

Yes, the publication of his article on this topic even took place in Izvestia. But the matter did not come to negotiations and political decisions, and to this day it is rather a proposal of experts. But I am sure that the current situation is forcing us to create new payment-settlement instruments very quickly, because the dollar will practically be impossible to use, and the ruble, due to the incompetent policy of the Central Bank, which, in fact, acts in the interests of international speculators, cannot find sustainability.

Objectively, the ruble could become a reserve currency along with the yuan and the rupee. It would be possible to move to a multi-currency system based on national currencies. But we still need some equivalent for pricing… Now we are working on the concept of the exchange space of the Eurasian Economic Union, where one of the tasks is the formation of new pricing criteria. That is, if we want metal prices to be formed not in London, but here in Russia, just like oil prices, then this implies the emergence of some other currency, especially if we want to act not only within the Eurasian Economic Union, and in Eurasia in a broad sense, at the center of a new world economic order, to which I include China, India, Indochina, Japan, Korea and Iran. These are large countries, all of which have their own fundamental national interests. After the current stories with the confiscation of [Russia’s] dollar reserves, I think no country will want to use another country’s currency as a reserve. So a new tool is needed. And from my point of view, such a tool, for a start, can become some kind of synthetic settlement currency, which would be built as such an aggregated index.

– Can I have some examples? What it is?

– Well, let’s say, ECU ₠ (European Currency Unit) – there was such an experience in the European Union. It was built like a basket of currencies. All countries that participate in the creation of a new accounting currency should be entitled to the presence of their national currency in this basket. And the common currency is formed as an index, as a weighted average component of these national currencies. Well, to this we must add, from my point of view, commodities: not only gold, but also oil, and metal, and grain, and water. A sort of commodity harness, which, according to our estimates, should include about 20 goods. They, in fact, form world price proportions and therefore must participate in the basket for the formation of a new accounting currency. And an international treaty is needed, which will determine the rules for the circulation of this currency and create an organization like the International Monetary Fund. By the way, 15 years ago we proposed reforming the IMF, but now it is already obvious that a new monetary financial system will have to be built without the West. Perhaps someday Europe will join it and the US will also be forced to admit it. But so far it is clear that we will have to build without them, for example, on the basis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. However, these are just expert developments, which we will submit to the authorities in the coming month.

– And at the level of the government or at the level of the president?

– We will first send it to the departments that are responsible for these issues. We will hold discussions, develop some kind of common understanding, and then go to the political level.

The Central Bank continues the policy of pandering to the enemy”

– In your Telegram channel, you write that all that remains is to nationalize the Bank of Russia. Why hasn’t it been done yet? For example, there is a point of view that Elvira Nabiullina remains at her post as a screen, but will no longer manages anything serious. Can you refute or confirm this?

– You know, I don’t want to engage in conspiracy theories.

– This is a conspiracy theory?

– Yes, we can talk about the American Deep State in conspiracy terms. In this case, conspiracy theories are a very appropriate direction of thought, because in America, behind the screen of presidents and congressmen, there are some deep forces – special services. And in our Fatherland, everything is simple. We have a president, a head of state who has built a vertical form of power. It is absolutely clear in our country how the parliament and the judiciary are formed. Here, no conspiracy theory, in general, can be applied. The same goes for the Central Bank. Let me remind you that, according to the law on the Central Bank, all its property is federal property. Therefore, the Central Bank is a state structure, there is not the slightest doubt about it.

– And they always said that the Central Bank was separated, as if on the sidelines.

– The Board of Directors of the Central Bank is appointed by the State Duma on the proposal of the President. I served for many years as its representative on the national banking board, which oversees the activities of the Central Bank. I can say that there is no doubt that the Central Bank is the state body for regulating monetary circulation, and it is also the main financial regulator in the country.

But there are nuances. The Constitution stipulates that the Central Bank conducts its policy independently, that is, it is independent of the government. But this does not mean that it is independent of the state. This is a state-owned agency. Here the judicial system in our country is also officially independent of the government. Therefore, being an independent body, the Central Bank is nevertheless formed as a state regulatory body and must perform the tasks that are necessary for the development of our economy. To do this, it is necessary to involve the Central Bank in strategic planning. The classics of monetary circulation stipulates that the main goal of the monetary authorities, that is, the Central Bank, should be to create conditions for maximizing investment. That is what the banking system should be doing – maximizing investment. Because the more investments, the more production, the higher the technical level, the lower the costs and the lower the inflation, the more stable the economy. It is possible to achieve macroeconomic stabilization in the modern economy only on the basis of accelerated scientific and technological progress. Attempts to target inflation (such a buzzword), which the Central Bank has been practically imitating for the past 10 years, by manipulating the key interest rate against the backdrop of a freely floating ruble, is short-sighted, primitive and counterproductive. Usually these measures are recommended by the IMF for underdeveloped countries that themselves do not know how to think.

What is inflation targeting in practice? This is an extremely primitive and internally contradictory set of measures, the application of which drives the economy into a stagflation trap. The Central Bank threw the ruble into free float, which is absurd from the point of view of inflation targeting in an open economy, where the exchange rate directly affects prices. And we see how the devaluation of the ruble periodically accelerates prices. In addition, they reduced monetary policy to only one absolutely primitive tool – the manipulation of the key interest rate. But the key rate is the percentage at which the Central Bank lends money to the economy and withdraws money from the economy. Its attempts to suppress inflation by raising the interest rate cannot succeed in today’s economy, because the higher the interest rate, the less credit, the less investment, the lower the technical level and competitiveness. The decrease in the latter entails the devaluation of the ruble in 3-4 years, after they raise the interest rate, supposedly to fight inflation. Having let the ruble exchange rate float freely, they, in fact, gave it at the mercy of currency speculators.

The Americans really like these politics, so they praise the leadership of our Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance in every possible way. After all, what is important to them? So that everything is tied to the dollar, so that the ruble is a ‘junk’ currency that is unstable. And this is a paradox, because the amount of foreign exchange reserves of the Russian Federation has recently been 3 times more than the ruble money supply! This means that the Central Bank could have stabilized the exchange rate at any level. But it didn’t do that.

And who are the speculators to whom the Central Bank actually threw the ruble to be torn to pieces? The main speculators are American hedge funds, which actually shape the ruble exchange rate by manipulating the market. But the Central Bank does not notice this, or rather, pretends to not notice. In order to keep them in the foreign exchange market by raising the interest rate, the Central Bank kills credit and makes our economy dependent on foreign sources of credit, and the foreign exchange financial system dependent on the interests of speculators. This is in whose interests the Central Bank works, hiding behind cool buzzwords like ‘inflation targeting’, which has shamefully failed in these past years in terms of real price dynamics. So in our country the weakest point of the entire national security system in general is the Central Bank. Its leadership is hit by the enemy’s cognitive-weapon, in other words, zombified by it. In fact, our monetary authorities are doing what the enemy needs.

By the way, I proved mathematically and chronologically that the first wave of sanctions was imposed against Russia only after the Central Bank prepared the ground for this, namely, it let the ruble exchange rate float freely and announced that it would raise the interest rate, if inflation would start in the country. As soon as the Central Bank moved to this strange policy, the Americans immediately imposed sanctions. Their speculators ensured the collapse of the ruble exchange rate, this caused an inflationary wave, and the Central Bank, on the instructions of the IMF, raised the interest rate, which completely paralyzed our economy. The total damage from this policy today has already reached 50 trillion rubles of non-produced products and about 20 trillion rubles of unfinished investments. Now you have to add to this the 300 billion dollars invested in foreign assets, which are now frozen – that’s the damage.

Therefore, when we talk about the nationalization of the Central Bank, we are not talking about formally nationalizing it (it has already been nationalized), but about bringing it into a policy of conformity with national interests. Right now, its policy is contrary to national interests. And there is no conspiracy here. We see in whose interests such a policy is pursued. The Central Bank raised interest rates to 20 percent, giving the bankers a dominant position in the economy. Possessing the most expensive and scarce resource, money, they determine which enterprise will survive, and which enterprise will die, go bankrupt, and so on. Rising interest rates are holding the entire Russian economy hostage to a handful of bankers. This is the first. Secondly, the leadership of the Central Bank allowed another collapse of the ruble exchange rate and closed the currency exchange. As a result, today banks have become the main currency speculators: they buy currency for about 90 rubles per dollar, and sell it for 125. The difference settles down for them as excess profit.

– But why, in your opinion, does the Central Bank of the Russian Federation pursue a policy in the interests of the enemy?

– As I said, it does this on the recommendation of the International Monetary Fund. But its interests are also shared by our large banks, which objectively like this policy, as well as our monetary and financial structures, which are also involved in manipulating the ruble exchange rate. Therefore, an influential lobby is formed around this policy, which supports this policy based on its own private interests. These interests run counter to the interests of the country, they are directly opposite to them. And, if you look at what the Central Bank is doing today, I have no doubts that it continues the policy of actually pandering to the enemy. It undermines macroeconomic stability by allowing international speculators to manipulate the ruble exchange rate and does not control the foreign exchange position of banks that have become currency speculators, although the Central Bank could easily withdraw banks from the foreign exchange market by fixing their foreign exchange position, forbidding banks to buy foreign currency. And secondly – by raising the interest rate, the Central Bank actually killed investments in the development of the Russian economy, which are very much needed right now, primarily for import substitution and for the restoration of economic sovereignty, while our leadership says that we should not be afraid of sanctions, because they create conditions for economic growth, for import substitutions…

Look, about a third of EU imports have left our market. These are huge opportunities for import substitution. If we assume that our enterprises begin to develop these markets, then we will develop at a rate of 15 percent per year. But this requires loans. Import substitution cannot arise without loans. We need loans to set up production facilities, to master new technologies, to load idle production capacities. We have long developed such a strategy of advanced development at the Academy of Sciences, and we are promoting it. But, unfortunately, the insane, from our point of view, policy of the Central Bank has quite specific influential structures which it likes and supports. That is why the policy is so stable.

It is possible to stabilize the ruble in three days”

– Sergey Yuryevich, if this is not conspiracy theory, then why does the Central Bank continue to pursue such a policy? Only based on the interests of lobbyists?

– To whom is the war, and to whom is the mother dear. Commercial banks earn a 40% profit on currency speculation. You bought 90 rubles per dollar – sold it for 125. 35 rubles – nothing is easier! As a result, we have inflation, imports are becoming more expensive, everyone sees this insane rate. Prices for all goods are rising, but the banks are making super profits.

Again, a very influential lobby has formed around this policy, and admitting the failure of such a strategy for many people means, in fact, admitting their incompetence and even sabotage. And speculators with large banks are quite influential structures in our country that influence decision-making.

– Well and what, does this information not reach the first person (Putin), is it blocked?

– When I was an adviser, I communicated this information.

– Were you listened to?

– Yes, there were discussions, discussed at the Economic Council, then it was closed so as not to irritate the officials. Now I don’t want to comment on it. We see today that if we do not change the monetary policy, then it will simply be impossible for us to survive in this hybrid war. We now need to counter economic sanctions with a serious increase in domestic production. There are production facilities for this, people, raw materials, brains – too, but there is no money. Right now, the simplest thing that the state can give people is money.

– What is your feeling? Is there an understanding at the top?

– I think that you need to directly address this question to them.

– But many people call you almost the Number 1 person in the current situation – a public figure who can save Russia.

– Thank you for this review. I try my best.

– I just want to understand: if before there was no prophet in our Fatherland, now has he appeared? Is this a temporary situation with the Central Bank?

– It is so protracted, I would say, for 30 years. If we had carried out a competent monetary policy in accordance with the requirements of the new world economic order, the integral system, we would have developed like China – by 10 percent a year. There were such possibilities. And we basically been stomping in the same spot for these past 30 years. So the point is not even whether they listen or not, you just need to look objectively and see how China and India are developing and how we are developing. What prevented us from developing in exactly the same way?

Moreover, the control system of the new world economic order, which I describe in my books, is universal. She worked successfully in Japan before the Americans broke the Japanese economic growth. And even in Ethiopia, where they also began to form this management model (and achieved growth by several times). That is, this universal management model of the modern economy, focused on the growth of social welfare through investment in a new technological order, needs to be implemented. At the same time, of course, the targeted use of money implies a high responsibility. Throwing money from a helicopter – is not our thing.

– It’s not our path.

– We are talking about targeted credit emission based on modern digital tools with a strict control system focused on investments in new technologies. We know how to do this, how to minimize the human factor through the introduction of digital technologies, including the digital ruble. But this is disadvantageous for those who still adhere to the old strategies. They made a cash cow out of Russia, they sucked out 100 billion dollars from it abroad to offshore companies. But now the Americans have closed offshorization for us. There is a real opportunity, we must use it.

– What would you advise people? Now the main query on the Internet search engines is where to invest money in an era of turbulence. What should people do?

– First of all, do not make sudden movements, I would say that. In any case, what certainly is not necessary – to run after dollars or euros. Because we do not know what will happen next with these currencies. If our system is disconnected from the Western system, then our banks cannot effectively invest dollars and euros anywhere except in currency speculation. But I hope that our authorities will still curb the foreign exchange market.

In this context, what the banks did, raising the interest rate on foreign currency deposits sharply, turned out to be a clear overkill, which spurred panic. I think the ruble will stabilize if, of course, speculators are removed from the foreign exchange market and foreign currency is sold only for importers and people who transfer money abroad within reasonable limits to relatives or are going on a business trip in accordance with the regulations. The rest is to block the channels of currency leakage. Then our foreign exchange inflow will normalize again.

You know, we have a very positive trade balance. Mandatory sale of 80% of foreign exchange earnings has been introduced. If this revenue is sold on the stock exchange, then the amount of currency will be more than what importers need. We will have a surplus of currency. This means that the ruble will strengthen, that is, it will return to the old indicators – 80 or even 70 rubles per dollar. But until the Central Bank removes speculators from the market and allows commercial banks to become such, the ruble exchange rate will not stabilize. So, unfortunately, the monetary authorities have not yet come to their senses and have not begun to implement the correct policy of macroeconomic stabilization, I can’t give any advice other than investing in gold if possible (especially since the government removed VAT from gold). There are no other real assets and no safe haven.

– So, buy gold?

– Buy the essentials. Or invest in real estate, in something reliable. As for investments in dollars and euros… They have ceased to be a currency for us. This is no longer a currency, but some obligations of other countries that may or may not be fulfilled. So we need to look for other possibilities. But I would like to emphasize once again that with the right policies, we can very quickly stabilize the ruble and even restore its purchasing power.

– And in what perspective, after all?

– It can be done even tomorrow, you understand? The Primakov government and [Viktor] Gerashchenko did it in one week.

– Is the government capable of doing this?

– Of course it can. To do this, in general, two decisions need to be made: to fix the currency position of commercial banks and introduce the norms for the sale of foreign currency for non-trading operations, to keep the freely convertible foreign exchange market only for trading operations. That’s all. This can be written in 15 minutes and announced within a day, introduced within three days – and the ruble will stabilize.

FM Sergey Lavrov’s presser after talks with India’s Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, New Delhi, April 1, 2022

April 02, 2022

Ed Note:  Mr Lavrov held various pressers in his travels to China, India and the meetings between Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries (Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).  If you are interested, that speech contains the rebuilding of Afghanistan and the progress being made.  It is here:  https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1807302/

The main take-away (and there are many) from Mr Lavrov’s visits, is of course this:

A new reality is taking shape: the unipolar world is irretrievably receding into the past and a multi-polar world is being born. This is an objective process that cannot be stopped. There won’t be one single ruler in this new reality. All key states with a decisive influence on the world economy and politics will have to come to terms. Being aware of their special status, they will ensure the observance of the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, including the main one – the sovereign equality of states. Nobody on Earth will be considered a second-rate player. All nations are equal and sovereign.

Instead of featuring all the pressers and speeches, this time we focus on India, because the detail level of a new financial system becomes clearer.  This is the source:  https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1807582/

Posted by Amarynth


1 April 2022 18:13

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions following talks with Minister of External Affairs of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, New Delhi, April 1, 2022

Question: How would you assess your talks with the minister? How can Russia support India at a time when it faces security challenges from its neighbours?

Sergey Lavrov: The talks can be characterised by the relations which we have developed with India for many decades. Our relations are a strategic partnership, even a specially privileged strategic partnership, as our Indian friends called it some time ago. And this was the basis on which we have been promoting our cooperation in all areas: the economy, military-technical, humanitarian, investment and many other fields.

And I believe that India’s foreign policy is characterised by independence and by concentrating on its own legitimate national interests. The same policy foundation exists in the Russian Federation, and this makes us, as big countries, good friends and old partners, an important part of international relations.

We have always respected each other’s interests and we always tried to accommodate the interests of the other. This was the underlying approach to our discussion, which covered all bilateral areas of cooperation, and covered, of course, international and regional issues. The situation in the region is not perfect, as with any other place in the world. We support Indian efforts to consolidate the regional countries and promote mutually beneficial projects in South Asia in particular.

Question: For a long time, Russia has been building close relations with the Western countries. Today, economic cooperation has been virtually destroyed. You are on your first Asian tour since the start of the special operation in Ukraine. First you visited China, and now India. Does this mean Russia will seek replacement markets for oil and gas in this region?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe China and India are natural destinations for this tour. Both countries are Russia’s close partners. The three of us participate in a number of international formats, including BRICS, the SCO, and formats that have developed around ASEAN: the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Security Forum (ARF). There is also the RIC (Russia, India, China) format. RIC Foreign Ministers have met a couple of dozen times since its inception (more than twenty years ago). The last meeting took place in the autumn of 2021. A detailed document was adopted reflecting our common approaches to a number of international issues. It paves the way for further actions in this direction.

In China, my colleague, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and I discussed the further activities of the RIC association. Today, Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and I discussed ways to develop this format and use it more intensively in the interests of stabilising international relations and ensuring equality in international affairs. This is especially relevant given that all the three countries – Russia, India and China – are members of the UN Security Council now. So we have many plans.

As for markets, we have never imposed our products on anyone. If countries that are interested in trade with Russia have specific needs and want to expand their range of imports, we are always ready to make agreements based on a balance of interests and mutual benefit.

Question: A question regarding potential talks between Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky. Do you know which country they might be held in? The talks started in Belarus and were continued in Turkey. Israel offered mediation as well. When might a peace treaty be initialised between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministries?

Sergey Lavrov: There are no approved plans for this. The talks must continue. Our negotiators commented on the latest round of talks in Istanbul where the Ukrainian representatives “put on paper,” for the first time, their vision of the agreement that must be reached. This needs to take shape first. We are preparing a response. There is some progress there. Above all, they recognised that Ukraine cannot be a bloc country, that it cannot “find happiness” by joining the North Atlantic Alliance. Nuclear-free, bloc-free, neutral status is already recognised as an absolute must. Likewise, we saw much more understanding of one more reality. I am referring to the situation with Crimea and Donbass. We are still working on the next potential meetings. We will announce updates on this.

Question:  What were the key subjects of your conversation with Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar? Did you discuss the introduction of an efficient rouble and rupee settlement mechanism for bilateral trade, including India’s purchases of Russian oil? Was the issue of cooperation between Russia, India and China touched on at the talks in Beijing and in New Delhi?

How do you assess India’s fears of a possible delay in supplying Russian military equipment, including the S-400, due to the crisis in Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: Well, as regards the use of the rouble and rupee in our financial and trade transactions, I would like to remind you that many years ago we started moving away from the dollar and the euro to the more extensive use of national currencies in our relations with India, with China and many other countries.

Under the circumstances, I believe this trend will be intensified, which is only natural and obvious. We are ready to supply India with any items it wants to purchase. I already referred to this. We have very good relations between the trade ministries, the ministries of finance, and I have no doubt that this would be a way to bypass the artificial impediments that have been created by the illegal unilateral sanctions by the West.

This relates also to the area of military-technical cooperation. We have no doubt that a solution would be found; the respective ministries are working on this.

Question: The United States is exerting pressure on India to involve it into an anti-Russia campaign. Does this pressure affect relations between Russia and India? Are you confident that our countries’ partnership will not be damaged?

Sergey Lavrov: I am confident about this because our partnership does not depend on opportunistic considerations. Moreover, it does not depend on illegal methods of dictate and blackmail. It is absolutely pointless to apply such a policy to countries like Russia, India, China, and many others. This shows that those who are offering and implementing such a policy, who impose it on others do not have a good understanding of the national identity of the countries they are trying to talk to in a language of blackmail and ultimatums.

Question: How do you look at India’s position on this ongoing war? What did you tell your Indian counterpart? Did you offer oil supplies to India?

Have you reached a compromise on the rupees and roubles arrangement for payments?

Even Mr Putin and you are sanctioned by the US and the EU: How do you look at this scenario?Sergey Lavrov: Every Russian has been sanctioned by the US and the European Union, so there is no surprise to me. The Western colleagues just made their real face known these days. I do not have the slightest doubt that most countries on Earth understand what is going on and understand the inadmissibility of the manners which are being demonstrated by our Western – very, very unreliable – partners.

As regards India’s position on the developments in Ukraine, – you called it a war, which is not true, as it is a special operation, which is being conducted with maximum attention being paid to not do any damage to the civilian infrastructure. The military infrastructure is being targeted, and the aim is to deprive the Kiev regime of the capacity to pose any threat to Russia. This capacity has been built and strengthened for many years by the United States and other NATO countries, which wanted to make an “anti-Russia” out of our neighbouring and fraternal country.

I already mentioned [payments in] roubles and rupees. This process is going on for many years. The reason for moving to national currencies is again the absolutely unreliable nature of our Western counterparts. We do not want to depend on a system, which could be closed at any time; and we do not want to depend on a system which has masters who can steal your money overnight.

I already mentioned oil supplies and the supplies of high-technology to India. If India wants to buy anything from us, we are ready to discuss it and reach mutually acceptable forms of cooperation.

Question: Considering the Western sanctions, will Russia boost trade with India and in which areas?

Sergey Lavrov: This is the normal course of events. We are open to mutually beneficial and mutually respectful relations in all areas, including trade and investment activity. When you encounter absolutely unjustified hostility and reaction that goes beyond all reasonable limits in one part of the world, it is, objectively, only natural that your partners elsewhere start playing a greater role in you trade and economic activity. This is not surprising. This has happened before. The sanctions were not imposed yesterday. We have been under intense sanctions imposed by the West and some other countries for many years now – at least, ten years. We already have experience in living under such circumstances and living in a way that is good for both us and our partners. Rest assured that this is how it will be this time as well.

Question: Does it bother you what Western countries think of Russia’s plan “B”? Refusing to pay for gas in roubles, France and Germany said they would not accept such an approach by the Kremlin since it violates the current contracts. What do you think?

Sergey Lavrov: As regards gas supplies to Europe, President Vladimir Putin was very elaborate: he announced the signing of a decree, which provided for a scheme acceptable, as far as I could understand, to the Western countries. We cannot use the old scheme, because, as I said, they paid us in their currencies and then they seized our accounts. It is like the gold rush in the United States at some point when the country was founded by those who fled Europe because they were outlaws, as far as I recall. So the scheme that was presented is an honest scheme. It allows us to, eventually, get payments for gas in roubles, and that was the original goal.

Question: Do you think that India has not taken a hawkish stand against Russia, despite the pressure from Western capitals, because of its dependence on the discounted crude oil and also the import of S 400 missiles and kalashnikovs?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, I cannot even imagine that India is taking some stands because India is under pressure. We respect, as I said earlier, India’s concentration on its basic principles, namely, that the Indian foreign policy is built upon the legitimate national interests of that country and its people. That is, basically, all I can say in response to your question.

Question: There is much talk that India may act as a mediator between Moscow and Kiev. More than that, they say that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may mediate talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents. Did you discuss this issue and is it possible?

Sergey Lavrov: I did not hear talks like this. We respect the well-considered position of India, which does not give in to pressure through blackmail and dictates. Many other serious countries, which do not accept language like this, are taking the same approach. Probably, India will see a role for itself in finding a solution to the problems that have led to the current situation, I mean the issue of equal and indivisible security in Europe, and will help assert the principles of justice in these matters, and explain to our mutual partners that their attempts to deny Russia the right to security guarantees are futile.

We want security guarantees to be provided to Ukraine, all European countries and Russia, in keeping with the documents which have been approved by the OSCE over many previous years and have declared the principle, according to which no country should seek to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others. The root of all problems lies here.

The West has ignored its obligations and worked to present Russia as a direct military and ideological threat, playing up to neo-Nazi trends and practices in Ukraine. I think if India with its position of justice and rational approaches to resolving international issues manages to support these processes, nobody is likely to object.

Question: It has been reported around the world for several weeks now that the Russophobic sentiment is sweeping entire regions. People are suffering from things not seen since the Middle Ages and things they bear no responsibility for. How does the Foreign Ministry respond to this? Perhaps dedicated centres for collecting information or assistance centres will be formed? What will happen next on this track and what else needs to be done?

Sergey Lavrov: We have commented on this situation many times. It really is reminiscent of the Middle Ages, real Russophobic mayhem. It’s as if the West was masquerading as a polite and well-mannered partner in the international arena for all these decades. In fact, this outwardly presentable mask was hiding its true face. It has now manifested itself on a scale that no one could even imagine. Everything Russian face ostracism and prohibition.

We put all these instances on record. We use the tools that exist in our state system, the resources of the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office and other departments.

The Foundation for Supporting and Protecting the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad has been operating in dozens of countries for a long time now helping organise legal assistance to compatriots in challenging circumstances.

Modern challenges call for global efforts at the level of international organisations. They must highlight the unacceptability of such “actions” on the part of our Western partners.  Discrimination is rampant and the “values” that the West has been touting for many years (presumption of innocence, inviolability of property, free market rules, etc.) have been torn up.Not to mention what is being done to religion and the Russian Orthodox Church not only in Ukraine, but also in the EU countries which consider themselves civilised. This conversation is overdue. Everything that is happening now is directly undermining the obligations of the organisers of these “actions” under the UN Charter and the OSCE. Without this conversation, we will not be able to overcome the situation the West has created not only in its relations with Russia, but also in international relations. This is a message for all of us.

Over the past couple of years, the United States has completely thwarted all attempts by Europe to strive for independence or strategic autonomy. Lone voices that are heard, in particular from France, no longer decide anything. Germany has completely reconciled itself to its role as US ally, blindly following in the wake of US policies. Everything is being done to recreate a unipolar world and proclaim this process as a “fight of democracies against autocracies.” What kind of democracy is this? As things stand, with Washington in the lead, they themselves, collectively, have become an autocracy in the international arena. They believe they can do anything and get away with it.

Should the United States claim to face a threat somewhere around the globe (as was the case in Iraq, Libya, or Syria thousands of kilometres away from their coasts, which usually turns out to be fake or based on false evidence) Washington is “entitled” to do what it wants, such as kill hundreds of thousands of civilians or level whole cities to the ground, such as Raqqa, Syria. This approach will inform the West’s future actions in all regions unless it is stopped.

Should any other country, not only Russia, see a direct threat in weapons, military biological programmes (as it lately transpired), or the creation of foreign military bases in a neighbouring country (in this case, right on the border with our country), the West considers this, as well as the fact that Russia defends its own interests, unacceptable. This is much deeper and broader than just the special military operation in Ukraine and ensuring its neutrality under collectively assumed security guarantees. This is a matter of the world order, in which all the rules of decency, international law and their own “values” (the West promoted them as part of its model of globalisation) were trampled upon by the West itself.

You can’t get away from having this conversation, and China, India and other countries realise this.I read the speech by Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at yesterday’s meeting on Indian-British cooperation. He noted that the newly arisen issues in international affairs touch on the very foundations of the world order, which must change to become equal and multipolar, without sovereigns and dictators.

Question: My first question is, why India? Secondly, Russia is actually hammered by a lot of sanctions, including on SWIFT-code. Will you recommend India or any other friend country to use an alternative payment gateway?

Sergey Lavrov: Why India? Because we are friends and we regularly exchange visits.

As for SWIFT, for many years, as I said, when the nature of our Western partners, who are entirely unreliable, became more and more obvious and known, we started developing national payment systems. In Russia, the Central Bank several years ago established a system of communication of financial information. India has a similar system which is called RuPay. And it is absolutely clear that more and more transactions would be done through these systems using national currencies, bypassing the dollar, euro and other currencies, which proved totally unreliable.

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